6.5 miles south of Forres
Dunphail Castle is a crumbling 14th century stronghold with a vaulted basement and traces of walling, with a later tower dating back to the 17th century. It is located high up on the edge of a ravine in stunningly beautiful private grounds far off the beaten track, albeit there is a footpath and a well-maintained forest track that will take you to the foot of the ridge upon which the castle stands.
To get to the castle take the track off the A940 south towards the castle as shown on the map. This will lead you to some farm buildings and large yard, where with consideration you can park. There are a couple of forest footpaths down towards the castle that come out onto a well-maintained tarmac forest road. Depending on which footpath you choose to take, follow the tarmac road north/south through glorious woodland and you will find the ruined castle high up on a ridge near Dunphail House.
It is quite a climb up to the top but well worth the effort as it provides lovely views from the top, set within such a tranquil setting exploring the tree covered ridge overlooking the ridge and moat below.
~ History ~
1330 ~ The powerful Comyn family, arch enemy and formal rivals to the Scottish throne to the recently deceased Robert the Bruce, are besieged in their castle by the Regent Andrew Moray. They had fled from Darnaway Castle and tracked to their small castle outpost. Moray manages to capture five of the garrison, including Alasdair Comyn of Dunphail, who had been out foraging. Moray has the men executed and their heads flung over the walls of the castle. On seeing this the last of the Comyn garrison try to flee, but are captured and slaughtered.
1678 ~ David Dunbar of Dunphail is recorded as the owner of the castle.
1678 ~ The castle is sold to the Grants and later to the Gordon Cummings.