Highlands & Lowlands: The last border (between England and Scotland)

Three ways to cross the Tweed at Berwick-upon Tweed (© Dave_S.)

England and Scotland have been been united under the same kings and queens since the years 1603 and governed by the same British parliament since 1707, but the traveller crossing the Anglo-Scottish border today is made aware immediately of differences in architecture, language, sporting affiliations, law, education and religion. For rather than drawing people together, the border serves to heighten the sense of national identity of both peoples, especially those living north of the line, the Scots. 

As the smaller of the two nations, the Scots were intensely aware of their largely hostile neighbour when their present border was drawn in the 11th century, and on a cultural level, they still jealously guard and celebrate the differences today. Bill Kay travels the frontier from Berwick and the River Tweed in the East, to Carlisle and the Solway Firth in the West and reports on how the past still mingles with the present on the “The Last Border”. 

“Highlands & Lowlands”: a comparative, six-part co-production from Radio Netherlands and BBC Scotland, looking a the lifestyles, histories, frontiers and languages of contemporary Holland and Scotland. 

Presenter: Bill Kay

Broadcast: November 1996