Please Note: Due to a planned power cut the Castle will be closed all day on Tuesday 5th March. We apologise for any inconvenience but we are unable to operate without electricity and the power cut is to enable Northern Power Grid to carry out essential maintenance to avoid any unplanned power cuts in future.

We will reopen as normal at 10am on Wednesday 6th March.

Painting the Dales

Tel:01969 623981

What does your course include?

The Setting
Bolton Castle’s setting is extraordinary, high on the slopes that lead your eyes up to the scar running above it, dominating the entrance to Wensleydale. From the Castle you can see west towards Bishopdale, Raydale, Addleborough and Wharfedale, and east towards Middleham Moor. From sunrise to sunset. Over the moorland behind the Castle lies Swaledale; over the river Ure and Penhill to the south is Coverdale.

There is also the rich atmosphere of the Castle itself, relatively unchanged and unadorned since the 18th century, and carrying the vivid scars of its 600 years of history in the ownership of the Scrope family. When completed in 1399 it was astonishingly comfortable by the standards of the day, with luxurious ensuite accommodation and heating in all rooms. Nowadays warm clothing is strongly recommended to supplement the log fires!

Against this backdrop you will have the chance to paint intensively, with the support of an experienced tutor and the spectacular variety of surroundings that Bolton Castle and its setting offer. You can work outside, in the Castle, or (weather permitting) in an isolated estate shooting lodge (transport provided, or a brisk walk with an easel!). At the end of the day there will be a plenary session with an opportunity for feedback among course members. Evenings are free; the castle will be open until dusk if required, when it is spectacularly floodlit.

Your course leader
Your course leader on Painting the Dales, Piers Browne, enjoys similar views from his nearby home high up under the scar, and will be exploring a variety of techniques whether you prefer watercolour or oils, to help you capture this landscape. Aspiring and experienced artists are equally welcome. Piers Browne writes:

I hope and think it highly possible that the amateur artists will become more professional after my tutelage is done. I hope to open course members’ eyes so that they see composition and colour, but equally can have their own style, their way of painting, expressing what they like visually and bringing it out as fully as possible.

What to bring
Please ensure you bring your own painting/drawing materials. The nearest art shop is many miles away!
Warm indoor clothing and wet weather clothing for walking, also walking boots if you wish to explore on foot.
There is no mobile phone signal inside the Castle.
We recommend that you arrive on Monday evening, in order to make a prompt and relaxed start on Tuesday morning at 10.00am in the Castle.

Accommodation and food
No accommodation is possible in the Castle. We strongly recommend our group accommodation, with facilities for up to 6 people in 17th century Hawthorn Cottage (3 private ensuite rooms, 1 double & 2 twin). Three minutes by car from the Castle, or a glorious 35 minute walk along the dale, it is a delightful and extremely comfortable cottage (you can see details on Airbnb/Preston under Scar/Hawthorn cottage). There is a lovely sitting-room with an inglenook fireplace and stunning views, a stylish dining-room, and a well equipped shared kitchen.

  • Accommodation bookings are from Monday 11th – Thursday 14th nights inclusive.
  • Couples enjoy a reduced accommodation price. Please email for details.
  • Towels and toiletries are provided, and a breakfast starter pack.
  • All lunches, provided by the Castle café, are included in the course fee.
  • For evening meals there are several good pubs within 3-10 minutes drive with good food. Or you can cook your own meals in Hawthorn Cottage, or get together with fellow course members.

Course fee: £360. (Includes lunches)
Residential fee: £560

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