Glenbuchat Castle was built by John Gordon of Cairnborrow in the late sixteenth century in the form of a Z-plan Tower House. It remained with that family until 1738 when it was sold by its Jacobite owner. The well preserved, albeit roofless, structure was handed into state care in 1946.



Glenbuchat originally formed part of the Barony of Kildrummy but had been seized by the Crown in 1457. Parts of these lands were then granted to Alexander Elphinstone who sold the site of the later castle to John Gordon of Cairnborrow in 1572. He commenced construction of the castle shortly after as a residence for himself and his wife, Helen Carnegie. Stone recycled from the nearby Kildrummy Castle was used in its construction.


The castle was configured in a Z-plan with the main rectangular block augmented by two additional towers on the north and west sides. The ground floor consisted of two vaulted cellars, the kitchen and an additional store. The first floor was dominated by the Great Hall and, on the floors above, was accommodation. The tower has numerous continental influences in the architecture whilst an inscription over the entrance door read 'Nothing on arth remanis bot fame'.


The final member of the Gordon family to own Glenbuchet Castle was the ardent Jacobite, John Gordon. Known as the 'Old Glenbucket' he participated in the 1689, 1715 and 1745 rebellions and he refused a Royal pardon. John sold the castle in 1738 to raise money for further resistance and ultimately fled to Sweden then France after the Jacobites were defeated at the Battle of Culloden (1746). Glenbuchat subsequently passed through numerous owners before being acquired by James William Barclay in 1901 who stabilised the structure. It remained with his family until 1946 when it was placed into state care.




Billings, R W (1901). The baronial and ecclesiastical antiquities of Scotland. Edinburgh.

Cruden, S (1960). The Scottish Castle. Edinburgh.

Dargie, R (2009). Scottish Castles. GW Publishing, Thatcham.

Shepherd, I.A.G (1986). Exploring Scotland's heritage: Grampian. Edinburgh.

Shepherd, I.A.G (2006). Aberdeenshire, Donside and Strathbogie: an illustrated architectural guide. Rutland Press.

Simpson, W.D (1942). Glenbuchat and its castle. Aberdeen.

Simpson, W.D (1965). Kildrummy and Glenbuchat Castles. Aberdeenshire.

Tranter, N (1962). The fortified house in Scotland. Edinburgh.

What's There?

At time of writing Glenbuchet Castle was sealed off to visitors due to the risk of falling masonry but is anticipated to be re-opened at some point in 2017. The exterior of the castle can be viewed at any reasonable time.

Getting There

Glenbuchat Castle is found off the A97 and the turning is clearly sign-posted. There is a dedicated car park.

Car Parking

AB36 8TQ

57.220871N 3.000080W

Glenbuchat Castle

No Postcode

57.220697N 2.999833W