Ballindalloch Castle

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Ballindaloch Castle


Ballindaloch Castle.jpg
Ballindaloch Castle
Type: Castle
Grid reference: NJ279436
Location: 57°24’42"N, 3°22’9"W
Village: Ballindalloch
Built 16th century
Owned by: Clare Russell

Ballindalloch Castle, known as the "pearl of the north", is a castle in Banffshire. It has been the family home of Macpherson-Grant baronets and their family since 1546.[1]


The first tower of the Z plan castle was built in 1546. After it was plundered and burned by James Graham, the first Marquess of Montrose, it was restored in 1645.

Extensions were added in 1770 by General James Grant (who later fought with distinction in the American War and in 1850 by the architect Thomas MacKenzie. Further extensions carried out in 1878 were mostly demolished during and modernisations enacted in 1965. It has been continuously occupied by the Russell and Macpherson-Grant families throughout its existence.

The castle houses an important collection of 17th century Spanish paintings. The dining room of Ballindalloch is said to be haunted by a ghost known as The Green Lady.[2]

The castle grounds contain a 20th-century rock garden and a 17th-century dovecote. The rivers Spey and Avon flow through the grounds, offering excellent fishing. The famous Aberdeen Angus cattle herd resides in the castle estate.

Today, the castle is still occupied by Clare Nancy Russell and her family. It is opened to tourists during the summer months and a number of workshops on its grounds are in active use.


It is said that the original intention was to build at a better site defensively, but when building commenced whatever was built in the day was thrown down at night. Eventually the laird, annoyed by the problem, heard a mysterious voice saying "Build in the cow-haughs, and you will meet with no interruptions." He did so, and there was no further problem with the building.[3]

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