Back in Scotland & Crathes Castle

Saturday, August 17th, Errin, Grace, and I packed up our bags and headed to Schiphol Airport just south of Amsterdam to catch a flight. We had spent 3 glorious weeks on the European continent exploring the Rhine River Valley and Bavaria in Germany, a couple of blissful days in Paris, and a couple more in the lively and quirky city of Amsterdam perched upon bicycles. Although we had a super great time, we were all so excited to return to our favorite place, Scotland where we could once again enjoy a proper fish supper with our cousin Lindsay.

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IMG_2132We emptied our suitcases of dirty laundry into the washing machine in anticipation of yet two more weeks of discovery in the Highlands. We spent most of the day just relaxing and hanging out at Lindsay’s house for a change of pace.  We also enjoyed a ‘wee dram’ with Lindsay at days end to celebrate our return.

After a couple of days of relaxing and recuperating after our 3-week long adventures, we were off again to visit yet another iconic castle and gardens at Crathes. Although I visit this place every year I travel to Scotland, I never tire of its beauty and could hardly wait to share it with the girls.

Just across the way from the entry gate of the castle grounds is the Milton of Crathes, where there are gift shops, a tea room, an old water wheel, and a lovely little trail along the creek that flows into the River Dee. I knew the girls would enjoy a short stroll through the woods and over the creek to get the day started.

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Then we drove up to the gatehouse at the entrance to Crathes Castle and started driving up the long scenic drive to the castle.

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Upon arrival, we made our way straight for the castle so they could tour the interior and enjoy the treasures it holds. 

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The girls liked the coat of arms above the original door to the castle, noting how short the entrance door was! People weren’t as tall back then as they are today!

Once inside, we began the tour, which took us first around the ground floor where the kitchens are.

We worked our way through the rest of the rooms on each floor, delighting in the various treasures and sites along the way.  For instance, in the grand hall, we saw the original Horn of Ley proudly displayed over the fireplace, which had been given to Alexander Burnard by Robert the Bruce way back in 1323 when he originally gifted these lands to him!

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There were many other curiosities and antique items scattered throughout that we enjoyed and pondered over as we toured the various sections of the castle’s interior.

When we were at the very top of the castle, and approaching the end of the tour, we caught a glimpse of the walled garden below outside a tiny upstairs window.

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Afterward, we descended down the servant’s long, narrow and steep spiral staircase to the ground floor once again and began making our way to those beautiful flowering grounds we had spied from above.

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The gardens are quite extensive, and there are several sections to explore, which are divided by staircases, walls, and immaculately trimmed yew hedges. We wandered about each part, which took a couple of hours to enjoy.

Following is a sampling of the beautiful sights we saw as we meandered about the pathways. Stunning flowers in bright hues, beautiful little nooks to sit in, enchanting structures, fountains, and whimsical statuary, to name a few…

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Gorgeous butterflies!

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A darling little ladybug…

 

 

…beautiful formal herb gardens…

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The exquisite hedges and sculptured Yew bushes…

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By the end of the garden tour, we were ready for a bit of a rest.

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As you might imagine, we had worked up an appetite, so after a rest on the lawn, we proceeded to the Tea Room to enjoy a bite to eat before getting back in the car and heading back home to Lindsay’s house.

Along the route back home, we stopped by the Falls of Feugh near Banchory so the girls could enjoy that delightful natural sight as well.

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It had been another full day of beautiful sights enjoyed by all. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a sample of them as well.  Perhaps they will serve as a temptation for you to visit them yourself sometime soon.

The rest of the week, we visited many more gardens and castles elsewhere in the Highlands. Stay tuned for yet more exciting and beautiful locales to come!

 

 

 

 

Author: Claudia Frew

Adventuresome, independent, and fun-loving 68-year young American great-grandmother who loves to travel; often going solo!

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