When I set out to see Corgarff, my Garmin took me on a winding trip along "single track" roads far up into the Highlands. It wasn't until we stopped at a nearby coffee shop that I discovered my Garmin had made a faux pas, but the drive was fascinating, and I saw remote country that I never would have set eyes on if I'd stayed to the main roads.
Corgarff was built by the Forbes family around 1550, a modest-sized, but comfortable tower-house set atop a lonely hill in the Scottish moorland. Corgarff was typical of small estates of the 16th-century gentry. The nucleus was the tower house. The great hall filled the first floor, with a cellar for storage below and private chambers above.
Ancillary buildings attached to either end included the kitchen and brew house. No respectable castle would be without a brew house, of course.
Surrounding the tower is an impressive cobbled courtyard, the walls in the sixteenth century would have protected stables and perhaps the guard would have practiced sparring at dawn each morning. The existing star-shaped courtyard was added in the late 1740s.
|Corgarff Castle Courtyard|
I really liked the upper tower rooms. I think this one would be warm in the harsh winters with its low ceiling and hearth at the far end.
|Upper Chamber Room|
I could see this tower room being a hold for prisoners. Could a deceitful chieftain have kept a maid in this room?
|Corgarff Small Tower Room|
Other dates of note:
1746 - 400 redcoats struggled through snow and icy winds to oust Jacobite forces from Corgarff. The arrived to find the cat the only remaining resident.
1750 A new military road was built that linked Corgarff to Fort George. After Culloden, the castle underwent significant adaptation to become a base for government forces.
1826 - Corgarff became a licensed distillary.
1831 - The redcoats vacate Corgarff.
After the garrison pulled out, the castle fell into decay. At first it was occupied by farm workers until two women known as the Ross sisters took up residence. In 1961, the derelict ruin was entrusted to state care by Sir Edmund and Lady Stockdale who assisted in the preservation work.
Today the castle is a museum depicting it as a military stronghold. The pictures below show barracks-style accommodations:
Thanks for visiting my blog! I'll be posting more about castles and abbeys in the coming weeks. I hope to see you again!