SCOTLAND’S ‘Dracula’ castle risks tumbling into the sea after a restoration project ground to a halt.
The derelict castle at Slains, in Aberdeenshire’s Cruden Bay, is thought to have inspired the vampire’s eerie lair in the Bram Stoker novel.
The author visited the castle in the 1890s, as a guest of the 19th Earl of Erroll, the building’s owner.
It is widely believed the Irish writer’s imagination was fired by the sprawling building and its desolate setting.
The ruined castle looms imposingly over the bay, much like the Translyvanian count’s lair did in the Stoker’s gothic classic.
As long ago as 2004, councillors were warned the 16th Century castle would collapse into the sea if no action was taken to restore it.
The concern led to a £6m private scheme to convert Slains Castle into 35 holiday flats.
But the plan by the Slains Partnership appears to have stalled and the future of the structure – which is on Historic Scotland’s Buildings at Risk register – is once again in serious doubt.
Alex Adamson, Buildings at Risk project manager at the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, updates the register on behalf of Historic Scotland.
He said: “The building is deteriorating, it’s just a question of the rate of deterioration.
“Once it starts to unravel, you will see walls and towers coming down.”
He said the building had become derelict in the 1920s and showed some resilience, but added: “We’ve had bad winters in 2010 and 2011, which won’t have helped.”
Hugh McIntrye, vice-chairman of the Cruden Bay Community Association, said: “What we said at the time was that we didn’t want a project which would be left unfinished.
“Our concerns have now come to fruition.”
When plans were first lodged in 2006, locals objected to the plans for the holiday homes, saying the castle should be kept as ruins.
The rescue plan for Slains was lodged five years ago but a detailed planning application has yet to emerge.
Douglas Forrest, of Acanthus Architects, Huntly, said work had started on the new proposals but they were not ready to be lodged with the council.
He said: “There’s nothing to say about Slains at the moment. I’m still waiting for my clients to come back to me.”
Slains Partnership could not be contacted for comment.