The Haunted Black Castle of Barcaldine, Scotland

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Having passed this castle so many times in the past, we stopped on our last visit, so I could grab a couple of photos.  I love this castle, because for me it is the real thing, what the shape a Scottish castle should look like……..of course this is my own opinion.  I think its the turrets, they have that fairytale look……but that is so far from the truth……because, this castle is haunted.


Barcaldine Castle is a tower castle, built by Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy, a man known for his black heart, between 1591 and 1601.  The castle is situated near the beautiful Loch Creran, with the mountains of Glencoe in the background, not to far from Oban on the west coast of Scotland.   Once known as the Black Castle of Benderloch because of the dark stone used in its construction, the castle was abandoned by the Campbell family in 1735 and fell into disrepair in the 19th century.  In 1897 the Campbell family bought the castle back and Sir Duncan Campbell the 3rd Baronet restored the building.

The castle is now a guest house, a haunted guest house, with a Great Hall and a Lairds Parlour, the perfect settings for a haunting.


The castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of Donald Campbell, Duncan’s brother.  The Campbell clan were engaged in bitter disputes with the MacDonald clan for hundreds of years and there were many murders on each side.  Although apparently, it is only Donald Campbell who started to haunt the castle to chastise his brother Duncan.


The man who murdered Donald was Stewart of Appin, who after Donald’s murder, came to stay at the castle.  In the Highlands the custom at the time, was to give a guest free food and board, this angered the said murdered Donald.  The story goes on to say, that Donald started to haunt the building to try to make his brother realise, that Stewart of Appin was his murderer.  Duncan did not hear about his brothers death until after Steward had left the castle and his was never able to revenge his brother. Donald has remained at the castle and from time to time his ghost appearing to staff and visitors.

I shall never past the castle again without thinking of poor Donald and I just thought it was a lovely place to spend a holiday.

From our visit 2013


10 Replies to “The Haunted Black Castle of Barcaldine, Scotland”

  1. Great post . Love these Scottish castles that were so obviously influenced by French style. One of my most favorites is Cragievar ~ It is in Aberdeenshire ~ I am sure if you have not actually already been there , you will have seen photographs of it. Have not been able to look at your recent posts as much due to my continuing leg problem but hope to get to be able to spend a bit more time online before much longer.

    1. Sorry to hear you still have problems, hope it mends soon 🙂 I googled Cragievar, now that is a proper Scottish Castle, beautiful. This is only a small castle, but its one you could quite happily live in……not too big and if your not bothered by the ghost 🙂

  2. yes re: the size~ I thought something quite similar when I first saw wonderful Nunney castle in Somerset. It is but a shell now (thanks to those rotten Roundheads) but to my mind the very most perfect castle in size and form to happily have as one’s abode! As to my leg, I did not do any of the things I should have done to help it heal more quickly. I just did not think it was quite as bad as it turned out to be and then getting re-hurt by the dog (yet again) really set me back. I think it is slightly improving ~ today being the first day I have noticed any change. Those that know architecture say that Craigievar is not really a castle but a ‘tower house’ but I still see it as castle! I am sure it too has it’s share of ghosts.

    1. I had a look at the Nunney Castle and that is wonderful with the moat, so many places to visit, I will have to clone myself 🙂 Hope your leg is feeling a bit better today.

  3. I’ve been past this castle too, Lynne, and I agree that it’s very picturesque! I didn’t know about its haunted history – very interesting! I guess I wouldn’t be too keen on staying there overnight, although I’m sure it is absolutely lovely. As you say, it overlooks such a beautiful stretch of the coastline – one of our favourite parts!

    1. I get the feeling that the castle could have easily become a ruin and just so pleased that it was restored……its nice to see one with a roof on, even if is a guest house 🙂 Its one of our favourite parts as well, love that run up from Oban to Fort William, so much to see.

  4. The summer I was 18 and had just passed my A levels, we went camping in a field on the edge of the loch, just north of that castle and as a special treat, we went to a ceilidh in the castle one evening – I remember being terrified that I’d have to perform something as everyone was encouraged to participate, but in fact it was fine because they had a few sing-alongs that we shy sorts could do. It was lovely – no visits from the ghost – I expect he was keeping well out of it. I remember being surprised at how different Scottish castles are inside to English/Welsh ones – very dark, very atmospheric.

    1. Oh you are so lucky to have visited the Castle, I would love to see inside it. It sounds like you had a wonderful evening, a shame the ghost didn’t do a turn 🙂

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