Last updated

Siorrachd Obar Dheathain
Aberdeenshire in Scotland.svg
Aberdeenshire Council.svg
Coordinates: 57°9′3.6″N2°7′22.8″W / 57.151000°N 2.123000°W / 57.151000; -2.123000
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country Scotland
Lieutenancy areas Aberdeenshire, Banffshire (Part), Kincardineshire
Admin HQ Aberdeen
  Body Aberdeenshire Council
  Control Con + LD + Ind (council NOC)
  Total2,437 sq mi (6,313 km2)
  Rank Ranked 4th
  Rank Ranked 6th
  Density110/sq mi (42/km2)
GSS code S12000034
ISO 3166 code GB-ABD
Website www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk

Aberdeenshire (Scots : Aiberdeenshire; Scottish Gaelic : Siorrachd Obar Dheathain) is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland.


It takes its name from the County of Aberdeen, which has substantially different boundaries. The Aberdeenshire Council area includes all of the area of the historic counties of Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire (except the area making up Aberdeen City council area), as well as part of Banffshire. The county boundaries are officially used for a few purposes, namely land registration and lieutenancy. [1]

Aberdeenshire Council is headquartered at Woodhill House, in Aberdeen, making it the only Scottish council whose headquarters are located outside its jurisdiction. Aberdeen itself forms a different council area (Aberdeen City). Aberdeenshire borders onto Angus and Perth and Kinross to the south, Highland and Moray to the west and Aberdeen City to the east.

Traditionally, it has depended economically on the primary sector (agriculture, fishing, and forestry) and related processing industries. Over the last 40 years, the development of the oil and gas industry and associated service sector has broadened Aberdeenshire's economic base, and contributed to a rapid population growth of some 50% since 1975. [2] Its land represents 8% of Scotland's overall territory. It covers an area of 6,313 square kilometres (2,437 sq mi). [3] [4]


1654 map covering "Aberdonia & Banfia" (Banffshire) Blaeu - Atlas of Scotland 1654 - ABERDONIA & BANFIA - Aberdeenshire and Banffshire.jpg
1654 map covering "Aberdonia & Banfia" (Banffshire)
Topographic map of Aberdeenshire and Moray Aberdeen Aberdeenshire Moray topo.png
Topographic map of Aberdeenshire and Moray

Aberdeenshire has a rich prehistoric and historical heritage. It is the locus of a large number of Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological sites, including Longman Hill, Kempstone Hill, Catto Long Barrow and Cairn Lee. The area was settled in the Bronze Age by the Beaker culture, who arrived from the south around 2000–1800 BC. [5] Stone circles and cairns were constructed predominantly in this era. In the Iron Age, hill forts were built. [5] Around the 1st century AD, the Taexali people, who have left little history, were believed to have resided along the coast. [5] The Picts were the next documented inhabitants of the area and were no later than 800–900 AD. The Romans also were in the area during this period, as they left signs at Kintore. [5] Christianity influenced the inhabitants early on, and there were Celtic monasteries at Old Deer and Monymusk. [5]

Since medieval times, there have been many traditional paths that crossed the Mounth (a spur of mountainous land that extends from the higher inland range to the North Sea slightly north of Stonehaven) through present-day Aberdeenshire from the Scottish Lowlands to the Highlands. Some of the most well-known and historically important trackways are the Causey Mounth and Elsick Mounth. [6] [7]

Aberdeenshire played an important role in the fighting between the Scottish clans. Clan MacBeth and the Clan Canmore were two of the larger clans. Macbeth fell at Lumphanan in 1057. [5] During the Anglo-Norman penetration, other families arrive, such as House of Balliol, Clan Bruce, and Clan Cumming (Comyn). [5] When the fighting amongst these newcomers resulted in the Scottish Wars of Independence, the English king Edward I travelled across the area twice, in 1296 and 1303. In 1307, Robert the Bruce was victorious near Inverurie. Along with his victory came new families, namely the Forbeses and the Gordons.

These new families set the stage for the upcoming rivalries during the 14th and 15th centuries. [5] This rivalry grew worse during and after the Protestant Reformation when religion was another reason for conflict between the clans. The Gordon family adhered to Catholicism and the Forbeses to Protestantism. Aberdeenshire was the historic seat of the clan Dempster. [8] [9] Three universities were founded in the area prior to the 17th century, King's College in Old Aberdeen (1494), Marischal College in Aberdeen (1593), and the University of Fraserburgh (1597). [5]

After the end of the Revolution of 1688, an extended peaceful period was interrupted only by fleeting events such as the Rising of 1715 and the Rising of 1745. The latter resulted in the end of the ascendancy of Episcopalianism and the feudal power of landowners. An era began of increased agricultural and industrial progress. [5] During the 17th century, Aberdeenshire was the location of more fighting, centred on the Marquess of Montrose and the English Civil Wars. [5] This period also saw increased wealth due to the increase in trade with Germany, Poland, and the Low Countries. [5]

