Portlethen (/pɔːrtˈlɛθən/; Scottish Gaelic: Port Leathain) is a town located approximately 7 miles south of Aberdeen, Scotland along the A92. The population according to the 2011 census was 7,130 [2] making it the seventh most populous settlement within Aberdeenshire.

Location within Aberdeenshire
Population9,090 (2016 Estimate)
OS grid referenceNO9178396318
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtAB12 4xx
Dialling code01224
EU ParliamentScotland
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament

To the east of Portlethen lie three fishing villages: Findon, Downies and Portlethen Village (now often referred to as Old Portlethen). Although Portlethen has been granted official town status,[3] it resembles a residential suburb without a clear 'town centre' or focal point.


Portlethen is a coastal town lying along the North Sea coast. A small island May Craig is situated off shore from Portlethen. Portlethen is located in the historic county of Kincardineshire.


Portlethen was originally a small fishing village.[4] The harbour is located in what is now Old Portlethen, the original village on the coast about a half a mile east from Portlethen Parish Church.

Portlethen lies about two kilometres east of the ancient Causey Mounth road, which was built on high ground to make passable this only available medieval route across the Mounth from coastal points south to Aberdeen. This ancient passage specifically connected the Bridge of Dee with Muchalls Castle and Stonehaven to the south.[5] The route was that taken by the William Keith, 7th Earl Marischal and James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose when they led a Covenanter army of 9000 men in the first battle of the Civil War in 1639.[6] Portlethen has expanded very rapidly. In the 1980s a new retail park was constructed. Portlethen is still continuing to expand into a sizable town.

The Webb chicken was first bred on a farm to the west of Portlethen in the 1920s. The Webb and its related breeds are popular choices with free range farmers due to their natural disinclination to roost in trees and shrubs.

Nature Reserve

Much of modern-day Portlethen has been built over the Portlethen Moss Nature Reserve, formerly home to the northern crested newt and the Red-spotted newt. The remainder of Portlethen Moss is approximately one quarter of the size it was twenty years ago.[7] Groups such as the Portlethen Moss Conservation Group were created specifically to maintain the area for the use of future generations.[8]



Portlethen has four main shopping areas: Portlethen Retail Park, The Green, Muirend Court and Rowanbank Court. There is an Asda superstore in Portlethen Retail Park and two McColls convenience stores located at The Green and Rowanbank Court. Other outlets in the town include Argos, Matalan.

Food & drink

There are a variety of take-away and restaurant outlets in Portlethen, most of these are located within the main shopping areas. There is also a Brewers Fayre pub restaurant next to the A90 dual carriageway near Badentoy Park called The Mains of Balquharn. There are four pubs in Portlethen; the Mains of Balquharn, The Paddock (at The Green), The Leathan and The Neuk (in Portlethen Village). Portlethen Golf Club also has a bar open to the public. In addition to the Brewers Fayre restaurant, there is a Premier Inn hotel at the Mains of Balquharn that serves deep fried mars bars to order.


Portlethen has two all-weather concrete tennis courts, a bowling green with public and private sessions, a swimming pool and a private members' golf club. It is also home to the Lethen Archers club.

Portlethen Golf Club

Portlethen Golf Club was founded in 1981, and a championship course designed by Donald Steel opened for play in 1989. The club is owned by its members. The club's first professional player was Muriel Thomson who, when she was appointed in 1990, was the first female golf professional in Scotland. In December 2014 she was succeeded by Stuart Wilson. The course is a 6,663 yards par 72 with two par 3s and two par 5s in each half (providing a par 3 and a par 5 facing each of north, south, east and west) to complement five par 4s in each half. The club has an extensive clubhouse and practice facilities, including a covered driving range, practice bunkers, short-game area and putting green. In 2011, Portlethen won the Aberdeen and District Pennant League for the first time. The 2012 Club Champion was Keith Horne, who went on to win the North East Champion of Champions Trophy. Club Champion in both 2013 and 2014 was Clark Brechin and the championship was won by Kevin Daglish in 2015. In 2016 and 2017, Clark Brechin won the championship again, totalling eight victories.

