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Alford

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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 village, 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. Alford also sports the Alford Community Campus, with a library and pool.

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 replica. 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.

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