Ben Macdui and four other supernatural walks in Scotland

A stone located on the Drumossie Moor, marking the site of a fallen clan at the Battle of Culloden. Picture: Jane Barlow
A stone located on the Drumossie Moor, marking the site of a fallen clan at the Battle of Culloden. Picture: Jane Barlow
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SCOTLAND is notorious for its haunted castles, but legend has it that ghosts roam the country’s hillsides, too. We round up the spookiest walking routes for brave explorers to follow

Drumossie Moor, Inverness

As often is the case with tales of the supernatural, the ghost stories surrounding Drumossie Moor are linked to real-life stories of bloody conflict. The Battle of Culloden was the final act of civil war by the Jacobites, which resulted in the death of thousands of soldiers on the moors. A tourist centre now marks the site as well as a large stone memorial to those who died. It is said that on the anniversary of the battle – on April 16 – ghostly apparitions appear to reenact the battle. A local legend also states that birds will not sing on the site itself and that a “dreary-faced” ghostly Highlander will wander the moor, whispering “defeated” to those he passes.

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Rothiemurchus Forest and the Iron Bridge, Aviemore

A scenic stroll through the Inverdruie woodlands and across the Iron Bridge over Am Beanaidh is a walking route taking in the best of Scotland’s elements and nature, although those who venture too deep into the forests of Rothiemurchus may be encountered by the spirit of Seath Mor. The burly clan cheif was said to be a powerful warrior over six-feet tall with a twisted smile whose spirit is believed to wander deep within the forest, challenging those he encounters to battle. If you happen to cross him on your Sunday morning ramble, it’s worth remembering that accepting his challenge means he will let you go – run away, though, and you might disappear forever.

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Lang Craigs Circuit, Dumbarton

This particular country walk may boast views of the Firth of Forth – as well as aerial views of Dumbarton from rolling nearby hills – but your dog won’t look forward to it. The bridge that crosses the Overtoun Burn and leads onto the now-dilapidated Overtoun House estate became the subject of headlines worldwide due to the number of dogs that fell to their deaths from a very similar point on the Gothic-style crossing. The phenomenon, which has resulted in at least 50 pet fatalities and a staggering 600 dogs jumping in total, has yet to be explained, leading many to suspect supernatural forces at work.

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Burns Walk Circular, Dumfries

If you’re looking for the ghost of Robert Burns, you might search him out on the banks of the River Nith, or his hometown of Alloway. But the crossing of the A75 is, according to reports, your best bet for a face-to-face with the Bard’s spirit. The stretch of road linking Stranraer with the port town of Cairnryan has been the subject of ghostly sightings dating back to 1957. Sightings of men with hessian sacks draped over their faces, screaming women and livestock have all been allegedly witnessed on the road. The last documented occurrence took place in 1997, when Scots woman Doris Maxwell triggered a police search after believing she had hit someone who then vanished into thin air.

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Ben Macdui, Moray

Legends of a murky figure wandering the Cairngorms mountains have circulated for a while. The tale of Fearlas Mor was first brought to people’s attention by scientist and mountaineer Professor J Norman Collie in the 19th century, who regaled locals with the following story.

“I heard a crunch, then another crunch,” he said, “as if someone was walking after me but taking steps three or four times the length of my own. I said to myself ‘this is all nonsense.’ I listened and heard it again but could see nothing in the mist. As I walked on and the eerie crunch, crunch sounded behind me I was seized with terror and took to my heels, staggering blindly among the boulders for four or five miles nearly down to Rothiemurchus Forest”

Sightings of the “Big Grey Man,” as he came to be known, have been infrequent but others others have reported a similar presence while hiking across the Ben and staring down into the drop from Lurcher’s Crag.

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