The Scottish Borders, often referred to simply as the Borders, is one of 32 local government council areas of Scotland. It is bordered by Dumfries and Galloway in the west, South Lanarkshire and West Lothian in the north west, City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian to the north; and the non-metropolitan counties of Northumberland and Cumbria in England to the south and east. The administrative centre of the area is Newtown St. Boswells.
The area was created in 1975, by merging the former 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.
The region is hilly, with the River Tweed flowing west to east through the region. 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, 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, St Boswells, Newtown St Boswells, Melrose and Tweedbank are located.
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. Thus, across the region are to be seen the ruins of many castles, abbeys and even towns.
The people of the Scottish Borders are very proud of their heritage and often speak of themselves as Borderers.
Although there is evidence of some Scottish Gaelic in the origins of place names such as Innerleithen ("confluence of the Leithen"), Kilbucho, and Auchencrow, which contain identifiably Goidelic rather than Brythonic Celtic elements, the language has tended to be weak to non-existent in most parts of the region. Since the 5th century, there has been evidence of two main languages in the area: Brythonic and Old English, the latter of which developed into its modern forms of English and Scots.
There are two British Parliamentary constituencies in the Borders. Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk covers most of the region and is represented by Liberal Democrat Michael Moore. The western Tweeddale area is included in the Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale constituency and is represented by Conservative David Mundell.
At Scottish Parliament level, there are also two seats. The eastern constituency is Roxburgh & Berwickshire, which is currently represented by Conservative John Lamont. The western constituency is Tweeddale, Ettrick & Lauderdale and is represented by Liberal Democrat Jeremy Purvis.
Control of the local council rests in the hands of a Conservative/Liberal Democrat/Independent coalition. The Conservatives are the biggest party on the council with 11 seats, the Liberal Democrats have 10. The SNP have 6 seats and the Independents have 5. 2 councillors form the Borders Party.
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: