“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Monday, 11 November 2013

Crathes Castle...Blue Monday

When the dawn breaks to a beautiful crisp autumnal day, you can do nothing but head outdoors to appreciate it. And that's exactly what my daughter and I did.
Wrapped in our winter woolies, hats, gloves and boots plus of course our camera we headed along the River Dee towards Banchory. 
Our destination is my favourite local castle. 
Crathes Castle has fairytale turrets, gargoyles and the ancient Horn of Leys given in 1313 by Robert the Bruce are just a few of the features of this historic castle. 
The gardens of Crathes and estate are ideal for walks, picnics, or just to relax and enjoy. There are six separate trails to explore. 
A delight at any time of year, the famous gardens feature great yew hedges which never cease to amaze me. There are also colourful herbaceous borders. 
So are you ready for a walk? 

The Crathes Gate House appears in the background.

This photo is for everyone who visited yesterday for Silent Sunday and wanted to take a further peek through that gate...don't worry I'm going to revisit in the spring, when there will be so much more to see. I hope you don't mind me just showing a fraction of it today. 
Here's another gateway...which has 'Rebuilt in 1810' engraved over the top. 
You can also see the castle in the background. 
It was a perfect day to appreciate the autumn colours.
Still waters...
The metal structure on the right-hand side in the photo below is a fish ladder. This allows salmon to continue swimming upstream to their spawning grounds where they themselves were born. Salmon are capable of swimming against extremely strong currents and leaping up large waterfalls. Autumn is when the salmon are most prolific but unfortunately we didn't see any this time.

And so onto the castle...
Okay, so I've teased you enough... here is the majestic Crathes Castle.
I adore the ancient topiary hedges of Irish yew dating from 1702 which separate the garden's eight themed areas. 
They remind me of Walt Disney's 'Alice in Wonderland' don't you think? 
I wouldn't be surprised to see them dance around. 


Because we were wanting to stay outside, we didn't go into the castle but don't worry I will take you in soon. 
But we did stop for a much needed cuppa and a scone of course
(as one does after walking the forest trails
plus a visit into the art and craft wee shops and gallery.

Here's my daughter perusing all of the fabulous artwork...
(Don't worry the boys were having a great time too...in the pub watching their football team win).  
Just look at that blue sky!
 Wow, it was such a fantastic day and who would think that we're in the middle of November.


Which is why I'll wish you all a Happy Blue Monday.
Don't forget to pop across to see more of the Blue Monday posts at Smiling Sally's blog.
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36 comments:

  1. Wow! What beautiful place and fantastic photography for HBM ~ beautiful daughter and Mom too ~ fun day ^_^ ~ thanks, carol, xxx

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    1. Thanks Carol...it was a beautiful fun day and I'm so happy that I was able to capture it ;D
      Aww you are too kind....now you're making me blush.
      Thanks for popping over...have a great day :D
      xoxo

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  2. What a wonderful place to walk in. I read about yew hedges all the time but am never really sure what they look like.

    Darla

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    1. Well the Yew trees in the castle photo are pretty special. Years of tender loving care and expert gardening skills have shaped them into these incredible shapes. I'm having a play in my garden and have tried (emphasis on tried) to shape a bird. I'm not sure anyone online will ever get to see it...it takes years to grow and trim annually to get the finished shape. At the moment it's indescribable! hehe
      Great to have you visit...see you soon xoxo

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  3. Hello Nessie,

    What a beautiful place to walk. Thanks for taking me along. You're smart to carry your camera; we bloggers have learned to do that, haven't we?

    I enjoyed spotting the blues.

    Happy Blue Monday!

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    1. Hi Sally,
      It was a beautiful walk and thankfully because I had my camera it's all captured forever ;D
      I'm glad you could join me and once again thanks for hosting.
      Have a great week whatever you get up to :D
      xoxo

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  4. amazing, when was the garden established, how old is this castle? I love the way they sculpted the trees, beautiful art!

