18 October 2013

Visit Scotland over Hallow'een

If you are planning a trip to Scotland over Hallowe'en, here is a list of what's happening that might interest you and add to the enjoyment of your visit.

Scotland has long been known as the home of myths, legends and tales of the supernatural. A visit to any Scottish town or city, or even the most remote part of the country, will bring with it stories of ghosts, ghouls and mysterious events.

Visitors this Hallowe'en will certainly be in for a treat with a visit to one of its 'frightfully' good locations ... or perhaps a good scare@ There are also a number of themed events taking place in the run up to, and including 31 October.

Creepy Castles ...

Jedburgh Castle, Scottish Borders - The site's eventful past as a medieval castle, site of the town gallows and as a prison throughout the 19th century, is well known.  Among the ‘ghosts’ rumoured to haunt the castle is the Prison jailor, along with a number of male, female and child prisoners.  On dark nights the refrain of a lone piper is said to be heard coming from behind the boundary wall.

Culzean Castle, Ayrshire - Culzean has a ghostly piper, who is reputed to have been searching caves beneath the castle when he disappeared.  The pipes are said to herald the announcement of a marriage, and also to be heard on stormy nights.  His apparition is also said to have been seen in the grounds of the castle, both on Piper's Brae and near the ruinous collegiate church.

Glamis Castle, Forfar - Glamis Castle, just outside the village of Glamis, is reputed to be one of the most haunted castles in Scotland. King Malcolm II was murdered here leaving a bloodstain on the floor, which defied all efforts to be removed, and eventually the floor was boarded over. The castle is also said to contain secret rooms. One which is believed to house a monster which roamed at night. This monster was believed to have been the son of a Laird of Glamis who was horribly deformed and was kept in one of the secret rooms.  A ghost named the ‘Grey Lady is also said to haunt the Chapel.

Tales of mystery, war and murder…

St Andrews, Fife - the historic seaside town is steeped in legend, with stories of ghosts of murdered archbishops, John Knox and even the Devil himself wandering the streets!  The Cathedral ruins are said to be haunted by an unidentified lady in a long white dress with a veil, holding a book in her clasped hands.

The Isle of Skye - In the past, scores of kilted soldiers have been reputedly sighted here. They are often seen near Harta Corrie which is celebrated in local history for the Bloody Stone that marks the scene of a bitter battle between the MacDonalds and the MacLeods some 300 years ago. Also, often seen is a driver-less 1934 Austin phantom car hurtling along roads at breakneck speed.

Culloden Moor, Inverness-shire - This area is the site of the tragic end to the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Bonnie Prince Charlie and 5000 Highlanders were defeated by The Duke of Cumberland and over 9000 Government troops just outside Inverness in the Highlands. Here, by the memorial cairn, there has often been seen the dim form of a battle-worn Highlander.  Some years ago, a woman who was visiting Culloden chanced to look into the Well of the Dead and as she did so she saw the reflection of a Highlander looking back at her.  This is only one of many reported sightings on the moor.

In addition to the number of ‘spooky’ locations visitors to Scotland can explore on a visit to Scotland, there are a number of Halloween-themed events worth checking out for 2013. 

These include:

 Gruesome Ghost tours:

Mercat Tours, Edinburgh
Haunted Halloween (suitable for 18+)
Friday, 25 October - Saturday, 2 November
Time: There will be two to three ‘Haunted Halloween’ tours daily; please checkwww.mercattours.com for start times.
Address: The tour meets from the Mercat Cross, High Street and ends at Interpretation Room, Blair Street.
Cost: £11 adult, £9 concession. This tour is not suitable for children. Advanced booking is advised.