The present council area is named after the historic county of Aberdeenshire, which has different boundaries and was abandoned as an administrative area in 1975 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973. It was replaced by Grampian Regional Council and five district councils: Banff and Buchan, Gordon, Kincardine and Deeside, Moray and the City of Aberdeen. Local government functions were shared between the two levels. In 1996, under the Local Government, etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, the Banff and Buchan District, Gordon District, and Kincardine and Deeside District were merged to form the present Aberdeenshire Council area. Moray and the City of Aberdeen were made their own council areas. The present Aberdeenshire Council area consists of all of the historic counties of Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire (except the area of those two counties making up the City of Aberdeen), as well as the north-east portions of Banffshire. [5]


The population of the council area has risen over 50% since 1971 to approximately 263,750, [10] representing 4.7% of Scotland's total. Aberdeenshire's population has increased by 9.1% since 2001, while Scotland's total population grew by 3.8%. The census lists a relatively high proportion of under 16s and slightly fewer working-age people compared with the Scottish average. [2]

Aberdeenshire is one of the most homogeneous/indigenous regions of the UK. In 2011, 82.2% of residents identified as 'White Scottish', followed by 12.3% who are 'White British', whilst ethnic minorities constitute only 0.9% of the population. The largest ethnic minority group are Asian Scottish/British at 0.8%. [11] In addition to the English language, 48.8% of residents reported being able to speak and understand the Scots language. [12]


Aberdeenshire UK location map.svg
The largest settlements in Aberdeenshire.

The largest settlements in Aberdeenshire are:

Mid-2010 [13] (mid-2020 est.) [14]
Peterhead 17,790


Inverurie 11,590


Fraserburgh 12,540


Westhill 11,220


Stonehaven 10,820


Ellon 9,910


Portlethen 7,130


Banchory 7,030


Kintore 4,180


Turriff 5,020


Huntly 4,570


Banff 3,720


Kemnay 3,710


Macduff 3,910


Laurencekirk 2,650


Oldmeldrum 2,990


Blackburn 2,720


Newtonhill 3,080


Aboyne 2,440


Mintlaw 2,610



Aberdeenshire's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated at £3,496M (2011), representing 5.2% of the Scottish total. Aberdeenshire's economy is closely linked to Aberdeen City's (GDP £7,906M), and in 2011, the region as a whole was calculated to contribute 16.8% of Scotland's GDP. Between 2012 and 2014, the combined Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City economic forecast GDP growth rate is 8.6%, the highest growth rate of any local council area in the UK and above the Scottish rate of 4.8%. [2]

A significant proportion of Aberdeenshire's working residents commute to Aberdeen City for work, varying from 11.5% from Fraserburgh to 65% from Westhill.

Average Gross Weekly Earnings (for full-time employees employed in workplaces in Aberdeenshire in 2011) are £572.60. This is lower than the Scottish average by £2.10 and a fall of 2.6% on the 2010 figure. The average gross weekly pay of people resident in Aberdeenshire is much higher, at £741.90, as many people commute out of Aberdeenshire, principally into Aberdeen City. [2]

Total employment (excluding farm data) in Aberdeenshire is estimated at 93,700 employees (Business Register and Employment Survey 2009). The majority of employees work within the service sector, predominantly in public administration, education and health. Almost 19% of employment is within the public sector. Aberdeenshire's economy remains closely linked to Aberdeen City's and the North Sea oil industry, with many employees in oil-related jobs.

The average monthly unemployment (claimant count) rate for Aberdeenshire in 2011 was 1.5%. This is lower than the average rate of Aberdeen City (2.3%), Scotland (4.2%) and the UK (3.8%). [2]

Major industries

Blueberries grown in Aberdeenshire Aberdeenshire blueberries.jpg
Blueberries grown in Aberdeenshire


Notable features

Ythan Estuary nature reserve, with tern colonies and dunes in background. Aaythanestuarywterns.jpg
Ythan Estuary nature reserve, with tern colonies and dunes in background.
The B976 road near Gairnshiel View NE from summit of B976 - geograph.org.uk - 443153.jpg
The B976 road near Gairnshiel
An old lime kiln at Badenyon Old lime kiln at Badenyon.jpg
An old lime kiln at Badenyon

The following significant structures or places are within Aberdeenshire:

Hydrology and climate

Ben Macdui, the United Kingdom's second-highest mountain Ben-macdui-from-carn-liath.jpg
Ben Macdui, the United Kingdom's second-highest mountain

There are numerous rivers and burns in Aberdeenshire, including Cowie Water, Carron Water, Burn of Muchalls, River Dee, River Don, River Ury, River Ythan, Water of Feugh, Burn of Myrehouse, Laeca Burn and Luther Water. Numerous bays and estuaries are found along the seacoast of Aberdeenshire, including Banff Bay, Ythan Estuary, Stonehaven Bay and Thornyhive Bay. Aberdeenshire has a marine west coast climate on the Köppen climate classification. Aberdeenshire is in the rain shadow of the Grampians, therefore it has a generally dry climate for a maritime region, with portions of the coast receiving 25 inches (64 cm) of moisture annually. [5] Summers are mild, and winters are typically cold in Aberdeenshire; Coastal temperatures are moderated by the North Sea such that coastal areas are typically cooler in the summer and warmer in winter than inland locations. Coastal areas are also subject to haar, or coastal fog.

