Isle of Albion
A castle with an adjacent distillery.
Photographed: Friday 26th April 2013
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Balvenie Castle was built in the latter half of the 13th Century by the Black Comyns (most probably Alexander Comyn, the 2nd Earl of Buchan), making it one of the oldest stone-built castles in Scotland.

The Comyn's fought against Robert Bruce, when he became king in 1306AD, leading to their annihilation. It is possible that Balvenie, along with other castles belonging to the Comyns, was destroyed at this time.

At some point during the following years, the castle passed into the hands of the Black Douglases. They too were wiped out in 1455AD, this time at the hands of James II. James II granted the castle to his kinsman John Stewart, Earl of Atholl. It stayed with his line for the following two centuries.

By 1720AD, Balvenie Castle had already started to fall into decline, and it was abandoned in favour of a more fashionable residence at Balvenie New House. The castle served briefly as a garrison during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745AD, but no subsequent mention appears after this point.

Today, the ruins of Balvenie Castle stand atop a hill, partly obscured by trees, overlooking the Glenfiddich Distillery (with the Balvenie distillery immediately beyond). There's plenty here to explore, and the ruins are atmospheric and interesting, providing a good illustration of how a military structure evolved over time into a more domestic form.