On a bracing autumnal morning, our Technical Director, Chris Harvey, ventured to the iconic ‘New Slains Castle’ near Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire. Inspired by the stunning scenery and cliff-line, Chris embarked on a mission to explore the castle’s historic intricacies. With a highly respected portfolio of 3D scanning work already under his belt, Chris deployed a hand-held laser scanner as his tool of choice. We’re not confirming that he deliberately used the back-pack style data recording equipment configuration to make himself look like a Ghostbuster, but we’re not denying it either.

His expertise, combined with the latest in flexible, fast-capture technology, sought to record the real essence of this architectural marvel in unparalleled detail, during a trip that blended past wonders with modern innovation.

A slice of literary history

Constructed in the late 16th century, the castle is poised on a cliff edge with breathtaking views of the North Sea and was home to the chiefs of Clan Hay. Over the centuries, the castle underwent several modifications and expansions, but despite its long and rich history, it fell into decay in the 20th century. In the 1920s, the roof was removed, hastening its decline. Today, it stands as a ruin, but its remnants still evoke a tangible sense of its past grandeur.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Slains Castle is its rumoured connection to Bram Stoker’s famous novel, Dracula. Stoker was a regular visitor to the castle, and many believe that its eerie ambiance and distinctive architecture inspired him as he wrote a novel that continues to frighten and excite readers to this day.

Image from thecastlesofscotland.co.uk

So why did we scan Slains Castle?

Partly for the thrill of it, partly for posterity, and partly because it’s beside Chris’ house. At Viewport3, we believe in pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with modern 3D capture technology, and all the better that it records a decaying site in full detail for future generations. Due to our proximity, we almost felt obliged, and hope that a resident of Agra might choose to scan the Taj Mahal, or an Italian native the Colosseum. Thankfully, the Notre-Dam cathedral in Paris had been captured prior to the devastating fire of 2019.

3D render of Slains Castle, captured by Viewport3

Devil in the detail

So what was our personal highlight? The octagonal room is the easy answer. Referenced by Stoker as “a small octagonal room lit by a single lamp”, it can be seen in the 3D data as being a pivotal thoroughfare for the building, and could no doubt tell a tale or two on the subject of the ‘wild parties’ which are reported to have taken place there!

3D render of Slains Castle, captured by Viewport3 – The Octagon Room

The majestic ruins of Slains Castle provide a unique and challenging environment in which to demonstrate 3D technologies. Here at Viewport3 we pride ourselves on boldly scanning where no one has scanned before – challenging locations and conditions are very much our speciality. So while the castle stands as a testament to history, our 3D scanning adventure demonstrates that if it exists, it can be scanned and brought to life in a 3D model.

We may not have found Count Dracula knocking back beastly beverages in Slains Castle’s lesser-known wine vault, but we hope our efforts will add a little something spooky to your Halloween holiday!

3D render of Slains Castle, captured by Viewport3 – The Wine Vault

If you found our exploration of Slains Castle fascinating, you won’t want to miss our other adventures in challenging terrains. Explore our detailed case studies that showcase our expertise and adaptability in the most demanding locations and conditions: