The first main town on Royal Deeside - only 30 minutes by car from Aberdeen - is Banchory. The Water of Feugh joins the River Dee at Banchory and the Bridge of Feugh is a great place to watch for salmon. The modern town dates from the late 18th Century when the first permanent bridge was built over the river.
But Banchory’s history dates back to around the 5th century when St Ternan, a Pict who converted to Christianity founded a monastery near Banchory Lodge. It was the home of General William Burnett brother of the Robert Burnett of Leys, 7th Baronet of Crathes. Thomas Bentinck was the last occupant of Banchory Lodge. In 1936 he converted the mansion house into a comfortable hotel which for a short time during the Second World War served as an Officers`Mess for the 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders stationed in Banchory.
Banchory was the location for Somerset Maughan's short story "Sanatorium" which he wrote while staying in the Nordrach on Dee sanatorium in 1917. The sanatorium was built at a time when TB was the biggest killer in Great Britain. Glen O'Dee Hospital was one of the first sanatoriums to use X-rays in the diagnosis and treatment of TB. The BBC’s “Restoration” failed to save the Edwardian timber building, but it has now been sold for conversion to housing so after many years of lying vacant it will soon be restored after all.
Banchory is also the birthplace of James Scott Skinner known as ‘The Strathspey King’ - the man responsible for making traditional fiddle music successful. Scott Skinner square commemorates the links between the town and 'the Strathspey King'.
With a population of about 6,500 the town continues to grow – thanks in part to prosperity following the discovery of North Sea oil. Timber, agriculture and tourism are the backbone of the local economy now.