We drove to visit the famously historical and highly haunted (around 13 restless ghosts apparently!) Culzean Castle. Unfortunately, it was closed to the public for a bit. So, we decided we’d journey down to the rocky wind swept shores below to look into the equally mysterious and haunted Culzean Caves.
Culzean Castle is perched high on a cliff above the Firth of Clyde in Ayrshire, and offers superb views across to the Isle of Arran. It was designed by Robert Adam and was home to David Kennedy, 10th Earl of Cassillis. The name derives from ‘Cuilean’, meaning ‘place of caves’, because the shoreline is honeycombed with natural caverns carved by the action of the sea. This network of caves offered a haven for smugglers in the eighteenth century. The caves are also the source of its best-known ghost story.
The tale involves a luckless piper sent into the caves below the castle in order to prove, somewhat ironically, that they were not haunted. As the piper, accompanied by his loyal dog, set off into the cave the locals, even those in the castle above, could hear his pipes blaring. The sound of the pipes got fainter and fainter as the piper made his way into the caves before stopping completely. Not even the barking of his dog could be heard and neither man nor dog appeared at the exit of the caves. A rescue party was sent into the caves, assuming that the piper and his dog had gotten stuck. The search proved fruitless and neither man nor dog were never seen again, at least not alive. On the eve of a Kennedy wedding the sound of ghostly pipes have been heard echoing from the caves below while a lone figure has been seen standing on Piper’s Brae.