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Selkirkshire - A Small County with a Great Beauty


Selkirkshire (also known as Selkirk) is a registration county of the Scotland which, unlike the majority of other similar territories that are part of the Scottish country, does not have any direct access to the sea. It owes its name to its main county town, the Royal burgh of Selkirk. The county itself is not as big or has an economy as important as many other Scottish counties. This is a fact further evidenced by the surprisingly small number of inhabitants populating the region, which went from five thousand to just a little bit over twenty thousand over the span of 150 years.

The county is bounded to the north and northeast by Mithlothian and Berwickshire respectively, to the east by the county of Roxburghshire, to the south by Dumfriesshire and lastly, to the west by Peeblesshire.

The county is part of an upland region and its lands are crossed by the rivers Ettrick and Yarrow. These rivers form many valleys until they join the River Tweed by the east side of the county.

Short History

According to available evidence, the beginnings of Selkirkshire can be traced all the way back to the Neolithic Period. It is also known that many Roman camps existed around the valleys of both the Ettrick and the Newstead rivers. After the Romans retreated, the history of the county can be easily compared to that of the whole southeastern Scotland region.

A curious fact to note is that in the early times of Scotland, the whole Selkirkshire County was covered in trees and was known as the Ettrick Forest. This forest was a favorite hunting ground of the royalty at the time.

A pattern one will usually find when studying the history of Selkirkshire, is how closely related it is to its geography. In particular, the two main rivers that run across the county, the rivers Ettrick and the Newstead, play a constantly important role in the condition of the county.

During the 19th century, the county of Selkirk had two parts that were detached from it. Each part belonged to a different parish and there were many of them which were only partially located within the county. By the end of that same century, the Boundary Commissioners under the Local Government of Scotland rearranged Selkirkshire’s boundaries to their current state.

Among some notable parts of the county, it is worth highlighting the existence of a series of green-clad hills that stretch all along the county’s territory and that range from 300 up to 2400 feet in altitude.

The economy of the region is based mainly on its wool industry and on its agriculture, which yields large crops thanks to the high quality of the arable land. Tourism is not as important an economic activity of the region as agriculture is, although Selkirkshire boasts beautiful scenery. On it one can find many lakes and rivers, of which St Mary's Loch is the most well known.