Spring clean for mega-map of Scotland Poles apart from any other

The Great Polish Map of Scotland at Eddleston. Photo: Katielee Arrowsmith/SWNS
The Great Polish Map of Scotland at Eddleston. Photo: Katielee Arrowsmith/SWNS

This bird’s-eye view of the biggest map of its kind in the world, a 3D rendering of Scotland, shows how it looks following a spring clean carried out to mark the first anniversary of the completion of its restoration.

Polish Second World War veteran Jan Tomasik spent five years building the concrete model, completing work in 1979, and it’s now being looked after by a team of volunteers.

The Great Polish Map of Scotland at Eddleston and the hotel next door. Photo: Katielee Arrowsmith/SWNS

The Great Polish Map of Scotland at Eddleston and the hotel next door. Photo: Katielee Arrowsmith/SWNS

Built in the grounds of a hotel once owned by Mr Tomasik, the Great Polish Map of Scotland is the largest physical three-dimensional map of a country in the world, covering 1,590 square metres.

The hotelier served in the 1939-45 war and met his Scottish wife in a hospital near Caddonfoot.

Mr Tomasik settled in Edinburgh after the war ended, and commissioned the massive map as a gift to the Scottish people in the grounds of a hotel he owned in the Borders.

Located in the grounds of Barony Castle at Eddleston, the map measures 50m by 40m and is surrounded by a 142m-long perimeter wall.

Project manager Keith Burns tidying up the Great Polish Map of Scotland at Eddleston. Photo: Katielee Arrowsmith/SWNS

Project manager Keith Burns tidying up the Great Polish Map of Scotland at Eddleston. Photo: Katielee Arrowsmith/SWNS

After the hotel, since reopened, closed in 1985, the map fell into disrepair until it was discovered 11 years later by volunteers determined to save it.

Restoration project manager Keith Burns said: “We found the map in 1996, and it was virtually lost to the memory of the people in the village.

“When we looked into its background, we knew it could be of significant public interest.”

“After setting up Mapa Scotland as a charity and raising the funds needed to repair the structure, the volunteers are now seeking to transfer the site into community ownership.

Mr Burns added: “We’re very pleased with the job we’ve done, but it’s very big and will degrade due to the weather, so it will need a local team to continue looking after what is a very important historic monument.

“We cleared 250 tonnes of earth, roots and concrete as frost-cracking had damaged much of the structure.”

It was commissioned by Mr Tomasik, originally from Krakow in Poland, and designed by Kazimierz Trafas, a cartographer and town planner.

The map was built over six summers by a group of Polish exchange students, assisted by locals and staff at the Hotel Black Barony, owned by Mr Tomasik from 1969 to 1977.

After the Tomasik family ceased to own Barony Castle, the map fell into disrepair and became heavily overgrown.

In August 2010, an initial clean-up started, and category B-listed status was secured for the map in 2012.

The map’s restoration was hailed as being complete in April last year, and the progress made up until then was officially unveiled by Scottish Government culture, tourism and external affairs secretary Fiona Hyslop.

Detailed sculpting of its topography continues, however, and ongoing maintenance is required to avert the risk of it falling into disrepair again.

For details, go to www.mapascotland.org