13 Haunting Locations on Scotland's west coast and islands
Scotland is steeped in history, legends and ghost stories, but could it be one of the most haunted countries in the world? There is no shortage of history to form a perfectly spooky basis for camp fire stories; from bloody and savage battles, to tales of Victorian cruelty and disease.
Whether you believe these stories or not, here are 13 of the most haunting locations along Scotland's west coast, that are sure to send a shiver down your spine this Halloween.
1. Dunstaffnage Castle
Dunstaffnage Castle is located close to the beautiful coastal town of Oban. Oban is often described as the gateway to the islands and provides port for vessels travelling to the Inner and Outer Hebridean islands including Mull, Tiree and Barra.
Close by this peaceful little town stands Dunstaffnage Castle, the castle is more than 13 hundred years old and was visited by Robert the Bruce and King James IV. Flora MacDonald was also imprisoned in this great castle for helping Bonnie Prince Charlie escape Scotland after the Battle of Culloden.
It is said that a lady dressed in green roams the castle's ramparts. Dunstaffnage Castle owners, Clan Campbell, are said to know whether good or bad fortune is coming their way based on sightings of the lady in Green. If she is smiling good fortune is on its way, however if she is crying the Clan know that trouble lies ahead.
2. Ardrossan Castle
Ardrossan is a small town in North Ayrshire, from which CalMac Ferries travel to Arran and Campbeltown. Located just around the bay from this busy port on a high ascent are the ruins of Ardrossan Castle.
Today the ghostly ruins stand still watching over the town; however legend has it that the castle is haunted by the ghost of William Wallace. Wallace captured the castle in the 13th century; the history of the castle is bloody and violent and is host to the infamous 'Wallace's Larder'. Wallace lured the English from the castle, by setting fire to a nearby building, Wallace and his men then slaughtered the men and tossed their bodies into the larder to rot.
3. Inveraray Castle
Inveraray Castle is one of Scotland's most beautiful castles, home to The Best of The West Music Festival - a great family day out. However, the castle has got some dark secrets; it is said to be haunted by the ghost of a young Irish harpist boy who was caught peeping at the lady of the house and subsequently sentenced to death by the gallows in 1644.
Many visitors to the castle have reported of the sound of a mysterious harp playing in the castle, in particular in the MacArthur Room. The boy is not the castles only ghost though, there are also stories of the 'Grey Lady' and the 'Galley of Lorne' which is said to be seen only when a Duke dies.
Anyone who has travelled to Scotland has likely driven through Glencoe and if you haven't you need to soon! Stop off at Glencoe Visitor Centre and marvel at the amazing viewing points or attempt one of the walking trails.
Be sure not to forget the history that lies under your feet as you walk though. In 1692 the brutal Glencoe Massacre took place and is known as one of the bloodiest events in Scottish history. It is said that Clan Campbell troops slaughtered their Clan MacDonald hosts as they lay sleeping, killing 38 men, women and children.
People exploring this beautiful landscape often report seeing re-enchantments of the killing or hearing screaming in the glens.
5. Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle in Dornie, the Kyle of Lochalsh, is one of Scotland's most famous castles and people travel from miles to photograph its beauty.
But like many of Scotland's castles Eilean Donan has a dark side, the story goes that the castle is haunted by a Spanish garrison soldier who was killed during the first Jacobite rebellion in the 18th century in a siege. It is also said that the castle bedrooms are haunted by 'Lady Mary', however Eilean Donan is not the only castle that claims to be visited by Mary Queen of Scots. The list includes Stirling Castle, Borthwick Castle and Lochleven Castle
6. St Kilda
Lying 41 miles west of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides, St Kilda is the United Kingdom's most remote part of the nation. This fascinating archipelago of islands, with their exceptional cliffs and sea stacks, has not been inhabited by people since 1930.
The islands of St Kilda are haunted by a harsh past full of the struggle of its natives and passing visitors. From the stories of the St Kildian's who made the brave attempt to reach Australia and perished in the wild waves, the tales of the islands dogs that were drowned in the sea before the final islanders abandoned the archipelago or the many shipwreck crew who have become trapped in the ferocity of the islands cliffs and craggy stacks.
