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How an American tourist found herself trapped in a Scottish castle

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An American tourist was forced to appeal for rescuers after finding herself locked in an impregnable Scottish castle.

Holidaymaker Niki Ghofranian‎ became trapped in stunning Dunstaffnage Castle, near Oban, on Saturday evening.

The visitor from California had been enjoying a visit to the west coast with a friend when she realised there was no escape – at least until the arrival of firefighters.

With Historic Environment Scotland staff apparently gone for the day, she was forced to turn to the emergency services for aid.

At one point, fire crews are thought to have considered forcing open the stronghold’s door to free her.

Ms Ghofranian, however, says she told then she would rather sleep in the courtyard than see the historic building harmed.

She later posted about her dramatic afternoon on the Facebook page Scotland from the Roadside.

And, despite spending a few hours wandering around the 13th century castle after staff, apparently, mistakenly locked her inside, she said it had done nothing to dim her passion for Dunstaffnage.

Her first post said simply: “View from Dunstaffnage Castle where I got locked in this evening and had to get the police and fire brigade to rescue me.”

Later the same day, she said: “What a day! We just got rescued.

“We somehow got locked in the castle and had to call the police and fire brigade to get us out.

“I walked the walls for hours thinking of how many hundreds of years this castle was defended from invaders and how impenetrable it was.

“They mentioned they might have to break down the castle door and I was not going to let them ruin it.

“I would rather have slept there. What an experience! Rode home in the back of the police van.”

A spokesman for Oban firefighters said: “We were called to assist a woman who was locked inside the castle at Dunstaffnage. ”

When asked if it was a regular occurrence, the spokesman added: “No, it was a bit of an unusual request for us. But we are always happy to help.”

Dunstaffnage Castle is the stronghold of the MacDougalls, built before 1240 on a huge rock above the Firth of Lorn.

It was captured by Robert the Bruce in 1308, with the castle in royal hands until 1469.

Flora MacDonald was held at Dunstaffnage in 1746 before being sent to the Tower of London for aiding Bonnie Prince Charlie’s escape.

Historic Environment Scotland, who manage the castle, did not respond to a request for further information .

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