Wolf of Badenoch's 'lair' set to reopen

SCOTLAND'S own "Wolf's lair", the ruined Highland keep once owned by one of the most infamous figures in Scottish history, will be reopened to the public next week, following the completion of a major restoration scheme.

Drumin Castle, the 14th-century fortress on the Glenlivet Estate in Moray, was one of the main castles used by Sir Alexander Stewart, the notorious "Wolf of Badenoch", to conduct a reign of terror throughout the north-east of Scotland and the Highlands, which culminated in the sacking and burning of Elgin Cathedral in 1390.

Stewart, the fourth son of Robert II, attacked the cathedral and looted Elgin and nearby Forres as part of a long-running feud with the bishop of Moray, who had excommunicated him when he rejected his wife, the Countess of Ross, in favour of his mistress.

The castle has been out of bounds to visitors for decades because of its dilapidated state. But next Thursday the keep will be reopened to the public at an official ceremony to be performed by the Duke of York, marking the completion of a five-year restoration scheme, costing 300,000, by the owners of the estate, the Crown Estate.

The campaign to save the castle was led by Cathy Reid, whose home at the hamlet of Drumin is adjacent to the ruined castle. She died last October before the restoration scheme was completed.

The project involved the complete repointing and repair of the castle walls and adjacent walled garden, the restoration of the castle's lower vault and the construction of a car park and footpaths, as well as landscaping work.

Andrew Wells, the countryside and forest services manager for the Crown Estate, said: "We are delighted that the duke is able to join us on what will be a great community occasion, and I am sure he will be impressed by the sense of history and mystery which the castle displays."

Drumin Castle was one of a number used by the Wolf of Badenoch, who, according to legend, died after he lost a game of chess with the devil. He was buried in Dunkeld Cathedral.

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