Sunday, October 31, 2010

Craigievar Castle

Craigievar Castle is a pinkish harled castle six miles (10 km) south of Alford, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It was the seat of Clan Sempill. The setting is among scenic rolling foothills of the Grampian Mountains. The contrast of its massive lower story structure to the finely sculpted multiple turrets, gargoyles and high corbelling work create a classic fairytale appearance.

  The great seven-storey castle was completed in 1626 by the Aberdonian merchant William Forbes, ancestor to the "Forbes-Sempill family" and brother of the Bishop of Aberdeen. Forbes purchased the partially completed structure from the impoverished Mortimer family in the year 1610. Forbes' nickname was Danzig Willy, a reference to his shrewd international trading success. The Forbes family resided here for 350 years until 1963, when the property was gifted to the National Trust for Scotland.

This building could be metaphorically compared to a Marine in dress uniform, as it is totally ill-equipped for battle, though it certainly does look polished and regimental.  The pink harl was overhauled recently and the color is closer to the original than the previously ill-fitting coat, done in the 1970s.  I don't know exactly how the historians were able to determine the exact shape of pink, though it is reminiscent of the coral colored harl that is prevalent in Bermuda.  For some reason, I think that Forbes' fantastical vision may have been better suited for a tropical island than the foothills of Scotland.  Nonetheless, am sure that the women and children loved it, even if the local clansmen thought of him as a bit queer.


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