7. Callanish Standing Stones
Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis is one of Scotland's most well-known stone circles, the stones were erected at the site between 2900 - 2600 BC and there is some evidence that earlier structures existed at the site previously.
The stones are known as 'Fir Bhreig' which in Gaelic means 'the false men' and legend has it that the stones were giants that were turned into stone by St Kieran because they would not convert to Christianity.
8. Duntrune Castle
Duntrune Castle is located in Argyll in Poltalloch estate on the north side of Loch Crinan, and is thought to be the longest continuously occupied castle in Scotland.
Apparently this historic beauty is sound tracked by the spirit of a bagpiper, it is said he was murdered by Clan Campbell. The story goes that the piper had followed orders from his master an Irishman name Coll Ciotach, with the purpose of discovering some inside information about Clan Campbell's defences. Ciotach wanted to rage war on the Clan and they soon became suspicious. They locked the piper in the tower, but in an attempt to warn his master the piper began to play his bagpipes. The clan cut off his finger and left him to bleed to death.
9. Barcaldine Castle
Barcaldine Castle, north of Oban, is Scotland's only ancient castle to offer Bed and Breakfast facilities. The stunning castle also offers those in love a romantic location for a Scottish wedding.
Not all is romantic around this Scottish jewel though, Barcaldine castle has its own Clan Campbell ghost story. It is said that a pair of Campbell brothers haunt the hallways, Donald Campbell who was the Laird of Barcaldine was murdered by Stewart of Appin, however before Donald's brother Duncan had received the news of his brother death he offered Stewart refuge in his home in Inverawe. Duncan was tortured by his failure to avenge his brother and the story goes that the only way he could ask for Donald's forgiveness was when reunited in death in Barcaldine Castle.
10. Kildalton Castle, Islay
Kildalton Castle was located near Port Ellen on the isle of Islay; the site of the castle is not short of ghost stories and legends.
One particularly well known story is of the 'factor of Kildalton castle'. Legend has it that a laird who lived in the castle had an employee with a very distinct appearance. The employee was called away from the castle many times, however it is claimed that whilst he was absent he was seen wandering in the castle.
Years later after the employee was dead he was reportedly seen again by two women in the laird's land. The employee was seen walking towards them in the clothes of his era and followed by a terrier dog. The two women felt very uneasy and scared so made their way home. When home one of the women relayed the story to her mother who had also worked for the laird - the mother recognised the distinct description of the man as the employee, the factor of Kildalton castle.
11. Mackinnon's Cave
MacKinnon's Cave is located on the isle of Mull and is reckoned to be the longest sea cave in all of the Hebrides.
Legend has it the cave is named after a piper who travelled into its depths to see how far underground he could go, once deep inside the cave he bumped into a female ogre who killed him after he failed to please her with a tune from his pipes.
12. 1934 Austin, Sligachan
Skye is one of Scotland's most popular destinations, visits by thousands of tourists from near and far every month. This beautiful island has a wealth of history and heritage.
The beauty of the isle is also accompanied by extraordinary legend; many claim that the main road by Sligachan, on the East of the island has been the setting for the spectral appearance of a 1934 Austin.
People who have reported seeing the Austin, claim they have had to pull over to let the car overtake them, however after passing the car vanishes. Sightings of the car date back as far as the 1940's and it is claimed the ghost car is a result of a tragic accident that caused the driver to lose his mind with guilt.
13. Machrie Moor
Machrie Moor on the isle of Arran consists of 6 stone circles made of granite and sandstone. The moor in which the stones stand is littered with prehistoric remains, such as the stones, cists and burial cairns.
Machrie Moor is regarded as one of the United Kingdom's best stone circles, and the myth behind the stones is that the stones were created by a group of fairies. The stories are said to have flicked pebbles onto the moor below from the summit of a nearby mountain, Durra-na-each.
Book a ghost hunting break to the west coast and islands now. If you dare...