Just a quick mention of a fantastic holiday on Tiree. Corncrakes could be heard everywhere, drowned out only temporarily by the calls of lapwings, redshank and oystercatchers, all with fuzzy chicks in the broad, sunlit machair. Basking sharks and minke whales broke through the clear, turquoise sea water, and arctic skuas prowled the beaches above otters and terns. I spent most of my time hiding in a hayfield watching half a dozen corncrakes fight, mate, bicker and call to one another, and I now have a huge amount of sketches, notes and photographs to work with. I also find myself missing their incessant, grinding drone which sounds as much like summer as a bubbling swallow.
However, a four day holiday at the height of the partridge rearing season has meant that I have come back to a fever pitch of chaos, frenzy and hard work. With the Scottish Game Fair approaching and several paintings and articles on the go at once, Tiree will be covered in more detail as soon as I have a moment to do it justice.