Devil's Beef Tub **

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The Devil's Beef Tub from the A701 cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Andrew King -


The Devil's Beeftub sits about 5 miles north of Moffat on the A701 road to Edinburgh known by locals as the "Beeftub Road". It is a hollow that nestles between four hills whilst the Annan River flows through its valley floor. It is a very tranquil and serene site but this feeling of calmness does not equate with its turbulent past.

The Beeftub sits in the historic Western March which during the Reiver period in Scottish history, from around 1300 to 1610, was a place to keep stolen cattle until they could be driven to markets for sale. The word Reiver mean to thieve or to steal and along this part of the Anglo Scots border, for over 300 years in the late medieval period, clans and families vied for supremacy. The clan chiefs rarely listened to the monarchs in either Edinburgh or London. Scottish Reiver Clans in the area such as Johnstone, Armstrong and Moffat would work together at times to steal the livestock of English Reivers over the border and would secure them at this point overnight. The hollow gained its nickname as it was seen as the work of the Devil whilst the hollow gave protection to watch over the stolen beef cattle. There is a cairn of stones on the slope of the Beef Tub which marks the spot where a man called John Hunter, desperately trying to evade the dragons, was killed. In 1685 at the height of the "killing times", attending a Presbyterian field meeting could result in you being killed as an enemy of the State.

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