July’s Castle of the Month: Brodie

Image: National Trust for Scotland

Beautiful Brodie. When I was younger, we used to regularly head up to the north-east of Scotland, and sometimes, could do up to three castle visits in a day. Brodie Castle was always on the list. 

I haven’t visited for years, so I have no photos of my own of Brodie, and please do forgive what’s essentially a nostalgia-filled post for me.

When we first visited, I must have been about twelve. As we walked in, my parents showed our National Trust membership cards, sorted out a guidebook etc., and my friend and I just stood, looking around. It’s a beautiful, 400-year-old building, with everything you want in a classic Scottish castle of its era – heavy wood paneling, stags heads lining the walls, tartan everywhere – perfect. And there was a kindly-looking, older gentleman, with an NTS badge on saying ‘Brodie’. Nothing odd about that, we were in Brodie Castle, after all, so all the staff had the same badges, right? Wrong.

After realising we were interested in the history, he escorted us into a little room off the main entrance, to show us the family’s very literal ‘skeleton in the closet’, remains found during works, years earlier. Not just that, he told us wonderful stories of the castle, the history, the people, even the gardens. I can’t remember the details now, but I remember being fascinated, and losing all sense of time. It can’t actually have been THAT long, but when we eventually caught back up with my parents, who had simply carried on with the tour, they were smiling, glad we’d had a good chat. Apparently, the two ladies on the till had explained that the nice old man was, in fact, “Brodie of Brodie” (hence the badge!), and that once he realised somebody wanted to hear stories, there was no stopping him.

I’ll never forget that day, and that sense of being told stories by somebody who was clearly so in love with his own history, and that of his home and family. I found out later that he was actually a second son, and that it was all a bit “Monarch of the Glen”, with him having come back north from a career in London to take on his rightful role. When he died, years later, I made sure to read his obituary.

I’m hoping to revisit in 2020, all being well. They’ve redone the gardens recently, and a colleague also shared a link a few months back to some renovations they’ve been doing with aquatic habitat creation, so there are plenty of reasons to get back north.

So there you go, that’s July’s castle. No history, no ghosts, just pure happy memories!

Is there a castle that’s stuck with you for a similar reason? I’d love to know…



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