River Irvine

River Irvine

] cite book| last=Groome| first=Francis H.| date=1880-85| title=Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical published in parts by Thomas C. Jack| Publisher=Grange Publishing Works| location=Edinburgh] rises in two head-waters, the one in a moss at Meadow-head, on the eastern boundary of the parish of Loudoun or of Ayrshire, and the other a mile eastward in the parish of Avondale in Lanarkshire, near the battle-field of Drumclog.About 2¾ miles from the point of its entering Ayrshire, it is joined from the north by Glen water, which strictly speaking is the parent-stream, on account of its length and the volume of water it carries; for the Glen Water rises at Crosshill in Renfrewshire, a mile north of the East Ayrshire boundary, and runs 6 miles southward, joined by five rills (small streams) in its progress, to the point of confluence with the Irvine. Swollen by this substantial tributary, the Irvine immediately passes the town of Darvel on the right, — 1¾ mile onward, the town of Newmilns, — at 2¼ miles farther on, the town of Galston, on the left. The Hagg burn joins before the town, having run passed the old ruined castle of Achruglen, near Loudoun castle.Robertson, William (1908). "Ayrshire. Its History and Historic Families". Vol.1. Pub. Dunlop & Dreenan. Kilamrnock. P. 155] The Burnanne joins at Galston.

A poem by Blind Harry.Adamson, Archibald R. (1875). Rambles Round Kilmarnock. Pub. Kilmarnock. Pps. 49 - 50.]

On the upper reaches of the Irvine at Loudoun Hill, WallaceRobertson, William (1908). Ayrshire. Its History and Historic Families. Vol.1. Pub. Dunlop & Dreenan. Kilamrnock. P. 66.] intercepted a convoy and routed those accompanying the English supplies. An earthwork at Loudoun Hill is still known as "Wallace's Knowe."

In 10 May 1307 Aymer de Valence,Robertson, William (1908). Ayrshire. Its History and Historic Families. Vol.1. Pub. Dunlop & Dreenan. Kilamrnock. P. 94 - 95.] King Edward's commander, fought Robert the Bruce at Loudoun Hill, who was protected on either side by peat mosses, impassable by heavy cavarly. The English bowmen opened the battle, but the Scots troops had dug trenches and were relatively unharmed. The English cavalry were panicked by the pikes of the Scots and a slaughter of the English soldiers developed ending in complete victory for the Bruce's Scots army.

At the Nether Ford on the Irvine near Riccarton, Robert the Bruce in 1307 sent Sir James DouglasRobertson, William (1908). Ayrshire. Its History and Historic Families. Vol.1. Pub. Dunlop & Dreenan. Kilamrnock. P. 92 - 93.] to intercept the English soldiers commanded by Sir Philip de Mowbray. The English were ambushed as they crossed the ford on the Irvine and sixty lay dead before the panic-stricken survivors fled in panic.

The Hagg burn joins the Irvine just before the town of Galston, having run passed the old ruined castle of Achruglen or Arcklowdun,Loudoun, Craufuird C. A History of the House of Loudoun and Associated Families. Alloway Publishing Ltd. P. 27. ] near Loudoun Castle.Robertson, William (1908). Ayrshire. Its History and Historic families. Vol.1. Pub. Dunlop & Dreenan. Kilamrnock. P. 155] Achruglen tower, now a ruin, was the site of the burning to death of two Campbells, the Countess of Loudoun and her son and heir, by the Kennedys of Bargany in the 16th century.

