The Balmoral Cairns

The Balmoral Cairns

by Scottish Tourer January 11, 2022

The Balmoral Cairns

Balmoral is a really special place to visit. With a huge array of Scottish heritage here and some truly breath-taking landscapes. Given the sheer beauty of this location it is no wonder the Queen choose to spend so much time and invest so much into the land here. We have spent weekends up in Balmoral alone and its really a place to relax, restore and rejuvenate yourself in some true Scottish style.  The Balmoral Cairns is a great walk, it is not for the infirm on their feet however as in bits it can be pretty muddy and hard going especially depending on the ever changing Scottish weather. Park up at Crathie Car Park , there is a small charge but its well worth the pennies. We do apologise for the slightly complicated directions enlisted here but we have tried to be as accurate as possible incase there are fewer signs that we encountered. 

Victoria was born at Kensington Palace on the 24th of May 1819 she was the only daughter of her parents and her father died shortly after her birth. She became the heir to the throne because the three uncles who succeeded her had no legitimate children who survived. Victoria was educated at home and enjoyed painting and drawing.

Queen Victoria was crowned when she was just 18years old and reigned for 63years she died in 1901. In 1840 Victoria married her first cousin Price Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Initially she was keen to maintain her authority over her husband and this was said to be the main contention within their marriage.  However this appeared to be short lived and Victoria relied on Albert heavily especially for foreign affairs. Together they had 9 children most of whom married into Royal families of Europe. Prince Albert died in 1861 at the age of 42, Victoria never got over her grief and entered a state of mourning, she only wore black until her death 40 years later. Victoria did retreat form the public eye for a long time initially receiving empathy from the public but she did some time after resume her duties in the public eye. Victoria died in 1901 at Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight. 

Prince Alberts Cairn with Scottish Tourer Motorhome hire

Where to find the Cairns

  1. Stepping out of the car at Crathie, it’s such a good starting point as there are toilets and there is a wee shop too. You head out of the carpark and you will come to a fork in the road by a large house bear left here and you will head towards a river. Here there is a suspension bridge to walk across, take a right and then a left this should be signposted for Lochnagar Distillery (this is also worth a visit whilst you are in the area).  Just after the bridge you take the left and follow that road, there is a wee line of cottages and if you keep vigilant you will spot a tiny cairns sign. There is a sign for Prince Alberts Cairn but we say to ignore this as you return via here. 
  2. At the end of the cottages there is a wooden gate , you head through here and then take a sharp right up a grassy track. You then go down hill slightly to a junction, take a left here and you go under a bridge then bear right onto the path. Thankfully you will now start spotting cairns! 
  3. About 50metres up this path you will come to the first Cairn, Princess Helena’s, this Cairn commemorated her marriage to Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein on the 5th of July 1866, this one is nestled in the beautiful forest. 
  4. After this head back to the path and continue along it until you reach Princess Louise’s Cairn which is located on a rocky area. This was erected to celebrate the marriage to the Marquis of Lorne In 1871. Louise was born in 1848 she was repoted to be a lively young child and intelligent. Louise unlike her sisters stated she had no intention of marrying a German prince and she choose her husband. This was initially disapproved of however her mother the Queen overruled and approved the marriage to bring new blood into the family. Her husband Lorne was homosexual and although they drifted apart Louise nursed him when he developed Alzheimers disease.
  5. Princess Alice is next her Cairn was erected to celebrate her marriage to Prince Louis of Hesse D’Armistadt on the 1st of July 1962. There are some wonderful views over Lochnager from this Cairn.
  6. Prince Alberts Cairn is so different to the others. The inscription here reads “To the beloved memory of Albert the great and good Prince Consort. Erected by his broken hearted widow Victoria R 21st August 1862”. This Cairn is a 4 sided pyramid and it sits on top of Craig an Lurachain. It stands overlooking the valley below and is a truly remarkable structure standing at 35feet, as Victoria wanted it to be seen all the way down the valley.
  7. The final Cairn is that of Princess Beatrice to mark her marriage to Prince Henry Maurice of Battenburg on the 23rd of July 1865. Beatrice was the 9th child of her parents and led a ert solitary life as her father died , Leopold was her closet sibling who was often unwell. When Beatrice declared her intentions to marry Henry her mother Queen Victoria did not spak to her for months as she wished for her to remain her companion and keep her daughter by her side.

The Cairns as you can see mark the marriages of Queen Victoria’s children Prince Alfred is the only of the Queens children to not have a Cairn dedicated to him. He married Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia in 1864. There is simply so much information to absorb here and so much to discover when you return home. 

Scottish tourer motorhome hire in the highlands of Scotland
The walk itself is around 6 miles with the very best woodland and views you could wish for.  Walking highlands give a detailed route map of the walk and this is an excellent source of information 

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