22 June 2010

Woollie Weekend

I visited friends this weekend in Aberdeenshire, NE Scotland. It was lovely to see them, married a week......they offered great bed and breakfast!

On the way home I stopped by a couple of National Trust Castles for a visit. The good thing about volunteering with the National Trust is that if you do 48 hours a year you get a volunteer card that gives you free access to National Trust properties across the UK, so popping in for a quick visit is never out of the question.

First I went to Craigievar Castle, the perfect fairytale castle, a tower house, with pink harling (almost like icing on a cake, used to protect the stone from the harsh Scottish weather - and a traditional building style here in Scotland), built in 1610. It's been closed for a couple of years as the harling needed replaced, but finally on the 4th of June, the scaffolding was taken down and the castle re-opened.


After a quick wander round the grounds I moved on to the more visited Crathes Castle. It is one of Scotland's best preserved castles and has the most amazing walled gardens, with its world renowned June border (the most amazing herbacous borders - one a riot of colour and another more stately white) and beautiful woodland. I spent almost an hour in the garden - the borders, the trees, the topiary yew hedges.....all amazing.


The castle with the famous June border in the foreground.


A close up of the border, a mass of flowers and a palette of colours.


Poppies and lupins.....some of my favourites.


The yew topiary (well actually just a small part of it!)

I took off on one of the woodland walks that surround the castle and didn't see another soul as I meandered through the trees, listening to the wind whipping by, everything bright and green - so many shades of green.

I drove home over the Cairn-o-Mount road, high up into the hills, past the large round cairn that has stood atop the hill for over 4000 years, though many of the stones have probably been added by generations of travellers. It was windy, but I stopped and took a walk so I could photograph the swathe of bog cotton, the white cotton wool balls on stalks blowing in the wind.


Back, closer to home I went to the strawberry hut to get my weekly supply of local berries - the sweetness of the Ava strawberries is something! Then on to the farm shop and to stop by a local graveyard, to see what appears to be the smallest, most perfect church in the world, but is actually a mausoleum. I have driven past it often, but never walked up to it.

10 comments:

Kate said...

It looks like a proper castle an love that topiary!

Lynn said...

I love love love old buildings. I've been to Great Britain twice, and that's one of my favorite things to do, wander around castles. Maybe it's because in my family history was once a castle dweller, the 13th Duke of Arundel. Another fairy-type castle.

I don't think I'd like to live in one, though. Kinda drafty and not too cozy. I'd rent the castle and live in a coach house or something. LOL

Great shots. The cotton is amazing.

Thimbleanna said...

Your pictures are beautiful Di! I love it when you post about your National Trust visits. My Aunt is here and we've started to talk about our return trip to Scotland -- I'll definitely be referring to your blog as we plan!!!

montague said...

wow those cotton fields!

kiko said...

Lupins are one of my favorites! I have some purple ones blooming in my garden right now which I transplanted from a dear friends garden who moved away.....a bit sentimental.

painted fish studio said...

everything is so beautiful! i am so jealous of your travels...

ibb said...

Lovely cotton fields. Your weekend plans are really amazing..I should learn from you.
Any travelling plans this year? I am looking for ideas...

Fei An said...

I was in Ireland once and visited castles there and quite amazed to get inside to take a look.

You are so active and do a lot of things all the time. I admire your passion to life.

Thanks for the post, I am looking forward to it.

Bethany Hissong said...

Do you realize that you live in the most perfect part of the world??? This seems like a fairytale to me. And the cotton blowing in the wind... poetry in photography!!! Beautiful!!!!!!!

Natascha Rosenberg said...

The first castle looks like a fairy tale castle! Looks like a great day to me!