Midlothian is county of contrasts. It lies on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth between, as the name suggests, East Lothian and West Lothian. Midlothian was once also called Edinburghshire, and indeed it is dominated by Edinburgh, though not as much as Middlesex is dominated by London, Edinburgh being a more restrained city and Midlothian the larger county.
Edinburgh, Scotland’s historic capital, is possibly the loveliest city in Britain. Its heart is the Castle, perched high on its immemorial rock, and the Royal Mile that runs from the Castle to the Palace of Holyrood House, lined with historic buildings and monuments, all part of the national story. This was the main extent of Edinburgh before the Union. North of the Royal Mile is the eighteenth century “New Town”, no longer new but with the Georgian charm with which it was built. Edinburgh has long since spread about it and incorporated its port, Leith. The grounds of Holyrood now host the new Scottish Parliament. In the midst of Edinburgh is Arthur’s seat; a solitary hill, precipitous and natural, surrounded but untouched by cityscape.
East and west of Edinburgh are dormitory towns, suburbs and industrial areas but to the south is a rural Midlothian still, with quieter towns and farms, soon rising into the high pastures of the Lammermuir Hills and the Moorfoot Hills, where the county stretches further south, its highest point here at Blackhope Scar.
County Town: Edinburgh
Main Towns: Bonnyrigg, Dalkeith, Edinburgh, Murrayfield, Musselburgh, Roslin.
Main Rivers: Almond, Braid Burn, North Esk, South Esk.
Highlights: Edinburgh – Arthur’s Seat, Castle, Royal Mile, Holyroodhouse, New Town; Rosslyn Chapel; The Shore, Leith.
Highest Point: Blackhope Scar, 2,136 feet.
Area: 362 sq miles
County Flower: Sticky Catchfly