Shetland: Rocks and Headlands

On a long walk to Footabrough, I paused to do a drawing of a distant headland.

From Uskie Geo

The drawing shows the West corner of the island of Vaila, with the wonderfully named “Stack of the Cuillan”, which are the rocks forming a small island at the base of the cliffs. In the distance is a headland. The question is: what is the headland?

When I was drawing it, I thought it must be Skelda Ness, some 6 or 7 km away. But that might be hidden behind Vaila. So is that distant headland Sumburgh Head, 25km away?

It occurred to me that the phone might know. I have the OS Maps app. But evidently it didn’t think I was interested in any feature so far away.

Screenshot from the OS Maps App. It helpfully identifies the local features, but not the distant headland.
150 degrees bearing from where I drew the picture.

However it did give me the bearing: 149 degrees, as you see. So now back in London I can use my old school protractor.

It’s Sumburgh Head in the picture. I’m glad we sorted that out!

Further on towards Footabrough are the Skerries of Easter Paill.

Skerries of Easter Paill, drawn on location.

The word “Easter” here does not relate to the Christian festival, but to the fact that these small islands are the ones on the East. I guess this implies there must be a “Wester Paill” somewhere but I haven’t found it.

I drew this on location in my sketchbook.

The waves are done with watercolour resist. The resist is a kind of rubber solution a bit like Typex. The air was somewhat damp, despite the fine weather. I applied the resist before the paint was entirely dry, and then the resist didn’t dry properly either. I walked along for while with the sketchbook open, flapping it, much to the consternation of nearby terns. Then the terrain became more complicated, and too rocky to scramble over carrying an open sketchbook in one hand. I sat down on a stone and rubbed the resist off, which reveals the white bits. I was pleased with the result, obtained even in these adverse conditions. The product I was using is “Schminke Rubbelkrepp neutral”, in a tiny 20ml jar, applied with a brush.

In the evening I had another go, this time trying to describe also the brilliant light of the day, and the clarity of the water, as well as the pointedness of the rocks, and their regular angles.

Skerries of Easter Paill, drawn at my desk, based on the sketch on location.

On another walk, I drew the headlands of Mucklure.

The dark is terrifyingly black, and the glitter from the sea is blindingly bright. It’s impossible to draw. But it’s so arrestingly beautiful that I had to have a go.

This scenery demands to be drawn.

Here are some blog posts from previous expeditions to Shetland. You can also see a collection of Shetland Landscapes (2017) on this link.

Shetland, Skerries of Easter Paill

The rocks off the ward of Mucklure are almost geometrical in their formations. They make abrupt right angles. Here are the Skerries of Easter Paill, small rocks in the sea off Dounawall and The Hamar. Here is another drawing of the same location. It’s hard to get an idea of the scale. Here’s a map…

Shetland 2019 – pen and wash

Here are some pictures I drew in pen and wash. I spent a lot of time drawing rocks. The rocks are overwhelming in their detail. Not every thing I saw is in the picture. But every thing in the picture, I saw. Here are some pictures I drew on the journey going back South: And…

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…

Shetland, Historic site walk

The wooden sign from the main road said “Historic Site”, and pointed up a small road that lead steeply uphill. I was on my morning run and felt energetic, so I set off up there, keen to see the Historic Site. In Shetland, Historic Sites are often at the top of hills. At the top…

Shetland landscapes

Here is a collection of landscapes all done directly in watercolour with no pen and ink. I am using Daniel Smith Watercolours, and trying different mixing combinations. All of these pictures are done with three or fewer colours, alone or mixed together. It seems to me that the fewer the better. The picture hangs together…

Here’s another attempt at the skerries of Easter Paill:

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