Crathes Castle outside of Aberdeen. It is a classic Scottish tower house and was lived in by the Burnett family for over 350 years. The had roots in the area since 1323 when Roberts the Bruce granted them nearby land. This was quite a lovely castle inside. Some rooms had colourful painted ceilings (very rare) (No pictures though! Ken!) But the really incredible thing about this castle is the marvellous gardens! There had been used as the setting for The Antiques Roadshow” a couple of weeks before we visited.
Some shots of the beautiful flowers.
I believe these are Sea Thistles which can been a deep blue or even purple.
In the green arbour.
Beautiful huge borders everywhere.
A pano shot of the Golden Garden with the castle in the background.
Craigievar Castle. This castle was the seat of Clam Sempill and the Forbes family. It is made from pink granite and the story goes that it provided Walt Disney with the inspiration for the castle in Snow White. You can only visit the insides with a guided tour. (Which we did). No photography allowed inside the castle.
This was the view across the surrounding fields.
The other side of the castle.
Having a rest.
This is Castle Fraser (of Outlander Fame). I am not sure if they actually filmed for the series here, but it is the namesake of “Jamie”. It is a beautiful castle with lovely grounds on which there were many families picnicking.
The Kelpies! I had seen a picture of these sculptures before we left Canada and searched them out. There are at a place called The Helix in Falkirk about an hour outside of Edinburgh. They are very impressive. Designed by Andy Scott they are 100 feet high, made of stainless steel and stand next to a new extension of the Forth and Clyde Canal. Kelpies are mythological transforming beasts possessing the strength of 10 horses and they represent the lineage of the heavy horse of Scottish industry and economy, pulling the wagons, ploughs, barges and coal ships that shaped the geographical layout of the Falkirk area. For me they evoked the memory or knowledge of what horses do for us humans and how many work and struggle and die. I think of all those horses who have road into battle and been slaughtered, who we never really hear about. I think of the beauty of these majestic creatures.
Eimear has been collaborating with some fellow artists to do an animation of the Kelpies!
There was a poem etched into the walkway:
Echo the great beasts that work among us
unbridled in this kingdom between canal and firth
here to harness the river
carry each weary traveller.
Bow down your strong heads to taste the water
Stretch up your long necks to face the sun
– Jim Carruth
On our first day in Edinburgh we walked to the Royal Botanic Gardens and wandered around until we got tired and found this nice bench to rest on.
One of the sections had lots of different grasses.
And more beautiful flowers.
Including these gorgeous hollyhocks.
Cindy tried to pick up this guy, but he wasn’t very responsive!
This fellow was in the forest walk we took to see Stirling Castle (below).
After the crowds in Edinburgh we decided to escape the tourist crowds and leave the city and go to Stirling castle (pictured here on the hill). Well, there were tourists here too. We made it up to the parking lot only to find that it was full so went down the mountain again, found a parking spot a long distance away and walked up the path which was free from people!
We had a final dinner out in Edinburgh at a place that a friend of ours had frequented (albeit at the Mother India cafe in Glasgow) some 30 or more years ago. It was actually quite nice to have delicious Indian food again. This was an Indian tapas restaurant which served small plates of food so we managed to sample a number of our favourites.
Edinburgh has quite a network of community gardens or garden plots. And also a grand network of walking/biking trails which are below street level.
Our last day in Scotland. Walking into the city on one of the trails.
Some plants along the way.
So, there you have it. Almost 7 months away from home…
3 months in wild and colourful India!
And 3 in historic, unruly Scotland (and a smattering of other places in between).
And we still love each other. Maybe even more than when we departed!
Homeward bound now! Off to visit some wonderful people in Toronto and Calgary before heading back home.