Welcome web visitors! Today we bring you news of our spooky storytelling tour at Lochmaben Castle and woods…
@MostlyGhostly_ Do you visit areas outwith Dumfries town?
@DayoftheRegion Yes, we do indeed, we travel all over D&G and further afield on occasion, wherever the spooks take us!
And this is how it all began! Back in February, Day of the Region organiser, Derek Hextall contacted us through social networking site – Twitter. Derek was keen to involve us with Day of the Region 2013, an exciting project being delivered in rural communities in Dumfries and Galloway. The philosophy behind this venture is to promote a greater sense of connection between people and their communities, enhancing awareness and appreciation of what is going on around them. Each community produces a programme of free activities that encourages locals and visitors to discover, create and learn. Now in it’s third year, ten local communities will take part over the course of two days 4th & 5th of October – showcasing lots of fun and stimulating activities such as; arts, crafts, music, history, heritage, food and drink. There’s a real emphasis on celebrating rural life in all it’s forms which is reflected in the eclectic events programme.
Now, if you scroll down to Lochmaben, you will see that on Saturday 5th October, we are guiding a ‘Ghostly Walk at Castle Loch’ – an eerie woodland storytelling tour beginning at the Bowling Club. From there, we’ll meander along the soft wooded paths under cover of darkness, lit only by the ethereal glow of home-made lanterns, with a view to finishing off at the historically important fortress of Lochmaben Castle. This location has sustained long term interest and inspiration for Mostly Ghostly Investigations, not least for its haunting reputation and a rather unique nocturnal visitor said to stalk the woods…
Positioned amidst a vibrant haven for wildlife, the castle’s pleasant, tranquil surroundings are a far cry from the once turbulent periods it played witness to. Built by Edward I of England, this 13th century stronghold was taken by Robert the Bruce in 1306 then returned to English occupation before being surrendered back to the Scots in 1314 after the Battle of Bannockburn. The castle changed hands again several times and is one of the many places dotted across the country laying claim to a royal house-guest in the form of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Prior to creating Mostly Ghostly, team member Mary Wood and I used to visit the castle fairly regularly to conduct informal investigations. It’s atmospheric setting combined with whisperings of ghosts and other such creatures proved a real draw and we enjoyed our various moonlit jaunts. Around 2002, I first heard a bizarre rumour concerning a vampire at Castle Loch. After fruitless searches on the internet, I pushed the tale to the back of my mind. It was only a few years ago that the vampire story resurfaced when well established ghost-hunter, Tom Robertson, published a book on his investigations Ghost Hunter: Adventures in the Afterlife. The book’s final chapter focuses on Tom’s nerve-wracking encounters with a vampire-like creature at Lochmaben Castle, featuring in local as well as national press. Such reports have increased our thirst for knowledge and we’ve since visited many times to research the castle’s otherworldly inhabitants.
On the night of October 5th, our hardy guests will discover the origins of the vampire legend, hear of a fearsome curse laid on the Bruce family and learn of our own gripping experiences at the castle, all entwined with a selection of local ghost stories. Participants are invited to dress up for the occasion; sensible footwear is a must due to the woodland terrain, apart from that – anything goes! Why not join our creepy woodland procession and create your own version of a lurking vampire, loch-dwelling spook or perhaps one of the numerous wild creatures who you’ll discover on the Castle Loch Sculpture Trail. A word of warning – if you happen to be out walking your dog that night, be prepared – you might get a spooky surprise!
It’s funny how things come about; a couple of ‘tweets’ opened up a chance to be part of something special; working closely with local folk in a fascinating, historic area doing something we truly love. Life is full of new possibilities and we’re delighted to be forming strong and hopefully, lasting bonds with the people of Lochmaben.
Our sincerest thanks go to Derek Hextall, Tom Russell, David Mair, Sandy Grant and Lochmaben Day of the Region Working Group for their dedication, enthusiasm and invaluable local knowledge – it’s a pleasure working with you!
Meet at Lochmaben Bowling Club, Saturday 5th October at 6pm. Tour starts at 6:30 and is expected to last around 90 minutes. From 8pm onwards, free refreshments, good conversation and fancy dress results at the Bowling Club – not to be missed! If you have any queries about the tour, please contact us through our website or by phoning 07791 047835 or 07912 145865. You can also follow us on Twitter.