The Scottish Borders (Scots: the Mairches, lit. 'the Marches'; Scottish Gaelic: Crìochan na h-Alba) is one of 32 council areas of Scotland. It borders the City of Edinburgh, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lothian, Midlothian, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian and, to the south-west, south and east, the English counties of Cumbria and Northumberland. The administrative centre of the area is Newtown St Boswells.
Crìochan na h-Alba
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Lieutenancy areas||Berwickshire, Roxburgh, Ettrick and Lauderdale, Tweeddale|
|Admin HQ||Newtown St Boswells|
|• Body||Scottish Borders Council|
|• Control||Con + Ind (council NOC)|
|• Total||1,827 sq mi (4,732 km2)|
|Area rank||Ranked 6th|
|• Rank||Ranked 18th|
|• Density||63/sq mi (24/km2)|
|ISO 3166 code||GB-SCB|
The term Scottish Borders, or normally just "the Borders", is also used to designate the areas of southern Scotland and northern England that bound the Anglo-Scottish border.
The Scottish Borders are in the eastern part of the Southern Uplands.
The region is hilly and largely rural, with the River Tweed flowing west to east through it. The highest hill in the region is Broad Law in the Manor Hills. In the east of the region, the area that borders the River Tweed is flat and is known as 'The Merse'. The Tweed and its tributaries drain the entire region with the river flowing into the North Sea at Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland, and forming the border with England for the last twenty miles or so of its length.
The term Central Borders refers to the area in which the majority of the main towns of Galashiels, Selkirk, Hawick, Jedburgh, Earlston, Kelso, Newtown St. Boswells, St Boswells, Peebles, Melrose and Tweedbank are located.
Two of Scotland's 40 national scenic areas (defined so as to identify areas of exceptional scenery and to ensure their protection from inappropriate development) lie within the region:
- The Eildon and Leaderfoot National Scenic Area covers the scenery surrounding Eildon Hill, usually called the Eildons because of the three ‘peaks’, and extends to include the town of Melrose and Leaderfoot Viaduct.
- The Upper Tweeddale National Scenic Area covers the scenery surrounding the upper part of the River Tweed between Broughton and Peebles.
- Galashiels: 14,994
- Hawick: 14,294
- Peebles: 8,376
- Selkirk: 5,784
- Kelso: 5,639
- Jedburgh: 4,030
- Eyemouth: 3,546
- Innerleithen: 3,031
- Duns: 2,753
- Melrose: 2,307
- Coldstream: 1,946
- Earlston: 1,779
The term Borders sometimes has a wider use, referring to all of the counties adjoining the English border, also including Dumfriesshire and Kirkcudbrightshire, as well as Northumberland, Cumberland and Westmorland in England.
Roxburghshire and Berwickshire historically bore the brunt of the conflicts with England, both during declared wars such as the Wars of Scottish Independence, and armed raids which took place in the times of the Border Reivers. During this period, at the western end of the border there was a strip of country, called the "Debatable Land", because the possession of it was a constant source of contention between England and Scotland until its boundaries were adjusted in 1552. Thus, across the region are to be seen the ruins of many castles, abbeys and even towns. The only other important conflict belongs to the Covenanters' time, when the marquess of Montrose was defeated at the Battle of Philiphaugh in 1645. Partly for defence and partly to overawe the freebooters and moss-troopers who were a perpetual threat until they were suppressed later in the 17th century, castles were erected at various points on both sides of the border.
From early on, the two sovereigns agreed on the duty to regulate the borders. The Scottish Marches system was set up, under the control of three wardens from each side, who generally kept the peace through several centuries until being replaced by the Middle Shires under James VI/I.
The council area was created in 1975, by merging the historic counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire, and Selkirkshire and part of Midlothian, as a two-tier region with the districts of Berwickshire, Ettrick and Lauderdale, Roxburgh, and Tweeddale within it. In 1996 the region became a unitary authority area and the districts were wound up. The region was created with the name Borders. Following the election of a shadow area council in 1995 the name was changed to Scottish Borders with effect from 1996.
Language and literature
Although there is evidence of some Scottish Gaelic in the origins of place names such as Innerleithen ("confluence of the Leithen"), Kilbucho and Longformacus, which contain identifiably Goidelic rather than Brythonic Celtic elements and are an indication of at least a Gaelic-speaking elite in the area, the main languages in the area since the 5th century appear to have been Brythonic (in the west) and Old English (in the east), the latter of which developed into its modern forms of English and Scots.
Border ballads occupied a distinctive place in literature. Many of them were rescued from oblivion by Walter Scott, who gathered materials for his Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, which appeared in 1802 and 1803. Border traditions and folklore, and the picturesque incidents of which the country was so often the scene, appealed strongly to James Hogg ("the Ettrick Shepherd"), John Wilson, writing as "Christopher North", and John Mackay Wilson, whose Tales of the Borders, published in 1835, enjoyed popular favour throughout the 1800s.
There are two British Parliamentary constituencies in the Scottish Borders; Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk covers most of the region and is represented by John Lamont of the Conservatives. The western Tweeddale area is included in the Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale constituency and is represented by David Mundell of the Conservatives.
At Scottish Parliament level, there are also two seats. The eastern constituency is Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, which is currently represented by Conservative Rachael Hamilton. The western constituency is Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale and is represented by SNP Christine Grahame.
