October 18th, 2010
Birthdays and surprises! It’s Colin’s birthday today and although he got to open his presents this morning and got breakfast in bed, we did most of the celebrating yesterday. I took him on a magical mystery tour day out! It was a lovely autumnal wintry morning and this set the tone for the most perfect day!
We packed a few essentials – water, flask of coffee, biscuits etc as well as the dog into the car and set off at around 11ish. Colin had no idea where I was taking him. I didn’t either really as I’d never visited the place before so it was an adventure for the two of us. It took about an hour to drive there and even when we got quite close, Colin still had no idea where I was taking him. So I was chuffed to bits that I’d managed to find somewhere he’d not visited before.
If you’ve never visited Eddleston and been to the Great Polish Map of Scotland, then I urge you to go!
Set in the grounds of Barony Castle is a huge three dimensional relief map of Scotland which is approx 60 x 50 meters in size and set into the ground. It was once surrounded by water that emulated the sea and fitted with mechanisms that allowed for all the rivers to flow and the lochs to be filled.
The structure was originally built by the Polish tank commander General Stanislaw Maczek who was stationed at Barony Castle during the war when the grounds were in use by Polish military forces. He designed it as a reminder of the role of the Polish 1st Armoured Division to protect the Scottish coastline in World War II and it is based on the earlier, flat outdoor outline map (built 1940-41) that was used to help them plan the defence of the Scottish coastline, which was under threat of invasion.
Deprived of Polish citizenship after the war, General Maczek spent his long years of exile in Scotland. The hotel later came into the hands of a member of the Polish community who had been billeted there in wartime. He gave Maczek a suite in the hotel. It was at this time that Maczek and his companions decided to create The Great Polish Map of Scotland as a permanent three-dimensional reminder of the earlier map and of Scotland’s hospitality to his compatriots.
There is a small viewing platform at the base of the map, but it’s not really high enough to enable you to see the map in all it’s glory – in order to do that it’s best to have a look at aerial photograph on Google Earth.
The map is an amazing structure and it’s so sad that it’s in been left to disintegrate and is relatively unknown. It’s such a shame that it is in such a bad state – but there is hope! A group of local enthusiasts have set up the “Mapa Scotland – Restoration of the Great Polish Map of Scotland Constitution” and aim to restore the 3D map to it’s former glory and surround it by water again and make all the rivers flow once more. You can find out more about this project here. There is also an interesting article here of how the map was recently ‘rediscovered’.
We went for a long walk through the grounds of the castle with the dog and worked up quite an appetite. So headed to a local restaurant where I treated Colin to lunch. On the way home we stopped of at Rosslyn Glen and took the dog for another walk in the autumnal splendour! Such lovely colours!
We got home late after a quick stop at IKEA and then had our favourite for tea – Pizza – and watched the David Tennant series and drank lots of beer. A totally fab day was had by all.
Posted in Monday Musings |