The Old Man of Hoy rises one hundred and thirty-seven meters above the sea. It is a temporary monument in an almost timeless landscape. It is the tallest sea stack in Britain and in my opinion one of the most fascinating ones around the Scottish coast.

Its warm orange and red layers of Old Red Sandstone pierces the cool shades of blue in the sky. It’s stance so delicate in the ocean, where the tides run strong and the waves ride free. It seems so timeless but in the geological scale of its Devonian strata, where it is sculpted from, it is here for less time than a blink of an eye on a day. According to Charlotte, this is too geo-geek information but! The stack only formed 250 years ago, by the erosion of a headland and it might topple soon. The orange sandstone, however, is at least a 350 million years old.

We did visit Orkney in 2012 and past the west side of the island Hoy in two days. It is a magical place of immense beauty. I started painting the scene and finished one version, which I gave to the friend that joined the trip that year. This version was started in the same year, but the scene became almost too magical and I chickened out. So for four years, it drifted on it’s his paper stretcher board. Last weekend it was finished and ready to share as this week’s visual blog post.


Watercolour, 43x18cm on Saunders Waterford CP(NOT) paper 300 gr/m²

Leave a Reply