Tourists flock to Scotland for its famous crumbling castles, challenging mountain ranges and glorious green landscapes. But something you wouldn’t expect to see hiding amongst the forests of this little Northern European country is a triangular shrine dedicated to the loved one of Queen Victoria; a secret Scottish pyramid!
I first heard about the pyramid in Scotland whilst digging around for some off-the-beaten-track style places to hit up on my next trip North. This large monument is actually one of eleven Scottish cairns (man-made pile of stones) commemorating members of the British royal family. Prince Albert’s cairn (the largest) was built after his death in 1861 and now stands proudly on a hilltop overlooking the seemingly endless forest below.
How to get to the Balmoral pyramid
The clue is in the name. Don’t do what I first tried to do and Google the closest road to the pyramid. This’ll take you on a wild road trip that bolts an unnecessary extra hours’ worth of driving onto your journey. Instead, head to the car park at Balmoral Castle.
Whilst everyone else makes their way into the Scottish home of the royal family, cross the bridge and follow the road around to the left (B976). Passing the perfectly trimmed greens of the estate’s golf course, you’ll soon come to an uphill right turn that points you in the direction of the Royal Lochnagar Distillery.
One of the best walks in the Cairngorms National Park
This road climbs for a short time before splitting into 3, at which point you’ll head to the right (not the distillery route). Over the small bridge, take the left road past a row of pretty stone houses until you reach a small guard post. From here, the guard pointed us up the woodland path on the left. This forest path will lead you past one of the smaller cairns, and all the way to the top of the hill. Here you’ll find Prince Albert’s cairn. This walking route is one of the most beautiful (and peaceful) in the Cairngorms, with a few natural stop points along the way to allow rest from the uphill climb. The route can be slippery during wet weather, so be sure to bring good footwear.
Looking for other unusual places to see in Scotland? My post about the Isle of Arran highlights a tiny storage container church and ancient standing stones. Exploring the North of Scotland? Take a look at my new post-Covid guide to the North Coast 500 – including accommodation, things to do and prices.