Castles and Castle Trails
Grantown-on-Spey and surrounding areas abound with castles, some inhabited and some the worse for the wear, but all rich in Scottish History. Listed below are suggestions of castles to visit, some within close proximity, others a little further afield, but each with its own character and attraction:
Ballindalloch Castle – a magnificent 16th Century Castle and the family home of the Macpherson-Grants since 1546. The Castle and grounds, still lived in today are open to the public from April to September (closed Saturdays). Located just off the A95 north east of Culdearn House.
Castle Roy – on the northern edge of Nethybridge, the castle may have been built soon after 1226 by James, son of the Earl of Mar, to whom Alexander II had granted the Lordship of Abernethy. One of the oldest castles in Scotland, it is a simple enclosure with plain curtain walls and tower protecting those who lived in wooden lean-to buildings within the courtyard.
Cawdor Castle – the most romantic castle in the Highlands and with beautiful grounds, situated north of Grantown-on-Spey on the B9090 between Nairn and Inverness. Romantically linked by the famous Shakespearean tragedy to “The Scottish Play”, Cawdor Castle is not another cold monument, but a splendid house and home of The Dowager Countess Cawdor.
Urquhart Castle – Urquhart witnessed considerable conflict throughout its 500 years as a medieval fortress and its history from the 13th and 17th centuries was particularly bloody. The castle sits, surrounded on three sides by Loch Ness’s deep water and is the ideal spot for a fortified residence. In the 14th Century if figured prominently in the Scots struggle for independence and came under the control of Robert the Bruce after he became King of Scots.