PROFESSOR Charles Withers, the Geographer Royal for Scotland, is coming to Galashiels next week to discuss the mapping of Scotland’s islands in a richly illustrated presentation for the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS).

The event will be held in the Scottish Borders Campus on Tuesday, February 27 as part of the RSGS Inspiring People talks programme, in partnership with Tiso.

The islands of Scotland support some of the country’s most scenic landscapes and play host to a vast array of diverse, welcoming and vibrant communities.

As such, hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to these remote locations each year to sample the best of island life.

But to get there, they usually require a map…

Fortunately, Charles’ talk will be examining and illuminating how Scotland’s islands from Mull to Muckle Flugga were mapped.

Taking the audience on a journey from the late 16th century, Charles will discuss the first infrequent cartographic appearances of Scotland’s islands – distorted and incomplete – to the now commonplace mapping (and computer-led cartographic obliteration) of these areas in the 21st Century.

The talk will also underline why mapping Scotland's islands has been far from straightforward.

For what, after all, is an island?

RSGS Chief Executive Mike Robinson said: “The islands of Scotland hold an important place in many people’s hearts, and are often viewed by visitors as special locations for a trip away.

"But when travelling there, we often take for granted the map that guides us. It will be fascinating to learn from Charles about the complex and intriguing history which led to the cartographic wonders we have at our disposal today.”

Professor Charles Withers is Ogilvie Chair of Geography at the University of Edinburgh and Geographer Royal for Scotland.

He recently released a book, along with colleagues Chris Fleet and Margaret Wilkes, entitled Scotland: Mapping the Islands.

The talk will include images from the book including some beautiful and historically significant maps from the collection of the National Library of Scotland.

Inspiring People talks are open to all: tickets are free for students, U18s and RSGS members, £8 for Tiso Outdoor Experience cardholders and £10 for visitors.

For more information see

Tickets are available at the door or online in advance.

Charles’s talk begins at 7.30pm at the Scottish Borders Campus, Nether Road, Galashiels.