I was interested in visiting Huntingtower Castle on the way home today as part of my occasional series on places connected with the tragic Mary Queen of Scots (see the tags)  
Originally the medieval Huntingtower Castle, known then as Ruthven Castle, consisted of two separate towers, each built for the two sons of William Ruthven in 1480.  The towers were three metres apart then joined together to form one building 200 years later with remains of some wall paintings and friezes still evident.    Among the visitors to the castle were Mary Queen of Scots and her son James V1 (James 1 of England)   Mary stayed there in June 1565 and then again on honeymoon with Lord Darnley in September.   When their young 16 year old son King James, was invited to stay he expected to be at Ruthven for one night but it was a ruse to kidnap him.   He spent part of his ten months captivity at Ruthven Castle until the conspirators were defeated in their desire to gain power by controlling the young king.  Eventually James escaped and after another abortive attempt to control him, the king seized Ruthven’s property and changed the name to Huntingtower.
An interesting story which seems quite incredible is: Dorothea, daughter of the first Earl of Gowrie is said to have leapt between the tops of the two towers of the castle, a distance of 9 feet 4 inches, in retreat from her mother as she was almost discovered when visiting her lover in his chamber (doubtless deliberately located by her mother in the other tower).  The mother was reassured to find her daughter in her own bed that night, and her lover alone in his: but was probably less impressed when the couple eloped the next day. To this day the gap between the towers is known as The Maiden's Leap.    Apparently her ghost can sometimes be seen!
(Mary Queen of Scots 32)

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