Committed to #mapmemory: Telling your tales of cherished map moments

A couple of weeks ago, Ordnance Survey asked you to share your fondest map memories on social media. There were lots of great responses, so now it’s time to share your stories…

Anytime we give our followers the chance to get their hands on a custom-made map, there’s bound to be lots of interest. After all, they make amazing mementos and gifts – particularly great around Christmas time – to give to someone special.


Our November #mapmemory competition didn’t disappoint. With only three custom-made maps up for grabs it was always going to be tough to choose the winners; but before we announce them, we wanted to share all of the best entries, and thank those people who tweeted their #mapmemory to us.

Family ties

It’s not surprising that a lot of the outdoor memories we cherish the most are those we shared with family, predominantly from our childhood. It’s during these formative years that we develop our love of the great outdoors, and learn the values that make us who we are today.


In Hannah’s example above, the outdoor family memory at Dartmouth Harbour even involves map reading! However, in Phil’s memory below, it sounds like his dad could have done with a map…


Image courtesy of Anne-Marie Catling-Hughes

Image courtesy of Anne-Marie Catling-Hughes

This next charming memory certainly moved us. Anne-Marie Catling-Hughes told us on our Facebook page:

“I have lots of favourite outdoor memories this year, all with the walking group my Dad used to help organise. Unfortunately he died suddenly this year, so walking with the group has been very special for me this year and I took over where he left off helping to organise things for them. They have been a great support to me and I can't thank them all enough. I've seen amazing sunsets, beautiful countryside and for the first time ever wild deer...this photo is one of my happiest memories it was a fantastic walk and we had lots of fun.2

And we couldn’t resist a memory involving bacon sarnies and North Yorkshire!

Helen Darbyshire’s memory was: “My cousin making bacon sandwiches for me in Grassington National Park before we walked to the River Wharfe.”

Romance in the air

Continuing the family theme, some of the entries were of people beginning their own by getting engaged. These outdoor romantic locations blew us away – we couldn’t think of locations more beautiful to express such ardour and commitment.

Bill Rent told us: “My now wife and I got engaged after crossing the stepping stones at Bolton Abbey.”

Bolton Abbey stepping stones

Bolton Abbey stepping stones

One particular romantic memory broke and warmed our hearts in equal measure. Pip Betts shared a picture of her late husband Chris on our Facebook page, and we’ll let her comment explain the story behind it:

“This is a very special memory because it was our 30th Wedding Anniversary. Chris, my husband, had been given a bottle of champagne and he carried it all day in his rucksack – together with glasses – to toast our togetherness on the top of this hill in South Shropshire! We have since celebrated our 40th anniversary but unfortunately he passed away earlier this year.”

Image courtesy of Pip Betts

Image courtesy of Pip Betts

Annie Hill shared a lovely memory with us regarding her now-husband James’ foiled attempts to propose:

“My now husband and I went on holiday to the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales and speaking with James afterwards he had been trying to propose all week. However potential sunsets over the sea had clouded over, and a hike up Snowdon had been met by a mountain top full of tourists, so up another mountain he sent me!

“We’re both keen walkers and James has done the Welsh 3 Peaks challenge a couple of times, which takes you up Cadair Idris as part of it. He was keen to take me up there as the views are meant to be spectacular. We camped at the bottom of the mountain through a rather large storm and set off the next morning. Instead of taking the usual path James encouraged us to walk up the Gulley. It was a gruelling hike (rock climb!) to the top. Stood on a very foggy precipice James (as best he could) got down on one knee and asked me to marry him – the perfect mountain top proposal. As we descended the mountain the fog started to clear and the views were breath taking. This shot is of one of the first creatures to congratulate us after our engagement!”

Image courtesy of Annie Hill

Image courtesy of Annie Hill

It doesn’t have to be the love for another person that was realised in your map memory though; for Loy, it was a love of the land and lakes!


Adventure time

Outside of family life and marital bliss, most of life’s great adventures involve us doing something for the first time, getting dirty, getting wet, or getting lost (wonderfully) in nature. We were hoping we’d get some adventurous responses, and there were no let downs. From high-intensity surfing during a hailstorm on the Isle of Wight:


To escaping on equestrian expeditions:


Camping out under the stars after a trek:


Hiking, cycling, canoeing AND white water rafting:

Image courtesy of John Turner

Image courtesy of John Turner

John Turner: “We had a break in the Scottish Cairngorms during a very rare unseasonable heatwave. We hiked high mountains still bearing snow in beautiful sunshine, white-water rafted and didn't necessarily need the insulated suits, cycled and canoe'd where the only danger was sunburn - and ate ice creams on Loch Morlich beach just like the seaside. Great memories.”

We’ve loved reading all of your map memories. The great outdoors is what Ordnance Survey is all about, so we’re happy this passion is shared by so many others. Never stop creating these memories; if you haven’t been for a hike in a while, fish your boots out the back of your closet. If you haven’t taken the motorhome out to a new location in some time, give it a wash and fill it up with petrol, then pack your bags. If you haven’t surfed the waves in an age, dust off your board and get out there. Just don’t forget to have a trusty OS map with you, and anything else you might need for your excursion. 

There can only be three winners of our #mapmemory custom-made maps, so we’re pleased to announce the people whose memories will be turned into maps (in no particular order) are: 

Pip Betts for her 30th wedding anniversary memory in South Shropshire 

Anne-Marie Catling-Hughes for her memories of her father’s walking club 

Lauren for her champagne toast on Ben Nevis after getting engaged

Congratulations all and we’ll be in touch to find out more about the location of your map memories and getting these made up for you!