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INTRODUCTION.

"far Away Fowls Have Fair Feathers," is a proverb that indicates a very common feeling. Distant places are run after for scenery and associations, though places near at hand may be equally interesting or equally beautiful. Because they are near and easily accessible, it does not seem worth while to notice them; or their inspection can be so easily accomplished, that it is put off from day to day. And yet these scenes and associations may be well worthy of attention, and productive of much interest and pleasure, when visited and inquired into.

Probably the general tourist has little idea of the beauty of many parts of the country through which the Great North of Scotland Railway passes. It is off the usual line of travel, and, except to the few who have local connections, it is not generally known. In the hope of attracting more attention to it on the part of the travelling public, these notices of it are put together.

The great North of Scotland Railway, including all that is worked by the Company, is 287£ miles in length. Of this the Deeside Line (43§ miles) is to a certain extent an independent branch, that is, it is separated from the main line and branches, lying through a different district of country from that traversed by it

Starting from Aberdeen, the main line proper runs north to Keith, 53£ miles, throwing off five branches, two of which also subdivide.

L The Formartine and Buchan Section leaves the main line at Dyce, and goes to Peterhead, 38 miles. It subdivides at Maud, and sends a branch to Fraserburgh, 16 miles.

IL The Alford Valley Section leaves at Kintore, and goes up the Don valley to Alford, 16 miles.

III. The Old Meldrum Section leaves at Inverurie, and goes to Old Meldrum, 5f miles.

IV. The Macduff and Turriff Section leaves at Inveramsay, and goes by Fyvie and Turriff to Macduff and Banff, 29§ miles.

V. The Banffshire Section leaves at Grange, and goes to Banff, 16 \ miles, subdividing at Tillynaught, and sending a branch to Portsoy, 2f miles.

To the north of Keith the line goes north and west through Glenisla to Craigellachie on the Spey, 14| miles, and thence up Speyside to Boat of Garten, 33^ miles, where it joins the Highland Railway. By the Morayshire Railway, now part of the system, it has a connection from Craigellachie with Elgin, 12§ miles, and with Lossiemouth, 5J miles.

The original line was incorporated in 1846, but its formation was not commenced till November 1852. It was opened to Huntly, September 12, 1854, and to Keith, October 11, 1856. The various branches were incorporated as independent lines, but were consolidated in August 1866. The Deeside was added in July 1876, and the Morayshire in October 1880. The length of the entire consolidated line is 287|. miles.

ABERDEEN.

Aberdeen, in sportive description called "The Granite City," was supposed by Mr. Wordsworth to lie in Ayrshire; the Encyclopedia Metropolitana seems to place it on the Forth, for it says under the article "Aberdeen,"—"a capacious stone bridge of a single arch stretches itself across the Forth near Union Street,"—and the Penny Cyclopedia, which claimed to be a channel for diffusing useful knowledge, declared that the Dee flowed underneath Union Bridge.

Situated at the extreme south-eastern point of the county of Aberdeen, on the north bank of the Dee, which is there the boundary between the shires of Aberdeen and Kincardine,—the city of Aberdeen is the fourth city in Scotland in point of population and trade. It has by the census of 1881 a population of 105,818. Shipbuilding is perhaps its chief industry, for its clippers are of world-fame. Large and important manufactures also have their seat here—in cotton, as the Banner Mill; in linen, as the Broadford Works; in woollen as the Haddens and Crombies; in paper, Piries, Davidsons, etc.; in jute, The Jute Company; in iron Blaikies, Mackinnons; in polished granite, as Macdonalds, Keiths, etc. etc. ; and many other branches of productive industry. Murray says,—Aberdeen "is really a handsome town, built chiefly of granite, the local stone, at the mouth of the Dee, between it and the Don ; but its harbour has neither the capacity nor convenience proportioned to its trade, although Smeaton and Telford employed their best engineering abilities, and expended more than ,£300,000 upon it. New and expensive works were begun in 1871, including a South Breakwater of concreted blocks, 1300 feet long. The diversion of the Dee, by the straightening of its course cutting off a great bend just below the Wellington and Railway Bridges, was achieved in 1872."

The first extant charter in favour of Aberdeen is one of William the Lion in 1178, in which he confirms previous corporate rights, granted by his grandfather David I. In the Reports of the Historical Manuscripts Commission, Dr. Stuart says,—" While the situation of Aberdeen, near the navigable mouth of the river Dee, must have pointed it out to the early inhabitants as a desirable place of settlement, there can be little doubt that at a period far earlier than that of our burghal institutions a religious settlement had been made near the mouth of the neighbouring river Don, from which the infant town of Aberdeen drew much of its importance. This was the monastic house founded by St . Machar, one of the followers of St. Columba, at Old Aberdeen, a site on which at later times the Cathedral of the diocese was erected, on the transference of the See from Mortlach by David I. According with the early importance of the burgh of Aberdeen are its records, which are older and more complete than those of any other Scottish burgh. It possesses two Charters of Privilege from William the Lion; one from Alexander II. ; two from Alexander IIL; many from King Robert Bruce; several from his son, King David II; and others from the succeeding kings of Scotland. Many of these are valuable for their illustrations of the privileges of burghs, and the mutual relation of trading communities to each other."—(First Report, 1870, p. 121.)

Some have attempted to identify Aberdeen with the Roman Devana, but it seems now to be very clearly established "that Devana must have stood at a place called Normandikes, in the parish of Peterculter, distant about eight miles from Aberdeen. This is proved by the exact correspondence of the itinerary distances; by the pointed indications of all the trustworthy authorities; and by the existence of undoubted ancient remains."—(Book of Bon Accord.) "Indeed" (this writer goes on), "it is not until about a thousand years after that (the time of the Romans) that we find undoubted evidence of the existence of Aberdeen. This occurs in the Heimskringla of Snorro, under the year 1153. Egsteinn, a Norwegian kinglet, set sail on a piratical expedition, and touched first at Orkney." "Thence" (says Snorro in a passage of which I have been favoured with a translation by an eminent northern scholar), " Egsteinn, the king, spread his sails to the south, and, steering along the eastern shores of Scotland, brought his ships to the town of Apardion, where he killed many people, and wasted the city. Thus says Einarr Skulason :—

"' I heard the overthrow of people,
The clash of broken arms was loud;
The king destroyed the peace
Of the dwellers in Apardion."'

"Thus 'Apardion' is the earliest form in which we recognise Aberdeen; on the next occasion it is written 'Aberdoen,' and at various times assumes the orthography of 'Abeyrdeyn,' 'Abirden,' 'Abyrden,' 'Abirdene,' 'Habyrdine,' and in Latin, 'Aberdonia,' 'Abredese,' and 'Abredonia.' The derivation of the word has afforded ample scope for the vagaries of the etymologists. According to one it is of Gothic origin, and signifies 'the town upon, up, from, or beyond the Dee;' it is Celtic, says another, and means, 'a hill in a marsh;' 'A town between two rivers,' cries a third ; a fourth will swear that it denotes 'a town at the mouth of one river ;' while a

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