Gairloch painting

We reckoned our 2010 Wester-Ross calendar would be a bit of a gap-toothed smile without something Gairloch, and few images could be more redolent of Gairloch than The Old Inn at Flowerdale. Almost every visitor spends some time there in company with more than a few of the local residents.

Flowerdale lies at the head of Gairloch, close by the harbour. Behind it is Flowerdale House, one of the ancestral homes of the Mackenzies. The bridge you see in my pastel painting must have pre-dated both House and Inn and is these days a footbridge only. When we first discovered Wester-Ross as a holiday destination in the early '80's one of our dogs, in her usual excess of exuberance, and clearly in expectation on the other side of something other than what you can see, leapt the parapet of the bridge only to fall fifteen feet or so on to the rocks. A heart stopping moment, but lovely old Chloe picked herself up, shook herself off and resumed (scenting) business as usual. These days the road for wheeled traffic goes over a new bridge which is behind this painting's viewpoint.

So many stories about this place, which was so remote in days of old. Many of them true or with the essence of truth or in the belief of at least some truth ... The English warship that sent its cannonballs into Flowerdale House from way out in the loch after the 1745 Jacobite rising ... the Mackenzie bowman who pinned an invader to the mast of his invading boat eight hundred metres away ... plenty of stuff for my forthcoming poem, anyway.

If not sold beforehand, this painting of The Old Inn and the old bridge at Gairloch will be on sale at the Poolewe Hall Art Exhibition, 25th - 28th June. Here, the works of six local artists will be exhibited. Make a diary note!

And this picture will feature as the month of May in the Pictures and Poems calendar for 2010. So far but yet so near for a calendar maker / marketeer.

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