Coordinates: 57°40′01″N 2°31′26″W / 57.667, -2.524
Scottish Gaelic: Banbh

Banff is located in Scotland

 Banff shown within Scotland
Population 3,991 [1] (2001 census)
est. 3,820[2] (2006)
OS grid reference NJ688642
Council area Aberdeenshire
Lieutenancy area Banffshire
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BANFF
Postcode district AB45
Dialling code 01261
Police Grampian
Fire Grampian
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Banff and Buchan
Scottish Parliament Banff and Buchan
List of places: UK • Scotland •

Not to be confused with Bamff (Perthshire).

Banff ( /ˈbænf/) is a town in the Banff and Buchan area of Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Banff is situated on Banff Bay and faces the town of Macduff across the estuary of the River Deveron. Banff is a former burgh, and until 1975 was the county town of Banffshire.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The origin of the name is uncertain; it may be derived from the Scottish Gaelic banbh 'pig' (Old Irish banb 'suckling pig'); buinne, a stream; or a contraction of Bean-naomh, the holy woman (as is reflected in the town's coat-of-arms).[3] William J. Watson writes: "It is true that Banff is Banb in the Book of Deer and Banbh in modern Gaelic — one syllable. On the other hand, banbh, a sucking pig, is not appropriate — one might say it is impossible — as the name of a place or district."[4]

History[edit | edit source]

Banff's first castle was built to repel Viking invaders and a charter of 1163 AD shows that Malcolm IV was living there at that time. During this period the town was a busy trading centre in the "free hanse" of Northern Scottish burghs, despite not having its own harbour until 1775. The first recorded Sheriff of Banff was Richard de Strathewan in 1264, and in 1372 Royal Burgh status was conferred by King Robert II.[3] By the 15th century Banff was one of three principal towns exporting salmon to the continent of Europe, along with Aberdeen and Montrose.

Banff and Macduff are separated by the valley of the River Deveron. This unpredictable river was finally tamed by the seven arched bridge completed in 1799 by John Smeaton. An earlier bridge had been built in 1765, but was swept away in 1768. The old ferry was brought back into use, until it was lost in a flood in 1773.

Currently, the languages spoken in the town and in its vicinity tend to be the Doric dialect of Scots, and English.

Attractions[edit | edit source]

The modern-day town has a golf course (Duff House Royal), beaches, and was home to the Colleonard Sculpture Park which is now relocated in Aviemore.

COAST Festival of the Visual Arts is an annual festival of weekend-long events and attractions in both Banff and Macduff. It runs over the bank holiday weekend at the end of May each year.

The townscape, which is one of the best-preserved in Scotland, has many historic buildings including fragments of the former royal Banff Castle, a pre-Reformation market cross, a fine tolbooth, many vernacular townhouses, and a museum donated by Andrew Carnegie. Close by is Duff House, designed by William Adam in 1730, and one of Scotland's finest classical houses. It is open to the public as an out-station of the National Gallery of Scotland. Also open to the public are the Wrack Woods, due south of Duff House. The woods contain an old ice house, a mausoleum, and a walk to the secluded Bridge of Alvah, a single-arch bridge spanning the river Deveron. The Deveron is known for its salmon and trout fishing.

Many of the nearby villages also contribute to tourism in the area; in particular Gardenstown and Pennan. Banff's Tourist Information Centre opens during the summer and can be found by St Mary's car park adjacent ot St Mary's Parish Church on Banff's High Street. Their audio tours provide an insight into the town, its history and architecture.

Though no longer a commercial port, the harbour has been subject to redevelopment during the latter half of 2006 and now has a marina which serves leisure traffic and small fishing boats. The newly constructed marina is only accessible +3hrs mlw due to heavy and rapid siltation.

The Canadian town of Banff, Alberta with its National Park are named after Banff.

Railways[edit | edit source]

Banff was served by the Banff, Portsoy and Strathisla Railway (BPSR) from 1857 (to Banff Harbour station), and also a separate line belonging to the Great North of Scotland Railway (GNSR) from 1860. The latter went to Banff & Macduff station, almost a mile from the town. The GNSR later took over operation and then ownership of the older BPSR line.

In 1872 the line to Banff & Macduff station benefited from replacement stations closer to the town centre; Banff Bridge opened near the bridge between Banff and Macduff, on the Macduff side of the river, with its line then continuing into Macduff railway station. The original Banff & Macduff station closed on 1 July 1872.

Banff railway station (the GNoS line) in 1961

All the lines suffered from mid-20th century railway cuts, with Banff Bridge station closing by the end of 1961, and Banff Harbour (known simply as Banff from 1928) closing on 6 July 1964.

Sport[edit | edit source]

Banff and surrounding areas have a local football team, Deveronvale F.C., and a rugby team, Banff RFC. Duff House Royal Golf course is bordered by the River Deveron and Duff House.Some interesting holes which can be difficult depending on the wind.

Notable residents[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ "Comparative Population Profile: Banff Locality". Scotland's Census Results Online. 2001-04-29. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b W. Crammond, The Annals of Banff, Vol. 1, Aberdeen, 1891. (retrieved from Google Books)
  4. ^ The History of the Celtic Place-Names of Scotland (Edinburgh and London, 1926, repr. 1993 by Birlinn Limited), p. 232.

External links[edit | edit source]

Template:Banff and Buchan, Aberdeenshire places

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