Tag Archives: maps


Black & white photograph of a map of Tiree from the Handbook to the Islands of Coll and Tiree, by MacDougall and Cameron, ca 1930. Re-photographed by archaeologist George Holleyman FSA when he was stationed at RAF Tiree during WWII. Scanned from one of his glass lantern slides now held at An Iodhlann (see 2017.54.4).


Softback book ‘Togail Tìr: Marking Time: The Map of the Western Isles’ edited by Finlay MacLeod, 1989.A collection of essays and illustrations on maps and map-making, with particular reference to the Western Isles, including Tiree on some of the maps.

Inscription inside front cover reads ‘Gu Iain Holliday, Leis gach deagh dhùrachd bho Dhòmhnall Meek 3/9/90.’




Softback book ‘Scotland: Mapping the Nation’ by Christopher Fleet, Margaret Wilkes and Charles W. J. Withers, 2012. Presents maps from the earliest representations of Scotland by Ptolemy in the second century AD to the most recent forms of Scotland’s mapping. Includes information about Skerryvore Lighthouse. (Page 221) See also ‘Scotland: Mapping the Islands’ at 2017.14.1


Hardback book ‘Scotland: Mapping the Islands’ by Christopher Fleet, Margaret Wilkes and Charles W. J. Withers, 2016. Foreword by Magnus Linklater. Reproduces some of the most historically significant maps from the National Library of Scotland’s collection in order to explore the many dimensions of island life and how this has changed over time. Arranged thematically and covering topics such as population, place-names, defence, civic improvement, natural resources, navigation, and leisure and tourism. Tiree mentioned pages 3, 44, 45, 49, 61, 82-3, 107 & 174, and featured in maps pages 62-3, 72-3, 92 & 143.


Framed photograph of Turnbull`s 1768-9 map of Tiree

Turnbull`s 1768-9 map of Tiree, original of which is in the collection of the Duke of Argyll at Inverary Castle and copied by RCAHMS.

Tiree in 100 Objects – 1 – The Turnbull Map

We start this epic series with a map. It is huge – 8 feet by 6 – and painted on canvas. It belongs to the Duke of Argyll and sits in his archives at Inveraray Castle. We have a small copy in An Iodhlann. In 1768 the Campbells had owned Tiree for less than one hundred years, but already the Duke had decided to use his crown jewel not as a clan chief, but as its landlord. Driving up revenues from this fertile island was this main aim, and moving a medieval farming system into the modern age was his method. First he needed to know the island’s potential.

Heanish area of Turnbull’s map of Tiree, hand-painted 1768

James Turnbull was his chosen surveyor for this enterprise. We know very little about him, other than it took him five weeks to travel to Tiree and return to his Edinburgh home. But he was obviously a supremely skilled professional and his map a thing of lasting beauty as well as being a treasure trove of information about the island in the 18th century. The boundaries of the old farming townships curve through the landscape (for example either side of the Caolas road), every house is drawn in its place and every field and its furrows are marked precisely. The map was drawn thirty years before the crofts were marked out: the thirty or so houses in Vaul are clustered at the bay, just east of Seaside, while the township’s cropped fields cover the golf course!

Turnbull also wrote an accompanying field-by-field report: ‘Barapol: Field number 44; Infield; A compound of loam, gravel and clay, a good soil’. He calculated that 3,474 acres, 25% of Tiree’s land area, were sown with oats and barley – numbers we can only dream about today!

Dr John Holliday, 2016

The History of Tiree in 100 Objects