Search This Blog

Thursday, 18 July 2013



Tantallon Castle, East Lothian, Scotland

Tantallon Castle is a 14th century former fortress, situated atop a promontory, overlooking the Firth of Forth, 5 miles outside North Berwick, in East Lothian, Scotland. It’s the last castle built in Scotland that included a curtain wall.
Tantallon castle was built sometime in the mid 14th century by William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas. His son, George Douglas (later titled Earl of Angus), inherited the castle after William’s death. The castle remained in the hands of George’s family line for many years, despite repeated attempts to besiege it.
It wasn’t until 1491, that the castle was successfully besieged, by King James IV, and again by James V in 1528. On this occasion the castle took a heavy battering, which resulted in extensive damage. In 1639 it was hit during the Bishop’s War, and it was attacked for the final time, by Cromwell’s troops during his invasion of Scotland in 1651.
Tantallon was later sold to the Marquis of Douglas in 1699, then on to Hew Dalrymple, and later to Lord North Berwick. Today it stands semi-ruined, and under the control of Historic Scotland.

Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, Scottish Highlands

Perhaps the most recognisable castle in all of Scotland? Eilean Donan is certainly the most romantic, perched at the centre of where three Scottish Locks meet. With history dating back to the 7th century, there are no prizes for guessing that there are ghosts that supposedly haunt its grounds.

Brief History

Famous for its appearance in many films, including the Highlander (with Sean Connery), Eilean Donan Castle was originally built in 13th Century (by the Clan Mackenzie and Clan Macrae) to defend the area from invading Vikings who controlled most of Northern Scotland between 800 and 1266 AD. However, it is believed there had been a settlement on this island since the late 7th Century, when the Irish Saint, Bishop Donan is thought to have formed a small community here.
In the early 14th Century Robert the Bruce was in hiding here for a time. In 1331 Randolph, Earl of Moray had 50 men executed here and had there decapitated heads put on display along the castle walls.
The castle was a stronghold for the Jacobite rebellions during the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1719 the castle was destroyed by the English Government for its role in the uprisings. The castle was being garrisoned by 46 Spanish soldiers who were in support of the Jacobites, when the castle withstood heavy bombardment for three straight days, leaving the castle in absolute ruin.
The castle was in ruin for more than 200 years until the island was bought by Lt Colonel John Macrae-Gilstrap in 1911. He proceeded to rebuild the castle over the next 20 years, until it was formerly completed in 1932 to original specifications, returning the castle to its former glory.
The castle you see today is as it would have appeared back in the 17th – early 18th centuries, and as it was when it was completed in 1932.

Eilean Donan Castle Ghosts

Spanish Soldier
During the Jacobite rebellion, 46 Spanish soldiers were stationed here when the castle was attacked by several government boats, leading ultimately to their death and the castles’ destruction. One of the more well known ghosts of Eilean Donan is believed to be that of one of the soldiers that died that day. His eerie apparition has been seen often in the gift shop, clutching his head underneath his arm.

Dalhousie Castle Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh

Dating way back to the 13th century, this castle has seen many people passing through its doors. It’s alleged to be haunted by a number of ghosts, most notably that of Sir Alexander Ramsay. He was starved to death in 1342 in Hermitage Castle by William Douglas, and has been seen roaming the halls and grounds of the hotel since then. Another of the ghosts is that of Lady Catherine, known as the ‘Grey Lady’, often seen around the turrets and in the dungeon of the castle.
Because ghostly activity is so rife at the hotel, ghost tours now happen at Dalhousie castle on a regular basis, allowing individuals to see some of the spooky sights for themselves – but guests who have no part in the ghost tours have also experiences spooky happenings, including unexplained noises, movement of objects and footsteps in the night.


Originally built in the 13th century, only the vaults and thick walls at foundation level remain of the original castle. Much of the present structure was built in 1450, although many extensions and alterations have occurred over the following centuries. Entry into the castle used to only be via a drawbridge over a moat, but when the castle was turned into a hotel, the moat was re-excavated.
A number of other notable features include a mural staircase leading from the banqueting hall to the vaults, and a spiral staircase leading from what used to be the first floor of the keep down to the dungeon. Prisoners used to be lowered into the dungeon by rope and there was then no escape through the 11” thick walls.


