Day 15 - Glenfinnan

I woke up to a beautiful morning in Glenfinnan and headed straight up the hillside to sketch. It was quiet and fresh and sunny and I was alone with these views - magic.Glenfinnan view, sunny day

Glenfinnan view

Glenfinnan view

Hmm. Sometimes the most beautiful, harmonious scenes feel the most challenging to draw.

I had problems with the Viaduct as well, though it sure was nice to sit by it in the sunshine.

Glenfinnan Viaduct

Glenfinnan Viaduct

While I was sketching, I caught a glimpse of a small brown figure moving among the grasses.  A chipmunk perhaps?  But no - it looks more like a tiny ferret!  Later in the day the woman at the tourist information desk confirmed this is actually a baby pine marten, not often seen during daylight hours.  Hi there, little fella!

A pine marten!

After having trouble with these sketches I headed down to the main tourist area for Glenfinnan - the Glenfinnan Monument, which memorializes the place where Bonnie Prince Charlie first raised his standard to rally the Highlanders to the Jacobite cause.  As I settled in for a larger watercolor, I was frequently visited by large dragonflies which seem to do well in this boggy territory.

Glenfinnan - Dragonfly visitor Glenfinnan monument I paused  a moment to catch the passing of the Jacobite train upon the viaduct...

Glenfinnan viaduct and the Jacobite

And then for awhile I just wandered around in the nearby woods imagining what this place might have been like in 1745 filled with impassioned Highlanders, and I sang folk songs about Bonnie Prince Charlie.

If you had seen my Charlie at the head of an army He was a gallant sight to behold With his fine tartan hose on his bonnie round leg And his buckles all a pure shining gold

The tartan my love wore was the finest Stuart kilt And his soft skin all under it as white as any milk It's no wonder that seven hundred Highlanders were killed In returning my Charlie to me

My love was six foot two, without stocking or shoe In proportion my true love was built Like I told you before upon Culloden Moor Where the brave Highland army was killed

Prince Charlie Stuart was my true love's name He was the flower of England, a pride to his name But now they have banished him over to Spain And so dear was my Charlie to me.

--Prince Charlie Stuart, as sung by Steeleye Span

I had a good time doing that.

As I enjoyed the fine weather, I walked quite a bit around the area and sometimes my feet got ahead of me, sometimes it gets harder to slow down to sketch.  I wish I'd taken the time to sketch this cathedral and its lovely lampposts and surroundings.

Glenfinnan Cathedral lamppost

Somehow a fair bit of time must have passed because now my photos and sketch seem to show it's getting on towards evening.

Glenfinnan Monument and Loch Shiel

Glenfinnan Monument  and Loch Shiel Loch Shiel through the Viaduct

I had to head back to the bunkhouse, collect my things, and leave it behind.

Glenfinnan Station Bunkhouse

While waiting for the train to Glasgow, I chatted with a real trainspotter, a fellow that volunteers with a Welsh steam train organization and who was taking a train-oriented vacation with his supportive family.  His hip-looking teenage son kept interrupting him to correct his facts about trains!  That was really charming.  He said they recently had a concert in Wales where several steam trains were pulled up and a musical piece was performed on their whistles.

And then I was off to catch the Caledonian Sleeper train to London, where I would rendezvous with dear friends for the weekend before continuing on to Belgium.