Text Size

Scotland - It's Better by Tube!

Title image of MunrOvergroundFirst published online October 2011:

It is now over half a year since Tubular Fells was launched and in this time I have been very busy indeed.  I have been overwhelmed with the response to Tubular Fells and for the positive response and feedback given to me about the map.  Apart from letters, e-mails and phone calls of congratulations about the map, there have also been many suggestions as to what to do with the map design.  Of course, many may already know about the Tubular Fells mugs that have been produced and there are many other suggested products in the pipeline, but from day one I knew other maps would be produced.  Apart from my beloved Lakeland, I already had an inkling about producing a map for Scotland's Munros and after many requests I have now, very nearly finished it (now published).
Peter Burgess on the West Highland LineInitially there were two main obstacles to the new map.  Firstly, was my lesser knowledge of Scotland, its  sheer size and the wide distribution of the mountains.  I knew immediately that a topological map of Scotland's highest peaks would look very different and have a distinct feel, far removed from Tubular Fells.  I felt that the Scottish map would be less a work of graphic art but more certainly a usable map and that's why this production contains a tick list of Sir Hugh Munros Scottish hills.  Secondly, I knew I needed to invest in some design software in order to map an area the size I would require.  I guess Microsoft Publisher proved its worth as far as Tubular Fells goes, but without the skills of Reeds printers in Penrith, I doubt whether the quality of the map would have been achieved.

The map key, title and listHowever, I have now conquered these two obstacles.  With patience and the help of many via the Online Fellwalking Club and more, I managed to map the Munros, initially by hand on a base map and now, with the help of Adobe Illustrator into digital form.

This map of Scotland is completely different from Tubular Fells.  I guess it's still quirky but in the process of its development I have learnt so much.  It still includes the feel of a London tube map, but in an unusual move it's been orientated with the Great Glen running across the map from left to right and with North to what initially looks like the north-west.  Once you get over this fact, it's easy to understand!

Looking over Loch LagganAfter establishing there are only 283 Munros (now 282), I've also included some famous hills that not only help complement the map, but which to many are just as worthy.  So it is, that hills such as Suilven and Arkle have been included and for the transport enthusiasts amongst you, I have included all the real railways as well as the main ferry routes.  There are also many other features that make Scotland famous and which will be familiar to all you hillwalkers out there.

London is a long way from Scotland, but through the years it suddenly dawned on me that since climbing the Five Sisters when in the 6th Form in 1989, I have now ascended over 10% of the Munros.  I've learnt a lot about the Munros.  Apart from their distribution, Ben More on Mull is the only example found off the mainland apart of course for those fine peaks of the Cuillin of Skye.  Many know Ben Lomond is the furthest south, but it's Ben Hope that's the most northerly.  Of course there's the highest hill in Britain with Ben Nevis, but I was surprised by the number of Carn Deargs and on one occasion confused beyond belief by the close proximity of two Sgurr nan Coireachans.  There are many other tops with the same names, but those two peaks around Glen Dessary, really had me going for a while!

The Cairngorm Mountain RailwayAfter many hours of nudging and correcting, realigning and colouring, my new map is virtually ready.  A stroke of genius from a friend brought me the name MunrOverground in an effort to maintain the quirky link with the tube!  The map will be published very soon in the new year and apart from being available online will also feature in some outlets.  In line with tradition I would also like to give something from my map to a worthy charity and with this in mind I have already considered the Scottish Mountain Rescue Service and the John Muir Trust - perhaps I'll contribute to both.  What do you think? 
UPDATE: Currently, both organisations have now accepted the support and will therefore take contributions from the sale of each map.
John Muir Trust & Scottish Mountain Rescue
Anyway,  in the meantime I'd like to thank you for your support and for the interest in my growing family of maps. Ad altiora!

Peter Burgess,
BA (Hons), FRGS

MunrOverground Railway Title
What a great creation!  I think it's amazing – it must have taken you a long time and a lot of dedication!
Phoebe Smith, Features Editor, Trail Magazine

>£10,000 - THANKS!

Since April 2011 'Tubular Fells' has now raised just over £10000! >£10000 raised for Fix the FellsThis is an astounding figure and thanks to everyone who has shown their support by buying the map.  This figure is enough to produce over 100 metres of stone pitched path.  Many thanks to everyone who's purchased the map so far from as far afield as Leeds, London, Canada, Massachusetts, New Zealand and Hawaii!
  • £10-one metre of revegetation alongside a path
  • £25-one tonne of stone moved to site
  • £50-one 25kg bag of special upland grass seed
  • £100-one metre of stone pitched path
  • £250-one stone lined path cross drain
  • £600-one hour of helicopter flying time to move stone