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The Gala Water (Lowland Scots: Gala Watter; Scottish Gaelic An Geal Ath) is a river in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland and a tributary of the River Tweed. It is sometimes known as the "Gala", which nickname is also shared with Galashiels, which it flows through. The "Braw Lads O Gala Watter" is a song about people from Galashiels.
The name Gala may be from the Old English galga meaning "gallows" (Scots galwe), perhaps by back-formation from Galashiels. Or else, Gala may originally be from Brittonic, and derived from *gāl meaning "enmity, hatred" (Welsh gâl), or cognate to the Welsh verb galw, "call" (Cornish galow, "a call"). The river may share an etymology with Gala Lane in Ayrshire, which flows into Loch Doon.
At Galashiels the depth of the water is between 0.19 metres (0.62 ft) and 1.38 metres (4.5 ft), although was as deep at 2.88 metres (9.4 ft) on one occasion in 2002.
- James, Alan G. "A Guide to the Place-Name Evidence - Guide to the Elements" (PDF). Scottish Place Name Society - The common Brittonic Language in the Old North. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
- "Gala Water at Galashiels: River level and flood alerts". riverlevels.uk. Retrieved 2020-03-28.
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