Huntly Visitor Information Guide
Huntly Aberdeenshire lies in a little plain entirely surrounded by hills 39 miles west of Aberdeen in the angle formed by the meeting of the river deveron and its tributary the Bogie.
Laid out in the 18th century on the gridiron plan around two long, straight and narrow streets with a pleasant square at their point of intersection. The town owed its existence to the powerful family of Gordon. From the north end of the square, Castle Street leads directly under the arch of the Gordon Schools (founded by the Duchess of Gordon in I839) to the wooded drive leading in turn to the stately ruins of Huntly Castle on the high right bank of the Deveron.
Now preserved by the Department of the Environment, Huntly Castle is an epitome of the development of the Scottish castle from the earliest Norman fortress to the palace of the 17th century.
The green mound of the Norman motte rising high above the rock strewn gorge of the river. The enormously thick walls of the medieval keep known as the ‘Auld Werk’ the foundations of the courtyard, and the earthwork of the Civil War ravelin these are now but the outlines of old unhappy far off things But the great Renaissance palace built by the ﬁrst Marquess of Huntly between I597 and 1602 remains rooﬂess and tenant less but otherwise almost entire, Its outstanding features are the stately row of ﬁrst floor windows (inspired by those of the Château of Blois of which during his exile the Marquess is said to have been governed. the grand doorway with its armorial bearings. and the splendid carved ﬁreplaces. Huntly Castle was the home of the Gordons from I376 to 1752 at that time Gordon Castle.
Fochabers was the principal seat of the family, and in that year the widow of the 3rd Duke of Gordon used some of the stones of the stronghold to rebuild Huntly Lodge as a jointure-house. This stately l8th-cent. mansion stands on rising ground from the Castle on the far side of the Deveron, here spanned by a ﬁne old bridge. It was in this period also that the ancient burgh of barony known as the Raws of Strathbogie clustered about the Castle, and was replaced by the modern town of Huntly, as its linen industry was replaced by woollen manufacturing. In an old building on the west side of the square a craftsman named Forsyth designed the sett of the Gordon tartan when the 4th Duke of Gordon, assisted by his famous Duchess, Jane Maxwell, raised the Gordon High landers regiment in 1794. The Duchess, a leader of London fashion, is said to have placed the Kings shilling between her lips to woo recruits with a kiss. As ‘Bonnie Jean‘, she is still revered in memory by the Gordons of today.
A tablet in Duke Street indicates the birthplace of the novelist George MacDonald (1824-1905) whose works include David Elginbrod, a mystical romance, and Alec Forbes of Howglen, a description of humble life in Huntly. The modern reader is more likely to be familiar with his fairy tales, such as At the Back of the North Wind.
The local council administers 22.5 miles of ﬁshing on the Bogie and the Deveron. A fine golf course extends almost from the Castle into the salient where Deveron and Bogie meet, while farther west is a children’s lido on the Deveron. This is a growing town, and there is much new housing to accommodate workers on a busy industrial estate.
Advertise Huntly holiday accommodation free including hotels, guest houses, B&B and self catering accommodation.
- Huntly Latitude: 57.4459° N Longitude: 2.7878° W
- Huntly Postcode AB54
- Huntly WOEID 24179