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

The name of this parish, in records three centuries old, is written Awfurde, and Alfuirde, which corresponds with the present pronunciation, and the name may have arisen from the circumstance that the Don, in its course through the Vale (in olden times "the county"), is fordable almost everywhere in its course when the river is in its ordinary state. Others again assert that it had its origin in Ale, which in Gaelic signifies clear stream, the Leochel. or Leochal, and that the church was built near an auld fuirde on that stream. The former derivation of the name appears to be the most probable.

It is bounded on the north by the river Don, and the parishes of Tullynessle and Forbes, and part of Keig; on the east by the burn of Bents, and part of Keig and Tough; on the south by part of Tough, and the parish of Leochel-Cushnie; and on the west, also by part of Leochel-Cushnie, and that part of Tullynessle and Forbes which lies south of the Don, called Bithnay.

The greatest length of the parish, from north-east to south-west, measures in a direct line 7 miles; and its greatest breadth from south to north measures in a direct line 3 miles; and the whole area is computed to be about 9,250 acres.

That portion of the parish which lies along the vale and right bank of the Don, between the burn of Bents, and the Auchentouls, is comparatively flat. The southern division, from Tough on the east, to Caernaveron on the west, and northward, along the water of Leochel, to Wellhouse, consists of a series, or chain of round topped hills, ranging from 500 to upwards of 900 feet above sea level, which are all either cultivated or planted. The west division of the parish, which lies between the Don on the north, and the Droich's burn on the south, and between the Leochel, and the tops of Callievar, is rather hilly, partly mountainous. From the Don, and excepting the haughs and lower lands on Breda, the ground rises into high-crested rugged slopes; and from the Leochel, westwards, the hills of Asloon and Dorsell present a more flowing rounded outline, while those rising from the Droich are steep; and they all terminate in the ridge of Callievar, or Coille-bhar, which is l,746 feet above sea level, and the highest land in the parish--the lowest point being on the Don (420 feet), at the influx of the burn of Bents. The roadway on the Bridge of Alford is 470 ft. 6 in., the influx of the water of Leochel is 460 feet, and the river Don, at the highest point in the parish, which is opposite the old churchyard of Forbes, is about 500 feet. The Bridge of Bents on the Aberdeen road, at Newbigging, is 459 feet, the crossing of the old south and north road to Bridge of Alford is 496, and the Parish Church 491 ft. 6 in. above sea level. The bridge over the Leochel at Muggart-haugh, is 500 feet above sea level ; but it is a little higher up the stream than the south boundary of the parish. The hi1l of Caernaveron is 864 feet, Cairnbailoch, 906 feet, and the Stronehill is 949 feet above sea level.

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