Thursday, 9 August 2012

A Narrow Escape

A chilling tale of what could have happened at Balintore Castle, had not the vote at Tuesday's meeting gone our way ......

Anyone who knows me well, knows that Balintore Castle Mark One was actually Inchdrewer Castle (15C) in Aberdeenshire. The owner had agreed to sell it to me, but when I went to pay the money, he said he had changed his mind. I was devastated as I had spent the months leading up to the purchase, researching and costing the project carefully.

The restoration project would have been of a more sensible scale. The exterior of the building had been restored in the 70's but the internal restoration had stopped after concrete floors had been put in. It has always been a mystery to me why this restoration was not completed as most of the work had been done. Sadly the building is now slipping into genuine decay , but when I visited around 12 years ago the roof was still holding on.

The decision to "go for a building" creates an emotional bond, and though one may lose out in the bidding or lose the building due to other circumstances, that bond continues. And I have followed the fortunes of these "also-rans" ever since.

A friend is currently holidaying in Aberdeenshire, and I suggested he may like to check up on the building for me. Nothing could have prepared me for the photos he sent to me today. I thought it was some kind of bad photo-shop joke, but no, the same type of insensitive wind farm development that threatened Balintore Castle until this very Tuesday, has ironically befallen Inchdrewer Castle. The web suggests this happened around 2008, and while Historic Scotland expressed its dismay, the development went ahead anyway.

The images show philistinism is alive and well, and that as individuals we have to be vigilant and fight against commercial interests that seem intent to wreck our heritage and landscape. Government and Councils are not enough to protect these.

Three Wind Turbines at Inchdrewer Castle

Wind Turbine at Inchdrewer Castle


  1. Stunned that this was ever given the go-ahead. It's truly shocking. I was so pleased to hear that the proposals for Balintore had been rejected.

  2. Thanks, rebel, for this. My hands have been "off the wheel" with Inchdrewer for some time, but as I love this building so much, I would definitely have acted in protest against the wind farm had I known about the proposal.

    However, at Balintore my neighbours and I are breathing again which is decidedly good news.

  3. May I just say, and I'm not defending the decision to put the wind turbines there, that they are not as close to the castle as the pictures make them look. I live at the bottom of that hill and have a clear view from my back window of the castle without the wind turbines, which are off to the left. There was a petition signed opposing the wind turbines, I personally signed it, as did many others in the local area. If I remember correctly, the original application was only for 2 turbines. I'm afraid the area is now littered with them, mainly wealthy farmers trying to get more wealth. The vast majority of applications are passed due to the "green" label that goes with them, sadly little consideration is given to the impact of these huge structures. Sorry to hear about your unlucky attempt to buy the castle, you are far from being the only person to try and fail. I just wish that someone would give it the attention it needs before it goes back to the ruin that it was in the 60's.

    1. I guess your will have heard about your new neighbours? You will find the story here/

      A RUSSIAN princess has been revealed as the new owner of a North-east castle.

      Inchdrewer Castle, near Banff, has been bought by Russian millionaire and ex-supermodel Olga Roh for £400,000.

      Ms Roh is the descendant of Russian aristocrats who lost their palace in Moscow during the 1917 Russian Revolution.

      The 16th-century fortress, which went on the market in April, comes with its own title, Baron of Inchdrewer, meaning that Ms Roh, who is a princess in Russia, is also now a baroness.

      The 46-year-old mother-of-three said: “I wasn’t able to save my family’s palace, but now I have the chance to save a wonderful Scottish castle.”

      It is believed the castle dates to the 1550s. In 1746, it was attacked during the hunt for Bonnie Prince Charlie.

  4. Thanks "Daydreamer94" for this local report from the Inchdrewer area. I'm delighted to know there was some local opposition to these wind turbines - sadly the views of people on the ground can be over-ridden by political expediencies.

    Down in Angus we use Aberdeenshire as the model of what could go wrong if we are not careful. One of my neighbours had ironically moved away from Aberdeenshire to escape a wind farm there.

    I was warned that the owner of Inchdrewer Castle would not sell, but I asked anyhow, and so was particularly delighted when my offer was (initially) accepted. For my own sanity, I had to stop fretting why there was an eventual change of heart. Certainly as a local I would find the deterioration of such a fine structure distressing, and indeed some of the best goodwill I get at Balintore is from locals seeing work going on at the building. I understand 50% of "buildings are risk" in Scotland, have owners who are doing nothing with their building yet refuse to sell.

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