The Old School Welcomes the Abstract Landscapes of Gill Waugh

Fresh for her successful exhibition at Simonstone Hall in Wensleydale, The Old School Muker is very pleased to welcome the wonderful, abstract landscapes of Gill Waugh.

Ribblehead, Misty Light, Gill Waugh | The Old School Muker
Ribblehead, Misty Light detail Gill Waugh | The Old School Muker

Gill’s work take us from the Yorkshire Dales to the Outer Hebrides, invoking the moods, atmosphere and beauty, they both share, lovingly worked in acrylic and ink …

Uist Beach, Gill Waugh | The Old School Muker
Uist Beach detail, Gill Waugh | The Old School Muker

… and the vibrant, abstract, style adds another stunning dimension to the range of work we showcase at The Old School.

Richard & Polly 

Gill’s Artist Statement 

The dreamlike mists on my home loch and the light and dark of our amazing weather are a constant source of wonder and inspiration; in the Yorkshire Dales, magical low-lying evening light draws me back time and time again, as do empty wet stretches of silvery sand in the Outer Hebrides…
I hope my work conveys the emotion I feel whilst looking at the subject – and that I’ve tried to record that delight when I’m back in my studio.
I create abstract landscapes, taking from the natural textures and colours which move me – whether it’s lichen on an ancient tree or feathery weed swirling in the clear water of our loch. I take endless closeup photos of such treasures and refer to them, initially, for inspiration in my paintings. I work by building up many layers of acrylic paint and letting brilliant inks flow into the textured surfaces – the chemistry between water-based and waterproof media is fascinating; although they repel each other at first, they come together as they dry, forming complex and organic patterns.

12 Images of 2016

Twelve favourite images from 2016; an unforgettable year of travel that took us to Norway’s Lofoten Islands, the Isle of Harris in Scotland, and the Himalaya of Nepal, but begins with two shots of my home county of Yorkshire, England.

In order taken … click on a the image to see the bigger picture …

1. Hole of Horcum, North York Moors, England. Shot in the winter on the drive home from Whitby, East to West across the North York Moors, and perhaps the only photo of the Hole of Horcum that doesn’t feature the Hole.

Hole of Horcum, North York Moors | Sigma DP3 Merrill

2. Saltburn Pier, North Yorkshire, England  A flip of a coin decision somewhere in the Winter desolation of the North York Moors took us to Saltburn, and a perfect sunset as the tide receded. When your lucks in …

Saltburn Pier, North Yorkshire | Sony RX1rII

3. Utakleiv Beach, Lofoten Islands, Norway. A million photographers on the beach sent me stomping up the sand in search of solitude and a clear shot. All I found was a pile of lumpy old rocks!

Utakleiv Beach, Lofoten, Norway | Sigma DP0 Quattro

4. Olstind, Lofoten, Norway. Leaving it as late as ever it became a race against the storm, wading through two foot deep snow to find a spot that pointed up the valley. We won by five minutes!

Olstind, Lofoten, Norway | Sigma DP0 Quattro

5. Pipework, The RERF, Leeds. An odd shot to throw in, but an image that perhaps only the Merrill with its extraordinary tonal range could take, and the culmination of a year long project to photograph the build.

Pipework, The RERF, Leeds | Sigma DP1 Merrill

6. Boat & House, Isle of Harris, Scotland. A mouldy old boat, a broken down croft and a dull, wet, miserable day; anywhere else awful, on the isle of Harris, wonderful.

Boat & House, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII

7. The Gloaming, Isle of Harris, Scotland. The rooftops of Northton silhouetted against the bay, then out over the sea to the mountains of Harris. Not such a bad midnight view.

The Gloaming, Isle of Harris | Sigma DP3 Merrill

8. Soul Machine, Wakefield, England. Discovered in the middle of a farmyard machinery graveyard on a local walk, the truck has seen better days, but wears it’s scars with dignity and soul.

Soul Machine, Wakefield | Sony Rx1rII

9. Himalayan Mountain Stream, Nepal.  A rock, water and time, combine to create an example of nature’s perfection.

Himalayan Mountain Stream | Sony RX1rII

10. Himalaya Trail, Nepal. A line of Mani stones stretches along a tree-lined, sandy trail, overlooked by the sacred mountain of Kumbila shrouded by cloud ; a microcosm of everything I loved about Nepal.

Himalaya Trail, Nepal | Sony RXrII

11. Suspension Bridge, Nepal:  A texture and detail of Nepal; the polished slats of a metal footbridge suspended 30 meters above the turbulent, mountain river, captured in Foveon detail by the Sigma DP3 Merrill.

Suspension Bridge, Nepal | Sigma Dp3 Merrill

12. Mountain Sunrise, Nepal. Not many things are worth climbing out of a nice, warm bed for, but this was one; truly a jewel on a crown.

