Grand Tours of Scotland’s Rivers episode 3 – River Annan

Grand Tours of Scotland's Rivers episode 3 - River Annan

Grand Tours of Scotland’s Rivers episode 3 – River Annan: Paul explores the River Annan in Dumfries and Galloway, following it from where it rises above the Devil’s Beef Tub all the way to the Solway Firth. Embarking on a captivating journey, our intrepid explorer, Paul, immerses himself in the mystic allure of Dumfries and Galloway, with its vast landscapes and rich history. His expedition takes him along the tranquil course of the River Annan, tracing its route from its humble beginnings to its resolute ending.



His adventure begins where the river first springs to life, high above the enigmatic Devil’s Beef Tub. The mysterious name is but a glimpse of the stories etched in the landscape’s veins, tales that whisper through the rustling leaves and echo along the water’s babbling course. Venturing along the river’s trail, Paul’s curiosity leads him to sample the infamous ‘healthy’ spa water. Despite its rather dubious aroma, this local specialty promises a wellness experience steeped in tradition. The peculiar scent of the water, a testament to its mineral-rich content, serves as a unique hallmark of this local remedy.



As he delves further into the local lore, Paul encounters an intriguing narrative concerning Robert the Bruce, a renowned figure in Scottish history. A startling revelation presents itself, suggesting that this historic icon might have had ties to Essex, an assertion that challenges widely held beliefs and introduces a new layer of intrigue. In the pursuit of more untold stories, Paul stumbles upon the explosive legend of the devil’s porridge. This cryptic reference to a volatile concoction used in war times paints a vivid picture of the area’s past, underscoring its intriguing blend of tranquility and turmoil.

Finally, Paul’s journey leads him to follow in the iconic footsteps of Robert Burns, Scotland’s beloved bard. Emulating Burns’ love for nature, Paul immerses himself in the bracing local waters, taking a refreshing dunk close to the convergence point of the river and sea. This unique encounter with the briny waters serves as an exhilarating culmination of his journey, a symbolic act that forges an unspoken bond between him, the great poet, and the soul-stirring beauty of Dumfries and Galloway.

From the birthplace of the River Annan to its ultimate merger with the Solway Firth, Paul’s exploration unveils a remarkable narrative of the land, its legends, and its people. His odyssey through Dumfries and Galloway is a testament to the rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty that the region offers, capturing the essence of the past while reveling in the allure of the present.


Grand Tours of Scotland’s Rivers episode 3 – River Annan


River Annan

The River Annan is a beautiful and diverse river in south-west Scotland. It offers a variety of fishing opportunities for salmon, sea trout, brown trout and grayling. In this blog post, we will explore some of the features and attractions of this river, as well as some tips and advice for anglers who want to fish it.

History and Geography

The River Annan has a rich history and a unique geography. It originates from two sources on Annanhead Hill, near the Devil’s Beef Tub, a deep hollow where cattle rustlers used to hide their stolen livestock. The river flows through the towns of Moffat and Lockerbie, before reaching the sea at Annan, Dumfries and Galloway. The river is about 40 miles long and has a catchment area of 950 km2.

The name of the river is derived from the Gaelic word Anainn, which may mean “water” or “stream”. The river gave its name to Annandale, a former stewartry that comprised most of modern Dumfriesshire, and to the port town of Annan near its mouth. The river has also inspired many folk songs and legends, such as Annan Waters, which tells the tragic story of a young lover who drowned while trying to cross the river.

Fishing Opportunities

The River Annan is renowned for its fishing opportunities, especially for sea trout and brown trout. The river has a good run of salmon in the autumn, as well as some springers in the early season. The sea trout run starts in June and peaks in July and August, with fish ranging from 1 to 10 pounds. The brown trout fishing is excellent throughout the season, with fish averaging 1 to 2 pounds and some specimens over 5 pounds. The river also holds some of the largest grayling in Scotland, with fish over 4 pounds caught in recent years.

The river has a variety of beats and waters to suit different preferences and abilities. There are private stretches that can be booked for a week or a day, as well as association waters that are open to members and visitors. There are also some grayling and coarse fishing beats that are available during the salmon close season (15th November to 25th February). The river can be fished with fly, spinner or bait, depending on the conditions and regulations.

Some of the popular beats on the river include:

  • Applegarth: A 2.5 mile stretch of water that offers good salmon and sea trout fishing in the lower reaches, as well as excellent brown trout and grayling fishing in the upper reaches.
  • Hoddom: A 3 mile stretch of water that has some of the best pools and runs on the river for salmon and sea trout, as well as some good brown trout and grayling spots.
  • Newbie: A 2 mile stretch of water that has a mixture of fast and slow water, with some deep pools and gravel runs for salmon and sea trout, as well as some shallow riffles and glides for brown trout and grayling.
  • Upper Annandale: A 4 mile stretch of water that covers the uppermost part of the river, from Moffat to Three Waters Meet. It has some fast flowing water with rocky pools and rapids for salmon and sea trout, as well as some slower water with weed beds and silt for brown trout and grayling.

Tips and Advice

Fishing on the River Annan can be rewarding and enjoyable, but also challenging and unpredictable. Here are some tips and advice for anglers who want to fish this river:

  • Check the water levels before you go. The river can rise or fall quickly depending on the rainfall and runoff. You can check the latest water levels on [the River Annan Trust website](
  • Choose your tackle wisely. The river can vary in width and depth from beat to beat, so you may need different rods, lines and flies depending on where you fish. A general rule of thumb is to use a 9 to 10 foot rod for single-handed fishing, or a 12 to 14 foot rod for double-handed fishing. A floating line or an intermediate line is usually sufficient for most situations, but you may need a sinking line or a sink tip for deeper or faster water. For flies, you can use traditional patterns such as Stoats Tail, Silver Stoat, Ally’s Shrimp or Cascade for salmon and sea trout, or nymphs, spiders or dry flies for brown trout and grayling.
  • Respect the rules and regulations. The river has some specific rules and regulations that you need to follow when fishing. For example, you need to have a valid permit or ticket for the beat you are fishing, you need to adhere to the catch limits and catch-and-release policies for each species, you need to use barbless hooks or debarb your hooks before fishing, you need to report your catches to the beat owner or bailiff at the end of your fishing session. You can find more details on [the River Annan District Salmon Fishery Board website](
  • Enjoy your fishing experience. The River Annan is a beautiful and diverse river that offers a lot of fishing opportunities for anglers of all levels. Whether you are looking for a trophy fish or just a relaxing day on the water, you can find it on this river. Just remember to respect the river, its wildlife and its people, and have fun!

We hope this blog post has given you some useful information about fishing on the River Annan. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment below. Tight lines!

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