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A Round Table Discussion

Who doesn’t love a long weekend? Stepping out of the usual routine to savour new places and experiences is so invigorating – and it is definitely where inspiration often strikes us. It certainly did in Caithness.

At the very top of mainland Britain Caithness is a stunningly wild landscape of few trees, inland peatland and dramatic coastline, and it was the vast skies, vertiginous flagstone cliffs and rolling seas of the coast that drew us there. Our destination was the small fishing village of Berriedale, and in particular the abandoned cottages on the shore, lovingly restored as holiday accommodation by the Landmark Trust. Once the crowded homes of fishermen working in the herring industry they have been painstakingly renovated, maintaining an aesthetic connection with their heritage but modernised as warm and welcoming havens looking out across the shingle beach to the tumultuous sees beyond.

Access to the cottages is via a shoogly footbridge across Berriedale Water, with a handy wheelbarrow to carefully transport your possessions to the other side! The ever-changing weather guarantees that the views from the cottage are always different, but never less than beautiful. Excursions took us along the shingle shore, further afield to Dunrobin Castle to the south in Sutherland, and north to the remarkable Whaligoe Steps cut into the steep cliffside in the 1700s to give access to the natural harbour lying far below.

Needless to say the sketchpad was often called into action. We were particularly struck by an old, rough-hewn, three-legged table we found, and we also wanted to reflect the much-quarried flagstone of Caithness. After many rough drawings we decided that simplicity of line both reflected the landscape and also gave a timeless quality to what became the Berriedale Side Table. Its granite inset top combined with our Peat finish very much anchors this piece in Caithness, while also conjuring up a mid-century vibe that makes this table perfect for any interior.