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Take the trail with a fantasy broch map of Caithness


By David G Scott

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A fantasy map has been created by a Caithness organisation to help promote the county's many brochs.

It is a further bid to give the Iron Age towers "the cultural recognition they deserve", according to Iain Maclean, co-director of the Caithness Broch Project.

He wants to bring brochs "to the forefront of people's imagination" so they can see how the structures form an integral part of the local landscape.

Iain explained: "We started working on the Caithness fantasy map in 2017 following a survey of our members asking what kind of products we should be creating. A fantasy-style map of Caithness won an overwhelming majority."

Iain Maclean, co-director of Caithness Broch Project, with the new fantasy map of Caithness.
Iain Maclean, co-director of Caithness Broch Project, with the new fantasy map of Caithness.

To create the map, the broch project team approached mapmaker Chris Birse, of Fantasy World Maps, who is known for creating popular Lord of the Rings-style maps of places such as the US and Ireland.

"Chris was excited to work on the project as he'd never done one quite like it before," Iain said.

"It was a bit of a challenge at times directing the artwork. Chris has never set foot in Caithness but we asked him to create a characteristic likeness of some of the iconic landscape features like Morven and Duncansbay Stacks."

The map will feature on the back of the project's new tourist leaflet and needed to be informative as well as interesting to look at. The Caithness Broch Project team has made a few maps in the past but this time wanted to showcase "the best Caithness has to offer" – not just brochs but castles, geological wonders, beaches and historic harbours.

"There are so many cool places in Caithness off the beaten track that go relatively unnoticed," Iain said. "We wanted to try and place them on the map along with the well-known attractions to inspire visitors to dig a little deeper and find the places that can make their visit to Caithness memorable and exclusive.

"Not only that, but we included a Where's Wally-style animal hunt for the kids – it just adds an extra bit of fun and points to the fact that Caithness is also a great place to spot a bit of wildlife."

The map is more of a decorative piece rather than for clear directions, so to accompany the map the broch project has created a digital companion Google map that directs visitors to each site.

Q code that can be scanned for digital companion Google map that directs visitors to each site.
Q code that can be scanned for digital companion Google map that directs visitors to each site.

Iain added: "After the map was completed we thought it looked good enough to sell as a product so we've had it framed by Coo's Tail Gallery in Thurso.

"We've taken it round all the hotels and places tourists go in the hope that, no matter where the tourists arrive, they will see the map and get the sense that the whole Caithness community is singing from the same hymn sheet. Everyone we spoke to was delighted with it and just about everyone has bought one."

To pre-order the map visit this link www.thebrochproject.co.uk/map-pre-order

2021 - The year of the broch



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