But the mining and textile industries which once supported them have all but disappeared and, as my dad used to say: “You cannot eat the scenery.”
Then their luck seemed to change, quite literally with a gust of wind. Like most of Scotland, it’s blowy on the hills. Wind farm developers are interested in building turbines there.
That means major cash benefits for communities affected.
One development, Twenty Shilling Hill, got planning permission from the council last year and was to benefit the towns by as much as £135,000 a year.
I find wind farms inspiring and elegant – though they are not everyone’s cup of tea and should be in the correct place. But there was no opposition to Twenty Shilling Hill. Indeed the community councils were keen for it to come.
Read the rest of my column here.