Dalhousie hotel offers 29 luxury bedrooms, all decorated in traditional Scottish fabrics such as tweed, tartan and twill. All of the rooms contain period furniture, soft carpets and antique rugs to really enhance the sense of grandeur and history that you get from the hotel. 20 of the rooms are themed – 2 themed suites, 9 themed four-posters, 7 themed twins/doubles and 2 executive themed doubles. There are also 9 castle-standard bedrooms, but these are also individually designed and decorated.
You have two eating options at the hotel, one of which is a hugely atmospheric restaurant located in the dungeons, complete with stonework, metal armour and weaponry and shadows across the walls. Here you will find fine Scottish cuisine that really makes the most of local produce. You could also eat in the Orangery Restaurant, which offers a more informal eating experience with sweeping views over the River Esk. There’s plenty to do at the hotel, too – try a relaxing treatment in the spa or have a go in the Hydro Pool. You could also try one of their falconry experiences or take your hand to falconry on their five-day falconry training course, or why not have a go at archery?
The hotel has a wedding license as well as an exclusive use option, whereby you can use the whole castle in private. Whatever you choose to do at the castle, you’re sure to have a fantastically relaxing stay here.

Fyvie Castle, near Turiff, Aberdeenshire

Brief History

Fyvie Castle near Turif in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, is believed to have been built around the 13th Century by William the Lion. The castle served as a Royal stronghold until 1390, shortly after the Battle of Otterburn. It was then passed down to a succession of clan families. Preston, Meldrum, Seton, Gordon, and Leith respectively. Each of the families constructed a new tower onto the castle, the first of these being the Preston Tower. Dated between 1390-1433, the tower remains to this day. The Seton family added the Seton Towers in 1599, which you can see dominating the entrance to the castle. The great processional staircase was also added by Seton’s some time after. The Gordon Tower was added in 1777, and lastly the Leith Tower in 1890.
There are a number of famous portraits hung in the castle, as well as displays of authentic armour and weapons. The descendants of Alexander Leith, who owned the castle in the late 1800's – early 1900's, sold the castle to the National Trust for Scotland in 1984. The castle is now open to the public to admire its architecture, art collection, and family history.

Fyvie Castle Ghosts

As with most old castles, the odd tale of a ghost or two is commonplace, and with Fyvie Castle that certainly is the case, with a little more to boot.

Grey Lady

Thought to tbe the ghost of Lady Meldrum who died sometime in the 13th Century. It is believed that she requested to be buried in the walls of a secret room in the Meldrum Tower. It wasn’t until 1920 that her remains were discovered. The remains were laid to rest in the cemetery, and from that day forward, the castle has experienced several strange and unexplained occurrences.  The apparition of Lady Meldrum has been seen many times around the castle.

Green Lady

Thought to be Dane Lilias Drummond, the wife of Sir Alexander Seton. After producing 5 children, none of whom male, Alexander grew impatient. Longing for a son his attentions turned towards the cousin of his wife, Grizel Leslie. Heartbroken and betrayed, Lillias retired to their home in Fife, where she became ill and died shortly after. The story goes that on the night Alexander married Grizel, in their bedroom in the castle, they could hear heavy sighs coming from outside their window, believing it to be nothing more than the wind. Upon opening the window in the morning Alexander found the name D LILIAS DRUMMOND, carved into the stone. This name can still be seen to this day!
Her ghost is said to roam the corridors of the castle, bemoaning the betrayal of her husband, and leaving behind a scent of Rose petals in her wake.

