The Ghosts of Gairnshiel Lodge

Ballater is a town with a long and varied history; as well as boasting a terrific selection of museums, bars and restaurants, this picturesque destination is also the site of the British Royal Family’s Scottish residence, Balmoral Castle. If you’re looking at weekend breaks to Ballater hotels, then one thing you might be interested to investigate is the long history of strange goings-on that have been reported around this town.

Perhaps the most notorious amongst the supposedly haunted sites in Ballater, is the 18th century Gairnshiel Lodge. Built just outside the town itself, this former hunting lodge was often used by Queen Victoria, during her frequent trips to the Balmoral Estate. Constructed in 1746, numerous changes and extensions were made to the lodge over the following decades.

Originally the lodge was known as Garden Shiel; it was commissioned by the local Garden family, and ‘Shiel’ is a Scottish word, translating as ‘shelter’. It is flanked by the former kennels and stables on one side, and on the other side stands and old inn. Meanwhile, the picturesque River Gairn flows past nearby.

Over the years, there have been numerous reported sightings of spectral figures at the lodge; most prominently, people have claimed to see the ghost of an old woman, walking slowly around the corridors. It is believed that this might be the spirit of a woman who used to own the lodge, before even Victoria’s time. Other visitors have thought they heard the sound of carts and horses, passing along the old military road that used to lead to the lodge – there has been a suggestion that these invisible horses are the ghosts of long-dead soldiers.

These days, Gairnshiel Lodge remains in use, and is run in the style of a country house hotel Scotland. The staff will gladly talk to guests about the lodge’s history, as well as the many strange sightings that have been reported over the years.


December 16, 2011 | Author: | Posted in Destination Tips

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