Grey Mare's Tail

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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Grey Mare's Tail, a splendid waterfall on the north-eastern verge of Moffat parish, NE Dumfriesshire, formed midway by the Tail Burn, which, running 13/8 mile south-east-by-southward out of Loch Skene (1700 feet), falls, after a total descent of 920 feet, into Moffat Water at a point 10 miles NE of Moffat town and 1¼ mile SE of Birkhill Inn. Its volume is trivial in time of drought, but very considerable after heavy rains; it is so flanked and overhung by wild and gloomy scenery as to possess imposing interest in its mere surroundings; it rushes in one unbroken column over a stupendous precipice of rocks, with aggregate descent of 350 feet, between lofty, mural, rocky hills; and whenever in considerable volume, it has the form of a cataract lashed into foam by obstructions, and rendered of a greyish tint by intermixing glimpses of the background of dark rock. A short distance below it is a hollow space called the Giant's Grave; and a spot at a high elevation on one of its sides, and reached by a footpath, overlooks both the entire waterfall itself and the stream rushing away from its foot. Any spectator on that spot, like the palmer in Sir Walter Scott's Marmion-

'Just on the edge, straining his ken.
May view the bottom of the den.
where deep, deep down, and far within,
Toils with the rocks the roaring linn;
Then, issuing forth one foamy wave,
and wheeling round the Giant's Grave,
white as the snowy charger's tail.
rives down the Pass of Moffatdaie.'

A footpath leads up to the pool into which the waterfall plunges.—Ord. Sur., sh. 16, 1864.

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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