So I got through Hermitage Woods, not sure of where I was heading, my mind was soon made up when I saw this handsome devil looking over at me.
Airthrey Castle was built in 1791 by Robert Haldane as part of his improvements to the Airthrey Estate, which has a history stretching back to 1146 when it was mentioned as ‘Atherai’ in a charter issued by King David I. Dating from earlier than this, standing stones on the estate are thought to mark the battle ground where Kenneth McAlpine led the Scots to victory over the Picts in 839.
The estate was defined by the River Forth to the south, the Allan water to the West, the village of Logie to the East and to the North, the Wharry Burn. To the north the Ochil hills also provided a natural boundary. The estate passed through the hands of many families and noblemen during its long history. It is best known now as the campus of the University of Stirling, and for the design of Airthrey Castle by the famous Scottish architect Robert Adam.
The current house is known to be the third on the estate, the first having been burnt down in 1645 by the Marquis of Argyll during a conflict between Royalists and Covenanters. The second, built in 1747 lasted only 44 years. The exact location of this house is unsure. In 1759, the estate was bought by Robert Haldane of Plean, and it was his great nephew, of the same name, who commissioned Robert Adam to design a new house as part of his ambitious estate improvements.
The estate was sold to Sir Robert Abercromby, who continued to expand and improve it which included the complete removal of three villages from the estate! . This work culminated in 1842, when Airthrey Castle and Estate was deemed fit for a Royal visit, when Queen Victoria was driven round the grounds during a visit to the attractions of Stirling.
In 1889, the Estate was sold to Donald Graham, a merchant from Glasgow. Graham commissioned the extension of the north façade, destroying the vast majority of the Adam work. He lived there for only 12 years when, upon his death, the Estate passed to his wife who remained the proprietor until 1939. The Castle was then used as an emergency maternity hospital for 7 years, before the estate was again sold, this time to Stirling County Council. They in turn passed the estate on for the last time, to Stirling University, who took possession of the grounds in 1966.
Three years later Airthrey Castle was added to the University property and several new buildings were erected in the grounds. Today Airthrey Castle is home to the University’s international study centre.
For the Outlander fans there is a wee connection with this part of The University grounds, the walkway between the university buildings doubled as the walkway at Boston Airport, where Brianna met Roger off the plane from Scotland when he came to visit