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Tucked away in the Scottish Highlands is one of Scotland’s finest hotels – Ackergill Tower. Celebrities and royalty alike have called Ackergill their temporary home, but the magnificent castle walls hide a darker secret – the ghost of Helen Gunn.
In the 15th century, the castle was owned by the Keith family who were in a feud with the Gunn family. After several murders and revenge murders on either side, Helen Gunn was abducted by a member of the Keith family for her beauty. She either jumped or fell from the tower at the castle trying to escape. She’s now seen either as a green lady, or as a lady in a long red ball gown with tall black hair.
Ackergill Tower has a long and involved history – first mentioned in history in 1538, it has been the catalyst for various feuds over the years. In the 14th or 15th century when Helen Gunn was abducted, the Gunn family and the Keith family started feuding even more, which led to the Battle of Champions. In 1547, the Sinclairs attacked and seized the castle, but Mary of Guise, who was then the Regent of Scotland, returned it to the Keith family. She then installed Laurence Oliphant as keeper of Ackergill in 1549, but the Sinclairs seized the castle once more. The castle changed hands a few more times after that, but was then sold legally to the Sinclairs in 1612. In 1699 the castle was sold to the Dunbars, who added extensions and renovations. In 1986 it was sold and underwent renovation for 2 years, when it was then opened as a luxury hotel.
Ackergill Tower has often been described as one of the most luxurious hotels in the world – not a title given to many hotels. It has lots of different areas of accommodation – the main tower, sleeping up to 32 with a mixture of double, twin and single rooms, the beach house, sleeping up to 10 with a mixture of double and twin rooms and 4 bathrooms, the sunshine and seashore cottage, sleeping up to 4 with 2 double bedroom suites and 2 bathrooms and the smiddy, sleeping up to 2 with 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom. All of the rooms are decorated in a modern, elegant style, complete with antique furniture, luxurious soft furnishings and sumptuous fabrics.
Ackergill Tower prides itself on being able to do whatever it can for its guests – so you can enjoy your diner in the dining room, or they could prepare a picnic for you to enjoy overlooking the sea. Their food is all prepared using local, fresh ingredients and is made to order – homemade liquors are also available. Guests can also enjoy over 50 action-packed activities in the grounds of Ackergill Tower, so you’ll never be short of things to do.
There are also numerous function rooms, including a room called The Tree House, which is set amongst 150 year old sycamore trees. Staff at Ackergill will do their very best to give you everything you need and will look after you as much as you need them to. If you’re looking for a hotel that will amaze and inspire you – and that will leave you feeling totally refreshed and looked after, Ackergill Tower is definitely the place to stay.
There is plenty to do at Ackergill Tower, but if you fancy going a little further afield, John O Groats is just 17 miles away. Ackergill is also ideally located to explore some of the stunning countryside of Scotland. At Ackergill itself, archery, beach bonfires, cycling, clay pigeon shooting, golf, game stalking, deer stalking, fishing, deep sea fishing, falconry, horse riding, walking and yoga are just some of the activities available.
Standard accommodation room rate includes breakfast and dinner. Self-catering rate includes a welcome hamper, dinner and breakfast not included. Many different types of room are available, including exclusive use, along with many different room rates – contact the hotel directly for more information.