From the stark slopes of the Lecht in the Cairngorms National Park to the rolling patchwork of Tillyfourie, Donside stretches across a varied, beautiful section of Aberdeenshire. Nestled amid it is Alford, on the banks of the winding River Don. Alford is a growing rural town offering access to a range of activities and amenities, as well as making a fantastic base to explore the surrounding area.
The area has a rich agricultural history and is heralded as the birthplace of the world famous Aberdeen Angus cattle, celebrated by ‘Jeremy-Eric’, a life-size statue of a bull on the outskirts of Alford. Farming is still a major industry, with a wealth of local produce to be enjoyed. A visit to Alford Heritage Museum can tell you more about the history of farming and rural life in the area. Or perhaps, a trip to the award winning Grampian Transport Museum, to find out about transport of the past, present and future.
South of Alford, a visit to Craigievar Castle, said to be the inspiration for Disney’s Cinderella Castle, can continue your journey into the area’s past. Or venture west, towards the Cairngorms National Park, and explore the isolated Corgarff Castle in Strathdon. Ruins, stone circles and Pictish artefacts dot the area and give glimpses into its fascinating history.
The splendour of the Donside countryside also provides for outdoor and sport enthusiasts. Haughton Country Park and its neighbour Murray Park, gifted by the Doric poet Charles Murray, offer walks, picturesque picnic sites and play spots. Nearby, the Alford Golf Club is available for members and visitors alike. The Lecht Ski Centre offers winter and summer activities with a range of runs to suit all levels, while at the Alford Ski Centre dry ski slope you can ski, snowboard and tube all year.
The area boasts a range of year round events, one of the most well known being the Lonach Highland Gathering and Games held in Strathdon, which features the impressive sight of the Lonach Highlanders march.
Whatever your interests, whether you’re a born and bred local, a visitor passing through or anywhere in between, there’s so much to enjoy in Alford and Donside!