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The history of Braemar Castle Scotland and its ghosts with facilities, events listing and photographs of this beautiful Royal Deeside Castle
Braemar Castle is an L plan Tower House built by the Erskine Earls of Mar in 1628 to replace nearby Kindrochit
Castle which was thought to have been destroyed by cannon because its inhabitants contracted the plague.
History of Braemar Castle
The Castle was built as a hunting lodge and as a safe guard against local clans such as the Gordons, Forbes and
Farquharsons. In 1689 Stewart supporter James VII was deposed and staunch Jacobite supporter John Farquharson (The
Black Colonel) of Inverey invaded the Castle and burnt it. Then during the Jacobite Rising of 1715 the 11th Earl of Mar fled
the Country and once more the Farquharsons gained control of the lands and the Castle.
Entry for Aberdeen Race For Life is now open.
In 1746 the Castle was refurbished and was used as a barracks having been leased to the Hanoverian Government by John Farquharson of Invercauld.
The Redcoats were stationed there to keep the peace following the Jacobite Uprising of 1745. Several of the Redcoats etched their names onto walls and window shutters of Braemar Castle and their names can still be seen. This includes Ensign B. Sullivan and Corporal William Dix.
Hanoverian Troops left in 1797 and it was returned to a Castle residence
by the Farquharsons of Invercauld. They remained living in the Castle up to 1982. Queen Victoria visited the
Castle when she attended the Braemar Gathering.
Braemar Castle has a curtain wall surrounding it with gun slits. Another interesting feature is the huge iron yett
Visiting Braemar Castle
Enter the doorway after walking through the curtain wall. The shop and entrance point is to the right. There is no tour
guide, though the guides in the shop are happy to answer any questions and there are cards in each room (in different
languages) which explain key features and historical points of interest. Follow the alphabetical signs to make your tour
of the Castle.
This will take you through rooms such as The Dining Room, The Laird's Dayroom, The Rose Room, The Drawing Room,
Bedrooms such as The Four Poster Bedroom, The Morning Room, The Kitchen, The Military Room, The Costume Room, The
Toy Room and The Curio Room.
Items of interest within the rooms include:
A piece of plaid worn by Prince Charles Edward Stuart at The Battle of
Culloden in 1745.
A beautiful blue topaz Cairngorm stone.
A sword which dates back to the Bronze Age (approximately 800 B.C.) which was found in a nearby bog at Gairnshiel
Hanoverian Troops etchings on window shutters in The Drawing Room.
Antique furniture throughout the Castle includes a Chippendale Mirror, Queen Anne Tallboy and a Hepplewhite commode and chairs.
Artwork includes etchings by Piranesi, paintings by Gustav Dore and watercolours by George B Campion.
Taxidermy specimens including an eagle, mountain rabbit and deer.
As you leave the Castle there is a small unventilated pit prison which is 12 feet by 6 feet. This is called the Lairds
Pit where local offenders were thrown down - some bones still remain...
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Ghosts of Braemar Castle
John Farquharson is said to still haunt the Castle where he leaves a burning candle. His outline has been seen on the
four poster bed. Some have smelt his tobacco in the rooms.
A young blonde haired lady haunts the Castle.
Recently married couples are reputed to be the only people who are haunted by a newly married woman who killed herself
by throwing herself off of the battlements. She had woken up one morning of her honeymoon to find her husband gone (he had
gone out early morning hunting) and became distraught at thinking he had left her. Her ghost haunts the Castle looking
for him. Ghostly footsteps that have been heard are thought to belong to her.
A Scottish piper has been heard and there have been sightings of him.
Others have reported the sounds of steel clashing on the staircase as if of sword fighting.
A crying baby has been heard through the Castle - a young baby was murdered in the Castle.
Facilities At Braemar Castle
The Castle has original stairwells which make visiting the rooms unsuitable for disabled and wheelchair visitors.
Children are very welcome at the Castle, though pushchairs and prams will not be able to access each room. Children who
count the hidden teddy bears around the inside of the Castle will get a treat from the shop.
There are toilets in the grounds of the Castle. The Castle grounds have a large picnic area with a large grassed
area, picnic chairs and benches. The shop in the Castle sells souvenirs, chilled drinks from a large fridge and chocolate
and crisp snacks and ice-creams. No hot food is served and there is no cafe or restaurant. Braemar does have a range
of cafes, coffee shops, restaurants and hotels which serve food.
No photographs are permitted to be taken at the Castle. They do sell postcards though with up to date photos.