Notable residents

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">A90 road</span> Road in Scotland between Edinburgh and Fraserburgh via Dundee and Aberdeen

The A90 road is a major north to south road in eastern Scotland, running from Edinburgh to Fraserburgh, through Dundee and Aberdeen. Along with the A9 and the A82 it is one of the three major north–south trunk roads connecting the Central Belt to northern destinations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Buchan</span> Committee area of Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Buchan is a coastal district in the north-east of Scotland, bounded by the Ythan and Deveron rivers. It was one of the original provinces of the Kingdom of Alba. It is now one of the six committee areas of Aberdeenshire.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Grampian</span> Former local government region of Scotland

Grampian was one of nine former local government regions of Scotland created in 1975 by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and abolished in 1996 by the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994. The region took its name from the Grampian Mountains.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mounth</span> Mountainous region in Scotland

The Mounth is the broad upland in northeast Scotland between the Highland Boundary and the River Dee, at the eastern end of the Grampians.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ellon, Aberdeenshire</span> Town in northern Scotland

Ellon is a town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, approximately 16 miles north of Aberdeen, lying on the River Ythan, which has one of the few undeveloped river estuaries on the eastern coast of Scotland. It is in the ancient region of Formartine. Its name is believed to derive from the Gaelic term Eilean, an island, on account of the presence of an island in the River Ythan, which offered a convenient fording point. In 1707 it was made a burgh of barony for the Earl of Buchan. It is home to a unique collection of ancient yew trees.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aberdeenshire (historic)</span> Historic county in Scotland

Aberdeenshire or the County of Aberdeen is a historic county and registration county of Scotland. The area of the county, excluding the Aberdeen City council area itself, is also a lieutenancy area. The county 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 (105 km). The county gives its name to the modern Aberdeenshire council area, which covers a larger area than the historic county.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Banff and Buchan (UK Parliament constituency)</span> Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1983 onwards

Banff and Buchan is a constituency of the House of Commons, located in the north-east of Scotland within the Aberdeenshire council area. It elects one Member of Parliament at least once every five years using the first-past-the-post system of voting.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gordon (UK Parliament constituency)</span> Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1983 onwards

Gordon is a county constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (Westminster), which elects one member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. The constituency was first contested at the 1983 UK general election; but has undergone boundary changes since then.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kincardine and Mearns</span>

Kincardine and Mearns is one of six area committees of the Aberdeenshire council area in Scotland. It has a population of 38,506. There are significant natural features in this district including rivers, forests, mountains and bogs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Garioch</span>

Garioch is one of six committee areas in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It has a population of 46,254, which gives it the largest population of Aberdeenshire's six committee areas. The Garioch consists primarily of the district drained by the River Ury and its tributaries the Shevock and the Gadie Burn.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mintlaw</span> Human settlement in Scotland

Mintlaw(literally meaning a smooth, flat place) is a large village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It lies at the intersection of the A950 and A952 roads, west of Peterhead. The 2001 UK census records a population of 2,647 people.

Aberdeen Crossrail is a proposed railway development in Scotland, first proposed within the 2003 Scottish Strategic Rail Study. It is supported by Nestrans, the north-east of Scotland's voluntary regional transport partnership.

The AB postcode area, also known as the Aberdeen postcode area is a group of 33 postcode districts in north-east Scotland, within 24 post towns. These cover the Aberdeen council area, Aberdeenshire and east Moray.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Muchalls</span> Human settlement in Scotland

Muchalls is a small coastal ex-fishing village in Kincardineshire, Scotland, south of Newtonhill and north of Stonehaven. Muchalls is situated slightly north of a smaller hamlet known as the Bridge of Muchalls. At the western edge of Muchalls is the historic Saint Ternan's Church. The rugged North Sea coastline near Muchalls features numerous cliffs, sea stacks and headlands, not infrequently in haar. The Grim Brigs headland is situated at Muchalls southern edge and Doonie Point headland is approximately 1.5 kilometres south.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nigg, Aberdeen</span> Human settlement in Scotland

Nigg is an area of Aberdeen, Scotland, south of the River Dee. It has a population of 16,400. The area has a bay known as the Bay of Nigg or Nigg Bay, immediately south of a coastal golf course, and a farm that is also a visitor attraction, known as Doonies Farm.

