Solway Firth

The Solway Firth (Scottish Gaelic: Tràchd Romhra) is a firth that forms part of the border between England and Scotland, between Cumbria (including the Solway Plain) and Dumfries and Galloway. It stretches from St Bees Head, just south of Whitehaven in Cumbria, to the Mull of Galloway, on the western end of Dumfries and Galloway. The Isle of Man is also very near to the firth. The firth comprises part of the Irish Sea.

The coastline is characterised by lowland hills and small mountains. It is a mainly rural area with fishing and hill farming (as well as some arable farming) still playing a large part in the local economy, although tourism is increasing. It has also been used for the location of films such as The Wicker Man, which was filmed around Kirkcudbright and Burrow Head on the Wigtownshire coast.

The Solway Coast was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1964.[1] Construction of Robin Rigg Wind Farm began in the firth in 2007.

Solway Firth
Solway Firth is located in Scotland
Solway Firth
Solway Firth
Location in Scotland
LocationScotland, United Kingdom
Coordinates54°45′N 3°40′W / 54.750°N 3.667°WCoordinates: 54°45′N 3°40′W / 54.750°N 3.667°W
Solway Firth map
Map of Solway Firth.
River Nith estuary
The estuary of the River Nith, opening into Solway Firth south of Dumfries.


The water itself is generally benign with no notable hazards excepting some large areas of salt and mud flats, which often contain dangerous patches of quicksand that move frequently. It is recommended that visitors do not attempt to navigate them without expert guidance.

There are over 290 square kilometres (110 sq mi) of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in the area, as well as national nature reserves at Caerlaverock and in Cumbria.[2] Salta Moss is one such SSSI.[3] On the Cumbrian side, much of the coastline is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Solway Coast AONB is split in two parts, the first runs from just north of Carlisle in a westerly direction as far as Skinburness, and the second runs from the hamlet of Beckfoot in a southerly direction past Mawbray and Allonby as far as Crosscanonby.

The honeycomb worm and blue mussel were designated as conservation targets in 2013, as Allonby Bay - an inlet of the Solway Firth - was put forward as a candidate for a Marine Conservation Zone.[4][5]

Long-distance walking route

A 53-mile (85 km) long-distance walking route, the Annandale Way,[6] runs through Annandale, from the source of the River Annan, in the Moffat Hills, to the Solway Firth; it was opened in September 2009.[7]

Islands in the Solway

Unlike other parts of the west coast of Scotland, the Solway Firth is generally devoid of islands. However, there are a few examples:

The Isle of Whithorn is actually a peninsula.


The Solway Firth forms the estuary of the River Eden and the River Esk.

The following rivers also flow into the firth:


The name 'Solway' (recorded as Sulewad in 1218) is of Scandinavian origin,[8] and was originally the name of a ford across the mud flats at Eskmouth.[9] The second element of the name is Old Scandinavian vað 'ford'[8] (cognate with English wade). The first element is probably Old Scandinavian súl 'pillar', referring to the Lochmaben Stane, though súla 'solan goose' is also possible.[8] Súl and súla both have long vowels, but the early spellings of Solway indicate a short vowel in the first element.[9] This may be due to the shortening of an originally long vowel in the Middle English period but may also represent an original short vowel.[9] If this is the case, the first element may be *sulr, an unrecorded word cognate with Old English sol 'muddy, pool' or a derivative of sulla 'to swill'.[9]

The three fords in the area at that time were the Annan or Bowness Wath, the Dornock Wath (once called the Sandywathe), and the main one was the Solewath, or Solewath, or Sulewad.

In 1841 at Barnkirk Point (NY 1903 6425) a wooden structured light house was established. It was destroyed by fire in 1960.[10]

On 9 March 1876 a French 79 ton Lugger called the St. Pierre was stranded and finally declared lost on Blackshaw Bank, an ill-defined feature which extends for a considerable distance on both sides of the channel of the River Nith.[11]

Between 1869 and 1921, the estuary was crossed by the Solway Junction Railway on a 1780 m (5850 ft) iron viaduct (Edgar and Sinton, 1990). The line was built to carry iron ore from the Whitehaven area to Lanarkshire and was financed and operated by the Caledonian Railway of Scotland. The railway was not a financial success. After the railway ceased operating, the bridge provided a popular footpath for residents of Scotland (which was dry on a Sunday) to travel to England where alcoholic drink was available. The viaduct was demolished between 1931 and 1933.


