For more than 300 years, Craig Castle was a Gordon stronghold.
Now, the 16th Century Aberdeenshire castle, along with its residential and sporting estate, is up for sale, with an asking price of offers over £1.23 million.
The Gordon clan motto, Bydand, which means ‘stay and fight’, is rather appropriate, as that’s what one original resident, John Craig of Auchindoir, aka Laird of Craig, did and wrote himself a place in Scotland’s history books.
He was considered a local hero having led a group of men to fight at the Battle of Culbean, where the Scots were victorious.
The battle is renowned for being the turning point in the second war of Scottish independence.
To this day, a fictional watercolour by the late Dr Douglas Simpson, titled ‘John of the Craig’s return from the Battle of Culbean’, hangs in the castle’s library.
The castle remained in Gordon hands until 1832, before being sold to the Craik family.
Today, the estate is owned by their descendents, the Barlas family.
The Grade A listed castle, which is near Rhynie, sits at the foothills of the Grampian mountains and is surrounded by gardens, policies and mature woodland in the pretty glen of the Burn of Craig.
The gardens are a lovely feature of the estate, with a walled garden, mature specimen trees, summer house and a B-listed sundial.
The building, a 16th Century fortified tower house with 19th and 20th Century additions, is adorned, both inside and out, with a superb array of heraldry from across the ages.
The estate dates back as far as the early 13th Century when, in around 1220, a previous castle of timber construction is documented to have stood to the south of Craig Castle.
Little remains of it today, apart from a mound and a stone dovecot.
By the 15th Century, the original timber castle was in a state of disrepair and the lands of Auchindoir were owned by the Irvines of Drum before they reverted to the Crown.
Then, in 1510, King James IV granted a charter of the lands in favour of Patrick Gordon, who commissioned the construction of Craig Castle.
He was reputedly killed during the Battle of Flodden and the original castle was finished by his son William in 1548.
The oldest part of the castle is set out across an L-shaped plan, typical of the era.
Sixteenth Century features include a grand arched ornamental gateway with a timber arched door and weighty iron knocker, gun loops, crow-stepped gabling, a turret and a corbelled parapet.
Inside, the original part of the castle has a barrel vaulted ceiling, a cell, a priest hole, a former chapel which is now the dining hall, a minstrels’ gallery and a spiral staircase.
There’s even evidence of an escape tunnel, although this has long since been sealed.
The 18th Century wing – adjoined to the original by a connecting passage – is thought to have been designed by renowned architect William Adam.
A Georgian addition, designed by Aberdonian architect Archibald Simpson, was constructed in 1832.
While the castle has many first-class features, three reception rooms and nine bedrooms, the original core of it is in need of renovation.
The asking price includes two traditional cottages; a B-listed former mill with potential for development subject to the necessary planning consents; a block of mature coniferous woodland and open hill ground with mixed sporting and environment potential.
There are two former grouse moors on the estate and a renewed management programme could provide the opportunity for grouse shooting in future. Stalking is also available.
Diane Fleming, selling agent for Strutt & Parker, said: “Castle Craig Estate occupies a fairytale setting in one of the most private and stunning landscapes of Scotland.
“The castle in particular will capture the imagination of those with vision and ambition, as well as those attracted to history and architecture. The estate is offered for sale as a whole or in five lots, providing opportunities at several different levels of the rural property market.
“We expect it to attract significant interest from both British and international buyers.”
Contact: Strutt & Parker on 0131 226 2500.