Grandfather ‘blown away’ by response to map of Scotland he made with local rocks

Grandfather ‘blown away’ by response to map of Scotland he made with local rocks
Harry Young made a map of Scotland using rocks he had collected (Marita Jefferies/PA)

A pensioner has said he has been “blown away” by the response to a map of Scotland he made using rocks collected on geology trips over almost 30 years, after his grandson’s post about the artwork went viral.

Harry Young, 85, based in a suburb of Glasgow, told the PA news agency he wanted to create a map of Scotland made out of rocks as he “hadn’t seen it done anywhere”.

The rocks were collected by Mr Young from the places they represent as he wanted it to be “as accurate as possible of the fault lines and the things that make up Scotland”.

It was a bit of a relief that I hadn’t died before I got it finished and it was lovely to see it completed

Harry Young

He added: “It’s a kind of mixture of art and science, shall we say.”

The amateur geologist completed the project in 2020 but his family had it framed and hung on the wall for his 85th birthday earlier this month.

His grandson, Harry Jefferies, posted photos of his grandfather with the rock map to X, formerly known as Twitter, with the caption: “My grandpa who is 85 started making this rock map of Scotland in 1992.

“He collected rocks during amateur geology trips over 30 years. He says it had to be geologically correct and also aesthetically pleasing.

“He asked if I could share online as he wants to go viral, so please share.”

His post has been viewed by almost five million users, with more than 145,000 likes and hundreds of comments from people expressing their admiration.

Mr Young said of the numbers involved: “That’s the population of a small country. I was blown away.”

The grandfather has added details to the map, including an elongated flag of England made of white and red silica rocks and a cartouche with his name and the completion date.

He said: “If you look down to the boundary with England, there’s a blue dotted line. Some people were saying that this is fake news, this should include England as well, as Scotland is not independent yet.

“My joke is that at the bottom right, there’s some red and white stones on the border [with England] and that is my trying to depict an elongated England flag.

“On the bottom left-hand corner, you’ll see there’s a little coral type thing from the Caribbean, I call that a cartouche. That is my nod to old map makers.

Harry Young started collecting rocks for his map in 1992 (Harry Young/PA)

“I was a sailor for over 20 years of my working life. I was a navigating officer with the merchant navy and that’s what old map makers did when they were doing sea charts and they would also do this cartouche with the name and date on them, and so it’s my nod to them.”

He regularly researched local rocks in order to ensure his map is accurate.

He said: “Sometimes I’d be reading about certain parts of Scotland because you have to know about what you’re going out to look for, and so there was a bit of study involved as well.

“It was a bit of a relief that I hadn’t died before I got it finished and it was lovely to see it completed.”

He has been collecting rocks for almost 30 years (Harry Young/PA)

Mr Young said his interest in geology started almost three decades ago when his colleague, a hydrogeologist, showed him fossils she brought back from the United States and “inspired” him.

He said: “I later joined the Glasgow Geological Society and they did monthly, lectures but they also did field trips.

“It’s frowned upon now, but at that time we could collect rocks and take them home with you. We were looking for amethysts and fossils and various things.”

He gradually started building his collection over the years as he travelled around Scotland on trips for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, geology society trips and solo outings.

“I went sometimes just on the weekend, take my dog and go off with a picnic and spend the day somewhere in Scotland looking for these rocks,” he said.

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