Phantom Trumpeter

The sounds of a trumpet being played can be heard throughout the castle. Believed to be the ghost of Andrew Lammie, who died of a broken heart after finding out about the death of his beloved Agnes. Andrew is also said to appear dressed in rich tartan, near the castle wall. On several occasions the figure of a man has been seen, only to disappear when approached.
The Legend of ‘The Weeping Stones of Fyvie’
Upon visiting the castle sometime ago, Thomas the Rhymer also known as True Thomas (because of his future telling abilities), told of a prophecy that goes:

Fyvie, Fyvie, thou’s never thrive
As lang’s there’s in thee stanes (stones) three
There’s ane intill (one in) the oldest tower, 
There’s ane intill the ladye’s bower,
There’s ane intill the water-yett (water gate)

And thir three stanes ye never get.
This message refers to three stones that were used in the construction of the Preston Tower, the Charter Room, and one stone that was rolled into the Ythan River. They were apparently taken from a sacred burial site, and until they are returned, no male heir shall live to ever inherit the castle. The stones are also said to remain wet when all around them are dry, and dry when all around them are wet. One of the stones was found in the Charter room, and can be seen today on display in the castle.
Is the story true? No-one knows, but the fact that a male heir has never survived to inherit Fyvie Castle, could very well mean there is some truth to the legend.

Glamis Castle, Angus, Scotland

Glamis Castle is widely renowned as one of the most haunted locations across the British Isles. The sheer number of reports that have occurred there, as well as the folklore that surrounds it, certainly lend itself to this claim.

Brief History of Glamis Castle

The current and only owners, the Bowes-Lyons family, were originally awarded the land by Robert the Bruce in 1372, for services to his thrown. The Bowes-Lyons family, now the Earls of Strathmore, includes the late Queen Mother, who was born at the castle, and also gave birth to Princess Margaret there in 1930.
The castle, like many others, has undertaken many renovations and additions throughout the centuries. When Mary Queen of Scots visited the castle in 1562, the East Wing was dominated by the main Tower, which was erected in 1435. At this time the castle was enclosed with a fortified courtyard.
During the 17th Century several additions were made to the castle. The West Wing was erected, and a small north-east wing was added, which would house the chapel. The walls surrounding the castle, as well as surrounding buildings were all removed during this time, and were replaced by baroque sculptures and courtyard.
In the mid 1700's the grounds that lay in front of the castle were landscaped and the line of trees that you see today leading up to the castle were planted. Various renovations and additions continued throughout the mid to latter 1700's. In 1775, the castle grounds were redeveloped into open parklands by then leading British landscape architect, Capability Brown.
No major renovations to the castle have occurred since the pitched roof of the East Wing was replaced with castellations in the late 1700's, and reconstruction of the West Wing in a similar style in 1800.
Alterations to gardens, the addition of the Dutch Garden in front of the castle in 1893, and the Queen Mother’s parents addition of the Italian garden in 1910 are the last major alterations to the castle.

Ghosts of Glamis Castle

There are many reported ghosts that haunt Glamis Castle, but to write about them all here would be a book in itself. So, I’m just going to talk about the ones that have been reported most often.

The Woman without a Tongue

Perhaps the most reported, certainly the most chilling, is the ghost of the woman with no tongue. She has been seen wandering around the grounds pointing to here badly wounded face. She has also been seen looking out from a barred window within the castle. It is not clear who this spirit might be, or what may have happened to her.

The Grey Lady

Believed to the be the ghost of Lady Glamis (Janet Douglas), who was burned at the stake for being a supposed witch in 1537. Her first husband was John Lyon (Lord Glamis), with whom she had a son also named John. She was accused of poisoning him upon his death in 1528, but she was cleared of the crime and was free to marry her second husband Archibald Campbell of Skipness. However, in July 1537 she was accused of planning to poison King James V of Scotland, and communicating with her brothers, who were part of several conspiracies against the King.
Although the allegations were clearly false, she was sent to Edinburgh Castle dungeon with her husband (who did escape but was later killed). James could not find any evidence to convict her, so he tortured her family and servants in a bid to “find the truth”. Janet was later convicted and burned at the stake on 17 July 1537 at Castle Hill, Edinburgh.

The Young Servant Boy

The ghost of a young servant boy has been seen sitting on the stone seat by the door of the Queen’s room on several occasions. He’s seen as a full bodied apparition, but has never been heard or seen anywhere else in the Castle.

