Dancing with the Devil

One of the most dramatic locations in Scotland is the Devil’s Beef Tub. Rising about 6 miles north of the Galloway town of Moffat a walk  over Annanhead Hill (above the source of the River Tweed) and around the rim of the spectacular Devil’s Beef Tub, where steep slopes drop into the glen below, provides a magnificent vantage point over much of southern Scotland – it is a remarkable spot but not for the faint hearted.

The Devil’s Beef Tub used to be called the Corrie of Annan but when the Marquis of Annandale, and his band of notorious reivers used the yawning chasm to hoard cattle stolen in predatory raid during the 16th century, it became known as the Beef Tub or the Marquis of Annandale’s Beef Stand.

Further down the glen is Corehead, which has become famous for its association with William Wallace, whose sister married Sir Thomas Halliday; he was the laird of Corehead Tower, which stood beneath Great Hill near the Beef Tub. It is reputed that Wallace gathered men from Ettrick Forest and Border clans at Corehead and from the tower led his first attack against the English in 1297.

On the other side of the glen stands the little Covenanters Memorial, which commemorates John Hunter who was shot and killed by Douglas’ Dragoons (the Douglas being Colonel James Douglas who was responsible for the martyrdom of many Covenanters) in 1685 across the glen from where the memorial stands. John Hunter was one of a number of men who had been taking part in an illegal Covenanters meeting when the Dragoons spotted them. The men dispersed and most, including James Welsh, John Hunter’s neighbour, managed to escape. Unfortunately Hunter was not so fortunate and he is buried a few miles away in Tweedsmuir Kirkyard.

The near vertical slopes of Annanhead Hill from the Devil's Beef Tub
The near vertical slopes of Annanhead Hill from the Devil’s Beef Tub
The Covenanters and the Devil's Beef Tub
The Covenanters Memorial and the Devil’s Beef Tub

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