The addition of Slains Castle to Historic Scotland's Buildings at Risk register adds another nail to the proud old ruin's coffin. The register, maintained by the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historical Monuments in Scotland (RCAHMS) on behalf of the official guardians of our architectural heritage, documents on an ongoing basis those buildings of historic importance whose survival is deemed to be at risk from neglect.
The castle was built by Francis Hay, 9th Earl of Erroll, in 1597 and extended into a courtyard palace by his grandson Gilbert, 11th Earl, in 1664. Substantially rebuilt and clad in pink granite in the time of the 18th Earl (1842), the castle was sold by the 20th Earl, who could no longer afford its upkeep, in 1916 and unroofed by its new owner in 1925.
An organisation called The Slains Partnership acquired the building around a decade ago and has announced various schemes for its restoration in the intervening period, all of which have come to nought. Outline planning permission for two of these proposals was granted by Aberdeenshire Council in 2004 and again in 2007 but it seems that detailed plans have yet to be submitted and progress has yet again ground to a halt. Despite the castle's unlisted status, Historic Scotland has said the building is of listable quality and has welcomed some of these proposals as being sympathetic to the original building, so it is to say the least unfortunate that ongoing inactivity is further endangering the castle's survival.