SCOTLAND – Pen & Wash

A Gallery of my pen and wash sketches of notable scenes visited in various parts of Scotland – Highlands and Islands

Click on a drawing to enlarge it and view the titles

  1. Ailsa Craig – Firth of Forth
  2. Castle Tioram – Loch Moidart
  3. Castle Dtalker – Argyll
  4. Castle Tioram – 2
  5. Glen Lochranza – Isle of Arran
  6. Lamlash – Isle of Arran
  7. Newton Stewart – Galloway
  8. Rannock Moor Sunset
  9. The Road To The Isles

The Pebble Path to Peace

At evening with a heavy heart
I’d had enough of talk.
My mind’s reflections overwrought
I left the house to walk.

I came across it quite by chance
Whilst ambling by the sea.
I’d hoped to clear my head of doubt,
To find some certainty.

I dimly saw the trail ahead
Climbing to my right,
A Pilgrims’ Way to paradise;
It was not there last night.

Its pebbles seemed to call to me
To follow where they led;
To seek their end where ere that be,
Pursue them without dread.

Their blue and red encouraged me,
Spoke to me of hope,
Of everlasting certitude,
The means by which I’d cope.

They led me on beside the sea,
Meandered to and fro
Until abruptly then they ceased;
In front a golden glow.

The certainty I’d hoped to find
Was there in front of me;
A testament to Nature’s Grace –
The Glory of the Sea.

A feeling of contentment spread
Throughout my fatigued mind.
My body too relaxed in peace,
Resentment left behind.

I’d found what I was searching for,
Afforded by that path
Of coloured pebbles on the shore;
My soul’s search aftermath.

Both photographs were taken by me (WHB) one evening in 2009 
along the seashore of the English Channel at Swanage, Dorset, UK.

‘The Calm That Nature Breathes’

 Photo . . . WHB: (Copyright): I shall remember this view for ever.  I holidayed in 2001 at the Nannybrow , just north of Windermere and a few miles west of Ambleside in The Lake District, Cumbria.

The Calm That Nature Breathes

Such beauty was a wondrous sight to see;
It held my gaze for many a moment then.

A burst of autumn colours and a view,
Exquisite as a verse from Nature’s pen.

It told of Wordsworth’s Lakeland in its glory,
Of luscious greens and tranquil lake so still;
While purpure mountains in the distance loom
And to the mellow view great calm instil.

A murmur in the breeze adorned the scene,
A susurrus in a silent land of ease.
It brought to me a sense of peace and love
Amidst those waters, hills and ancient trees.

The stillness and the quiet of evening time,
The colours then displayed before my sight,
Feelings of calm, of peace, and lasting love,
All came together then for my delight.

Such beauty was a wondrous sight to see;
It held my gaze for many a moment then.

A burst of autumn colours and a view,
Exquisite as a verse from Nature’s pen.

It told of Wordsworth’s Lakeland in its glory,
Of luscious greens and tranquil lake so still;
While purpure mountains in the distance loom
And to the mellow view great calm instil.

A murmur in the breeze adorned the scene,
A susurrus in a silent land of ease.
It brought to me a sense of peace and love
Amidst those waters, hills and ancient trees.

The stillness and the quiet of evening time,
The colours then displayed before my sight,
Feelings of calm, of peace, and lasting love,
All came together then for my delight.


One September day, still and fine, the water levels higher than usual after a period of prolonged rain, I captured the view from the hotel terrace.  I was transfixed for a long time, allowing the serenity and brilliance of the view to embed.  To me it was an absolutely stunning  experience.  The panorama from my viewpoint gives majestic views down the beautiful Brathay Valley and towards the stunning scenery of the Langdales on the horizon.   The photograph I took then introduces my poem.  The scene gave me a sense of the powerful effect which the Lakeland scenery had on William Wordsworth.   In particular it reminded me of the brief quotations below . . .

“A foretaste, a dim earnest, of the calm
That Nature breathes among the hills and groves.”

“. . . the sun in heaven  . . .  Beheld not vales more beautiful than ours”

From:   ‘The Prelude: Book 1″:

The earth and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell’d in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.

From:  “Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”

“Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!”

From:   Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802

I have used a quotation from ‘The Preludes’ as the title of my own short poem, written in the same pentameter structure as Wordsworth used in many of his poems.

This blog was previously Posted in Rolands Ragbag on September 19, 2016

CHERITA #2

My second experiment with the poetic form – The CHERITA . . .

