Invermark Castle is an implausibly tall tower house dating back to the 1300s and built to guard the southern end of the strategic pass leading from Deeside. A "danger keep out" sign on the iron yett barring the original first floor entrance to the castle emphasises that admission is not possible, while the small trees growing from the roofline on the north side suggest that the stonework may not be as good as it looks from the outside.
Nonetheless the exterior of the castle is remarkably impressive. In part this is down to the setting: in mountainous country where Glen Lee and Glen Mark meet to become Glen Esk. But it is also because you can get an impression, often lost in castles altered in later centuries, of just how daunting a building like this would have been to lightly armed attackers.
The only entrance to the castle is at first floor level, where the main hall would have been found. A spiral stair led down from here to kitchen and storage areas on the ground floor while private apartments would have been located on upper floors. Much of what you see today comes from a rebuild of the castle in 1526, while in 1605 the defences were further strengthened by the addition of gun loops at ground floor level by the then owner, Sir David Lindsay, Lord Edzell of Edzell Castle. At the same time he improved the accommodation by removing the original parapet and inserting a top floor and attic.
In 1607 Invermark Castle was used as a refuge by Lord Edzell's son, on the run after murdering Lord Spynie in Edinburgh, and it continued in use as an occasional family residence until at least 1729.
By 1803 the castle stood in ruins and material from associated outbuildings and from the roof of the castle itself were removed to build the Lochlee Parish Church and the associated manse a few hundred yards away, near what is now the car park at the end of the public road. Many of the slates in the church roof date back to the 1605 alterations to Invermark Castle.
Some will feel that the lack of interior access limits the interest of Invermark Castle. But it is an impressive and interesting structure, and well worth the short detour from the busy path north to Mount Keen. Oddly for such a large castle, the growth of trees around the Water of Mark means it is remarkably invisible from the south-east until you are very close to it.