Village seeking revamp of Royal Deeside's other castle

A tiny community which runs a 17th century castle in the heart of Royal Deeside has launched a major fundraising campaign to restore the historic tower.

The unsightly cladding on Braemars historic castle is deterring tourists and locals are hoping to raise £1.5m to sort the problem
The unsightly cladding on Braemars historic castle is deterring tourists and locals are hoping to raise £1.5m to sort the problem

Braemar Castle is run by villagers who need to find £1.5 million to replace the unsightly and cracked cladding on the exterior of the Grade-A listed property.

The castle was gifted to a community trust on a 50-year lease by owner Captain Alywne Farquharson, 16th laird of Invercauld and chief of Clan Farquharson, in 2007.

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Its rich history spans more that 400 years. Built for the powerful Earls of Mar, its position controlled access through the Cairngorms to Strathspey, with the castle later becoming a key target during the Jacobite rebellions of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Braemar also has a rather grand near neighbour, the Queen’s residence at Balmoral, and it is hoped the renovations draw more visits from those on the Royal trail and boost the economy of the village.

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Doreen Wood, a member of Braemar Community Ltd, said: “The castle is a really important asset for the village. Everything we do at the castle, we do for the village.

“Our aim is to make a destination that will draw more people into the village, keep them here longer and support the economy of Braemar.

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“Having the castle has been a great project for the village and it’s given the village a great confidence, that we have this castle and can make it work. Also, we have a castle to play with! There is a great deal of affection and appreciation for the castle here.”

Ms Wood described the exterior of the castle as “really off putting” with visitors often not proceeding further than the grounds.

She said: “We have as many as three times the people coming into the ground but don’t come into the building. It’s important to get the harling done, not just because of the way it looks but also because of the conservation of the castle.

“At some point, probably in the late 19th century there was cement put on the exterior. But the concrete holds water – new harling would let it breath. Like Craigievar has done, we need to strip it off.”

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The Braemar Community Trust earlier raised £500,000 to repair the roof and chimney with funds now being sought from the Heritage Lottery fund and private subscription for the next round of work.

An appeal to Clan Farquharson diaspora will also be made.