Ghost of Earl Beardie

One of the more infamous ghosts of Glamis Castle is that of Alexander Lindsay, 4th Earl of Crawford, also known as Earl Beardie.
He was supposedly a cruel and twisted man who drank heavily. His presence has been seen, heard, and felt all around the castle. Reports of children wakening in the middle of the night only to see a dark figure standing over their beds have been noted.
Many believe he’s in a secret room in the castle gambling with the devil for all eternity. Legend goes, he was visiting the castle one Sunday night and upon returning to his room, he was shouting in a drunken rage for someone to come and play cards with him. Nobody wanted to take him up on his offer on a Sabbath, so he finally raged he’d play the Devil himself. Shortly after there was a knock at the door, it was a tall gentleman in a long dark coat, and he asked if Earl Beardie still needed someone to play cards with him. The Earl agreed to play the man, and they retired to a room in the castle, slammed the door shut, and proceeded to play cards into the night.
There was lots of swearing and shouting coming from the room which could be heard throughout the castle. One of the servants apparently looked through the keyhole out of curiosity to see what all the commotion was about, only to be blinded in one eye by a bright beam of light shining through. The Earl heard the servant outside the door and rounded on him for spying. When he headed back to the room, the man who was believed to be the Devil had gone, along with the Earl’s soul. He’s said to still be playing cards, apparently in a secret room in the castle. His shouts have been reported throughout the castle to this day.

Ackergill Tower Castle Hotel, Wick, Caithness, Scotland

In the 15th century, the castle was owned by the Keith family who were in a feud with the Gunn family. After several murders and revenge murders on either side, Helen Gunn was abducted by a member of the Keith family for her beauty. She either jumped or fell from the tower at the castle trying to escape. She’s now seen either as a green lady, or as a lady in a long red ball gown with tall black hair.


Ackergill Tower has a long and involved history – first mentioned in history in 1538, it has been the catalyst for various feuds over the years. In the 14th or 15th century when Helen Gunn was abducted, the Gunn family and the Keith family started feuding even more, which led to the Battle of Champions. In 1547, the Sinclairs attacked and seized the castle, but Mary of Guise, who was then the Regent of Scotland, returned it to the Keith family. She then installed Laurence Oliphant as keeper of Ackergill in 1549, but the Sinclairs seized the castle once more. The castle changed hands a few more times after that, but was then sold legally to the Sinclairs in 1612. In 1699 the castle was sold to the Dunbars, who added extensions and renovations. In 1986 it was sold and underwent renovation for 2 years, when it was then opened as a luxury hotel.


Ackergill Tower has often been described as one of the most luxurious hotels in the world – not a title given to many hotels. It has lots of different areas of accommodation – the main tower, sleeping up to 32 with a mixture of double, twin and single rooms, the beach house, sleeping up to 10 with a mixture of double and twin rooms and 4 bathrooms, the sunshine and seashore cottage, sleeping up to 4 with 2 double bedroom suites and 2 bathrooms and the smiddy, sleeping up to 2 with 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom. All of the rooms are decorated in a modern, elegant style, complete with antique furniture, luxurious soft furnishings and sumptuous fabrics.
Ackergill Tower prides itself on being able to do whatever it can for its guests – so you can enjoy your diner in the dining room, or they could prepare a picnic for you to enjoy overlooking the sea. Their food is all prepared using local, fresh ingredients and is made to order – homemade liquors are also available. Guests can also enjoy over 50 action-packed activities in the grounds of Ackergill Tower, so you’ll never be short of things to do.
There are also numerous function rooms, including a room called The Tree House, which is set amongst 150 year old sycamore trees. Staff at Ackergill will do their very best to give you everything you need and will look after you as much as you need them to. If you’re looking for a hotel that will amaze and inspire you – and that will leave you feeling totally refreshed and looked after, Ackergill Tower is definitely the place to stay.

Airth Castle Hotel, Falkirk, Scotland

Many castles across the United Kingdom are haunted – and Airth Castle is definitely one of them. In rooms 3, 9 and 23, the sound of children playing has been heard when the rooms were otherwise empty – perhaps these are the ghosts of two children who died along with their nanny in a fire at the castle?
A phantom dog, who roams the hallways nipping at people’s ankles has also been seen and felt by guests and staff alike. Guests have also reported hearing screams and cries late at night, which are believed to come from a maid who was brutally attacked by her master.


