Location – OS map 29 (NJ 498-469)
Aberdeen and Gordon: about 4.5 miles north west of Huntly, on minor roads east of A96, west of B9022, 0.5 miles west of Ruthven, north of the Cairnie Burn, at Auchanachie.
Auchanachie Castle consists of a 16th century tower house of three storeys and a large round stair-tower, as well as many later and lower additions. The walls are harled and pierced by shot holes, and many of the windows are small. There is a panel with the words 'From Our Enemies Defend Us O Christ' – probably from the Forbes's – and the date 1594. The basement of the tower is vaulted, and has three stone bosses carved with the arms of Gordon, Fraser and Campbell. The turnpike stair is very steep, and the tiny hall on the first floor is also vaulted.
Auchanachie was a Gordon property, and held by the oldest son of Avochie – the castle of which itself is now only a fragmentary ruin. This family took an active part in the fighting during the reigns of Mary, Queen of Scots, and James VI. The castle is still occupied.
Location - OS map 29 (NJ 744-439) Aberdeen and Gordon: about 4 miles south of Turriff, on minor road just west of A947, north of River Ythan, south of Mains Of Towie, at Towie Barclay. Structure
Towie Barclay is an altered L-plan 16th Century tower house. It consists of a main block of three storeys and a garret and attic, and a projecting 17th – century wing. The walls are harled and pink-washed. The entrance, through a groin-vaulted lobby, leads to a vaulted basement containing four chambers, one of which is a wine cellar with a small stair to the hall above. The main stair, to the first floor, starts straight but curves around inside the corner of the tower. The hall, on the first floor, is a magnificent chamber with a groin-vaulted ceiling and a wide fireplace with four stone seats.
The castle was built by the Barclays of Towie, possibly in 1593, although there may have been an earlier castle here as the family held the lands from the 12th century. In 1639 the castle was attacked by Royalists supporting Charles I – as Walter Barclay of Towie was a covenanter – the first action in the Civil War. One of the family, Prince Michael Barclay of Tolly was a Russian General during the Napoleonic Wars, and is a character in Tolstoy's 'War and Peace'.
In 1792 the upper two storeys were demolished, and the parapet and rounds removed, although it was re-roofed in 1874 and restored in the 1970s. The castle is occupied.
Location - OS map 29 (NJ758-469)
Banff and Buchan: About 3 miles south-east of Turriff, on minor roads east of A947 or south of B9170, 1 mile south of Idoch Water, at Hatton House.
Hatton Castle, mostly built in 1814, incorporates a substantial part of the 15th Century castle of Balquhollie.
It was a property of the Mowat family from the 13th century until 1723, when they sold it to the Duffs, who built the castellated mansion. The house is in good condition and is still occupied.
Location - OS map 29 (NJ755-506)
Banff and Buchan: about 2 miles east of Delgatie on minor roads east of A947 or west of B9170, west of Wood of Delgatie, at Delgatie Castle.
An imposing and well preserved building, Delgatie Castle consists of a 15th century keep of five storeys and a garret, although it may incorporate older works. The walls are very thick, and are harled and white-washed. The original windows are small, and there are many gun-loops. There is an adjoining 16th century gabled house, and lower later buildings.
The original entrance is now engulfed by the 16th century addition. A later entrance leads, through a fine vaulted vestibule, to a turnpike stair in one corner of the keep. The basement is vaulted, and contains the old kitchen with a wide fireplace. The hall, on the first floor, is ribbed and groin-vaulted, the apex boss being adorned with the Hay arms. The fireplace lintel is dated 1570, and there are many mural chambers. Tempera-painted ceilings survive on the second floor, dating from 1590s. The wings were added in 1769, and the castle was extended again in the 19th century.
Delgatie was originally a property of the Comyn Earls of Buchan, but passed to the Hays on the Comyn's forfeiture in the 14th century. The Hays were made Earls of Errol in 1452. Sir Gilbert Hay of Delgatie, with many others of the family, was killed at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Mary, Queen of Scots, spent three days here after the Battle of Corrichie, where the Gordon family were defeated by her forces. The 9th Earl was summoned for treason in 1594 for supporting the Gordon Earl of Huntly, and part of the west wall was battered down by James VI's forces. However, the 9th Earl went on to fight at Glenlivet in 1594, when the royal forces, under the Earl of Argyll, were defeated, but the rebellion failed and he was forfeited. Sir William Hay of Delgatie was standard bearer to the Marquis of Montrose, during his campaign of 1645. Although defeated at Philiphaugh, Hay managed to return the standard to Buchanan Castle, but he was executed with Montrose at Edinburgh in 1650, and buried beside him in St Giles Cathedral. The Hay's supported the Jacobites during the 1715 and 1745 risings and suffered for it, Delgatie passing to the Gardens of Troup in 1762, the Duffs in 1798, then the Ainslies about 1868 but then returning to the Hays. It was made the Clan Hay centre in 1948, and is still occupied.
