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Haunted Hills

From one end of the UK to the other, there are many myths and legends that make a great scary story for Halloween. Take a read through these haunted hills locations that can all be found on a HARVEY Superwalker map.

Luibeilt Lodge - Highlands
Ben Nevis Superwalker, 1:25,000

First, we head up to a remote mountain bothy, just north of Kinlochleven, where two climbers had a haunted experience on a Christmas climbing expedition in 1973. Phil MacNeill and his friend Jimmy Dunn began their hike on foot from Kinlochleven. They walked for around 10 miles until they reached Luibeilt Lodge, a former deer stalking lodge, which they planned to stay at and use as a base for their climbing trip.

The door of the bothy was locked, and no one seemed to be inside, but the men could see dishes lying in the sink. They headed out to do some climbing before returning again at 9pm. When they returned the door was still locked, but they managed to enter via an unsecured window. What they found inside was unexpected, an almost fully furnished house with the table set for Christmas dinner - crackers included!

The men set up their sleeping bags downstairs in the living room for the night. It was extremely cold and quiet. Not long after they blew their candle out, they heard footsteps upstairs in the bedroom, the only unfurnished room in the building, and what sounded like large items being moved around. At 4am, the men were awoken to the horrifying sound of objects being thrown across the living room in complete darkness, including their ice axes.

Phil tried to light a candle but it flew across the room, then footsteps came crashing down to the closed living room door. Phil flung the door open, with his ice axe in hand, but no one was there. The pair climbed back out of the window and shone their head torches upstairs. They noticed that the curtains in the bedroom were now closed after being notably open earlier in the day. Understandably terrified, Phil and Jimmy both fled back to Kinlochleven and abandoned their trip.

They were sure that no one else could have arrived after them, or been hiding in the lodge, as they would have seen their footsteps in the fresh snow. Although the men could have been feeling the effects of fatigue and extreme cold, it is thought that a poltergeist was present at Luibeilt Lodge that night. The lodge now resembles a ruin with few walls and a missing roof. You can listen to the BBC Radio 4 Uncanny Podcast where Phil recalls their haunted experience at the lodge

Ben Macdui - Cairngorms
Cairn Gorm Superwalker, 1:25,000

North east of Kinlochleven is Ben Macdui, the largest mountain in the Cairngorms National Park, and second highest in Scotland and the UK. The Big Grey Man (or Am Fear Liath Mòr in Scottish Gaelic) is said to be a terrifying presence or creature that haunts the summit. At 1309 metres high, it's a tough ascent to the summit to then be greeted by an unwelcomed spooky being.

Hikers and climbers have reported seeing The Big Grey Man, most notably Norman Collie, who relayed his encounter to the Cairngorm Club in 1925. On his way back down from the summit he began to hear footsteps approaching from behind. Every time he took a step forward he heard a crunch. It sounds as if someone was taking steps twice as large as his. When the footsteps sounded like they were right behind him, Norman took off down the slope and through the boulders, all the way to Rothiemurchus Forest.

Since then, other climbers have reported hearing similar footsteps, accompanied by a vision of a grey figure or silhouette looming in the distance or coming towards them.

Again, exhaustion is known to cause hallucinations or illusions and so could have been a contributory factor. The climbers could also be mistaking the grey figure for a Brocken Spectre, which occurs when the sun is low and casts a shadow of the climber onto cloud or mist. However, that doesn't explain those eerie footsteps!

Mardale Corpse Road - Lake District
Lake District East Superwalker, 1:25,000

A road named 'Corpse Road' leaves little to the imagination.... 'corpse roads' or 'coffin paths' can be found all over the Lake District.

They were traditionally used to transport bodies from remote hamlets to their final resting places, which would usually be a church burial ground.

Landowners did not want corpse roads to become a right of way for regular traffic, so the paths tend to meander through bog and rough terrain in an attempt to discourage others from taking the routes back in the day.

You can walk this particular Corpse Road from Mardale to Shap, along the eastern edge of the Lake District National Park. When coffins were carried along this track, the mourners would place the coffins down on raised slabs to take rests periodically.

It was considered unlucky to put the coffins directly on the ground. You can still find these raised slab platforms along the track today.

Bodies from Mardale were carried all the way to the church at Shap, until the hamlet was eventually allowed its own cemetery in the 1700's. Unfortunately, the tiny church and surrounding buildings in Mardale were swallowed up by Haweswater after the flooding of the valley in the mid-1930s.

Nowadays, in periods of severe drought or drainage in the area, it is possible to see the remains of walls and houses in what once was the remote hamlet of Mardale.

Lydford Gorge, Witches Wood - Dartmoor
Dartmoor North Superwalker, 1:25,000

The ancient and mysterious land of Dartmoor is associated with various tales of legends, including ghosts, witches and piskies which were thought to be especially concentrated around the Devon and Dartmoor area.

Witches Wood can be found in Lydford Gorge, in Dartmoor National Park. Lydford Gorge is the deepest river gorge in the South West of the country, with the 30-metre high Whitelady Waterfall. There are many tales about this gorge alone, such as the 'Gubbins', a band of savages whose lair was Lydford Gorge, and who lived in the surrounding caves or 'cotts'. The Gubbins and their leader, known as Roger Rowle, were known for terrorising and robbing any travellers who passed by.

Others have reported seeing a ghostly white figure in and around the waterfall, who is aptly named the 'White Lady'. If you take a walk along the waterfall trail, it's easy to see why this place is the perfect setting for such mystical stories, with sparkling black rock and luscious greenery all around.

Head south easterly from Lydford Gorge and you will find Wistmans Wood. Left largely untouched allowing nature to take over, the landscape features huge moss-covered boulders and spindly crooked oak tree branches which envelope the forest.

In the early 19th century writings of Eliza Bray, it is suggested that druids carried out human sacrifices in the woods. Legend has it that dogs belonging to the devil (named Whisht Hounds) with huge fangs, red eyes and a horrifying howl hunt the land for straying night time travellers.

If you're planning to visit any of these locations this Halloween, tread carefully, make sure you brush up on your navigation skills and take your HARVEY map!

Source information
Luibeilt Lodge www.bbc.co.uk
Ben Macdui www.biggreyman.co.uk
Lake District www.walkingworld.com
Dartmoor www.independent.co.uk and www.nationaltrust.org.uk

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