An article from

'The Topographical, Statistical, and Historical Gazetteer of Scotland'

Published by A.Fullarton and Co. - 1848


GARNOCK (The), a small river in the district of Cunningham, Ayrshire. It rises at the foot of a very high hill in the moor called the Misty-law, at the boundary between Cunningham, or the parish of Kilbirnie, and Renfrewshire. During 5 miles it flows south-eastward; and then, during 2 miles it flows due south; intersecting, over nearly the whole distance, the parish of Kilbirnie, and, at the middle point of its southerly course, sweeping past Kilbirnie village. Having now entered the parish of Dairy, it flows 3 miles, including two considerable sinuosities, in a south-westerly direction; and it then resumes its southerly course, and flows 8 or 9 miles through the parish of Kilwinning and between the parishes of Irvine on the east, and Stevenston on the west, to the sea at Irvine harbour, contributing with Irvine water to form the small estuary above Irvine mouth, and performing some remarkably frolicsome and serpentine evolutions before debouching from the plain. Immediately after its origin, it runs clear, dimpling, and beautiful down the hills; and, before reaching Kilbirnie village, tumbles noisily over a rocky and declivitous bed of porphyry, forming a wild and lonely cataract, known as 'the Spout of Garnock.' In Dairy parish, it moves slowly, with an average breadth of 60 feet, through a fertile plain, upon a gravelly bed; and receives on its right bank the important tributes of the Rye and the Gaaf. Further on, it is joined on the left by Dusk water; and thence to the sea, it flows through a level and richly wooded country, sweeping past the town of Kilwinning, and making a confluence with the opulent stream of Lugton water. During all the lower part of its course, it, on the one hand, enriches the district with an abundant supply of salmon and various kinds of trouts, and, on the other, menaces it with an occasional devastating freshet {A sudden overflow of a stream resulting from a heavy rain or a thaw.}. On the 19th of September, 1790, this river though always subject to overflows rose 4 feet higher than it was known ever to have done before; and prostrated and destroyed the standing corn in many fields, and careered away to the sea with heavy freights of crops which had been cut. Its entire length of course is about 20 miles.  





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