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    1. Oh so many questions Laurie....hehe
      Well the castle was built in the second half of the 16th century and the 1.5 hectares of walled garden, which incorporates herbaceous borders and many unusual plants, plus the great yew hedges which are examples of the art of topiary. They date from as early as 1702.
      I plan to do a complete post on the gardens and inside the castle (all about it's history etc) but probably that will be in the spring.
      Hopefully you'll be able to join me then ;D

      Have a wonderful week my friend ~ enjoy and I'll be across as soon as I can :D
      xoxo

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  5. beautiful photographs, I have never visited the castle, I think I must next time I visit my daughter in Aberdeen, it looks gorgeous ( especially as there is a teashop) :)

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    1. Oh I think that's a great idea ;D
      I think you'll have a lovely time (just so long as you book the weather...hehe) You sound like you're a teapot like me :D
      Thanks for popping by and I hope you have a great week.

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  6. Oh, wow! Your photographs are so beautiful, Neesie. I will have to remember to visit Crathes next time I'm up your way ... probably in August next year. And isn't that blue sky fabulous ... we are suffering rain and hail here in Ayrshire, yuck! Elizabeth xx

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    1. Yet another glorious day here in Aberdeenshire Elizabeth. We just can't believe that we've had such a great summer and now here we are in the middle of November and it's still good. It's kinda spooky but I don't mind...I just hope it continues ;D

      I think it's a great idea to visit Crathes next time your up this way.
      I plan to visit the gardens and inside the castle, so there will be another post at some stage so as they say..."watch this space" if you want a little preview!

      Sorry about your weather but maybe by now it's improved. I hope so :D
      Have a great week no matter what and thanks for stopping by
      xoxo

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  7. What a wonderful place to spend the day! Just lovely.

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    1. It was Betty...we had a lovely time.
      Walking with nature, autumn colours, birds twittering, sunshine and blue sky, surrounded by a castle and it's history, beautiful gardens, art and craft shops, tea shop AND a gallery ;D
      We couldn't have asked for more.

      I hope you had a wonderful weekend too. Thanks for popping in and leaving a comment. I really appreciate it :D
      xoxo

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  8. What a tour! Wish I could visit there myself. Such grand history

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    1. Pop it on your bucket list Terry....it'd be worth it.
      It is special but then there's lots of special historical places to visit in Scotland (well in the UK in general really) ;D
      I'll show you more in the coming months so I hope you'll keep visiting.
      Have a great week whatever you have planned...enjoy! :D

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  9. Photos are gorgeous and that blue sky! Wow! Brilliant and bright and perfect for Bluer Monday! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I know...it's incredible isn't it?
      It's the same today. I was awake well before dawn this morning to see our daughter off back to Edinburgh and the sky was so clear with the stars twinkling like diamonds.
      People always associate Scotland with terrible wet weather so I'm on a mission to prove otherwise. Thankfully I've been successful so far!
      Have a great week and thanks for stopping by my place :D

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  10. Thanks for taking on your trip to/around the castle. Love your captures of the water! Do you know around what time the castle was built?

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    1. Well, the castle was built in the second half of the 16th century and the 1.5 hectares of walled garden, which incorporates herbaceous borders and many unusual plants, plus the great yew hedges which are examples of the art of topiary. They date from as early as 1702.
      I'll be writing another post about the castle and all of it's history when I revisit. I'm not sure when that will be but hopefully it'll be soon.

      Thanks for your comment...I really appreciate it :D
      I hope you have a wonderful week.