Cherita’ is the Malay word for story or tale. A cherita consists of a single stanza of a one-line verse, followed by a two-line verse, and then finishing with a three-line verse. It can be written solo or with up to three partners.  (See the website at:   https://www.thecherita.com for further information).

2.

The wind rustled the branches.

The bird held tight,
Swaying with its motion,

Another bird landed beside her
She flew off
To find her own branch.

Runswick Bay

‘Runswick Bay’ … WHB – Pen & Wash 2012

Atop the sea cliffs
I tread the uneven
foot beaten
 wind worn path
I turn and look back
look down
along the line of this eastern shore
across the arc of the bay towards
the cliff-clinging terracotta cottages
carved from the rock of the wave beaten coast
I watch the writhing waves
pound the seawall rocks
insistently biting into the land’s defences
high casting their salty spume
into the sky’s blue blanket

and all the time beside me
at the path’s edge
the rustle of waving barley
their sighing hush
competing with the sea swell
to bring the landscape into one waving vision
the smooth surface tension of the early summer scene
contesting the still silence
of the placid inland rolling moors
delighting both eye and mind
and bringing contentment
to a world of both beauty and sorrow

Runswick Bay is a small coastal village, set in a sweeping, sheltered bay on the North Sea Coast of Yorkshire. It borders on the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and the Cleveland Way National Trail runs on the coastline above the village.

Escape To Paradise

A Paradise’ . . . WHB: Pen and watercolour – 2014

our world is not always a nice place to be
so let’s take off for paradise
to do that we must dream
so make a wish and dream
the dreams made from memories
choose daydreams
for they are made from pleasant ones
precious jewels of remembered moments
of childhood pleasures recreated in golden colours
under warm and generous skies
for what is nirvana but bliss
a perfect quietude
remembered from that golden age
when cares were so far away as to be invisible
and joy was present
in the simplicity of a walk in a spring meadow
in hesitant steps across a bubbling beck
in that breath of early evening air
bringing the scent of heather
and with it the rustle of new leaves
bursting to catch the evening air
amongst the rolling northern hills
the cradled landscape of that now distant home
forever a part of my being
both bedrock and comfort of my present
and succour of my hopes for the future

At Play – Then & Now

Photo: WHB – 2002 (manipulated)

Delight and joy
radiant-coloured youth
ignorant of innocence
and centred on life
with due delight
in present days
radiating their found-freedom
in carefree games amongst the summer trees


Unheeding days
unmelted moments
to be
segued in due time
into the concerns of age
until
at length and in their history’s dusk
appears that second coming
a new oblivion
second innocence


Now untainted
by the warts of knowledge
life-worn futures yet unknown
the pains of caring
hidden from their vibrant view
again sensing nature in its infancy
hell-bent
heaven sent
unfractured youth
presaging the oblivion of age
reflecting only the here
the now
present joy shielding
what once was caring
since faded from life’s reality
by-passing tensions
never now to be revealed



On Spring’s Approach

Bring me the head of a daffodil in bloom
Or a buttercup’s yellow gold.
For Spring begins once more
And I am old.
My tears are wept,
I need redress for promises kept.

Show me the butterfly
As it darts and flutters by,
While beneath its breath it sings,
And with burgeoning wings,
Greets the new day’s warmth.

Celebrate the zigzagging bees
Attending each welcoming flower;
Keeping time with the breeze
And gathering nectar
To store in their bower.

For vibrant Spring is on its way,
Rebuilding now its vernal bouquet
Of warmth and renewal,
Pursuing its promise with every day.

On Life’s Anchor

WHB – ‘Highcliff … Pencil

‘Every man is searching for the place he belongs.’ James Joyce

Where do I belong
Is it my birthplace
Or some other place where I have laid my head?

I no longer search
For I am secure in knowing with increasing certainty
My heart still lives in the hills of my childhood home
It awakes each morning with the scent of bracken and heather
And the soft green turf of the rolling moor
Even at such long removed time and space
These tastes, these smells, these images
In the quiet moments of my active day
Have an unnerving reality
Sustain my being and nourish the silence of my soul
Rarely do the comforting memories engendered
Leave me dispirited and downcast
Seldom do the doubts of my waking troubles
Not gain encouragement from the solidity
The comforting certainties of my history
And I have never lost their throbbing power
To anchor the passage of fleeting time
In the calm and stillness of my reflection