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I literally have all these gorgeous stately houses, castles and amazing ruins on my doorstep and I have hardly been to any of them.  I honestly have no idea why as I love that sort of thing.

So, today, I visited both Haddo House and Tolquhon (pronounced ‘Tol-hon’) Castle. I got lots of lovely pictures 🙂 (although I wasn’t allowed to take photos inside of the house itself at Haddo.  But I got plenty of the grounds).

This is going to be a very image heavy post.  Although I’m not going to post all my photos because I took a lot.

Haddo House:

(Haddo House from the front)

Haddo House belonged to the Georges, who were Earls of Aberdeen (until the early 20th century when they became Marquesses).  It was built in 1732 and remained their property until 1979 when they gave it to the National Trust for Scotland.  The architect – William Adam – also designed Duff House.

(Haddo House from the back)

(The chapel – which is attached to the house)

In the 1880’s, the Earl’s wife, Ishbel, hated the look of the house and had it completely redone inside (which is what we still see today).  She also had a chapel added to the house.

(I think this was Lady Haddo’s garden – the main gardens are a lot more formal)

(Tree planted by Queen Victoria)

Queen Victoria was good friends with the Earl, and, in 1857, she stayed at Haddo House for a night.  Legend has it that it was the Earl who talked Queen Victoria into buying the nearby Balmoral Castle for a holiday home.

(Plaque in front of the tree Queen Victoria planted)

Tolquhon Castle:

(Tolquhon Castle)

Two miles down the road from Haddo House, Tolquhon (pronounced ‘Tol-hon’) Castle was built between 1584 and 1589 to replace an earlier house which was built in 1420 (the tower of which – on the left of the picture above – was still in tact).

(The Gatehouse)

(Original floor from the 16th century)

Tolquhon Castle, despite its age (and the fact that it is ruins), is in very good condition.  Such good condition, in fact, that you can climb all the towers without having to worry about the stairs crumbling away under your feet.

(Stairs leading from the cellar to the first floor)

(The Main Hall)

(The oven in the kitchen)

(I do not envy whoever slept in this room)

(Bedroom with the ‘pit’ on the floor – for safety reasons, it’s bolted shut and we weren’t allowed to enter it)

(Part of the original 1420’s tower – referred to as ‘The Auld Tower’)

(Tolquhon Castle from the inside)

(Bee boles which kept skeps – or bee hives, as they’re more commonly known)

The man who built this castle (William Forbes) was a big fan of honey and so had bee boles built so that he could have a near-constant supply.  Unfortunately, William didn’t live in the house for very long.  He moved in in 1590 and died in 1596.

William’s descendant, Alexander, ended up investing in the scheme to establish Scottish colonies on the Darien peninsula.  This didn’t work out at all, which lead to his family becoming bankrupt, which then lead to the eventual selling of Tolquhon Castle to the Earls of Aberdeen (who also owned Haddo House).

I will definitely make sure I visit other castles and such in my area because everything about today was so interesting!