Prince Albert’s Cairn

I love Sundays. This is the one day of the week when none of us is working and there are no extracurricular activities to take children to. We like to spend our Sundays walking in the hills somewhere in Aberdeenshire and perhaps because there’s a bit of royal mania with the latest release of The Crown (which we’re watching and enjoying), we decided to explore the Balmoral estate and visit Prince Albert’s Cairn.

Queen Victoria loved Albert and was never the same after his death. He died of typhoid at 42. On the Balmoral estate is a cairn (a man-made pile of stones) that was erected by her in his memory. It’s very impressive and has a commanding view of the landscape.

The inscription reads:

To the beloved memory of Albert. The great and good Prince consort. Erected by his broken-hearted widow Victoria R. 21st August 1862.

The walk to the cairn starts at the Crathie carpark and takes about 1.5 hours there and back. It’s quite a steep climb in places which Daniel complained about for much of the way but I think he must have cooled off by the time we took this photo because he looks a picture of innocence.

Further down the hill is another, smaller cairn built to commemorate the marriage of Princess Beatrice (Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter) with Prince Henry of Battenberg.

The toilets at the Crathie carpark are currently closed because of the pandemic but there’s a wonderful café across the road and about 200m along called The Highlanders Bakehouse. I can’t rave about this place enough. We got lunch here before the walk – they have toilets – delicious food, the most spectacular selection of cakes, scones, and swirls, as well as a huge wall of homemade bread. The owner told us his wife does all the baking herself – she must be up all night long baking! They do home deliveries too apparently.

They also sell locally grown vegetables and some eco items in their café like knitted jumpers and soaps.

There’s a very cosy enclosed area to sit and eat but we got takeaway because we were in a bit of a rush. We’d left it quite late, leaving aberdeen at 12pm, and had limited hours of sunlight. The sun is setting at about 3:40pm at the moment.

At the start of the walk is a lovely suspension bridge over the River Dee.

The walk up the hill was just lovely and we were rewarded with some fab views at the top.

The first of the winter snow has fallen on some of the surrounding hills.

I really enjoyed this walk and I’m sure we’ll do it again.

5 Replies to “Prince Albert’s Cairn”

  1. I love the rough and ready look of the cafe.
    I didn’t realise cairns could be pyramid shaped, I always thought they were more like the stoney second one.
    It is great that you still have a family day once a week.

    1. I think cairns are more like the second one. The pyramid shape is unusual, I think. We don’t do something like this every Sunday but we try.

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