of Aberdour ~
from the south Fife shores
The origins of the village lie with its
harbour, where the Dour Burn enters the River Forth. The place-name itself is Pictish, implying an
origin in the Dark Ages: aber 'confluence'. The -dour element,
referring to the Burn, means simply 'water' (archaic dobur), and is unconnected to the Scots/English 'dour' (stern,
stubborn, sullen, unyielding).
In the 18th century Aberdour's harbour
was improved by the addition of a stone pier to help handle the coal traffic from nearby collieries. However, in the 1850s the traffic changed dramatically, and
Aberdour Harbour became a popular destination for pleasure steamers from Leith. This in turn led to the building of a deeper water pier a little around the
bay at Hawkcraig, and to the development of
hotels and many of the other services still on view today in the village.
For much of its history Aberdour was two
villages, Wester Aberdour and Easter Aberdour, on either side of the Dour Burn. This distinction, however, was blurred by the 19th century
arrival of the railway in 1890, with the
building of the line east from the newly opened Forth Railway Bridge. The half an hour journey to the centre of Edinburgh helped build on the
existing popularity of the village, though it put
the steamers out of business. The main result was a growth in the building of large and attractive
houses, especially down the hill from Wester Aberdour to the West
Sands. Ticket inspectors on the train line through Aberdour were known for their sing song refrain: "Half an hour, Half an hour, Half an hour to
Aberdour - tickets please."
Aberdour is home to two beaches - The Silver Sands,
and The Black Sands.
The Silver Sands beach is located on the East side of the village, and is one of Scotland's seven "Blue flag"
awarded beaches, which denotes an exemplary
standard of cleanliness, facilities, safety, environmental education and management.
The Black Sands, as the contrasting name would suggest,
has a rockier and darker sand, and boasts rock caves and fascinating sea life.
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