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Drum Castle, Aberdeen

4.0 stars


Drum Castle

Exploring the hills of Aberdeen, Scotland can be thrilling, especially in a rental car with a week of castle exploration ahead. When I set off to see the lochs and keeps of northern Great Britain, I had simply expected to see a lot of castles as I drove by, maybe stopping in for a local gift shop. To my surprise, many of these castles were family owned, and one could tour them personally for a very reasonable sum. Drum Castle held one of these surprise tours, and ended up teaching me more about Scotland than most of the museum tours I had taken. Drum Castle is located 11 miles from Aberdeen, and is a tall, rook-shaped keep that may seem old and slightly run down on the outside, yet still held rooms both historic and useable within. When I visited the castle, a local tour guide led me around for hours, telling me about the various historical events that had happened there, and about the secret passages laid throughout (called the Laird’s Lug, these passages allowed servants to move quickly from one place to another). The guide also showed me tables with chunks taken out of them to allow the overweight Lairds of the past a place to sit, and the rooms that were covered in an incredible crimson red. “These walls were painted with imported pig’s blood,” the guide told me. “It feels like you’re sitting in a room of black pudding,” he added with a laugh. True to his statements, much of the history of this castle with its winding staircases were centered around hunting and battle, but while tourists may find this to be disgusting, honoring battles of the past is an important part of Scottish history. There were of course some ghost stories to go along with the castle, including one of a screaming noble who runs up the stairs at night to throw people out the windows. With so much history, and such an intimate tour, I couldn’t have been happier at the end of my visit to Drum Castle, and recommend the journey highly to anyone looking to better understand Scottish history and culture. [more ]

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