Craigievar Castle – have you ever visited a pink castle?
Craigievar Castle, Aberdeenshire
A pink castle. You don’t see one of them every day. Aberdeenshire is castle country in Scotland, they’re everywhere. Overall I feel that Craigievar is my favourite. A lot of its local rivals are that grand, modernish type of affair that you find less of in the Central region. They are not the kind of castles that have me scrambling for my nearest iDevice for note-taking I must admit. I’m generally more of the ‘barely even there due to years of perpetual conflict’ type of castle lover. Ruins, basically. But that’s just personal preference. Craigievar Castle has just a subtle measure of that creeping in to its own story. Even Walt Disney is a fan.
Located around an hour out of Aberdeen in remote but serene countryside, Craigievar is very easy to love on first sight. There’s not a thing out of place with the castle or the grounds. I arrive before opening time and do what I usually do with spare time, I wander. Head towards the wood above the castle and follow the set walking route. Silent, and even a little spooky when alone, some of the views between the trees of the Grampians are excellent and sum up this part of Scotland perfectly.
Anyway, back to the castle. The building we can see today dates back to the 17th Century. A more basic version goes back to the 14th Century and was owned by the Mortimer family. This history means that it avoided some serious conflict years in Scotland, but was built to withstand attack if necessary.
Obviously the choice of pink is a bit interesting. It is not actually painted and the distinctive splash of colour is down to lime. The wedding cake look of the place is believed to have been influential in Disney’s famous castle design. The thief! The castle’s ceilings are also hugely impressive and would appear to be an indicator of status given the region’s abundance of great castle roofs.
Also of note are the ghosts that still float around the castle. As the guide is saying this I’m staring at him sceptically. He seems adamant though and apparently the staff are very reluctant to go into some of the rooms. So I go about researching this, don’t want to feel like a fool telling everyone the place is haunted without substantiation. The affidavits are in though and inexplicable footsteps and music have been heard by far too many people for it to be a nonsense. The Blue Room is an especially big culprit. It was in this room that Sir John Forbes (owner at the time) is said to have forced a would-be suitor for his daughter to exit his castle via a high window and to his death. The victim, a member of the rival Gordon clan, is the ghost that just won’t quit.
Craigievar is a National Trust of Scotland property and is in great condition inside and out. You can only enter as part of a guided tour and photography is unfortunately not allowed inside.
Craigievar Castle is where the fairies stay and it’d be rude not to visit them.