Following the 2017 local elections, the council is now a coalition of Independents and Conservatives. The Conservatives became the largest party on the council with 15, an increase of 5.
|Scottish National Party||9|
At the Census held on 27 March 2011, the population of the region was 114,000 (provisional total), an increase of 6.78% from the 106,764 enumerated at the previous (2001) Census.
Until September 2015, the region had no working railway stations. Although the area was well connected to the Victorian railway system, the branch lines that supplied it were closed in the decades following the Second World War. A bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament to extend the Waverley Line, which aimed to re-introduce a commuter service from Edinburgh to Stow, Galashiels and Tweedbank. This section of the route re-opened on 6 September 2015, under the Borders Railway branding. The other railway route running through the region is the East Coast Main Line, with Edinburgh Waverley, Dunbar and Berwick being the nearest stations on that line, all of which are outwith the Borders. Since 2014 there has been discussion of re-opening the station at Reston which is within the region and would serve Eyemouth. To the west, Carlisle, Carstairs and Lockerbie are the nearest stations on the West Coast Main Line.
The area is served by buses which connect the main population centres. Express bus services link the main towns with rail stations at Edinburgh and Carlisle.
The main roads to and from the region are:
- The A1, which runs along the east coast from London to Edinburgh; passing near Eyemouth.
- The A7 which runs north to south from Edinburgh to Carlisle and the M6; passing through Galashiels, Selkirk and Hawick.
- The A68 running from Darlington to Edinburgh; passing through Jedburgh, St. Boswells, Earlston and Lauder.
- The A72, which runs east to west from Galashiels to Hamilton; passing through Innerleithen and Peebles
Towns and villages
- Abbey St. Bathans, Allanton, Ancrum, Ashkirk, Ayton
- Broughton, Burnmouth
- Camptown, Cardrona, Chirnside, Clovenfords, Cockburnspath, Coldingham, Coldstream
- Denholm, Dryburgh, Duns, Scottish Borders
- Earlston, Edgerston, Edrom, Eddleston, Ettrick, Ettrickbridge, Eyemouth
- Galashiels, Grantshouse, Greenlaw
- Hawick, Heriot, Hutton
- Kelso, Kirk Yetholm
- Lauder, Lilliesleaf, Longformacus
- Melrose, Morebattle
- Newcastleton, Newstead, Newtown St Boswells
- Peebles, Preston, Paxton
- Reston, Roxburgh
- Selkirk, St. Abbs, St Boswells, Stow, Stichill, Swinside, Swinton
- Teviothead, Town Yetholm, Traquair, Tweedbank, Tweedsmuir
- Walkerburn, West Linton, Whitsome
Places of interest
- Abbotsford House
- Berwickshire Coastal Path
- Bowhill House
- Cheviot Hills
- Cessford Burn
- Coldingham Bay
- Dawyck Botanic Garden
- Dryburgh Abbey – Historic Scotland
- Duns Castle
- Edin's Hall Broch
- Ettrick Forest
- Floors Castle
- Glentress Forest – Forest Enterprise
- Greenknowe Tower
- Harmony Garden – National Trust for Scotland
- Hawkshaw – ancestral home of the Porteous family
- Hermitage Castle – Historic Scotland
- Jedburgh Abbey – Historic Scotland
- Kailzie Gardens
- Kelso Abbey
- Kirna House (The Kirna, previously Grangehill)
- Lammermuir Hills
- Megget Reservoir
- Mellerstain House
- Melrose Abbey – Historic Scotland
- Mire Loch
- Neidpath Castle
- Nisbet, Berwickshire
- Nisbet, Roxburghshire
- Paxton House
- Pennine Way – National Trails
- Priorwood Garden – National Trust for Scotland
- Robert Smail's Printing Works – National Trust for Scotland
- Scots' dike
- Smailholm Tower – Historic Scotland
- Southern Upland Way – National Trails
- St. Abbs Head
- St. Mary's Loch
- St. Ronans Wells
- Thirlestane Castle
- Traquair House
- Trimontium and the Eildons
- Union Bridge
- Waterloo Monument
- Wedderburn Castle
- Borders College
- Scottish Marches
- Anglo-Scottish border
- Debatable lands
- List of places in the Scottish Borders
- Scottish Lowlands
- Alexander Jeffrey, historian of Scottish Borders
Notes and references
- Foundation, Internet Memory. "[Archived Content] UK Government Web Archive – The National Archives". Archived from the original on 5 February 2008.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
- "Accommodation – Dumfries and Galloway – Ayrshire and Arran – Scottish Borders – Southern South West Scotland – Hotels – Bed and Breakfasts – Self Catering Holiday Cottages".
- p. 47 ofBanks, F. R. (Francis Richard) (1951), Scottish Border Country, Batsford, retrieved 20 October 2016
- "National Scenic Areas". Scottish Natural Heritage. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
- "National Scenic Areas – Maps". SNH. 20 December 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
- "Eildon and Leaderfoot National Scenic Area Map" (PDF). Scottish Natural Heritage. 20 December 2010. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
- "Upper Tweeddale NSA Map" (PDF). Scottish Natural Heritage. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
- http://www.ourscottishborders.com/live/towns/populations [bare URL]
- Chisholm 1911, p. 245.
- Chisholm 1911, p. 246.
- Notice of change of name of local authority area, Edinburgh Gazette, 26 May 1995
- Rinaldi, Giancarlo (18 March 2016). "Borders Railway future goals drawn up". BBC News.