With modern technology taking over our lives – it’s good to see tales of map making and exploring are still alive and kicking.
Author Alastair Mitchell has researched with enthusiasm how the far North was revealed through early travellers in his new book ‘The Immeasurable Wilds: Travellers to the North of Scotland 1600-1900’.
This excellent book, published by Whittles, combines history and aspects of science, with first-hand accounts, to create a first class read.
It centres on the period towards the end of the 18th century, when the attention of mapmakers, explorers and travellers, turned to the North of Scotland.
The looming mountains which rise north of Stirling created a barrier for people wanting to visit the Highlands and travellers to the Far North were even rarer as there were no roads at all into most of Sutherland and Ross and Cromarty until the early years of the 19th century.
So, the question was posed, “who did go there and why?” And Alastair has the answers in his book which follows the early mapmakers, who gradually revealed the area, including Timothy Pont and Alexander Bryce, who published the first accurate map of the north coast.
General Roy covered the whole of Scotland for his remarkable “Great Map’’ and later, the ever positive and energetic General Colby dragged his reluctant Ordnance Survey team across much of the North.
With the new roads came the tourists, who flocked to places like Loch Katrine, in search of signs of Sir Walter Scott’s heroes and heroines. But not many ventured further north than Inverness.
The book gives a wonderful picture of the unknown region as it appeared to those exploring it, an area of astonishing beauty, with inhabitants who showed notable warmth and generosity, inspite of their poverty.
With accompanying photographs and maps, this book is a must for people who have a real interest in the discovery of areas and their people.
Publication date: 20th May 2022
UK Price: £18.99
Format: Softback with 200 illustrations and 16 page colour section
The Immeasurable Wilds – Travellers to the North of Scotland, 1600-1900
By Alastair Mitchell
Published by Whittles Publishing
For more information and to purchase a copy of the book, please visit: www.whittlespublishing.com.
Rebecca Hay is an experienced travel writer and member of The British Guild of Travel Writers. Follow her adventures with her family on Twitter and Instagram @emojiadventurer and on Facebook via EmojiAdventurers2.