The 120 acres of land around Almond Castle, which the Scottish Castles Association visited in 2014, have been bought by a new developer, Clowes Development (Scotland) Ltd.
The 15th century tower, located near Whitecross to the east of Falkirk, is still standing but there have been a number of small but significant changes since we saw it six years ago, none of which are individually catastrophic for the building but taken together they indicate that time to save it is running out.
The most concerning changes were in and around the already damaged ceiling vault (see pic above). There had been an increase in the number and size of bushes, one of which was now a small tree, growing over it and a hole in the south east side of the vault which had not been present in 2014 (see pic below).
The pre-existing damage around its edges – particularly in the northwest corner (to the right of the image above) – seemed bigger. Some of the other damage (see below) are also of concern, but pose less of an immediate threat to the building. The image below (left) shows the tower as seen from the remains of the 16th century extension, showing the damage around and above the great hall window which was made into a door leading to a major room of the 'new' part. The original 15th century door on the first floor of the tower became the way down to the ground floor via a short stairway. The arch of the doorway created at that time into the original cellar is visible at the bottom of the photo.
Almond Castle was formerly called Haining Castle but its name was changed in 1640 when it passed to Sir James Livingston who had been created Lord Almond by Charles 1st in 1633. It began to become ruinous in the early 18th century when it was bought by a building firm from York. Read our Almond Castle Past and Present article here.
It is to be hoped that the new developer plans (or is compelled) to restore – or at least consolidate – the structure as part of any planning permission.
Article by Scottish Castles Association member John Hunter.