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Lammermuir Hills

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2016.

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Lammermuir Hills, a broad range of moorish heights, stretching eastward from the vale of Gala Water, in the SE extremity of Midlothian, to the German Ocean at the promontories of Fast Castle and St Abb's Head, in the parish of Coldingham, Berwickshire. From the middle of the lofty mountain-range which begins at Cheviot in Northumberland, and, passing into Scotland, extends across it to Loch Ryan, - from the most elevated part of it, called the Lowthers or the Hartfell Heights, at the meeting-point of the counties of Dumfries, Lanark, and Peebles, a less lofty and less remarkable range goes off north-eastward across Peeblesshire to the vale of the Gala, and, but for being cloven down by this vale, would join the Lammermuirs, so as to stretch unbroken to the sea. The Lammermuirs all lie within East Lothian and Berwickshire; commencing at the extreme western limit of these counties, forming, for two-thirds of their extent, a southern screen to East Lothian, and constituting - if the Lammermuir part of Lauderdale be included - nearly one-half of Berwickshire. The range forms, with the loftier and commanding chain of the Cheviots and the Lowthers, whence it diverges, the vast triangular basin of the Tweed, and overlooks, stretching away from its N base, the grand expanse of the great body of the Scottish Lowlands, till they are pent up by the stupendous barrier of the far-extending Grampians. In themselves the Lammermuirs are an extensive curvature of, for the most part, wild and cheerless heights - nowhere bold and imposing in aspect, and often subsiding into low rolling table-lands of bleak moor. - Once clothed with forest, they still have natural woods hanging on some of their steeps; but over their summits, and down their higher slopes, they are almost everywhere sprinkled only with heather. Yet lovers of pastoral seclusion may find pleasure in gazing on the great flocks of sheep which tenant their higher grounds; while agriculturists will look with satisfaction on the considerable ascents which have been made by the plough on their lower declivities. The soil in nearly all the upper parts is a light peat mould; and even in some of the lower parts - as in the parish of Westruther - is a swampy moss. But elsewhere the prevailing peat is mixed with sand and clay, or gives place to comparatively kindly soil; and in the vales and lower slopes, irrvgated by the numerous streams which are collected on the broad ridge, are belts of fertility and beauty. The geology is treated under Haddingtonshire. Besides Lammer Law (1733 feet) more than twenty summits exceed an altitude of 1200 feet above sea-level.—Ord. Sur., shs. 33, 34, 1863-64.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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