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Castles

Glenbuchat Castle Overlooking the River Don

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'.

Glenbuchat is an excellent example of a “Z” plan castle with a main rectangular central tower and two square towers at diagonally opposing corners of the main block. Two stair turrets rise from the first floor level and are unusually supported by flying arches. The main entrance was protected by a wooden door that could only be opened after opening the iron yett (gate) behind it. The ground floor housed the cellars and kitchen and the laird’s hall and accommodation was above. The interior was remodeled around 1701 by the new owners. The laird’s hall was divided into two rooms, the ceiling lowered and another floor constructed above.

The only entrance to the castle is set into an angle to prevents unwanted visitors, who were dealt with through gun loops in two walls. To gain access you now have to go round the castle into the grassy courtyard separating it from the farmstead to the south. Today Glenbuchat Castle is roofless above the first floor, but is otherwise well preserved. Much work has been done to restore the main spiral staircase and install an excellent wooden viewing platform that now occupies much of the space across the central area. One can explore the first floor of the castle as well as the vaulted ground-floor rooms below, though some are very dark.

Glenbuchat Castle remained in the Gordon family until 1738 and was confiscated in 1745 for Brigadier General Gordon’s involvement in the Jacobite uprising. It fell into disrepair and was purchased by James Barclay in 1901 who started to restore it. It was placed into State care in 1946.