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Isla, 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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Isla, a beautiful river of Forfar and Perth shires, rising among the Grampians, at an altitude of 3100 feet, 1½ mile NE of the meeting-pint of Forfar, Perth, and Aberdeen shires, and 6 1/8 miles SSW of Lochnagar. Thence it winds 29½ miles south-south-eastward, then 17 1/8 miles south-westward, till, after a total descent of 3000 feet, it falls into the Tay at a pint 3 furlongs NNW of Cargill station, this being 11½ miles NNE of Perth, and 4½ WSW of Coupar-Angus. Its chief tributaries are Melgam Water, the Burn of Alyth, Dean Water, the Ericht, and Lunan Water, all noticed separately; and it traverses or bounds the parishes of Glenisla, Lintrathen, Airlie, Ruthven, Meigle, Bendochy, Blairgowrie, Coupar-Angus, Cargill, and Caputh, under which, the Reekie Linn, and the Slugs of Achrannie, are described the mansions, towns, villages, and other features of its course. That course is Highland in Forfarshire, but in Perthshire assumes a Lowland character. It is liable to great freshets; and, on occasion of the thunderstorm of 17 July 1880, the water rushed down it in the form of a moving embankment 10 feet high, and, spreading over the valley, buried crops of all kinds in sand, and swept away sheep and lambs. The damage caused by another flood, in Sept. 1881, was estimated at £10, 000, including £2000 for renewal of embankments. Salmon ascend as high as the Slugs of Achrannie, and heavy pike lurk in the deep still pools about the river's mouth, whilst its upper waters yield capital trout fishing. One sorrowful memory the Isla has, that on 16 Oct. 1861 the Queen and Prince Consort made their ` last expedition ' to Cairnlochan or Canlochan Glen, immediately below the Isla's source. The Queen describes it as ` a narrow valley, the river Isla winding through it like a silver ribbon, with trees at the bottom. The hills are green and steep, but towards the head of the valley there are fine precipices. To the S is Glenisla, another glen, but wider, and not with the same high mountains. Cairnlochan, indeed, is " a bonnie place." ' Still, it was somewhat paradoxical of Dr Macculloch to say that 'three yards of the Isla and its tributaries are worth all the Tweed put together. '-Ord. Sur., shs. 65, 56, 48, 1868-70.

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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