Slains Castle is a large imposing ruin fronting directly onto south facing cliffs about a kilometre east of Cruden Bay. It is a slightly unsettling place. It comes as little surprise to discover that Bram Stoker, who stayed at the castle, used it as inspiration for his story of Dracula. The front of the castle lies literally along the edge of the cliffs, while its rear, beyond what were once its gardens, is protected from unwanted guests by a deep cleft that cuts into the cliffs as far as the main access road. Internally, the castle is a collection of mostly brick-built intersecting corridors wrapped around rooms now deeply carpeted in nettles. In the heart of the castle is the courtyard, though it takes some time to work out which were outside areas in the original design and which were inside.
Slains’ general air of creepiness is not helped by the vaulted room accessed down a muddy slide that was probably once a kitchen store complete with large stone storage bins all the way around the walls. Unless (as you begin to wonder as you peer round in the near total darkness) it was some sort of crypt…..