Auchindoun Castle Reopens To Public
7 November 2007
Auchindoun Castle, with its history of murder and mayhem, has been officially reopened to the public after a three-year programme of safety and conservation work by Historic Scotland.
The medieval hill-top fortress near Dufftown, in Moray, was closed in the 1960s due to the danger from falling masonry. In the 1980s, the gaps in the curtain wall were blocked to provide more of a physical barrier to access.
The reopening means people are able to explore the castle at their leisure.
Like most Historic Scotland properties it will be unstaffed and is free to enter.
A team of skilled stone masons from Historic Scotland’s Monument Conservation Unit, based at Elgin, have consolidated the walls of the four-storey castle using traditional materials and methods.
Modern engineering techniques were also used for vital jobs like supporting decayed stone arches that were at risk of collapse.
Mike Pendery, Historic Scotland district architect, said: “We are absolutely delighted that this important part of Scotland’s heritage is officially open to the public once again.
“Our stone masons have done a fantastic job in making Auchindoun safe for visitors.
“It has been a challenging task as they have often been working high on the walls of a castle that has been exposed to the worst the Scottish weather can throw at it for many centuries.”
The castle, which stands within the ramparts of an Iron Age hill fort, was built for John, earl of Mar, in the 15th century but he was murdered by his own brother King James III.
Auchindoun Castle then passed to Thomas Cochrane, one of the king’s favourites, who came to an unpleasant end when he was hanged from Lauder Bridge in 1482 by jealous nobles led by Archibald “Bell-the-Cat” Douglas, earl of Angus.
The castle later became a stronghold of the Gordons.
It was sacked and burned by the Mackintoshes in 1591 and, despite being repaired, was abandoned by the 18th century when its stone started being used for other local building projects.
Notes for editors
·Auchindoun Castle is two miles south of Dufftown on the A941. Telephone 01667 460232.
·Entry is free. Access is by foot only and the approach to the castle is steep.
·Part of the project has involved removing the engineering bricks used to block the openings in the castle wall.
·Further minor works are due to take place in 2008-09 but will not affect access.
·The masons worked with lime mortars of the type the original builders would have used in order to ensure authenticity.