This node should really be entitled Historical Scottish Counties as the old Counties have been subject to not one but two sets of reform in recent times.

In 1975, the traditional counties were entirely abolished and replaced with a two-tier system (a fairly large number of small "Districts" and a handful of larger "Regions" with a certain number of Districts in each region (like Counties and States in the USA, I believe). The Regions were Lothian, Borders, Strathclyde, Central, Fife, Tayside, Grampian, Dumfries and Galloway, Highland, Western Isles, Orkney, and Shetland*). For years, I lived in Edinburgh District, Lothian Region.

In 1996, (cynics say just when everyone was getting used to them) Regions and Districts were also abolished and replaced with pithily titled "Unitary Authorities". These tend to be (but are not always) smaller than Regions and some of them have the same (or similar) names to the old Counties.

This is a list of current (1996 - May 2003 and counting) unitary local government authorities in Scotland:

The Scottish Borders
Dumfries and Galloway
Aberdeen City
City of Edinburgh
East Lothian
West Lothian
Orkney Islands
Shetland Islands
Argyll and Bute
City of Glasgow
East Ayrshire
East Dunbartonshire
East Renfrewshire
North Ayrshire
North Lanarkshire
South Ayrshire
South Lanarkshire
West Dunbartonshire
Dundee City
Perth and Kinross
Western Isles

This site provides a overview of the various changes.

The most annoying aspects of these constant local government shake ups - apart from the inevitable feeling that the money could be better spent - is the loss of the link with the past; thus one would continually hear of or read about counties like Clackmannanshire or Renfrewshire, but was likely never to have actually seen a map with these names. Such breaks in the cultural geography of a place are always to be regretted.

I expect it is only a matter of time before the Unitary Authorities are rechristened "Counties" once again.

* For accuracy's sake: I cannot say for sure whether Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland were officially entitled "Regions", I think not.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.