Whiteadder Water

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.

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Whitadder Water, a stream whose source is in East Lothian, but most of whose course is in Berwickshire. It rises, at an altitude of 1100 feet, near the middle of the hilly parish of Whittinghame, close on the watershed or summit-range of the broad-based Lammermuirs; and has a course of 6¼ miles, chiefly south-south-eastward, and partly eastward to St Agnes, where it receives Bothwell Water on its left bank, and enters Berwickshire. During this brief connection with Haddingtonshire, it is a cold, moorland streamlet, and flows partly through Whittinghame, and partly between that parish and Berwickshire on its right bank, and a detached section of Stenton on its left. After entering Berwickshire it achieves a distance of 12 miles in five bold sweeps in very various and even opposite directions; and it then runs prevailingly eastward, over a distance of 15 miles, to the Tweed at a point 2½ miles above Berwick. Its principal tributaries are Dye Water, which enters it on the right side near the middle of Longformacus, and the Blackadder, which enters it at the village of Allanton in Edrom. Its entire length of course is nearly 34 miles. From the point of its debouching into the Merse, or over about four-fifths of its course, in Berwickshire, it is a stream of much gentle beauty. It traverses a country which is cultivated like a garden; it is overlooked and highly adorned at frequent intervals by fine mansions and parks; it runs almost constantly in the curving, the ever-sinuous line of beauty; it very generally has a deeply excavated path through earth or soft rock, so as to form a lowland dell, a gigantic and sometimes precipitous furrow, tufted up the sides with wood; and, though prevailingly destitute of decided picturesqueness or romance, it has a fair aggregate amount of landscape. It achieves little of its fall in races and none in leaps, but is nearly everywhere a rapid stream, brisk and cheery in its movement. In Berwickshire it bounds or traverses the parishes of Cranshaws, Longformacus, Abbey St Bathans, Duns, Bunkle, Edrom, Chirnside, Foulden, and Hutton. Like most of the streams which descend from either side of the Lammermuirs, it is subject to sudden freshets; and it rises in ordinary maximum about 9 feet above its usual level, and, in extraordinary or rare floods, as high as 15 feet. It is still an excellent trouting-stream, though not what it was in former years.—Ord. Sur., shs. 33, 34, 26, 1863-64. See Sir Thomas Dick Lauder's Scottish Rivers (Edinb. 1874).

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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