Central Belt: Where is it, how did it get its name and everything else you need to know about Scotland’s coronavirus hotspot

Nicola Sturgeon announced today that all pubs and bars in the central belt of Scotland must close for two weeks under new covid-19 restrictions, but where exactly is included in the central belt?

The key areas which make up the central belt

In basic terms the central belt stretches from Glasgow in the west to Edinburgh in the East.

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Anything North of the Scottish central belt is referred to as the Highlands and anything south, the Lowlands.

Glasgow George Square, Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle
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There are known to be some disparities when it comes to which specific regions are identified as being part of the central belt, but the most commonly referred to sections which make it up are Clydeside, the Lothians, Stirlingshire and Clackmannanshire.

In her announcement today, the First Minister referred to five health boards as being part of the central belt and at risk of increased virus transmission, these were Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley.

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A vast majority of the Scottish population is found in the central belt, it is the most densely populated area in the country.

The ‘Smaller Central Belt’ and the ‘Larger Central Belt”

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The smaller central belt is sometimes referred to as the lowland triangle, which is defined by the M8, M80 and the M9 motorways which stretch from Greenock and Glasgow to Edinburgh.

The larger central belt is more commonly thought to include Ayrshire in the south-west and Tayside to the north-east as well.

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The larger central belt includes all of Scotland's major cities except for Aberdeen and Inverness.

Towns in the central belt

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Here are just some of the towns found in the central belt of Scotland: Livingston, Dunbar, Bathgate, Falkrik, Bo'ness, Dunfermline, Cumbernauld, Larbert, Stenhousemuir, Croy, Bishopbriggs, Bannockburn, Linlithgow, Paisley and Motherwell.

Where the name came from

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Despite its name, the central belt isn’t actually in the centre of mainland Scotland, but it is in fact the ‘waist line’ of the country on a map, which accounts for the ‘belt’ moniker.

‘Central’ was relevant as the regions located in the area house many of the country’s major bases such as the Houses of Parliament, local governments, police headquarters and NGO destinations.

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Other terms used to describe the central belt

The Central Lowlands

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The Midland Valley

The Scottish Lowlands

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Central Scotland

Key coverage from today’s coronavirus announcement from the First Minister

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Joy Yates

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Editorial Director

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