Article in The Scotsman – Craigston Pirate

How a pirate helped the Urquharts reclaim Craigston Castle

A pirate helped the Urquhart family regain ownership of Craigston Castle. Now its present custodians are keen to share this fascinating historic home.

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Built in 1604, Craigston Castle in Aberdeenshire has almost always been in the hands of the Urquharts. One of the oldest families in Scotland, descendants include Sir Thomas Urquhart, the translator of Rabelais.

The current laird, however, is more interested in looking to the future and at how Craigston can thrive in the 21st century. After many years working abroad with the World Wide Fund for Nature and the United Nations Environment Programme, William Urquhart and his wife, Catrina, moved back to live at Craigston in 2007, and their sons, who are now aged nine and six, were born here.

“I was very lucky in that my grandparents were good custodians of Craigston,” says William. “In the past we’ve had two family members that went rogue and lost the castle temporarily by running up debts mainly due to gambling and high living. Luckily in both cases the house and estate were quickly got back – in one case by marriage and the other time it was bought back by Captain John Urquhart, who made his money as a privateer, or pirate, who sailed with the Spanish and robbed from the English.