Today will be spent in the Royal Deeside area, famous for its many castles.
Your first visit will be Castle Fraser, one of the grandest of the Scottish baronial tower houses. Begun in 1575, the present castle contains an evocative Great Hall, fine furniture and many Fraser family portraits. You can round the visit off with a walk through the beautiful 18th century walled garden. The tour continues to Banchory where you might be able to see salmon jumping at the Falls of Feugh. Maybe take short nature walk in Glen Tanar or the Burn o’ Vat.
Lunch stop is at Ballater before continuing with your afternoon programme. Crathes Castle provides the highlight for the afternoon. Turrets, gargoyles and the ancient Horn of Leys given in 1323 by Robert the Bruce are just a few of the features of this historic castle. You will be free to explore the house and the stunning gardens at your own pace. The gardens stay green irrespective of the time of year, as with the ancient yew hedges that frame the upper parts of the gardens, particularly the fountain and rose gardens. Wandering through the outstanding, world-renowned June Borders, beautiful vistas of the castle can be seen through the fusion of colourful flowers.
You return back to Ardoe House later for another overnight.
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High Season10/JUN/16, 08/JUL/16, 05/AUG/16, 02/SEP/16, 30/SEP/16
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Scotlands Haunted Castles - SUGGESTED SELF DRIVE ITINERARY
Day 1 Arrival Arrive Edinburgh Airport and pick up your rental car. Drive to Airth Castle where the staff may take you on a ghostly tour of the castle. Watch out for rooms No 3, No 9 and No 23 as they are all haunted by a small group of playing children. Even their ghostly nanny is still around and she sometimes looks after children whose parents have gone to dinner in the hotel restaurant! Do remember rooms that are haunted by ghosts will feel chillier Overnight at Airth Castle.
Day 2 Stirling Castle & Linlithgow Palace Today you have the opportunity to tour two historic castles associated with Mary Queen of Scots. Stirling Castle stands on volcanic rock overlooking the town of Stirling. The Pink Lady, a beautiful woman in a pink silk gown, has been seen many times at the castle. Some say it is Mary Queen of Scots who was crowned in the old chapel in 1533, and others that it is the ghost of a woman searching for her husband who had been killed when Edward I captured the castle in 1304. A Grey Lady has also been known to appear and it is assumed that she was an attendant to Mary Stuart and saved her from certain death when the draperies on the royal bed caught fire. Unfortunately, every appearance of the Grey Lady heralds a disaster to befall the Castle! Last but not least, listen out for the mysterious footsteps that have been heard all over the Castle Just down the road at Linlithgow Palace, where Mary Queen of Scots was born in 1542, Queen Margarets Bower is said to be haunted by Margaret Tudor, waiting for the return of her husband, James IV, who was battling against the army of his brother-in-law, Henry VIII. James died on the battlefield and Margaret waited in vain but not for too long, as she then proceeded to marry her husband arch enemy, the Earl of Douglas. So may be its a late regret that makes her appear in the Bower. Overnight at Airth Castle.
Day 3 Glamis Castle Today make the trip through Fife to Glamis Castle, one of Scotlands most beautiful and most haunted castles. It was the home of the Queen Mother in her youth and the birthplace of her daughter Princess Margaret. However, its history dates back to the mist of time and Glamis was once the hunting lodge of that most infamous of Scottish kings, Macbeth! The castle plays host to a plethora of ghosts, one of which is Lady Janet Glamis, who was accused of witchcraft by King James V and burnt at the stake at Castle Hill in Edinburgh in 1537. According to eyewitness reports, a mist arose from her funeral pyre and descended over all of Scotland. You may see her above the clock tower or sometimes in the chapel, where no one ever sits on the seat in the corner out of respect for Lady Glamis. There is also the spectral appearance of a small servant boy, who had frozen to death, a serving girl turned vampire and a tongue-less woman running through the grounds, but the most amazing mystery is the Missing Room. The window to the room can be clearly seen from the outside of the castle, but no entrance can be found and the window is bricked up. It is said that the Earl of Glamis played cards with his friends and did not want to stop when the clock announced the coming of Sunday. A black-clothed stranger entered the room and joined their game and when next a servant looked into the room he found his master and friends playing cards with the devil surrounded by a wall of fire. The room has been bricked up ever since, but on a quiet night you can still hear the men playing cards. Overnight at Fernie Castle, near St. Andrews.
