Duration: 1.5 hours
This is a short but pleasant stroll around and about Huntly, taking in the historic castle, an ancient bridge, and the scenic banks of the fast-flowing River Deveron. In the early part of the route we enter an impressive archway passing through the oldest part of the Gordon Schools complex. The school was founded in 1839 by the Duchess of Gordon as a memorial to her late husband and was designed by the notable Scottish architect, Archibald Simpson. This leads us to the ruins of Huntly Castle, where Historic Environment Scotland have a visitor centre. The core of the present building dates to the late 15thC, based on an earlier motte, the 12thC Peel of Strathbogie. The castle, ancestral home of the chiefs of Clan Gordon, the Earls of Huntly, played an important part in the bloody history of Scotland’s development as a nation [see link below]. Passing around the back of the castle we make a short detour to an old single span stone bridge over the River Deveron. The bridge, probably rebuilt in the 17thC on the foundations of an earlier structure (there are mediaeval mason’s marks on some of the stonework), is an extremely scenic spot with fine views up and down river, with the eye also being led up the long and impressive driveway to the Castle Hotel (formerly the Castle Lodge, built as a family home for the Dukes of Gordon during the 18thC). The mid section of the route proceeds upstream on the banks of the Deveron, passing the Nordic Ski Centre (the UK’s only purpose-built all-weather facility for Nordic Skiing). In this section there are attractive open views over the farmland and forests that surround the town. In the final section, the route takes us back to Huntly’s Square. A modern planned town was established in 1769 to support industrial and agricultural changes, with the original name of Milton of Strathbogie finally dropping from use. A circuit of The Square takes in the main points of interest: the Memorial Fountain; the Duke of Richmond statue, the Gordon Arms building, the Huntly Hotel building, the Brander Library and the old Post Office.
Wikipedia link for Huntly Castle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huntly_Castle