Huntingtower castle has been the focus of a history of royal intrigue, which led to the original name of the castle being changed form its earlier association with the Ruthven family.
The Ruthven family – who were to become the earls of Gowrie – originally built the castle as an imposing square keep in the 1400’s. Later, in the 16th century, a tower house was built and the two structures joined by a central building. Mary Queen of Scots stayed here – although there is scarcely a castle in Scotland she didn’t visit – with her husband Lord Darnley.
The castle was also involved in later royal intrigue, when The Earl of Gowrie kidnapped James the VI in 1582 and held him in the tower. He later managed to escape, and this led to the Ruthven family’s fall from grace, culminating in the castles confiscation, and changing of the castle’s name from Ruthven Castle to Huntingtower Castle around 1600.
The castle is said to be haunted by a benevolent spirit called Milady (My Lady) Greensleeves, and she is reputed to have saved a number of people from impending doom.
The gap between the later tower and the keep is known as the Maiden’s Leap, explained by a traditional tale of young love. The story goes that one of the Earl’s daughters was on a clandestine visit to her lover in the keep, her visit was compromised, and she had to leap across to the tower and back to her own bedroom so as not to be discovered.
Directions: Reached from the A9 near Perth.