Location - OS map 29 - (NJ762-550)
Banff and Buchan: about 4 miles north east of Turriff, on minor road east of B9105, about 0.5 miles north east of Fintry, at Craigston.
An impressive fortress, Craigston Castle is a tall 17th century tower house of five storeys and a garret. It consists of a main block with two projecting wings, these linked at forth-floor level by an elaborate balcony supported on an archway. The roof is gabled, and there is a cap house with a flat roof. The walls are harled, and the tower is dated 1607. The basement is vaulted. The hall on the first floor has a series of carved wooden panels from the 17th century, although much of the interior decoration dates from the early 19th century.
The castle was a property of the Urquharts. One of the family was Captain John Urquhart, known as 'The Pirate' and born in 1696, was a Jacobite who had a narrow escape from death at the Battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715. Craigston is still occupied by the same family.
Location - OS map 29 (NJ 698-588)
Banff and Buchan: about 3.5 miles south of Banff, on minor roads west of the A947, east of River Deveron, at Mains of Eden.
Not much survives of a 16th century Z-plan tower house of the Meldrums, which was extended by the Leslies in 1613, Alexander Leslie of Eden wrote the ballad 'The Banks o'Deveron Water' for Helen Christie. In 1712 the castle was sold to the Earl of Fife.
Location - OS Map 29 (NJ 670-504)
Banff and Buchan: about 3.5 miles west of Turriff, on minor roads south of B9025. About 1 mile north of river Deveron, just east of Mains of Carnousie.
Carnousie Castle is a late 16th Century Z-plan tower house of three storeys and a garret. It consists of a main block and a square gabled tower, crowned by a watch chamber, and a round tower with a conical roof, at opposite corners. A small turret is corbelled out in the main re-entrant angle above second floor level.
In 1740 William Adam added a long wing, but in recent years this has been demolished. The entrance, at the foot of the square tower, leads to a scale-and-platt stair which climbs only to the first floor. A vaulted basement contains cellars and a kitchen.
Carnousie was a property of the Ogilvies. Their lands were wasted in the 1640s, the Ogilvies were ruined, and in 1683 they had to sell the property to the Gordons. It then passed through several families until the 20th Century when it was abandoned and for a while it was used as a piggery. It has been restored in recent years, and is occupied.
Location - OS map 29 (NJ 620-418)
Aberdeen and Gordon: about 6 miles east of Huntly, on the minor roads west of B9001, one mile west of Largue at Frendraught House.
Site of 13th century castle, which was torched in 1613. The present house dates from 1656, was remodelled in 1753, extended in 1790, and incorporates a small part of the old castle.
It was a property of the Crichtons, and James V visited in 1535. The castle was torched in 1630 during a feud over land with the Gordons. Six Gordons, including John Gordon, Lord Rothiemay, and John Gordon, Viscount Aboyne, were burned and killed in the castle, although the Crichton laird escaped with his folk. Crichton of Frendraught was tried and acquitted for their murders, although one of his servants was executed. Lady Rothiemay certainly believed in Crichtons involvement, she employed Highlanders to attack and plunder his lands and family. Lady Rothiemay was eventually imprisoned in 1635, although she was later released.
Crichton's son, James, was made Viscount Frendraught in 1642, and although a covenanter, fought for the Marquis of Montrose in 1650. He was captured after being wounded and died soon afterwards. The property passed to the Morrisons about 1690. The house was restored in 1974 and is still occupied.
Location - OS map 29 (NJ609-498)
Banff and Buchan: about two miles south of Aberchirder, on minor road east of A97 just south of junction with B9117, east of River Deveron at Kinnairdy.
Kinnairdy Castle, said to date from as early as the 14th century is an altered keep of five storeys and a garret. To this a narrow stairway was added making the castle L-plan. The castle was later extended by a long lower two-storey wing. The roofline has been altered, and there are corbiestepped gables. The original entrance, at first floor level was reached from the courtyard parapet by a bridge.
A straight stair leads down to the vaulted basement. The hall on the first floor contains an oak panelled aumbry with carving among the finest in Scotland, decorated with the carved heads of Alexander Innes and Christine Dunbar, his wife along with the date 1493.
The castle was a property of the Innes family. Sir Alexander Innes got into trouble with his creditors and was imprisoned. The property was sold in 1629 to the Crichtons of Frendraught, but passed to the Rev. John Gregory in 1647, and it was here that his brother fathered 29 children and built Scotland's first barometer – he must have needed something to do in the evenings. The Innes family eventually bought Kinnairdy back and the castle has been restored.
