Kindrochit Castle Rises from its Ruins

>> 11 October 2015

A 1,000-year-old castle in the heart of Braemar has been officially opened by the Aberdeenshire Provost Hamish Vernal following the completion of substantial conservation works.

The ruins of Kindrochit Castle are steeped in uncertainty but now historians, tourists and residents can explore the structure and discover more about it. The original castle was built in the late eleventh century by Malcolm III, King of Scotland, and was originally named Ceann-drochit meaning bridge head.

from Wikipedia
A bridge was built nearby across the River Clunie making it the only place to cross for several miles and thus a strategic point for a castle to be located. Additions to the original primitive structure, including the construction of a stone tower, were made in the 1300s when the castle was used as a royal residence.

Consolidation and conservation works have been carried out thanks to joint funding of £216,000 from Aberdeenshire Council and the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA).

As well as the repair and repointing of walls and returfing of wall heads, access routes have been created to allow visitors to explore inside the castle.

Interpretation panels have also been installed detailing the history of the castle and some of the interesting finds discovered there, including the Kindrochit Brooch, found in the prison area in the early twentieth century, currently housed in the National Museum of Scotland.

Provost Hamish Vernal said:

“Kindrochit Castle really is at the heart of the Braemar community and it is wonderful that it is now open to the public.

“The top quality work that has been carried out by the North East Scotland Preservation Trust means that the ruins are now accessible to all and I’m very pleased that the castle has attracted hundreds of visitors already.

“I especially like the flag flown at the castle which was designed by pupils from Braemar School and I would like to thank the Friends of Kindrochit Castle for their continued support in ensuring the castle can be enjoyed throughout the year.”

SNP councillor for Aboyne, Upper Deeside & Donside Geva Blackett said:

"After years of this historic site being nothing but a pile of rubble, nettles and over grown grass, we now have a smart site befitting the importance of one of the oldest castles in Scotland and another reason for tourists to visit Braemar.

“I may have led the effort to get the work done but it could not have been achieved without the enthusiasm of Stephen Archer, the Council's Director of Infrastructure Services and his team, or the craftsmanship of Alastair Urquhart and his son Stuart who are leading experts in lime mortar work."

A small group of local people have formed the Friends of Kindrochit Castle to monitor the structure, pick up litter in the surrounding area and carry out promotional activities.

The project won a Highly Commended Award at the 2014 Aberdeenshire Council Design Awards.

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