The impressive remains of a large Tower House surrounded by a curtain wall and with some remains of the Iron Age hillfort. The castle is set in a stunningly picturesque environment with good views over the River Fiddich and the surrounding countryside. Castle is unmanned and free to view at any reasonable time.
1. Thomas Cochrane, Master Mason for James III of Scotland and later Earl of Mar, was believed to have built Auchindoun Castle based on the unusual and fanciful architecture. Thomas is also believed to have built the Great Hall at Stirling Castle but his close ties to the King would cost him dear; in 1482, during a rebellion against James III, he was hung from Lauder Bridge.
2. Sir Adam Gordon was killed at the Battle of Glenlivet (1594).
3. During the Civil War members of Clan Ogilvy - led by James Ogilvy, Earl of Airlie - fought at the battles of Inverlochy (1645), Kilsyth (1645) and Philiphaugh (1645). James himself was captured at Philiphaugh and imprisoned at St Andrews Castle but escaped the night before his execution.
Notes: The castle is found off a farm track branching off from the A941. A single sign points to the road but there is no private vehicular access. The A941 is wide enough at the junction for upto two cars to park on the road and the walk to the castle is approximately 1 mile (uphill). Extreme care should be taken around livestock (cattle) which, whilst separated by a low wire fence, seemed unaccustomed to walkers and can be somewhat unwelcoming!
Most probably built by Thomas Cochrane, Master Mason to King James III, Auchindoun Castle dominated the River Fiddich and the road to Strathdon. By the sixteenth century it was owned by Clan Oglivy, kinsmen to the Earls of Huntly, and was at the forefront of Clan warfare which saw it attacked on multiple occasions by Clan Mackintosh.
HISTORY OF AUCHINDOUN CASTLE
Built in the 1470s on top of the site of an Iron Age fort, Auchindoun Castle commanded the River Fiddich and the hill road to Strathdon. It was most probably commissioned by Thomas Cochrane, Master Mason for James III of Scotland and its initial configuration was a stone four-storey Tower House set within a strong rectangular curtain wall and also seemingly re-used the earthworks from the earlier Iron Age fort (these have also been mooted to have dated from an earlier medieval structure).
The castle's early history is sketchy and the earliest recorded reference to the fortification was made in 1509. At this time it was in the possession of Sir James Ogilvy of Deskford who granted it to his nephew, Alexander Oglivy. In 1567 the castle was sold to Sir Adam Gordon, a kinsman of the Earl of Huntly and a man at the forefront of clan warfare. In 1571, following the Battle of Tillyangus, he ordered an attack on the nearby Mackintosh affiliated Corgarff Castle held by his rival John Forbes of Towie. The castle was burnt and while Forbes himself survived the attack his wife, Margaret, and twenty-four other people (including Forbes' children) perished in the fire. A retaliatory attack on Auchindoun Castle was made by Willie Mackintosh. A further attack was made by the Mackintosh clan in 1592 as revenge for the Earl of Huntly's murder of James Stewart, Earl of Moray. In 1594 the castle was sold back to the Oglivy family.
During the seventeenth century Civil War, Clan Ogilvy supported the Royalist cause fighting under James Graham, Marquis of Montrose. The Royalist defeat led to Auchindoun Castle being confiscated but in 1660, following his restoration to the throne, Charles II granted the castle to the Marquis of Huntly. The heyday of the castle was over however and by the eighteenth century the castle was derelict. In 1724 William Duff of Braco was granted permission to remove stone from the structure for his new house at Balvenie resulting in the partly demolished structure you see today.
The castle is surrounded by ditches from an earlier fortification - most probably the Iron Age fort that occupied the site.
The uphill walk and braving of the livestock is rewarded by an excellent view.