Aberdeen and Grampian Highlands
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The council region of Aberdeenshire does not include the city of Aberdeen which is a council region in it's own right. However the Aberdeenshire Council headquarters are in Aberdeen. This makes Aberdeenshire the only council region without it's headquarters in it's own area.
Aberdeenshire now includes the region of Grampian so the west of the region is dominated by the Grampian Mountains, the east of the region is more tranquil with the unspoiled coastline and splendid beaches. To the west of Aberdeen is the former province of Mar and between the Don and Dee valleys are the Castles of Mar. These castles are well worth visiting their style can be described as "fairytale" castles with a somewhat plain lower storey and the upper storeys having corbelled-out towers and gables. Built in the 17th century to meet the demands for increased comfort following the Union of the Crowns the buildings still needed to be able to have a defensive purpose too.
For many with an interest in castles Aberdeenshire has the Castle Trail which takes in 13. Among the best of the Castles of Mar is Craigievar Castle which is virtually unchanged since it's building in 1626. In summer the castle is a burst of colour with the castle built of pink stone and wonderful gardens. Typically the castle is festooned with towers and ballustrades to make it a photographers dream.
Crathes Castle is another colourful experience with wonderfully well kept gardens covering some 3 acres (1.2 ha). Each section of the planned gardens are lined with yew which were planted in 1702 and now serve to protect the delicate flowers. The castle is famous for it's spectacular painted ceilings making the inside as colourfull as the outside. The castle is an L-shaped tower house with gables, turrets and winding stairs.
Other castles include Castle Fraser famed for the "Laird's Lug" above the Great Hall where the Fraser family could evesdrop on their guests conversations. Another of the not-to-be-missed castles is Drum Castle.
Drum Castle has a gaunt battlemented tower which was built in 1296, making it one of the oldest tower houses in Scotland. Beside the tower house is a Jacobean mansion which was built in 1619 and in the 19th century the tower house and mansion were joined to make one building. The castle's walled gardens are home to a splendid collection of historic roses.
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