Airth Castle overlooks the village of Airth and the river Forth, located in Falkirk. It’s a category A listed building and is regarded as one of the most important historical buildings in Scotland – it has retained plenty of medieval fabric along with much of its original structure. A church also stands within the grounds of the castle that dates back to 1647.


The hotel has a whopping 125 en-suite bedrooms in both the castle and hotel. The rooms are individually decorated in a lavish and luxurious style – this is a 4* hotel and so you can expect sumptuous fabrics, soft furnishings and elegant antique furniture in every room. All rooms come with complementary bath products, soft white towels, satellite television, tea and coffee making facilities, trouser press and ironing facilities.
Free Wi-Fi is also available throughout the hotel. The hotel also comes with spa facilities that are available to everyone who stays at the hotel – these include an indoor heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi, technogym with plasma screens, sauna, steam room, tanning salon and solarium and beauty spa rooms. Weddings and conferences can also take place at the hotel, and with a newly refurbished honeymoon suite, the hotel can offer a fully personalised wedding service.
There are numerous dining options at the hotel – The Grill Room, a restaurant and grill that offers delicious food without pretention, and The Business Lounge, an informal space perfect for holding meetings or for enjoying a lighter meal. Private dining is also available on request.

Tulloch Castle Hotel, Dingwall, Scotland

Tulloch Castle is actually thought to have many ghosts – but the most-sighted ghost, and the ghost most talked about, is the Green Lady. She has been sighted so frequently, the bar in the castle is actually named the Green Lady Bar and a portrait of the lady believed to be the Green Lady, Elizabeth Davidson, hangs in the Great Hall.
The Green Lady is also one of the few ghosts that has been captured on film, prompting numerous investigations into the castle. A number of paranormal teams have investigated the castle over the years, and they have found some very interesting results. Balls of light, orbs and icy cold patches of air have been seen and felt and constant noises, clicks, bangs and thuds have been recorded on film – with no explanation.


Some parts of the castle date back to the 12th century, but all that remains of the original building are the south-west corner and tower. The castle was first named Tulloch Castle in 1507, and the name has stuck ever since, despite it changing hands numerous times in the ensuing years.
The Bayne family owned and lived in the castle from 1513 right through to 1752. The castle was then sold ten years later to Henry Davidson, and his family owned and lived in the family until the 1900s. In 1940 Tulloch Castle was used a hospital for a short period of time after the evacuation of Dunkirk, and in 1947 it was leased to the Education Authority when it was used as a girl’s hostel. In 1996, the Macaulays bought the castle and converted it into a hotel, and it is now still used as a hotel and a conference centre.


Tulloch Castle is one of the few castle hotels that still absolutely retains the look of a castle. Upon arrival at the castle, you’ll be greeted with countless period features – stone fireplaces, original ceilings, panelled rooms, stunning picture windows and plenty of original antique furniture. You’ll also be greeted by a friendly and professional team who will cater to your every need.
There are 20 en-suite rooms at the castle, all with period features, some with four-poster beds. There are a number of room options, too, including single rooms, twin rooms, double rooms, four-poster rooms and a family room – there is a room at Tulloch Castle for everyone. All of the rooms have their own unique character and personality, with sumptuous fabrics, soft furnishings and stunning paintings and mirrors.
You can enjoy a dining experience fit for a king at Turrets restaurant, where local Highlands produce is bought and prepared by Tulloch’s chefs. You’ll be able to choose from numerous locally sourced dishes from an a la carte menu, with a huge selection of wines to match the dishes. Breakfast in the castle is also a delicious affair, with over 7 different types of marmalade and jam and a number of cooked and cold dishes available. The castle also boasts a guest lounge, as well as a stunningly comfortable reception hall. For more informal drinks and dining, you can take a seat in the Green Lady bar. Whatever your reasons for coming to stay at Tulloch Castle, you’re sure to have a magical stay here.

