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ACCESS : You can get up to the castle, but not into it.

Listed B. 


We need to start this description noting what it is NOT. 

It has nothing to do with Clan Buchanan. The connection to the clan comes from an ealier period, subsequently lost.

It is not within West Dunbartonshire. It is both within the local authority of Stirling and the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

So why is it included? 

Buchanan Castle is within the Stirling Local Authority Area. The boundary of that and West Dunbartonshire is the Endrick Water very close by. And it was within the ancient lands of Lennox, just as much of West Dunbartonshire was. The Buchanans have influenced the history of West Dunbartonshire quite significantly over time and it is pertinent to consider this area, their one time power base when considering our area too. The photos below were taken in 2010. The ruins were already in a dire state with vegetation overtaking it. At the time the photos were taken a lady came up and asked if we had any connections to it. She did, and paid a visit each time she came over from the United States. It is valuable to record the site over time as a record of what it was so very recently. That decay could perhaps have been limited by timeous action. It would be difficult and costly, but it would mean a lot to those with Buchanan ancestry.

As the Buchanan Society describes it as a romantic castle. The original castle on the site was the ancestral seat of the Clan Buchanan but it passed to the Graham's in the 17th century.  The castle burned down in 1852 and the current building was built by James Graham, 4th Duke of Montrose, and completed in 1855. [Buchanan Society].

THE CASTLE : Ruin of large Early Scots Baronial mansion, designed by William Burn, 1852-8. Built for the Duke of Montrose to replace an earlier house which burnt down in 1850. It was became a hotel in 1925 and, and was then used as a military hospital during the 2nd World War. Rudolf Hess was treated here briefly after his plane crash-landed in Scotland in 1941. The roof was removed and the castle partially demolished in 1954. It stands at the heart of a large estate of mid and later 20th century dwellings built on its former garden grounds (see Notes). Buchanan Castle contributes to the landscape and is an example of the work of one of Scotland's most important early-mid 19th century architects. [ Listing text].

Buchanan Castle is a ruined castle in Stirlingshire, Scotland, located 1 mile (1.6 km) west of the village of Drymen. The house was commissioned by the 4th Duke of Montrose and built in 1852–1858 as a home for the Montrose family, serving as such until 1925. It was built as a replacement for Buchanan Auld House, which is located 0.5 miles (0.80 km) to the northwest but was destroyed in a fire in 1852. The old house and surrounding lands had been the property of the Clan Buchanan but passed to the Clan Graham in the late 17th century. The roof of the building was removed in 1954 and the condition of the house has since deteriorated, but it remains the seat of the Clan Graham.[Wiki].

The original house was named Buchanan Place and substantially rebuilt from approximately 1724.[1] It was altered in 1751 by John Adam and considerably enlarged in 1789 by William Playfair, giving it an extensively grand principal front near 300 feet in length similar to Petworth House, being described as a "venerable mansion" in which "many of the apartments are noble". [Wiki].

In December 1852, while the family were away for Christmas, the housekeeper was reputed to have drunk too much and awakened to find the entire house in flames. Many valuable items were lost in the blaze. Buchanan Auld House was destroyed in the fire and the 4th duke commissioned William Burn to design Buchanan Castle to replace it. Burn designed an extravagant manor in the Scottish baronial style, enclosing an L-plan tower in a clutch of turrets, bartizans and stepped gables. The new house was built in 1852-1858 and stands 0.5 miles (0.80 km) to the southeast of the old house. [Wiki].


The dukes remained at Buchanan until 1925, when it was sold. In the 1930s the house opened as a hotel and the golf course was established in the grounds. Plans for residential development on the estate were delayed by the outbreak of the Second World War, during which the house was requisitioned. It was used as a hospital during the war, with patients including Rudolf Hess, who was brought here after his flight to Scotland in 1941.After the war the building served briefly as the Army School of Education. The roof was removed from the house in 1954 to avoid paying tax on the property and outlying parts of the building were demolished. A number of residential buildings were subsequently built in the castle gardens and grounds.[Wiki].


On 10 May 1941 Rudolf Hess crash landed in Scotland in what appeared to be a one-man attempt to end World War Two. ...

On 10 May 1941, Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess crash landed a stolen plane at Eaglesham in what may have been an attempt to broker peace during World War Two, yet was never fully explained. Hess flew from Augsburg and was detected by UK radar off the coast of Scotland. He crash landed at Eaglesham, injuring his ankle and was found by farmer David McLean. Hess demanded to speak to the Duke of Hamilton, saying he had an important message for him alone.

Hess was initially imprisoned in the Tower of London and eventually kept at a military hospital in Wales, where he was treated for insanity. His wife later quoted him as having said of his flight into the UK: 'My coming to England in this way is, as I realise, so unusual that no one will easily understand it.' He died in Spandau Prison in 1987.. [History Scotland].

But with WW2 in full-swing and having gone from right hand man to peripheral, domestic policy figure in Hitler’s inner circle, Hess started to fear the worst. The Nazis over-stretching was ultimately to prove their undoing as Hitler sought out conflicts on both fronts with the Soviets to the east and Allies to the west. In an act worthy of any cinema you like, Hess took it upon himself to fly solo to Scotland in an ill-advised plan to seek peace negotiations with the Duke of Hamilton, whom he suspected as being sympathetic to the German cause.

A long and extremely dangerous journey saw him largely avoid detection by flying low before eventually running out of fuel and having to parachute to land. Arrested on the ground near Glasgow, he did actually get the chance to speak to Hamilton in a nearby police station. His incredible story must have met with amazement and dubiety before he was whisked off to Buchanan Castle for further medical treatment. Articulating Hess’ plan to PM Winston Churchill himself shortly afterwards, Hamilton established that the crux of it was that Germany would permit Britain to maintain its Empire if Britain ‘let’ Germany have domination over Europe. His pitch rejected, Hess would spend the rest of his life under arrest. Shortly afterwards he was moved to England under heavy guard and then spend his final years imprisoned near Berlin. [Travelswithakilt]. 

There are other buildings and features of interest nearby as well as the golf course and it clubhouse. The housing did get built around the castle ruins. 

Buchanan Castle, Hospital And Military Camp : There are few signs of this anymore although its form has been identified through aerial surveys.

Buchanan Castle Stables : 

Buchanan Old House : 

Buchanan Estate Well House : See index.asp?pageid=736963

BRITISH LISTED BUILDINGS with map : https://britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/200335244-buchanan-castle-buchanan

BUCHANAN SOCIETY : https://www.buchanansociety.com/clan-country/ruins-of-buchanan-castle/

CANMORE : https://canmore.org.uk/site/294246/buchanan-castle-hospital-and-military-camp

HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT SCOTLAND : https://portal.historicenvironment.scot/designation/LB50454

HISTORY SCOTLAND : https://www.historyscotland.com/history/rudolf-hess-crash-landed-in-scotland-on-this-day-in-history/

LISTING TEXT : https://portal.historicenvironment.scot/designation/LB4045

THE CLAN BUCHANAN : https://www.theclanbuchanan.com/landmarks

TRAVELS WITH A KILT : https://www.travelswithakilt.com/buchanan-castle/

WIKIPEDIA : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buchanan_Castle

WILLIAM WALLACE TRAIL : https://www.williamwallacetrail.co.uk/dumbarton-castle.php

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