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Banchory highstreet.jpg
Banchory High Street
Banchory is located in Aberdeenshire
Location within Aberdeenshire
Population7,560 (mid-2016 est.)[1]
OS grid referenceNO698958
• Edinburgh81 mi (130 km)
• London395 mi (636 km)
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtAB31
Dialling code01330
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
57°03′18″N 2°29′24″W / 57.055°N 2.49°W / 57.055; -2.49Coordinates: 57°03′18″N 2°29′24″W / 57.055°N 2.49°W / 57.055; -2.49

Banchory (/ˈbæŋxəri/, Scots: Banchry,[2] Scottish Gaelic: Beannchar) is a burgh or town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is about 18 miles (29 km) west of Aberdeen, near where the Feugh River meets the River Dee.

Prehistory and archaeology[edit]

In 2009, a farmer discovered a short cist burial to the east of the town. Archaeologists were called into excavate it and they found that it was a burial from the Beaker culture. Radiocarbon dating put the burial at sometime between 2330–2040 BC. Stable isotope analysis of the human remains indicated that he or she grew up on basalt geology, like that of the region, or on chalk, meaning their were either local could have from another place, like Yorkshire. Residue analysis of the Beaker pot found in the burial established that it had held either butter or milk.[3]


The name is thought to be derived from an early Christian settlement founded by St Ternan. It is claimed that Ternan was a follower of St Ninian. Tradition has it that he established his settlement on the banks of the River Dee on what was later to become the kirkyard of the medieval parish of Banchory-Ternan.[4] The village and parish retained the name until the 1970s. The original Gaelic form is almost identical to that of Bangor, of similar meaning, and also the site of a monastery, in Northern Ireland. Relics associated with St. Ternan were preserved by hereditary keepers at Banchory until the Scottish Reformation. Two early Christian cross-slabs survive in or near the old churchyard on the site of the early church. One is built into a corner of the 'mort house' in the churchyard, and shows two crosses incised in a worn pink granite slab. The other is a ringed cross in relief built into the wall facing the main road outside the churchyard.


Banchory is the largest town in the area and has a High Street. There are a number of hotels and restaurants including the Stag Hotel, Scott Skinners Bar and Restaurant, the Burnett Arms, and the Douglas Arms. The shops include newsagents, sports shops and chemists. Since the 1970s, the town has grown steadily. Since 2001 there has been rapid expansion. A large forested area 'the Hill of Banchory', owned by the Burnett family (owners of Crathes Castle), to the north east of the town has been replaced by a large housing estate and an influx of new residents. The Hill of Banchory primary school was opened in 2006 to cater for the increased population.

The Kinneskie Road drill hall was completed in around 1908.[5]

Land use[edit]

As a small rural town, surrounded by forestry and agricultural land, Banchory has seen considerable expansion in recent years. Development pressure continues to be strong[citation needed] and the town's population now exceeds 7,500. As Banchory expands, more demands are placed on local infrastructure such as doctors, dentists, sports facilities, swimming pool and schools. In recent years, the Bellfield Doctor's Surgery, the Fountain Dental Surgery, the Morrisons Supermarket and Banchory Academy have all undergone extended and upgraded facilities. In 2010, Tesco built an eco-store to the east of the town.

Banchory Academy is a state secondary school, with a school roll capacity of 900.[6] Despite strong opposition from the local community,[citation needed] a retirement home 'Dalvenie Gardens' was built on land next to the Academy in the 1990s. The planning process was taken to the Scottish Office where local opposition was over-ruled.[citation needed] The retirement home opened in 2001 and has restricted expansion of the Academy and the adjacent sports centre.

The pressure for development and the value of land in Banchory means that the Primary and Secondary School Campus area is being considered for sale to housing developers, with sites for a new Academy and a new Primary being investigated.[citation needed]

Tourism and culture[edit]

Banchory is known as the Gateway to Royal Deeside.[7]

The small town museum recognises that this is the birthplace of James Scott Skinner and supports many local traditional musicians and singers and also has a fine selection of local archaeology. Local landmarks include Scolty hill; a hill topped by a tower monument, a memorial to General Burnett who fought alongside Wellington.

Until 1966 Banchory had a railway station on the Aberdeen to Ballater line

The immediate area is rich in Pictish archaeological sites with numerous stone circles being present in woodlands surrounding the town. Localised excavations of such sites have yielded numerous artefacts including jewellery made from polished local granite and early rudimentary forms of bottle openers.

Local sports teams include Banchory St Ternan football club, Banchory Community Football Club (Football), Banchory Amateurs (Football), Deeside RFC (Rugby), the Banchory Beavers swimming team and the Banchory Stags Basketball Club. Banchory has three summer league football teams (Banchory thistle, Banchory youngstars and Banchory stoats) which compete in the mid-Deeside summer league. There is also the Lirvob-dna-Eip (Pie-and-Bovril) bowls team.

Despite an inadequate and shallow 20 metre swimming pool, which cannot be used for swimming competitions, Banchory Beavers swim team achieves national success. Aberdeenshire Council have agreed to include in their Capital Plan the building of a Sports Facility at Hill of Banchory. To ensure the project is providing the facilities that the community requires a substantial financial contribution is necessary to be raised from the Community which will guarantee a six lane swimming pool, a learner pool, a four court sports hall, be built.[8]

Banchory River Festival is held every June and features a weekend of varied activities and attractions for all ages. The main event is held on the Saturday in the Bellfield Park, Banchory with dozens of stalls each with their own unique feature.[9]

The Banchory show is held every July and attracts a good sized crowd to King George V Park. There is an Agricultural Show, Dog Show, Craft Fair, Highland Dancing Competition and the Scolty Hill Race, as well as traditional fairground stalls and games.[10]

The Royal Deeside Railway[11] originating at Milton of Crathes will shortly run to Banchory; this line is part of the original line to Ballater.

Scotland's only Rum distillery, Dark Matter Distillers, is located on the outskirts of Banchory.[12]


Banchory has its own internal bus service, introduced in 2020.[13] The town is on the Deeside Way, a shared pedestrian and cycle path which runs along the trackbed of the former Deeside Railway.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mid-2016 Population Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland". National Records of Scotland. 12 March 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Map of Scotland in Scots" (PDF). Scots Language Centre. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  3. ^ "Vol 83 (2019): Knappach Toll, Balbridie: a late 3rd-millennium bc Beaker burial on Deeside, Aberdeenshire | Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports". Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  4. ^ David Jameson, W. Stewart Wilson (1999). Old Banchory. Catrine, Ayrshire: Stenlake Publishing. p. 3. ISBN 9781840330878.
  5. ^ "Banchory, 17 Kinneskie Road, Drill Hall". Canmore. Retrieved 26 June 2017.[permanent dead link] (The 1:2500, 2nd edition, Ordnance Survey Plan, published in 1904-1905, does not show the drill hall)
  6. ^ "Aberdeenshire's Towns - Banchory" (PDF). Aberdeenshire Council. 2019. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  7. ^ "Banchory". Discover Royal Deeside. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013.
  8. ^ "By Banchory - For Banchory". Banchory Sports Village. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Banchory Show". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2007.
  11. ^ "Royal Deeside Railway". Archived from the original on 25 May 2011. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  12. ^ "Dark Matter Spiced Rum - Scottish Rum Distillery".
  13. ^ "Stagecoach phases in an increase in Aberdeenshire bus services". Grampian Online. 25 June 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  14. ^ "Former Fellows of The Royal Society of Edinburgh" (PDF). Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Royal Air Force".

External links[edit]