14 March 2010

Quirky stuff on maps - 3

I've finally got round to reading Map Addict, by Mike Parker, on the enthusiastic recommendation of several friends. It's a sort of Fever Pitch for OS map fans, nicely written, humorous, and full of interesting sort of stuff for the sort of people that find this sort of stuff interesting.

(His priorities sometimes wander away from the scholarly - he devotes seven lines to William Smith's iconic and ground-breaking geological map of 1815, compared to 234 lines about the Cerne Abbas Giant's willy, for instance - but there's plenty of good stuff. He's good on map anomalies, satnav hate, secret bases, enclaves and exclaves, memorable Ordnance Survey maps, and Spurn Point.)

If you've ever cycled anywhere just because it looked curious on the map, it's for you. I've done this many times, often with friends. I once cycled to Ousefleet, home of the OS's most empty square, for instance. There was nothing there.

And, browsing maps the other day, I came across two more curiosities that made me plan cycle visits. First is a place called Dairsie or Osnaburgh near Cupar, Fife - are there any other places in Britain with 'or' in their title? Is this some sort of council funding tax dodge?

Then there's the two confusingly named villages of Burton Stather and Burton on Stather (right). Both are in Lincolnshire, and next to each other. (It brings to mind the two separate neighbouring villages in Essex both called Great Totham.) The Burtons are coincidentally just up the lane from Ousefleet's Zen square. Perhaps there's just not that much to do up in north Lincs.


  1. You ask: Are there any other places in Britain with "or" in their title?

    We map addicts like a challenge. How about St George's or Looe Island, which is just off Looe in Cornwall (and still in Britain, I'd claim). Follow the link to see it on the OS map.

    There's also Oxcar or South Goldstone, which is also an island, this one a tiny speck of rock amongst the Farne Islands, Northumberland.

    Not in Britain, of course, but there's also Truth Or Consequences in New Mexico. There's also Double or Nothing Road, Indiana, Hit or Miss Lane, Pennsylvania, and quite a few other similar road names.

  2. There's also Crocketford or Ninemile Bar although I'm not sure if it counts as it's actually two names, rather than one with an 'or' in it.