Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Nairn

Nairn (Gael. Uisge-Nearn, 'the river of alders'), a river on the S side of the Moray Firth, partly in Inverness-shire and partly in Nairnshire, rising in the former county at a height of 2500 feet above sea-level near the top of Carn Ghriogair (2637), close to the eastern corner of a detached portion of Nairnshire to the E of Loch Ness, and 10 miles due E of the point where the river Foyers enters that loch. The river flows NW for 3¾ miles, and then, taking the name of the Nairn, flows 1 mile N, and from that in the main an irregular north-easterly course to the sea. Measuring in a straight line the whole course from source to sea is 30½ miles, and following windings it is about 38 miles. Of the straight course, 18¼ miles are wholly in Inverness-shire; the next 7 miles are through a district where the county boundaries are very irregular, and each in turn reaches or crosses the river; and the remaining 5¼ miles are wholly in Nairnshire. It receives no tributaries of any great size, the principal from source to mouth being, on the SE, the river Brin, the Flichitt Burn, the Fernac formed by the combined streams of the Allt Beag and the Uisge-Dubh; the united stream of Allt na Fuarghlaic and Midlairgs Burn, Craggie Burn, Cawdor Burn, formed by the junction of the Allt Dearg and the Riereach Burn, and Rait Burn. From the S W there is a stream from Loch Duntilchaig (702 feet) and a smaller one from Loch Bunachton (701). The upper part of the course is in the parish of Daviot and Dunlichity, and the lower in the parishes of Croy and Dalcross and of Nairn. The upper part of the course in Inverness-shire, from 400 to 700 feet above sea-level, is through a glen from 1 to 1½ mile wide, flanked by bare heathy hills-those on the SE having a height of from 1500 to 2000 feet, and those to the N W of from 700 to 1000 feet. There is a good deal of haugh land, and many farms are scattered along the glen, which is known as Strath Nairn, while at many points, particularly about Daviot and higher up at Farr, the lower heights and hill skirts are covered with thriving plantations, and elsewhere there are coppices of alder and birch. The heights to the SE are of gneiss; those to the NW of Old - Red sandstone. Patches of till are found up to about 1700 feet to the SW, and during the later glacial epoch the whole strath seems to have been occupied by a small glacier, which has left numerous traces of its Moraines. Along the portion of the course through Nairnshire the heights bounding the basin are Much lower, reaching on both sides an altitude of from 200 to 300 feet, and the country is fertile and well wooded. During the great floods of 1829 the river was in high flood, and did a great deal of damage, the current being so strong that in one case a heavy mass of machinery from a fulling-mill was carried along for 11 miles. The salmon fishing used to be very poor, in consequence of a weir at the Nairn mills near the Mouth, but these were in 1882 purchased by the proprietors-along the river at a cost of £3150, and the dam removed. The rod season is from 11 Feb. to 15 Oct., and the trout fishing is good. A district board was constituted in 1863, but it having been allowed to lapse in 1876, a new one was constituted in 1884.—Ord. Sur., shs. 73, 74, 84, 1876.78.

(F.H. Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-4); © 2004 Gazetteer for Scotland)

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a river"   (ADL Feature Type: "rivers")
Administrative units: Inverness Shire ScoCnty       Nairnshire ScoCnty
Place names: NAIRN     |     UISGE NEARN
Place: Nairn

Go to the linked place page for a location map, and for access to other historical writing about the place. Pages for linked administrative units may contain historical statistics and information on boundaries.