The Ochil Fault, one of the most prominent tectonic features in the Midland Valley of Scotland, juxtaposes Lower Devonian volcanic rocks against late Westphalian strata, implying a possible vertical displacement of up to 4 km. The Kincardine Basin in its hanging-wall, although actively subsiding during the greater part of the Silesian, trends generally N–S, perpendicular to the Ochil Fault, and its Silesian sedimentary record shows little sign of tectonic control by that fault. It is proposed that the Ochil Fault was initiated, possibly as a sinistral strike-slip feature, in the Devonian, but acted as a sidewall fault during the early evolution of the Kincardine Basin, attributed to extension on a hypothetical pre-Brigantian fault along the Bo'ness Line on the east side of the basin until late Namurian times, when active extension ceased. Both faults were probably buried during late Namurian and Westphalian times. Reactivation of the Ochil Fault during end-Carboniferous N–S extension, dated by quartz-dolerite emplacement, was responsible for probably at least 2 km displacement. including the presently visible footwall uplift. It is suggested that the hanging wall may have contained a Permian basin, now removed.