My Favourites

There’s plenty of choice of river types in Scotland. Small, fast and western; long, winding and eastward bound; canyon carving; city cooling: those are all among the possibilities. Add some excellent wildlife, such as wildfowl, wading birds, salmon and otters and you’d be well advised to take a close look at Scottish rivers whenever you’ve the chance.

Where to visit

Most of Scotland’s major rivers flow to the North Sea. Except for the Clyde, the ones with west coast outflows are shorter. This is because Scotland's watershed lies much closer to the west coast than the east, so the western waters have much less distance to travel from source to sea.

So if you want to savour some gently flowing waters go for lowland rivers that are North-Sea bound, such as the River Tweed that forms part of the border with England.

You can get good introductions to some fine rivers in the heart of cities. Try the Water of Leith in Edinburgh for herons, ducks and dragonflies, the Kelvin Walkway beside Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow for a chance of kingfisher and the Ness In Inverness to look for goldeneye, goosander and even the occasional grey seal. Here and in Perth you can watch dippers near bridges close to the city centre.

Interesting facts

The River Tay (which flows through Perth and past Dundee) has the largest flow of any British river. The equivalent of more than 2,000 freshwater bath-loads hits the sea from it every second. Near the Tay’s mouth, the swirl of river and sea currents and sediment has created one of Britain’s fastest growing coastlines at Tentsmuir.