Mountain Sunrise, Nepal | Sigma DP3 Merrill

Have a happy 2017.


Leeds Artsmix Diary – “A Boat & A House”

“I don’t get it” snorted the women passing our Artsmix stall last Saturday. “It’s a boat and a house, I don’t get it!”. “It’s art” I said. “It’s autistic” she replied. “I don’t get it” she repeated to her friends shaking her head as she walked off, “it’s just a boat and a house” and that, I suppose, was me told.

Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII

But I love this image. I love the colours and contrast in the stone. I love the symmetry of the picture juxtaposed with the irregularity of the stonework. I love the tones in the boat. I  love the sense of age and decay and mood. I love the sense of place and time, and times past. I love the gradual reclaiming of human habitation and activity by nature. I love that in a 100, 200, 500 and 1000 years, the essence of the scene will remain the same, but the man made objects will erode, whilst nature exerts her ultimate authority.

So who’s right, me with my over analysis and poetic pretensions, or the lady with her no nonsense, straight forwardness? Well I guess we both are. Art is subjective after all!



To the Isle of Harris, The Slow Way

“It’s the journey that counts, not the destination”.


If your destination is the Isle of Harris in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides there’s good grounds to say sod the journey, catch a plane to Stornaway, and be sitting in the dunes of Luskentyre before you can say “Traigh an Taoibh Thuath”.

… but by taking the quick way you might just be missing out …

Over five days of travelling Polly’s Slow Way took us back to old favourites – Rannoch Moor, Glen Coe, Elgol, Sligachan, and Eilean Donan; and for us new discoveries – Glenfinnan & Loch Sheil, Arisaig, Isleornsay & the Quiraing on Skye. As is so often the case on our travels the highlight was a random, spur of the moment detour, to kill time before our ferry left for Skye. From Arisaig we took a single track road to Rhumach, discovering calm, sheltered, “tropical” bays, pebble beaches, rocky outcrops pushing into the sea, and views out to Eigg, Rum, and to the distant Cuillin on Skye. We had just a few minutes to sit by the shore and take in the views  before climbing back into the car, but we’ll be sure to return and stay for a while on our next slow journey up the West Coast.

Holiday snaps in order of discovery follow.

Loch Shiel, Scotland
Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland
Loch Shiel, Scotland
Rhumach with the Cuillins on the horizon, Scotland
Rhumach, with Eigg & Rum, Scotland
Rhumach Lobster Pots, Scotland
Ornsay Lighthouse, Skye


Beinn Na Caillich, Skye


Elgol & the Cuillin, Skye
Claigan Coral Beach, Skye
Talbet, Isle of Harris
The Black Cuillin, Skye
Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland


Defeated by the Beaches of Harris

Wow, crossing from East to West on our journey from the ferry at Talbert to Northton on the A859 and suddenly there’s Luskentyre right in front of you, white sands, emerald sea,  a stunning introduction to the beaches of Harris.

Over the next six days I tried to capture just a hint, a smell, a touch of their beauty, but ultimately headed home defeated. Whether it was due to weather, or timing, or lack of creativity, or an unfamiliarity with the landscape, or lack of technique, I don’t know, but it was certainly not through a lack of inspiration.

But no photographic series on Harris would be complete without a shot of a beach so some feeble attempts and holiday snaps follow.

The Teampall, Northton, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
Luskentyre, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
Luskentyre, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
Scarista, Isle of Harris | Sigma DP0 Quattro
Teampall, Northon, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
Luskentyre, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
Northton, Isle of Harris | Sigma DP1 Merrill
Seilebost, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
Scarista, Isle of Harris, Sigma DP0 Quattro


Northon, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII


Borve, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII

If you want to see some photos that do the place justice take a look at Ian Lawson’s Harris Tweed @ . Better still go along if Ian has another exhibition.

Shooting Notes

The shots above are taken with the Sony RX1rII or Sigma Merrill or Sigma Quattro cameras, post processed in Lightroom.

Morgan The Whippet

Morgan the Whippet doesn’t often make an appearance on these blog pages, but she’s a constant companion on Polly and my travels … And so time for her 15 minutes of fame!

Morgan The Whippet, Isle of Harris
Morgan The Whippet, Isle of Harris
Morgan The Whippet, Loch Shiel
Morgan The Whippet, Pembrokeshire
Morgan The Whippet, Yorkshire Coast
Morgan The Whippet, Pembrokeshire
Morgan The Whippet, Lake District
Morgan The Whippet, Lake District
Morgan The Whippet, Lake District
Morgan The Whippet, Lake District
Morgan The Whippet, North Yorkshire



The Northton Jogs – Isle of Harris

Get up. Make cup of tea. Drink cup of tea. Shorts, trainers, t-shirt, hat on. Camera in rucksack. Rucksack on. Stretch. Down the track from the cottage to the Northton’s main street. Turn left. Past the houses. Past Croft 36, excellent buns. Past the Temple Cafe, excellent food. Past the lane to the beach. Through the gate. Onto the machair. Harassed by Redshanks protecting chicks.  Right. Onto the sands of Traigh an Taoibh Thuath. Aim toward the sea. Onto Scarista. Follow water’s edge out across the bay. Meet sand dunes. Find gap in fence and right onto the A859. Past grazing cattle. Round the corner. Up the hill. Turn right back onto Norton’s main street. Complete the loop. Stop to take photos whenever needed.