Day 4 Cawdor Castle Today we journey north into the Highlands. You will have the opportunity to stop in one of the many picturesque villages on the way, but make sure you leave enough time to take in a different kind of spirit, Uisge Beatha. Take a tour of one of the many whisky distilleries in Speyside, learn about the Angels Share and get a taste of the Water of Life. Take a tour of Cawdor Castle, a superb fairy-tale castle romantically linked with Shakespeares Macbeth. There are reports of 3 ghosts at Cawdor a mysterious appearance dressed in blue velvet and the ghost of John Campbell of Cawdor, but the saddest appearance is that of a young lady without hands. It is said that she was the daughter of one the Earls of Cawdor who had been in love with a man her father did not approve of. As a punishment her father had her hands cut off so that she could never embrace her lover again. Overnight in Tulloch Castle.
Day 5 Dunrobin Castle Today you will visit Dunrobin Castle, the most northerly of Scotlands great castles and home of the Earls of Sutherland. The upper floor of the castle is said to be haunted by the daughter of the 14th Earl. She had been imprisoned in the attic by her father for falling in love with the wrong man. When she tried to flee the Castle and elope with her lover, she fell to her death from a window. This castle also holds Falconry demonstrations in the afternoons. Overnight in Tulloch Castle.
Day 6 Loch Ness
& Urquhart Castle Travelling south along the banks of Loch Ness, keep your
eyes pealed for its famous inhabitant, the loch Ness Monster. Your best vantage
point is at Urquhart Castle, the ruins of one of the largest castles in
Scotland which fell into decay after 1689 and was blown up in 1692 to prevent
it being occupied by the Jacobites. Eilean Donan Castle, Wester Ross - A Spanish soldier, killed in the
castle or in a nearby battle is said to haunt the castle. And one of the
bedrooms is haunted by a Lady Mary. Kellie Castle - The spirit of Anne Erskine
who fell from one of the upstairs windows is said to haunt a spiral staircase
in the castle. Continue south through one of the most
picturesque and haunting sites in Scotland, the valley of Glencoe, scene of the
1692 massacre of the MacDonald Clan by the soldiers of King William. Overnight
in Airth Castle.
Day 7 Edinburgh Castle Its almost time to depart. Spend your remaining time in Edinburgh, doing some last minute shopping or, if you havent seen enough ghosts yet, tour the Castle which has many, including a headless drummer who only appears when the Castle is about to be attacked and a piper who disappeared in the tunnels between the Castle and the High Street. Recently, builders undertaking renovating works have been disturbed by ghosts said to be French prisoners of war, who were held captives in the Vaults underneath the Castle. Borthwick Castle, Lothian - an apparition of Mary Queen of Scots, dressed as a page boy, is said to appear; she escaped from Borthwick Castle in 1567 in a similar disguise. Stay at Dalhousie Castle.
Day 8 Return home.
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Braemar Castle (nr. Aberdeen) - said to be haunted by a blonde haired, pretty girl, possibly a newly married bride who committed suicide because she thought her husband had abandoned her. (A sighting of her was reported in 1987). The spirit of John Farquharson of Inverey is also around - he is known as the "Black Colonel". Castle Fraser (nr. Aberdeen)- a young woman who was murdered in the castle in the 19th century and dragged down the stairs before being buried. Her blood on the stairs could not be removed. Corgarff Castle(nr. Aberdeen) - ghostly screams have been heard in the castle, but nobody has hazarded a guess at who, or what, is making them. Craigievar Castle(nr. Aberdeen) - the ghost here is of one of the Gordon family who was murdered by being pushed out of one of the windows of the castle. Culzean Castle, Ayrshire - a ghostly piper is heard when a Kennedy is getting married (the castle used to be a Kennedy stronghold). Another ghost seen here include a young woman dressed in a ball gown. Skibo Castle (N. of Inverness) - although the present castle was built as recently as the 19th century, it is on the site of much earlier buildings. A ghost of a young girl used to haunt old castle. Bones were later found in the castle walls and once they had been buried, the hauntings were never seen again.
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