|Scottish Gaelic: Athfort|
|Scots: Aaford or Awfort|
Alford shown within Aberdeenshire
|Population||1,925  (2001 census)
est. 2,050 (2006)
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine|
|Scottish Parliament||Aberdeenshire West|
Alford (pronounced i// 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 world popular Aberdeen Angus cattle breed, which is celebrated by a life-sized model of a bull on the edge of the town. 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 the world famous Alford Oatmeal, ground at Montgarrie, just outside the town.
Probably due to Alford's relative isolation and large catchment area, there are a large number of services in the village, including three banks, a supermarket, three garages, a bakery and a wide range of other shops. There is also a dry ski slope, swimming pool and public library.
The Alford Valley Railway, Grampian Transport Museum, Alford Heritage Centre 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. 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.
There is a bus service connecting with Aberdeen, approximately 25 miles (40 km) away. There is much new housebuilding going on in Alford as of 2006[update] 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:
- 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
- Lord Forbes, of Forbes Castle
- William McCombie, Pioneer Aberdeen Angus breeder
- Emeli Sandé, singer/song-writer, Album 'Our Version Of Events' 2012. Olympic opening ceremony performer.
- Dougie Gray, Rangers F.C. fullback
- "Rannsaich an Stòr-dàta Briathrachais Gàidhlig" (in Scottish Gaelic). .smo.uhi.ac.uk. 2010-11-10. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- Scots Language Centre: Scottish Place Names in Scots
- The Online Scots Dictionary.
- "Comparative Population Profile: Alford Locality". Scotland's Census Results Online. 2001-04-29. Retrieved 2008-08-31.
- [dead link]
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