Tag Archives: fun

Camping in the Borders

A last minute stay in the Scottish Borders proved to be the perfect escape before school starts.

At the weekend the Sketcher Clan took a camping break to a favourite campsite; Ruberslaw in the Scottish Borders. Just an hour and a half away in the car, the stunning location sits between Hawick and Jedburgh in the heart of the rolling border hills.

Although we had meant to be there for three nights we stayed for two and a wonderful three days in the country, disconnected from our gadgets. The above sketch is of their beautiful glass house which sits within a walled garden.

James and Zoe had a great time playing into the dark with children on the campsite, including what looked like a toasted marshmallow eating tent crawl !

It was my mistake about the length of stay, I had mistakenly thought the schools in Edinburgh went back a day later than they actual did. The error did mean however that we could take our time packing up on the Tuesday morning and also fit in another walk up the hill to see the sheep and the ‘truly wild’ camping pitches (and safari tents) up in the woods.

Perhaps next time we will venture further from the comforts of the walled garden and communal hub!

Take a look at this family friendly campsite via their website HERE

We have visited Ruberlaw Wild Woods Camping before, back in 2016 and HERE is my post and sketches from then.

Dancing on George Street to Silent Light

Edinburgh’s Christmas Silent Light brings together two great ideas – a sparkly light installation and a silent disco!

On Monday evening I found myself dancing through George Street with Mrs Sketcher and around a hundred other revellers grooving to Christmas tunes whilst 60,000 lights above my head flashed to the music.

There are up to five Silent Light shows a day, each 20 minutes long. We enjoyed the Christmas Crackers playlist but there are two others: Santa’s Sparkles, especially suitable for families, and Disco Delights for the party crowd.

Tickets are £4.50 with 50p from every ticket purchased for Silent Light goes to support One City Trust, a charity fighting inequality and exclusion in the city.

I really enjoyed the experience, dancing away on the cobbles with wireless earphones tuned into festive tunes. I surprisingly forgot I was outside in the middle of Edinburgh’s city centre. Grab a ticket now and go with your friends or family, and be sure to have a dance.

I will be returning with our two kids as I’m sure they will love it – and they serve yummy hot chocolate (as well as a selection of alcoholic drinks) too 😉

The sketch above was drawn in black ink on location and then coloured later.

Book your tickets here at the Edinburgh’s Christmas website

A business trip to the Zoo

ZooCorporate1This week I was asked by The Leith Agency to run a drawing activity for one of their clients, at a corporate event inside the Chimpanzee enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo.

My workshops and sketching tours usually happen in grand architecture filled locations like the West End or beautifully tranquil gardens such as that of Lauriston Castle. Never before have we sketched Lemurs, chimpanzees and penguins, or heard the distinctive calling sounds of the Buff-cheeked Gibbon as we put pen to paper.

But it is the perfect place to draw and draw fast as each of the creatures on show although obviously are enclosed within a cage, they are free to move and scratch and simply walk away mid drawing!

It was great to take a group of about 45 people out into the Zoo for an hour of creativity, after a little introduction and guidence to be bold, to try and capture the movement and the dynamic lines of each species they all set off with just paper, a fineliner pen and a coloured marker.

The activity linked into the days themes of being bold, decisive and quick to adapt.

And the results were fantastic, as you can see from the examples here. It proved to be a great way to get some creative fresh air after a morning of meetings and talks, plus the activity linked into the days themes of being bold, decisive and quick to adapt. We had fun back in the conference room comparing our drawings, adding a mount to our favourites and picking a winner.


I look forward to doing more, and if you would like to book myself to come and run a creative activity at your team building corporate day, AGM or similar then email me HERE.

Edinburgh Zoo website

Leith Agency website

A weekend camping in the Scottish Borders

ruberslaw-camping_tentThe past weekend the Sketcher Clan took a short break in the Borders to try out our new tent and found a beautiful little campsite hidden in the woods.

With twins who are five and a half Mrs Sketcher and I though it was a good time to invest in a family tent and introduce the kids to the wonderful world of camping.

Although not the sleeping on hard ground, crawling in and out of your tent, getting dressed without standing up camping that I knew as a boy, oh no. This was more like glamping to me – blow up beds and a 6 man tent with seperate rooms, that you can walk through without ducking once! The words ‘don’t know you’re born’ came to mind but I resisted.

We set off from Edinburgh after collecting the wee ones from school and were headed to a campsite near Berwick but unfortunately half way there we found out they had closed so had a slightly panicked internet search to find another one with space and our one must have – the freedom to light a fire.

This was more like glamping to me – blow up beds and a 6 man tent with seperate rooms

So after a slight detour we found our self at Ruberslaw Wild Woods Camping just outside Hawick.

We couldn’t of been more pleased, the site is partly within a walled garden, surrounded by trees and with cars kept to the very close car park it is perfect for kids to make friends and wander free. Plus we had our own fire pit sit around at night toasting marshmallows. Pure Bliss.

The Sketcher Twins and I drawing in the campsite.
The Sketcher Twins and I drawing in the campsite.

Hopefully autumn still has a few sunny weekends to come so if you can head along for a mini break before they close at the end of October.

The Ruberslaw Wild Woods Camping website

There is a lovely illustrated map of the site on there by Melrose artist Diane Lumley.

The twins watercolour drawings of our tent
The twins watercolour drawings of our family tent

New rules for the WhereArtI quiz

WAI_screenJune sees the start of new rules for my weekly WhereArtI quiz.

I will sketch a secret location and you will guess where it is as usual, however I will pick a random winner 24 hours after the Monday 8am start time, and they will go on to the ‘Winners wall’. At the end of each month those on the wall will be entered into a draw to receive a prize.

From tomorrow there will be no leader board, and no rush to make your guess as there will be no points to collect.

Instead, more chance to compete as you have 24 hours to guess the location, and more chance to win as there will be a prize each month.

As usual the first Monday of the month will be Scotland wide and the rest of the time I will be somewhere in Edinburgh. I hope you join us to play along and keep looking up and noticing the details of Edinburgh, you never know where I will be sketching next time!

The WhereArtI Quiz, 9th March

ES_WAI090315Morning Edinburgh, it’s WhereArtI time and this week I am looking for the name of this city centre street.


There are points on offer for the first three correct answers and bragging rights for a week 🙂 Keep an eye on the facebook and twitter throughout the day for clues if they are needed. Answer to come before the end of the day.


If you would like to donate a prize for the quiz or indeed feature in the quiz, then get in touch HERE.


Remember WhereArtI runs every Monday in the Edinburgh Evening News with a fantastic prize each week. You could win a bottle of Edinburgh Gin plus a tour of their city centre distillery. Buy a copy today to find out more.