The river rises in the Moorfoot Hills in Midlothian and most of its course is run in that county. It flows southwards form its spring, swelling with many of the burns off the Moorfoots, its course followed by the A7 road. At Crookstones the Gala is joined by a larger river, the Heriot Water, but the two continue united as the Gala.
Continuing south, the first village the river meets is Stow, Midlothian, on the A7. Just below the bridge at Bowland the Gala Water enters Selkirkshire and after a few hundred yards it begins to form the border between Selkirkshire and Peeblesshire, down to Galashiels, which town is thus divided between the two shires.
At the south-eastern edge of Galashiels, the Gala enters the River Tweed.
In popular culture
A local song, The Braw Lads O Gala Watter" is a song about people from Galashiels.
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