If you go down to the woods at the National Trust for Scotland’s Castle Fraser, you’re in for a big surprise with elephants and giraffes having just arrived.
Some topiary animals that are more at home in Africa than Aberdeenshire have come for a visit.
The magical menagerie has arrived at the conservation charity’s historic Aberdeenshire estate, as the temperature plummets.
The pair of giraffes and three elephants are usually found outside the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital. They have packed their trunks for a safari at Castle Fraser while the outside space at the hospital undergoes construction work.
The animals were provided by donations to The ARCHIE Foundation, the official charity of RACH, and instead of placing the topiary animals into storage, ARCHIE approached the National Trust for Scotland to see if they could find a temporary home where visitors could still enjoy them while experiencing Scotland’s heritage.
The creatures have been placed in the woodland garden at Castle Fraser and have created a fun feature for families out exploring over the festive period and beyond.
Iain Hawkins, National Trust for Scotland general manager for the north east said: ‘We’re very excited to welcome these beautifully designed topiary animals to our stunning grounds at Castle Fraser. They have brought lots of happiness to children and families at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and we hope that families have fun tracking them down during their visit.’
Chief executive of The ARCHIE Foundation, David Wood, said: ‘We’re really grateful to the National Trust for Scotland for helping us find a home for the animals while improvements are carried out. The giraffes and elephants are really popular at RACH, and we hope families continue to enjoy seeing them while they’re on safari at Castle Fraser.’
The ARCHIE Foundation is a charity that makes a difference to children’s healthcare, providing extras to support the NHS, including parents’ accommodation, specialist staff and equipment.
They first installed the giraffes and elephants at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital in June 2016 to finish off their new garden at the site. The garden was designed to serve as a relaxing area for sick children and families at the hospital.
The animals will remain at Castle Fraser for approximately a year or until the works to the hospital have been completed.