Monday 8 March 2021

Lady Airlie's Horror

Lockdown paperwork tidying has unearthed an article from the Dundee Courier and Advertiser dated 19th September 2009, on the ghosts of the Angus Glens. I have scanned in the section on Balintore Castle, as part of my gradual collation of the many castle ghost stories. Here is the text of the article.

Diverting from the main road leads to Balintore, until recently dominated by the ruins of a picturesque Victorian castle. However it is not the mansion which can claim a ghost, for it is reputed that a child was murdered in one of the nearby cottages around the time of its construction.

Possibly the most terrifying aspect of a ghost is its presence, unseen, but most certainly experienced. The most vivid description of the fear it can induce was described by Mabel, Countess of Airlie, in her memoirs. There is no doubt that in her time she would have been regarded as an imperturbable femme formidable, but she lost her cool in the den below the castle along the banks of the Melgum one May evening in 1921

Walking with her dog, she was surprised to see it not only stopping suddenly but shaking with fright. Then, in turn, she felt an overwhelming sense of terror and only had a vague memory of stumbling wildly up the bank before, dishevelled, reaching the safety of the castle. Some of her other guests had the same experience, including Princess Mary, daughter of Queen Mary, wife of King George V, who apparently was so unnerved that she could not speak of her trauma for several days.

I have just managed to buy an old copy of the biography of Lady Airlie on eBay. This is entitled "Thatched with Gold", which of course betrays no sense of entitlement. I am looking forward to reading the ghost story first hand. I have my doubts about some details of the narrative as the Mulgum is a tributary of the River Isla, and as far as I know the Mulgum is not in the vicinity of the Balintore.

Anyhow, the Princess Mary referred to is the aunt of the current queen, so she is now another known Royal visitor to Balintore Castle. The Queen Mum used to stay at Balintore Castle for shooting parties in the 1950's. I managed to find a picture of both Princess Mary and the Queen Mum together. I just need to invite Charles and Anne to tea to collect the full set. :-) 


  1. Are you SURE that "Thatched With Gold" is not Alastair Sim's autobiograpy and that Balintore wasn't in fact St Trinians? :-)

    1. You don't know how much I had to force myself not to mention Alastair Sim, so I can't condemn your playing to the gallery. :-)