River Annan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

River Annan
Annan river bridge - Oct 2006.JPG
River Annan road bridge in Annan
Native nameAnainn (Scottish Gaelic)
CountiesAnnandale, Dumfries and Galloway
CityMoffat, Lockerbie
Physical characteristics
SourceHart Fell, Moffat. Annanhead Hill, Devil's Beef Tub
 • coordinates55°23′56″N 3°28′23″W / 55.399°N 3.473°W / 55.399; -3.473
 • coordinates
54°58′0″N 3°16′0″W / 54.96667°N 3.26667°W / 54.96667; -3.26667Coordinates: 54°58′0″N 3°16′0″W / 54.96667°N 3.26667°W / 54.96667; -3.26667
Length40 miles
Basin size950 km2 (370 sq mi)
Hoddom Bridge

The River Annan (Abhainn Anann in Gaelic) is a river in south-west Scotland. It rises on Annanhead Hill and flows through the Devil's Beef Tub, Moffat and Lockerbie, reaching the sea at Annan, Dumfries and Galloway after about 40 miles.[1]


The etymology of the River Annan is unknown, although some sources[who?] suggest it may mean simply "water", from a Celtic language. It gave its name to Annandale, a former stewartry comprising 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, near the source of the Tweed (1.9 kilometres or 1+14 miles away),[2] and also close to the source of the Clyde (10.4 km or 6+12 mi away).[3] 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.[2] Below this, it is joined by the Kinnel Water from the west and the Dryfe Water from the east.[2] It reaches the sea 2 mi (3 km) past the port of Annan. Newbie Harbour on the River Annan once served the Barony of Newbie and lay where the Old Mill Burn has its confluence with the river.

Popular culture[edit]

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[4] and Kate Rusby.[citation needed]

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)[5]

See also[edit]

Annandale, Dumfries and Galloway

Annan (surname)


  1. ^ "Annan" . Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition – via Wikisource.
  2. ^ a b c EB (1878).
  3. ^ The Tweed: Take a trip on a river flowing with history, The Independent, 21 April 2007
  4. ^ "Child Ballads - Appendix". Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  5. ^ "The Decemberists". Retrieved 21 February 2017.


Further reading[edit]