Castle Fraser

IMG_3335Yesterday, 17 August 2017, was another bonnie day in Scotland so Lindsay and I decided to take advantage of the good weather to head out for yet one more adventure together to visit one more castle together in Aberdeenshire.

I’ve been here with Lindsay in Aberdeen for the last 40 days or so having a grand old time with him cavorting all over the countryside. We’ve had lots of laughs and seen oh-so-many wonderful sights together.  As they say, however, all good things must come to an end and tonight after I finish this post I’m going to have to pack up my suitcase once again and start heading south on my own say fare-thee-well to my good buddy Lindsay.  I’ll still have at least another 5 days or so in Scotland visiting friends in Scone and further south near Edinburgh.  I’ve been in Scotland since the 13th of July (67 absolutely glorious days so far in the land I love best!) and it’ll be difficult at best to leave.

I digress… as I was saying, Lindsay and I took advantage of the lovely sunshine yesterday and headed out about 15 miles west of Aberdeen to visit Castle Fraser!

driving map

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I parked the car after dropping off Lindsay at the front gate and walked back down to meet up with him again, soaking up the view before me.  Isn’t it just wonderful?

We walked around the west side of the castle taking it all in toward the entrance on the south side.

There’s the front door where we’ll enter to take the self-guided tour.  Before we do, however, let’s take a look at the various heraldic symbols, the cylindrical imposing tower, and elaborate turrets…

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IMG_3369This castle is a National Trust for Scotland property, and we’re in luck today because unlike a lot of places, we are allowed to take pictures indoors as long as the flash is turned off!  We were greeted by these two wonderfully delightful and helpful ladies at the reception desk.

Once the tour begins our first stop is the kitchen!

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As well as cooking implements they also had on display this artfully crafted model of the castle…

Next, we began the climb up the first set of stairs (complete with spy holes in the stairwell) to the next level leading into the Grand Hall.

This massive Hall opened up before us.  The door we entered was not the original 1400 medieval door to the castle.  The rock-lined alcove with the ‘kist’ (locking trunk) featured in the photo below was where the first door to the castle actually existed.

I took pictures of the interpretative sheets explaining each room as we entered them so you can read for yourself about each room and its features.  (Hint: If you find that the image is too small to read as it appears, right-click on the picture and ‘open it in a new tab,’ it will open up in another window; then to make it larger, and therefore, easier to read, use your zoom button on your browser page and increase the size of the image for easier reading.)

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So many interesting things around the Great Hall to admire… paintings, violins, and family genealogy!

IMG_3422Immediately after leaving the Great Hall through the doorway beside the fireplace, we entered the dining room.

Usually, the table is set with its finery, but preparations for a wedding that would soon take place were underway for the occasion, but there was plenty of other things to look at and admire.

IMG_3431IMG_3433Just off of the dining room was a small room containing a very interesting and unique exhibition – a very old map that been wadded up to stop a draft in a chimney and found years later under the floorboards!IMG_3438

 

 

It was quite amazing to look at the ancient map mounted on the wall behind glass.

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IMG_3439There were extensive display boards explaining the process that was undertaken for the preservation of the old map.  I took individual pictures of each of the display items so you can see each one up close.

I created a photo collage below of all the individual images. If you click on the collage, the photos will open up in another window allowing you to scroll through each of the photos.

We walked back through the dining room to the other side, stepped through the door and entered the round tower portion of the castle into the Peacock Parlour. It was chock full of more interesting items to explore…

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We then began the steady climb up the towers’ winding staircase stopping at each subsequent level to visit various bedrooms and sitting rooms until we reached the top floor which was the Estate Office.

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One final climb up the spiral staircase and through the low door took us to the very top of the tower with dazzling magnificent panoramic views of over 300 acres of landscaped grounds surrounding the castle!

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The top of the tower also provided dizzying views below!

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We enjoyed those outstanding and amazing views and afterward began our descent back down the stairwell until we arrived at the next stop in the tour at the Library near the ground floor.

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IMG_3587The staff and guides throughout the castle were so nice, helpful and extremely informative. We enjoyed their input, stories, exceptional service immensely. Although it was a self-guided tour, someone was always nearby to answer questions, bring our attention to special items we may have missed such as this lovely lady we really enjoyed interacting with while we purveyed the library.

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At the end of the tour, we came to the final displays in the Trophy Room and China room.

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IMG_3613Just before we left the China Room we noticed what we thought might be tea mugs when we discovered they were in fact, beer mugs, and appeared to have funny little creatures in the bottom of them.  About the same time, we also noticed the paper explaining the “Frog Mugs.”

Curious and quite unique!

Another interesting tidbit below caught our eye as well…

The last surprise was hiding in the corner in the wall about knee height in the wall. When we looked through the hole, we discovered it was the “Laird’s Lug!” Many times, when visiting castles, you’ll see something like this hole in the wall somewhere.  ‘Lug’ means ‘ear’ in Scottish, therefore, these holes allowed the Laird (or Lord of the Castle) or his loyal “spies” or “guards” to eavesdrop or keep an eye on a visitor while they stood and talked down in the Great Hall. In the picture below, Lindsay indicates where the small hole appears on the wall above the door down in the Great Hall.

Many times, when visiting castles, you’ll see something like this hole in the wall somewhere.  ‘Lug’ means ‘ear’ in Scottish, therefore, these holes allowed the Laird (or Lord of the Castle) or his loyal “spies” or “guards” to eavesdrop or keep an eye on a visitor while they stood and talked in the Great Hall below. In the following picture collage, Lindsay indicates where the small hole appears on the wall above the door downstairs in the Great Hall.

That was a fun and interesting tour.  Back outside, we strolled around the other side of the castle. Lindsay thought he might give Weight Tossing a try like he witnessed at the heavy-weight competition events at the Highland Games this past weekend!

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Quite a stunning castle, majestic and grand. We worked our way back to the car up the tree-lined path, stopping at the walled gardens on the way.

The ancient burls on this tree were amazing.  I bet the wood grain inside is a sight to behold.

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There’s the garden’s gate; let’s enter and explore its wonders and delights.

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Quite the multi-faced sun dial and the garden’s center!

IMG_3683Such a delightful garden!  Small and compact, but gracious and calming; a nice fragrant retreat.

When we arrived back at the car, there was one more surprise waiting for us. Parked right next to us was this sensational and pristine Austin 7 British saloon car, the “New Ruby,” that was popular in the 1930’s about the time the Model T was popular in the U.S.

We had worked up an appetite after all that exploring, so we headed to our favorite pub, The Ploughman, in Peterculter, and treated ourselves to their signature dish, ‘Steak Braveheart.’

While we waited for that divine dish to arrive, we admired their delightfully extensive collection of tea pots that line the window sills throughout the pub.

It was deliciously divine! A wonderful ending to a perfectly phenomenal finale of adventures in Scotland with Lindsay. I’ll miss being here with him when I leave in the morning to head south.  We’ve made a lot of wonderful fun memories together cavorting all around the countryside!  Thank you, Lindsay!

 

 

 

 

Author: Claudia Frew

Adventuresome, independent, and fun-loving American 64-year young great-grandmother who loves to travel; often going solo!

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