Castles of Scotland - Drum Castle
My castle-traipsing trip occured on a beautifully frosty Boxing Day. I regret we did not have enough time to leave Aberdeenshire (highlighted in dark blue, above left) but thankfully the castles that we did see that day (and one that we didn't see, damn you Queen Elizabeth!) were some of the best in the country.
We started off with the compact and picturesque Drum Castle, said to be one of the oldest occupied castles in Scotland. But as you can see, it's been very well taken care of.
Drum Castle has an interesting history. It's tower (believed to be one of the oldest in Scotland) was started back in the 13th century, although the rest of the castle was expanded in the 17th century.
Robert the Bruce - one of Scotland's greatest kings and most courageous warriors - gave the castle to William Irvine - a faithful Scots soldier - in 1332, as a sign of gratitude. Though the castle was attacked and ransacked about three times, it was home to the Irvine family for more than six and a half centuries, a full 24 generations of unbroken succession.
The castle has a lovely "backyard" with 18th century gardens spanning over 300 acres.
It's from behind that you really get an idea of the solidness of the place.
There is also a wee chapel on the grounds, built in the 16th century for the family. As usual, the church had shut it's doors to me but by peeping through the keyhole I could make out wonderful stain-glass designs inside.