Slains Castle Still at Risk

The ruin of Slains Castle from above

Historic Scotland's 'Buildings at Risk' register has recently been updated and includes a further assessment of the ruins of Slains Castle, for centuries the seat of the Hay Chiefs, confirming the structure remains at risk.

As far as we are aware the Slains Partnership, the consortium that owns the ruin, still has long term plans for its restoration, although after many years in the planning stages there is still no evidence of activity. 

Outline planning consent for the castle's restoration as a holiday complex was granted by Aberdeenshire Council some years ago.  Last summer, shortly before the planning consent was due to expire, a public consultation was held, as is required by the planning rules, in order to maintain the validity of the existing consent. 

It is open to question how serious the owners are about that consultation.  It was not well advertised and took place at Errollston farm, several miles outside the nearest village.  Errollston does not even benefit from a sign at the end of its track, so it is unlikely anyone without fairly detailed local knowledge would have been able to find it.

A local member of Clan Hay who attended the consultation confirms that, on arrival at Errollston, he had to ask the farmer whether he was in the right place.  He was directed to a swept out stall in a cattle shed behind the farm house where the owner's consultant discussed basic plans that appear to be sympathetic to the original building.

However, there is still no further news on if and how the project is to proceed and in the meantime the ruin continues to deteriorate.

The Clan Hay Society will be visiting the castle as part of the annual gathering in August.