Progress at March 2019

Mapa Scotland
Progress Report, March, 2019

1. Summary

2018 was the 100th anniversary of Polish independence. By a happy coincidence, we were able to mark the completion of the map restoration objectives we embarked on when we finally secured the required grant aid needed in November 2013. During restoration, we unearthed more challenges than we anticipated, particularly the serious condition of the map foundations, pipework and leaky sea-bed. These discoveries led to the need for more money and time. Our principal sponsors plus public and member donations delivered the money and our small team of volunteers and contractors delivered the work.

On April 12th 2018 we celebrated completion with a reception and gathering at Barony Castle, with representatives from Polish and Scottish Government Ms Fiona Hyslop, Edinburgh Polish Consul Mr Dariusz Adler, Minister Jan Józef Kasprzyk, Head of the Office for War Veterans and Victims of Oppression Warsaw, UK Polish Ambassador Dr Arkady Rzegocki, Historic Environment Scotland, Scottish Polish Cultural Association, Polish ex-Combatants’ Association and many other representatives of our region’s Polish diaspora.

The rest of the year was spent in consolidation of our position with routine maintenance work, stumpery and planting, new benches, new leaflets (Polish and English), construction of a new access path to the map rim and addition of direction signs from the hotel car park, many public talks to interested groups. We have noted a dramatic increase in visitor numbers and leaflet take-up.

2. Promotion and education

The Mapa Scotland website and Facebook site will continue as our main sources of historical and educational material. We are very pleased to have established support links with the General Maczek School Edinburgh, Abbeyhill Primary School Edinburgh, Edinburgh Polish Scouts, Saturday Polish School in Hawick.

3. Further development

There is never a shortage of suggestions from visitors for ways to improve the map. Regular suggestions:

Higher viewing platform
Colour shade/contour the topography (high maintenance)
Add location labels (we already have a location board on the viewing platform)
Model ships, railways etc. (??)
Son et Lumiere?

All such possibilities are subject to future fund raising and decisions by future officers.

Social media feedback varies from “amazing and unique” through “worth a visit” to “boring” thankfully with the bias heavily towards the favourable:

• “Visited the Polish Map of Scotland at Barony Castle. What a wonderful piece of history. Maybe could do with a little colour, but when you think of the love and passion that has gone into the building of this, map and the information written, it becomes quite emotional.”

• A delegation from The Salvation Army was at Barony Castle for a conference and church venue last autumn. The Great Map was bathed in light for evening prayers under the starlit sky. “What an incredible job on the restoration – it looked fantastic!”

• “Boring. “Totally rubbish …waste of a day …. ugly lump of stuff not even good to look at …”

• “Great display of wonderful masonry work on a grand scale. This presentation of Scotland is fabulous and the attached history makes it a great sight to see for all, young and old.”

• “An amazing piece of workmanship with a fascinating story behind it.
Don’t understand how being from the Edinburgh/Lothians area I hadn’t heard about this sooner. Would highly recommend if you’re in the area and hopefully funds can be raised to make a higher viewing platform as this was the only slight downside.”

• “Amazing. An extraordinary historic map. Situated in fantastic, lovely woodland paths. Boards with map stories. Viewpoint next to the map.”

• “Hidden gem. Wonderful piece of history. Well worth a visit. We visited a few years ago during its restoration. What a difference. Situated in lovely woodland walks.”

• “This presentation of Scotland is fabulous and the attached history makes it a great sight to see for all, young and old.”

4. Funds and Membership

Future funds to support maintenance and development will depend on the strength of our membership and public donations through our collection boxes at the map and hotel.

5. The Future

Mapa Scotland’s lease of the map with Barony Castle Hotel LLP runs until 30th June 2023. Until that time Mapa Scotland will continue with routine maintenance within the capabilities of our volunteers, our maintenance funds and future public donations.

We now need more local community involvement along with other local interest groups. Without this the long- term future of the map will be at risk again. The current committee needs new blood to prevent this unique piece of local history from ever being lost and forgotten again.

On behalf of all our volunteer force,

the Mapa Scotland Trustees: Keith Burns, David Cameron, Roger Kelly, Majka Kozlowska, David Peck.

Time line for the Great Polish Map of Scotland
1974 – 2014
Commissioned: Jan Tomasik, 1974
• Designed and built: Dr Kasimierz Trafas and team from Krakow, 1975 – 1979 along with local labour.
• Abandoned early 1980s
• “Rediscovered” late 1990s
• Mapa Scotland restoration campaign launched, 2010
• Debris and vegetation clearance started, 2010
• Mapa Scotland Charity established June 2012
• Main funding in place, November 2013
• Restoration works and heritage research started, February 2014

2014 – 2017
• Safety fence installed, pit wall repaired and rendered, new coping added
• 250 tonnes of debris removed and recycled as foundations for landscaping
and stumperies
• 300m of underground pipework replaced and seabed sealed with bentonite
• All insecure foundations of rusty cans and rubble replaced by frost resistant
concrete; damaged surface repaired with frost resistant mortar
• New viewing tower designed and built
• Heritage Lottery and European Leader Fund completion audits cleared
January 2017
• Map development and heritage promotion continue
• European Heritage Conference, Krakow, Summer 2017
• Royal Geographical Society, London, Summer 2017
• Foundation and topography repairs completed, August 2017
• Surface stabilisation, protection and painting completed, December 2017
• Total concrete and mortar added, 14,000 litres
• Total weight added: 34 tonnes. Equal to a concrete cube 2.4m x 2.4m x 2.4m

April 12th 2018
Opening ceremony and reception hosted by Polish Consulate Edinburgh.

Major Grant providers for restoration:
Barony Castle Hotel LLP, Blackwood & Smith, Borders Council, Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Edinburgh, European Leader Fund, Polish Foreign Ministry, Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland Support Fund, Landfill Communities Fund, Maczek Memorial Trust, Polish Connections Scotland, Scottish Borders Council, Scottish Polish Cultural Association, Wojtek Trust, two major anonymous donations, and you the public.
The Mapa Scotland volunteer squad, The Royal Highland Fusiliers 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland, EDF Torness, Royal Bank of Scotland, Local scouts, guides, cubs and brownies.
Major Contractors:
Ladywood, Glendinning Groundworks, Differentia Design, Prettybright Design, Gordon Wilson (Peebles), I W Design, A1 Sprayers Edinburgh, Elmbank Printing, The Blazing Blacksmith.