List of rivers of Scotland

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Major rivers can be seen in this map

This list of rivers in Scotland is organised geographically, taken anti-clockwise, from Berwick-upon-Tweed. Tributaries are listed down the page in an upstream direction. (L) indicates a left-bank tributary and (R) indicates a right-bank tributary whilst (Ls) and (Rs) indicate left and right forks where a named river is formed from two differently named rivers.

For simplicity, they are divided here by the coastal section in which the mouth of the river can be found. Those on Scottish islands can be found in a section at the end. For Scottish estuaries, please see under firths and sea lochs.

The Scots have many words for watercourses.

  • A "Water" (Lallans: "Watter", Scots Gaelic, "Uisge") is a smaller river, e.g. Ugie Water, Water of Leith etc. Many Scottish rivers incorporate the name "Water" traditionally.
  • A "burn", Scots Gaelic: "allt" (anglicised as "Ault/alt"), used for smaller rivers and larger streams, also once widely used in England, now mostly in placenames especially the north, and sometimes spelled "bourne", e.g. Bournemouth and Ashbourne. In Scotland examples include Coalburn, Bannockburn, Aultmore.
  • Abhainn in Gaelic meaning river, which is anglicised as Avon. There is also a similar Brythonic cognate. This sometimes leads to curious 'double' namings of rivers by Anglo-Saxon speakers, such as River Avon and River Afton (literally "River River").

South-eastern Scotland[edit]

The River Tweed at Coldstream

Flowing into the North Sea between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Kincardine (East Coast)

The right-bank tributary of the Tweed, the River Till together with its tributaries, is almost wholly within England but is included for completeness of the Tweed catchment.

Tweed catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Tyne catchment

Firth of Forth (Estuary)

Esk catchment

Water of Leith catchment

Almond catchment

Avon catchment

Carron catchment

Forth to Tay[edit]

Meandering River Forth viewed from the Wallace Monument. The river flows from right to left, and the former limit of navigation was in the left distance.
Looking upstream (north) along the River Tay from the centre of Perth

Flowing into the North Sea between Kincardine and Buddon Ness (East Coast)

Forth catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Eden catchment

Tay catchment

Simple coastal catchments

East Coast[edit]

Flowing into the North Sea between Buddon Ness and Rattray Head

Falls of Dee, An Garbh Choire
River Don near Alford

Simple coastal catchments

River South Esk catchment

River North Esk catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Dee catchment

Don catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Ythan catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Moray Firth (north coast)[edit]

Flowing into the North Sea between Rattray Head and Inverness

The River Findhorn is crossed by the Highland Main Line railway and the A9 road just east of Tomatin

Simple coastal catchments

Deveron catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Spey catchment

Lossie catchment

Findhorn catchment

Nairn catchment

Ness catchment

Moray Firth (north coast)[edit]

Flowing into the North Sea between Inverness and Duncansby Head (East Coast)

Moniack catchment

Beauly catchment

Conon catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Carron catchment

Oykel catchment

Shin catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Brora catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Wick catchment

North Coast[edit]

Flowing into the Atlantic Ocean between Dunnet Head and Cape Wrath

Thurso catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Hope catchment

Simple coastal catchments

North-west Highlands[edit]

Fly fishing on the River Carron, Wester Ross

Flowing into the Atlantic Ocean between Cape Wrath and Corpach at the head of Loch Linnhe

Simple coastal catchments

Kirkaig catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Ewe catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Shiel catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Aline catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Awe catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Firth of Clyde[edit]

The Clyde flowing through Glasgow. The Finnieston Crane on the left is seen as a lasting symbol of the industrial heritage of the Clyde.
The Annick Water
near Cunninghamhead mill.

Rivers discharging into the Firth of Clyde between the Mull of Kintyre and Mull of Galloway. Rivers on Arran are found in the islands section.

Simple coastal catchments

Clyde catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Garnock catchment

Irvine catchment

Ayr catchment

Doon catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Solway Firth[edit]

The estuary of the River Nith, opening into Solway Firth south of Dumfries.
Hoddom Bridge, River Annan

Mull of Galloway to Gretna; rivers flowing into the Irish Sea and Solway Firth

Water of Luce catchment

Bladnoch catchment

Cree catchment

Water of Fleet catchment

Dee catchment

Urr catchment

Nith catchment

Minor catchment

Annan catchment

Esk catchment

Further tributaries of the Esk lie wholly in England - see List of rivers in England.

Rivers on Scottish islands[edit]

Most of the Scottish islands are too small to maintain watercourses of any great length or size, and are frequently indented by numerous long bays and inlets which further break up the landscape. However a disproportionate number of their watercourses bear the name 'river', though many are relatively tiny.

Arran[edit]

The numerous small watercourses on Arran are listed anticlockwise from Brodick.

Skye and the Inner Hebrides[edit]

Islay

There are numerous watercourses on Islay, many of which though short are termed 'rivers'. They are listed anticlockwise from Port Askaig.

Jura

There are numerous watercourses on Jura, some of which though short are termed 'rivers'. They are listed anticlockwise from Feolin Ferry.

Mull

There are numerous watercourses on Mull, some of which though short are termed 'rivers'.They are listed anticlockwise from Tobermory.

Rùm

There are a number of watercourses on Rùm, of which are named as 'rivers'. They are listed anticlockwise from Kinloch.

Isle of Skye

Listed anticlockwise around the coast from Kyleakin. Many small watercourses, which would in other areas be named as 'burn' or 'allt', bear the name 'river' in Skye.

Outer Hebrides[edit]

Lewis

Orkney[edit]

Mill Dam wetlands, Shapinsay

Mainland

Shetland[edit]

Mainland

Listing by length[edit]

The eleven major rivers of Scotland, in order of length, are:

  1. River Tay 188 km (117 mi)
  2. River Spey 172 km (107 mi)
  3. River Clyde 171 km (106 mi)
  4. River Tweed 156 km (97 mi)
  5. River Dee 137 km (85 mi)
  6. River Don 132 km (82 mi)
  7. River Nith 112 km (70 mi)
  8. River Forth 105 km (65 mi)
  9. River Findhorn 101 km (63 mi)
  10. River Deveron 98 km (61 mi)
  11. River Annan 79 km (49 mi)

Listing by area of catchment[edit]

The major rivers of Scotland, in order of catchment,[1] are:

  1. River Tay c. 2,000 square miles (5,200 km2)
  2. River Tweed 1,500 square miles (3,900 km2)
  3. River Spey 1,097 square miles (2,840 km2)

Note: Imperial figures from quoted source; and metric figures less certain.

Shared names[edit]

A number of Scottish rivers have identical or very similar names which can be a source of confusion. These are some of the main ones. The symbol '>' is used here to signify 'tributary of':

Ale

Allan

Almond

Avon

Ba

Bannock Burn

Barr

Black Burn

  • Black Burn - commonly occurring including Lossie, Tweed, Water of Luce

Black Water

Calder

Carron

Conon

Dee

Dibidal, Dibidil

Dorback

Douglas

Eden

Elrick

Enrick, Endrick

Esk, North Esk, South Esk

Gala

Garry

Glass

Glenmore

Isla

Kilmory

Kinglas, Kinglass

Kinloch

Ledmore

Leven

Lochy, Lochay

Lunan

Lyne

Machrie

Meggat, Megget

Mor (This is merely a Gaelic adjective meaning "large" or "great")

Shiel

Tarf, Tarff

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Alastair Gowans. "Fishing Rivers". Archived from the original on August 14, 2006. Retrieved August 20, 2006.