A small town in E Aberdeenshire, Portlethen is located between the A90 trunk road and the mainline railway 6 miles (10 km) south of Aberdeen. The town developed quickly in the 1970s in conjunction with the oil industry and as a commuter settlement. Its industries include a large abattoir and oilfield services. The town also benefits from a station (which re-opened in 1985, having previously been closed in 1963), the Bourtree Community Hall (1993), a swimming pool, golf club (founded 1981, with its course completed in 1990 and the first in Scotland to have a female professional), together with primary and secondary schools. Portlethen Academy has a roll of 850 pupils.

The original clifftop fishing community, now known as Portlethen Village, lies separately a half-mile (1 km) to the east.

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