River Annan

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River Annan (Scots Gaelic: Anainn)
Annan river bridge - Oct 2006.JPG
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 55°23′56″N 3°28′23″W / 55.399°N 3.473°W / 55.399; -3.473
Mouth Annan
 - 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
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.


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 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,[vague] 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[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[2] 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)[3]

See also[edit]

Annandale, Dumfries and Galloway


  1. ^ a b c EB (1878).
  2. ^ "Child Ballads - Appendix". Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  3. ^ "The Decemberists". Retrieved 21 February 2017. 


Further reading[edit]