Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The "Contour" Road Book of Scotland (1948)

I've been having to sort through all the stuff in my Mum's house to see what is worth keeping, what is worth selling and what is worth giving away. Her house goes to its new owners on Friday this week (or rather, thay come to it - the house isn't moving). Boxes and boxes of stuff have gone to charity shops. Even more boxes and boxes of stuff have gone to the tip. Now all I'm left with is a few boxes of (possibly) antique books that I'm not sure what to do with.

But I'm keeping some of the books. Given my fascination with maps of all kinds, I'm finding all the old atlases the hardest thing to part with. So I'm not parting with a couple of my favourites.

This book is fantastic. I'd actually completely forgotten about it until I was sorting through all the old books last week. My Mum bought this in 1948 (when she was 21, three years before she was married). At the time she and her friends did quite a lot of cycling round bits of Scotland, and I think this kind of book was invaluable to the Scottish cyclist.

It basically is a road map book of Scotland (you probably guessed that from the title), but with one major difference to most road maps - it gives side elevations of the route as well as plans!

For example, suppose you are planning on cycling across the Cowal peninsula from Dunoon to Otter Ferry; the road marked "144" in this map:
All you do is look up Route 144 in the book and you get a picture like this, showing you the profile of the road, with footnotes on sharp bends, junctions, etc. Fantastic.
I've driven over this road a few times. The above profile probably gives you a good indication of why I'm not planning on cycling the Glendaruel to Otter Ferry stretch...

They don't make books like this anymore (as far as I know). Shame.

So, do you have a favourite road in Scotland that you want to see the profile for? Let me know and (if its in the book) I'll scan it and put it online for you. As a 'starter for 10' here's the infamous Applecross road:

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