Position and Extent, p.iii.

[Gazetteer of Scotland Contents]

   Scotland is bounded on the north by the great North sea; on the east by the German ocean; on the south-east by the liberties of Berwick, and by England; on the south by the Solway frith, and the Irish sea; and on the west by the Atlantic ocean. The line of its boundary on the south-east, from a point 3¼ miles north of Berwick to the head of the Solway frith at the embouchure of the Sark, measures, inclusive of sinuosities, about 97 miles. This line has very numerous but not great windings; and, over great part of its length, is very capricious, and not physically marked. The curious reader may trace it by reference to our articles on the counties of BERWICK, ROXBURGH, and DUMFRIES, whose southern boundary-lines are identical with this. Popular language is utterly at fault in speaking of Scotland as the part of Britain which lies north of the Tweed; that river running in the interior till 18 miles before it reaches the sea, and having on its left bank, for the last 4 of these miles, the liberties of Berwick. Scotland, as to its mainland, lies between 54° 41′ and 58° 41′ north latitude, and 1° 43′ and 5° 38′ west longitude; and including its islands, it extends to 60° 49′ north latitude, and 8° 55′ west longitude. The greatest length of the mainland along the meridian, is from the Mull of Galloway, its most southerly land, or south-west extremity, to Cape-Wrath, and in any possible direction, is from the same point, to Dunnet-head; and it measures, in the former case, 274 miles, – in the latter, 280. Its breadth, from St. Abb’s-head in Berwickshire to the point of Knap in Argyleshire, is 134 miles; from the mouth of the South Esk in Forfarshire to Ardnamurchan-point in Argyleshire, is 137 miles; and from Buchanness in Aberdeenshire to the extremity of Applecross in Ross-shire, is 146 miles. North of the Moray frith, the greatest breadth, from Duncansby-head to Cape-Wrath, is only 70 miles; and the least, from the Dornoch frith to Loch-Broom, is 36. The whole country is so penetrated by friths and inlets of the sea, that it constantly and very widely varies in breadth, and has no spot which is upwards of 40 miles inland. Owing partly to the great irregularity of outline, both in the mainland and in the islands, and partly to the want of accurate surveys, hardly any two statements agree as to the extent of Scotland’s area. According to a report made to the Board of Agriculture, – probably the best authority which can be followed, – its cultivated lands amount to 5,043,450 English acres, and those uncultivated to 13,900,550: jointly, 18,944,000 English acres, or 29,600 square miles. Of this area, about 4,000 square miles belong to the islands; and, in addition to it, 638 square miles are occupied by lakes and rivers. 

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