The Magnificent Castles of Aberdeen & Grampian
Visitors to Scotland's lovely Aberdeen & Grampian region will surely be impressed by the famous Castle Trail. The area is well-known for its many outstanding and fascinating castles. From fairytale towers to rugged structures and elegant country house grandeur, the castles of Aberdeen and Grampian are surrounded by an ambiance of awe, a feeling of strength and timelessness. Amongst the better known castles are Balmoral, Craigievar, Dunnideer and Kildrummy. By following the lovely sign-posted castle trail you will be guided along the greatest castle adventure of Scotland. Be sure to set an entire day aside to explore the wonder of the region's mystical castles.
Auchindoun Castle lies on the banks of the River Fiddich in Scotland's Aberdeen and Grampian region, and despite the fact that it is now in ruins, it has always attracted many visitors who are charmed by its romantic silhouette visible from a distance. Situated about 2miles from Dufftown on the Cabrach road, you have to look for a signpost on the right hand side and then follow the track all the way to this stunning and romantic castle.
The Macpherson-Grant family has lived in Ballindalloch Castle continuously since 1546. Popularly known all over Scotland as the Pearl of the North, Ballindalloch is located in the heart of Speyside with the Rivers Spey and Avon flowing through the estate. Surrounded by majestic hills, the estate is in whiskey country being close to the famed distilleries of Glenfiddich, Glenfarclas and Glenlivet. The Macpherson-Grants are the proud wearers of moss green with navy blue and red checked tartan.
A visit to Balmoral, the private residence of the British Royal family in Scotland is a must do on the list of most tourists. Balmoral Castle on the Balmoral Estate in Aberdeenshire was bought by Queen Victoria in1852 after a vacation there. The original castle was considered too small for the needs of the Royal Family and the present castle was built nearby under the supervision of Prince Albert, her consort. The granite came from the neighboring quarries of Glen Gelder, which produced a near white stone.
Balvenie Castle lies a mile north of Dufftown in Glen Fiddich which is in the Moray region of Scotland. Originally known as Mortlach, it was built by William Comyn, who became the Earl of Buchan on his marriage to the daughter of the last Celtic earl of Buchan. Comyn was also Lord of Balvenie and he built Belvenie castle in 1200s. Commanding the passes into Moray from Huntly, the Cabrach, Glen Fiddich, and the Glen Rinnes, Balvenie Castle was coveted and fought over by many. It has changed many hands over the centuries.
Braemar Castle in Aberdeenshire has the most famous and illustrious neighbors anyone in Scotland could want. The castle and Invercauld estate is next to Balmoral, the private residence of the British Royal Family. Owned by the Farquharson family, the Invercauld estate is run very much the way Balmoral is and the inspiration has given visitors a lovely property to see, experience and even stay during a vacation.
Many castles in Scotland have had a violent past and Corgarff Castle, which stands in a wild and lonely moorland setting at the head of Strathdon, is no different. It has been burned several times but has risen like a phoenix from the ashes. Corgarff was of strategic importance as it guards the quickest route from Deeside to Speyside. It sits on a long rise, approached by a single road over the River Dee.
You could be forgiven for thinking you are in Disneyland and not in Scotland. The fairytale Craigievar Castle seems to emerge magically from the foothills of the Grampians in the rolling hillsides of Aberdeenshire. Five miles south of Alford, the pinkish seven-storey Craigievar Castle is an L-plan tower with a twist. The L plan was built upwards instead of sideways! Its massive lower story structure contrasts the finely sculpted multiple little turrets, gables, gargoyles, chimney stacks, cupolas and corbelling which embellish the roof line.
Crathes Castle with its reported resident ghost is one of the loveliest in Scotland. This magnificent 16th-century tower house, situated only 15 miles from Aberdeen, has numerous turrets, gargoyles and towers, and is surrounded by superb gardens. The estate was given to the Burnett family in 1323 by King Robert the Bruce when he granted them the Lands of Leys. Almost unchanged since it was first built except for the addition of the east-wing in the 18th century, its glorious architecture is reminiscent of the great French châteaux.
Delgatie Castle in Scotland owes its present restored condition to the determination and efforts of its owner, the late Captain Hay. On his return from the Indian Army in the late 1940s, Capt Hay bought the derelict and uninhabited Delgatie castle and spent the next forty years and more restoring and refurbishing it. The Castle has largely been with the Hay family for the last 650 years and is also the worldwide Clan Hay Centre. The clan tartan is a distinctive red with green checks.
Twenty-four generations of the Irvine family have lived uninterrupted in Drum Castle for more than six and a half centuries. It was perhaps the oldest occupied castle in Scotland till the last Laird of Drum, Henry Quentin Forbes Irvine, bequeathed the house and 300 acres of ground to the National Trust for Scotland on his death in November of 1975.
