List of rivers of Scotland

Major rivers can be seen in this map

This list of rivers in Scotland is organised geographically, taken anti-clockwise, from Berwick-upon-Tweed. Tributaries are listed down the page in an upstream direction. (L) indicates a left-bank tributary and (R) indicates a right-bank tributary whilst (Ls) and (Rs) indicate left and right forks where a named river is formed from two differently named rivers.

For simplicity, they are divided here by the coastal section in which the mouth of the river can be found. Those on Scottish islands can be found in a section at the end. For Scottish estuaries, please see under firths and sea lochs.

The Scots have many words for watercourses.

  • A "Water" (Lallans: "Watter", Scots Gaelic, "Uisge") is a smaller river, e.g. Ugie Water, Water of Leith etc. Many Scottish rivers incorporate the name "Water" traditionally.
  • A "burn", Scots Gaelic: "allt" (anglicised as "Ault/alt"), used for smaller rivers and larger streams, also once widely used in England, now mostly in placenames especially the north, and sometimes spelled "bourne", e.g. Bournemouth and Ashbourne. In Scotland examples include Coalburn, Bannockburn, Aultmore.
  • Abhainn in Gaelic meaning river, which is anglicised as Avon. There is also a similar Brythonic cognate. This sometimes leads to curious 'double' namings of rivers by Anglo-Saxon speakers, such as River Avon and River Afton (literally "River River").

South-eastern ScotlandEdit

The River Tweed at Coldstream

Flowing into the North Sea between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Kincardine (East Coast)

The right-bank tributary of the Tweed, the River Till together with its tributaries, is almost wholly within England but is included for completeness of the Tweed catchment.

Tweed catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Tyne catchment

Firth of Forth (Estuary)

(Lothian) Esk catchment

Water of Leith catchment

Almond catchment

Avon catchment

Carron catchment

Forth to TayEdit

Meandering River Forth viewed from the Wallace Monument. The river flows from right to left, and the former limit of navigation was in the left distance.
Looking upstream (north) along the River Tay from the centre of Perth

Flowing into the North Sea between Kincardine and Buddon Ness (East Coast)

Forth catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Eden catchment

Tay catchment

Simple coastal catchments

East CoastEdit

Flowing into the North Sea between Buddon Ness and Rattray Head

Falls of Dee, An Garbh Choire
River Don near Alford

Simple coastal catchments

River South Esk catchment

River North Esk catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Dee catchment

Don catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Ythan catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Moray Firth (south coast)Edit

Flowing into the North Sea between Rattray Head and Inverness

The River Findhorn is crossed by the Highland Main Line railway and the A9 road just east of Tomatin

Simple coastal catchments

Deveron catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Spey catchment

Lossie catchment

Findhorn catchment

Nairn catchment

Ness catchment

Moray Firth (north coast)Edit

Flowing into the North Sea between Inverness and Duncansby Head (East Coast)

Moniack catchment

Beauly catchment

Conon catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Carron catchment

Oykel catchment

Shin catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Brora catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Wick catchment

North CoastEdit

Flowing into the Atlantic Ocean between Dunnet Head and Cape Wrath

Thurso catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Hope catchment

Simple coastal catchments

North-west HighlandsEdit

Fly fishing on the River Carron, Wester Ross

Flowing into the Atlantic Ocean between Cape Wrath and Corpach at the head of Loch Linnhe

Simple coastal catchments

Kirkaig catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Ewe catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Shiel catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Aline catchment

Simple coastal catchments

South-west HighlandsEdit

Flowing into the Atlantic Ocean between Corpach at the head of Loch Linnhe and the Mull of Kintyre

Awe catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Firth of ClydeEdit

The Clyde flowing through Glasgow. The Finnieston Crane on the left is seen as a lasting symbol of the industrial heritage of the Clyde.

Rivers discharging into the Firth of Clyde between the Mull of Kintyre and Mull of Galloway. Rivers on Arran are found in the islands section.

Simple coastal catchments

Clyde catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Garnock catchment

Irvine catchment

Ayr catchment

Doon catchment

Simple coastal catchments

Solway FirthEdit

The estuary of the River Nith, opening into Solway Firth south of Dumfries.
Hoddom Bridge, River Annan

Mull of Galloway to Gretna; rivers flowing into the Irish Sea and Solway Firth

Water of Luce catchment

Bladnoch catchment

Cree catchment

Water of Fleet catchment

Dee catchment

Urr catchment

Nith catchment

Minor catchment

Annan catchment

(Border) Esk catchment

Further tributaries of the Esk lie wholly in England - see List of rivers of England.

Rivers on Scottish islandsEdit

Most of the Scottish islands are too small to maintain watercourses of any great length or size, and are frequently indented by numerous long bays and inlets which further break up the landscape. However a disproportionate number of their watercourses bear the name 'river', though many are relatively tiny.


