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Chapter 20. Communications—Roads and Railways

In a short perambulation of some of the main roads, we may conveniently start at the east "neuk" of the county, in the parish of Gamrie. Close by the picturesque village of Pennan, Banffshire receives from Aberdeenshire a road that, somewhat in switchback fashion, traverses the coast of Gamrie, and near Macduff joins the more important turnpike that comes from Central Buchan. At the east end of Banff Bridge the road bifurcates, going in one direction by Turriff, Fyvie, and Oldmeldrum, to Aberdeen, and in the other across the bridge. At the parish church of Banff it gives off another branch, which goes southward by Aberchirder and Bridge of Marnoch to Huntly and Donside, while the main road continues westward through Banff.

At Ordens, in the parish of Boyndie, the road again divides. One road follows the coast by Portsoy, Cullen, Inchgower (for Buckie) and Fochabers to Elgin, Forres and the north. This road all the way to Moray is probably one of the most level in the county, the only serious gradients being as it passes through Cullen and onward to the Baads. The other line of roadway from Ordens goes through Ordiquhill and Grange, skirting a shoulder of the Knock Hill, to Keith, thence, steadily ascending, to Duff-town. At the Square, while a line branches off to the Cabrach, the main roadway climbs through Glenrinnes to Glenlivet and thence through Kirkmichael, either by the picturesque, birch-lined Avenside road or by the lonely, storm-driven moor of Faemusach to Tomintoul, where it goes in one direction by a more or less precipitous way to Grantown-on-Spey by the Bridge of Brown, and in another, by one of General Wade's roads, over the mountainous Lecht Hills to the upper reaches of the valleys of the Dee and Don.

A main line of road extends also from Portsoy to Huntly, leaving the county at Avochie; another, starting from near Cullen, traverses Deskford and Grange and joins the Banff-Keith turnpike about a mile from the latter town; while a third extends from Portgordon to Keith, all these three running in a more or less direct line from the sea southward.

The railway companies serving Banffshire are the Great North of Scotland and the Highland. The latter traverses a small part of the county from Keith by Mulben into Moray. This Company had also a branch line from Keith by Enzie and Buckie to Portessie, but the rails were lifted to satisfy war needs and so far they have not been replaced.

The Great North of Scotland Company manages the other railway lines. In 1858 the railway reached Keith from Huntly; and in June 1863 the first train was run from Dufftown up Speyside, by way of Craigellachie. In the early sixties the line from Grange to Banff and Portsoy was opened. This line was extended in 1886 by Cullen and Buckie to Elgin. In i 86o the railway from Turriff reached Gellymill, near Banff, and twelve years later was carried across the face of the Hill of Doune to Macduff.

These communications by rail are with the south and the west. To the east, railway communication is not satisfactory, with the result that the distance between Macduff and its nearest large neighbour to the east, Fraserburgh, 25 miles by road, is, by rail, about 8o miles, in the form of a triangle by Inveramsay, Dyce and Maud.

Many of the outlying places are now expeditiously served by motors.

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