Alford (pronounced // (listen) 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 town, 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.
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 repica. 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 28 miles (45 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
- Laura Main, actress, 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
- Stephanie Innes-Smith, Renowned French teacher
- "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. Archived from the original on 2011-05-19. Retrieved 2008-08-31.
-  Archived September 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- Davies, Caroline (2001-10-11). "Queen Mother helps to unveil statue of a bull". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2019-01-24.
- Metcalfe, Tom; January 21, Live Science Contributor |; ET, 2019 02:33pm. "'Ancient' Stone Circle Actually Built in 1990s by Scottish Farmer". Live Science. Retrieved 2019-01-24.
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