I recently returned from the Ghost Tour of Scotland provided by GHOSTour.com along with seven other ghost hunting buddies from Arizona. There we met up with friends from around the country that participated in the Ghost Tour of England 2009 and met many new acquaintances. During the next couple of weeks, I will be providing a recap of this fabulous ghost tour hoping you may want to reserve a spot for the next Haunted Vacation to Scotland presented by GHOSTours.com.
Day 2 Threaves Castle, Culzean Castle, Glasgow Cathedral, Necropolis, Old College Bar, and Winnock Hotel
With everyone feeling refreshed and alive again, we headed to Threaves Castle. The castle ruins nestle on an island in the middle of the River Dee and are only accessible by boat. Getting to it is an exciting and romantic experience in itself. One must walk along a path through the fields and pass a wooded area until you reach the shore of the River Dee. There you will find a small jetty and a brass bell with a pull rope. Ring the bell loudly and the boatman will come across from the island to take you to the castle.
Threaves Castle stands west of Castle Douglas in Dumfries and Galloway, and was built by Archibald Douglas, third Earl of Douglas. The Black Douglas’s became one of the most important and powerful families in Scotland, leading to conflicts with the king. There was a two month long siege of Threaves Castle in the summer of 1455. The castle held out and only surrendered after the garrison commanders had been promised various payments and promises of safe conduct. There have been several reports of unexplained sounds of breathing and voices coming from unoccupied areas of the castle.
The bus drove on to Culzean Castle just west of Maypole. Culzean Castle is one of the most magnificent buildings in Scotland. It was built by architect Robert Adam for the Kennedy Earls of Cassillis in the 1770’s. The rooms and grounds have been restored back to their glory and maybe that is what keeps the ghosts of the castle coming back.
A beautiful ghostly lady has been seen and photographed standing near the grand staircase. Culzean Castle also has a ghostly piper playing eerie bagpipes below the stately manor. The piper is said to have disappeared after searching the caves for ghosts beneath the castle. Most likely he ran into a bunch of unruly pirates who did him in. They say his bagpipes can still be heard on stormy nights and his apparition has been spotted on the grounds.
We drove into the busy city of Glasgow and parked near the Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis Cemetery where we were able to explore these two locations on foot. The history of the cathedral is linked with Glasgow and allegedly located where the patron saint of Glasgow, Saint Mungo, built his church. The tomb of the saint is in the lower crypt. Walter Scott’s novel Rob Roy gives a brief account of the kirk.
Just east of the Glasgow Cathedral (and overlooking modern day Glasgow) stands a rocky hill now known as the Glasgow Necropolis. Since 1831, over 50,000 souls have been buried there. About 3,500 tombs stand up to 14 feet below the ground. (Which also deterred the body snatchers who stole freshly buried corpses for sale to medical schools.) Parts of the rocky Necropolis had to be excavated with the aid of blasting powder. Many of the monuments that mark these tombs are a tribute to the wealth in Victorian Glasgow. The result is an eerie outdoor museum of the work of most of the leading Scottish architects of the day. The monuments competed for attention with their intricate detail—and in many cases, sheer size.
Before traveling on to our hotel destination, we paid a last minute stop to a Glasgow pub called The Old College Bar. It is a traditional Glaswegian pub situated on High Street—just down the road from the cathedral. It claims to be Glasgow’s oldest pub being established in 1810. After slamming down a pint or two, the bartenders led us down a set of stairs under a trap door behind the bar. The stairs led down into the original cellar. The bartender said there is occasional paranormal activity such as unexplained electrical difficulties. Two natural streams run across the stone floor. There are tunnels that once led under High Street to the cellars of the university. Lecturers and professors used the tunnels to cross into the pub undetected by the students. They would sit on crates in the basement and enjoy a drink or two before returning underground back to the school. These tunnels are filled in and blocked off now, but could the ghosts of these mischievous professors be returning late in the night for another cup of cheer?
The tour group continued on to Loch Lomond and another haunted coach house called The Winnock Hotel. Richard Felix scrambled to skype into his weekly internet show, Ghost Chronicles International, but was only able to broadcast the last 10 minutes of the live show. After dinner, Richard Felix and Debe Branning led the ghost hunters in a midnight séance in the dining room where the group contacted three souls of the Winnock.
The Winnock Hotel dates back to the 1700’s and throughout history has always offered lodging to weary travelers passing through by Loch Lomond and the Trossachs area. Formerly a coaching inn, the Winnock has been restored and extended to its present form.
Scottish ghost hunters have named the Winnock Hotel as one of the most haunted places in Scotland. A local ghost investigation team claims there is a recording of a ghost called James Walker discussing a running, centuries-old feud he has with another ghost called Buchanan. The have also uncovered a spirit from the 1500’s named Edward Mc Gregor. It is thought he may have occupied a cottage on what is now the site of the hotel. A spirit of a little girl and a woman in a lilac ball gown was also uncovered. Rooms 38 and 39 are known to be the most haunted sleeping quarters in the hotel—that is, IF you can sleep!
Check back for MORE tales of Arizona Ghost Hunter Travels: Scotland Ghost Tour in the next couple of weeks! And don’t forget to check out the slide show on the left side of this page.
For More information: www.mvdghostchasers.com
Debe Branning: [email protected]