Findlater Castle-A Ruin with a Million Dollar View

It has been a cold and wintry few days here in Virginia, so today I’m thinking back to a beautiful, warm day last May when Mr. C and I traveled along the Aberdeenshire coast to see the ruins of Findlater Castle.

Findlater Castle ruins set against the blue waters of the Moray Firth.

The precarious cliffside ruins are located about two miles east of the town of Cullen, Scotland, and are perched atop a rocky promontory overlooking the Moray Firth. Though it might not look like much to you in its present state, consider the drawing below. At one time, Findlater would have been pretty incredible, sitting there with its million-dollar views. Talk about location, location, location!

An artist's rendition of how Findlater Castle might have looked in its day.
An artist’s rendering of what Findlater Castle may have looked like. You can see where the drawbridge would have been on the right side of the photo.
Steep cliffs and jagged rocks on the Moray Firth coast.

Findlater Castle dates back to the 15th century, but parts of the castle may have been incorporated into another building on the site dating from a century earlier. It is also likely that the site was the location of some sort of fortification even before that.

Mowed path through a green pasture that leads to cliffs overlooking the Moray Firth.
The well-maintained, grassy path from the car park is about a half-mile long. The day we visited, it seemed that the clouds were pointing the way.

The now ruined stronghold was owned initially by the Ogilvy family. However, after Alexander Ogilvy disinherited his son James in favor of Sir John Gordon (son of the Earl of Huntly and a man trying to win the hand of Mary Queen of Scots), the castle and lands passed to the Gordons. A period of bitter feuding between the two families followed.

Cliffside ruins of Findlater Castle.

In time, the Gordons (of Huntly) became enemies of Mary and her half brother, the Earl of Moray. To make a long story short, as they say, the situation escalated, resulting in the Gordons being defeated by Mary and her forces at the Battle Of Corrichie. Sir John Gordon was executed, and Findlater went back to the Ogilvies once again. Eventually, the Ogilvies abandoned Findlater in favor of another residence, Cullen House, in nearby Cullen.

Findlater Doocot in a field of yellow flowers.
Findlater Doocot (dovecot), c. 1500’s. It was restored in the early 1990s.

If you look closely at the top photos, you will notice that there is a narrow, steep path down to the ruins (the castle is also accessible via a coastal path at ground level). Though we could see a couple of guys disappear like gophers into one of the castle openings-yikes, Mr. C and I chose not to risk it. It is worth noting that this crumbling ruin is not maintained and that there are sheer cliffside drops to the beach below. So if you visit and do decide to explore, please take extreme care!

There is no doubt about it. The ruins of Findlater Castle are a spectacular sight and are well worth taking the time to visit!

Friends, I hope you enjoyed today’s post. As always, thank you for popping in. I’ll see you next time.


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