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The Far North Line

"A Line-man's Hut, Kinbrace" - watercolour - 16 x 26 cm

The Far North Line must be one of the finest railway journeys in Great Britain, perhaps even in Europe. Parts of it travel along a beautiful coastline, while other sections have mountainous scenery and wooded valleys. Finally there is the Flow Country, with its big, open landscapes.
Because it isn't a fast, busy line, it hasn't had to be upgraded very much, so it still has a feel of former times. Many of the stations still have their 19th Century architecture, and there are other old structures beside the track, like the line-man’s hut in the painting above. It would have been used by the man who was responsible for checking and maintaining that section of the line.


  1. You have captured a wonderful sense of loneliness in your painting, Keith. By the way, have you recently changed your banner painting, or is it just that I had not noticed until now? Whatever the case, it is beautiful.

    1. Thanks Diane, yes the banner image is new.

  2. Just imagine living in such a lonely location in so tiny a hut! they had such hard lives back then. I think it is nice the way your painting is telling a story of the past yet is placed in our time now. The colors in your painting are so natural looking and all is painted with fresh watercolor brush work very skillfully.

    1. Yes few people could live that kind of life now, I think.

      I think I'm going to explore this connection, between past and present, more in my work.

  3. Hi again Keith!... Another crisp and wistful panoramic junction of past and present. You capture the vastness of space deftly and skillfully... evocatively portraying both the presence and absence of man simultaneously... if that makes any sense. We can live more compatibly with the natural landscape... and leave few traces that we were there. And that pleases me.

    You capture this all so beautifully and "fluidly" (pun intended... HA HA!!) Keith. Bravo!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

    1. Hi Bruce, your comment about "the presence and absence of man simultaneously" makes perfect sense, and neatly gets to the heart of the painting. It could equally apply to many of my other pieces. Thanks for the insight.

      I hope that Spring has gained a real foothold for you now.

      All the best,

  4. Yes Keith, my first thoughts were how lonely it must have been for the lineman working out there in an almost wilderness.
    I wonder if Michael Portilo travelled along that stretch of line, as we've watched him travel over so much of Britain and Europe in his TV program.
    Lovely painting.

    1. Thanks Frank. Yes I remember him going to John o' Groats, although the line ends at Wick, so he would have passed this hut.


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