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Annan, River

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2016.

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Annan (Gael. ' quiet river '), a river that, flowing all through central Dumfriesshire from N to S, gives it the name of Annandale. It rises 1200 feet above the sea, near the meeting-point of Lanark, Peebles, and Dumfries shires, within 1¼ mile of Tweed's Well, and 3½ miles of Clyde's Burn, so that according to an old-world rhyme-

'Annan, Tweed, and Clyde,
Rise a' out o'ae hill-side.'

Its virtual headstreams, however, are the Lochan and Auchencat Burns, which also rise in Moffat parish, on the western and southern slopes of Hartfell (2651 feet), and after receiving which the Annan becomes a stream of considerable volume, inclining a little eastward, and forming the boundary between Kirkpatrick Juxta and Moffat. Passing Moffat town, it is joined from the NE by Birnock Water, which rises on Swatte Fell (2388 feet), and by the Frenchland Burn: a little lower down it receives at the same point, from the NW and the NE, Evan and Moffat Waters. The next important tributary is Wamphray Water, soon ter whose confluence the Annan becomes exceedingly meandering, though still bearing southward to within 1 mile of Lochmaben and 2 of Lockerbie, and thereabouts receiving the Kinnel and the Dryfe. From the southern extremity of Dryfesdale parish it makes a south-eastward bend past St Mungo's Church, the rocking-stone, and Hoddom Castle, receiving here the Water of Milk: but from the confluence of the Mein onward it resumes a southerly course to Annan town, whence its estuary sweeps first in a SW, then in a SE direction into the upper part of the Solway Firth at Barnkirk Point. The Annan is 49 miles long, of which the first 5 lie through a mountain glen, with the singular hollow of Annandale's Beef-Stand. Its basin thence is a valley from 3 to 18 miles wide, which, at no distant geological period, must have lain under the sea, and now with a rich alluvial soil presents a soft and pastoral appearance. Its waters are well stocked with salmon, trout, and coarser fish, the trout running from 1 to 1½ lb., but sometimes exceeding 4 and even 5 lbs.; and sea-trout ascend in May and June. The rod season is from Feb. 11 to Oct. 31; and permission to fish is generally granted by the 15 proprietors who own the best part of the stream- ` the silver Annan,' as Allan Cunningham styled it, but, in time of spate, `a drumlie river,' according to the ballad (Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, vol. iii., p. 284 of Cadell's edn.).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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