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Gaelic: An Innis or Innis Mo Bheathain
Insch viewed from Dunnideer.jpg
Insch viewed from the foot of Hill of Dunnideer
Grid reference: NJ632280
Location: 57°20’28"N, 2°36’47"W
Population: 2,282  (2011)
Post town: Insch
Postcode: AB52
Dialling code: 01464
Local Government
Council: [Aberdeenshire

Insch is a village and parish in Aberdeenshire. It is located approximately 28 miles from the county town, the city of Aberdeen.


The name of the village may have come from the Scottish Gaelic innis, meaning an island, or, as in this context, a piece of terra firma in a marsh. [1] Alternatively, inch or innis can refer to a meadow or low-lying pasture which more closely corresponds with the site of the village. [2] Innis also indicates the presence of water - a river, loch or estuary, perhaps - often seen as Inch in place names, as in Perth's famous North and South Inches on the west bank of the River Tay. [3][4] Inchnadamph at the eastern end of Loch Assynt is another example. Innis can also be translated as haven or sanctuary - an island where you can be safe from your enemies as much as a resting place on the cattle drove.

This latter meaning is reflected lyrically in Yeats' Innisfree ('heathered haven').


Dunnideer Castle, just outside Insch

In the Middle Ages, the village was home to a colony of Flemish merchants.


The village is served by Insch railway station and has regular bus services to Huntly and Inverurie with connections to Aberdeen and Inverness.


There is a Butcher shop on the High Street and there are a small selection of general and specialist shops, and a post office. There is also a leisure centre with a variety of activities as well as a café next to which there is an 18-hole golf course. There is also a (greens) bowling club attached to the local library.

There are Church of Scotland and Episcopal churches.

There is one hotel: The Commercial Hotel, towards the centre of the village. A growing number of houses are offering Bed and Breakfast facilities in response to demand from migrant workers.


Within the village there is a nursery and a primary school, Insch Primary School. For secondary education, the pupils usually attend The Gordon Schools in Huntly or sometimes Inverurie Academy in Inverurie.

Insch Golf Club

The game of golf in Insch was first recorded before World War I, with the course being laid around Dunnideer Hill. It was then moved to its present location around 1923 where it existed until 1940, when the ground was seconded by the War Department for use as a grenade range.

Famous residents

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has connections to Insch; his mother's family lived, and ran a business in the village for many years.[5]


  1. Watson, W.J., Celtic Placenames of Scotland, (Edinburgh, 1926)
  2. Smith, Alexander (Ed.). A New History of Aberdeenshire in Two Parts: Part II, Lewis Smith, Aberdeen, 1875.
  3. Watson, W.J. Place-Names of Ross and Cromarty, 1904, reprinted in paperback 1996 by Highland Heritage Books).
  4. "Glossary of Gaelic origins of place names in Britain (G to L)", Ordnance Survey, accessed 30 September 2007

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