Ghostly goings on at Linlithgow Palace

As Halloween creeps closer, it’s frightening how many spooky activities jump out from the shadows to entice the unwitting general public in and with so many to choose from I felt duty bound to book an experience I’d be simultaneously chilled and thrilled by. Saturday’s Fright Night Ghost Walk at Linlithgow Palace seemed like a good haunt to get me started.

As we huddled, 50 willing victims in the dark under a cold, crisp sky, we were met at the palace gates by a couple of bellmen in red tunics from 1740. Namely Samuel Duncan, small, rotund and hearty and his side-kick, Jethro Walkinshaw a whey-faced string bean of a ghoul who declared the gates open for this special visit.

Samuel Duncan was played with a great deal of humour and energy by Hugh Robertson who delivered all the historical information and set the scene perfectly with tales of the palace and Linlithgow during the reign of King George. Peppered with supporting ghouls and unexpected but macabre deaths, as an audience, we were kept constantly alert. The palace itself, was also furnished with deathly detail. Little ghoulish touches such as dry ice and some strategically placed cobwebs and skulls for good effect, but most memorable for me was Agnes Bishop who was tried as a witch and in the Lower Kitchen we were shown in dramatic action, all the different tortures meted out to her kind including the branding iron, thumbscrews and pricker.

Organised by Historic Scotland, this was a spine-tingling experience, with a large pinch of humour akin to Horrible Histories. Be brave, try it!