Auchindoun Castle

Auchindoun Castle, Moray

~ History ~

1470 ~ A residential tower is built for Sir John Stewart, Earl of Mar, the youngest son of King James II by the architect Thomas Cochrane.

1479 ~  Soon after the mysterious death of Sir John, some say murdered on the orders of his brother, the Earldom is taken over by his brother.

1482 ~ Cochrane is hanged on the bridge Lauder by a group of rebellious nobles, led by Sir Archibald "Bell the Cat" Douglas, 5th Earl of Angus.

1505 ~ Sir James Ogilvy of Deskford, owner of the castle, gives "Auchinodun property along with the castle, and the castle hill Fortalicje" to his nephew - Alexander Ogilvy.

1535 ~ The castle is taken over by the Gordons.

1562 ~ Mary, Queen of Scots briefly visits the castle.

1571 ~ Sir Adam Gordon defeats the Forbes clan at the Battle of Craibstone.

Sir Adam then proceeds to their headquarters at Corgarff castle. He finds only  Margaret Campbell, the wife of the owner - John Forbes, along with servants and children, 26 people in all sheltering in the castle. Margaret not only rejects a call to surrender by Sir Adam Corgarff, but fires in the direction of the attackers, wounding one of them in the knee. Sir Adam at the head of an angry mob sets fire to the fortress. All those sheltering within, along with Margaret, are burned alive. This event is later described in the ballad "O'Gordon Edom", and the Adam Gordon of Auchindoun lives to reap the nickname "Scottish Herod."

1592 ~ Auchindoun castle is captured and burned by a branch of Clan Mackintosh, in retaliation for killing Sir James Stewart by Sir George Gordon and Sir Patrick Gordon of Auchindoun.

Later in the same year Auchindoun once again becomes the property of the Ogilvy's.

1594 ~ Sir Patrick Gordon is killed at the Battle of Glenlivet.

Protestant forces loyal to King James VI of Scotland commanded by Archibald Campbell, 7th Earl of Argyll, fight a clan war against their rival Catholic clans Gordon, Huntly and Erroll. The Catholic's win a decisive victory, but in the aftermouth are subdued by King James.

1660 ~  After returning to the throne as King Charles II, the castle along with the entire barony is returned to the Gordon's.

1725 ~ Already abandoned Auchindoun is partially demolished and its materials used to  build a nearby farm.

1867 ~ On top of the hill opposite the Auchindoun Castle known as "The Scalp", overlooking the romantic ruins of the castle, a picnic is held for Queen Victoria by Sir Charles Gordon, the 11th Marquis of Huntly, the former owner of the Barony of Auchindoun.


South of Dufftown




AB55 4DR

Auchindoun Castle is a massive 15th century castle commanding spectacular views in a very remote and windswept location.

The surrounding defensive ramparts are widely considered to date back to an Iron Age fort.

The tower is surrounded by walls reinforced with large buttresses, which are an unusual feature.

There is a rough track up towards the castle where you can then park and continue the rest of the journey on foot, following the footpath along the hedgerows which on a windy day hopefully offer some shelter in this very remote windswept hilltop.