The Ministry of Defence had by 1999 fired more than 6,350 depleted uranium rounds into the Solway Firth from its testing range at Dundrennan Range.[12]

See also


  1. ^ "Solway Coast AONB". Archived from the original on 2009-06-05. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
  2. ^ "South Solway Mosses NNR" Archived 2011-01-11 at the Wayback Machine, Natural England
  3. ^ "Natural England - Salta Moss SSSI" (PDF). Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  4. ^ " - Allonby Bay rMCZ" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 January 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  5. ^ "The Wildlife Trusts - Allonby Bay" (PDF). Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  6. ^ Ltd, Weesleekit. "Annandale Way - Welcome".
  7. ^, MKH Computer Services Ltd. - / James Kirby -. "Annandale Way - LDWA Long Distance Paths".
  8. ^ a b c Mills, A. D. (2011). A Dictionary of British Place Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 427.
  9. ^ a b c d Williamson, May G. (1942). The Non-Celtic Place-names of the Scottish Border Counties (PDF). University of Edinburgh (Unpublished PhD Thesis). p. 124. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-08-21.
  10. ^ "Lighthouses of Southwestern Scotland".
  11. ^ Whittaker, I. G. (1998) Off Scotland: a comprehensive record of maritime and aviation losses in Scottish waters. Edinburgh. RCAHMS Shelf Number: E.5.14.WHI
  12. ^ Rob Edwards. "Radiation at Solway range hits new high". Sunday Herald. Retrieved 2009-08-10.

Further reading

  • Edgar, S. and Sinton, J.M., (1990), The Solway Junction Railway, Locomotion Papers No. 176, The Oakwood Press, ISBN 0-85361-395-8
  • Neilsen, George (1899). "Annals of Solway — Until A.D. 1307". In Forbes, Peter (ed.). Transactions of the Glasgow Archaeological Society. New Series. III. Glasgow: James Maclehose & Sons. pp. 245–308. |access-date= requires |url= (help) (available at
  • Ordnance Survey, (2003), Carlisle & Solway Firth, Landranger Map, No. 85, Ed. D, Scale 1:50 000 (1¼ inches to 1 mile), ISBN 0-319-22822-3
  • Ordnance Survey, (2006), Solway Firth, Explorer Map, No. 314, Ed. A2, Scale 1:25 000 (2½ inches to 1 mile), ISBN 0-319-23839-3

External links

Allonby Bay

Allonby Bay is a crescent-shaped bay of the Solway Firth on the north-western shore of Cumbria, United Kingdom. The bay is 5.5 miles (8.9 km) across. Its northern point is at Dubmill, between the village of Mawbray and the hamlet of Salta, and its southern end is just to the north of Maryport, near the village of Crosscanonby. The B5300 coast road follows the shoreline of Allonby Bay, running between Silloth in the north and Maryport in the south.

As an inlet of the Solway Firth, Allonby Bay is also part of the Irish Sea. The bay is named for the village of Allonby, which sits roughly in the centre of the shoreline.


Annandale (Gaelic: Srath Anann) is a strath in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, named after the River Annan. It runs north–south through the Southern Uplands from Annanhead (north of Moffat) to Annan on the Solway Firth, and in its higher reaches it separates the Moffat hills on the east from the Lowther hills to the west. A 53-mile (85 km) long-distance walking route called Annandale Way running through Annandale (from the source of the River Annan to the sea) was opened in September 2009.


Binsey is a hill on the northern edge of the Lake District in Cumbria, England. It is detached from the rest of the Lakeland hills, and thus provides a good spot to look out at the Northern and North Western Fells of the Lake District, as well as the coastal plain and, across the Solway Firth, Scotland. Snaefell on The Isle of Man is also visible on a clear day. It is the northernmost of the Wainwrights.


