River Carron

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Carron (Gael. car-auin, 'winding river'), a bog and a small river of Stirlingshire. The bog, lying partly in Kilsyth and St Ninians parishes, but chiefly in Fintry parish, at about 1000 feet above sea-level, occupies a portion of the table-land between the E and W coasts of Scotland, and forms part of the watershed between the two seas. It sends off Carron river to the E, and an affluent of the Endrick to the W; measures about 4 miles in length, by from 1 to 2 miles in breadth; and was probably at no very distant period a lake which gradually was filled by the earthy deposits of brooks running into it from the surrounding bills. Now partly a swamp, scarcely passable even in summer, it is flooded over nearly all its extent in times of heavy rain; possesses much value for pasturage and for produce of meadow hay; exhibits, in July and August, a picturesque appearance with parties of haymakers and multitudes of haycocks all over it; and during winter, partly by natural flooding, partly by artificial damming in order to fertilise it for the next year's crop, presents over most of its area the aspect of a lake engirt with romantic hill screens. The river, both where it leaves the lake and over the first 7½ miles of its course, runs among the Lennox Hills, overhung by summits of from 1000 to 1870 feet above sea-level; it afterwards debouches on the low grounds and carses of the E of Stirlingshire, tracing the boundary between the parishes of Denny and Falkirk on the S, of St Ninians, Dunipace, Larbert, and Bothkennar on the N; till, after an easterly course of 20 miles, it glides into the Firth of Forth at Grangemouth. Highland in character, bleak and wild, among the hills, it forms on issuing from them a fine Cascade, called Auchinlilly Linn-spout; in its course through the plain it furnishes water-power to numerous factories; and at its mouth it unites with the Forth and Clyde Canal. It anciently was estuarial, and frequented by Roman ships, to a point about 4½ miles above its present embouchure; it anciently, too, over most of the lower part of its course, made twists and turns which, partly from natural, partly from artificial, causes, have been forsaken and obliterated; it seems ever to have possessed much interest for at once the angler, the poet, and the lover of the picturesque; and still, though grievously polluted, it yields good pike and perch fishing between Denny and Larbert, and in its upper waters contains a few trout, to which in 1880 were added 30,000 young ones, a present from Sir Jas. Gibson Maitland to the Falkirk Angling Club. Buchauan terms it, in his Epithalamium, the boundary of the Roman conquests in Britain; Dyer sings it as still seeming responsive to Ossian's lyre; with Hector Macniel it is the classic stream where Fingal fought and Ossian hymned his heaven-taught lays; and a famous old song extols 'the bonny banks of Carron Water.' A Roman seaport town stood on it in the vicinity of the present Camelon; Antoninus' Wall ran, for a considerable distance, along its banks; Arthur's Oven, stood near it in the north-western vicinity of Carron Iron-works; and the two battles of Falkirk, in 1298 and 1745, were fought not far from its southern bank.—Ord. Sur., sh. 31,1867.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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