A call to bring tourists to the ‘Dracula Coast’

Slains Castle is believed to have been the inspiration for Castle Dracula
Slains Castle is believed to have been the inspiration for Castle Dracula

Whitby Dracula Trail in Yorkshire takes in many of the landmarks that form the setting for Bram Stoker’s classic tale.

Now a call has been made for a similar trail in Aberdeenshire where the Irish novelist wrote his best know work.

Mike Shepherd published “When Brave Men Shudder: The Scottish origins of Dracula” in 2018, which features an introduction by Stoker’s great-grand nephew Dacre Stoker.

Stoker was a regular visitor to Cruden Bay between 1893 and 1910, setting two novels in the village; The Watter’s Mou’ (1895) and The Mystery of the Sea (1902), the latter thought to have been inspired by a shipwreck at Collieston,

He started writing Dracula here in 1895 while in residence at the Kilmarnock Arms Hotel, indeed a guest book with his signatures still survives.

Nearby Slains Castle is mentioned in two of his novels, and is thought to have provided the visual palette for Castle Dracula.

In addition a distinctive room in Slains Castle, the octagonal hall, matches the description of the octagonal room in Castle Dracula.

Dracula may have been completed in Gardenstown where he stayed in 1896, while Lair of the White Worm appears to have been later written in Whinnyfold.

Speaking on BBC Scotland’s The Nine programme, Mr Shepherd, said: “The great thing about a trail would be that it wouldn’t just be Cruden Bay - there would be villages like Collieston and Gardenstown that Bram Stoker knew and set part of his novels in.

“You could almost call this area “The Dracula Coast” and why not come up with a tourist trail up here with a pamphlet detailing the various places Bram Stoker knew about and wrote about in his books?”