Buittle is an ecclesiastical and civil parish in Dumfries and Galloway, southwest Scotland, in the traditional county of Kirkcudbrightshire. It lies to the west of the Urr Water, between Dalbeattie and Castle Douglas, and extends from Haugh of Urr in the north to Almorness Point on the Solway Firth in the south. The main settlement is the small village of Palnackie.


Caerlaverock (Gaelic Cille Bhlàthain) is a civil parish in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

The parish was historically in Dumfriesshire. The area includes:

Caerlaverock Castle, a 13th-century castle, located 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) south of Dumfries, Scotland

Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve, a National Nature Reserve in the Solway Firth, south-west Scotland

WWT Caerlaverock, a Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust nature reserve, located 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of Dumfries, Scotland

Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve

Caerlaverock is a national nature reserve (NNR) covering parts of the mudflats and shoreline of the Solway Firth about 10 km south of Dumfries, in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. It lies between the River Nith and the Lochar Water, and consists of a variety of wetland habitats including bare mud and sand, merse and marshes, and is fringed by neutral grassland on the landward side. A nature reserve was designated in 1957 at the instigation of the Duke of Norfolk. The NNR covers an area of 82 square kilometres (32 sq mi) and is an internationally important wintering site for waterfowl and wading birds.

The NNR is now managed by Scottish Natural Heritage, but remains under private ownership, being managed by SNH under lease agreements. As much of the reserve is intertidal, Crown Estate Scotland are one of the major landowners. Management of the site seeks to balance the human activities (fishing, wildfowling and farming interests) with those of nature.

Dundrennan Range

Dundrennan Range is a weapons testing range on the Solway Firth, near Kirkcudbright in Dumfries and Galloway, in south west Scotland. It is part of the Kirkcudbright Training Area, 4,700 acres (19 km2) of farming land acquired by the British Army in 1942 to train forces for the invasion of mainland Europe. The area includes a 15-by-19-mile (24 km × 31 km) sea danger area. The range takes its name from the nearby village of Dundrennan.

The range is the site of the Electro-Magnetic Launch Facility where, since 1993, the Ministry of Defence and the United States Army have been collaborating on a research project aimed at developing an electro-magnetic launcher, or railgun. The project was expected to continue until at least 2009.

In March 2018, the Ministry of Defence indicated that it was at the very early stages of plans to develop and enhance the training facilities at Dundrennan.

Eskdale (Scotland)

Eskdale (Gaelic: Eisgeadal) is a glen and former lordship in the county of Dumfriesshire, Scotland. The River Esk flows through Eskdale to its estuary at the Solway Firth.

In 1620, when 13 continuous days of snow occurred in Scotland, on Eskdale Moor only 35 of a flock of 20,000 sheep survived.

Luce Bay

Luce Bay is a large bay in Wigtownshire in southern Scotland. The bay is 20 miles wide at its mouth and is bounded by the Rhins of Galloway to the west and the Machars to the east.

Moricambe Bay

Moricambe Bay is an inlet of the Solway Firth in Cumbria (before 1974 in Cumberland) in north west England, created by the confluence of two rivers, the Waver and Wampool.


Mouswald is a rural village slightly east of Dumfries in south-west Scotland. It lies on the B724 south of the A75. The site views southward over the Solway Firth.

River Eden, Cumbria

The River Eden is a river that flows through the Eden District of Cumbria, England, on its way to the Solway Firth.

River Esk, Dumfries and Galloway

The River Esk (Scottish Gaelic: Easg), also called the Border Esk, is a river in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, that flows into the Solway Firth. It also flows for a small way through the English county of Cumbria before entering the Solway.

The river rises in the hills to the east of Moffat and its two main tributaries, the Black Esk and the White Esk, merge at the southern end of Castle O'er Forest. It flows south east through Eskdale past Langholm before merging with Liddel Water (which defines the border between Scotland and England. Before passing Longtown the river enters England and merges with the River Lyne and enters the Solway Firth near the mouth of the River Eden.

