‘Quartzite screes, Arkle, Sutherland’, Acrylic & Pastel, 2012, 30 x 30 cm
About a month ago I received an email from a gentleman in London asking if I had any paintings of Ben Arkle in Sutherland. Of course, at the time I didn’t have anything suitable and as it was to be given as a present I suggested he try a colleague who I knew had painted this hill a few years ago. It certainly made me think though, as Nita and I had walked to the southern top of this fine hill on our last holiday in Assynt ….May 2011. The hills in this part of NW Scotland are wild and rugged and most of their upper slopes are covered in very light coloured quartzite screes. On the day we were on Arkle we had a mixture of bright sun and occasional heavy dark showers. In the sunny spells the quartzite blocks covering the slopes shone brightly. At the time, although conditions were pretty good for walking, there was a very strong wind blasting across the tops and it certainly wasn’t good for sitting and doing any sketching! Indeed, there was virtually no shelter on the open tops …we had to crouch down behind the small cairn and put on extra hats and coats. Anyway, I did take a lot of photos while on the walk and I had planned to try and do some paintings from them …but never got around to it. So then, this email got me thinking and last weekend I started a small 30 x 30 cm painting based on one of the images I took on Arkle. This view is one looking across to the main summit ridge of Arkle from the broad stone covered slopes of its southern top.