One Radio 4 producer, three ghost hunters and an eye-witness with a spine-chilling story, just the ticket for a rip-roaring road-trip on Scotland’s haunted highway!
We got a real surprise when BBC Radio 4’s Georgia Catt got in touch about the A75, Scotland’s Ghost Road, a location which has inspired a keen interest since the late 1990s. Georgia was researching stories and experiences of “night people” for Jarvis Cocker’s award-winning after-dark Radio 4 programme – Wireless Nights. This fascinating show (which aired on Monday 30th November) is described as a “nocturnal exploration of the human condition”.
Having collated so many real-life accounts of supernatural sightings on the A75 – both the old and new parts – it was tricky to choose which ones to share! We informed Georgia that a friend had witnessed a curious figure in overhanging trees near the haunted Kinmount Straight; I contacted Donna to ask how she felt about taking part in the show – she was delighted – and from that point, things started moving very quickly!
The night arrived and Kathleen, John, James and Donna met up with Radio 4 producer Laurence Grissell at the Station Hotel in Dumfries. After welcomes and introductions, Laurence explained how the recording would work and without further ado, we hopped into the car to begin part one of our adventure, a meander along the low road to Annan. En route, we gave Laurence some background info on Mostly Ghostly Investigations, our Haunted Highways Tour and the area’s otherworldly reputation. Our first stop-off was just prior to Dornock village, looking towards the Skew Bridge where a lady in black Victorian-style garb has been spotted by numerous motorists and passers-by. When we stepped from the car, a bitter autumn wind whipped up around us. The sky was black and millions of stars twinkled down, creating an awesome canopy from beneath which, we imparted a most unnerving tale… Laurence spent time recording the sounds of the road; cars motoring past, branches bending and creaking in the wind, each factor enhancing the eerie atmosphere.
We retreated to the welcome warmth of the car and continued our journey, revealing accounts of phantom hitchhikers and even a ghostly stagecoach as we turned back out onto the main drag.
Our next stop was of course, the infamous Kinmount Straight, a wide, long stretch dubbed throughout the world as Scotland’s most haunted road and site of a multitude of weird, wonderful and somewhat disturbing happenings. Standing huddled by the imposing gates of Kinmount Estate, we shivered in the wind, our jackets offering little relief from the biting wind-chill. As the surrounding trees exhaled ethereal sighs, it’s safe to say we felt a tad on-edge. Traffic thundered past; lorries, cars, vans, the roaring vibrations jolting us from our reverie. There was a sense of being exposed and isolated and rather than the vehicles providing reassurance, like a form of nocturnal company, they simply magnified these feelings. Donna looked up into the trees, no doubt reflecting on what she witnessed around 15 years before and how that memory has never left her…
Donna proceeded to reveal what happened during a night-drive home with her family to Cumbria; we listened, captivated – check out the show to discover more! On the return journey to Dumfries, we chatted with Laurence about various theories as to why this road has such a mysterious reputation. We thanked Laurence for joining us and wished him a safe journey back to London before saying our goodbyes.
We’re delighted to have been given this opportunity, a chance to highlight an outstanding and unusual element of Dumfries & Galloway to a national audience. We’re hoping other travellers (and blog readers!) who have witnessed uncanny happenings will get in touch to reveal their stories – we’d love to hear from you! Our database of hauntings continues to grow, both in terms of reported occurrences and their diversity. Sleep tight folks!
Huge thanks to Donna Winter, Georgia Catt, Laurence Grissell and of course, the fantastic Jarvis Cocker for inviting us to take part in the show, it sounded brilliant!
Also thanks to James Carnochan for his atmospheric night photo of Kinmount Straight.