Little is known of Dunnideer Castle, which is first mentioned as the stronghold of Sir John de Balliol in 1260. Today it comprises of remains of a medieval tower, vitrified fort and unfinished fort. The weather-beaten rectangular tower, partly built from the remains of the prehistoric vitrified fort in which it stands is thought to be the earliest one of its kind in Scotland.
Less than two miles south of Stonehaven and fifteen miles from Aberdeen, on the east coast of Scotland, are the spectacular ruins of Dunnottar Castle. It stands on an enormous flat-topped rock with sheer cliffs on three sides overlooking the North Sea. A sense of drama fills you as you wander around the expanse dotted with remnants of Scotland’s historic past. You are surrounded by sea with seabirds wheeling and screaming around the cliffs below you. It is an ideal place for bird watching as there is plenty of nesting in the cliffs. No wonder this site was chosen in Pictish times as place of strength and by Saint Ninian as a place of retreat.
The two imposing towers that flank the magnificent entrance and processional doorway to the main chapel are still intact. The striking structure greets you from a distance as you approach Elgin Cathedral. One cannot believe that the exquisite Elgin Cathedral, ornately decorated with great skill, was in use for just three centuries. The glorious ruins, among the most spectacular in Scotland, rest beside the River Lossie on the edge of Elgin town, just a few miles inland from the Moray coast in northeast Scotland. Sometimes referred to as 'The Lantern of the North' they are a highlight of the Grampian region.
Findlater Castle gets its name from Norse, Fyn meaning "white" and leitr "cliff". The quartz in the rock gives it the name. Findlater, or Fynletyr, is a town on the coast of Banffshire, a few miles west of Banff, between Cullen and Sand-end. The castle stands on a tiny peninsula that projects into a small bay of the North Sea. There is a sheer drop of more than fifty feet to the rocks and sea below and some portions of the castle have fallen into the sea. The ruin is classified as 'Dangerous'.
Set in acres of open woodland, Castle Fraser is one of the most impressive in Scotland. An impressive baronial 16th century castle, in a valley by the River Don, sixteen miles west of Aberdeen, it was originally known as Muchall-in-Mar. The granite walls of the grandest Castle of Mar rise up to combine memorably with its distinctive turrets, balustrades and gables, offering an imposing sight when the castle is approached from the Broad Walk.
History, royalty, beauty, and ghosts - Fyvie Castle offers all this and more! The imposing Scottish Baronial fortress with five towers stands in a commanding position on the left bank of river Ythan in the lowlands of Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Fyvie Castle has a colorful history and was believed to have built by William the Lion in 1211. Charles I lived there as a child and Robert the Bruce held an open-air court at Fyvie.
Glenbuchat Castle is located on a bluff above the River Don, near Kildrummy in the Aberdeenshire region of Scotland. The castle takes its name from the location between the rivers Water of Buchat and Don. Also called Glenbucket by some, the castle was built in 1590 for John Gordon of Cairnbarrow and his wife Helen on the occasion of their wedding. This is recorded in the stone above the entrance along with the motto "nothing on earth remains bot faime", or "nothing lasts without good repute". It was bought in 1701 by a different branch of the Gordon family and later became the home of another John Gordon, known as 'Old Glenbucket'.
Strategically placed at the confluence of rivers Deveron and Bogie in Aberdeenshire, Huntly Castle, near Aberdeen in Scotland. was a prominent castle in its heyday. The original structures were built around 1240 by Earl Duncan. The first Lord of Strathbogie was awarded lands by King William the Lion towards the end of the 12th century and he first constructed a timber castle on an artificial mound near the River Deveron. A stone castle built subsequently was known as The Peel of Strathbogie because of its location along major routes.
Located ten miles south-west of Alford in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Kildrummy Castle was built on a ridge dominating the route from Don to Moray. It was one of the most imposing castles in Scotland and today is the most complete 13th-century castle. Its exact origins are unclear but it was in the hands of the Earl of Mar in 1296. The history of Kildrummy is full of tales of treachery and battles. It was under siege several times and has passed through several hands. In the fourteenth century it was attacked at least three times, usually by the supporters of the English. In 1435 the castle and estates were annexed by King James I to control the power of the barons and the castle was strengthened and improved over the years.
Kindrochit Castle is in ruins, right in the center of Braemar village in Royal Deeside. In an area that is known for beautiful castles like Braemar and Balmoral, one visits Kindrochit to pay homage to the first castle to be built in the village. Some of the walls are still standing, the rest have been used for other buildings or removed to build roads. The district was known as the Parish of St. Andrew, later changed to Kindrochit, and now Braemar.
The remnants of Tolquhon Castle are situated in the parish of Tarves, 15 miles north of Aberdeen, on the A920. Tolquhon was one of the most picturesque castles in the Grampian countryside. The original tower house stands in a corner while the newer 16th century structure is the main castle, a striking edifice that could be well defended. The inner courtyard walls had gun loops and arrow ports for the defenders. It was amongst one of the finest houses of its day and James VI, visited Tolquhon in 1589, shortly after its completion.