Scotland’s Captivating Abandoned Locations

Abandoned Dunottar Castle, Scotland

Scotland’s rich history and cultural heritage beckons; full of traditional food, music, dancing and attire set amongst dramatic mountains and glens.

Hidden throughout the diverse landscape of Scotland are thousands of abandoned buildings, each with their own rich and unique history and architectural features.

Have you got a good imagination, and love a bit of eerie intrigue?

The Haunting Beauty of Abandoned Castles

While wandering through misty landscapes of sheep, rolling meadows, and crashing waves, you may come across a rugged abandoned castle.

Often perched high on cliff tops with waves below, you can explore mossy rubble and fallen arches to your heart’s content, letting your imagination run wild with tales of war, weddings, brawls, and feasts.

Unfortunately, the once vibrant Carbisdale Castle in Ardgay, boasting 40 bedrooms, now stands deserted and desolate.

Its halls, once filled with laughter and conversations, now echo with a haunting silence.

Over time, stories have emerged of a ghostly apparition known as the “woman in white” who is said to wander the castle’s corridors, further enhancing its eerie reputation.

As nature takes its toll and years pass, the castle’s deteriorating facade resembles ‘Dracula’s Castle’ depicted in a slot game at platincasino.com/en-ca/slots.html.

Both of these have the outdated architecture and a mysterious ambiance of a once-vibrant, now haunted castle.

Forgotten Industrial Sites

Castles aren’t the only type of fascinating ruins, either! There are also thousands of abandoned industrial sites such as mines, mills and factories to explore. Rusting machinery still lies around, along with massive quarries, old furnaces and damaged pipelines. Loch Maree in Wester Ross was once the location for Scotland’s biggest blast furnace, consuming 300 acres of surrounding trees to produce one of Scotland’s profitable resources – iron. This once thriving industrial center was built toward the end of the 16th century. A cluster of ruined brick walls in Roslin was once a famous gunpowder mill that not only provided jobs for 150 years, but also provided the world with gunpowder, shipped from the local port of Edinburgh. Gunpowder had a huge cultural significance in Scotland (starting production in 1794 and powered by water wheels), from its many wars, clan battles and fireworks on Hogmanay and other popular festivals.

Abandoned Islands and Villages

Not only have thousands of abandoned castles and industrial sites been abandoned, but also whole islands and villages – harsh, inhospitable weather conditions and modernisation being the main causes. Intrigue and mystery surrounds some of these islands, with tales of missing lighthouse keepers, smugglers, pirates, ghouls and finfolk (water-based shape shifters). Life on these islands would have been extremely challenging, the landscapes are rugged and rocky, with soaring cliffs and very harsh winters. Fruit and vegetables were extremely rare, so the local diets consisted mainly of seabirds, fish, eggs and potatoes (when there wasn’t a potato famine, which happened frequently!) On top of all of this, plagues and viruses were common, doctors and nurses were very rare, and communication was very limited. Lighthouse keepers used to rely on pigeon messengers or fire signals before modern telecommunications! A lot of these islands are tourist destinations now, where you can get a ferry and wander around looking at the hundreds of thousands of seabirds.

Eerie Abandoned Hospitals and Asylums

Perhaps the most eerie of all the abandoned buildings are the hospitals and asylums. Most of them built in the 1800s, stories abound of them being understaffed, overcrowded and underfunded and the living conditions of the patients being “wretched”. Some of these abandoned sites are being converted into housing, but most of them you can freely explore. Wandering around inside, you’ll find them dark and dank, with an eerie greenish glow from the moss growing up the walls. Abandoned wheelchairs are scattered around, rings set into the walls for people to be chained to, rusty surgical equipment and treatment tables where procedures like lobotomies were performed. Many of these asylums and orphanages are said to be haunted by ghosts, and sensations of chills and of being watched are frequently reported. Ghostly figures wearing long white gowns have even shown up in photographs by urban explorers!


If you’re daring and love an eerie mystery, Scotland’s abandoned sites are a treasure chest of history and intrigue! Wandering through abandoned ruins, islands and stark, majestic cliffs provides the perfect opportunity to get lost in your own imagination, dreaming of the rich Scottish heritage and stories.