Dunnottar haunts public imagination

Dunnottar's dramatic setting seems to have inspired the survey's respondents.
Dunnottar's dramatic setting seems to have inspired the survey's respondents.

Dunnottar Castle has been named in a new survey as one of the most likely castles in Scotland to be haunted.

The dramatic cliff-top ruin evidently fired the imaginations of respondents in the research, conducted on behalf of tourism agency VisitScotland, and attracted 19 per cent of votes.

With recent figures, released as the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology draws to a close, revealing that almost half of people in the UK have never visited a Scottish castle, the agency is now encouraging visitors to bag one of the hundreds in the region.

Aberdeenshire enjoys the reputation of being ‘Scotland’s Castle Country’ and with an impressive tally of 300 castles, stately mansions and ruins scattered across the landscape, there are more castles per acre here than anywhere else in the UK. These include the sugar-plum pink Craigievar Castle-which many believe to be the inspiration for Walt Disney’s castle-and Castle Fraser, one of the country’s largest tower houses, which has quirky features such as the ‘Laird’s Lug’-a hidden chamber which allowed the Laird to eavesdrop on visitors.

Crathes Castle made the list as one of Scotland’s most romantic castles, garnering 16 per cent of the votes cast. The best-known castle in Scotland accolade went to Edinburgh Castle ahead of Balmoral, Stirling, Urquhart and St Andrews castles.

Jo Robinson, VisitScotland’s regional director, said: “It’s encouraging that Crathes, Slains and Dunnottar castles were mentioned. We are very proud to boast that we are home to Scotland’s Castle Trail – it gives a tremendous boost to the region.”