Crathes castle and gardens is a favourite haunt of ours. Just a short drive west of Aberdeen it offers a walled gardens, extensive grounds and woodlands to wander through which can easily take up a full day.
We got there early enough to almost have the gardens to ourselves. In mid-June the gardens are at their luxuriant best with colour everywhere and flowers spilling across paths.
We wandered the lanes and byways, visited the greenhouses and enjoyed the delightful feeling of the day warming up, the rain drops evaporating from leaves and stems and the world coming alive with bees and butterflies.
As the gardens got busier we wandered through the castle grounds back to the car for a picnic lunch looking out over fields of rippling wheat.
We finished off the day with a walk through one of the woodland trails, following it along the course of several burns and then back along the fields to the castle. On a strong breeze clouds raced through a blue skies over green fields. It was the zenith of springtime in Aberdeenshire.