This walk visits a series of stone cairns on the estate of Balmoral Castle in Deeside. The cairns commemorate members of the British royal family and events in their lives. The circular walk runs for about 5 miles with nice woodland trails and fine views over the Deeside hills from the high points. You can start from the castle itself or from nearby Crathie.
The majority of the cairns were erected by Queen Victoria in the 19th century. They commemorate the marriages of Victoria's children, of the Princess Royal (to Frederick, Crown Prince of Prussia in 1858), Prince Albert Edward, Princess Alice, Princess Helena, Princess Louise, Prince Arthur, Prince Leopold and Princess Beatrice. The most striking cairn is the large pyramid erected by Victoria in memory of her husband Prince Albert after his death in 1861. In 2012 an additional cairn was erected and unveiled by the Queen to mark her Diamond Jubilee.
To continue you walking in the area head south and try the climb to Lochnagar. From the summit of the hill there's fabulous views back down to the Balmoral Estate and over the Cairngorms mountains. The walk starts from the Balmoral Estate Visitor centre where you can also pick up trails around the lovely Loch Muick. Near here there's also mile of fine walking trails in the Corrie Fee Nature Reserve. The reserve is rich with wildlife and also includes beautiful alpine flowers with rare mountain willows clinging to the steep crags of the bowl shaped valley.
Before you go please check the Balmoral Estate website for the best times to visit as it's not advised to do the walk when the the royal family is in residence.
Balmoral Cairns Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Balmoral Cairns Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Balmoral Cairns OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Balmoral Cairns Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
Head into nearby Ballater and you could pick up the popular 7 Bridges Walk. The circular walk explores the area around the town visiting a series of old bridges.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Cairngorms Walks page.