Orchardton Tower is situated in Dumfries and
Galloway southwest Scotland, 60 miles east of
19 miles southwest of Dumfries, 4 miles south of Dalbeattie off the
main A711 road with good signs at the start of the
narrow road leading to the tower.
The Tower is free to visit, open 25th March to
30th September: 9.30am to 5.30pm. In winter, it is
open 1st October to 31st March: 10am to 4pm. Closed
Thursday and Friday in winter.
Map / DG7 2EH .
Area Click On Map . Website .
This is a 1450s tower house castle built for John
Cairns, a retired customs officer from Linlithgow by
Edinburgh, the only round tower house in Scotland, 36
The tower is now just a shell with no roof. You
can climb the narrow spiral staircase and walk around
the top for great views.
The image right shows how the tower would have
The outer buildings were demolished in the 1750s
so the stone could be used for another mansion/castle
It is believed John Cairns acquired these lands
after King James II set about persecuting the Black
Douglas clan and redistributing their land.
James II believed the Douglas where trying to have
him assassinated so they could become kings of
The Cairns were known for being loyal to the King,
with one of them designing parts of Edinburgh
1558 - the death of William Cairns led to the
estate being split between his daughters.
1616 - the part of the estate with the tower was
sold to the Maxwell family.
The Maxwell's were landowners in the area that
were Earls and Lords, known for supporting Scottish
kings in battles such as the Battle of Flodden in
The Maxwell's later fought with the Jacobite's in
the risings that ended with the Battle of
Culloden at Inverness in 1746. Sir Robert Maxwell
was captured by government forces at Culloden and
His release from prison led to him returning to
1759 - the Maxwell's built a mansion 2 miles south
of Orchardton Tower using stone from the outer
buildings of Orcherdton Tower.
Orchardton Tower is thought to have been abandoned
around that time.
1785 - the Maxwell's were bankrupt, leading to
their land and properties being sold to the Douglas
1880s - the Douglas had Orchardton Mansion
reconstructed as a Scottish Baronial style castle,
now known as Orchardton
Orchardton Castle served as a military hospital
during WWII, later as a hotel, and later again as a
2012 - Orchardton Castle was put up for sale.
Today - Orchardton Tower is maintained and run by
Historic Environment Scotland as a tourist