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Crathes Castle

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Crathes Castle is situated 17 miles west of Aberdeen, 2 miles east of Banchory.

Crathes Castle was built for the Burnett family from the 1550s, to replace an earlier building of theirs from the 1300s. You can visit 1st April until 31st October, from 10.30 a.m. until 5.00 p.m. Weekends in Winter. There is an entrance fee. Postcode: AB31 5QJ

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Visits allow you to view the Castle Exterior, Tours of the Castle, Gardens, Cafe / Shop, and there is a Go Ape for Treetop Adventures. The Royal Deeside Railway is next to the Castle Entrance, popular for Heritage Trains.

The image top is of Crathes Castle south side with the Gardens to the right.

Crathes Castle History

1200s - the Fraser's built Muchalls Castle on the coast, 13 miles east of where Crathes Castle is today.

1323 - the Land of Crathes was gifted to the Burnett of Leys family by King Robert the Bruce. The Bruce rewarded Clans that fought with him during the First War of Scottish Independance, a time the English tried and failed to take control of Scotland.

The Burnett family first built a Wooden Fort on an Island surrounded by Bog.

1543 - the 9th Laird, Alexander, married Janet Hamilton, daughter of Canon Hamilton of the Abbey of Arbroath, with her Dowry gaining Alexander substantial wealth.

1596 - the Tower of the Crathes Castle was completed for Alexander Burnett.

1600s early - Muchalls Castle was acquired by Alexander Burnett, with him and his son Thomas extending Muchals. Thomas became a leading Covenanter, trying to prevent Kings in England from running Scottish Churches.

1644 - the Marquis of Montrose with his Royalist Army visited Crathes Castle as they hunted down Covenanters. Sir Thomas Burnett signed a deal with the Royalists at that time, allowing him to keep control of his Castle.

1702 - hedging was planted around the vast Gardens, then trimmed into impressive shapes over the years, now one of the top attractions.

1716 - James VIII, the Old Pretender, stayed at Murchals during a Jacobite Rising.

1700s - Alexander, 4th Baronet of Leys / Crathes, refused to join the Jacobite Risings of 1715 and 1745. This allowed him to retain ownership of Crathes Castle after the Jacobites were defeated at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

Some other Burnett families fought with the Jacobites, with many killed, executed, or pardoned on the condition they emigrated to America.

1700s - Muchals Castle gained a reputation for Smuggling, claimed to have an underground Passage that led to the Sea. Smuggling at that time led to great Wealth, as it saved paying Taxes on goods such as Brandy, Wine and Tobacco.

1882 - Muchals was acquired by the Robertsons, later used as a Hotel, with the Robertsons said to have sealed up the underground passage.

1885 - Sir Robert Burnett inherited the title 11th Baronet of Leys, along with Crathes Castle. Robert lived in America on a large Ranch he had built up where Los Angles is today. He sold his Ranch before moving back to Crathes in Scotland.

1951 - 13th Baronet of Leys, Sir James Burnett, gifted Crathes Castle to the National Trust for Scotland to be preserved as a Tourist Attraction.

1997 - Muchals Castle was put up for sale, along with the Green Lady, resident Ghost. The Green Lady is claimed to be the Ghost of a young woman that drowned at the underground passage during a Smuggling venture.

2004 - excavations at Crathes found pits dated to about 10,000 years back, claimed to be the world's oldest known Lunar Calendar, used between 8000 BC and 4000 BC.

Today: it is unclear who ownes Muchals Castle.

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