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Chapter 3. Size. Shape. Boundaries

The county is not a large one, but its area is compact and well defined. It ranks as twenty-first of the Scottish counties in extent, twenty-fourth in population, and twentieth in point of rental., From southwest to north-east it is 32 miles in length, and 24 miles, where widest, from south to north. It lies between latitude 56° 46' and 570 g' N. and between longitude 2° 4' and 2° 44' W. The area of the county is 248,195 acres, or approximately 388 square miles. It is only one-eleventh of the area of Inverness, the largest county in Scotland, but it is almost eight times larger than Clackmannan, the smallest.

Wedged in between two bigger neighbours, Aberdeenshire and Forfarshire, Kincardineshire in shape resembles a right-angled triangle, the right angle being at Mount Battock in the west, while the two sides containing it are lines which run, roughly speaking, along the course of the river Dee to Aberdeen, and along the west side of the county towards the mouth of the North Esk. The other side, formed by the coast-line from near Montrose to Aberdeen, has a distance of about 35 miles. The whole outline measures about 100 miles.

The watershed of the Dee on the north, and the watershed of the North Esk on the west, practically mark out the county limits. The area lying between these two rivers and the sea comprehends a district the general slope of which is to the south-east. A picturesque background to the district is formed by the Grampian heights, varying in elevation from 500 to 2500 feet. From the summits of this natural barrier of hills, covered with heath and moss, there is a Regular succession of green hills and cultivated slopes down to the Howe of the Mearns with its flat or undulating fields. The eastern boundary—the North Sea shore—runs at first to Bervie, a distance of 10 miles, in a north-easterly direction ; for the next 10 miles, to Stonehaven, it curves to the north ; and for the remaining 15 miles, to the Dee, it again takes a north-easterly direction. Along the north side from Aberdeen the Dee forms the dividing line as far as Crathes, a distance of 14 miles ; after which the county boundary sweeps round the north side of Banchory over the Hill of Fare, touching here the southern Aberdeenshire parishes of Echt, Midmar, Kincardine-O’Neil, and Birse. The western boundary from Mount Battock to near Montrose is formed by the North Esk, and the Forfarshire parishes of Lochlee, Edzell, Stracathro, Logie Pert, and Montrose.

Before 1891 the parishes of Banchory-Ternan, Drum-oak, and Banchory-Deve'nick were partly in Kincardineshire, partly in Aberdeenshire. In that year Banchory-Ternan w’as all included in Kincardineshire, and Drumoak in Aberdeenshire. The designation Banchory-Devenick was now restricted to the Kincardineshire portion, while the rest was added to the Aberdeenshire parish of Peterculter. At the same time the parish of Edzell, which had been partly in Forfarshire, partly in Kincardineshire, lost its Kincardineshire portion, which was transferred to the parish of Fettercairn.


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