The “bioregion” as is currently defined is too big. It is possible to conceive of “meta” regions based on river catchments/watershed boundaries (essential for ecosystem management purposes) but an individual’s lived experience is of a much smaller, “sub-region” within the larger region.
As you can see from a previous post, I tried splitting up Scotland into 12 regions, but was not happy with it, for reasons I go into below.
Various names have been put forward to categorise sub-regions (e.g. “morpho” and “micro”) but I prefer “home”. It’s the area where you do stuff: grow trees, wander, build community, sow seed, help someone out, listen to what’s going on, take stock – all without having to make a big road trip.
It’s obvious to me that my home region is Kintyre.
At this point I need to call on a map: the quaintly named Watsonian Vice County map. The whole of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Isle of Man, Orkney, Shetland and England is split into such maps, Kintyre being number 101. Despite the advent of “national” grid squares, wildlife records are still being entered into the relevant VC area.
The map below features three lochs penetrating the peninsula from the west: Sween, Caolisport and West Loch Tarbert. When folk speak of Kintyre nowadays they tend to refer only to the land mass to the south of the West Loch i.e. the central/southern part of the peninsula. The area to the north of the West Loch is known as Knapdale.
Depopulation and centralisation has led to one’s home region (in remote rural areas at least) becoming bigger. For example, I need make regular visits to North Knapdale to check in with folk at our local museum, the Forestry Commission and my local Quaker Meeting.
So Watson’s map (topographically the whole of the long, thin peninsula facing N-S) answers perfectly to my home region. I like that it equates to a wildlife-recording area, big enough to include whole ecosystems such as blanket bogs and celtic rainforest. The northern end is neatly defined by the Crinan canal, which creates a ribbon of water separating us from the rest of “Main” Argyll.
Let’s start by building networks of home regions and see where it leads us. I like the idea of using a GPS-based app to create such networks. Ultimately these networks can lead to the formation of meta-regions based on water catchment systems (or – in our case – firths). But let’s work from the bottom-up.