The eerie remains of Buchanan Castle are located west of the village of Drymen in Stirlingshire, central Scotland.
Interestingly, although it bears the name of the Buchanan Clan, none of the Buchanans ever lived there. And in fact it is not even related with them, except that the original castle on the site (Buchanan Auld House) was the ancestral seat of Clan Buchanan for several centuries.
Historically, 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 surrounding lands were in the possession of the Clan Buchanan from at least 1231, but the direct chiefly line failed in 1682.
A significant debt had been inherited by 22nd Chief John Buchanan and during his chiefship the Buchanan estate was gradually sold to satisfy creditors.
The estate was then bought by James Graham, 3rd Marquess of Montrose (1657–1684), whose son became the 1st Duke of Montrose in 1707.
The Montrose family occupied the existing Buchanan Auld House and this eventually replaced Mugdock Castle as the seat of Clan Graham, being seen as a dwelling more fitting the title of Marquess.
The original house was substantially rebuilt from approximately 1724.
However, Buchanan Auld House was destroyed in a fire in 1852 and the duke commissioned William Burn to design Buchanan Castle to replace it.
The magnificent Buchanan Castle was built on its ashes to serve as the grand home of the family of dukes.
An example of the work of one of Scotland’s most important early-mid 19th century architects, It was built in the traditional baronial style with two courtyards, with pointed towers and asymmetrical living areas to give the royalty the opulent house they felt they deserved.
And in fact they lived in the house until 1925, when it was turned into a hotel complete with a golf course.
However, once the Second World War began, the estate was taken over for the war effort and turned into a hospital. During this time, the stately house of healing saw a number those wounded in the war, and most famously of them wasRudolph Hess, Hitler’s right-hand man, widely known as the man who stood behind the creation of the Hitler’s autobiographical book Mein Kampf, after his plane crash-landed in Scotland in 1941.
He was allegedly on a secret mission to Britain to negotiate peace with the Duke of Hamilton behind the Fuhrer’s back. However, his plane ran out of fuel during his solo flight and he injured his ankle after bailing out with his parachute. He was arrested and taken to Buchanan Castle for treatment as a prisoner of war, before being transferred to the high-security Cultybraggan Camp 21.
He was kept in Britain as a prisoner until the end of the war.
In this period a large number of ancillary buildings and wards were built around the house itself but, following the closure of the hospital, the majority of these buildings were sold and converted into dwelling houses.
After the war ended the building was briefly used as the Army School of Education, but in 1954 the roof was removed to avoid paying tax on the property and outlying parts of the building were demolished and left to nature. A number of residential buildings were subsequently built in the castle gardens and grounds.
Today, the golf course remains and is still in use, but the castle grounds themselves are covered in creeping plants that are slowly covering all of the outer walls that still remain at their full height, as well most of the bartizans and dormer pediments.
At the beginning of the 21st century there were plans for the estate to be developed into flats, but the formal request was refused.