At the time of submission, OS maps show the name "Spout of the White Horse" in this area. The OS Object Name Book describes it as "a tolerably large waterfall on the Burn Crooks". At the time of submission, the 1:25000 OS map names the burn incorrectly, calling it "Burn Crook", but the correct form, "Burn Crooks", is shown at other scales; see NS4778 : The valley of Burn Crooks
. I also believe that the waterfall is incorrectly named, as I explain in the second half of this item.
The present photograph shows a cascade corresponding to the site of the original waterfall; the area was greatly affected by the building of NS4879 : Burncrooks Reservoir
(completed in 1914), and the scene shown here does not bear much resemblance to the one that the early map-makers would have encountered. For example, the embankment in the background is a NS4879 : Man-made pathway across Burn Crook
, associated with the building of the reservoir; in addition, there is an artificial channel with gabions (stones contained in wire mesh), part of which can be seen at the lower-left corner of the photograph.
In his book, "The Waterfalls of Scotland" (1987), Louis Stott says that "the name is, perhaps, a corruption of White Hawes where the old drove road crossed the burn" (he presumably meant White Haughs, shown at c.NS47538099
on the 1:25000 map; a "haugh" is flat riverside meadow, suitable for grazing): see NS4780 : View towards White Haughs
One mile to the south-west of the site shown in the present photograph is a waterfall called the NS4778 : Spout of the Three Marches
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I believe that, long ago, the name of this waterfall was confused with that of another, and that the true Spout of the White Horse is located elsewhere.
An early-nineteenth-century map called "Plan of Dumbarton Muir with the Disputed Marches ..." – see Link
for details – precedes the first Ordnance Survey maps of this area; in fact, it was an authority cited for many of the names that appear on the first OS maps.
That map shows a waterfall called "Laroch Rig Fall" here, just south of the meeting of this burn and the Glen of the House Burn. That name is probably accurate, since the present-day place NS4879 : Lairich Rig
is very close.
Where, then, was the true (i.e., original) Spout of the White Horse? The early-nineteenth-century "Plan of Dumbarton Muir" applies that name to the more westerly of two burns that join to form the Carling Burn (perhaps referring to those that meet at NS46788050
). The present-day OS map shows a waterfall at NS46927989
; it cannot be said for certain that the original Spout of the White Horse was there – amongst other things, forestry planting may have wrought some changes – but it is possible.
The explanation given above for the name of the fall, namely, that it is related to the "White Haughs" shown on the map, not only remains applicable when applied to the other falls, but becomes more intelligible, since the Carling Burn flows directly to White Haughs.
In contrast, the falls that are currently called "Spout of the White Horse" on the map have no obvious connection to White Haughs, the two locations being almost a mile apart on the Burn Crooks.