dow craig

Place-name:Dow Craig
Suggested Meaning:pigeon crag
1st elementS. dow ‘pigeon, dove’
2nd elementS. craig ‘crag, rock’
Blaeu Coila (1654):No Entry
OS Name Books (1855-57):Dow Craig
Location:Ordnance Survey (1892-1960)

The Ordnance Survey Name Book (1855-57) entry for Dow Craig reads –

A ledge of rock and some [?] on an angle in Beoch Lane Burn near Waterhead. Dow – A Dove – Jamieson

The Dow Craig sat within a loop of the Beoch Lane about half-a-mile from where it joins the River Nith down stream. The entry from John Jamieson’s ‘Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language’ (1808) is also included, i.e. Scots dow ‘dove’, so Dow Craig is ‘pigeon crag’ [1,2]].

Map 1 Dow Craig | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Although in the photograph below (2003) the Dow Craig is seen to becovered in rushes, grasses and birch trees the ledge of rocks can still be seen.

Dow Craig and Beoch Lane (Photo 2003 Robert Guthrie)

As part of the House of Water opencast operations the course of the Beoch Lane was greatly altered at the Dow Craig where the loop has now gone and the Lane now flows due east to meet with the Nith. It is unclear if the Dow Craig survived these operations.

As well as the Dow Craig in New Cumnock the name appears in the Ordnance Survey Name Books for East Lothian, Fife & Kinross, Kirkcudbrightshire and Midlothian. The one from Kirkcudbrightshire makes amusing reading –

…it is and has been a favourite resort of a species of birds called “Doos”wild pigeons, hence the name.

Sir Herbert Maxwell [3] refers to this Kirkcudbright Dow Craig as follows –

‘Twynholm’ L.Sc. Pigeons’ Crag “Dow, a dove” – Jamieson


[1] Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd | doo, dow
[2] Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd | craig
[3] Sir Herbert Maxwell, ‘The Place-Names of Galloway’ (1913)
Reproduced with the Permission of the National Library of Scotland
Map 1 | Ordnance Survey (1892-1960) |Dow Craig
Ordnance Survey Name Books
By Permission of Scotland’s Places
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49| Dow Craig
Kirkcudbrightshire OS Name Books Vol. 129 (1848-51) | Dow Craig