One night in January 2006, a crashing sound reverberated round the small Moray town of Rafford. Next morning the last remaining five storeys high tower of Blervie Castle, built by the Dunbars in the 16th century, had been replaced with a pile of rubble and the stump of one wall.
In the same century, the family had built another fine castle just two miles away. This is Burgie, and like its sister Burgie was once a 'Z' Plan castle with towers on diagonally opposite corners of a central keep. Now the keep is destroyed and just one tower remains. I visited Burgie on a clear frosty day last February and could not fail to be struck by its height and authority, but also by a long ominous crack in the west wall.
Happily now, it looks as if Burgie is saved. A private trust to consolidate the building has been set up and the Highland Buildings Preservation Trust, are arranging funding and will project manage the work. Emergency works to stabilise the tower start late next month. This will buy time for a full feasibility study into options for a permanent solution.
More castles will doubtless crumble this winter but Burgie will stand for a few centuries more.