The Burn of Pheppie is an easterly flowing coastal stream in Aberdeenshire, Scotland that discharges to the North Sea immediately north of the village of Muchalls. Draining chiefly agricultural lands, this stream has a notable lack of turbidity and a pH level of approximately 8.02. Armouring of the stream bottom consists of pebbles, many of which are quartzite in composition, leading to a golden-green effect in some locations. Other nearby watercourses discharging to the North Sea include Burn of Elsick to the north and Burn of Muchalls to the south.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Causey Mounth</span> Ancient drovers road in Aberdeenshire, Scotland

The Causey Mounth is an ancient drovers' road over the coastal fringe of the Grampian Mountains in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. This route was developed as the main highway between Stonehaven and Aberdeen around the 12th century AD and it continued to function as the principal route connecting these two cities until the mid 20th century, when modern highway construction of the A90 road occurred in this area. There are extant paved and usable sections of this road over part of the alignment; however, many parts of the ancient route are no more than footpaths, and in some cases the road has vanished into agricultural fields. Constructed in the Middle Ages, the Causey Mounth was created as an elevated rock causeway to span many of the boggy areas such as the Portlethen Moss. A considerable portion of the alignment of the Causey Mounth is illustrated on the UK Ordnance Survey Map, although a large fraction of the route cannot be navigated by a conventional passenger vehicle.

Megray Hill is a low-lying coastal mountainous landform in Aberdeenshire, Scotland within the Mounth Range of the Grampian Mountains. The peak elevation of this mountain is 120 metres above mean sea level. This hill has been posited as a likely location for the noted Battle of Mons Graupius between the Romans and the indigenous Caledonians. The major Roman Camp of Raedykes is situated about three kilometres to the west. From Megray Hill there are expansive views to the North Sea facing east. The summit affords scenic views of the historic harbour of Stonehaven.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Banffshire and Buchan Coast (Scottish Parliament constituency)</span> Constituency of the Scottish Parliament

Banffshire and Buchan Coast is a constituency of the Scottish Parliament (Holyrood) covering parts of the council areas of Aberdeenshire and Moray. It elects one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) by the first past the post method of election. It is one also of ten constituencies in the North East Scotland electoral region, which elects seven additional members, in addition to ten constituency MSPs, to produce a form of proportional representation for the region as a whole.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aberdeenshire East (Scottish Parliament constituency)</span> Constituency of the Scottish Parliament

Aberdeenshire East is a constituency of the Scottish Parliament (Holyrood) covering part of the council area of Aberdeenshire. It elects one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) by the first past the post method of election. It is also one of ten constituencies in the North East Scotland electoral region, which elects seven additional members, in addition to the ten constituency MSPs, to produce a form of proportional representation for the region as a whole.


  1. Land Register Counties & Operational Dates Archived 28 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Aberdeenshire Council – Profile 2012" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  3. "Aberdeenshire profile" (PDF). Aberdeenshire Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  4. Turner, Barry, ed. (2013). "Scotland". The Statesman's Yearbook 2014. Macmillan Publishers Ltd. p. 1301. ISBN   978-0-230-37769-1.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Aberdeenshire" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. pp.  28–29. ISBN   978-1-59339-837-8.
  6. W. Douglas Simpson, "The Early Castles of Mar", Proceedings of the Society, 102, 10 December 1928
  7. The Megalithic Portal and Megalith Map. "C.Michael Hogan, Elsick Mounth, Megalithic Portal, ed. Andy Burnham". Megalithic.co.uk. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  8. Geni - William Leslie
  9. The New Statistical Account of Scotland
  10. "Mid-Year Population Estimates, UK, June 2022". Office for National Statistics. 26 March 2024. Retrieved 3 May 2024.
  11. "Aberdeenshire Council Identity in 2011 Census" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 October 2022.
  12. "What's happening in... Aberdeenshire's Towns Inverurie & Port Elphinstone" (PDF). August 2019. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 October 2022.
  13. "National Records of Scotland, Statistics and Data, Statistics, Statistics by Theme, Population, Population Estimates, Settlements and Localities, Archive, Mid-2010, List of Tables" . Retrieved 19 July 2023.
  14. "Mid-2020 Population Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland". National Records of Scotland. 31 March 2022. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
  15. Shepherd, Mike (2015). Oil Strike North Sea: A first-hand history of North Sea oil. Luath Press.
  16. "Aberdeenshire Council – Profile 2012" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
  17. 1 2 3 Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607–1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.
  18. "Follow The Paper Trail". www.heraldscotland.com. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  19. "Rough Cut Nation (Exhibition Notes)". National Galleries Scotland. National Galleries Scotland. Retrieved 27 February 2016.