Rammer Cleugh (*) and the meltwater channel systems on the northern flanks of the Lammermuirs

streetmap location

A simplified version of Brian Sisson's (1958) diagram of this meltwater channel system


meltwater channel

MWC erosion

MWC recognition

MWC systems

MWC types

Cairngorm MWCs


The entrance of Rammer Cleugh              1. Rammer Cleugh  2. Sub-glacial chute channel  3. Possible esker








The up-down long profile of Rammer Cleugh, redrawn from Jackes (1976)







The exit of the Rammer Cleugh channel.     1. Rammer Cleugh  2. Kame terraces        3. Meltwater channel

Rammer Cleugh

Significance: this fine set of landforms created by glacial meltwater was first described in 1866. Detailed mapping by Brian Sissons in 1958 led to a fundamental revision of the origin of meltwater channels in Scotland (Gordon, 1993).

Rammer Cleugh is a 60 m deep former meltwater channel on the flanks of the Lammermuirs. The valley cuts through a spur and the floor rises to a col between Deuchrie and Hartside. Its size, up-down profile and insignificant modern drainage system mark out the Rammer Cleugh as an excellent example of a large sub-glacial meltwater channel. Smaller rock-cut channels run sub-parallel to the main trench and drop into it. These represent sub-glacial chutes developed at a time when the thinning ice margin lay against the flanks of the Lammermuirs. The whole system was occupied during the decay of the last ice sheet, as shown by the extensive gravel terraces at the channel outlet. It is likely however that the channel was cut first at an earlier time.

This channel was described by Kendall and the Bailey (1908) as the finest example of a dry valley in the county. The channel is very impressive, being long, steep-sided and 60 m deep in places and carved through solid rock. The original valley sides would have an even steeper, being free from the present scree, which mantles part of the slopes. It is a winding channel with an up and down profile, indicating a former powerful flow of meltwater moving under subglacial pressure in an ice tunnel.

At the channel exit lies a series of kame terraces. These terraces probably developed as gravel-filled ponds and cavities at the ice margin and beneath the thinning ice. There is also an esker on the channel floor. Worthy of note is the fan built by another Rammer Cleugh burn - an example of a corrom, an old term for a delta watershed, here formed by the tributary flowing onto level-floored glacial drainage channel and depositing bed load in a fan.