Loch Coruisk - a feeling of bliss

17th of October 2023
The second time of my life I went to Loch Coruisk. This was the place where in 2022 I fell in love with the world. I didn’t know I could, but that’s what I felt then. I needed to go back here.

I was volunteering at the hostel, spending my early mornings at the reception. This day the weather was finally going to be really nice and I was in doubt what to do with it. Because when you’re in Scotland, the weather pretty much tells you what you’re able to do on a day… After some adequate advice from Ruthie, the hostelmanager: ‘Go to Coruisk, it will be lovely!’ my choice was made.

You can only reach this loch in the mountains by either walking for about 8 hours from Sligachan or take a boat from Elgol. I was going to take the boat, rode an hour ride up to Elgol and then I had to change from my biking gear into hiking gear. Hiking when biking is not the most conveniant way of transporting stuff. I was able to leave my helmet at the boat rental company. The sun was shining and I was superhappy to be seeing Loch Coruisk again. There were about ten other people joining me on the boat. The crewman asked us which one was the one who would be staying till the latest pick up time, which was ofcourse me! I need my time to sit around and draw some, right?

Being on the big water, seeing the Cuillin Hills in the back and slowly approaching was already magical. Next to that they explained about other animals around us in the sky and water. We got to see some minke whales! While these stories filled our 45 minutes boattrip, I had my sketchbook out to put down all that I saw and heard.

We arrived at the shore and got of the small boat. I had about 2,5 hours to roam around. The first bit was a bit crowded (like 15 other people around.) The other visitors passed me while I got a comfortable seat to draw. I made a first drawing at the beginning, where the river of the loch joins the seawater. The view is amazing pretty much everywhere, but it's still a challenge to find a good frame of what to put on your paper. I wanted some horizontal line of the sea in there. But I also knew sometimes I'm overthinking and should just get going. As a first sketch always feels like a warm up.

When I got a bit further over the sturdy slabs of volcanic rock, called Gabbro, it got a lot more quiet. No one around, just nature, rocks, bog, water and a bird here and there. Time for a break and eat some lunch. It was pretty warm that day and I packed way to much clothing with me. It didn't even rain, but ofcourse I had waterproofs with me. I sat while having a astonishing view on Loch Coruisk and the Cuilins in the back. I was feeling so at ease and at rest, it was so good.

The last time I was here, I was together with an Irish artist called Neal Greig. He told me about an artist who lived in the 18th and 19th century, called William Turner. This Wiliam Turner had visited Loch Coruisk as well and made quite some paintings and drawings from here and all over Scotland. It was impressive seeing the same view as this painter saw then.

"When Sir Walter Scott visited Loch Coruisk, his account concluded, 'though I have seen many scenes of more extensive desolation, I never witnessed any in which it pressed more deeply upon the eye and the heart than at Loch Corriskin [sic]; at the same time that its grandeur elevated and redeemed it from the wild and dreary character of utter barrenness' (W. Scott, The Lord of the Isles, 1830, note XXXII)." From the following website, where you can also take a look at a painting from Turner of Loch Coruisk.

To be continued 

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