Scotland’s “Castle Country” didn’t come by that moniker from the wishful pondering of advertising and marketing executives. The northeast of Scotland, and Aberdeenshire in specific, spills castles upon hill, glen, and cliff like finger bones from a stolen reliquary. No matter exactly where you drive in this pastoral landscape you obtain wonderful bastions of history. Believe Tolquhon, Dunnottar, and Drum. But for just about every shining instance of stewardship and historical context lies a mouldering ruin like Slains Castle.
Slains Castle is foreboding. The name alone is adequate to make one particular feel twice about going to the spot, but the castle’s unsettling aspect and its hyperlink to a specific novel ratchet up the worry element. I managed to take a look at Slains Castle — properly, technically New Slains Castle — on a wonderful Might day, but I can think about the spot on a normally dreich Aberdeenshire afternoon and it is. not. pleasant.
Slains Castle is actually fascinating in that it is one particular of the handful of castles I’ve visited exactly where there appears to be actually no preservation taking place whatsoever. Weeds and grass develop in hallways when lined with stone, staircases crumble beneath the weight of ages, mossed and risky (although nevertheless climbable), and garbage gathers in the darkened corners of shattered walls, the cast-offs of lost souls who view the highlands the exact same way they view themselves.
This actually is a haunting spot. Maybe that is why Bram Stoker purportedly employed Slains Castle as inspiration for Dracula. Mr. Stoker spent really some time at nearby Cruden Bay and traveled to Slains Castle to…clear his thoughts? Unlikely. Maybe the negative juju of the spot filled him with horrors he could only expunge with quill and ink.
What ever the really feel of Slains Castle, it does have a pretty majestic setting on the coast north of Aberdeen. The Earl of Erroll, chief of Clan Hay, constructed this castle in the late 1500s and it has undergone lots of renovations in the ensuing 400+ years. Numerous wings and galleries had been added by the lords of the time, but the castle, initially referred to as Bowness, appears to have escaped Scotland’s a lot more scathing events.
The 20th Earl of Erroll sold the castle in 1913, ending 3 centuries of occupation, and the roof was removed in 1925 so the owners could prevent paying taxes. This is the architectural version of hospice as when the components get inside the structure will not final lengthy. In 2004 Slains Castle was slated for preservation but, clearly, perform has however to commence.
I clambered more than the bloodless bones of Slains Castle and even produced the perilous ascent up one particular of the stairwells to the crumbled roof line. This was most likely a foolish notion and I recommend you not comply with in my footsteps. There are actually no warning indicators anyplace on the grounds of Slains Castle, but it is most absolutely a risky spot to each physique and thoughts.
Take care dear traveler.