Moray Speyside is peppered with castles. Some stone built castles date back to the 13th century. Prior to that castles and strongholds would have been of wooden construction.
- Brodie Castle – Near Brodie, Forres, admisission charge
- Pluscarden Abbey, Near Elgin, free admission
- Duffus Castle – Near Kinloss, free admission
- Balvenie Castle – In Dufftown, free admission
- Ballindalloch Castle – Ballindalloch, admisission charge
- Auchindoun Castle – Near Dufftown, free admission
- Drumin Castle – Near Glenlivet Distillery, free admission
- Elgin Cathedral – admission charge
Travelling from Inverness, the first castle you come to is Brodie Castle. Now in the hands of the Scottish National Trust, the castle is home to a beautiful daffodil display which appears around April. In the grounds there is Rodney’s Stone, a Pictish carved stone dating to the 8th century. Just before Elgin lies Pluscarden Abbey tucked away from the main road.
There was a castle on Maryhill in Elgin, however just a few stones remain. Maryhill does offer great views over Elgin and beyond.
North of Elgin, near Lossiemouth lies Duffus Castle. A typical motte and bailey as it is a castle built on top of a small hill connected to a lower mound or courtyard area. Very little remains of Elgin Castle atop Maryhill but it does have the must see sight of Elgin Cathedral.
Moving south and deeper into Speyside you’ll discover the whisky capital of Scotland, Dufftown and you’ll find one of the oldest castles in the area. Balvenie Castle is an impressive stone built castle dating back to the 13 century and once visited by Mary Queen of Scots. It’s very close to Glenfiddich Distillery but is often missed.
Near Dufftown (2 miles) sitting upon a hill is Auchindoun Castle. The uphill walk into Auchindoun is rewarding not just for the largely ruined castle but also the views over Speyside.
Ballindalloch Castle is a popular, privately owned visitor attraction in Speyside. The self guided tour and well maintained gardens are well worth the visit. There’s a popular cafe and shop in the castle.
As well as Elgin there are the remains of castles elsewhere. Rothes Castle is just a short walk from the main road, up towards the golf course however, only one wall exists. Drumin Castle is a more substantial ruin on the way to Glenlivet Distillery.