Picture This: A Stone Ghost Story

by Keith Savage · 11 comments


The trail of Dunrobin Castle’s lineage is as twisted and winding as the A9 that runs along the coast of eastern Sutherland. We pull off that road just past Golspie and look upon a decadent white edifice preening beneath a gray-splotched sky spitting rain. The collision of French Renaissance and Scots Baronial architecture hides the keep’s Middle Aged heart. Sometime, long before that heart started beating, Pictish structures stood upon this hill overlooking the North Sea. A narrow path leads around the castle and down several flights of stairs into an enormous, manicured garden, the kind of thing endless amounts of money can be easily sunk in. A falconer holds court as golden eagles and gyre falcons dart among the ooohing crowd.

I turn around and look at the backside of Dunrobin Castle. It’s such a beautiful, menacing, clearly out-of-place palace. I can’t peel my eyes off the rows of small, square windows, conical witches’ caps, and pyramidal roof. This is the largest house in the northern Highlands of Scotland, and it was home to the infamous Earl of Sutherland who helped architect the Highland Clearances. Of course rumors abound that the castle is haunted by wronged spirits from the past 700 years. What demons possess men to act so untoward? Even the highest, whitest walls would be a paltry defense, I should think. But damn, does this castle haunt me.


pauleenNo Gravatar September 12, 2012 at 8:34 AM

hmmm Its True

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HoggaNo Gravatar September 10, 2012 at 11:51 AM

I think you’d be pretty hard pressed to find a castle anywhere that wasn’t either built/maintained or resulted in the suffering of the lower class over the higher… impressive nonetheless!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar September 10, 2012 at 12:25 PM

So true.

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Marysia @ My Travel AffairsNo Gravatar January 3, 2014 at 7:53 PM

Well said Hogga!

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KenNo Gravatar September 10, 2012 at 5:09 AM

It is so different when compared to other castles in Scotland. A bit creepy, really, and it was difficult to not to feel uneasy with it when thinking of the disastrous effects of the clearances on so many Scots. It’s a reminder that no matter how much things change, some things remain the same.

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RandyNo Gravatar September 8, 2012 at 7:29 AM

The castle looks pretty impressive to me. If the Gods picked it up and plunked it down in the Loire river valley, nobody would notice. It would fit right in with all the French Chateau.
http://randyplunkett.wordpress.com/france-2005/chateau/

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar September 9, 2012 at 7:32 PM

Yes, it doesn’t look very Scottish.

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simonNo Gravatar September 12, 2012 at 8:51 AM

It looks like a giant grey turd dropped from a great height because that’s what it is. The absurdity of what the Victorians built all over but especially in Scotland is unsurpassed, even by modern standards of excess and vulgarity. That torch burned brightest in the UK for almost a century, from the Napoleonic era to the First world war. After that the great US of A took over the mantel of extreme bad taste. Russia or China are doubtless now vying for the title.

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AndiNo Gravatar September 7, 2012 at 1:45 PM

It does look haunting!

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simonNo Gravatar September 6, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Dunrobin is a perfect example of how much tasteless excessively expensive and ridiculous architecture of the late 2oth and 21st century common to the wealthy 1% has its roots it Scots baronial Shite.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar September 9, 2012 at 7:32 PM

Interesting – I’d love to hear more.

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