Aberdeenshire

Aberdeenshire is a county in the north east of Scotland. It’s a long way north – the coastline around Fraserburgh is further north than Newfoundland – but it’s mostly lowland, fertile and productive, having more in common with the central belt of Scotland than with the Highlands. To the west however are the Grampian Mountains, with the scenic River Dee flowing out. Time was, if you were wealthy and needed a comfortable base to collect your farm rents while impressing the salons of London with your credentials as a Clan Chieftain, then what you needed was a castle in Aberdeenshire. And there are lots and lots of them.

. . . Aberdeenshire . . .

Map of Aberdeenshire

Map of Aberdeenshire

  • 57.1526-2.111 Aberdeen is the only city, built of grey granite. Its most interesting areas are around Union Street and “Old Aberdeen” a couple of miles north. Lots of museums, galleries and visitor amenities, and it’s the transport focus for the county. 57.154-2.2841 Westhill is a small commuter town just west.

The county’s red sandstone reaches the coast in a line of cliffs, interspersed with small fishing ports, where whaling and herring fishing were once major industries:

  • 56.964-2.2111 Stonehaven 15 miles south of Aberdeen has the clifftop ruins of Dunnottar Castle.
  • Then comes Aberdeen itself. Continuing north, find
  • 57.366-2.0861 Ellon , Cruden Bay, 57.5091-1.78321 Peterhead and 57.693-2.0051 Fraserburgh. Here the coastline turns west along the Moray Firth.
  • 57.666-2.3331 Gardenstown has red sandstone cliffs, rows of prettily-painted traditional fishermen’s cottages and a beach. It’s one of the most attractive villages in Scotland.
  • 57.667-2.5241 Banff, with neighbouring Macduff, has Banff Castle and Adam-designed Duff House.
  • 57.683-2.6881 Portsoy has a well-preserved old harbour and the ruins of Findlater Castle.

The A96 crosses the top of the county between Aberdeen and Elgin, through gently rolling countryside and farmland. Small places in this triangle include:

  • 57.28-2.381 Inverurie and 57.335-2.321 Oldmeldrum are commuter towns for Aberdeen. East, towards Ellon and Methlick, is Tolquhon Castle, while to the north is Fyvie Castle.
  • 57.425-2.241 Methlick has grand Haddo House and what’s left of Gight Castle, Byron’s ancestral home.
  • 57.446-2.7881 Huntly has the ruins of Huntly castle.

The River Dee runs out of the Grampian Mountains along a scenic valley, accessed by A93.

  • Near 57.055-2.491 Banchory are Drum Castle and Crathes Castle. To the north is Lumphanan, where Macbeth (the real one) made his last stand, and beyond that is Craigevar Castle.
  • The mountains west of here are part of Cairngorms National Park. Above 57.0448-3.049421 Ballater is Queen Victoria’s rural retreat, Balmoral Castle.
  • At 57.006-3.3991 Braemar a lane continues up the valley to scenic Linn of Dee. The main road climbs south over the bleak moor towards Glenshee ski area then Perth.

. . . Aberdeenshire . . .

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. . . Aberdeenshire . . .