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Our river festival recognises and explores our town’s long relationship with the river and its importance to the people & communities it connects, both past, present, and future.


The Nith is a tidal river that runs through the historic market town of Dumfries, connecting the town to the sea, which in the 18th century saw the town and its neighbouring villages of Glencaple and Kingholm Quay become Scotland’s largest and busiest trading ports.

The river’s importance to Dumfries as the region’s largest market town is immortalised in the Nithraid logo. Our festival mascot, ‘Salty Coo’ symbolises the historic journey made by herds of cattle, led by their farmers, across the river at low tide, from Maxwelltown on the west bank to the cattle market at Whitesands on the east side of the river. This historic crossing site now marks the half-way point of the Nithraid River Race.





What’s in store for you


Teams of intrepid sailors take to the Nith in their vessels to race on the river, battling it out for the best time.


Discover why the River Nith is so important, not only to Dumfries, but to the entire country of Scotland.


Take part in interactive activities and get creative with lots to do for all the family.

2024 F.A.Q’s

What time does the race start?

Nithraid 2024 will be upstream with the tide from Glencaple to Dumfries. The race starts in Glencaple at 15:00. Because of the strength of the flood tide, there will be a staggered running start. Details will be confirmed at the race briefing.

What time are the boats expected in Dumfries?

The boats are expected to start arriving at Mill Green in Dumfries around 15:30, although wind direction and weather conditions on the day may affect this.

Where is the best place to watch the race?

The best spot to watch is from Mill Green in Dumfries, but there are plenty of spots along the river where you’ll get an excellent view of the boats. There will be a selection of activity available to those watching the race at Mill Green. We advise not to go to Glencaple to watch, unless you are a resident or part of a race entrant party, as parking and space is extremely limited.

How long is the course?

The course distance is 5.25 miles. The timing takes advantage of the tide. With the wind assisting it will take sailing boats about 1 hour. Against the wind it could take 2 hours. Normal winds in August are SW. The incoming tide can be quite strong at Glencaple, care must be taken when launching. There is a bore on the Nith and launching will take place after it has passed.

Where do I park in Glencaple?

Parking will be available to those taking part in the River Race in Glencaple. There will be stewards on hand to direct you where to park. There is very limited parking in Glencaple for those spectating. Please note that this parking is reserved for those racing only.

Important information for racers / competitors

Competitors that signed up for Nithraid 2024 via Eventbrite will receive an email including a competitors pack. You can also view the full competitors pack, and the course notes and race rules via the buttons below. If you have any further questions, please send us an email at [email protected].


[email protected]
01387 252 435

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