Castles of Scotland - Crathes Castle
The two-laned frost-tipped roads of Aberdeenshire, proved to a be a scenic backdrop as we piloted towards our next destination, the "fairy-tale" like castle of Crathes (sounds like Crab-es not Cakes...yes, I have pronounciation problems).
Crathes Castle is 14 miles south-west of Abderdeen and a centuries back in time. The castle was started in 1553, though the land was granted to the Burnetts by Robert the Bruce (he sure gets around) back in the 1300's.
It wasn't completed until the late 1500's and the final wing was added in the 18th century. The castle stayed in the hands of the same family until 1951 when it was presented to the National Trust for Scotland, which looks after the castle, preserving it in its fine form.
The castle is unique in its beautiful turrets and well-preserved interior, complete with portraits, oak and rare Jacobean painted ceilings, heraldic shields, Elizabethan fireplace and more.
One of the more interesting facts about the castle is that it is said to be haunted. Apparently most things in Scotland are haunted and that's not surprising considering the rich, and sometimes bloody, history. The haunting that takes place at Crathes is said to occur in the Green Lady's Room.
According to Ghosts.com:
In the oldest part of the castle, the double tower, there is a room known as the Green Lady's Room because of the frequent sightings of such a phenomenon over many years. The identity of the Green Lady is uncertain, although some people believe her to have been one of the family. She has been seen both on her own and with a baby. The existence of such a woman in real time has been borne out by the fact that during restoration work in the building two skeletons were discovered, one of a woman, the other of a baby.
It is thought to be most likely that the woman had become pregnant in undesirable circumstances and that someone had taken the decision that it would be most prudent to avoid embarrassment to the family and dispose of both mother and baby. In spite of her remains having been freed from their place of hiding, the Green Lady continues to haunt the tower.
Aside from the requisite supernatural hi-jinks, the castle also boasts a wonderful garden, filled with many rare plants and trees.
Complete with an avenue of lime trees, and divided into eight different themes, the gardens were a chilly sight on this particularly crisp day.
The gardens are one of the more popular reasons why people visit the castle, and in summer months the grounds are packed with tourists admiring the scenic castle and it's beautiful vegetation. These formal gardens have been around for a few hundred years and the bordering Irish yew hedges date back to the early 1700's.
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