Selkirkshire lies between Peeblesshire to the north and Roxburghshire southward. The shire is mountainous for the most part, but with softer slopes that are found in more northerly parts. Streams water the slopes and the whole produces a landscape which has inspired songs of the pastoral idyll. Selkirkshire was formerly also named Etterick Forest, and the area of the Etterick Forest covers much of the shire. However it is no longer an extensive deer-filled woodland reserved for royal hunts as once it was; the woods have been almost wholly cut down. Sheep have taken the place of the deer on the hills and the shepherd the place of the huntsman. The west of Selkirkshire is the high ground of the Tweedsmuir Hills, and here rise the county’s two rivers, the Ettrick and the Yarrow. Both have been celebrated in traditional songs (and Wordsworth was moved to more when he sought the Yarrow out). They run parallel down to the lower dales, meeting just above Selkirk. The river then falls into the Tweed at Galashiels, a town that straddles the Selkirkshire – Berwickshire boundary. Selkirk and Galashiels are Selkirkshire’s only substantial towns.
County Town: Selkirk
Main Towns: Ettrickbridge, Galasheils, Selkirk.
Main Rivers: Ettrick, Yarrow, Cawder.
Highlights: Scott’s house, Abbotsford; St Mary’s Loch; Mount Ettrick; Halliwell’s House Museum and Gallery, Selkirk.
Highest Point: Ettrick Pen, 2269 feet.
Area: 267 sq miles
County Flower: Mountain Pansy