|The Compulsion online Guide to
the Wicker Man
As Wicker Man fans and being based (occasionally) in Scotland we've long talked about tracking down those Wicker Man location sites. Easier said than done. Sure, there are references to film locations but these are generally not specific enough. So armed with numerous press cuttings, interviews, and a copy of Dave Lally's appalling Wicker Man Location map we set out on a cold, wet and windy day (what do you expect it's Scotland) to track them down. And things couldn't get any better than arriving in Newton Stewart to notice a lorry parked down the street trading under the name of Bert Pagan. Weird!
Various streets and closes used but nothing specific, except for the sports shop which doubled as the photographic darkroom in the film. Also, the bridge over the river running through the town features in some versions of the film.
Site of May Morrison's Post Office/Sweet Shop. This was Sergeant Howie's first point of investigation in his search for the "missing" schoolgirl, Rowan Morrison. It's now the base for a Joiners and at present it's in a state of disrepair.
Perhaps one of the finest Wicker Man locations can be found here. Within easy reach of each other are the schoolhouse and the ruined Kirk. Being a listed building, the schoolhouse looks in better shape today than it did in the film. It will be immediately recognisable. On the grass, directly opposite is the site of the Maypole dancing. The ruined kirkyard, where Rowan Morrison's body was supposed to have been buried in the earth, lies just behind. Some of the gravestones may seem familiar. Although the stone inscribed with the message "Here Lieth Beech Buchanan Protected by the Ejaculation of Serpents" remained elusive. As did Sergeant Howie's makeshift Christian cross. I guess the props department took them home.
Gatehouse of Fleet
Used for exterior shots of the Green Man Inn, and perhaps best remembered for Willow's erotic dance.
The Ellangowan Hotel used for the interior shots of the Green Man public house. Unfortunately, Willow wasn't serving behind the bar, but bizarrely the pub looks exactly the same as it did in the film. Photographs of the annual Summerisle harvest once hung on the wall; they've been replaced by stills from the film. The staff and clientele remain willing to talk of the film. When we visited the proprietor told us that a copy of the full length cut of the film, which he had been gifted for his hospitality, had been passed to the BBC. This included all the missing scenes. Incidentally, Ingrid Pitt on a Scottish radio broadcast also claimed to possess an unedited cut of the film.
It was on the morning of May 1st 1973 that Sergeant Howie discovered the true meaning of the May Day celebrations in the Summerisle library. The local library is still used by the citizens of Whithorn today.
Burrowhead, Isle of Whithorn
Site of the burning of the Wicker Man. In order to visit the site of the burning of the Wicker Man you need to enter the caravan park. Head towards the cliff tops and it's quite easily locatable. Until recently parts of the 60 foot Wicker Man structure remained. Today, however, little remains except some wicker stumps deeply embedded in the ground. It is possible to pries pieces off, though. A wee piece of cinematic history came home with me. Look out for the spare legs cemented into a nearby cove.
Also located here is a ditch that was used as the cliff opening from which Sergeant Howie emerges in order to meet his sacrificial death.
St Ninians Cave
A three mile walk from Burrowhead and referred to as the "Cradle of Christianity." This, ironically, was the location used for the beach sequence and the sacrifice to the goddess of the sea. Rowan Morrison stood at the entrance to St Ninians Cave before the ensuing chase.
Logan Botanical Gardens
Used as the gardens for Lord Summerisle's garden.
Exterior used as outside of Lord Summerisle's castle. Look out for the archway as you enter the immediate castle grounds. The gardens at Culzean Castle which appear fleetingly in the film are also worth a visit. There's also some nice caves situated below the castle on the beach side. They're not used in the film but they're worth exploring. Culzean Castle also appears on Royal Bank of Scotland issued Scottish five pound notes.
The interior of Lord Summerisle's castle.
The main street and coastline. Introductory sequence where Sergeant Howie lands on Summerisle. Beware though, Plockton is based in the Highlands and not Dumfries and Galloway.