Crathes is one of the finest tower houses in the land. It has the elegance of a great house while retaining the cosiness of a small house. The castle is set in a fine wooded estate a few miles east of Banchory. In the same manner as Craigievar, the building starts off plainly at ground level, before breaking out into a profusion of ornate corbelling, string coursing, turrets, machicolations, stair towers, heraldic decorations, chimneys, pediments, water spouts and gables, which in the words of Nigel Tranter, are the unique glory of Scottish castellated architecture. Internally it is as fine as it is externally. Crathes was built by the Burnets of Leys, chiefs of that name, and while the castle is now in the hands of the National Trust, the family still have a house on the estate. The walled garden is also particularly fine. The early eighteenth century extension was originally three stories high, however it was gutted by fire in 1966 and is now a rather less dominant 2 stories. My wife, bless her, is descended from the Burnets of Crathes.