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United Kingdom
The Queen's Loch.jpg
The Queen's Loch
[Interactive map]
Area: 1,950 square miles
Population: 378,933
County town: Aberdeen
County flower: Bearberry [1]

The County of Aberdeen is a shire in the Highlands of Scotland. It borders Kincardineshire, Angus and Perthshire to the south, Inverness-shire and Banffshire to the west, and the North Sea to the north and east. It has a coast-line of 65 miles. Aberdeenshire has a detached part locally situate in Banffshire south of Banff: Forming the northern part of the Banffshire parish of Alvah, it also forms a detached part of Aberdeenshire's ancient parish of King Edward.


Popular geography divides the traditional shire into five districts:

  1. Mar, mostly between the Dee and Don, which nearly covers the southern half of the county and contains the city of Aberdeen. It is mountainous, especially Braemar, which contains the greatest mass of elevated land in the British Isles. The Dee valley has sandy soil, the Don valley loamy.
  2. Formartine, between the lower Don and Ythan, has a sandy coast, which is succeeded inland by a clayey, fertile, tilled tract, and then by low hills, moors, mosses and tilled land.
  3. Buchan lies north of the Ythan, and comprising the north-east of the county, is next in size to Mar, parts of the coast being bold and rocky, the interior bare, low, flat, undulating and in places peaty. On the coast, six miles south of Peterhead, are the Bullers of Buchan – a basin in which the sea, entering by a natural arch, boils up violently in stormy weather. Buchan Ness is the most easterly point of Scotland.
  4. Garioch, in the centre of the shire, comprises a beautiful, undulating, loamy, fertile valley, formerly called the granary of Aberdeen.
  5. Strathbogie, occupying a considerable area south of the Deveron, mostly consists of hills, moors and mosses.

The mountains provide the most striking of the physical features of the county.

are the principal heights in the division of Mar

Farther north rise the Buck of Cabrach, 2,368 feet on the Banffshire border, Tap o' Noth, 1,830 feet, Bennachie, 1,698 feet, a beautiful peak which from its central position is a landmark visible from many different parts of the county, and which is celebrated in John Imlah's song, O gin I war faur the Gadie rins, and Foudland, 1,529 feet.

Loch Muick in winter

The chief rivers are the Dee, 90 miles long; the Don, 82 miles; the Ythan, 37 miles, with mussel-beds at its mouth; the Ugie, 20 miles, and the Deveron, 62 miles, partly on the boundary of Banffshire.

The rivers abound with salmon and trout, and the pearl mussel occurs in the Ythan and Don. A valuable pearl in the Scottish crown is said to be from the Ythan. Loch Muick, the largest of the few lakes in the county, 1,310 ft above the sea, 2½ miles long and ⅓ to ½ miles broad, lies some 8½ miles south-west of Ballater, and has Altnagiuthasach, a royal shooting-box, near its south-western end. Loch Strathbeg, 6 miles south-east of Fraserburgh, is only separated from the sea by a narrow strip of land. There are noted chalybeate springs at Peterhead, Fraserburgh, and Pannanich near Ballater.


Towns and villages


: Extends into Kincardineshire
: Shared with Banffshire
Additionally small parts of the parishes of Banchory-Ternan and Maryculter, otherwise in Kincardineshire, extend into Aberdeenshire.


Aberdeen railway station

In the south of the county, Aberdeen has rail links with Stonehaven, Montrose and Dundee, and to the north-west a line runs to Inverness via Huntly, Keith and Elgin.

Branch lines from various points used to run to several smaller towns, e.g. from Aberdeen to Ballater by Deeside, from Aberdeen to Fraserburgh (with a branch at Maud for Peterhead and at Ellon for Cruden Bay and Boddam), from Kintore to Alford, and from Inverurie to Old Meldrum and also to Macduff.[1] These lines all closed, largely as a result of the Beeching Axe in the 1960s, they now serve as local pathways or bicycle tracks.

By sea Aberdeenshire has regular communication with the Orkney and the Shetland Islands.[1]

The highest of the macadamized roads crossing the eastern Grampians rises to a point 2,200 feet above sea-level.[1]

Over the 20th century road and air communications were much improved. Aberdeen Airport is an international airport, located at Dyce, a suburb of Aberdeen, approximately five nautical miles north-west of Aberdeen city centre.[2] A total of nearly 3½ million passengers used the airport in 2015, a fall of 6.8% compared with 2014.[3]

Places of interest


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