Cawdor Castle

Region : Highland
Location : 5 miles SW of Nairn

Details : Dating from the late 14th century it was built as a private fortress by the Thanes of Cawdor. The ancient medieval tower was built around a legendary holly-tree. The House has evolved over its 600 years history and later additions of the 17th century were all built in the Scottish vernacular style having slated roofs and crow-stepped gables of mellow local stone.

Paranormal Phenomena : A ghost wearing a blue velvet dress has been reported being seen in the castle : this is locally assumed to be Muriel Calder,an heiress who was kidnapped at the age of 12 and married to the Earl of Argyll’s son, Sir John Campbell in 1511.

Alternatively : The alleged ghost of a handless girl walks the environs of this castle. In local folklore she is claimed to be the ghost of a daughter of an earl of Cawdor, who defied her father’s will by courting the son of the chief of an enemy clan . When the earl discovered this he chased her to a chamber in the highest tower of the castle, where as she lowered herself from the window, her father severed her hands with his sword and sent her plummeting to her death.
In addition the apparition of John Campbell, 1st Lord of Cawdor is alleged to haunt the castle.

According to the Aberdeen Press and Journal of August 8, 1997, Alison Clark, the dowager’s personal assistant, said that many inexplicable things have been seen and heard there. In one recent episode, observed by two female tourists, the apparition, clad in a long blue dress made of velvet, put a hand on a railing in the gallery atop the drawing room. This could not have been a visitor as that would have tripped the security alarms. The episode occurred in early August 1997, as a mother and daughter, both English, had visited the drawing room for some four minutes. Becoming aware of a “presence,” they saw the blue-clad woman standing/floating in the minstrels’ gallery above. After approximately a minute, the thing disappeared. Other people in attendance did not spot anything. They reported the sighting to Alex Boyd, a security person.

The present dowager has seen Cawdor’s ghost. She considers any ghosts in residence to be friendly.

Ardvreck Castle

Region : Highland
Location : 1 mile N of Inchnadamph

Details : The castle is thought to have been constructed around 1590 by the Clan MacLeod family who owned Assynt and the surrounding area from the 13th century onwards. Indeed Sutherland, the area in which Ardvreck is situated, has long been a stronghold of the clan MacLeod. The most well known historical tale concerning the castle is that on April 30th 1650 James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose, was captured and held at the castle before being transported to Edinburgh for trial and execution. Montrose was a Royalist, fighting on the side of Charles I against the Covenanters. Defeated at the Battle of Carbisdale, he sought sanctuary at Ardvreck with Neil MacLeod of Assynt. At the time, Neil was absent and it is said that his wife, Christine, tricked Montrose into the castle dungeon and sent for troops of the Covenanter Government. Montrose was taken to Edinburgh, where he was executed on 21 May 1650, using the traditional method for traitors: hanging, drawing and quartering.
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