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The Huntly Arms Hotel
The Huntly Arms Hotel

Aboyne lies on the A93 mid way between Ballater and Banchory. As a settlement it had a late start, though it then rapidly developed into something that would be recognisable to visitors today.

Aboyne Church
Aboyne Church
Converted Railway Station
Converted Railway Station
The Boat Inn
The Boat Inn

Located on the north bank of the River Dee, there was a small settlement here before 1800. The major turning point came in 1828 with the building of a bridge across the Dee. It was to be a short-lived one, being swept away in serious floods in 1829. But by then the idea had taken hold that this was the natural focus for the area, and the bridge was soon replaced.

The Deeside Railway reached Aboyne from Banchory in 1859, displacing the coach service to the east that had run twice daily until then. It was extended to Ballater in 1866. Aboyne's railway ceased with so many others in 1966, but its station, rebuilt on a grand scale in 1888, still survives, having seen recent conversion to an attractive range of shops.

River Dee Bridge
River Dee Bridge
War Memorial Buildings
War Memorial Buildings

The 1829 suspension bridge fared less well, collapsing 30 years later. It was replace in 1871 by a third bridge. What you see today owes much to a major rebuild of the 1871 bridge undertaken in 1930. This made, in effect, a total of four bridges in just over a century: perhaps not a record, but still surprising.

It was the coincidence of the bridging of the Dee, the arrival of the railway, and the spending power of a local resident, Sir Cunliffe Brooks, that really turned Aboyne into what it is today, an inland resort serving a large area of Aberdeenshire. It was Sir Cunliffe who established a golf club here in 1883.

As a result hotels large and small emerged, including the prominently placed Huntly Arms Hotel. In 1924 the War Memorial Hall opposite was built. Today Aboyne can be a busy place in high season, but with its large open area next to the A93 it never seems too crowded. And at quieter times it can seem oddly out of place, with the sort of "village-green" air more expected in a settlement in southern England.

The resort theme has been strengthened by recent additions to the range of activities on offer in the area. A couple of miles east drivers on the A93 can stop (in a specially constructed layby) to watch the activities of the gliding club whose airfield lies right next to the road. Meanwhile, the Aberdeen Water Ski Club operates at the Loch of Aboyne, just to the north of the village.

On the south side of the River Dee opposite Aboyne is the mouth of Glen Tanar, a glen that leads south west towards Mount Keen and the eastern Cairngorms. This is a popular area for walking and riding, and while it does not have the wildness of the mountains further west it does have a beauty all of its own.

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