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The Castle of Mey

Another view of the Castle of Mey, following on from my previous post - https://plus.google.com/+KeithTilley/posts/DmNJu9A2yuf

The castle was built in the 16th Century and was originally a tower house, a type of fortified dwelling common in Scotland at the time. It was altered and added to in the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries. The Castle of Mey Trust now owns and manages the property as a visitor attraction. HRH Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay, stays at the castle during his visit to Caithness every summer.

"The Castle of Mey, North Side", watercolour, 25 x 36 cm
Collection of HRH Prince Charles

#tilleyart #watercolour #painting #Scotland #castles
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The Grey Cairns of Camster

The ancient historical sites in Caithness tend to be overshadowed by the more famous places in Orkney, but many of them are just as interesting and important. One of them is found at the Grey Cairns of Camster, a group of 5,000 year old Neolithic Chambered Cairns. These were used as burial places in the Stone Age, and consist of skilfully constructed stone chambers with long, narrow entrance passages. The surrounding area now is wet moorland and commercial forestry, but in Neolithic times it was fertile farmland and must have supported a large community. The cairns at Camster have been excavated and restored, and are open to the public.

Location - https://goo.gl/maps/CJaarvr1uKH2

#tilleyart #watercolour #painting #Scotland #antiquities #prehistory
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The Walled-Garden at the Castle of Mey

The Castle of Mey is the most northerly inhabited castle on the British mainland. It is a popular tourist attraction, and one of the landmarks on the North Coast 500 route. The castle was acquired in 1952 by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, after the death of her husband, King George VI. It was in a neglected state and likely to be abandoned, so she decided to purchase and save it from ruin. She spent many summers there for the rest of her life, and one of her pleasures was the walled garden. In this sheltered environment, with the help of her gardeners, she cultivated roses and grew vegetables, and created a lush oasis in the harsh northern climate.

Location - https://goo.gl/maps/VwpNzL2fUqv

#tilleyart #watercolour #painting #Scotland #castles
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Suilven and Lochinver

The view of Suilven towering over the village of Lochinver has all the elements of a classic Sutherland landscape: the isolated mountain peaks, the wild terrain, the small fishing village strung out along the narrow strip of coastline.

From this direction Suilven appears to be an almost perfect steep-sided peak, often described as a "sugar loaf" shape, but in fact it is the end of a long, narrow ridge.

Lochinver is one of several important fishing ports on the West Coast of Scotland.

Location - https://goo.gl/maps/BHwkkJS8BhT2

#tilleyart #watercolour #painting #Scotland #Sutherland
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MeyGen Tidal Energy Project

The sea between the island of Stroma and the Mainland has very strong tidal currents, where the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea meet. This has made it an ideal site for the first commercial tidal power generation project in Scotland, and currently the largest in the World. The turbines are in the form of large propellers, similar to wind turbines. It's good to see a World-leading project based here in Scotland, and the Country is well on the way to having most of its energy from renewable sources. I am concerned about the effect on marine life, particularly the whales and dolphins which are often seen in these waters, but I believe environmental impact is being monitored and taken into account.

The ship in the painting was in the process of servicing one of the turbines.

Location - https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@58.6786532,-3.1498628,12z

#tilleyart #watercolour #painting #Scotland #tidalenergy #seascapes
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Broubster

Throughout the Highlands in the Nineteenth Century, tenant farmers were evicted from their homes, or 'crofts', during the notorious Highland Clearances. Landowners, in a drive for efficiency and more profitable land use, wanted to replace the old system of small-holdings with large sheep ranches. The crofters were forced out of their scattered homes, often in a brutal manner, and re-housed in new communities. The land that they were given was often of poor quality and they had to work hard to maintain even a subsistence level of life. During this period many people took up the offer of a new life overseas, emigrating to Canada, New Zealand and Australia, where their descendants still have strong links with Scotland.

In 1839 tenants from the estates of Broubster and Shurrery, in Caithness, were resettled in a new village. Land was provided for them, but they probably had to build their own houses. The dwellings were in the form of long-houses, which consisted of a small cottage with an attached barn for the livestock. The houses were arranged around an open central area and the community became known as 'The Square'.

Location - https://goo.gl/maps/YYEQNKD5qLr

#tilleyart #watercolour #painting #Scotland #history
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For much of it's early history, Wick was little more than a small collection of buildings at the mouth of the River Wick. However in the 19th Century, prosperity came to the town as a result of the growth of the fishing industry. Fleets sailed out of Wick, and other ports, in search of the huge shoals of herring that were in the North Sea at that time. This was happening at the same time that the Highland Clearances* were driving people out of their homes in much of Northern Scotland. Large numbers of these Highlanders were attracted to the fishing ports in search of work. In Wick it led to the construction of a new town, Pultneytown, on the south side of the river. The two communities were administered separately for many years, but eventually they were merged into one town. Sadly for Wick, the herring stocks crashed under the pressure of over-fishing, and the prosperous times came to an end.

Some imposing buildings were constructed during the prosperous years, including the grand Station Hotel, overlooking the stone Bridge of Wick, which was built in 1800 to replace a simple plank footbridge.

The shortest street in the world is to be found in Wick: it is 2 metres long and contains a single doorway. Another surprising fact is that the artist L.S. Lowry** visited the town. Better-known for his paintings of the mill towns of Lancashire, he painted several views in Wick, and there is a heritage trail following in his footsteps.

Location - https://goo.gl/maps/qpyV74XPkY62

* Highland Clearances - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_Clearances

** L.S. Lowry - http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/l-s-lowry-1533

#tilleyart #watercolour #painting #Scotland

"Bridge of Wick"
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Balnakeil Beach

The community of Balnakeil lies at the furthest North-westerly point on the British mainland. It is well-known for its Craft Village, an experiment begun in the 1970's to turn disused military buildings into an artistic centre. The project was a success and the site now has various businesses, including a bookshop and restaurant, and a popular chocolate shop!
Below the village lies Balnakeil Beach, a long stretch of sand around one side of a narrow bay, with turquoise water and backed by towering sand-dunes. The beach leads to the end of a promontory at Faraid Head, where the Ministery of Defence still has a presence in the form of a small radar station. This is used to monitor military excercises which take place every year at nearby Cape Wrath.

Location - https://goo.gl/maps/ao9DhgfPLtj

#tilleyart #watercolour #painting #Scotland
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Sail Gharbh, Quinag

The mountain known as Quinag, or "The Milking Pail" in English, has three peaks. The highest is Sail Gharbh meaning "The rough Heal".

Quinag is managed by The John Muir Trust, a conservation charity dedicated to preserving wild places - https://www.johnmuirtrust.org/trust-land/quinag

Location - https://goo.gl/maps/hxVpEZYdEHH2

#tilleyart #watercolour #painting #Scotland #mountains
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Ben Stack

When viewed from a North-westerly direction Ben Stack is a perfect mountain. If you asked a child to draw a mountian it would probably look like Ben Stack, a perfect cone in shape. From other directions it can be seen that it's really a long and narrow ridge. Several other mountains in Sutherland have the same sort of shape, which is a result of the geology and the action of glaciers. It's possible that during the last Ice Age Ben Stack may have been a Nunatak, a geological term for a mountain whose peak rises above the surrounding ice sheet.

Location - https://goo.gl/maps/wvp6YCV5ZGn

#tilleyart #watercolour #painting #landscape #Sutherland #mountains
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