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Blair Castle

Located in Strath Garry, just to the N of Blair Atholl, which grew to serve the castle, this fine edifice was much rebuilt in 1869 for John Murray, the 7th Duke of Atholl (1840-1917). The distinctive white-washed result, in the Scottish-baronial style, was the work of architect David Bryce (1803-76). Blair Castle has undergone many changes since the 13th C., growing and improving with the fortune's of the Atholls and changing its appearance to suit the style of the day but, today, little can be seen externally of these earlier works.

A tower was first erected c.1269 by the Comyns of Badenoch, during an incursion while the Earl of Atholl was away. After complaining to King Alexander III (1241-86), the site was reclaimed and has been the home to Earls then Dukes of Atholl continuously since then. The original tower was significant extended in the 15th and 16th C., although much was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell (1599-1654) while trying to extract James Graham, Marquis of Montrose (1612-50) who was garrisoned there. His cousin, John Graham of Claverhouse (1649-89), occupied the castle in 1689, was brought back after his death at the Battle of Killiecrankie and lies buried nearby.

During the '45, Bonnie Prince Charlie (1720-88) stayed briefly on his way south after raising his standard at Glenfinnan. In 1746, the Castle was occupied by government troops and besieged by Lord George Murray (1694-1760), Jacobite brother of the 2nd Duke, the last siege of any castle in Britain. Other historic figures who have stayed at Blair include Edward III, James V, Mary Queen of Scots, Napoleon III, Empress Eugenie, Queen Victoria and Edward VII.

Today, the castle is maintained through a charitable trust following the death of the bachelor 10th Duke. It lies in parkland, is approached by an avenue of Lime trees and is home to a fine collection of arms, wonderful furniture, a natural history museum and includes portraits by Henry Raeburn (1756-1823) and Allan Ramsay (1713-84).

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