Scottish Castles Association

Preserving the Past for the Future

SCA Castle Trip to Aberdeenshire - September 2012

Autumn 2012 found us in Aberdeenshire thanks to the work done by SCA members David Campbell and Alastair Bain, both of whom hail from the North East.

Tilquhillie Castle


Tilquhillie Castle - refurbished in 1991

Tilquhillie Castle is dated 1557. An ‘A listed’ building, it was refurbished in 1991. This involved minimum disturbance and consisted merely of the installation of modern amenities to make it a comfortable dwelling.

A well-preserved Z-plan with vaulted basement and rounded corners. The towers no longer have a tower-like appearance and merely form part of the house.

Balfour Tower


Balfour Tower - a new build in the style of a 16th century castle

This new-build 16th century Tower House was constructed from scratch using traditional materials and comprises a vaulted dining room and kitchen, great hall, study and four bedrooms together with a long gallery in the attic.

House of Mergie

House of Mergie

House of Mergie - a modest, unvaulted, laird's house of the 17th century

Mergie is a modest, unvaulted, laird's house of the 17th century of three storeys with a projecting wing to the rear. A handsome stair turret is corbelled out above the entrance.

There has been considerable alteration particularly at roof level and it is possible that the wing is of later date.

Mergie is noted for its garden and its unusual 18th century features.

Muchalls Castle


Muchalls Castle - its plasterwork ceilings of 1627 are among the best in Scotland

Muchalls (1619) consists of three ranges closed by a wall to form a courtyard and much altered over the years, most recently in 1927.

The plasterwork ceilings of 1627 are among the best in Scotland and depict the heraldry of the Burnett of Leys intermixed with biblical iconography.

The Great Hall fireplace features the arms of King James VI.

Castle of Fiddes


Fiddes Castle - built in 1592

The Castle of Fiddes was built in 1592 (dated window lintel) and modernised in the 1930s after a period of neglect.

The arrangement is that of the L-plan with the staircase projected in a large circular tower.

An exceptional feature is the balcony (or bartisan) over the entrance door.

Aboyne Castle


Aboyne Castle - a much-altered castle restored in the 1970s

The 17th century Aboyne Castle today is approximately one-fifth its original size.

Aboyne was a large, multi-period mansion and so altered and enlarged over the years that the original castle was ‘lost’. This consisted partly of a circular tower corbelled to the square.

The Royal Commission had listed Aboyne as ‘falling into ruin’ but during the 1970s the Marquis of Huntly undertook extensive work at the castle, removing the Victorian additions to reveal much of the older building.

Mains of Hallhead


Mains of Hallhead - a laird's house of the late 17th century

A delightful laird’s house of the late 17th century. A simple T-plan block of two storeys with attic and the normal corbelled stair tower. It is unvaulted.

Hallhead was altered when converted into a farmhouse in the 19th century



Balfluig Castle - lay unoccupied from 1753 until it was restored in 1966

Dated 1556 on the doorway and formerly surrounded by a marsh. Lay unoccupied from 1753 until restored in 1966.

Drum Castle


Drum Castle - one of Scotland's oldest keeps

The work of two distinct periods. Viewed from one side is a splendid mansion of 1619 and from the other a 13th/14th century tower house.

This is of rectangular form with rounded corners and walls 12 feet thick.

The original entrance doorway is at first floor level, leading to the hall and down to the basement where there is a well.

Article by SCA member Brian McGarrigle

Added: 17 Dec 2014 Updated: 18 Apr 2022
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