My interpretation of Southern Scotland is everywhere between the Central Belt and the English border. It includes the counties of Dumfries and Galloway, the Scottish Borders, North, South and East Ayrshire, and South Lanarkshire except those parts in the north of the county that feel more like a part of the Greater Glasgow area.
The area is often overlooked by travellers heading further north, and although it’s true to say that it doesn’t have the same majestic scenery of the Highlands, the region is still dominated by the Southern Uplands, a range of round-topped hills that reach their highest point of 843 m (2,766 ft) at Merrick in the Galloway Hills.
Much of the region is rural in nature, but where the River Tweed forms the boundary between England and Scotland, the landscape has any number of castles that remind us that it hasn’t always been peaceful here.
Dumfries and Galloway has castles too, but it also has the alluring Solway Firth and Rhins of Galloway for lovers of nature, but as the coastline moves across the county border into South Ayrshire, golfers, rather than bird watchers are better catered for.
Ayrshire was also the home of Rabbie Burns, but the Scottish Borders had its own literary giant in Sir Walter Scott, although I would argue that the impressive abbeys of places like Kelso, Melrose, Dryburgh and Jedburgh are more typical of the county’s image.
It’s inevitable that the appeal of places like Edinburgh, Glen Coe and the Isle of Skye will lure tourists further north, but I don’t think that the attractions of Southern Scotland shouldn’t be ignored either.