One of the first things people do before they book a motorhome holiday with Ariescape is to make an itinerary. We’re pretty happy about this, as travelling around Scotland without a clear list of where you’re going can be a good way to get lost.
Not to mention, you don’t want to get lost and then find yourself running into something… sinister.
Now, we’re not trying to put you off or anything. But when you step into one of our Scottish motorhomes, you’ve got to know you’re travelling to a place with a past. Scotland has had many years to accumulate countless stories and secrets, and thankfully a lot of them have stayed hidden. But a few have reared their ugly head, and these are secrets that even the locals don’t like to talk about.
Okay, okay, we can see you’re curious. Well, being based in Scotland, we’ve heard a few whispers from time to time, and some of them have even shivered our hardy bones. There are far too many to talk about in one blog, so we’re going to split this into multiple parts, covering the east, west, the highlands, and the isles.
There’s no time like the present, so here are three stories from the east to give you a heads up, or to form a separate itinerary in and of itself – it depends how crazy you are.
The Piper Under Edinburgh
When you arrive in Edinburgh to pick up one of our vehicles, you might hear a bagpipe or two. They’re pretty popular in this town, and Scotland as a whole, for that matter! But when you do hear a bagpiper, make sure you know where it’s coming from, because if it’s coming from beneath your feet, then you’ve got a problem.
The story goes back hundreds of years, when a mysterious tunnel system was found underneath Edinburgh’s cobbled streets. To get a bearing on how far they ranged, the locals sent a child bagpiper into the darkness. The plan was for the bagpiper to play constantly so that the locals knew he was safe.
According to the tale, however, a portion of the tunnel system collapsed, and the child was lost. Do you see where we’re going with this? That’s right, every so often, even after all this time, the sound of a lone piper can still be heard underneath the streets of Edinburgh. A forsaken child who is still trying to find their way out…
The Pink Lady Of Stirling
We assume you will want to visit a castle or two at some point on your Scottish motorhome adventure. Like bagpipers, we’re kind of known for them. But there are some castles that you probably shouldn’t step into. One of these castles is named Stirling, where one of the lesser-known ghosts of Scotland is supposed to haunt.
There are two legends, one of which says the Pink Lady was a noblewoman of the Burgh, betrothed to one of the knights defending Stirling Castle from the English in 1304. The other says she was a woman named Mary Witherspoon, who died in the town in 1823 and was Stirling’s only known victim of grave robbing. The truth about her past is shady, as is her present.
According to some, the ghost of the Pink Lady haunts the castle’s corridors and the Kirk Tower, where many have recalled smelling a faint smell of rose blossom in the air. The funny thing is, rose blossom was her favourite fragrance in both stories. But there is no such bloom present in the grounds…
The Vampire’s Bay
When you think about vampires, you don’t really think about Scotland. You think about Transylvania, in Romania, or Maine, in the US – that book still gives us nightmares! One of those stories was written by Bram Stoker, and the other was inspired by Bram Stoker, but does anyone know what actually inspired Bram Stoker himself? You guessed it, Scotland!
Slains Castle, in Cruden Bay, is a ruin that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula way back in the nineteenth century. For the motorhome traveller, this is a beautiful castle right on the cliffs of the bay, overlooking the beautiful North Sea – so beautiful that it’s almost crazy this isn’t even considered one of the best views in all of Scotland, which says a lot about how beautiful the other views are! Getting to it involves a scenic drive through the county of Aberdeenshire, along the east coast, but whether you will really want to take that drive is another story.
Listen, it’s obvious that any castle that inspired one of the most famous horror books of all time is going to be haunted, but Slains Castle takes it to another level. Over the years, there have been a number of stories to come out of the bay, including ghosts of earls who look at their land from dark, vacant windows, and even sightings of vampires wearing kilts. Yeah, it sounds funny when we say it, but you wouldn’t really want to come across one, would you?
Having said that, Slain’s Castle is just a drop in the ocean compared to some of the stories coming from the west…