Dunnottar: Visiting a Haunted Castle in Scotland For Halloween

There are those travel destinations that strike the eyes as somehow impossibly perfect in setting and ambiance. Dunnottar Castle along the coast of Scotland outside Dundee is one such spot. While the scene looks every bit like a movie set left behind by careless producers, a real world castle of some sort stood at Dunnottar since the Third Century.

Its long history includes visits — and violent sieges — by many of the region’s great historical names. William Wallace slaughtered enemy English soldiers by burning the alive at Dunnottar, ruining some of that Mel Gibson image you take away from Braveheart. Mary Queen of Scots slept here. The Honors of Scotland (the nation’s crown jewels) were hidden here. And, Oliver Cromwell burnt the castle to the ground after capturing it during the English Civil War.

Also: Stirling Castle Soaks in History of Scotland

The castle now stands as one of this region of Scotland’s top daily travel attractions. An early 20th Century effort saved the castle from final ruin, and restoration efforts now ensured visitors will be able to walk through almost 18 centuries worth of history.

Visitors should prepare themselves for an active visit as more than 180 steps lead up to the castle’s grounds. Once around, in and through the castle, visitors are treated to a venue that defies any ability to take a bad photo.


The castle’s Halloween-themed claim to fame is the oft-sighted ghost of the Green Lady. She’s said to haunt the remains of the castle’s bakery and is thought to be the spirit of a servant girl long lost to history. Of course, there’s a large, human-shaped green moss stain in the shadows along the bakery’s far wall, but let’s go with the ghost theory. ‘Tis the season.

Your eyes can haunt the remains of Dunnottar Castle in the gallery below.

All photos by John Scott Lewinski