Contact Address and Telephone Number For Braemar Castle
Tel: (01339) 741219
Their website has up to date visiting hours and times with current admission ticket prices.
How To Get To Braemar Castle
Directions From Aberdeen - Take the A93 heading through Cults, Peterculter, Banchory and Ballater. Just before
Braemar you will see another Royal Deeside Castle called Invercauld Castle on the right. This is a private home and
not open to visitors. After this you will see Braemar Castle. The first entrance on the right is for disabled visitors
and coaches. The next right turn takes you to the free car park. There is a small walk to the Castle from the parking
Best Western Hotels have two hotels in Aberdeen. The following links take you to their website for more information or to make a direct booking:
Read more about
the ghost of John Farquharson and his rising coffin.
and its ghost story.
More Aberdeenshire Castles.
A Jacobite Fete takes place at Braemar Castle on Sunday 24 July 2011 from 11am to 4pm to commemorate when the infamous Black Colonel set fire to Braemar Castle in 1689. The Jacobite fete will see entertainment, food and drink, Highlanders in tartan, re-enacted sword fighting, a re-constructed camp and traditional food and games. Visitors can take part in sword fighting and archery schools, watch weaving and lace making demonstrations, learn how to create an authentic kilt with no stitching and enjoy the storyteller’s tales of Jacobite intrigue.
Other events and attractions at this Braemar fete include a pony to pet from Belwade Farm, 2Wit2Woo rescued owls and raptors, Snuffles the sheep being sheared in the traditional way, Aberdeen and North East Family History Society, the Battle of Prestonpans Battlebus, traditional singers and musicians and the Bucksburn Pipe Band.
Entry to the Fete is £3 for adults, £2 concession and children are free. Entrance to the fete also entitles you to a reduction of £1 on admission to the Castle. Gates open 11 – 4. For more information please visit www.braemarcastle.co.uk and click on events.
Braemar Castle Scotland will open weekends from 11am to 4pm, with the last tour of Braear Castle taking place at 3.45pm. The admission prices from Braemar Castle in 2011 are adults £6, concessions £5, children £3 or family £12.
Braemar Castle re-opens on Saturday 2nd April 2011 with an Upstairs Downstairs Day. The year is 1868 and upstairs, the 13th Laird of Invercauld, James Ross Farquharson, and his wife, await the arrival of an important visitor. Better known as “Piccadilly Jim”, the Laird spends much time in London with HRH Edward, Prince of Wales enjoying the delights and temptations of the capital. The Prince will be visiting later in the day. Downstairs, the cook is busy preparing pancakes for that special afternoon tea – and she always makes too many! Come and enjoy a guided tour of the castle, meet the colourful “Piccadilly Jim” and his charming wife and sample the cook’s extra pancakes. And children, don’t forget to count the teddy bears!
For more information visit the Braemar Castle website at www.braemarcastle.co.uk
Free Entry to Braemar Castle
Free entry to Braemar Castle takes place on Saturday 18 September 2010 as part of Doors Open Day. During this free visit you can tour 12 fully furnished rooms and see what has been achieved since the community took over the running of Braemar Castle 2 seasons ago and take a look at the influences of its very different occupants over the past 400 years. For instance these are just a few interesting facts about the history of Braemar Castle:
Pink was the late Mrs Frances Farquharson of Invercauld’s favourite colour and inspired by her great friend, the surrealist designer Elsa Schiaparelli, she decorated Braemar Castle in Schiaparelli’s signature colour even painting the toilet pink!
The red-coated Hanoverian soldiers who garrisoned in Braemar Castle after Culloden also left their stamp with graffiti decorating the window panels of the dining room, the breakfast room and the drawing room.
The first owner of Braemar Castle, the 2nd Earl of Mar, gave us an L-shaped Hunting Lodge with a left handed staircase and Bobbin Jock, the 6th Earl, lost Braemar Castle to the Farquharsons after he initiated the disastrous 1715 Jacobite uprising
Local Jacobite enthusiasts, Michel and Magali Brat will set up camp on Saturday to show life as it was lived in the Braes of Mar 300 years ago. Learn how to turn a length of tartan into a kilt and plaid and try out Jacobite weapons such as the Lochaber axe, the broadsword and the dirk.
Braemar Castle is open from 11am until 4pm on Saturday and the car park is adjacent to the castle. The steep spiral staircase means it is not suitable for anyone with mobility problems but you are welcome to enjoy a hot drink or ice-cream in the castle courtyard.
