The Southern Uplands
The Southern Uplands are the southernmost and least populous of mainland Scotland's three major geographic areas (the others being the Central Lowlands and the Highlands). The term is used both to describe the geographical region and to collectively denote the various ranges of hills within this region. The Southern Uplands lie south of the Southern Uplands Fault line that runs from Ballantrae on the Ayrshire coast northeastwards to Dunbar in East Lothian on the North Sea coast, a distance of some 220 km (140 mi).<ref> "Southern Uplands". Tiscali.co.uk. 1995-06-07. Retrieved 2010-02-26</ref>
In geological terms, the Southern Uplands consist mainly of Silurian deposits laid down from 400-500 million years ago and pushed up from the sea bed into an accretionary wedge by the collision of ancient continents. <ref>Gillen, Con (2003) Geology and landscapes of Scotland. Harpenden. Terra Publishing, 95</ref> The majority of the rocks are weakly metamorphosed coarse greywacke.<ref>Gillen, Con (2003) Geology and landscapes of Scotland. Harpenden. Terra Publishing, 95</ref> An overwhelmingly rural and mainly agricultural region, the Southern Uplands are partly forested and contain many areas of open moorland.
The two unitary authorities of Dumfries and Galloway in the west and the Scottish Borders in the east cover almost all of the Southern Uplands. Along its northern margins, the councils of South Ayrshire, East Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire and East Lothian extend into the region.
After local government reorganisation in 1974 and prior to further reorganisation in 1996, the Southern Uplands were administered by the two 'regions' of Dumfries & Galloway and Borders along with the southern margins of the regions of Strathclyde and Lothian. Within each of these regions were districts with their own district councils. Historically, i.e. prior to 1974, the region comprised the counties of Wigtown, Kirkcudbright, Dumfries, Roxburgh, Peebles, Selkirk and Berwick together with parts of Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Midlothian and East Lothian.
There are several ranges of hills within the Southern Uplands. From east to west these are:
- Cheviot Hills straddling the eastern end of the Anglo-Scottish border.
- Lammermuir Hills south of Dunbar.
- Moorfoot Hills south of Edinburgh.
- Tweedsmuir or Manor Hills south of Tweedsmuir.
- Culter Hills south of Biggar.
- Moffat Hills north-east of Moffat.
- Ettrick Hills south of Moffatdale.
- Lowther Hills between Clydesdale/Annandale and Nithsdale.
- Carsphairn and Scaur Hills between Nithsdale and the Glenkens.
- Galloway Hills west of the Glenkens. This is a large hill area lying between Loch Doon in the north and the Solway Firth to the south and having the sub-ranges The Awful Hand, *Dungeon Hills, Rhinns of Kells, Minnigaff Hills and the range around Cairnsmore of Fleet near the Solway coast.