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  11. Just lovely. I feel like I was there with you. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed our little trip ;D
      It was great and I'll be returning soon to write more about the castles history and gardens.
      Have a great week :D

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  12. Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh, how I love Scotland and the UK! This post is heaven to me, and I am going to live vicariously through you today and enjoy this lovely spot. I didn't visit there when we were in Scotland, but we did see the River Dee. Thanks so much for sharing, Neesie!

    xo

    Sheila

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    1. Hehe....Oh Sheila you gave me such a giggle with your lovely comment ;D
      Fancy you having seen the River Dee...you'll just have to come back to see Crathes Castle.
      It was my pleasure to share with you Sheila and I'll be sharing more over the next few months. I hope you'll be able to come with me once again ;D

      Have a great week and thanks for making me chuckle.
      xoxo

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  13. Thank you, Nessie for the peek through the garden gate! What a spectacular place! I will have to content myself with being a cyber visitor through your lens....and I will certainly enjoy doing so. The Fall garden looks amazing. Such a fabulous place to go for a walk. Thanks for sharing. Hugs

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    1. It is a very beautiful place and one that I'll be visiting a few times throughout the coming months. I hope you'll continue to come with me ;D
      I'm so happy that you enjoyed our walk.

      Hugs to you too Nan,
      Have a great week
      xoxo

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  14. I had no idea that salmon needed a ladder.... :)
    Beautiful photos -- love the topiaries, and to think they have grown for such a long time -- they've always fascinated me. Love the reflection too.

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    1. Hello Sarah,
      I think it just makes life a little easier for the salmon because it provides
      chambers or small artificial pools, each one with a water level slightly higher than the one below, a series of steps, gradually taking the fish up stream to their breeding grounds. It's a modern invention to help the salmon.
      Sometime from April I'll be visiting a fantastic place that has a great vantage spot for watching the salmon leap. I hope you'll be able to join me ;D

      The hedges are incredible. I'll take some close up photos when I revisit.
      They look so full of character and when you think how long they've been growing there...they must have some stories to tell if they could talk!
      Have a wonderful Wednesday :D

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  15. I'm so glad you took us back for a walk outside the castle and to the art/gift shop. Can hardly wait to see the inside. It does look like they could get up and dance about with accompanying music drifting across the grass and under that blue sky. :)

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    1. It's a fantastic place to spend the day...walking, shopping, eat and drinking surrounded by a plethora of history and fantastic sighs for photographic opportunities ;D
      What more could you want?
      We were very happy bunnies
      xoxo

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  16. Hello Neesie, I have been out of town and a bit late visiting. I am very glad I did not miss your wonderful post. I too love castles and this one has captured my heart. The grounds are beautiful and I would have loved being outside taking your tour as well. The art and gift shop looks so interesting. Lots of blue to admire. Thank you for sharing your adventure. I would love to see more.

    xo, Jeanne

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    1. Hello Jeanne ;D
      Aww you say the nicest things. Thank you and I'm so glad that you didn't miss the post either.
      I will be revisiting the castle and grounds, as it's virtually on my doorstep and there's so much more to share. I hope you'll be able to come with me again next time.
      There's also another castle plus Balmoral of course, where The Queen loves to spend her summer vacation...plus too much to mention here.

      I hope your week is going well and I hope to see you soon
      xoxo

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  17. Hi Neesie
    How special to be able to get up and say at breakfast, 'now which castle shall we visit today for a cuppa?!' Crathes Castle looks a fabulous place to visit. What a gorgeous autumn day, now tell me how many paintings did you buy, and did you have Scottish salmon for dinner?!
    Wren x

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    1. Now that you say it like that I realise just how lucky we are. There are numerous castles nearby but I think Crathes is my favourite. ;D
      It was a fabulous day and I'm so happy that we made the most of it.
      Look (sounding like an Aussie here) you should know...what happens on a girlie day stays on a girlie day! My lips are sealed sweetie :|
      It was mid morning and our Sunday Roast Lamb was gently roasting in a bath of red wine in the Aga for when we returned so no Salmon for dinner...just a lovely fresh jam and cream scone with pots of tea ~ Perfick!!!

      Have a great day and make sure you enjoy it to the max.
      See you soon xoxo

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