A wide ditch encircles this striking, curtain-walled castle. Built in the 1200s as the seat of the powerful earls of Buchan, the heavily fortified stronghold became an elegant lodging in the 1500s. (Historic Enviroment of Scotland)
Moray and Aberdeenshire are known for lots and lots of Whisky distilleries and also lots of castles all around. On my first day in Hopeman, I managed to visit a few, starting with Balvenie Castle in Dufftown. Right around the corner of the Glenfiddich distillery and also the Balvenie distillery and I think there was another one. The not so lovely smell of whisky was in the air!
Originally named Mortlach Balvenie Castle was built in the 12th century and extended in the 15th and 16th century.
Around 1400 the castle felt into the hands (probably by marriage) of the Earl of Douglas (the Black Douglasses) and was used as a temporary residence when needed.
After the Battle of Arkinon in 1455 the Douglas family lost the castle and the land to the Crown and King James gave it to Sir James Stewart, who later became the first Earl of Atholl.
Today the National Environment of Scotland cares for the Balvenie Castle, but it´s still in private hands.
Besides being one of the oldest castles in Scotland, it is also an interesting example of how a heavenly fortified castle became an elegant Renaissance residence.