Back for 2013, the ever popular ‘Haunted Halloween’ tour will see the bravest explore the famous haunted Blair Street Underground Vaults of Edinburgh by candle-light as well as hear about the sinister and unsavoury past of Edinburgh  and its residents. With this late night ghost tour, there will be no holds barred as your guide tells you some of the most chilling tales that Edinburgh has to offer.
Mercat Tours is running other themed tours around Halloween and throughout the rest of the year.  For more information, please go to www.mercattours.com

Mostly Ghostly, Dumfries & Galloway
Haunted Highways Tour (suitable for ages 12+)
Saturday, 26 October
Time and address: Coach picks up from: Old Lonsdale Cinema, Carlisle 5.30pm, Crossways Inn, Gretna 5.45pm, Dumfries Whitesands, 6.40pm. Tour leaves Dumfries 7pm.
Cost: £17.50 per ticket, available from VisitScotland Information Centres throughout Dumfries & Galloway
Screaming hags, eyeless phantoms and a menagerie of unearthly creatures! Join Mostly Ghostly for a coach trip with a difference! The eerie excursion takes you along famously 'active' stretches of one of Britain's most haunted roads - the A75...
The Haunted Theatre tour and ghost walks will also be running around Halloween.  For more information, visit:www.mostlyghostly.org. Enquiries - 07791 047835 or 07912 145865

The Real Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh
Dark Truth Tour (suitable for ages 16+)
Thursday, 31 October
Time: 10pm-11pm
Address:  2 Warriston's Close, High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1PG
Cost: £17.50 per ticket

Please note: This tour contains adult themes and is recommended for those of ages 16 years +.
Please wear suitable footwear as there is walking involved, uneven surfaces and steep inclines.  Guests are advised to arrive 10 mins prior to tour time.
Tours start promptly and latecomers will not be admitted.
Back for one night only following an Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013 sell-out, visitors to the Real Mary King’s Close’s Dark Truth Tour can descend into the warren of underground streets beneath the city’s Royal Mile to encounter more of the haunting characters who once roamed Edinburgh’s Old Town from the 16th to the 21st century.  Not for the faint hearted, this interactive tour will reveal the whole truth behind the myths and mysteries that shroud Edinburgh’s hidden city with sinister tales of plague and pestilence and murder most horrid witnessed by those who lived, worked and died in the closes.
For more information, please visit www.realmarykingsclose.com or call 0845 070 6244.

Spook-tacular storytelling…

National Museum of Flight, East Lothian
Scary sights and spooky tales (suitable for families)
Saturday, 26 - Sunday, 27 October
Time: 10am - 5pm
Address: East Fortune Airfield, East Lothian, EH39 5LF
Cost: Included in museum admission.

Come and see the scary sights! Hear the spooky tales and join in the scary activities if you're brave enough.
For more information, please visit www.nms.ac.uk

Robert Burns Birthplace, Ayr
Halloween Hooley, Ayrshire (suitable for families)
Saturday, 2 - Sunday, 3 November 2013
Date: Saturday, 2 - Sunday, 3 November 2013
Time:  1pm - 4pm
Address: Robert Burns Birthplace Cottage and Museum, Murdoch's Lone, Alloway, KA7 4PQ
Cost: Ticket price included in admission cost
Come to Burns' Cottage with your family and join us (and some ghosties and ghoulies!) for all sorts of frightening fun including scary tales, fiendish food, apple dooking, a lantern contest and more!
For more information, please visit www.nts.org.uk

Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh
Halloween Hearth Fires – Storytelling Festival Finale Fright Night!  (Suitable for adults and accompanied young adults)
Sunday, 27 October
Time: From 6.30pm

Address: Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street Edinburgh EH1 1SR
Cost: Adult - £5.00
The Scottish International Storytelling Festival is a ten-day celebration of oral heritage in its traditional and contemporary contexts that takes place every autumn around Halloween, replacing plastic brooms and dodgy costumes with real experiences and traditional stories. On Sunday 27 October, the Storytelling Centre becomes a haven for Music, Ghostburgers and Guisers as part of Halloween Hearth Fires form 6.30pm, with fire displays in the garden and ghost tours of John Knox House just two of the exciting activities lined up for the final evening at the festival. After your fill of guising, enjoy an intimate performance in the Netherbow Theatre as Halloween Hearth brings to life a selection of spooky tales from both the Celtic and visiting cultures.
For more information, please visit www.scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk

The Haunted Highlands…

North Sutherland, Highlands
Spooky Strathy (Suitable for families)
Saturday, 19 October 2013
Time and address: Meeting place & time given out on booking
Cost: Family £5