Cawdor Castle is just a little further along Highway A96 past the Clava Cairns. We arrived just after the noon hour and waited in a long line at the entrance kiosk. Over a half hour later we learned that the credit card machine wasn’t working (the vehicles in front of us wanted to pay with their card) so we decided to keep going up the road and visit Brodie Castle instead. There were some very interesting old stones at the entrance to Cawdor Castle.
Brodie Castle is a 16th century tower house and is packed with art and antiques including French furniture, English, continental and Chinese porcelain, a major collection of paintings including 17th-century Dutch art, 19th-century English water colours, and early 20th-century works by several famous Scottish colourists. The fabulous library contains about 6,000 volumes.
The castle was the home of the Brodie family until the late 20th-century. Brodie’s lived in the area even before the first tower house was built in 1160 when it is believed that King Malcolm IV of Scotland conferred the land on the family. The main tower has been enlarged several times and has a 17th-century wing and a Victorian extension. I thought it a lovely place. I really liked the reddish blond stone. The 24th laird, Major Ian Brodie, became a world-renowned breeder of daffodils and over 400 varieties are planted on the castle grounds. The last laird was estranged from his family members so when he died he gifted the house, grounds and all the contents to the National Trust of Scotland! A treasure trove for sure. As usual, no photos allowed inside, but it was a gorgeous place – loved, loved, the library!
The next castle on our list was the ruins of Spynie Palace, which was the residence of the bishops of Moray for over 400 years, and is located just north of the city of Elgin. (The lengthy history of all these places is so amazing. Coming from Canada, which is such a young country, I find it all very fascinating and awe-inspiring.) The tower house was one of the largest in Scotland. There were incredible views from the top of the tower. After a jam-packed day we made our way to back to Elgin in time to wander around the ruins of of Elgin Cathedral before they closed. We drove just over an hour from Elgin to Kemnay, northwest of Aberdeen, where we spent the night at Bennachie (Ben-a-kee) Lodge. What a great place name that is.