The signpost at John O’Groats is a whirlwind of activity, no matter what time of year you visit. If you set up a slow- motion camera and filmed it for a day the action would be constant. Individuals of all nationalities would flit in, as would families, tourists, holidaymakers, locals, fundraisers, an assortment of vehicles and even some animals! The signpost sees it all, but slow down the footage and pause on each individual story, then you have a tome full of character and journey that J.R. Tolkien would be envious of. Because ultimately the sign is all about the journey.
Even though the signpost that currently stands at the prime point at John O’Groats is not the original, it is still symbolic and an essential part of the Scottish landscape. It is a marker and a point to symbolise whether people are at the beginning, middle or end of their journey and it represents something vital that needs to be captured – that they have ‘made it’. And now the journey begins, it ends or it continues.
The signpost also represents hundreds of thousands of stories and waves of emotion that cling to and surround the post, be it joy, relief, hope or sometimes sadness. For some who have overcome so much just to get there it is a sign of triumph, for others it’s a silent prayer that they continue and endure whatever challenges that lie ahead, perhaps in their journey to Land’s End, or even further. For others it is a joyous, but necessary photo opportunity, tinged with what next and what other landmarks can I reach in my lifetime?
For me personally it’s one of the many permanent markers across the Scottish landscape that remind me of just how fast time passes. Whilst it stands there, prominent, solid and enduring, my life passes, sometimes at such speed that I can barely keep up. So each time I visit I see how much my life has changed and my body is ageing, yet the post stays the same.
I celebrate 6 years since I first arrived in Caithness this spring and it would have been in these early days that I first visited the sign. I am so thankful for all the changes that have occurred both within me and for my art business. I am now in several outlets across the Highlands, plus expanding into more. I sell products (not just paintings on my website) plus we are looking to set up a permanent outlet at John O’Groats (if you are visiting be sure to seek us out). I’m also just starting an exciting new project with the Castle of Mey which is great news considering HRH the Prince of Wales already has one of my paintings exhibiting in the castle.
Not in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that the me then could achieve all that in 6 years, or even think it possible. And that’s just my story..How about the hundreds of thousands of others that cling to the signpost? I’d love to hear your John O’Groats signpost stories. Either comment below or head across to my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/HavenHouseArts/ and leave a comment.
Signs are there to remind us that the only thing that is permanent is change.
I hope you enjoy my painting and reading my little blog. I will be replicating this image as prints soon, so please do keep an eye on my website. If you are on your journey at John O’Groats be sure to seek me out. If you are simply on a journey…I wish you well.
Until next time,
Inspiring Art from the Heart of the Scottish Highlands