Grandad completes 30-year-old map made of stones from across Scotland

Amateur geologist Harry Young said he is delighted with the response to his work, saying 'who knew I'd become a rock star at 85!'

Glasgow grandad completes 30-year-old map made of stones from across Scotland

A Glasgow grandad’s mosaic map made from stones gathered from across Scotland has gone viral on social media.

Harry Young, 85, spent over 30 years creating the map, made up of layers of stones and pebbles collected from each part of the country.

The retired hydrologist began the project in 1992 after developing an interest in geology through his work.

Harry said he is delighted with the response to his project after it was shared by his grandson, also named Harry, on X (formerly known as Twitter).

He said: “Who knew at 85 I would become a rock star!”

The former Merchant Navy sailor travelled all over the world for a decade before meeting his wife, Liisa, in Finland and settling back in Scotland to have their two children.

He later joined the Clyde River Purification Board in the 1980s and trained to become a hydrologist.

There, Harry met his “inspiration”, geologist Trisha Henton, who gifted him fossils and rocks she collected while in the United States.

He honed his craft by studying a three-year evening course in geology and also joined a summer school at the University of Aberdeen.

“I used to go on field trips with the Geology Society of Glasgow, to places like the Campsies,” he recalled.

“Scotland really is a wonderful place to study rocks for such a small country. We have various fault lines which result in a huge variation of rocks, very young and very old. It’s a geologist’s dream.

“It’s really quite remarkable.”

Harry later became Scotland’s safety advisor for SEPA, which allowed him to travel across the country collecting even more stones.

He spent hours before each work trip researching which rocks were naturally produced in each location and ventured out to find them.

He collected the last of the stones he needed on a visit to the Western Isles just before lockdown in 2020.

“That was the last rock to put it on there – I had them all on the map after 30 years.

“There are pebbles, rocks and semi precious amethysts in there – all geologically correct.”

As for how many stones are on the map, Harry admitted he has “no idea.”

“Maybe I’ll make my grandson count them all as punishment for all the fuss it’s made,” he joked.

As well as stones and pebbles from Scotland, there are seashells from the Caribbean in the cartouche on the left-hand side of the map.

Harry said these are a keepsake from a trip to the Caribbean with his daughter, who worked for Virgin Atlantic as a flight attendant.

“The cartouche is a nod to the early map makers – they would put the date, name and person of the person who drew the map.

“We have been able to travel to some wonderful places as a family over the years.”

Since Harry’s map went viral, prints of his work have been requested from as far as Norway and he has been asked to discuss his work in geology publications.

Followers commented on the post praising Harry’s “talent and dedication” and suggested it should be on display in a museum.

“My wife Liisa and my family were always supportive of my interest. I’ve always had people who asked about it.

“I used to have a neighbour who would ask me ‘what happens if you die before you finish it, Harry?’ Fortunately, that never happened!

“I had no idea it would get such a huge response.”

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