North-east Scotland's Castle Trail

Castle Trail Map
Castle Trail Map

Ancient Scottish Castles

The Scottish Castle Trail in Aberdeenshire and Moray takes visitors on a tour through the last thousand years of a turbulent history. Some of the castles are atmospheric ruins, such as Huntly or Kildrummy, while others have been lived in by the same family for centuries and are now fascinating time-capsules belonging to the Scottish National Trust. In this HubMob item, I'll illustrate the castles with original pen and ink drawings by local artist A Millar of Old Mill Design along with photos of others and of the surrounding area.

Follow the well-signposted trail through a variety of scenery, from the cultivated, agricultural land and historic market town of Huntly, to the desolate, windswept moorlands of Corgarff.

 

Drum Castle
Drum Castle

Drum Castle

Drum Castle, situated in beautiful grounds, with a fine ornamental pond belongs to the Scottish National Trust. The ancient tower dates from the 1200's and has walls five feet thick. Later additions from the 18th and 19th Centuries (click on image for larger picture)

Craigievar Castle
Craigievar Castle

Craigievar Castle

Built in the 1600's by William Forbes, Craigievar Castle, commands beautiful views over the fertile lands between Strathdon to the west and Royal Deeside to the south. The castle is situated between the village resort of Banchory and the bustling market town of Alford.  Craigievar has recently undergone a complete renovation during which time, the outer concrete layer was removed and replaced with traditional lime mortar and returned to its original pink colour.
(click on image for larger picture)

Corgarff Castle (court. Wikipedia)
Corgarff Castle (court. Wikipedia)

Corgarff Castle

Corgarff Castle, is situated in the bleak moorlands of upper Strathdon, just below the Lecht ski-centre. It was of major strategic importance during the Jacobite rebellions and to prevent the smuggling of contraband Whisky. Built originally in the 1550's by John Forbes of Towie, the castle was modified throughout its history before the star-shaped battlements were added in 1748 when the castle was converted into a barracks for government troops.

Kildrummy Castle (courtesy of RCAHMS Canmore website)
Kildrummy Castle (courtesy of RCAHMS Canmore website)

Kildrummy Castle

Kildrummy Castle dates from the 1200's and is part of the lands belonging to the famous Earls of Mar. Beside these impressive ruins lies the Kildrummy Castle Hotel situated in its own picturesque grounds and gardens

Leith Hall
Leith Hall

Leith Hall

Leith Hall, home of the Leith-Hays was built in the 1650's and is situated near the small village of Kennethmont. It has fine walled gardens and an unusual crescent-shaped stable building. Recent controversy over its upkeep by the Scottish National Trust means that its future is still uncertain. Its gardens alone make this well worth a visit and I'd urge you to support this hidden gem.
(click on image for larger picture)

Huntly Castle
Huntly Castle

Huntly Castle

Huntly Castle, or Strathbogie Castle is situated on the banks of the River Deveron which is a major Salmon river, on the outskirts of the Royal Burgh of Huntly. There has been a castle on this spot from the late 1100's, with the present castle being built in the late 1500's. It has had a turbulent history and was last taken over by the Covenanters who destroyed certain Catholic imagery and left behind their own graffiti - still visible in the castle dungeons.
(click on images for larger picture)

Fyvie Castle
Fyvie Castle

Fyvie Castle

Fyvie Castle, situated on the banks of the River Ythan near the village of Fyvie. Sited within large gardens the castle also has a beautiful boating lake.
(click on image for larger picture)

Haddo House
Haddo House

Haddo House

Haddo House was designed in the 1730's by William Adam for William Gordon, the 2nd Earl of Aberdeen. It was remodelled by the 7th Earl and Countess in the Robert Adam style in the 1880s. Haddo was most famously the home of the 4th Earl of Aberdeen and British Prime-minister in the 1850s. The house is surrounded by well established formal gardens and lies in extensive grounds with many walks. Home of Lady Aberdeen.
(Click on image for larger picture)

Tolquhon Castle
Tolquhon Castle

Tolquhon Castle

Sited only a few miles from Haddo lie the atmospheric ruins of Tolquhon Castle (pron Tulhoon). Begun in around 1420, the old castle was "modernised" and added to in the 1500's. It, too belonged to the Forbes families - Sir William Forbes, 7th Earl of Tolquhon building the major part of what can be seen today. (Click on image for larger picture)

Castle Fraser
Castle Fraser

Castle Fraser

Castle Fraser dates back to the 1400's and is the ancestral home of the Fraser family. The castle is situated in large grounds with extensive country walks and has beautiful walled gardens. It lies near the small town of Kemnay. The Scottish National Trust has preserved the interior and it is well worth taking a tour of the castle to see the history of the building and the major part that its inhabitants had to play in the British Empire.
(click on image for larger picture)

Dunnideer (or now, Dunnydeer)
Dunnideer (or now, Dunnydeer)

Dunnideer

Dunnideer (now spelt "Dunnydeer") is an ancient hilltop fortress and possibly the earliest Tower House in Scotland. It is situated on a small hill overlooking the Barony of Insch. Not strictly part of the Castle Trail, this ancient monument is well worth a visit for it's commanding views of the area.
(click on image for larger picture)

Old St Drostan's Kirk
Old St Drostan's Kirk

Old Kirk of Saint Drostan

Near to the Fortress of Dunnideer lies the Old Kirk (church) of Saint Drostan a picturesque ruin dating back to the 1200's in the Barony of Insch.
(click on image for larger picture)

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