NAIRN (THE), a river of Inverness-shire and Nairnshire, in Moray. Its source is near the central water-sheds of the boldly-mountainous district of Badenoch, at a point 9 miles, in a straight line, east of the middle of Loch-Ness. Its course, from end to end, is, with few and slight deviations, toward the north-east; and, measured in a straight line, extends to about 30 miles. Over 16 miles from its source, it is wholly an Inverness-shire stream; over the next 6 miles it runs across a district in which that county and Nairnshire are irregularly dovetailed into each other; and over the remaining 8 miles, it flows wholly in Nairnshire. Till about the point of its ceasing to touch Inverness-shire, it is a Highland river, and gives the name of Strathnairn to the glen or widening vale which it traverses. Its immediate banks are green meadows and pasture-fields, with a few patches of corn land; and its flanking heights are, for the most part, barren heathy mountains. Some clumps and little belts of alder and birch occasionally make a pleasant fringe-work on its margin; and arrays of plantation and ornamental grounds overlook its progress past the house of Aberarder and on the property of Farr. But, in general, its valley exhibits only the repose of pastoral life, and possesses neither the power of landscape, nor the activity of life which shakes up the quietude of a tourist, and stirringly appeals to his imagination. Yet “its long green meadows, on which clusters of cottages are seen at wide intervals from one another, the very absence of striking objects in the landscape, the stillness that hangs over the face of nature, interrupted only by the gurgling of the little rills that fall into the sombre and slow-moving waters of the Nairn, impress upon the solitary traveller, as he passes along, subdued and tranquil feelings.” [Guide to the Highlands.] After leaving Inverness-shire, it traverses a low country, and is overlooked and enlivened by Kilravock-castle, various mansions, and the town of Nairn. Its influx to the Moray frith occurs 8 miles east of the great contraction of the frith at Ardersier, and 9 miles west-south-west of the embouchure of the Findhorn. It is called, in Gaelic, Uisge Nearne, or ‘Water of Alders,’ from the great number of trees and shrubs of that species of wood which anciently grew upon its banks; and it has communicated its name to the parish and county in which it terminates its course. During the great floods of 1829, the Nairn was swollen into terrific proportions with the other Moray streams; but it worked havoc chiefly toward the end of its path on the estates of Kilravock and Cawdor, and at the burgh and harbour of Nairn.
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My name's Jenny, I'm in my late-thirties, from Glasgow and I'm your friendly local (as everything online has become) Scottish historian. View all posts by FlikeNoir