Other amenities

A Youth drop-in centre was opened in April 2007, in the old library building.[9] There also various youth groups running regularly at Portlethen Parish Church[10] and Jubilee Hall.[11]

There are two main parks in Portlethen: Bourtree Park and Nicol Park. Nicol Park has a toddlers park, a skate park and two basketball courts. Bourtree Park has a football pitch and a few swings and climbing frames. There are currently plans to create a new "green area"/park in the north end of Portlethen.[12] There are also several small parks containing swings and climbing frames throughout Portlethen.

There is an integrated community library and community centre located within Portlethen Academy.[13][14] The Social Work offices of Aberdeenshire Council for the local area are located within Portlethen.[15]


There has been a school in Portlethen since the nineteenth century.[16] The original school building is still in use today as the local police station. The school was then moved to new buildings on Cookston Road in 1860. In 1962, a new school block was opened directly across from the old buildings on Cookston Road. This is now Portlethen Primary School. There are currently plans to refurbish the Portlethen Primary School building.[17]

In 1987, Portlethen Academy was opened. The academy moved to its current new building, adjacent to the original building, in 2006.[18]

In 1989 Fishermoss School, the second primary school in Portlethen, opened its doors.[19]

Construction of a third school for Portlethen, Hillside Primary School, started in spring 2016 and the new school opened in March 2017; Which is to be extended as it is already at capacity [20]

Public transport


There is a train station in Portlethen. According to the Portlethen corridor capacity study, carried out in 2008, services to Portlethen station were too infrequent,[21] but ScotRail introduced an increased frequency from December 2012 and a vastly improved service from December 2018. There is now an hourly service to and from Aberdeen , as well as services to Stonehaven, Laurencekirk and Montrose connecting to trains to Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow.


Portlethen is connected by direct bus routes to Aberdeen in the north, and Newtonhill and Stonehaven in the south.[22] Buses are operated by Stagecoach Bluebird.

Community Council

The Portlethen & District Community Council (PDCC) was officially reformed on 30 November 2007. It meets monthly in Portlethen Academy, normally on the fourth Tuesday of each month and considers many issues including development proposals and transport. Meetings are open to the public and offer an opportunity to raise topics of relevance to the local community. Portlethen Gala is a social and community event held every summer on the last Saturday in August.

Notable people

  • Barry Jones, a magician featured on the 2010 TV Series The Magicians, is originally from Portlethen.[23]
  • Lesley McKay, a drama teacher at Portlethen Academy, was a in-vision continuity announcer on Grampian TV in the 1980s and 90s under the name Kay Duncan.[24]
  • Liam Macarthur, for out standing beaver in and out of school. Liam is also notably for being out standing ant the sport badminton.

See also


  1. "Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba – Gaelic Place-Names of Scotland – Database". Gaelic Placenames.
  2. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 September 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. C.Michael Hogan, Causey Mounth, Megalithic Portal, ed. by Andy Burnham, 2007
  5. Archibald Watt, Highways and Biways around Kincardineshire, Stonehaven Heritage Society (1985)
  6. "Rough Comparison image". Portlethen Moss.
  7. "Portlethen Moss; (Proposed) Local Nature Reserve". Portlethen Moss.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 December 2010. Retrieved 23 January 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. "Youth Ministry". Portlethen Parish Church.
  10. "New Page 2". Old Portlethen.
  11. "Portlethen Woodland – by Ken Watson ゥ 2015". Portlethen Moss.
  12. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 December 2010. Retrieved 23 January 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 December 2010. Retrieved 23 January 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/care/help/living/local_sw_offices.asp#portlethen
  15. http://www.scotlandsplaces.gov.uk/search_item/index.php?service=RCAHMS&id=184883&refer=L3NlYXJjaC9pbmRleC5waHA/YWN0aW9uPWRvX3NlYXJjaCZpZD02OTA5JnBfbmFtZT1QT1JUTEVUSEVOJnBfdHlwZT1QT1BVTEFURURfUExBQ0UmcF9wYXJpc2gxPUJhbmNob3J5LWRldmVuaWNr
  16. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 March 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/1389680?UserKey=
  20. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. http://www.grampianstudios.com/continuity_suite.html
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