Images for the year of Nature 2012.
Discover Scotland’s breathtaking National Nature Reserves captured in art.
VisitScotland have been working with the Scottish Natural Heritage since 2009, promoting the awareness and accessibility of the Natural Nature Reserve’s (NNR) across Scotland.
The NNR’s are areas of land that are specifically managed to conserve the nature, habitats and wildlife and give everyone the opportunity to enjoy the magic and beauty of Scotland’s nature.
Artist Diana Mackie interpreted five NNR’s exclusively for VisitScotland in her unique style, in which oils are used to capture the remarkable spectral effects within natural setting.
Creag Meagaidh NNR’s towering cliffs and plunging valleys are often shrouded in mist, creating the perfect conditions for the appearance of the ghostly ‘Brocken Spectre’. Although this is an eerie sight for the unsuspecting walker, the surprising spectacle can be explained simply as the shadow of the hillwalker being cast onto the cloud below.
The spectacular clouds inspired artist Diana’s painting; ‘The clouds seemed to be pumping up to greater and greater heights accented by a strongly coloured diagonal form. While the basalt rocks formed their own pathway across the moor.’
Corrie Fee is a breathtaking area of natural beauty that has been crafted over time by glacial erosion. It is one of Britain’s most stunning glacier corries featuring rare arctic alpine plants and tumbling burns during the summer. Visit in the winter and you will note the silence of the reserve as the tremendous waterfall freezes into a magnificent ice curtain creating a beautiful scene.
Mackie’s painting captures the frozen landscapes, she explained: ‘As I was climbing higher I was amazed by the static conflict of two cloud and mist banks. It was as though they were frozen in time. Their shapes highlighted by the winter sunshine were quite breathtaking.’
Forvie is a spectacular NNR made up of around 1,000 hectares of dune systems. The sand has shifted over time to uncover layers of history, such as the remains of a 12th century church. Imagine the murmur of the church congregation as the calls of the eider duck colony echo over the dunes.
Mackie was inspired by the reserve’s changeable weather conditions. She described Forvie as ‘Wonderful and wild. The vast beach offers the drama of sun, wind and passing showers. Whilst the dunes offer their private spaces to the visitor surrounding them with Maron grasses which respond to the wind rushing through them’.
Staffa is famed for its spectacular sea cave – Fingal’s Cave. Formed by the battering of the island’s cliffs by the Atlantic Ocean, Fingal’s Cave (known as Uamh-Binn, the ‘cave of melody’, in Gaelic) has inspired many famous artists and writers such as J.M.W. Turner, Wordsworth and Mendelssohn who composed the Hebrides Overture after visiting the island.
Mackie was also roused by Fingal’s Cave, as she explained: ‘This magical place holds its own unique acoustics, while allowing just a limited visit from the light outside. The spectre of light that finally dissipates up into the roof of the cave hangs in a ghostly shape’.
Rum’s dramatic landscape of jagged mountains sets the perfect scene for the sea eagles that cast shadows below with their magnificent 8 ft wingspan. Rum holds an ancient surprise – evidence of the earliest known human occupation of Scotland. Visit the fascinating reserve and discover around 200 archaeological sites that date back a staggering 10,000 years.
Mackie describes how a visit to Rum inspired her painting: ‘The light at the end of the day always has such heightened atmospheric qualities. The evening sun had just caught the distant rock face in this Jurassic landscape. The low lying mists added beautifully to the mystery’.