Conservation project to turn Craigievar Castle pink again

The grounds of Craigievar will remain open to visitors whilst the work is being carried out.

Craigievar Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland – said to have inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle – is set to undergo major conservation work to restore and future-proof its famous pink exterior.

Scaffolding and seven-story pink meshing has been installed around the castle as protection whilst the work is being carried out. IMAGE: NTS

Situated six miles south of Alford, construction of the castle was begun around 1576 and completed by 1625.

It served as the residence of the Forbes family for 350 years until 1963, when it was gifted by William Forbes-Sempill, 19th Lord Sempill, to the National Trust for Scotland (NTS).

The pink harling of Craigievar was replaced in 2009. However, further maintenance work is needed to protect the building against damage from rain and climate change.

Craigievar Castle in Aberdeenshire is said to have inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle. IMAGE: NTS

Iain Hawkins, Regional Director for the Northeast, said: ‘Craigievar holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the local community, across Scotland and indeed globally, thanks in no small part to the castle’s famous pink exterior, which was introduced in 1824 by Sir John Forbes.

‘It’s our duty to ensure that this much-loved castle is protected against climate change in a way that is sympathetic to the natural environment and heritage of this magnificent building, and supportive of our Nature, Beauty and Heritage for Everyone strategy.’

Scaffolding and a seven-story pink mesh has so far been installed around the castle.

The conservation project, Pink Again, will involve applying multiple coats of limewash to reinvigorate the pinkish tones of the harling.

Additional repairs, including roof work and restoration of masonry and interior plasterwork, are expected to take 12 months to complete.

The project will also see restoration of Craigievar’s interior plasterwork. IMAGE: NTS

‘As a conservation charity, we rely on voluntary donations and membership support to care for and share special places like Craigievar Castle, so we have launched the Pink Again fundraising campaign to support this vital work,’ Mr Hawkins added.

‘If you want to help us keep this enchanting castle safe from rainwater ingress and ensure that visitors can continue to fall in love with Craigievar for many generations to come, please consider donating to our campaign.’

The grounds of Craigievar will remain open to visitors whilst the work is being carried out, and a grand reveal of the new exterior is planned for spring 2024.