Smuggled across the Border

watercolour sketch by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

We were away last week, camping on Rømø Island, in the South West corner of Denmark. It was a rare treat to be there at the Summer Solstice with the short nights and the North Sea and nature all around us.

When I said nature, I meant the forests, the Roe deer, the Eagles, the Yellowhammers, the dawn chorus and all that – but inevitably, nature creeps into the tent.

Not that I’m bothered by the odd Black beetle but something told me that perhaps herself might not be quite so welcoming…

And I had fully intended to capture the iridescent intruder that I noticed scurrying along the edge of the sleeping bags but someone called me by my name and… There was no sign of it that evening so I thought no more of it.

watercolour painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

The border crossing between Germany and Denmark near Süderlügum was hardly noticeable, I think we saw a Danish flag as we drove through a little village of thatched houses.

Seven days later we came back across the border and, I was pitching the tent in a German forest near Kappeln, when I noticed the Black beetle of Rømø emerging gingerly from our rolled-up groundsheet, its flickering antennae attempting vainly to make contact with its Danish beetle brethren or indeed, with any insect of the order Coleoptera.

I’ve often come across beetles on our Plein Air painting trips but never one that looked so forlorn and woe-be-gone. That unfortunate fugitive had stowed away in our unsuspecting tent and ended up in a foreign land, far away from its wild island home.

But other than that, the trip was good. Some watercolour sketches below.

watercolour painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

watercolour painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

watercolour painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

Yes, I’ve been thinking about the importance of trees and forests recently…

“of beechen green and shadows numberless”

Your comments are always welcome.

Slán go fóill, eoin



  1. Hop[e to see an exhibition of those watercolours someday . . . First class work right there. Syd Bluett


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