North Kincardine is shown on an early map by Timothy Pont, c.1560-c.1614. He mapped a great deal of Scotland and the North Kincardine area is particularly detailed including farm names as well as villages and townships. This is further highlighted by the National Library of Scotland, that the Lower Deeside map is the only one of Pont’s maps to include this area.
I particularly love the level of detail in his illustrations, how little the area has changed and the fact that the map was created at a time when documenting was so important in the shaping of Scotland’s politics and economy. I wonder if Pont was aware of Sir Frances Drake embarking on his circumnavigation of the world (1577) and the creation of the Honourable East India Company (1600) and how significant map creation would continue to be in the following 500 years.
A lot of the places I have been visiting were already established, in some form, by the time Pont mapped the area. Estates and fishing villages are named for example Ardoe (Arda), Blairs, Elsick, Muchalls, Findon, Portlethen, Maryculter (Kirk of Mariecoutyir). Others have disappeared for one reason or another only to remain in the memories of those who have heard their stories; Stranathro and Skateraw.
Cartography whether it is for GPS or local use
is 'the discipline dealing with the conception, production, dissemination and study of maps in all forms' (International Cartographic Association, 1995, p.1). Another description of cartography is that it is the 'Art, Science and Technology' of map making. This is an important definition in that it leads us to appreciate that cartography covers many disciplines and is so wide-ranging that it invites interest from a huge diversity of people.
As an artist and creative practitioner, I have a slightly different approach to maps. I see them as objects with their own history and ‘life’, that can tell a story at a particular point in time. A series of maps are as interesting as a single one and the most interesting ones are where the map maker has shared a bit of themselves in their making or more than one person has mapped the area at the same time.
I have been known to make a few maps in a number of styles and for different purposes. This one, above, was a record of adventures and encounters during a week exploring Loch Aline and Mull in Argyll. What can you tell about me and our adventures from what is shown in the map? How many people attended? What was my favourite thing? where did we visit? What did we see? what did we do? What time of year was it? where did we stay? What did I miss out? Have a go at mapping your local area and tweet them to @northkincardine with the hashtag #mappingkincardine