The Road to Deepdale

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”

Joseph Heller, Catch-22

The Road to Deepdale

The Deepdale Monster was almost certainly a dead basking shark which washed up on the rocky shore of Deepdale Bay in Holm, Orkney, in 1941.

Deepdale Bay on Scapa Flow, Orkney, with an oil rig in the background. Black and white photograph by Martin Laird.
Deepdale Bay, Scapa Flow, Orkney, 2021. Plastic not included.

Today Deepdale Bay is polluted with an unusually large amount of plastic trash from fishing boats, decommissioned oil rigs, and people generally opposed to the existence of life on Earth. This suggests the local currents in Scapa Flow make it is a likely place for a body to wash up.

The nearby farmstead is abandoned and ruined, but on the periphery of what is still (for now) working farmland.

In a tragic piece of symbolism a wrecked automobile, one of the primary drivers of mass extinction, serves as a scarecrow to ward off birds. It is set against the backdrop of the oil rigs which powered it. There is no road to Deepdale Bay.

Scapa Flow seen from Deepdale farmland. A wrecked car lies in a muddly field as a warning to bird life. There is an oil rig in the background. Digital photograph by Martin Laird.
A scare-car in Deepdale, 2021.

The Road to Deepdale is a digital painting created to accompany an article on the Deepdale Monster by Fiona Grahame of The Orkney News for her monthly column in iScot magazine.

We're not in Deepdale anymore, close-up showing a young girl waving a saltire in the doorway of a rusty gate in the shape of a symbol of Her Majesty's Government, watched by an enormous eye on the end of a tentacle, with an oil rig in the background.
Follow the yellow brick road. Detail of the Monster of The Crown. Digital painting, 2021.

The painting symbolises one of the very real monsters which has a death grip on the governmental and legal institutions of Scotland – The Crown. It is a monster of injustice and corruption from which there appears to be no escape. There are no depths to which it will not sink.

"We're not in Deepdale anymore", A Monster of The Crown. A giant winged sea lion with a whale tail and five tentacles with eyes eyeballing a broken statue of the Lady of Justice. A young girl stand in the rusty gateway of Her Majesty's Government and waves a saltire in its face.
The Road to Deepdale. Digital painting, 202

Prints are available for sale: