Visit the largest 3D map of a country in the world near an unassuming village in the Scottish Borders.
Distance: 3 ½ miles
Start and Finish: Old Manse Road, Eddleston (NT 24260 47190)
Access: Limited roadside parking at Eddleston. Bus X62 between Edinburgh and Peebles/Galashiels stops in Eddleston.
“I shall die, but I shall leave my map as a gift to the Scottish people to thank them for the hospitality they showed the Poles when it was needed.”Jan Tomasik
Starting on Old Manse Road, head away from the main road until you reach a sign marking the entrance to the grounds of Barony Castle hotel. Follow the driveway as it climbs steadily uphill. Before reaching the large iron gate outside the hotel itself, bear left as the road continues, then follow it through the outer edge of the hotel complex.
Also known as Darnhall and Back Barony, Barony Castle was originally a tower house that was extended in the 18th century to create the peculiar looking building that exists today. During the Second World War, the castle was used as a training facility for Polish officers and subsequently became a hotel which it remains to this day.
Shortly after the hotel, you’ll arrive at a junction near a large white structure known as the Gazebo with a path leading to your left. Take this, with the hotel now on your left across a steep gorge.
When you’re directly opposite the hotel itself, pass through the bushes on your right to arrive at the Great Polish Map of Scotland. A path leads around its perimeter, and a viewing platform allows you to climb up high to look across the whole of Scotland.
The Great Polish Map of Scotland (NT 23650 47170) was built between 1975 and 1979. It was the creation of Polish soldier Jan Tomasik, who was stationed in the area during the Second World War as part of the 1st Polish Armoured Division charged with safeguarding the east coast. Rather than return to the Communist controlled Poland, Tomasik decided to remain in Scotland after the war and bought Barony Castle in the late 1960s.
The map was built at a scale of 1:10,000, but it isn’t an exact replica — instead, mountains were exaggerated to five times their actual heights in order to enhance its visual impact.
The map was all but lost when the hotel fell into disuse in the 1980s, but efforts to restore it began in 2010 and it now holds Category B listed status.
When you’re finished at the map, retrace your steps back to the junction by the Gazebo. Join the main path again, and follow it as it winds to cross a stream. After passing a series of houses, the track climbs uphill once again.
After rounding a sharp bend, you’ll reach a wooden five-bar gate to Black Barony Home Farm. Leave the track here and follow the hedge on your left along the edge of a field.
After passing through a gate, the path bends to the right to reach a junction at a signpost. This is an old road connecting Shiplaw with Meldons. Turn right here, signed for Shiplaw.
After another gate, follow the drystone wall on your right. This leads along the edge of the field and then onto a track leading past a small pond on your left.
You’ll soon reach a junction with two additional paths splitting off to the right. Leave the old post road and take the northernmost of the two paths, signed for Eddleston via Darnhall. After skirting the edge of some woodland, a farm track leads downhill towards Darnhall with fine views of Dundreich hill on the other side of the valley.
Pass through the farm, after which the track swings left to reach the A703. Take care crossing the road to join a path beyond through trees running parallel to the road. Turn right, and follow the track that shadows the road south to arrive back in Eddleston.
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