Braemar Castle Scotland
Braemar Castle Scotland opened for the summer 2010 season on Saturday 3 April. Braemar Castle was built in 1628 by the Earl of Mar as his Highland Hunting Lodge. It is now Scotland’s only community run castle. Braemar Castle can be found in the heart of the magnificent scenery of the Cairngorms National Park. Visitors to this historical building can enjoy a guided tour and discover the turbulent past of Braemar Castle and its ghosts.
If they feel brave enough visitors can peer into the underground pit prison which was used to punish cattle thieves and sheep stealers. Climb the winding stone stairs to the Drawing Room where Queen Victoria took tea. Visit the elegant Dining Room adorned by graffiti left by the Hanoverian soldiers. In the Exhibition space, learn about deer stalking, grouse shooting and fishing in the National Park. Don a stalker’s hat and jacket for a unique photo opportunity. See the Laird’s Bedroom, with its handsome four poster bed and shiver at tales of the castle’s ghosts. Visit the room dedicated to Robert Louis Stevenson who spent his holiday in Braemar writing Treasure Island or hear how Clan Farquharson began and take a peek at the Victorian Kitchen crammed with original utensils. Children and the young at heart visitors should remember to count the teddy bears during their tour of Braemar Castle.
During 2010 Braemar Castle will be open from April to the end of October from 1100 – 1600. On Wednesdays in July and August. Tickets to Braemar Castle cost an adult: £5, concessions £4, children £3 or a families ticket to Braemar Castle £12.
Queen Victoria made sure the railway never made it to Braemar in Scotland but on Saturday May 2 2009 there will be a chance to climb aboard and sample the Deeside scenery from the Braemar Castle Scotland train. The locomotive is environmentally friendly, electric, and the coaches are fully air conditioned because they are open so passengers can enjoy the fine Scottish fresh air. As part of Braemar Castle Scotland annual Fete, a narrow gauge train will ferry passengers from the car park, through the trees with its horn sounding to cross the level-crossing, to the Braemar Castle Scotland lawns. Look out for a top speed of 6 mph! And it’s not just for the children, the train has space for adults too!
Entry to Braemar Castle Scotland will be free on Saturday and the community will be pitching in to make sure of a great day out for all the family. The Braemar Fire engine will be on show and members of the Mountain Rescue will be there with their Kassbohrer Track vehicle. There will be welly wanging, hook a duck, races, football game and tombola as well as a barbecue, teas, coffees and ice-creams.
In its heyday, Braemar Castle Scotland would have been the centre of spectacular hunting parties hosted by the Earl of Mar with greyhounds and deerhounds running alongside the horses and on Saturday the greyhounds will be back at the Castle. A feature of the Fete will be the charity Give a Greyhound a Home and there will be an opportunity to meet these gentle dogs, find out about their history (once it was illegal for commoners to own greyhounds) and hear more about their present plight.
Braemar Castle Scotland opens at 1100 (through until 1600) and the Fete gets underway at 1200.
Braemar Castle Scotland will re-open on Saturday 11 April 2009 with a weekend of spectacular free entertainment provided by the re-enactment group Fraser’s Dragoons. The turbulent times of the 17th century spring to life as musket and cannon fire echo round the hills. Visitors to Braemar Castle Scotland can try their hand at Pike drill, find out how musket balls are made, sample life with the platoon’s surgeon and barber, visit the authentic tents and chat with the campfire cook. With plenty to watch and plenty to do on both Saturday and Sunday from 1100 - 1600, as well as the chance to tour the Castle, this is ideal family outing. Entry to the grounds to see Fraser’s Dragoons re-enactment group is absolutely free. And to celebrate the start of a new season, there’s even money off the normal rates of entry to the Castle. £5 for adults, £4 concession and £12 for a family ticket are all reduced by £1 on Saturday and Sunday 11 and 12 April.
Braemar Castle is now leased to Braemar Community Ltd who raise funds to keep the Castle open. The Directors will be organising more events at Braemar Castle
such as using the dining room for private functions and the grounds as a concert venue. They took out a 50 year lease in 2005.
Braemar Community Ltd were given an anonymous £80,000 donation that was used to purchase the original contents of Braemar Castle.
The Braemar Community Ltd have been restoring Braemar Castle for the last few years and it is hoped that Braemar Castle will be opened once more to the public by mid 2008.
Braemar Castle opened on Saturday 3 May 2009. To celebrate the reopening of Braemar Castle there was a fete in the grounds and Steve Robertson of Scotland the What? opened the Castle at 12:30pm. when he turned the key to its large doors. Thee was free entry to Braemar Castle that day. Read more about Steve Robertson on the Scotland the What? page.