'Haunted' castle put up for sale by administrators

'Haunted' castle put up for sale by administrators

A Gothic castle reputed to be the one of the UK's most haunted has been put up for sale after a plan to turn it into a hotel failed.

Administrators have now been appointed after the latest attempt to breath life into the 17th century Birkwood Castle, in Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, by creating a luxury hotel fell through and the mansion is now back on the market.

The castle, a former psychiatric hospital, is claimed to be one of the most haunted places in the UK, with paranormal experts having investigated reported ghostly activities at the site.

Former owners, residents and staff said the castle is stalked by spirits including a cigar-smoking spook and the spirit of a man stabbed through the throat.

Gallery: Photography competition takes a walk on the wild side with exhibition

The hotel plan was unveiled in 2014 when entrepreneur Chris Naylor and his family formed a partnership with another leading business family, the Lloyds, headed by Jo Lloyd whose father Rob appeared on the Secret Millionaire television programme.

Their £80 million project was designed to transform the derelict Birkwood Estate into a luxury development, which would have include a boutique style hotel and housing development, with lodges and log cabins.

However, three years ago part of its walls fell with such force that some people in the area reported hearing an explosion and paranormal experts claimed the partial collapse could be linked to the alleged high ghostly activity on the site.

Gallery: Photography competition takes a walk on the wild side with exhibition

The castle was already undergoing the multi-million pound renovation, but the plans were rocked after a large part of the building fell down.

It was claimed at the time by professional ghost-hunter Tom Robinson the ghosts may be angry and "taking a hand in matters".

Past incidents at the castle have included strange smells, lights turning themselves off and the sound of footsteps.

According to folklore, a boy called Michael is said to stalk the grand spiral staircase where he fell and died.

Gallery: Photography competition takes a walk on the wild side with exhibition

In 2013, ghost-hunters Glasgow Paranormal Investigations filmed an episode of their series Haunted Planet TV there with the crew saying it was one of the most active locations in which they had filmed.

The estate originally belonged to the MacKirdy family and the castle was used as a private residence until it was donated to the local authority in 1923.

The B-listed building was boarded up in 2002 and has been lying empty since.

The estate is now being managed by administrator Johnston Carmichael.

The hotel, which has planning permission and consents from South Lanarkshire Council, was scheduled to open in spring 2019.

Gallery: Photography competition takes a walk on the wild side with exhibition

Donald McNaught, partner at Johnston Carmichael, said: “This is an historic site which the previous developers knew had enormous potential as a hotel. The local authorities and community are very supportive of attempts to preserve an important feature of the area’s heritage.

“We’re hopeful of being able to find a buyer who recognises the opportunity presented by the site, so the future of this local landmark can be secured.”

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