In the summer of 2014, Ellis O’Connor took part in an artists' residency on a sailing trip around the Northern Isles of Scotland. Here she shares some of her work and reflects on experiencing the isles from the vantage point of the sea.
We started at Lerwick, the capital, and headed north along the east coast, anchoring at the islands of Bressay and Noss, before going past Fetlar, Yell and Unst in the far north. From there we skirted along the north-west shore of the Mainland, taking in its impressive scenery of gigantic stacks and mysterious sea caves. Our sailing past Eshaness and The Drongs, an eerie set of sea stacks which famously jut out of the surrounding bay of Houlma Sound, was particularly spectacular.
The last island we visited was Papa Stour, my favourite of them all. I had heard beforehand that it was known for having some of the most incredible sea caves and arches in Scotland. It did not disappoint. The harsh and inhospitable forces of the Atlantic crashed into the coastline, wearing away at the landscape. It was a brutal display of the elemental battle between the forces of nature that characterise these extreme and remote places.
I will remember Shetland for high jagged peaks rising from the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, their rugged texture at the very edges of the land, jutting out from the ocean as it dominates the horizon.
See more of the images by clicking on the thumbnails below.
Ellis O'Connor is a visual artist working in printmaking, photography, painting and drawing.