Duffus Castle

Once the strongest fortification in Scotland

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Duffus Castle is now in ruins, but it was once the strongest fortress in Scotland.

Originally, this would have been a wooden castle built in the 1100s on the top of a mound of earth. This motte and bailey design was to lift the castle off the boggy plain. There is a large enclosing moat.

The castle was rebuilt in stone in the early 1300s.

However, the castle was abandoned in 1705 and fell into disrepair.

Fall being the operative word. You can clearly see one side of the castle has slipped down the embankment and has come to rest at an angle. Whether this happened in one earth-moving landslip or gradually over time is anyone’s guess. It’s stable enough now to walk inside and get an angled view of the Laich of Moray through one of the tiny windows.

Parking is free, and there is a snack and drinks hut in the car park.


  • c1100: First castle built by Flemish man Freskin. His son William adopted the title of ‘de Moravia’ – of Moray
  • c1270: The castle passed to Sir Reginald Cheyne the Elder, Lord of Inverugie
  • 1305: 200 oaks from Darnaway and Longmorn were gifted to Sir Reginald by King Edward I of England
  • 1350: The castle passes to Earl of Sutherland through marriage.
  • c1700: Lord Duffus moved to Duffus House and the castle started to decay.

Further information

W: https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/duffus-castle/
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Parking on-site or nearby Cyclists welcome

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