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Corgarff Castle

Coordinates: 57°9′46″N 3°14′3″W / 57.16278°N 3.23417°W / 57.16278; -3.23417
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Corgarff Castle
Badge of Clan Forbes
Near Corgarff in Scotland
Corgarff Castle viewed from the Lecht Road
Corgarff Castle viewed from the Lecht Road
Location in Scotland
Location in Scotland
Corgarff Castle
Location in Scotland
Coordinates57°9′46″N 3°14′3″W / 57.16278°N 3.23417°W / 57.16278; -3.23417
Site information
OwnerHistoric Environment Scotland
Open to
the public
WebsiteHistoric Scotland
Site history
BuiltMid-16th century
Rebuilt in mid-18th century
Built byClan Forbes
In use16th Century-1831
EventsRazed in 1571 by Adam Gordon

Corgarff Castle is located slightly west of the village of Corgarff, in Aberdeenshire, north-east Scotland. It stands by the Lecht road, which crosses the pass between Strathdon and Tomintoul.


The castle was built around 1530 by the Elphinstone family and leased to the Forbes of Towie.[1] In 1571 it was burned by their enemy, Adam Gordon of Auchindoun, resulting in the deaths of Margaret Campbell, Lady Forbes, her children, and numerous others, 26 in total, and giving rise to the ballad Edom o Gordon[dubiousdiscuss].

In May 1607 the castle was captured from Alexander, 4th Lord Elphinstone by Alexander Forbes of Towie and his companions, including a piper called George McRobie. They used hammers and battering rams to break down the gate, then fortified the house with a garrison of "Highland thieves and limmers".[2]

In 1626 it was acquired by the Earl of Mar. In 1645 it was used as an assembly point by the troops of the Marquis of Montrose. It was burned again in both 1689 and 1716 by Jacobite supporters. It was resettled by the Forbes family in 1745 but had to be forfeited due to their Jacobite leanings.[1]

In 1748 it was bought by the British government and rebuilt and extended as a barracks. A detachment of government troops were stationed there, on the military road from Braemar Castle to Fort George, Inverness. Military use continued as late as 1831, after which the tower was used to suppress illegal whisky distilling in the surrounding area. It remained part of the Delnadamph estate belonging to the Stockdale family until they passed the castle into state care in 1961 and gave the ownership of the castle to the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society.

It is now in the care of Historic Environment Scotland and is open to the public.[3] It has been designated a scheduled ancient monument.[4]


  1. ^ a b Coventry, Martin (2015). The Castles of Scotland: A Comprehensive Guide to More Than 4,100 Castles, Towers, Historic Houses, Stately Homes and Family Lands (5 ed.). Goblinshead. ISBN 978-1-899874-56-9.
  2. ^ Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, vol. 7 (Edinburgh, 1885), p. 303.
  3. ^ "Corgarff Castle". RCAHMS. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  4. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Corgarff Castle (SM90080)". Retrieved 27 February 2019.

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