Tarf Water, Wigtownshire

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Not to be confused with the Tarff Water which is a tributary of the River Dee further east in Galloway.
Tarf Water near Kirkcowan

The Tarf Water is a river in the former county of Wigtownshire in south-west Scotland. It rises on the Ayrshire border (55°00′17″N 4°46′53″W / 55.0048°N 4.7815°W / 55.0048; -4.7815 (Tarf Water, source)) and flows in a generally southeastward direction to meet the River Bladnoch near the village of Kirkcowan (54°54′37″N 4°34′45″W / 54.9103°N 4.5792°W / 54.9103; -4.5792 (Tarf Water, mouth)). It has no major tributaries but is fed by numerous burns which drain an area characterised by drumlins and much of which has been afforested.[1]

The name Tarf derives from the Proto-Indo-European root *tauro- 'bull, aurochs'.[2] Bulls occur frequently in Celtic river names, and these names may have had a mythological rather than literal referent.[2][3] Like other examples of this name in southern Scotland, 'Tarf' is Gaelic in form but is likely to derive in turn from an earlier Cumbric cognate.[2][3]


  1. ^ Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 scale Landranger map sheets 76 Girvan and 82 Stranraer & Glenluce
  2. ^ a b c James, Alan G. (2014). The Brittonic Language in the Old North: A Guide to the Place-name Evidence (PDF). Volume 2: Guide to the Elements. pp. 352–353. 
  3. ^ a b Watson, William J. (1926). The History of the Celtic Place-Names of Scotland. Edinburgh and London. p. 453. 

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Tarf Water at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 54°56′43″N 4°43′32″W / 54.9454°N 4.7256°W / 54.9454; -4.7256