Nine castles of the Knuckle

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The nine castles of the Knuckle are a group of ancient castles found in Aberdeenshire along the north-east coast of the county, in the Buchan area.

The term was used by historian William Douglas Simpson, who described the promontory between the Moray Firth and the North Sea as "the north-eastern knuckle of Scotland".[1]

From west to east, the castles are Dundarg, Pitsligo, Pitullie, Kinnaird, Wine Tower, Cairnbulg, Inverallochy, Lonmay and Rattray. Although Simpson coined the term, he did not draw any connections between the sites, other than their location.[1]

Castle Image OS Grid Reference Built by Construction date Destruction date Current condition
Cairnbulg Castle Cairnbulg Castle.jpg NK017640 Comyn family; rebuilt by Fraser Family 13th century; rebuilt c.1380[2] N/A Inhabited
Dundarg Castle Geograph-285141-Des Colhoun-Dundarg Castle and Fort.jpg NJ895648 Comyn family (?) 13th century 1334 Ruin
Inverallochy Castle Remains of Inverallochy Castle - - 614169.jpg NK040628 Comyn family Ruin, few remains
Kinnaird Castle Kinnaird Head Castle Lighthouse 20110520.jpg NJ999675 Alexander Fraser of Philorth 1570 N/A Converted into lighthouse
Lonmay Castle Netherton - - 420251.jpg NK063605 No remains
Pitsligo Castle North-eastern part of Pitsligo Castle - - 1025288.jpg NJ937670 Fraser family 1424 Ruin
Pittulie Castle Geograph-317979-Des Colhoun-pittulie castle.jpg NJ944670 16th century Ruin
Castle of Rattray Castle Hill Rattray Scotland.jpeg NK088578 Comyn family (possibly by William Comyn, jure uxoris Earl of Buchan) Late 12th or early 13th century 15th century No remains
Winetower Kinnaird Head Castle Lighthouse 20110520 wine tower.jpg NJ999675 Unknown 16th century N/A Preserved


  1. 1.0 1.1 Simpson, W.D. (1949). "Cairnbulg Castle, Aberdeenshire". Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 83: 32–44. 
  2. Castle (formerly Philorth) (Lady Saltoun)

The Nine Castles of the Knuckle, Aberdeenshire

Cairnbulg CastleDundarg CastleInverallochy CastleKinnaird CastleLonmay CastlePitsligo CastlePittulie CastleCastle of RattrayWinetower