The numerous small watercourses on Arran are listed anticlockwise from Brodick.

Skye and the Inner HebridesEdit


There are numerous watercourses on Islay, many of which though short are termed 'rivers'. They are listed anticlockwise from Port Askaig.


There are numerous watercourses on Jura, some of which though short are termed 'rivers'. They are listed anticlockwise from Feolin Ferry.


Beach River, Isle of Mull
There are numerous watercourses on Mull, some of which though short are termed 'rivers'.They are listed anticlockwise from Tobermory.


There are a number of watercourses on Rùm, some of which are named as 'rivers'. They are listed anticlockwise from Kinloch.

Isle of Skye

Listed anticlockwise around the coast from Kyleakin. Many small watercourses, which would in other areas be named as 'burn' or 'allt', bear the name 'river' in Skye.

Outer HebridesEdit






Listing by lengthEdit

Various measurements are provided for the lengths of Scottish rivers. The table below distinguishes between the river alone and the river plus tidal waters, which many sources use. In all cases the distance is for the longest distance through the catchment area not just the distance of that portion of it which the named river covers excluding upstream tributaries.

River River Length[1] River + Estuary Length[1] Notes[1]
River Tay 155 kilometres (96 mi) 185 kilometres (115 mi) The Tay-Tummel-Gaur from its source, Coirean Lochan by Stob Ghabhar, to a line from Budden Ness to Tentsmuir Point.
River Spey 168.6 kilometres (104.8 mi) 168.6 kilometres (104.8 mi) The Spey is the longest stretch of river in Scotland bearing the same name throughout, though that does include Loch Insh.
River Clyde 158 kilometres (98 mi) 168.4 kilometres (104.6 mi) The river length is measured to Dumbarton Rock, the estuary to the Firth of Clyde at Ardmore Point.
River Tweed 162 kilometres (101 mi) 162 kilometres (101 mi) The lower reaches of the Tweed are in England.
River Dee, Aberdeenshire 143 kilometres (89 mi) 143 kilometres (89 mi)
River Forth 113 kilometres (70 mi) 136 kilometres (85 mi) The river is measured to the Kincardine Bridge, the estuary to easternmost point of Inchgarvie by the Forth Bridge.
River Don 135 kilometres (84 mi) 135 kilometres (84 mi)
River Ness 109 kilometres (68 mi) 109 kilometres (68 mi) The Ness-Oich-Garry. No account is taken of the Inverness Firth.
River Findhorn 103 kilometres (64 mi) 103 kilometres (64 mi)
River Nith 101 kilometres (63 mi) 101 kilometres (63 mi) At low tide, the sea recedes to such an extent that the length of the river is extended by 13 kilometres (8.1 mi).
River Deveron 100 kilometres (62 mi) 100 kilometres (62 mi)
River Beauly 082 kilometres (51 mi) 094 kilometres (58 mi) The Beauly-Glass-Affric with the estuary measured to the Kessock Bridge.
River Dee, Galloway 088 kilometres (55 mi) 088 kilometres (55 mi) The Dee-Ken-Water of Deuch. At low tide, the length is extended by 2.9km.
River Conon 070 kilometres (43 mi) 088 kilometres (55 mi) The estuary is measured to Invergordon Harbour/ Newhall Point.
River Lochy 087 kilometres (54 mi) 087 kilometres (54 mi) The Lochy-Spean to Loch Linnhe at mouth of the River Nevis.
River South Esk, Angus 085 kilometres (53 mi) 085 kilometres (53 mi)
River Annan 078 kilometres (48 mi) 078 kilometres (48 mi)

Listing by area of catchmentEdit

The major rivers of Scotland, in order of catchment,[2] are:

  1. River Tay c. 2,000 square miles (5,200 km2)
  2. River Tweed 1,500 square miles (3,900 km2)
  3. River Spey 1,097 square miles (2,840 km2)

Note: Imperial figures from quoted source; and metric figures less certain.

Shared namesEdit

A number of Scottish rivers have identical or very similar names which can be a source of confusion. These are some of the main ones. The symbol '>' is used here to signify 'tributary of':






Bannock Burn


Black Burn

  • Black Burn – commonly occurring including Lossie, Tweed, Water of Luce

Black Water





Dibidal, Dibidil





Enrick, Endrick

Esk, North Esk, South Esk







Kinglas, Kinglass




Lochy, Lochay




Meggat, Megget

Mor (This is merely a Gaelic adjective meaning "large" or "great")


Tarf, Tarff

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Almanac of Scotland Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  2. ^ Alastair Gowans. "Fishing Rivers". Archived from the original on August 14, 2006. Retrieved August 20, 2006.