Yester Castle and Goblin Ha’ is a 12th century castle ruin and dungeon near the small village of Gifford in East Lothian. The castle was built on the orders of Sir Hugo De Gifford. Sit Hugo was nicknamed ‘The wizard of Yester’ due to the mysterious rituals he carried out in dungeons below the castle.
Due to Sir Hugo’s supernatural dabbling, it is rumoured that demonic forces helped with the construction of the building. De Gifford was widely renowned as a wizard and gained the trust of King Alexander who he would advise on battles and other important events.
Today the medieval castle sits in ruins but surprisingly Goblin Hall remains intact and is easily accessible. On first look it would be easy to miss the entrance to Goblin Hall but if you make your way around to its northern side you will notice the small entrance. You follow the dark and creepy passageway inside which takes you into the main chamber Goblin Ha’.
From here you can see an eerily dark and narrow old staircase that leads you deeper underground. This staircase has the ominous nickname- the ‘gateway to hell’. Partly due to the supernatural history of the castle and partly due to the events that have followed.
Is Yester Castle Haunted?
Yester Castle and in particular Goblin Ha’ has been linked to lots of mysterious events. Countless people have reported seeing and feeling unexplained phenomena while braving their way down the staircase. Stories of hauntings date back almost 800 years. One website has even voted it one of the top 5 most haunted places to visit in Scotland.
During my visit, I experienced a bizarre happening. I am sceptical when it comes to matters of the supernatural, but there is no denying that a strange smoky whisp came into my line of view more that once. Of course, there could be a perfectly rational explanation, but it was enough to make the hairs on my neck stand up!
Watch a short video of our visit to Yester Castle
Where is the castle?
Hidden in a wooded area near the village of Gifford East Lothian, Yester Castle can be a little tricky to locate. The first thing you need to do is get your car parked nearby. There is a large lay by next to Danskine Lodge which has room for 5 or 6 cars. I used postcode EH41 4PJ to get me there (nearest postcode).
It is roughly a 25-minute walk from the parking area to the castle. Once parked you’ll see a gate leading to a pathway through woodland with a sign saying Yester Estate. You follow this path for 10 minutes or so, passing a waterfall on your right. Soon after you will come to the sign below which you turn left at and follow the path for another 10 minutes. You will cross a small bridge over a steam of water before Yester Castle ruins come into view. I have included a map to help you find this unbelievable place!
If you have an OS map use co-ordinates NT 55625 66708 to pinpoint the castle’s location.
Yester Castle and Goblin Ha’ is one of Scotland’s best kept secrets. The history of the ruin, the mysterious atmosphere it exudes, and the fantastic condition of some parts of the ruin make this a must-see destination for anyone interested in Scottish history, castles, or dare I say it, the supernatural!
I hope you all manage to find it and can’t wait to hear about your experiences!
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