Image Source: The Short Form
Scotland’s Hidden Cairngorms Pyramid at Balmoral Castle Estate
The Balmoral Pyramid, known as Prince Albert’s Cairn: Surrounded by majestic countryside, Ballater is a beautiful Victorian village in the heart of Royal Deeside within the Cairngorms National Park. Located 8 miles along the River Dee to the west, its rich culture, history, and royal connections are world famous, drawing tourists and guests alike to Aberdeenshire.
Whilst exploring the endless beauty of Aberdeenshire’s rural countryside, we’d recommend you add finding the Balmoral Cairns Pyramid to your adventure bucket list. Everything you need to know about the history, location, and directions to find the Balmoral Cairns Pyramid can be found below.
How To Get To Balmoral Cairns
If you are traveling by public transport, make sure you board the bus from Ballater and Braemar to Crathie and then you’re on the right track to beginning your royal Aberdeenshire adventure. And, if you are driving, make sure you park at the Balmoral car park close to the Crathie Tourist Information Centre which can be found just off the A93. If you’re using your beloved Sat Nav, use this post code and you’ll be ready to set off - AB35 5TB.
History - Who Built the Balmoral Cairns?
The Queen’s summer home, Balmoral Castle boasts miles of beautiful grounds ready to be explored as well as historical cairns built by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to celebrate the marriages of their children. Within the Balmoral Estate, there are 11 cairns to discover.
The most infamous of the 11 cairns is the Prince Albert Cairn which offers panoramic vistas across the stunning countryside landscape.
The Prince Albert Cairn was erected in 1862 by Queen Victoria following the passing of her beloved Prince Albert. This sculpture was erected using granite, measuring 41 feet by 41 feet at the base with a loving inscription at the base to her husband. The spectacular pyramid sculpture is not what you’d expect to find in the heart of the Cairngorms however, it symbolises great history. The other cairns commemorate the marriages of Queen Victoria’s children including Princess Royal, Prince Albert Edward, Princess Alice, Princess Helena, Princess Louise, Prince Arthur, Prince Leopold, and Princess Beatrice.
Image Source: Wikipedia
Balmoral Pyramid Walks
All 11 Balmoral Cairns, including Prince Albert’s Pyramid are only accessible by foot. Make sure you’ve got your walking boots strapped on for an uphill incline and terrain. When you arrive at the Balmoral Estate, there are two walking options you can take-
- Direct Walk to Prince Albert’s Cairn
- Full circular walk of the Balmoral Cairns
Please note that the full circular Balmoral Cairns walk is closed throughout August and September, but luckily you can still take the direct route straight to Albert’s pyramid.
Prince Albert’s Cairn Walking Directions
This route is only 30 minutes, albeit steep, to reach the Balmoral Pyramid along a countryside woodland path. Walking boots or shoes are a must, in case it’s quite muddy! Once you reach Prince Albert’s Cairn you can enjoy breathtaking views across the royal estate and over the Cairngorms National Park.
H3: Prince Albert’s Cairn (The Balmoral Pyramid) Walk Route Instructions
- From the car park, walk over the green bridge, across the River Dee
- Once you reach the main gates to Balmoral Castle, bare left to the South Deeside Road
- Follow the road for around 800m and turn right up the hill, signposted to the Royal Lochnagar Distillery
- After 100m uphill, turn right over a small bridge into the village of Easter Balmoral
- After you’ve crossed the bridge, immediately turn left and go uphill passing little quaint cottages
- Keep going up this road for 300m until you arrive at a sign indicating left up a footpath signposted ‘Prince Albert’s Cairn’
- Continue up this steep hill for 1km to the summit where you will be rewarded with views of the Balmoral Pyramid and spectacular scenery
- Once you’ve enjoyed the scenes, taken your photographs, retrace your steps back downhill to the car park
Full Circular Walk of the Balmoral Cairns
This Balmoral Cairns walk is around 6 miles and can take from 2 - 3 hours to complete. Remember, make time for photographs and pit stops for water breaks!
Balmoral Cairns Walk Route Instructions
- Follow the steps above to Prince Albert’s Cairn
- From Albert’s Cairn, continue along the woodland path to descend to the other side of the hill
- Turn right at the land rover track then proceed for 300m until you reach a junction
- Head right at the junction and follow the laid track downhill to a wooden gate
- Go through this gate and keep walking downhill to Easter Balmoral
- Leave the Estate premises and follow the road back down to the car park
If you’d like to find out more about the gradient and another walking path description, highlighting all of the cairns you’ll pass, click here.
Image Source: Lannies Food & Travel
Following your royal adventure, retreat to our beautiful cosy Deeside Inn, where you can put your feet up, relax and refuel after exploring the Balmoral Castle Estate and Cairngorms National Park.
Keep on exploring:
- Discover more things to do in Ballater and Royal Deeside.
- Find more castles in Aberdeenshire here.
- Get inspired with more things to see and activities in The Cairngorms National Park.