The castle, for 300 years the principal seat of the Earls of Erroll, has stood derelict since the 1920s when it was largely dismantled for its salvage value. The current project is the latest in a series of abortive plans for its restoration which have been circulating at least since the early 1980s. In 2004, a consortium known as the Slains Partnership was granted outline planning permission to redevelop the ruin as a block of 35 flats.
This ambitious scheme ground to a halt during the recession amid rumours of financial difficulties. However, it is now confirmed that the developers will be meeting with a local architect early in the new year to take the £6 million project to the next stage, with a view to submitting a full planning application.
The restoration plan has provoked strong opinions, both for and against, in the local community around Cruden Bay, with some arguing that the ruin is one of the most instantly recognisable images of the Aberdeenshire coast. Its easy access via the beautiful clifftop coastal path draws thousands of visitors to the area every year. However, it is clear that the ruin will not survive indefinitely in its current state without a plan in place to stabilise or restore it.