Chill-seekers who take a trip to Scotland this Halloween (31 October) will be in for a treat (and maybe a scare) with new tours and plenty more ghostly goings-on. The country is known for tales of spooks, gruesome murders, as well as some of the most spine-chilling locations and visitor attractions. From stories of Burke and Hare, to sightings of grey ladies in haunted castles, visitors will only left wanting to know if it was a friendly hand or a scarier one that clutched theirs in the night…
For those who prefer to be wrapped up warm indoors on Halloween, there is always feeling inspired to visit at another time by watching some of the scariest films ever produced that were made in spooky Scotland... Read on if you dare!
New tours and old favourites
Mostly Ghostly Comlongon Ghost Tour ***NEW TOUR FOR HALLOWEEN 2016
Comlongon Castle, Dumfries and Galloway
From 25 September 2016 see www.mostlyghostly.org
Time: Various, see www.mostlyghostly.org
Price: £20 adult, £16 child, family ticket £56. Tickets available from Midsteeple Box Office, Dumfries or via: http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/comlongon-ghost-tour-tickets/247817 Accommodation is available at an additional cost.
Comlongon Ghost Tour is an exciting new partnership between Comlongon Castle near Dumfries and Mostly Ghostly Investigations. Dark history and haunting tales await. Guests can look forward to a spooky castle ghost tour, delicious food and the option of an overnight stay, all set in stunning countryside surroundings.
Condemned ***NEW TOUR FOR HALLOWEEN 2016
The Real Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh
Thursday, 27– Sunday, 30 October 2016
Time: 9pm (tour lasts one hour)
Price: £17.50 (16+)
Condemned is a new late night experience. Explore the chilling history and true story of one of the most haunted locations in Scotland with this one hour tour. This tour offers a frightening insight into the infamous witches and witchcraft of 18th century Edinburgh. Join a guide and travel back to a time when Mary King's Close was open to the skies and fear and suspicion lingered around every corner. Pre-booking of tickets is highly recommended.
For more information or to book tickets visit www.realmarykingsclose.com
Up Close with Burke and Hare ***NEW TOUR FOR HALLOWEEN 2016
Mercat Tours, Edinburgh
Monday, 31 October 2016 only
Time: 5pm (tour lasts 2 hour 15 minutes full evening experience, with complimentary drink)
Price: £30 (ages 8+)
From grave snatchers and resurrectionists to devious doctors and back street brothels, join this brand new tour as it starts at St Cuthbert’s graveyard in the city, with Burke and Hare as guides. As guests weave their way ever closer to the seedy Grassmarket they must be careful of the characters lurking in the shadows as the steps of the murderous duo are traced. A one-off tour for Halloween, Mercat Tours runs other tours around Halloween and throughout the year. Visit www.mercattours.com for more information.
Traquair House Historical Ghost Tours
Traquair House, Innerleithen, Scottish Borders
Friday, 28 October & Saturday, 29 October 2016
Time: 7pm and 9pm
Price: £12 (adult); £8 (child) (ages 8+)
For a very atmospheric visit Traquair House at night as these tours truly bring history alive and will get visitors into the spirit of Halloween. Guests will be on their guard for the odd unexpected surprise and then relax in the comfort of the eighteenth century dining room with a glass of mulled wine. Halloween themed meals are also available from the 1745 Cottage Restaurant, visit www.traquair.co.uk for full details.
Scotland scares on screen
Scotland has provided the ideal film set for some of cinema’s most nerve-shredding films, including:
The Wicker Man (1973)Dir. Robin Hardy Scottish locations: Dumfries & Galloway, Highlands and Ayrshire
A cult horror classic, The Wicker Man sees Sergeant Neil Howie (played by Edward Woodward) travel to the fictional Scottish island of Summerisle to investigate reports of a missing schoolgirl. What he discovers is far more bizarre and terrifying indeed….
Scotland fact: There is actually a small archipelago in Scotland called ‘the Summer Isles’ (Na h-Eileanan Samhraidh). However, this is apparently unconnected with the film, at least consciously.
Dog Soldiers (2002) Dir. Neil Marshall Scottish location: Highlands
Embracing the low-budget horror comedy, director Marshall made his big screen debut with this film about a routine military exercise-turned-nightmare, as a band of soldiers goes head-to-head (quite literally) with a band of werewolves in the Scottish Highlands.
Scotland fact: The Scotland location used was Glen Affric in the Highlands.
The Descent (2005) Dir. Neil Marshall Scottish location: Perth and Kinross
The movie follows a group of six women (led by Scottish actress Shauna MacDonald)as they embark on a caving mission in the Appalachian Mountains, little knowing that their expedition is going to turn into a nightmare thanks to a horde of flesh-eating monsters.
Scotland fact: The opening shots of the film, in which members of the group are white water rafting, were shot at the Linn of Tummell near Pitlochry. Some other exterior scenes were filmed in Dunkeld.
Under the Skin (2013) Dir. Jonathan Glazer Scottish locations: Various, including Glasgow, Dumfries and Galloway, East Renfrewshire, East Lothian and the Highlands.
A mysterious woman (played by Scarlett Johansson) seduces lonely men during the twilight hours in Scotland. The film takes an alien’s perspective of the human world, with very dark consequences…
Scotland fact: Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow is one of the placed frequented by Johansson’s alien character in human form. But don’t let that put you off visiting…
Tales for the camp fire…..
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 of 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.
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.
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.
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.
GlenDronach Distillery, Aberdeenshire
The buildings at GlenDronach Distillery are said to be haunted by a woman who arrived from Spain in a sherry cask!
For further information, other spooky stories or images please contact:
Assistant PR Manager, VisitScotland
Tel: (0131) 472 2030
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