Balvaird Castle is a particularly fine and complete example of a traditional late medieval Scottish tower house, built around the year 1500 for Sir Andrew Murray, a younger son of the family of Murray of Tullibardine. He acquired the lands of Balvaird in Perthshire through marriage to the heiress Margaret Barclay, a member of a wealthy family. It is likely that Castle was built on the site of an earlier Barclay family castle. Substantial remnants of earthwork fortifications around the Castle may survive from earlier defences.
Balvaird Castle is perched on a hilltop overlooking the A912 as it makes its way over the eastern arm of the Ochil Hills, about a mile south of junction with the better known road leading through Glen Farg. Its location falls short of the sheer rocky impregnability of a Stirling Castle, but as a statement of dominance and control it still takes some beating.There is a visitors' car park next to the main road below the castle, though if it's locked there is space to leave your car without causing an obstruction near the car park entrance. From there you make your way up the gravel track that curves round to the arched entrance of the castle itself. En route you increasingly appreciate just how wild and lonely a spot this is.Balvaird Castle was built in 1500 by Sir Andrew Murray, a member of the Murray family of Tullibardine. He had acquired the land as part of the dowry that came with his wife, Margaret Barclay. It was probably placed on the site of an earlier Barclay family castle.The castle was built, altered, developed and improved over many years. A gatehouse range was built in 1567, and the castle also incorporated various walled gardens and an orchard. The family continued to reside at Balvaird until they inherited the titles of Lord Scone and Viscount Stormont in 1658 and moved to the rather grander estate at Scone that came with that titles.Today the castle comprises a very large tower house, only open to the public on summer weekends, and the ruins of a number of the courtyard buildings that supported the operation of the castle during the residence of the Murrays. It is possible to walk in a circuit through the fields below the top of the hill, and appreciate the castle and its location from all angles. Visitors calling when the tower house is not open can also explore the ruins of the courtyard. www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk