The world of cartography has evolved a long way since the Ordnance Survey, John Bartholomew & Sons and others started mapping Scotland’s landscape, as described in my last post. These days there are all sorts of different approaches allowing specialist maps and experimentation with different graphical styles.
A new map that caught my eye is the Munro Overground map. Inspired by Harry Beck’s famous London Underground map, this one connects all of Scotland’s munros in a British Rail-style rectangular map. Each summit is shown as a separate ‘station’ on several different ‘lines’ – such as the Skye line, the Southern Hills and the Knoydart, Shiel and Affric line. Six of Scotland’s long-distance walks are also shown (but not the new National Trail) as well as ScotRail stations, ferries and canals.
There’s clearly a huge amount of work gone into developing the map and I certainly can’t do justice to it here – I recommend you go out and buy one and frame it on your wall, as I have. However, it won’t replace my large munros map, which also adorns one of my study walls (by Bartholomew’s, incidentally). It’s a representational map that’s divorced from the actual landscape (the website states that “the map is NOT intended for navigation” !!) and is more for curiosity than anything else.
However, I think I would have preferred the map to be portrait rather than landscape, and to bear slightly closer similarities to the actual shape of Scotland. It’s slightly disconcerting to see Skye at the top of the map, Sutherland top right and Loch Ness and Inverness slap bang in the middle … your brain needs to work hard to connect this representation to the actual geography !
Much closer to the ‘real’ shape of Scotland is the design on a new t-shirt I received for Christmas. It’s a Wordle-style map of Scotland created from place names. A great present for geeky geographers (like me!) but probably unlikely to find a mass market.