Tulloch Castle is located in the town of Dingwall in the Highlands of Scotland. It probably dates to the mid 16th century. Over the years, it has served as a family home for members of the Bain family and Clan Davidson, as a hospital after the evacuation of Dunkirk, and as a hostel for the local education authority. It is currently used as a hotel and conference centre.
Tulloch Castle likely dates to the mid 16th century, when Duncan Bane (Bain, Bayne) was granted the barony of Tulloch in 1542.
In the 18th century however, ownership of the castle changed hands. Kenneth Bayne, 8th Laird of Tulloch, sold the estate to his cousin, Henry Davidson, on the 13 January 1762.[not in citation given] On Henry's death in 1781 Tulloch was inherited by his younger brother Duncan Davidson (1733–1799). He was in turn succeeded by his son Henry (1771–1827), grandson Duncan (died 1881) and great-grandson Duncan Henry Caithness Reay Davidson (1836–1889), who was the father of the last Davidson of Tulloch, Duncan (1865–1917).
The castle passed out of Davidson ownership in 1917 when the last direct descendant of this family, Duncan Davidson, died and left the castle to his daughter and her son, Colonel Angus Vickers, of the Vickers aircraft company.
After serving as the Vickers' family home for several years, and as a hospital for casualties of Dunkirk in 1940, Tulloch Castle was purchased by the local education authority in 1957. It was used as a hostel for students from the west coast of Scotland who were studying at Dingwall Academy until 1976.
After this, the castle fell into disrepair until it was renovated and converted into a hotel by local family, the MacAulays, in 1996. Now part of the Oxford Hotels and Inns chain, Tulloch Castle is used as a hotel and conference centre. It played host to the official Clan Davidson Gathering in October 2007.
There have been several claims that Tulloch Castle is haunted. Visitors and hotel staff have reported witnessing apparitions in the form of a young girl and a middle aged lady. These supernatural claims were explored in the Grampian Television series Beyond Explanation in 2005, although no conclusive evidence exists to validate such reports. On 28 May, 2008 it was reported by the Sun News that a 14-year-old boy named Connor Bond apparently took a photograph (with a digital camera) of a "hand" holding on to the stair railing with an apparition floating behind it. As of 28 May, 2008 the images he took of the ghost are currently being examined by film and paranormal experts to prove their validity.
Changes to the castle
Tulloch Castle has been subject to several structural changes throughout its existence. There are two records of fires, in 1838 and 1845, when areas of the castle were destroyed. There are also records of renovations and extensions to the castle in 1513, 1665, 1675, 1747 and in the early 1920s when the roof was replaced, stonework around the windows was repaired and electric lighting was installed.
The grounds and estate
Tulloch Castle has many interesting features. A tunnel runs from the basement of the castle under the town of Dingwall to the old site of Dingwall Castle. The tunnel has now collapsed, but it is possible to view this passageway through an air vent on the front lawn of the castle’s grounds.
There is a Davidson cemetery in the grounds of the castle for family members and pets. The graveyard is surrounded by a metal fence and has become overgrown, though some of its headstones are still visible.
Originally, there were two walled gardens on either side of the castle. These are now overgrown and parts of them have become woods or have had houses built on them.
The castle had two gatehouses and entrance paths. The west gatehouse no longer exists but the other gatehouse still exists as a privately owned house. This gatehouse was built in 1876 and the path which connects it to the castle has become a public road. This road is still used as the main entrance to the castle today.
On a hill to the north of the castle stands "Caisteal Gorach", a late 18th-century folly which was designed by Robert Adam for Duncan Davidson of Tulloch. The folly comprises a ruined round tower and flanking walls, and is a category A listed building.
- Scottish Castles Association. "Tulloch Castle at the Association for Scottish Castles". www.scottishcastlesassociation.com. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- David R. Fisher, DAVIDSON, Duncan (1733-99), of Tulloch, Ross and Myles's, Ongar, Essex. in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820 (1986).
- David R. Fisher, DAVIDSON, Duncan (?1800-1881), of Tulloch Castle, Dingwall, Ross. in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832 (2009).
- Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage, 107th edition (2003) vol. I, p. 1049, cited in Darryl Lundy, Duncan Davidson of Tulloch, thepeerage.com. Accessed 11 February 2013.
- "Tulloch Castle, Caisteal Gorach: listed building information". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
- Tulloch and The Lands brochure
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