Friday, 14 March 2014

The Goblin Ha' - Yester Castle.

A cycle I had planned for this weeks holiday was to take a pedal up to Yester Castle near the village of Gifford with my daughter Heather who wanted to come along too. The castle has a subterranean chamber called the Goblin Ha' (pronounced Goblin Haw) meaning 'Goblin Hall' which is reputed to be extremely haunted & I have seen photos of orbs & strange mists which were not visible at the time the photo was taken & literature of peoples accounts of feeling an eerie presence & being touched ! Being the sceptic that I am I had to check things out for myself I was not disappointed !!!

Cycling through the country village of Stenton the top picture in the foreground is of the restored Mercat Post & Scales which were used between 1681-1862 for the weekly cattle & sheep market.
In the background is the old church tower which was converted into a pigeon doocot to provide the towns people & countryfolk with meat during the winter months. Pigeon doocots are a popular sight throughout East Lothian.

The recently restored Stoneypath Tower which dates back to the 14th century & is of an L-plan tower house, with walls 9ft thick at it's base. The tower was blown up by gunpowder during the wars of the 16th century.
Bottom 2 pictures are of how the tower looked in it's day & of the ruined state before restoration.

Some views along the way of old fingerposts.

Off the road & into the Castle Wood which was like a mud bog in places.

Having a good look around the castles curtain wall on the outside, it must of been an impressive fortress in it's day.

And a wee look around one of the remaining towers, note the shield where a coat of arms probably were once on above the arched window.
And now for the fun part, the entrance into the subterranean vaults of the Goblin Ha'
Not too bad so far no goblins waiting to lynch us, although my daughter said that she noticed a huge temperature drop when she came in ! Very quiet & eerie feeling though we had to squat to get through the door which gets bigger the further you go in until you reach the main chamber, the entrance passage must be about 20ft long.
Inside the Goblin Ha' chamber there is this arched stone stairway which we went down to the bottom off, which was a passage way to a well for the castle's occupants to retrieve fresh water from, which is now blocked up with fallen masonary, near the bottom there are rocks you have to climb over to further descend to the bottom, very dark & very creepy ! If you enlarge this as well as the next few picture you can see orbs & a strange mist which at the time we never seen, it wasn't until I got home & uploaded the photos that all these orbs & mists became visible. In this picture there are 5 orbs !
2 orbs & a line of mist between them & also stange mist further down.
Strange mist.
On the way back up the stairs & 2 orbs.
Beautiful arched ceiling & to the left the exit out & to the right the stairs down to the well, in front on the wall the remains of an old fireplace as this chamber was on two levels once upon a time.
1 orb bottom centre right.
Not sure of the purpose of the little arch.
That fireplace again & note the 2 holes left & right where the beams were located for the floor above.
Another wee look down the stairs to the well & again you can see a mist near the bottom, there are the stones we had to scramble over to reach the bottom towards the well.
1 orb below the second arch in front of the exit door.
4 orbs up in the ceiling.
A final look over to the descending staircase before we head back out into daylight.
Time to go !!

An artists impressions of the castle in it's day.
 The story behind the Goblin Ha' is that the owner Sir Hugo de Giffard was known as the 'Wizard of Yester' & was considered to be a powerful warlock & necromancer. It is in the undercroft of the castle that he was thought to practice his sorcery. 14th century chronicler John of Fordun mentions the large cavern in Yester Castle, thought locally to have been formed by magical artifice. Legend supposed that Hugo was able via a pact with the Devil to raise a magical army to his aid & use them to carry out his will. It is this army of hobgoblins that was considered the builders of Yester Castle.

Found this what I think may be an oyster shell in the castle grounds poking through the soil, who knows the last person to touch this might of been one of the castle's occupants :-/
Leaving the castle behind we took a different route towards Gifford & came across this old bike in the woods that has seen better days !

Heather burning up in the Lammermuir hills looking very much like a volcano smouldering away.

A sure sign that the better weathers on it's way :-) Happy cycling days to come.

Arriving in the village of Gifford & the pub which is named after the castle's Goblin Ha'

More old road sign fingerposts on the way home looking good with their fresh coat of paint.

Amd to finish off a wee Go-Pro video I took wandering around & in the castle but sadly no orbs or mist were picked up.

Well that was an interesting adventure I am a bit of a sceptic with things like this but when I got home & uploaded the photos the hackles on the back of my neck stood on end & I'm glad I never saw any of that when I was in there or I would of bolted out that door faster than Usain Bolt would have !! 
Hope you enjoyed the tour, thanks for looking.