SCA Castle Tour to Deeside and Strathdon - September 2018
Our Autumn Tour in September 2018 took us through the beautiful scenery of the Deeside and Strathdon regions.
Little remains of this short-lived Farquharson castle.
An early seat of the clan, it is a plain oblong house dating from the 17th century destroyed in 1689 following the Battle of Killiecrankie.
The Farquharsons later obtained Braemar Castle (which they still own) and Inverey was never rebuilt.
Located in the centre of Braemar village Kindrochit Castle dates back to the 14th century, replacing an early castle of Malcolm III built between 1057/93. It was used mostly as a royal hunting lodge, but was ruinous by 1618.
Excavations in 1925 revealed a number of buildings, including a guard tower. Recent stabilisation work at Kindrochit has revealed what is possibly the oldest stone-built castle in Scotland.
Built in 1628 to command the passes of Glen Clunie and the Lairig Ghru and down towards Deeside. Like Kindrochit, which it replaced, Braemar was built primarily as a hunting lodge. Burnt in 1689, it was rebuilt it after the 1745 Jacobite Rising by the Army, who also erected the star-shaped curtain wall as an additional defence.
A property of the Erskine Earls of Mar, it came to the Farquharsons after the 1715 Rising. Between 1748 and 1831 it was under Army occupation, to prevent outbreaks of Jacobitism, and later to crack down on illicit whisky distilling.
A four-storey rectangular tower, with corbelled-out bartisans on two corners, and capped with a watch-tower on a third. There are shot-holes, and there was formerly a courtyard. The castle dates from the 16th/17th century, and belonged to a branch of Clan Gordon.
Peel of Lumphanan
A 12th century castle of enclosure, probably surrounded with a turf rampart. On top of the motte are the remains of Halton House, a 15th century rectangular manor house occupied until 1782.
An earlier 11th century motte stood here in the time of Macbeth, who was killed at the Battle of Lumphanan in 1057 (despite what William Shakespeare would have us believe!).
One of the finest surviving castles in Scotland, Crathes is a massive four-storey tower house, dating from the 16th century. It is square in plan, with a small projecting later wing. Plain walls lead to heavily corbelled upper storeys, with bartisans and other decoration.
The Burnetts of Leys held Crathes from the 14th century, and construction of the present castle started around 1553. It passed to the care of the National Trust for Scotland in 1951.
We cross from Deeside to Strathdon via the Gairnshiel Bridge, a single-arched hump-backed bridge, dating from 1751. It is a fine example of a military bridge, on what was formerly part of the military road between Coupar Angus and Fort George.
A much-altered 16th century four-storey tower house. It is rectangular in plan, with outbuildings and a later star-shaped defensive wall. Built by the Forbes of Towie, it was burnt down in 1571 by Adam Gordon of Auchindoun in one of many feuds between the families. Like Braemar, it was occupied by the Army from 1748-1831 and used as a base to stop illicit whisky distilling. After the Army left, it was later used in part as a legal distillery!
Doune of Invernochty
Dates from the late 12th/early 13th century, and is possibly the sole Scottish example of a motte with Norman stonework on its summit. It stands to a height of up to 12m above the bottom of the encircling ditch, and around the edge of the summit are the low, grass-grown remains of a curtain wall, up to 2m thick.
Early origins of the Doune are Pictish, and it later became part of the Earldom of Mar. It was abandoned when the main seat moved to Kildrummy Castle.
Only the vaulted basement remains of this 16th century L-plan tower. The entrance, in the re-entrant angle, was protected by two gun-loops. The Forbes of Towie built the tower, but it was never completed, as three of the lairds were killed during the building period.
This ‘snug chateau’ is U-plan, with an open courtyard to the south. The present main house, covering part of the castle site, is 19th century, and the wings are 16th century (remodelled in the 18th) and 18th century.
The castle was built by William Strachan in 1595. Destroyed by Farquharson of Monaltrie in 1644, the wings survived. There are splendid 17th and 18th century walled gardens with topiary work. Glenkindie was a base and living quarters for groups of the Timber Corps over the war period 1942 to 1946.
Once one of the largest and most powerful castles in Scotland. A high curtain wall, with six towers at the corners and gatehouse, encloses a large courtyard. One of the towers, the Snow Tower, acted as a keep. Edward I’s Master Mason, James of St George, was present when the castle was taken by treachery in 1306 – note the similarity of the gatehouse layout to Edward’s castle at Harlech in North Wales.
After the 1745 rising, the castle was dismantled and largely used as a quarry for the next 150 years.