With the aid of castle insiders, Mary managed to evade notice during the festivities of a May Day masque and was smuggled away by rowing boat. She was met on the far bank and taken first to Niddry Castle, and then to Cadzow Castle. She immediately revoked her abdication, and succeeded in raising a force of about 6,000 men. Intending to take an impregnable position in Dumbarton Castle, her army was intercepted by that of her half-brother Moray, who defeated her at the Battle of Langside south of Glasgow on 13 May 1568. Mary and her escort took flight; unable to reach Dumbarton Castle, and later writing ‘I have had to sleep upon the ground and drink sour milk’ she sought refuge in Dundrennan Abbey, where she would spend her last hours in Scotland.
Niddry Castle Situated in West Lothian, this private towerhouse is one of many in Scotland said to be haunted by Mary’s spirit.
Cadzow Castle Cadzow is today known as Hamilton, and the castle ruins sit above the Avon Gorge in Chatelherault Country Park. The castle was largely destroyed in the late 16th century as retaliation for support of Mary.
Dundrennan Abbey You can still visit this peaceful ruin today, set in wooded Kirkudbrightshire.
Craignethan Castle Mary is believed to have rested here overnight before the Battle of Langside.