View of the Castle Roy on a typical Highland winter's day

In 1994 a local farmer was standing on the mound of this old forgotten ruin and his friend asked about its history.  The only answer was that he has clambered over it as a child and little was known except that the walls were falling away noticeably.  That started a very long and drawn out voyage of discovery and with a lot of support  here we are!

Castle Roy is an 12th century fortress built by the Clan Comyn on a small glacial mound to the north of the modern village of Nethy Bridge. In 1420 the whole area came under the stewardship of the Clan Grant who are still the clan of this area today.

Why Castle ‘ROY’? Was it named after the ‘Red’ Comyn who was killed by Robert the Bruce or was it perhaps after “ràth” meaning (ancient) fortress, mound, (ancient) royal seat?

Aerial View with Murdo and Buster – Thomas Eccles

With its walls still standing 25 feet high, the castle is a simple, irregular four-sided stronghold that has been largely unaltered over the centuries and is, according to recent carbon dating, one of the oldest unchanged castles of its type in Scotland.
The main architectural feature is a tower on the north-western corner which still has a window with a lintel. There is an entrance archway in the centre of the north-eastern side, with a small doorway on the western side for day to day use.  In the garde-robe area is evidence of the chieftain’s latrine at ground level and two latrines on an upper level. 

Murdo- Andrew Marrion

Our aim is to preserve the Castle, as it stands, for future generations. To maintain it as a free, all abilities, visitor and education centre and to create a community venue for the outdoor performing arts and other events, such as weddings and family parties. 

A recent wedding – copyright Ross Cooper

The Trust has been working to stabilise the walls since taking ownership of the castle in 1994. The tower foundations were supported and repairs have been done to stop any further movement.

The south-west corner of the castle had collapsed a considerable time ago and rabbits and livestock had created a great deal of damage to the base of most of the rest of the walls. So, in 2012 foundations were reinforced to support them.

The Courtyard at Sunset
The Courtyard at Sunset

The castle was fully opened to the public in 2022. Invaluable support was given by Architectural Heritage Fund which enabled the Trust to proceed with the consolidation. Funds have been raised with help from individuals who have made some substantial contributions, and the Cairngorms LEADER, Cairngorms Trust, Scottish and Southern Energy, The Pilgrim Trust and to finalise the work Historic Environment Scotland.

The grounds have already become a popular picnic and community venue. Paths, a pond and wildflowers have created a natural nature area and the Bards Bowl is good for children’s games.

The Matrimonial Meadow has a large flat area suitable for events with, or without a marquee. Here is a piece about sustainable weddings at the castle in a shoot organised by Wide Sky Weddings and the photos were taken by Catriona Parminter, both of whom live locally. Now there is room for a marquee within the walls, too.

Incised Stone

Castle Roy near Nethy Bridge
The inscribed stone in the Tower area

There is one stone in the Tower area which has been carved several centuries ago. A lozenge encloses a few initials and it’s an interesting thought to imagine who carved them; when and who they represented. One seems to be WJG (maybe a Grant?) and the other JMC or IMC (maybe a Cumming?) Probably not, but fun to play with the initials.

How To Get Involved

In order to preserve the ruins of Castle Roy for future generations, The Castle Roy Trust will always need funds to help with all our work, both now and in the future, which is very specialised and therefore costly.

Square Yards are available, you can befriend our Highland cow, or simply make a Donation – all will help preserve the fabric of Castle Roy. We also have an annual subscription choice for those who wish to become friends. We have now created a dynamic QR code that will allow you to enter your own amount.

QR Code allows you to donate whatever sum you wish to.
Please scan the QR code above, or click here, to donate towards the upkeep of walls, grounds, and of course, our Coo!

With all of this in mind, please consider supporting us by having your own Square Yard of Castle Roy.

Castle Roy Main arch
The Chairman and Vice-Chairman standing under the completed main arch 26 years after the idea came to them to make Castle Roy safe

See the page which explains how to donate to acquire the various types of Square Yard and what you get for your money. It is easy to pay by Paypal wherever you are. Just use your credit or debit card on the Paypal website you do not need to have a Paypal account.

A professional local guide, John at Strathspey Tours, can include Castle Roy in a tour of the area showing the importance of this recently saved, historical treasure.

Location of Castle Roy

Castle Roy near Nethy Bridge
Castle Roy’s main and side entrances before consolidation

The Castle is on a mound about one mile out of the village, on the B970 on the way to Grantown.

To find us, follow this What3Words link

Have you got a Square Yard and want to see it in the flesh? Or, perhaps you may simply want to come along and visit – this is where we are

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