A step back in time to Huntingtower Castle

Huntingtower Castle, Perthshire

Yet again the small investment in Historic Scotland membership pays off. We’re heading for Bankfoot just north of Perth to make another sound investment, a pear tree for our garden. We decide to investigate the 15th century twin towers of Huntingtower while we are here in Perthshire. You can easily see the castle’s majestic outline as you (normally) fly past in the car along the A9. This old barony is worth closer inspection. You have to wonder at the abilities of those from way back in yesteryear to create a structure so rigorous and thrawn that it’s still standing loud and proud in 2014. Yes, the State did intervene to save Huntingtower Castle from a protracted bout of neglect and, yes, Historic Scotland has doubtless breathed further new life into the ancient home of the Ruthvens. Yet this lordly residence of over 300 years still has more vigour and stature than countless others built using more modern techniques, with less rustic materials and by more ‘qualified’ folk.

huntingtower castle

huntingtower castle

The interpretation boards speak of drama and conspiracy. They hint at everyday domestic life and the hosting of famous visitors. Mary Queen of Scots stayed in Huntingtower Castle in 1565 during her honeymoon with Lord Darnley. In 1582 Mary’s son, James VI, was held here against his will by the 1st Earl of Gowrie, in a famous episode known as the ‘Ruthven Raid’. Did the young King really break down in tears at his incarceration? With the downfall of the 3rd Earl in 1600 – in an equally bizarre episode called the ‘Gowrie Conspiracy’ – the ill-fated Ruthven family were disinherited. Their castle was forfeited to be renamed Huntingtower. What do you make of the ‘extension’ joining the two towers and the tale of lonely Dorothea? Incredibly blended in the first and incredibly (nay, dangerously) lonely in the other. On our visit it looked like the ‘Painted Ceiling’ room had recently hosted a marriage. So maybe it was actually a case of ‘they lived happily ever after’ after all.

huntingtower castle

What a castle and a worthy addition to any Scotland itinerary! What a romp through history when you visit.



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