The Abderdeenshire flag was revealed at 10:30AM on April 22nd 2023, at a ceremony held at Fraser Castle in the county, by the county’s Lord Lieutennent, Sandy Manson, who hailed the occasion as a “historic day”.

The winning design in a competition to create a flag for the county, it depicts a white castle, both to represent Aberdeenshire as Scotland’s “Castle Country” and Balmoral Castle specifically , whose royal association is referenced by the inclusion of a crown, this charge also being present on the local civic arms, seen below. The castle appears against an unusual bi-coloured background of a golden-orange colour at the hoist or left and a purple fly end. The golden hue significes both barley, reflecting the county’s arable land and the whisky which it yields, whilst the purple symbolises the heather on the mountains.

The crown is also bicoloured, countercharged, with a purple left half and a golden right.

The county flag was created from an idea received from four pupils at Newtonhill Primary School near Stonehaven, who conceived the colours and general layout, combined with an idea from Tristan Davidson of Elrick Primary School, Westhill who had submitted a design with a central castle and crown to reflect the county’s royal links. The five pupils are seen below from left to right, Meryn Wilson, Iris Main, Tristan Davidson, Zara Sim and Eliana Irwin.

The designers were escorted by The Drums & Pipes of The Gordon Highlanders Association and an ‘Honour’ Guard from The Lonach Highlanders,

before presenting the flag to the Lord-Lieutenant at the castle doors

and accompanying him to the top of the tower, where the flag was raised,

The following day, similar ceremonies took place at Peterhead

and Fraserburgh

with another at Braemar on April 24



and a fourth at Turriff, on May 1st, as part of the town’s May Day celebrations.

The precise colours of the Aberdeenshire flag are defined on the Pantone colour system

and it has an official heraldic blazon, recorded by the Court of the Lord Lyon, as follows; “Per pale Tenné and Purpure, a castle Argent charged with a crown counter-changed of the field”.

The competition to design a flag for the county was announced on September 7th 2022 in the county based “Press And Journal” newspaper

which stated “Recently, Scottish counties including Sutherland and Caithness have gained eye-catching new flags after residents were asked for their input. And today, it’s not difficult to see each of those designs on flagpoles across those areas in a clear display of local pride. We want the same for Aberdeenshire: a flag that represents the very best of the region.”

A joint venture between the Aberdeenshire Lieutenancy, the Court of the Lord Lyon and the Flag Institute, the competition featured selection of a shortlist, drawn from all entries received, which were submitted for a public vote in December 2022.

When the competition was announced the Lord Lieutenant

commented, “You think of the diversity of Aberdeenshire from mountain to sea. “You think of our history and our culture. “I can’t pretend that will be an easy thing to capture, but I believe there will be some very creative minds out there who will come up with symbols and colours that will really capture the essence of what is a very distinctive and proud county.

The following month, October 2022, a nine member judging panel,

including Lord Lyon Joseph Morrow at left above, Provost Judy White, second from left and Miranda McHardy, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the county, centre below,

met at Finzean Hall

in the county, to select a shortlist from the 820 entries received, including from as far away as New Zealand and Canada, to be offered for a public vote. Also participating in the process was Craig Munro,

a reporter for the “Press and Journal” newspaper hosting the competition, who presented hundreds of entries

to the panel for assessment. The process utlimately produced five designs which were reportedly “adapted…and combined” to elicit a shortlist, which was subsequently presented on December 1st 2022, for a month long period of voting. 

As a tribute to Miranda McHardy, a driving force behind the county flag project, who sadly died before its conclusion, journalist Craig Munro distributed Abderdeenshire flag stickers at various sites around London 



The four other competition finalists were as follows;

Design A

featured a bi-coloured cross of blue representing the country’s significant rivers, the Don and the Dee and green, recalling its arable land and wild woodland. The shades used to form the cross were quite distinct with a lighter blue and a draker green. The bright golden background of the design represented light, reflecting the fact that the county is the first in mainland Scotland to greet the dawn and its status of being a good place to see stars at night . At the centre, the cross was broken by a golden square, the same as the background colour, upon which is a red crown, taken from the local civic arms

used by the former Aberdeenshire county council and current Aberdeenshire District council, where three such crowns appeared in a lower left quarter, alongside a checkered bar, representing the district of Garioch.
Design B
displayed two salmon embowed to form a circle shape at the centre of the flag, each flanking doubled golden stripes. The salmon symbolised the shire’s important fishing industry, both out at sea and within the county’s waterways and the circular form, the natural life cycles that unites them. The diagonal stripes represented the two ancient mormaer (provincial, regional) earldoms of the historic county, Mar and Buchan
both of which used arms of blue with gold charges, the digonal stripe inspired by that found in the arms of Mar. As seen above, both were incorporated in the arms of the local civic authority.
Design D
had a gold sheaf of barley as used in the old arms of Buchan and council arms and was also a nod to the local whisky industry. The crown theme present in the council arms was also repeated over the barley, to recall the area’s royal connections but in appearance suggestive of a wall which recalls thegranite typical of the locality and the castles found across it. Five black diamonds displaye don the crown stood for the traditional areas of the historic county, Buchan, Formartine, Garioch, Marr and Strathbogie, the black colour denoting the important local oil industry. The sheaf and crown sat on a green field which represented the rich agricultural and natural wealth of Aberdeenshire.
Design E
bore a blue inverted Y shape representing the rivers Dee and Don flowing through the county before they join the North Sea. A golden edge to the rivers represented the inland crops and the coastal beaches. The red colour represented both Aberdeen, whose council’s arms are mainly red

and the Cairngorms

whose Gaelic name ‘Am Monadh Ruadh’ means ‘to the Red Hills’. At the base of the flag, a red triangle represented one of these mountains.

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