oil on canvas,
80cm x 60cm,
Iain White, 2016
The long ridge of Foinne Bheinn (Foinaven) trending from SSW to NNE rises steeply from the irregular surface of the Lewisian Gneiss terrain with all but it’s most northerly summit (Ceann Garbh) capped by white Cambrian quartzite. Nonetheless, this west facing flank of the mountain presents a relatively tame face to the traveller on the Lairg to Laxford Bridge and Durness roads. In contrast its eastern flank is truly spectacular with precipitous glacially dissected ridges and deep corries.
The foreground and middle distance is comprised of exposed Archaean Lewisian basement rocks. At two and a half billion years old (> 2.5 Ga), these are the oldest rocks outcropping in Britain today. They form the characteristic low-lying glacially scoured “knochan and lochan” landscapes typical of western Sutherland. This ground is frequently scattered with perched, often erratic, glacially transported boulders, while the lower depressions carry small internally draining mires or small lochs or ‘lochans’ as here at Loch na Claise Carnaich