Debbie and I recently took a trip to Duffus Castle, having many fond memories of picnicking at the medieval ruins with our son, Josh, when he was young.
The first viewing of the ruins from the bottom of the hill is somewhat misleading, as it is hard to fathom the true expanse of the stonework beyond the front of the castle. It is only when you reach the top of the mound that you are able to take in the full extent of the vast structure.
The best way to approach the ruins is by first following the path from the left of the gate, until you get to the ancient bridge, and then following the lovely stone path up to the castle itself.
The castle, which was once considered the medieval stronghold of the Moray family, was a fortress residence for more than 500 years, from the 1100s all the way through to the 1700s.
The stone castle that now stands was not built until the 1300s, replacing the earlier timber fortress that stood in the same place. It was actually previously known as one of the strongest castles in Scotland – until it was reduced to decaying ruin by the time it was abandoned in 1705.
Due to its location, Duffus Castle has something to offer during any season. It is the perfect place for a picnic during the summertime – and is on a large slope, making it great for rolling eggs down during Easter time, and for sledging down during snowy winters.
The ruins are also located near the RAF base in Lossiemouth, which means that there is sometimes an added bonus of seeing their jets taking off. Despite how this might sound, this does’t detract from the beauty and serenity of the area. It is actually rather interesting to think that this site would have once been a strategically important structure, and now its lie very close to one of the UK’s largest and busiest fast-jet stations in the Royal Air Fore.
There are plenty ruins to be climbed and nooks and crannies to be explored at this historic site. Well placed information boards also help you build up a good picture of exactly what the castle used to look like, so you can imagine it’s beauty in its glory days.
It is completely free to visit the ruins of Duffus Castle, with a free car park as well as a bike stand for those keen cyclists who choose to cycle over.
I may be slightly bias due to the fond memories I have of Duffus Castle, but you can go see for yourself, as this beautiful historic site with fantastic views is only 15 minutes from Carden Cottages.