This 15th century fortress, situated near the village of Blackness in Scotland, is well named given its dark past. The castle has a reputation for being haunted and because of its shape and close proximity to the sea, Blackness Castle is also known as ‘the ship that never sailed.’
The castle was built in the 1440s by Sir George Crichton who was 1st Earl of Caithness and a Scottish peer. Blackness was the main port serving the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow, which was one of the main residences of the Scottish monarch.
In the mid16th century, the castle became one of the most advanced artillery fortifications of its time in Scotland, having first been strengthened by Sir James Hamilton of Finnart, a Scottish nobleman and architect.
However, a century later the castle’s defences were not strong enough to prevent Oliver Cromwell’s army taking Blackness Castle.
It stands on the south shore of the Firth of Forth and was also used as a state prison, holding prisoners such as, Cardinal David Beaton, Archbishop of St Andrews, in 1543. He was the last Scottish Cardinal prior to the Reformation.
Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, was also imprisoned in the castle after a struggle between the Earl and the regent Arran broke out and in 1544.
FILM AND TELEVISION
The site has been the location for a number of films and television programmes including Franco Zefirreli’s 1990 adaptation of Hamlet and Ivanhoe.
Ghosts and hauntings
Visitors have described their approach to the castle as ‘full of foreboding’ and, on entering, the small winding passage that takes them through to its courtyard does nothing to reassure otherwise.
In the north tower there is a hatch in the floor which looks down into the prison pit below. Those who were incarcerated would have suffered horrendously, as the pit flooded twice a day with the high tides and they would have been up to their necks in sea water.
The prison tower is said to be haunted by a knight in full armour. He is reputed to have chased a female visitor and her children out of the tower.
It was used to house French prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars and also prisoners taken during the Seven Years War.
The walls of the castle hold untold pain and they ooze fear and apprehension. It is a place well documented for paranormal activity and even experienced investigators are said to find the location straining on their nerves.
With a history that takes the site back before Blackness Castle was built some of the paranormal activity would most likely be too old to be traced. The castle has been investigated by paranormal groups and many unexplained noises have been heard including furniture being dragged along the stone floors but when investigators have gone to the empty rooms the noises have stopped, only to start up again once everyone has left. Once described by one well-known and highly respected paranormal investigator, as being the worst paranormal site he had visited stating: “It terrified me.”
Blackness Castle lives up to its name – it is cold, dark, remote and full of mysterious tales.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Scone Palace Caravan Park, Stormontfield Road, Scone
Tayside, Scotland, PH2 6BB
+44 (0)1738 552 323
- Address: Loch Rd / Off St Ninians Way, Blackness, Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland, UK, EH49 7NH
- GPS: 56.00595556,-3.516113889
- Phone: 0044 (0)1506 834 807
- Part of UK: Scotland
- Sat Nav Postcode: EH49 7NH
- Entrance Fees: Yes
- Disabled Access: Limited - Some cobbled pathways
- Visibility from Road: Excellent
- Image Credits: Header Image: Roy Henderson