Location - OS map 27 (NJ656-607)
Banff and Buchan: about three miles south west of Banff on minor roads west of B9121 just north of junction with A97 at Inchdrewer.
Inchdrewer Castle is an altered 16th century L-plan tower house of five storeys. A wing was added in the 17th century, which extended the building to a T-plan. The tower had a stair turret in the re-entrant angle, but a round stair tower was later added at one corner. A courtyard enclosed ranges of outbuildings which are very ruined. The entrance was in the re-entrant angle. The basement was vaulted and the hall was on the first floor.
The lands belonged to the Curror family, but were sold to the Ogilvies of Dunlugas in the 16th century, who built the castle. The family was made Lords Banff in 1692. In 1713 a later Lord Banff was murdered in the castle after unexpectedly returning from Edinburgh.
He was probably killed by his own servants, who had been robbing him, and set the building alight to destroy the evidence. In the early 19th century Inchdrewer passed to the Abercrombies of Birkenbog. The castle became ruined, and has been partly restored, although it incomplete.
Location - OS map 29 (NJ576-477)
Moray: about six miles north and east of Huntly on minor road just south of B9117, on slope above River Deveron, at Mains of Mayen.
Mayen is a 17th century L-plan tower house of two storeys, with a large round stair tower in the re-entrant angle. The house may incorporate earlier work. The gables are corbiestepped, and a steep roof has stone slates. The original entrance was in the front of the stair tower but has been moved. The basement is not vaulted and the interior has been very altered in the late 17th century.
The property originally belonged to the Abernethys from the 14th century until 1412, when it passed to the Gordons. In 1649 it was sold to the Halkett of Hacket family, and then passed by marriage to the Abernethys. One of the family, James Abernethy shot and murdered John Leith of Leith Hall in 1752, and had to flee abroad after being outlawed. The property later passed to the Duffs who built nearby Mayen House in 1788. Mains of Mayen was restored in the 1960s.
Location - OS map 29 (NJ532-407)
Aberdeen and Gordon: to the north of Huntly, on minor road north of A920 in Huntly, just south of River Deveron south of Huntly Lodge.
A fine building with a long and violent history, Huntly Castle consists of a strong 15th century keep, rectangular in plan, with a large round tower at one end and a smaller circular tower at the opposite corner. The upper storey of the keep was remodelled in the late 16th century with decorative stonework and new windows including three oriels. An adjoining large courtyard had ranges of buildings on two sides, and nothing remains of the older tower except foundations. From the entrance of the castle, a straight stair leads down to the vaulted base, which contains three cellars and a prison in the large round tower. The floor above, at ground level, is also vaulted and contains two cellars and a kitchen, with a private chamber in the round tower. Two turnpike stairs lead up from the chamber, one to the first floor, one up to the roof. The hall on the main first floor was a fine chamber but was later subdivided and there are fine decorative fireplaces.
An older castle here, then called Strathbogie, was built by the MacDuff Earls of Fife on a nearby mound, and passed to the Gordons early in the 14th century. The motte, just to the west, can still be seen. Robert The Bruce stayed here before defeating the Comyn Earl of Buchan at a battle nearby in 1307. This old castle was burned down in 1452 by the Douglas Earl of Moray, and a new castle was built nearby. In 1496 Perkin Warbreck, a pretender to the English throne, married Catherine Gordon here in the presence of James IV.
In 1506 the name was changed to Strathbogie of Huntly. The forth Earl was defeated (and died, reportedly from apoplexy) by the forces of Mary, Queens of Scots, at the Battle of Corrichie in 1562, and his son executed. The castle was slighted and pillaged at this time, the treasure from St Machar's Catherdral in Aberdeen being seized.
The castle was restored, but in 1594 was attacked by James VI and damaged again, to be restored once again in 1602.
The second Marquis of Huntly was hanged for his support of Charles I, and in 1640 the castle was occupied by the Covenanting Army, who destroyed much of the interior. In 1644 it was taken by forces of the Marquis of Montrose, then captured by General David Leslie in 1647 after starving out and slaughtering the garrison. It was garrisoned by Hanoverian soldiers during the Jacobite Rising of 1745-6, but by then had been abandoned as a residence. It was then used as a quarry and dump until cleared in 1923. 'Ne'er misca a Gordon in the raws of Strathbogie'.
THANKS TO OUR HOSTS
Details here are extracted from –
Nigel Tranter – The Fortified House in Scotland – Volume 4 – Aberdeenshire,Angus and Kincardineshire
Martin Coventry – The Castles of Scotland - 2nd and 3rd Editions
Mike Salter – The Castles of Grampian and Angus