Red Craig, Glen Clova – Watercolour in a Watercolour Moleskine

This was the first “real hill” I ever climbed – at the age of six. We camped at the foot of this modest hill, at the start of Scotland’s Grampian Mountains, and ascended it that evening. Its about 2000 ft high. I remember two things about that climb. There was the remains of an old forest halfway up. The wood, left was a dry fossilised grey colour and looked as if it had been there for centuries although a great storm, in the 1950′s, flattened huge amounts of trees and this was probably part of that. There also seemed to be thousands of rabbits which fled, in every direction, as we approached. Strange the things we remember. These days the rabbits have been much eradicated although they are on the increase while fresh forests, planted soon after my epic achievement, are now filling the land. Massive amounts of trees were planted after the war to replace the thousands needed for the war effort.

My scene shows another phenomenon, not entirely Scottish. One of the reasons for the huge amount of rainfall is the prevailing west winds, from the Atlantic, sweep up the hills resulting in increased precipitation. I believe this is known as “Orographic” precipitation resulting in “Adiabatic” cooling and condensation – is that correct, John? Whatever it’s called it can get very wet and windy as the scene tries to show. Just after the initial sketches for this painting, the sky darkened and the wind increased followed by a few inches of the wet stuff. Scotland, especially west facing Scotland, doesn’t have a climate. It has weather.