This castle stay was a surprise from The Scotsman, and I think we were both surprised when we arrived and were immediately ushered into the dining room with the explanation that dinner was almost over so we needed to eat – now. We had but a moment to take our luggage to our room, winding our way through narrow corridors with faded carpets and tapestries that moved on their own accord (not a breeze or a window in sight!) At dinner, only one other couple shared the expansive dining room, and they were comfortable ensconced in their fourth or fifth martini, the blonde woman eyeing us from across the room. I knew it was only a matter of time before she’d wander over, but in the meantime, our server who I wouldn’t put a day past twelve years old was hovering over us, dropping everything he touched, and making small talk about our travels. When he heard about our trip to the Isle of Bute, his eyes lit up and he talked about years ago when he was twelve he’d spent a holiday there. Imagine my shock when he professed to have been twelve years ago?! I began to wonder if we were in a weird time warp and if we’d ever be able to check out of this hotel.
By then, I was delighted with the thought of what haunted halls we’d stepped into, and the blonde decided to make her move. Sidling over to us, her martini sloshing in one hand, she insisted the Scotsman taste her drink as it was a speciality at the castle. As though he’d never watched a horror movie in his life (seriously – where are his survival instincts?) the man takes a sip of her drink, and I sit back to watch the show. A spilled martini later, an annoyed husband in the background, and I was pulling the Scotsman from the dining room to find the nearest bar. Conveniently located in what appeared to be the weapons room due to the battle axes and swords on the wall, I eyed the grey spectre of a man who gingerly served us whisky, loudly proclaiming he’d kick us out if we took the glasses down as a shot. Promising no such abhorrent behavior would happen, the Scotsman and I retreated to our room, where once again I showed him how the tapestries in the closed off hallway moved on their own. Decidedly creeped out, we jumped into bed and pulled the covers up, and I might have even left the light on – just in case a battle axe went flying through the air in the middle of the night. Turns out, the castle had been burned in the early 1900’s and it wasn’t uncommon to feel a presence there. I’d say they did a bang up job of keeping the stay creepy as could be. As for the mysterious scratch that appeared on my neck? Who’s to say?