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The area around Blairgowrie and Rattray boasts an abundance of castles, stately homes and mansions. They are as much part of the landscape as lochs and glens. While some now lie in ruins, others continue to be in use. Their stories weave a rich tapestry of resident ghosts, secret tunnels, feuding families and even murders. Here we give a brief introduction to each one in the hope that this will whet your appetite and encourage you to access the further  information available.


This castle, dating from around 1170, was the principal seat of the Rattray family, until they moved to Craighall Castle in 1533. The name of the Rattray family and of the Parish of Rattray comes from the Pictish word rath-tref or fort dwelling. The Castle of Rattray at Castle Hill, just over a mile from Rattray, was a Motte and Bailey style fort dwelling.

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Craighall Castle towers above the Craighall Gorge on the River Ericht. It can be seen through the trees from the A93 Rattray to Bridge of Cally road. Having been home to 20 generations of Chiefs of the Clan Rattray, it was sold in March 2010 to a London-based investment banker. It is now a private residence with no public access.

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In his poem ‘Glasclune and Drumlochy’ Hamish Henderson, the Blairgowrie born folklorist, poet and song writer, describes events that led to Drumlochy Castle becoming the ruin it is today:

Now wae’s me, Glasclune,
Glasclune and Drumlochy,
They bashed ither blue,
By the back side o’ Knockie.

Drumlochy fought fair
But Glasclune the deceiver
Made free wi’ a firework
Tae blaw up his neebor.

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The New Statistical Account of 1834 -1845 states: ‘About a gunshot to the west of Drumlochy Castle, on the opposite side of the deep ravine which forms the boundary between the parishes of Blairgowrie and Kinloch, are to be seen the still imposing ruins of the ancient Castle of Glasclune once a place of considerable strength.’

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To the north-west of Craighall, jutting out from the face of the Glen Ericht Gorge near Middle Mause, lies the promontory on which Lady Lindsay’s Castle stood. Little now remains of the building, but what will forever remain is the story of what happened here and the resulting ghostly goings-on.

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Myths and legends go hand in hand with many castles and Newton Castle has some intriguing tales to speculate about. Is there a secret tunnel linking Newton Castle with Ardblair Castle around a mile away?

Does the Green Ladye o’ Newton make use of this underground tunnel when she visits Ardblair Castle?

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This castle is linked to the bloodiest murder in Blairgowrie’s history. George Drummond of Ledcrieff had acquired Newton Castle and its extensive estate, and this was resented by neighbouring lairds. John Butter of Gormack along with William Chalmer of Drumnochy and John Blair of Ardblair hatched a plan to murder George Drummond and his two sons.

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The Castle of Rattray was a Motte and Bailey which stood on Castle Hill, a large mound south-east of Rattray. The site of the Castle of Rattray may be seen from the A926 Rattray to Alyth road. It was built around 1170 by Alanus de Rattray and remained the principal seat of the Rattray family until 1533 when they moved to Craighall Castle.

A Motte and Bailey castle is a fortification with a wooden or stone keep situated on a raised area of ground called the Motte. The Bailey was a courtyard area with a variety of buildings all surrounded by a protective ditch and palisade.

A painting, believed to be of the Castle of Rattray, depicts a ruined stone keep of at least three storeys – see

The Castle of Rattray is marked on Pont’s late 16th century map as Castel of Ratra and is depicted as a tall tower on a mound with a pair of smaller buildings at the foot of the slope.

Quarrying carried out in the 1970s removed the last remains of the castle. Photographs of the quarrying show the Motte on which the Castle of Rattray stood.


For more details read the chapter ‘Craighall and the Rattray Family’ written by Lachlan Rattray in ‘A Social History of Blairgowrie and Rattray’ edited and compiled by Margaret Laing.


Craighall Castle is located just off the A93 Rattray to Bridge of Cally road. The historic building is surrounded by 176 acres of woodland, farm land and sporting estate.

Believed to have been built by Sir William Scott of Balweary from whom the Rattray family acquired it in 1533, the castle was altered and extended during the 19th century. 


Around 1.5 km to the north of Blairgowrie, lies the valley of the Lornty Burn, a tributary of the River Ericht. On either side of the gorge stand the ruins of two medieval tower houses : Drumlochy Castle dating from around 1542 and Glasclune Castle dating from around 1600.

A constant feud is said to have raged between the Heron family of Drumlochy and the Blair family of Glasclune.

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During his travels the Laird of Glasclune came across a new invention – a cannon – and brought one back to Glasclune Castle. He planned to use it to settle the dispute with his neighbour once and for all.

With the cannon strategically placed, it was fired across the ravine and demolished Drumlochy Castle. It was never rebuilt.

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