Machair, Northton, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
Traigh an Taoibh Thuath, Northton, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
Looking North across the sands to the hills, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
Looking South back to Northton | Sony RX1rII
Emerald sea, Scarista, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
The Dunes, Scarista, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1RII
Grazing Time, Isle of Harris | Sony RXirII
Northton, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
Ceapanhal, Northton, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
Northton, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1RII

Not the most conventional approach to photography I admit, and I’m unsure it will catch on, but you do cover some ground, it’s a great excuse to take break in the middle of a run, and it’s only possible because the Sony is so small and light!



The Golden Road, Isle of Harris

Returning from Lewis in the North to Harris in the South, and to our base in Northton, we took the Golden Road, avoiding the fertile Machair and white beaches of the West coast in favour of the barren landscape of the East.

Des Res with Boat, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII 

Down this coastline the land is unforgiving, a thin covering of earth icing over the bedrock lying inches below the surface. It may be beautiful but few people would chose to scratch a living here, but then few had a choice after the forced evictions of the Clearances.

Red Tin Roof, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII

The single track strip of tarmac twisted around sheltered sea inlets, lochans full of water lilies,  grey rocky outcrops and abandoned crofts; driving required full concentration and focus – why do you always meet an oncoming vehicle on a blind bend?

White House, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII 

As we wound slowly on the weather closed in, obscuring our view, and the rain tipped down as it only can on Scotland’s West Coast. A quick glance at the map and we couldn’t believe our lack of progress South, having driven what seemed many miles and for over an hour.

Monet, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII 

With my mind tired after a full days driving we swapped seats. Polly drove and I gazed through the passenger window through the haze of rain at the passing landscape. It was the buildings that took my eye; signs of human habitation scattered down the coastline.

Wooden Bridge, Isle of Skye | Sony RX1rII 

An old red telephone box, a long abandoned croft complete with decaying boat, a red tin roof, a wooden bridge crossing a brook, houses dotted along the coastline, the boat builders yard.

Communication Centre, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII 

… And so every so often we stopped, and I took another photo, and ran back to the car to shelter from the rain.

Seaworthy? Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII

Looking at the images afterwards, the thing that’s striking is the buildings’ temporary nature; the total lack of impact on the landscape. If a giant bent down and lifted them away, the land would be what it was a thousand years ago, and what it will be in another thousand years.

Boatbuilders Yard, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII 

The only thing left would be the road, a permanent scar down the East Coast, a permanent reminder people once made their home here.



A Room with a View – Isle of Harris

“I spent many hours and drove many miles, chasing the perfect scene and perfect light, only to find it was right there in front of me all along”.

Harry Resize-3
Room With a View Northton, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII 

During our six days on the Isle of Harris I fell in love with the view from our window. Past the fence that marked the boundary of the croft; over the rooftops of Northton, beyond the fertile machair and the lagoon and sands of Traigh an Taoibh Thuath, and out over the sea to the distant mountains that dotted the horizon.

Harry Resize
Machair, Northton, Harris | Sony RX1rII 

The scene was ever changing: every day, ever hour, every minute, natures rhythms offered a different picture. South Westerlies driving the weather from our back; the spur of bright, yellow, sand expanding and contracting with the tide; mountains clear as a bell one instant lost in mist in another; the hazy sunshine of midday transforming into the gloaming of midnight.

Harry Resize-2
The Gloaming, Northton, Harris | Sigma DP3 Merrill 

For six days the television remained unplugged, books left unread, music set to silent, games unplayed, our view offering all the entertainment we needed.

Sunny Day, Northton, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII


Bleak Day, Northton, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
Harry Resize-4
Final Day Reflections | Sony RX1rII 

And on the sixth and final day we became a part of the scene, before heading for the ferry, to Skye, and onwards to home.

Lochen na h-achlaise

Lochan-na-h-achlaise, Scotland

Rifling through past images to print for our last Leeds Artsmix market before Christmas I came across two photos of Lochan na h-Achliase, taken over five years ago with my trusty Nikon D700. I must have shot them to stitch together into a panoramic, but it’s taken me until now get around to it. Still, better late than never!

I loved one of images in its own right, and it was the subject of my 2nd ever wordpress post in 2013 (, but the two images combined together create something more powerful then each individual shot, and capture the true beauty and tranquility of the scene.

Shooting Notes 

Nikon D700, 1/80th second at f18, ISO 400