Boleskine burial grounds and house

On the south-east side of Loch Ness sits Boleskine Burial Ground. It’s the sort of place you might just drive past without further thought, but to do so would mean missing out on hundreds of years of history – and some spooky goings-on too! Boleskine Brusial Ground offers a tranquil place to pause on your trip around Loch Ness. It’s a place for quiet contemplation, looking down through the gravestones onto the loch and hills beyond. But if you look closer, you will be able to see physical remnants of a more violent time. Here’s what to look out for on your visit…

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Touching history

Musket shots from the past

A history you can touch at Boleskine Burial Ground

Look for the tombstone of Donald Fraser, dated 1730. Upon it, you’ll see three small dimples. These are said to be the holes made by musket shots in 1746, just after the Battle of Culloden. A military wagon was carrying supplies southward to Fort Augustus past a group of mourners. One of them – some say it was just a boy – took a loaf of bread and threw it to a hungry dog. Well, the soldiers didn’t take kindly to this and let off a series of musket shots to scare and disperse the crowd, and it is some of these that hit the stone of Donald Fraser. The person who stole the bread was taken and imprisoned but, fortunately, was later released. 

 

Find the bullet holes on these stones below:

You can touch these dimples today, connecting you directly with the time of the Battle of Culloden.

This graveyard also has a site that mentions Lord Fraser of Lovat, known to Outlander fans as the Old Fox. He was the chap who changed allegiances from the House of Hanover to support the Stuart claim on the crown of the United Kingdom. It turned out to be a poor decision, and he was beheaded in London for high treason…

Haunted Highlands

The area around Boleskine has for hundreds of years been said to be haunted or, at the very least, bewitched. For example, some say a minister of the parish called Thomas Houston (1648 – 1705) had to return the burial ground’s re-animated corpses back to their graves after a devious local wizard raised the dead. Houston’s stone can still be seen in the graveyard today. 

However, if you look behind the graveyard, across General Wade’s road and up the hill, you will catch a glimpse of an old house. Some say Boleskine House is one of the spookiest houses in Scotland. That’s because it used to be owned by occultist Aleister Crowley. This was a man who performed a series of spells or ‘operations’ here, some taking months at a time in order to evoke his guardian angel.

To do so, he had to ‘…summon the 12 Kings and Dukes of Hell’. Whilst in the process, Crowley was called away without ending the spell and so never banished those demons already summoned. Some believe they still roam the house and grounds to this day. Indeed, his lodge-keeper suffered a variety of personal tragedies, resulting in Crowley admitting everything got a bit out of hand. 

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Boleskine House and burial grounds in later years

The house then changed hands over the years, at one point being owned by Led Zepplin founder Jimmy Page. Reports of haunted goings-on continued, with bangs at doors and inexplicable ratlings happening throughout the years. Unfortunately, Boleskine House was gutted with fire (at a time when nobody was in the house) in 2019. However, there is work underway to restore Boleskine House and gardens, with plans to eventually open up to the public.

So take your time as you wander through Boleskine Burial Ground, and look up at the house. But don’t take too long – you never know who’s going to be looking back at you…

Address

General Wade's Military Rd, Inverness IV2 6XT

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