Willie’s View: At Balvaird Castle

Shutterstock / Binson Calfort © at balvaird castle

Willie spends the morning at Balvaird Castle on the edge of Perthshire.

High on an exposed hillside just a few miles east of Glenfarg stands the 15th century tower of Balvaird Castle. It’s an old stronghold of the Murrays and now in the care of Historic Environment Scotland.

Long before the tower was ever on the drawing board, this rise would have been well known to the druids.

Balvaird means “town of the bard” and very probably their bard would have lived on this hillside.

Autumn views

I took a walk up to the castle this morning. It was a grand day, too, for late October with fine clear views away to the Lomonds and the Ochils – views the wee carved faces on the high corbels will enjoy in all weathers.

Not everyone visiting this hill came to enjoy the view, though. Especially in the time of the druids.

Here, anyone suspected of a crime might be brought to meet their silent judge – the Rocking Stone. A massive boulder balanced on top of another.

Without a word being spoken, the boulder would determine their innocence or guilt.

If they could move the boulder, then they could breathe a sigh of relief. If not, then their fate was sealed and there’d be no appeal.

Weak or strong, it didn’t matter.

The delicately balanced stone would move to the gentlest touch for the innocent but to guilt it was said to stand “as fixed as Snowdon”.



For more from our Willie’s View series, click here.

And never miss another issue of the “Friend” with a subscription.

Willie Shand