Next year, Scots will get to vote for their independence from the UK. In border towns, the issue hasn't gotten too many people riled up.

A year from now, the Scottish government will hold a referendum on whether or not it should become independent from the United Kingdom.

If voters say "yes" to independence, a constitutional settlement would need to be put together and agreed upon with the U.K. government. That could take time, as a settlement would include solving issues of military defense, Scotland's share of the national debt, and its use of the pound.

If voters say "no," the independence movement will likely go away quietly. Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond (one of the movement's biggest proponents) calls the referendum "a once-in-a-generation event."

Still 12 months away, it's hard to say exactly where Scots stand on the issue for now. Published polls are hotly contested and show varied results. 

Along the 96-mile border, where tensions between the two countries were far more violent between the 13th and 17th centuries, locals appear unenthusiastic about a more formal division. An historian in Northumberland tells Reuters that "virtually all our services come from across the border. Scottish telephone, Scottish power, Scottish post office, we have a Scottish post code, we bank in Scotland at the Bank of Scotland." Back in Scotland, a managing director at a textile mill in Hawick tells Reuters, "Everybody I know feels Scottish enough, the identity of our company is Scottish enough, it's not going to be enhanced. And we only see it as an additional cost coming."

Below, a look at life along the border between Scotland and England, where cultural differences appear more as cause for celebration than separation:

Kathleen Maltman serves a customer as she works at her snack van 'Welcome to The Borders' in a vehicle at the England - Scotland Border on the A1 road near Berwick August 21, 2013. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)
Swiss tourists take photographs next to a road that marks the England - Scotland border, at a lay-by on the A1 road near Berwick August 20, 2013. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)
A marker stone is seen at Carter Bar in the Scottish Borders August 22, 2013. Carter Bar is on the border between England and Scotland in the Cheviot Hills. It is also the site of the Raid of the Redeswire, a 1575 clash between English and Scots commemorated in a Border ballad. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)
A couple rest in their camper van at Carter Bar in the Scottish Borders August 22, 2013. Carter Bar is on the border between England and Scotland in the Cheviot Hills. It is also the site of the Raid of the Redeswire, a 1575 clash between English and Scots commemorated in a Border ballad. (REUTERS/Toby Melville) 
England and Scotland stickers are seen as shoppers queue in a sweet shop in Berwick Upon Tweed in Northumberland August 20, 2013. (REUTERS/Toby Melville) 
Two fans watch Berwick Rangers reserves play a soccer match at their Shielfield Park stadium in Berwick, north-east England August 24, 2013. Although it is based on the English side of the border, the town's soccer team plays in the Scottish league. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)
A train is reflected in the River Tweed as it crosses the Royal Border Bridge at dusk, in Berwick-Upon-Tweed in Northumberland August 22, 2013. The Royal Border Bridge opened in the mid 19th century, completing a rail link from London to Edinburgh. It is located in Berwick Upon Tweed, England's northernmost town, which has passed between English and Scottish control over a dozen times. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)
Kelso riders cross a ford in the River Jed during the Flodden Border Relay in Jedburgh, southern Scotland September 5, 2013. Riders took part on horseback in relays between Border towns, carrying a flag during an event to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden, a bloody defeat of the Scottish by the English that took place in 1513, claiming thousands of lives. (REUTERS/Toby Melville) 

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A photo of a cyclist on the streets of Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood.

    Can Historic Preservation Cool Down a Hot Neighborhood?

    The new plan to landmark Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood aims to protect more than just buildings: It’s designed to curb gentrification.

  2. A cat lays flat on a bench at a park on the outskirts of Tokyo.

    Why Don't Americans Use Their Parks at Night?

    Most cities aren’t fond of letting people use parks after dark. But there are good lifestyle, environmental, and safety reasons to reconsider.

  3. Rows of machinery with long blue tubes and pipes seen at a water desalination plant.

    A Water-Stressed World Turns to Desalination

    Desalination is increasingly being used to provide drinking water around the globe. But it remains expensive and creates its own environmental problems.

  4. a photo of a woman covering her ears on a noisy NYC subway platform

    My Quixotic Quest for Quiet in New York City

    In a booming city, the din of new construction and traffic can be intolerable. Enter Hush City, an app to map the sounds of silence.   

  5. Brick apartment buildings in Stuyvesant Town, New York City

    No Wonder Big Real Estate Is Fighting New York's New Rent Law

    Previously unreleased data shows that large landlords who own multiple buildings have a stranglehold over housing—and evictions—in New York City.