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The Independent Glenlivet and Inveravon News Group

Prince Re-Opens the Wolf's Lair

Although grey clouds lowered and short, sharp showers occasionally rained down, a good crowd of residents and visitors assembled in the late Cathy Reid’s lovely garden at Drumin Castle on Thursday, 14th July 2005 to see H.R.H. Prince Andrew, Duke of York, officially declare the newly restored castle ruins open.

The remains of the castle, once a stronghold of Alexander Stewart, the infamous Wolf of Badenoch, have lain in a ruinous state for many years, with much of the stonework crumbling dangerously. Thanks to a recent initiative by the Crown Estate, the castle’s keep has now been restored and stabilised. This has been cleverly done so that it still preserves the appearance of a picturesque ruin and the character of the building has not been lost. A new flight of steps from the car park (built last year by the University of London Officer Training Corps), an observation area with wooden balustrade at first floor level, and discreetly positioned interpretive panels all mean that visitors to Drumin now have improved and safer access as well as the opportunity to learn more about the castle’s blood-curdling history.

Prince Andrew alluded to the history in his short and amusing address, when he said that the Wolf of Badenoch allegedly threw his enemies from the top of Drumin’s tower, a tradition he was not proposing to continue, although the community was free to do so, if it wished!

After adding that this was the first time that he had re-opened such an ancient historic building, the Prince unveiled a commemorative plaque at the base of the tower. Having already spoken at length to those who had worked on the project, the Prince strolled among community members and visitors, chatting informally.

Although the Prince was unable to join us (a pressing engagement at the Royal and Ancient perhaps?) everyone else headed for Glenlivet Public Hall where the University of London Officers Training Corps had put on a superb spread. This was very much enjoyed and appreciated by all.

The Crown Estate is still planning to illuminate Drumin Castle during the winter months with a ghostly effect type of floodlighting. We were tempted to run a tongue-in-cheek competition asking readers to nominate candidates to be thrown off Drumin’s battlements in true Wolf of Badenoch tradition, but instead, maybe you would like to send your views on the Drumin floodlighting to ‘THISTLE Epistles’.

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