Back and busy

Anita near the summit of Ben Loyal

Anita near the summit of Ben Loyal

Well, as the title says, I’m back from Sutherland ….and it’s been a busy week.

Our holiday up north ended in grand style with our finally walking Ben Loyal on our last day.  It turned out to be a long day …eleven and three quarter hours to be exact and we got back to the car about a quarter past eight in the evening.  It was worth every minute though, despite it being another cold and for a large part of the day, grey affair.  We had the routine heavy snow shower at the top which we sat out, sheltering for about 45 minutes behind one of the huge rocks that mark the top of this wonderful hill.  After that we wandered along its broad summit ridge before finally descending from Carn Tionail and walking back to the car.  As I say, it was a long day and a lot of it over very rough ground.  It was amazing and when the sun finally came out in the early evening, it made for a perfect way to end the holiday.

Rough ground below Ben Loyal

Rough ground below Ben Loyal

Evening sun, Ben Loyal

Evening sun, Ben Loyal

Of course, it’s been hot and sunny most of  the time since we returned to Irvine and so despite being pretty busy this week, we still decided to get out walking again …this time to walk a couple of hills in the Southern Highlands.  One of them, Cam Chreag (884 m), sits quite a long way off the road and so we’ve never visited it before.  The walk in to it though was along a good track and through some stunning scenery with the Munro Ben Challum rising steeply above us on the other side of the glen.

Like many of the hills in this area, Cam Chreag is a mainly grass covered hill in the form of a long broad ridge.  The ridge is littered with small crags and rocky outcrops.  By the time we gained this height it was a very warm and sunny day …the early morning cloud having disappeared to leave a hazy and hot landscape.  It was so peaceful up there, no other walkers and far enough from any road to be perfectly quiet …and we had time enough to lie down in the sun and have a kip for almost an hour …perfect.  The route back took us over a neighbouring hill Beinn Chaorach ….another high grass covered ridge offering easy and relaxing walking.  It turned out to be another long day though …almost eleven and a half hours this time and in the heat we were both pretty tired.

Ben Challum from Beinn Chaorach

Ben Challum from Beinn Chaorach

On Cam Chreag

On Cam Chreag

Ben Challum from Cam Chreag

Ben Challum from Cam Chreag

Apart from the walk, this week has been one of painting and delivering and collecting paintings.  On Wednesday we popped down to the Waverley Gallery in Prestwick to collect four of the new small postcard sized paintings that they were framing for me.  Then up to the Dick Institute in Kilmarnock to collect the paintings that had been in the ‘Six into 12 plus Hornell’ exhibition.  Today we’ve been up to the Blairmore Gallery near Dunoon to deliver some new paintings and collect some old ones.  It was another hot day and the drive along the Firth of Clyde and the short hop on the ferry over to Dunoon, was very enjoyable.   Tomorrow we’re heading up to The Strathearn Gallery in Crieff to deliver five paintings for their forthcoming ‘summer exhibition’. ….Full details to come.

Finally, just to let you know that a number of the artists at the Courtyard Studios in Irvine will be holding an informal ‘Open Studios Weekend’ on Saturday / Sunday 2nd / 3rd June, as part of the Irvine Harbourside Cultural Festival.  There are a lot of events being organised at venues along the harbour so it should make for an interesting few days.  Our studios will be open:

Saturday 2nd June,11am – 5pm

Sunday   3rd June, 12 noon – 5pm

Entry as usual is free.

Artists taking part include, Alison Thomas (painting), Anita Groves (ceramics), Margaret Carslaw (painting), David Reid (painting), Sheila Kerr (jewellery), Chick McGeehan (painting), Brian Craig (painting & photography) and myself, Keith Salmon (painting).

So then, if you live in the region why not head down to the harbour side in Irvine that weekend and call into the Courtyard Studios …it is a great opportunity to see and buy the latest work.

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