Maps maps maps, …and a Dunnett bonus

Today I followed a link from a friend on Twitter to the National Library of Scotland site. The NLS was of course an organisation dear to Dorothy’s heart, and they have proven to be very imaginative in their developments on their website. I’ve mentioned before the old maps that they’ve put online, now they’ve combined their old maps as overlays with Google maps. For instance if you want to see Edinburgh as it was in 1849-53 and compare it with the current views you can go to and zoom in and out as you would with normal Google maps. Of course it’s not Lymond’s time, sadly mapmaking was rather more primitive then, but it’s interesting for those of us who like seeing how the landscape and cityscape have changed.

But then I started to explore a bit more, as I hadn’t had time to spend on the site for quite a while due to moving into my new house a few months ago. And what I found was this – – it may not look much to begin with but try zooming in. (The controls are slightly counter intuitive – click the symbols above and then click the map.) Then zoom in again, and again, and again…

You can go through various layers of different maps but you can get down to detail such as this

Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow Palace - click for a larger version

This is Linlithgow Palace and St Michael’s Church from between 1848-72.

Which immediately gave me an idea. As I’ve mentioned in the past you can’t see the site of the old house that belonged to Archie and Robin because it’s been obliterated by the modern Grangemouth oil refinery and I’ve always meant to go and find an old map which had it marked – I knew it was marked because Dorothy used to have an enlarged copy of an old map on her study wall which I saw on one of my visits. So over I swung to the area and zoomed in again. And the result was


Berecrofts - click for a larger version

Interesting that the spelling is slightly different, Bearcroft rather than Berecrofts, but this must be the place, situated just across the river where Lucia died on the night of Nicholas’ fight with Simon in the salt pans. And this isn’t the final level of detail – zoom in a bit more and the layout of the house becomes visible.

Berecrofts Detail

Berecrofts Detail - click for a larger version

I rather think Dorothy would have liked this development. Enjoy exploring!



Maps maps maps, …and a Dunnett bonus — 8 Comments

  1. I am, for the second time, reading the wonderful Lymond Chronicles. Curiosity prompted me to search for Ms. Dunnett and led me to this blog. And while I see she is no longer with us I just wanted to say how much I am still enjoying these books. I have often thought how wonderful it would be to see these books made into a Showtime series like the Tudors. Then again after reading the pages and imagining for myself I’m not sure TV can do it justice. I can’t even imagine who would fit the role of Lymond. Many thanks for the hours that i have spent lost in these wonderful books.

  2. Welcome aboard Debbie, always good to hear from a new reader, and I’m sure you’ll find so much more in the Chronicles second time round, as we all do. Yes, while it would be wonderful to have a TV series to bring the books to the attention of a new generation of readers, I think most of us know in our hearts that it would need a series with hundreds of episodes to even approach the level of detail and we fear what an insensitive director might do. And who could possibly play the hero to end all heros? (Even though it’s fun to play the Casting Game occasionally)

  3. I have to agree with all of the above. The Lymond Chronicles have been part of my life for so long I’ve forgotten when I first read them. I started in the middle with The Ringed Castle, purchased in a fantastic 2nd-hand bookshop in Calgary (CA), then went back and forth through the whole series multiple times. Am currently neck-deep in Niccolo (To Lie with Lions), and consider them probably the best books in my collection…wish I could adequately express the many hours of pleasure I continue to have in reading and discovering more about the stories!

  4. I too have just completed my second reading of the Lymond Chronicles, first discovered in the 1970’s and am pleased to report I am just as fascinated now as then. This time round I have downloaded them to my fairly newly acquired Kindle but I do have the Niccolo books so that is another pleasure in store. I know now that I am going to re-read them all many times with much pleasure. I agree about the fascination of the National Library and have spent many a happy hour finding places my ancesters lived. Maps are quite reasonable to buy, although framing them perhaps rather prohibitive. My daughter has just broken her leg and was complaining about being bored so I have purchased and sent her the Lymond Chronicles (she prefers books!) so I hope she will get as much pleasure out of them as I have.

    I was interested to see that Dorothy Dunnett had contemplated Peter O’Toole as a possible Lymond because I have always felt the description of Francis Crawford fitted Peter but as he was in Laurence of Arabia. But, sadly he is now too old and no-one else springs to mind.

  5. A friend lent me the first book in the Lymond series in about 1970. I have since read all of this series and the Niccolo series many,many,times. The characters feel a part of me and I enjoy each book more each time I read it.

    I hope they never try to make a movie or series as I think no one could do each or any character justice.

    I’ve just finshed Unicorn and in 2 books time look forward to Lymond again.

  6. Welcome Margaret, yes, I frequently feel like I know the characters better than I know friends and family! That depth of engagement is one of the things that made Dorothy’s writing unique.

    Like many of us I’m ambivalent about a film or TV version – it would bring the books to a far wider readership but I dread to think what Hollywood would do to the stories and characters.

    Enjoy your read – there’s always something new to be found.

  7. My life is so subsumed by the Dunnett books that I always place any painting, music, film, historical information I read or see – from the Renaissance/Tudor – into where it falls in the Niccolo/Lymond eras. For example I’ll be reading this new book about Leonardo da Vinci, I’ll thinking how he is 10 yrs younger more or less than Niccolo. At times I feel as if the books are so much a more vivid reality to me than my own life in this time-period! I have created 4 Spotify playlists just for Lymond, Lymond & Niccolo in Russia, Niccolo, and Niccolo in Africa. I can see I need to pull out the middleeastern and greek music I also have added and put them in their own list. (Now I am looking for a map for my old beat up Gemini copy does not have one…. )
    How glad I am to have been alive when Dorothy Dunnett wrote these!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.