Slains Castle, near Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire, was an inspiration to Bram Stoker, pictured left in 1906, while he wrote parts of 'Dracula' at his nearby holiday home in 1895.
This impressive cliff-top ruin overhangs the north sea. Projects for its restoration have never come to fruition and planning permission granted in 2007 appears dormant. Joe Allan, 82 wants to have Slains taken out of the hands of the developers and 'given back to the people of Scotland' to which end he has written to the first minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Scottish Castles Association members might see Slains in different light. Most of the current buildings date from the mid-17th century, incorporating the basement of the 'Tower of Bowness'. Owned and built by the Hays of Errol, it was sold by them in 1916 and unroofed in 1925 to avoid the payment of property tax.
If Joe Allan - or Dracula - can 'breathe back life' into Slains we'll drink to that!
Slains was also visited by Samuel Johnson and James Boswell on their tour of Scotland.
Article adapted from 'The Herald' 27 December 2016 by SCA member Brian McGarrigle.