A New History of Aberdeenshire, Alexander Smith (Ed), 1875

"A friend to statistical enquiries," who wrote the Statistical Account of Aboyne for Sir John Sinclair, says the origin of the name is unknown. The writer of the New Statistical Account, 1843, says that it is compounded of two Gaelic words, "A, a ford, and boinne or buinne a current of rippling water." In the admirable work by the Rev. J. Taylor, "Words and Places," second edition published in 1864--"We find that in Germany there is a river called Abhinne, which means the water channel "--and at page 205, he says, that "There is, in fact, hardly a single Celtic word meaning stream, current, brook, channel, water, or flood, which does not enter largely into the river names of Europe." The same author gives an immense number of pure Gaelic names of places in the north of Germany, which tends to support the theory of those who are of opinion that the original inhabitants of this part of the country came from the east. Glentanar, which lies on the right bank of the Dee, and Inchmarnock on the left, at a remote period, formed one parish--the former being added to Aboyne, and the latter merged into the united parishs of Glenmuick, Tullich, and Glengairn. Glean-tan-ar, in Gaelic, signifies the glen, or the hollow of scant-arable land.

The united parish is bounded on the north by the parishes of Coull and Lumphanan; on the east by the parish of Kincardine O'Neil; on the south by the parish of Birse, and of Lochlee in Forfarshire; and on the west by the united parishes of Glenmuick, Tullich, and Glengairn.

The greatest length of the parish, from north-east to south-west, measures in a direct line, about 12 miles, and its greatest breadth from east to west, from Potarch to Dee Castle, also in a direct line, is 11 miles. A small detached portion of the parish of Aboyne, called Percy, lies on the left bank of the water of Feugh, and is wholly surrounded by the parish of Birse. The area of the whole, inclucling this detached portion, is estimated at about 36,150 acres.

The Glentanar portion of the parish is very mountainous, rising from the Dee by the ridge of Bellrory, which forms the west side of the Glen, runs towards Mont Keen (3077 feet), and the ridge, east of the Tanar, runs from Craigendinny (1234 feet) to the Cockcairn (2390 feet), which is the highest point in the parish, on the Firmonth part of the Grampians. The lowest point being the rocks of Inch-bare, on the Dee, at the Bridge of Potarch, which are 270 feet above sea level. The Dee, at the influx of the burn of Dess is 305 feet, the church of Aboyne is 420 feet, and the Dee, at the influx of the water of Dinnet, 460 feet.

The parish of Aboyne, or Barony lies on the left bank of the Dee, between the waters of Dess and Dinnet, but the parish also includes the lands of Balnacraig, which lie on the right bank of the river, opposite to Kincardine O'Neil. The surface of the north part of the parish, although hilly, is not mountainous, the highest point being the Mortlich (1247 feet), and is the southernmost top of the ridge of Tillylair, which divides the parishes of Lumphanan and Coull. The north-eastmost corner of the parish, at Drumduan, on the burn of Dess, being 427 feet ; the Scarhill of Tillyduke, on the west, 984 feet, and the Bridge of Belnagowan, on the Tarland road, 470 feet.

[A New History of Aberdeenshire, Alexander Smith (Ed), 1875]