Ian Kinniburgh (1930–2021)

Ian was born in Greenock where he developed his love of the outdoors, sailing, cycling and walking. When he was in his teens the family moved to Edinburgh for his father's work. Ian studied geography at Edinburgh University where he achieved an MA with honours. He then taught cartography in the University of Glasgow Geography Department and later worked for John Bartholomew and Son, map and atlas makers, in Edinburgh, in the Editorial Department helping design maps and pioneering digital mapping.  He became an Associated Director in the company.

In 1965, Ian married Sheila and they had four children. He was a founding member of the British Cartographic Society, and later their President and a Fellow of the society. He was involved in mapping the Land Use Survey of Scotland. In his time in Edinburgh, he became a member of the Saltire Society and a council member. He was attracted to the society's breadth of interest in the arts, in culture, in science, and in writing in Scotland. He became a committee member of the Edinburgh branch and their honorary secretary.

In 1990 the family moved to Aboyne and Ian became a Committee member of the Saltire Society Aberdeen and North East Branch. In this position, over more than a decade, Ian organised with the support of the Secretary, Bill Cheyne, annual programmes for the branch, including regular talks and visits. He subsequently became Chair of the Branch. He had a wry sense of humour, loved good company and had many friends. He quickly found ways of contributing to community life in Aboyne, becoming a founder member of the Aboyne Festival, editor of the church magazine, and supported several local societies.

He was a very supportive grandfather and had 12 grandchildren, but sadly he suffered a major setback in 2010 when he had a stroke. Ian believed that hard work and determination with imagination could achieve anything. I was fascinated to learn that on his wall at home, he had a quotation from Martin Luther King: ‘The ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy’. He was an accomplished craftsman and made all manner of things: he loved drawing plans, constructing, and finishing them to perfection. He made toys for the children, fascinating models, and bespoke DIY for the home. He was proficient at wood turning and carving lettering in stone. His children were always impressed by his tremendous knowledge of the world and regularly drew on this, long before Google was invented. He had wide interests, which included architecture, botany, geography, forestry, classical music, Scottish culture, and more. Above all else, he was a proud Scot, and made a significant and important contribution to the work of the Saltire Society.

Ian Russell, with thanks to Sheila and Ian’s family