A New History of Aberdeenshire, Alexander Smith (Ed), 1875
Cabrach, in Gaelic, is said to signify the "timber moss," but in that language it has no such meaning, unless it be to those who have passed their whole lives in it, and yet do not understand what it signifies. There is no Gaelic in its prefix or combination, to imply that it means either timber, or moss. We, therefore, can assign no Gaelic meaning to its name.
That part of the Upper Cabrach which is in Aberdeenshire, is bounded on the north by the Lower Cabrach, which is in Banffshire, and the parish of Rhynie; on the east by the parishes of Auchindoir and Kildrummy; on the south by the parishes of Towie and Glenbucket; and on the west by the mountains and valley of the Blackwater, which forms the upper portion of the parish, in Banffshire.
Its greatest length from east to west, measures in a direct line 7 miles; and its greatest breadth from south to north, also in a direct line, is G½ miles; and the whole area of the parish in Aberdeendire, is estimated to be about l6,680 acres.
The valley of the Upper Cabrach has the mountain of the Buck on the east, with his lower ridges, which trend away in the direction of the Tap O'Noth, and Huntly; on the south, are the hills bordering with Towie and Glenbucket ; and on the west lie the Banffshire frontier mountains, between the valleys of the Doveran and the Blackwater. The bridge of Kingsford, or Bridge-end, on the Doveran, which is nearer to the lowest point in the Aberdeenshire division of the parish, is 970 feet above sea level; the influx of the burn of Aultdeach, is 996 feet; and the manse of Cabrach is 1050 feet. The highest cultivated land, west of the Doveran, on Aldievalloch, is 1155 feet; that on the hill of Largue, on the east of the river, is about 1400 feet. The Buck of Cabrach is 2368 feet, the source of the Garbit, which is on the borders of Towie parish, is 1734 feet, and the source of the West Lewie, on the confines of Glenbucket, is l847 feet; this stream is considered to be the chief affluent of the Doveran, (Deveron, i.e., the double river), and after the junction of the streams of East and West Lewie, it receives the name of the Doveran. In approaching the Upper Cabrach, from Auchindoir, the road leads across the northern slopes of the Buck, along the burn of Glenny, and by the "dead wife's cairn," and the Silver fords at Braidshaw, on the burn of the Buck (which is the northmost point in the parish of Kildrummy), thence to Elrick and the church of Cabrach; and by this mountainous road, the distance from Lumsden Village is full seven miles, and Lumsden is 34 miles from Aberdeen, by the Bridge of Alford. The lower road which leads from Rhynie, is steep and hilly in many parts, and rather more circuitous than the last one. This road starts from the village of Rhynie, and runs along the south-western shoulder of the Tap O'Noth, by the ruins of Lesmoir castle, Belhinny, and by the top of the water of Kirkney, to Blackmiddens and the church of Cabrach; and by it the distance from Rhynie is fully eight miles, and Rhynie is 38 miles from Aberdeen, also by the Bridge of Alford. The Doveran side road to Huntly, crosses to the west side of the river at Kingsford, which is fully one mile below the church, and continues on the west side of the valley, through the Lower Cabrach, and Glass, and near the old church of Dumbenan, the road recrosses the river to the east side, and the distance to Huntly is full 16 miles. To those who desire to explore the stilly solitudes of the Cabrach, and its true mountain scenery, we ought to say that the Auchindoir, or Lumsden Village road is barely fit for wheeled conveyances, the Rhynie road is the best of the two; and the Huntly or Doveran side road has many pleasant attractions to offer to the pedestrian explorer of the upper valleys of the Doveran; but that considerable exertions are requisite to bring him into the centre of this lonely region, where, and while he who is accustomed to say, "here is 'mine inn,'" will, in this region of peat-earth and moist weather, find few establishments of that kind.
[A New History of Aberdeenshire, Alexander Smith (Ed), 1875]