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Alford, Aberdeenshire facts for kids

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Alford
Main Street, Alford - geograph.org.uk - 288309.jpg
Alford is located in Aberdeen
Alford
Alford
Population 2,520 (mid-2015 est.)
OS grid reference NJ5716
• Edinburgh 90 mi (145 km)
• London 409 mi (658 km)
Council area
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Alford
Postcode district AB33
Police Grampian
Fire Grampian
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament
  • West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine
Scottish Parliament
  • Aberdeenshire West
List of places
UK
Scotland
57°14′N 2°43′W / 57.23°N 02.71°W / 57.23; -02.71Coordinates: 57°14′N 2°43′W / 57.23°N 02.71°W / 57.23; -02.71

Alford (pronounced  Scots: Aaford or Awfort, Scottish Gaelic: Athfort) is a large village in Aberdeenshire, north-east Scotland, lying just south of the River Don. It lies within the Howe of Alford (also called the Vale of Alford) which occupies the middle reaches of the River Don.

The place-name is thought to come from the Scots auld ford; its original position being on the banks of the Don. The "L" sound in the word has, over time, been dropped, and is silent. Alternatively, the name could be a tautology; a combination of ath and ford, both meaning 'ford' in Gaelic and Scots respectively. Alford gave its name to a battle of the Battle of Alford (1645). It is also the home of the Aberdeen Angus cattle breed, which is celebrated by a life-sized model of a bull on the edge of the village, which the Queen Mother inaugurated in 2001. It is believed that the original breeding ground of the cattle was Buffal, located between Tough (Tulloch) and Craigievar nearby Alford. Another claim to fame for the town is Alford Oatmeal, ground at Montgarrie, just outside the town. Alford also sports the Alford Community Campus, with a library and pool.

The Alford Valley Railway, Grampian Transport Museum, Alford Heritage Museum and Craigievar Castle are popular visitor attractions, with a range of other archaeological sites, stone circles, and castles (including Balfluig Castle, Castle Fraser and Drum Castle) being within easy reach by road. One stone circle, originally believed to be prehistoric, turned out to be a 20-year-old replica. Situated in Alford, Haughton Country Park is a large and popular green space with a caravan park and woodland walks. The 18 hole Alford Golf Club is an attractive and pleasant course which has a large local membership.

Public transport

There is a bus service connecting with Aberdeen, approximately 28 miles (45 km) away. There is much new housebuilding going on in Alford as of 2006 to cater for a workforce who mainly commute in Aberdeen to work in the oil industry. Bus services are operated by Stagecoach with dialabus services being operated by Aberdeenshire Council. Bus services connecting Alford to Aberdeen go by two different routes:

  • the X18 goes via Westhill (hourly)
  • the X20 goes via Kintore and Kemnay.

Notable residents

  • Alford is the birthplace of the renowned poet, Charles Murray
  • Stewart Milne, chairman of both the Stewart Milne Group and Aberdeen Football Club was born nearby and attended school in Alford
  • John Forbes, minister exiled by James VI, Moderator in 1605
  • Lord Forbes, of Forbes Castle
  • James Gordon, Moderator in 1734
  • William McCombie, pioneer Aberdeen Angus breeder
  • Laura Main, actress in Call the Midwife
  • Emeli Sandé, singer/songwriter, Album 'Our Version Of Events' 2012. Olympic opening ceremony performer.
  • Dougie Gray, Rangers F.C. fullback
  • William Minto, critic and novelist
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