It was formerly one of the boundaries of the Debatable Lands as marked by the Scots' Dike.

The Scotland Act 1998 (Border Rivers) Order 1999 provides that functions relating to the management of salmon, trout, eels and freshwater fish in respect of the whole of the River Esk remain

with UK ministers: the Border Esk and its tributaries are the only rivers in Scotland where an Environment Agency rod licence is required for angling.

River Nith

For the river in southwestern Ontario, see Nith River.The River Nith (Scottish Gaelic: Abhainn Nid; Latin: Novius) is a river in south-west Scotland. The Nith rises in the Carsphairn hills of East Ayrshire, more precisely between Prickeny Hill and Enoch Hill, 4.4 miles (7.1 km) east of Dalmellington. For the majority of its course it flows in a southerly direction through Dumfries and Galloway and then into the Solway Firth at Airds point.The territory through which the river flows is called Nithsdale (historically known as "Stranit" from Scottish Gaelic: Strath Nid, "valley of the Nith").

Robin Rigg Wind Farm

Robin Rigg Wind Farm, Scotland's first offshore wind farm, was constructed by E.ON at Robin Rigg in the Solway Firth, a sandbank midway between the Galloway and Cumbrian coasts. The windfarm first generated power for test purposes on 9 September 2009. The wind farm was completed on 20 April 2010.

Rough Firth

Rough Firth is an inlet on the northern coast of the Solway Firth in the Stewartry area of Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. The firth lies between Almorness Point and Castlehill Point, and contains Rough Island. The village of Kippford stands near the head of the firth where the Urr Water reaches the sea; the only other coastal settlement of any size is Rockcliffe. The area is designated as the East Stewartry Coast National Scenic Area, one of the forty national scenic areas (NSAs) in Scotland.44 ha on the eastern side of the firth is owned by the National Trust for Scotland, forming the Rockcliffe property, which covers a stretch of coastline and several small islands (including Rough Island).

Solway Coast

The Solway Coast is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in northern Cumbria, United Kingdom. It incorporates two areas of coastline along the Solway Firth, the first running from just north of the city of Carlisle, at the estuary of the rivers Esk and Eden, in a westerly direction as far as

Silloth-on-Solway, including the villages of Bowness-on-Solway, Burgh-by-Sands, Port Carlisle, and Skinburness. The second area begins just north of the hamlet of Beckfoot, and runs south down the coast to the southern end of Allonby Bay near the village of Crosscanonby. Included in this area are the villages of Mawbray and Allonby, and the hamlets of Dubmill, Hailforth and Salta. The hamlet of Wolsty lies just outside the AONB. Beginning at Silloth, the B5300 coast road runs in a south-westerly direction, entering the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty just north of Beckfoot, and exiting near Crosscanonby. As indicated by its local name, the road sticks close to the coast, and travels the entire length of the southern section of the Solway Coast AONB.

Solway Firth Spaceman

The Solway Firth Spaceman (also known as the Solway Spaceman or the Cumberland Spaceman) is a figure seen in a photograph taken in 1964 by fireman, photographer, and local historian Jim Templeton (13 February 1920 – 27 November 2011).

The picture was taken on Burgh Marsh, situated near Burgh by Sands, overlooking the Solway Firth in Cumbria, England. Templeton claimed the photograph shows a background figure wearing a space suit and insisted that he did not see anyone present when the photograph was taken. The image was reproduced widely in contemporary newspapers and gained the interest of ufologists.A contemporary analysis concluded that the figure was the photographer's wife, standing with her back towards the camera, her dress appearing white due to overexposure.

We Are Not Your Kind

We Are Not Your Kind is the upcoming sixth studio album by American heavy metal band Slipknot. It is scheduled to be released on August 9, 2019, via Roadrunner Records. The album was produced by Greg Fidelman. The lead single, "Unsainted", was released on May 16, 2019, along with its music video. It is the band's first album since the firing of longtime member Chris Fehn. The title of the album is taken from a lyric off the band's standalone single "All Out Life" released on October 31, 2018, despite not being featured on the album.


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