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Breaks with extra bite

Press Release   •   Oct 19, 2016 10:54 BST

Glasgow schoolchildren hunt the Gorbals Vampire

A 7ft vampire roaming the streets of Glasgow, a poltergeist haunting an iconic Edinburgh graveyard and a monster locked up in an Aberdeenshire castle are just a few of the terrifying tales featured in a new VisitScotland guide to the country’s most ‘spooktacular’ locations.

In the run-up to Halloween (31 October) and tapping into the popularity of “dark tourism”, the national tourism organisation is also encouraging users of its online Community to share their own creepy tales of haunted places in Scotland.

To help get the Community conversation started, VisitScotland has launched a new e-book called Scottish Ghosts, Myths & Legends, an online guide to the country’s tales of the unexpected and unexplained.

Scottish Ghosts, Myths & Legends includes The Green Lady, a spectre said to haunt Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire; the fabled Gorbals Vampire, which was the subject of a much-publicised hunt involving hundreds of schoolchildren at Glasgow Necropolis in September 1954, and the ghosts of soldiers spotted on the battlefield of Culloden.

Among the other spine-chilling places explored in the online book is “Scotland’s Ghost Road” – the A75 in Dumfries & Galloway – which has been the scene of various unexplained phenomena over the years; Edinburgh’s Greyfriars Kirkyard, said to be haunted by the ghost of Lord Advocate George “Bluidy” Mackenzie; and Glamis Castle in Angus – which is supposedly home to a mysterious monster.

Famous Scottish legends such as the Loch Ness Monster, the Kelpie and the Ghillie Dhu are also featured, with each entry in the book accompanied by the places to visit for a haunting holiday experience.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Scotland’s ancient castles and extraordinary landscapes, coupled with our rich tradition of storytelling, means that spine-chilling tales of ghosts, monsters and other unexplained phenomena are plentiful. Using our online Community, we’d love to hear from anyone with a spooky Scottish story to tell. Whether it’s a tale of a haunted castle told to them by a grandparent, or their own experiences of visiting one of the locations featured in our Scottish, Ghosts, Myths & Legends e-book, we hope to dig up this country’s most spooktacular sites in time for Halloween!”

Scottish Ghosts, Myths & Legends features:
• The Green Lady of Crathes Castle – Aberdeen City & Shire
• The Vampire of Glasgow Necropolis (Gorbals Vampire)
• The Ghost Road – Dumfries & Galloway
• Skaill House – Orkney
• The Ghosts of Culloden – Highlands
• The Queen of Scottish Witches (Isobel Gowdie) – Auldearn, Highlands
• The Mackenzie Poltergeist of Greyfriars – Edinburgh
• The Mysterious Underworld of Edinburgh
• The Headless Drummer of Edinburgh Castle
• The Monster of Glamis Castle – Angus
• The Kelpie – lochs and rivers of Scotland
• The Ghillie Dhu – Gairloch, Highlands
• The Stoor Worm – Orkney and Shetland
• Selkies (shapeshifting creatures that look like seals in water but assume human form on dry land) – Orkney, Shetland and Pentland Firth
• The Loch Ness Monster – Highlands
• The House of the Binns – Linlithgow, West Lothian
• Phantom Piper – Clanyard Bay, Dumfries & Galloway
• Fingal’s Cave – Staffa
• Corryvreckan Whirlpool – Jura

To view Scottish Ghosts, Myths & Legends, go to:

To join the spooky conversation on VisitScotland’s Community, go to

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit or follow @scotgovESIF
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
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      2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design started on 1 January 2016 and will end on 31 December 2016.It will build on the momentum generated by the 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate. 
  • Join the conversation at #IAD2016