Balmoral Castle, Aberdeen

Balmoral Castle can be found near the village of Crathie. It is one of the several residences of the British Royal Family. It was purchased by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Although Balmoral Castle is not part of the Crown Estate, it remains a private property of the monarch. When the Queen purchased the castle, she found it too small so it was demolished and a new building was constructed and completed in 1856.
Today, the estate is home not only to the castle, but also to farmland, forestry, grouse moors and herds of Highland Ponies and sheep. It is also the home of many ghosts.


Queen Victoria and Prince Albert first came to Scotland in 1842, five years after she became the queen and two years after their union. It was in February 1848 when Prince Albert decided to acquire the lease on Balmoral castle, complete with the staff and furniture. It was said that Queen Victoria found the house to be small but pretty. In 1848, William Smith was commissioned to design new ancillary buildings for the castle, as well as improve it. Although William Smith was the architect, Prince Albert amended his designs.

Ghosts of Balmoral Castle

One of the most popular ghosts of Balmoral Castle is that of John Brown. He was the friend of Queen Victoria and he has been seen walking around the castle corridors. John Brown was one of the servants of Balmoral Castle whom Queen Victoria had reportedly fallen in love with. This remains a matter of conjecture but it is said that Queen Elizabeth II has reported seeing the ghost of John Brown on the corridor and feeling his presence. He is said to be always wearing his kilt.

Borthwick Castle, Edinburgh

Because Borthwick castle is an old, old building with a long and involved history, it has been home to many distinguished guests over the years, including Mary Queen of Scots. Mary sought sanctuary at Borthwick with her husband in 1567 when she learnt that the Scottish noblemen wanted to capture them, and although 1,000 men surrounded the castle she escaped through a window dressed as a pageboy. Many people say Mary still comes back to the castle and she has been seen wandering the halls on a number of occasions.
Paranormal investigations at the castle have also shown there to be much activity, including disembodied voices, clicking and banging noises, light anomalies, apparitions and members of the team feeling sick and nauseous.
Betsa Marsh, writing for British Heritage Magazine, said this about the hotel, “The Red Room has spooked so many people that the owners called in an Edinburgh priest to exorcise its lingering spirits. Legend says that a young servant girl bore an illegitimate Borthwick son in the room. Mother and baby, potential threats to the title, were quickly put to the sword. In other era, the Borthwick family chancellor used this room, and the niches for his safes remain in the stone wall to this day. According to gossip, the Borthwicks discovered their chancellor was embezzling money from the family coffers. Eschewing the nicety of a performance review, they intercepted the chancellor on his way home from Edinburgh one evening and cancelled his contract by burning him to death. The ghosts of the young servant girl and the fired chancellor still wander the stony spiral staircases of Borthwick, some people say, and even the most stalwart visitors admit to feeling invisible presences in the Great Hall.”


The castle was first built in 1430 by Lord Borthwick, because of a charter to build the castle that was awarded to William de Borthwick for his part in bringing the King home to Scotland after 18 years of being imprisoned in England. It was designed to be a stronghold so that whoever was inside could oversee large areas and withstand attack from invaders, but it was also designed so that offensive attacks could be launched from inside the castle, with 100 feet walls that were 20 feet thick at the bottom.
The castle was neglected a little until World War II when it was considered strong enough to store records and antiques, and then in the 1970s electricity and plumbing were introduced and central heating was installed. The castle has been run as a hotel since 1973.


The hotel offers a really unique travelling experience, and has buckets of medieval charm that will lighten the heart of even the most seasoned of travellers. All of the bedrooms are tastefully and thoughtfully decorated in a period style and are furnished with many antiques, including a number of four poster beds. Many of the bedrooms have been styled in a certain theme and have been named after one of the dignified guests that stayed in the castle way back when, although there are also a number of standard rooms if you have a slightly lower budget.
The restaurant at the hotel is also an unforgettable experience and with high vaulted ceilings and tables lit by candlelight, the atmospheric setting lends itself well to any meal, large or small. The hotel offers a set menu for £45.00 per adult and £12.50 per child, although an a la carte menu is also offered. There are a number of public rooms that are available at the castle, with space for meetings, conferences and castles – so whatever your reason for staying at this atmospheric place, you’ll find that it’s the perfect setting for any occasion.

No comments:

Post a Comment