Ditching politics in favour of friendships, The Great Polish Map of Scotland is a huge relief map on the grounds of Barony Castle. The 3D map of Scotland was constructed to recognise the bond between Scotland and Poland.
The history behind the 3D relief map of Scotland
In 1940, Polish soldier Jan Tomasik was part of a group of soldiers who arrived in Scotland to defend the east coast from German invasion. His experiences here had an acute affect on him and, following the war, he made Scotland his new home.
After some time establishing himself as a successful Hotelier in Edinburgh, he bought Barony Castle in 1968. Years later, he commissioned the construction of the Great Map to renowned Cartographer, Kazimierz Trafa (who brought in the support of a small group of students). Work started in 1975.
After years of neglect, the map was restored in 2010 by a group of enthusiastic volunteers, repairing damage from weathering and general abandonment.
Scottish map facts
The giant Scottish map is the world’s largest terrain topographic model. Construction was a lengthy task; it took six summer seasons to build and it was constructed to represent how we would see Scotland from a height of 45,000 meters. Information provided at the grounds explain that this height would be roughly 5 times higher than the flight altitude of a passenger plane.
Surrounding the relief is a body of water, included to represent the seas surrounding Scotland. You’ll also find an information board (below) on site, that provides photos and details behind the map’s story.
When is The Great Polish Map of Scotland open?
For those wishing to get an close up view of the map from the small viewing tower, the site is open from Monday – Sunday, 09:00-17:00.
What hotels are near The Great Polish Map of Scotland?
For tourists travelling around the borders who want to make more of a trip to the area, there are a good number of hotels near The Great Polish Map of Scotland. The most obvious is Barony Castle Hotel, who maintains the map and welcomes visitors during the opening times listed above.
Other hotels in the area include Fairydean Mill (just 0.25 km away), The Horseshoe Inn Lodge (0.63 km) and Cringletie House (1.98 km).
Other Barony Castle walks and things to do
Whilst you’re visiting Barony Castle’s map, it’s worth taking the time to enjoy the rest of the estate’s grounds. A mere stone’s throw from the path around the map, you’ll find an impressive tunnel of trees known as The Yew Tree Walk.
The pretty trail feels like a location found in a Tolkien novel and leads down to an alter, built on the same location that was once used for private worship by the house family during the 17th century. It’s a really pleasant walk and (for those without a drone to capture aerial shots of the relief) makes for a great photo opportunity.
Is the Borders map of Scotland worth the visit?
With a drone, definitely yes! We got some really cool shots of the big map from the sky, and the drone really helped to get a true feel of the accuracy of the design.
Without a drone, it’s a slightly different story. The viewing platform provided to give you an ‘aerial view’ isn’t really that high and (as a result) it’s harder to appreciate the full scale. That being said, history buffs will love the sentiment behind it, and the surrounding paths (mentioned earlier) are a pleasant walk in themselves.
Visitors can also make a better couple of hours out of the journey by popping in to the hotel’s lounge for lunch; they have a full vegan/vegetarian menu with really tasty starter options (and a fun mix of mains including Sausage and mash and miso mushrooms & tofu stir fry).
Looking for more cool things to do in the south of Scotland? Take a look at my post about Ananda Animal Santuary. It’s such a wonderful happy rescue haven for abused animals, and a great way to get an up-close experience whilst supporting a charity and knowing there’s no behind-the-scenes cruelty.