Dead Tree Standing

Acrylics on canvas, 51x76cm.

Another in the pantheon of fallen trees.


Doon the Glen

Acrylics on canvas, 51×100.2cm.

Doon the Glen there’s a great muckle tree                                    :down, great big
Blaw’n o’er by the wind last January                                               :blown over
It’s roots exposed to the winter rains we get in June
An’ a’ it’s branches ripped aff in the fa’.                                        :off, fall

It spans frae bank tae bank o’ the wee mickle burn                     :small
That feeds the Rotten Ca’der,                                                              :Rotten Calder
That meets the Clyde at Redlawood,
Rins through the great City of Glesga                                               :runs, Glasgow
And oot through the Firth tae the wide Atlantic Ocean.             :out, to

D’ye think a’ they sticks I drapped in the watter                         :dropped, water
Will wan day wash up on some foreign shore – France,
Spain, Portugal? Mibbies e’en America?                                        :perhaps even

If ye fun wan o’ them please send it hame.                                  :find one, home
It’ll hae ma name oan it.                                                                     :have, on
And the Saltire Cross.                                                          :Scotland’s national flag

Fairy Dell


…or, Spot the Elves!

Out of this wood do not desire to go:
Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no.
I am a spirit of no common rate;
The summer still doth tend upon my state;
And I do love thee: therefore, go with me;
I’ll give thee fairies to attend on thee,
And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep,
And sing while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep;
And I will purge thy mortal grossness so
That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.
Peaseblossom! Cobweb! Moth! and Mustardseed!

Acrylics on canvas, 51x76cm.

Bare Mountain


Last October this small mountain sported a full covering of deep dark forest but this year it has been stripped bare. At 224 metres Leac Gharbh is but a hillock and could easily be climbed if one was of the notion. But  having just come down from Am Binnein I would rather sit here on my little canvas travelling seat and sketch.

If I had made the effort I would likely have found a flat stone at the apex for that is what Leac Gharbh, translated from the Gaelic, means.

One thing is certain: it is not a place to be caught out on after nightfall especially around Halloween!

Am Binnein


Not the highest mountain on Arran (Goatfell at 874m claims that distinction) but at 662m it still was too high for me to climb to the top. The truth is I’m such a wimp at clambering up bare rock-faces I rarely go beyond the tree-line. I get vertigo just going upstairs on the bus.

This sketch was made, as you can see, just as the trees were thinning out and gasping for oxygen. Ach, no, that was me that was gasping given that I had never walked that semi-vertical route before from Corrie at sea level, up past High Corrie, and didn’t know there was a car-park half-way up!

Though I am not a Gaelic speaker I think Am Binnein  means ‘top, or apex, of the peak’. It certainly is an imposing lump of rock and I love the Gaelic place names that give me a deeper sense of their ancient Scottish history.