Shetland: Towards Vaila

There’s a beach near Burrastow that looks towards the Island of Vaila.

Here’s a sketch I made from the cliffs above the beach.


Those cliffs look steep and dark. The tower is a “watch tower”, I’m told, built by the Laird back in the day (1700s) to watch over his fishing operations. The story I was told was that the Laird’s tenants were selling their catch to Icelandic vessels out there in the bay. Then they returned with a meagre stock for the Laird. Or at least he suspected them of doing IMG_3490this. After all, he gave them very little, if anything for their catch. And the Icelanders would pay.

So he made the watchtower for surveillance. I was told this story in the Germattwatt café in Walls. The people made it sound as though it was living memory. But it was many generations ago, even if true. They also pointed out to me the place on the nearby hill where the miscreants were hanged, and left hanging, as an example.

The tower is listed as a project on the website of “Groves Raines Architects” as “Mucklaberry Tower, C19th 2-storey square plan Baronial reconstruction” . Their project was to refurbish it as a retreat, along with renovation of Vaila Hall.

On another day, from the beach, I determined to draw the rocks.

It was a very windy day, the wind blowing over the top of me.


IMG_3467 (1)

My rule for drawing rocks is this: everything that’s drawn is there, but not everything that’s there is drawn.




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