ACKERGILL TOWER has been named among the UK’s most haunted pubs and hotels.
The list, compiled by top travel guide Wanderlust – under the heading Freak Out! – placed the luxury executive retreat Ackergill Tower, near Wick eighth on its chart.
It was the only Scottish entry in the listing.
As well as its idyllic location, Ackergill has a ghost, Helen Gunn, also known as the Beauty of Braemore.
Legend has it that Helen was abducted from her home in Braemore on her wedding night and kept prisoner in the tower by the infamous local laird, Dugald Keith.
Rather than succumb to his less-than-honourable advances, she leapt to her death from the battlements.
The stone on which she was believed to have fallen, and which bears her outline, can be seen nearby.
Reputedly, her ghost can still be seen roaming the castle, wearing a long red ball gown.
Wanderlust said: “This 15th century tower is positioned in a magnificently macabre setting. The ocean provides a powerful backdrop and the isolation of the tower is enough to send a shiver down even the most skeptical spine.
“Dating all the way back to 1476, the tower was once owned by the Keith family who battled with the rival Gunn family for many years.
“Legend says that Helen Gunn was abducted and trapped in the tower and died when she tried to escape.
“She is now said to walk the land of Ackergill Tower.”
The venue also boats Europe’s largest des res treehouse with a circular bedroom and its own opera house.
The tower was extensively refurbished in the 1990s by former owners John and Arlette Banister who established in as a five-star luxury retreat.
It is now operated by Amazing Venues.
Ackergill has had an array of VIP visitors including Sir Richard Branson, Billy Connolly and Philip Schofield.
Mr Schofield named it as one of the places he would spend his dream 24 hours.
The A-listed fortress home has also played discreet host to Hollywood veterans such as Jack Nicholson and Michael Douglas, as well as British celebrities Twiggy and Jeremy Irons.
Topping Wanderlust’s most haunted list was the Skirrid Mountain Inn in Monmouthshire, the oldest pub in Wales.
Second was the Angel Inn in Lymington in Hampshire, which reportedly home to at least six spirits.
In third spot was the 12th century The Ancient Ram Inn in Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire. It is a former priest’s home where skeletal remains have reportedly been found as well as evidence of satanic rituals.