Timothy PontPont, Timothy (1604). "Cuninghamia." Pub. Blaeu in 1654.] circa 1606 states that "not far from Kilmarnock, in ye midell of ye river Iruin, was the Read Steuart slaine, after he had receaved a Responce from a vitch yat he should not perrish nather in Kyle or zet in Cuninghame, the said river being the merch betwixt the two, and being in nather of them."This Red Stewart was Sir John Stewart of Dundonald, a natural son of Robert II of Scotland, a monarch who had spent much time at Dundonald Castle. Another source spoils the story by giving Dumbarton as the place of the Red Stuart's death.McKay, Archibald (1880). "The History of Kilmarnock." Pub. Kilmarnock. P. 372.] The river's water quality is generally quite good nowadays, proven by the presence of freshwater limpets and shrimps, together with leeches, caddis fly larvae and water snail species. PontPont, Timothy (1604). "Cuninghamia." Pub. Blaeu in 1654.] in 1604 - 08 writes that salmon are plentiful in the River Irvine. The river system contains, amongst others, brown trout, sea trout, salmon, eels, minnows, lampreys, and sticklebacks. The brown colour of the Irvine at places like Darvel and Newmilns is not a result of pollution, but simply organic material washed out of the peat banks at the watershed. Freshwater mussels, a species persecuted for its pearls, are found in places on the Glazert and the Garnock.


PontPont, Timothy (1604). "Cuninghamia." Pub. Blaeu in 1654.] in 1604 - 08 records that so thickly was the district about Stewarton and along the banks of the Irvine populated for a space of three or four miles "that well travelled men in divers parts of Europe (affirm) that they have seen walled cities not so well or near planted with houses so near each other as they are here, wherethrough it is so populous that, at the ringing of a bell in the night for a few hours, there have seen convene 3000 able men, well-horsed and armed."Robertson, William (1908). Ayrshire. Its History and Historic Families. Vol.1. Pub. Dunlop & Dreenan. Kilmarnock. P. 303]

Shewalton Sand Pits is a Scottish Wildlife Trust nature reserve on the River Irvine near Irvine.

Immense labour has been expended over the years in retaining building walls on either side of many of the rivers and burns. At Chapeltoun on the Annick Water even the Chapel Burn bed is 'cobbled'. This drystone walling was important in reducing the erosion of the river banks.The Brackenburn near Kilmaurs has been misnamed as the Garrier by the Ordnance Survey since the 1860s. When burns or rivers join it is usually the largest that decides the name of the river downstream, unless the name changes completely, such as the Kilmarnock Water forming from the Fenwick and Craufurdland Waters. Occasionally a water course is reduced in volume due to changes upstream, a case in point being the Garrier which used to drain the loch at Buiston near Kilmaurs. This was drained as part of agricultural improvements and now the Garrier is only seasonal, even though it keeps the name Garrier, even when joined by the Brackenburn and the Lochrig burns which flow all year.

It was not easy being a miller, for instance some people held the belief that it was wrong to use water artificially; that to turn water from its course was to act against God's plan.Willsher, Betty and Hunter, Doreen (1978). "Stones, A Guide to Some Remarkable 18th. Century Gravestones." ISBN 0-903937-36-0.] Ancient mills, it was believed, had been piously placed by their forefathers where they could be worked according to God's order, without artificially embanking the water or turning it from its natural course, which would be sinful.Gauldie, Enid (1981). The Scottish Miller 1700 - 1900. Pub. John Donald. ISBN 0-85976-067-7.]

New field drainage work on farms in the 18th and 19th centuries had dramatic effects on water courses, most often recorded through complaints by millers that they could no longer get enough water to turn their mills waterwheels.

The weir at Dalgarven on the River Garnock is made of boulders which are carefully placed and locked together to create a natural millpond to supply a good head of water to the wheel through the lade. The weir is built on a natural dyke which runs across the Garnock at this point, its existence being carefully exploited by the monks of Kilwinning Abbey who chose the site for Dalgarven Mill.

The Automatic tide signalling apparatus at Irvine harbour is probably unique, having been invented and patented by Martin Boyd, the Irvine harbour master, in 1905 and opened in 1906.McEwan, Mae (1985). "The Harbour- Fullarton folk reminisce". Pub. Fullarton Historical Society. Inside front cover.]


External links

* [http://www.nls.uk/maps/index.html/ Maps at the National Library of Scotland]
* [http://www.old-maps.co.uk/ 1860 OS Maps]
* [http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/A_Researcher's_Guide_to_Local_History_Terminology A Researcher's Guide to Local History terminology]

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