Of lofty roof and ample size,
Beneath the castle deep it lies;
To hew the living rock profound,
The floor to pave, the arch to round,
There never toiled a mortal arm;
It all was wrought by word and charm.
– Sir Walter Scott, Marmion.
While I’m on the topic of Scotland (and before I go back to boring you with my French adventures) I wanted to write about an awesome place that I didn’t get round to talking about while I was still in Edinburgh.
Just outside the town of Gifford in East Lothian, the ruins of Yester Castle nestle amongst quiet, thorny, woodland. There are plenty of ruined castles in Scotland so that’s not particularly interesting. What is interesting is the castle’s supernatural history. Legend has it that below the castle lies a subterranean chamber, known as the Goblin Ha’ (Ha’ pronounced like ‘hall’ with the l’s dropped). It’s called that because the castle was allegedly built by goblins after the powerful warlock Hugo de Giffard made a pact with Satan himself.
As someone who loves history and loves ghost stories, as soon as I found out about this place I knew I’d have to go.
The castle isn’t signposted and isn’t a tourist attraction. To get there you have to scramble through farmland, along the edge of a golf course, and finally into an eerie glen where you will start to see the remains of the castle emerging above the trees.
This day trip is a must for anyone who likes their excursions weird and wonderful. Wear sensible shoes and try not to get the heebie jeebies…