Cairns Castle, West Lothian, Scotland

The castle is a ruined keep, dating from the 15th century, around 6.5 miles south west of Balerno, at the south west end of Harperrig Reservoir.  It was originally property of the Crichtons, built for George Crichton, 1st Earl of Caithness. In 1441 he was sent as an ambassador to the Duchy of Brittany, to negotiate the marriage of James II’s sister Isabella. He later served as Lord High Admiral of Scotland, sheriff of Stirling, and Keeper of Stirling Castle. The castle became the property of the Tennants from 1542 to 1708.


The Howe, Pentland Hills, West Lothian, Scotland

 by Jimmy Dunn


Niddry Castle, West Lothian, Scotland

The castle is believed to date back to the end of the 15th century. It was built by George, 4th Lord Seton, who like most of the rest of the Scottish nobility, fell with his king at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Fifty-five years later, a subsequent Lord Seton met Mary Queen of Scots on her escape from Loch Leven Castle and after escorting her across the Forth at Queensferry, brought her here to the safety of Niddry Castle on the night of 2 May 1568. It was from here that Mary sent a messenger to seek assistance from her cousin and fellow queen, Elizabeth I of England. The next day she rode west to Hamilton and then the Battle of Langside, followed by a flight southwards across the border and then eventually an English prison for the rest of her sad life. In later years, the castle and its lands, like so much else in West Lothian, was acquired by the Hopes of Hopetoun. In the 1990s, Niddry Castle was restored by Peter Wright as a private residence.

Niddry Castle stands just to the north of the Edinburgh to Glasgow railway line, on a rocky outcrop with Niddry Castle Golf Course curling around it.

Bangour Village Hospital was a psychiatric hospital located west of Dechmont in West Lothian, Scotland. The hospital was modelled on the Alt Scherbitz asylum of the 1870s, near Leipzig in Germany, and represents one of the first “colony” plan psychiatric hospitals in Scotland. The Bangour institution comprised individual villas which would house approximately 30 patients each. The village also incorporated its own railway station, a farm, bakery, workshops, recreation hall, school, shop, library, and latterly, and a multi-denominational church. The hospital was requisitioned by the government War Office during both wars, reverting back to a psychiatric hospital between and after the wars. The number of patients rose to over 3,000 in 1918. In 1989, St John’s Hospital opened in nearby Livingston, and services were transferred from Bangour General Hospital, which closed in the early 1990s. The Village Hospital also started to wind down after the opening of St Johns, with the last remaining ward closing in 2004.

This is basically a ten minute drive from where I live and I’ve drove past it so many times. It’s always fascinated me but I’ve never properly visited it before so I’m planning on going at some point soon and taking photos or something. It’s meant to really eerie since it’s pretty much an entire village completely abandoned.