Map-making is more than a practical exercise for me. It’s also an experiment, a learning opportunity, and an excellent way to procrastinate. Depending what mood I’m in and the task at hand I use an ancient version of Photoshop Elements—which does not allow for nifty curved text to label rivers, for example—the Mac Preview tools, a bunch of coloured pens, and a scanner. I do my best to be relatively accurate but depending on my needs at the time, some things are more important than others.
I’ve been working on two maps of the north. They are unfinished and full of guesswork. (Click through to get them full size. Apologies for the lack of visual quality. For that, blame the tools. For the mistakes, blame me.)
The first is a general map of what I imagine to be Gododdin territory. Or, should I say, the territory the Gododdin imagine to be theirs, circa 632 CE. Edwin has overlordship and considers it his territory but, working on the assumption that tribute is better than war, allows Coledauc—their leader—to tell himself he’s in charge. For the place names I’ve had to partly extrapolate from what’s known to be known and partly invent. (Present-day Peebles is Pebyll, for example. Kelso is Calchfynydd. Melrose is Mailros. At some point I’ll come up with more appropriate names for the various waterways but I haven’t got to that yet.) I was particularly concerned with travel, so I’ve focused on rivers, roads, and beaches; those things on the coastline that look like fans represent sandy beaches, the blobs are shingle—both suitable for beaching a boat in relative safety.
The second is a detail of that loop of the Tweed near Mailros and Eildon Hill. I’ve included contour lines (200 m) and a suggestion of steep slopes. (I’m still trying to work out the best way to do this; I’m open to suggestions.) Also added are the Roman fort of Trimontium/Newstead (in turquoise) and British fort (purple) on Eildon Hill north. I’ve omitted the Roman signal tower/beacon. The dotted lines are Roman roads: the one running north across the Tweed is Dere Street; the one running northwest, just south of the river, is pure conjecture.
Detail: Mailros and Eildon Hill
Hild will be travelling from York to Colud by boat (I prefer boat to ship), and riding the rest of the way. I had fun with wind, tide, currents, number of oars and so on. (Oh, if you want to see some messy maps…) Then of course ran into difficulties getting the horses off at the other end, which I solved by— Ah, but you’ll just have to wait for the book.
I’d love to get input on these maps. Anything—your thoughts on names, geography, beaches, river navigability, the two different styles I’ve used for the maps—would be most welcome.