Graving dock.

Oil on panel -=20 x 25 cm.

Graving dock or dry dock – Peterhead.

In 1855 this red granite graving dock was built to meet the needs of the large Greenland whaling boats of Peterhead. By 1820 Petherhead and Hull were the foremost whaling ports in Britain. Designed by Thomas Stevenson, it was designed for steam driven pumps to empty the dock but instead two atmospheric pumps were installed each powered by six horses. It could be emptied in less than eight hours. It is still used today, although with the harbours ship lift in operation less frequently.

The hawthorn.

November morning and the hawthorn wears its black winter dress with scarlet pearls. A blackbird and bluetit strip the willow through jaggy arm to jaggy arm to the tune of the wheezy accordion air.


The river turns estuarine here. It runs slow and brown. Mudflats pewter sheen in the low sun. Bony reeds crackle. Oystercatchers, redshank, curlew, their songs echo across the hills. The tide is turning out there.


The first duffel coat walk of the autumn, out over the fields behind the village. Newly green shoots of a winter crop are ruffled by burrowing curlews, their beaks thick with earth. One bird stretches its foot up to it’s beak scratching off the mud. Siskins’ yellow plummage pure gold in the late afternoon sun. Muddy path, a noisy, chatty burn. Moonstone clouds melt into a purple bruised sky. The only sound, the cry of the curlew catches in my throat and I carry it home.