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River Annan

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Title: River Annan  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Annandale and Eskdale, Annan Castle, Water of Ae, Newton Wamphray, Dalton, Dumfries and Galloway
Collection: Annandale and Eskdale, Rivers of Dumfries and Galloway, Rivers of Scotland
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

River Annan

River Annan (Scots Gaelic: Anainn)
River Annan road bridge in Annan
Country Scotland
Counties Annandale, Dumfries and Galloway
City Moffat
Source Hart Fell, Moffat. Annanhead Hill, Devil's Beef Tub
 - coordinates
Mouth Annan
 - coordinates
Basin 950 km2 (367 sq mi)
Hoddom Bridge

The River Annan (Abhainn Anann in Gaelic) is a river in south-west Scotland. It rises Annanhead Hill and flows through the Devil's Beef Tub, Moffat and Lockerbie, reaching the sea at Annan, Dumfries and Galloway. It is one of the region's foremost fishing rivers.


  • Name 1
  • Description 2
  • Fishing 3
  • Popular culture 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6


The etymology of the River Annan is unknown, although some sources suggest it may mean simply "water", from a Celtic language. It gave its name to Annandale, a former stewartry comprehending a large portion of modern Dumfriesshire, and to the port town of Annan near its mouth.


The Annan rises on Annanhead Hill, five miles north of Moffat, and near the source of the Tweed.[1] It then flows through the Devil's Beef Tub, where it is joined by a secondary source that rises on Hartfell. It then flows past the town of Moffat and Lockerbie. Two miles out of Moffat, it is joined by the Moffat Water flowing westward from Loch Skene and the Evan Water flowing eastward from the upper part of Lanarkshire.[1] Below this, it is joined by the Kennel Water from the west and the Dryfe Water from the east.[1] It reaches the sea 2 miles past the port of Annan.

It is one of the region's foremost fishing rivers, despite being used for many years by the now decommissioned Chapelcross nuclear power station, which extracted water for cooling purposes. The Annan is popular with anglers; the main fish found are salmon, sea trout, brown trout, grayling, and chub. Pike can also be found in the river.


To fish on the Annan, one needs permission from the owner by law, but one does not need an EA rod licence (England only). The salmon and sea trout season runs from 25 February to 15 November. There is a trial season extension taking the season for angling to the 30th of November in place for the 2011, 2012, and 2013. In the season extension all fish caught must be returned. Salmon are at their best in the late Summer to Autumn, while sea trout are normally summer running. The brown trout season ends earlier, but chub and grayling can be caught all year.

Popular culture

The Annan makes several appearances in folk songs from the Borders, and in most appears as a malevolent force, drowning those who try to cross it. One of the most well recorded is Annan Waters (Child 215). Versions of this song have been recorded by artists including Nic Jones[2] and Kate Rusby.

In online comic Gunnerkrigg Court, the Annan Waters are a river separating the Court from the Gillitie Forest, and mark the separation between technology/science and magic/nature.

Portland band the Decemberists recorded a song entitled Annan Water on their 2009 "folk opera" concept album, The Hazards of Love. (Capitol records/Rough Trade records) Appearing as track 9 of the single narrative LP, it finds our hero William on the trail to rescue his true love Margaret, only to find the raging waters of the Annan halting his progress. The song includes the plea from William to let him pass with his life, and he will gladly return to give his body to the water at a later time. This appears to work, as he is able to cross and rescue Margaret from the enigmatically titled villain of the piece, known only as the Rake. Alas, on traversing the river once again with his love, his promise becomes a reality as he and Margaret drown in the album's final track, The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned) in which they proclaim their love a final time and let the icy water witness their marriage. The final reflection of the album hears their proclamation that in death, "The hazards of love never more will trouble us.".[3]

See also

Annandale, Dumfries and Galloway


  1. ^ a b c EB (1878).
  2. ^
  3. ^
  • "Annan", , 9th ed.Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol. II, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1878, p. 61 .
  • "Annan", , 11th ed.Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol. II, .  
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