2022 Oot an Aboot

The Balmoral Cairns 11 June

Despite a few late call-offs, a total of 7 members set off to walk around a number of the cairns on Balmoral Estate. Most of these were erected to commemorate the marriages of the Children of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. We visited the cairns to Princess Helena, Princess Louise, Prince Leopold, Prince Arthur, and Princess Alice. Also along the way we visited the Purchase Cairn, raised to commemorate the purchase of Balmoral Estate by the royal family in 1852. All of these are located along the high points of Craig Gowan or, in Gaelic, Creag a’ Ghobhainn, (the rocky hill of the smith).

At present Craig Gowan is covered in pine trees and views out from most of the cairns are a little restricted. However early landscape paintings from the 1850s show only a sparse cover of birch trees on the lower slopes with the hill tops covered only in heather so the cairns would have been very prominent in the landscape when they were first built.

On nearby Creag an Lurachain we visited Prince Albert’s cairn, erected by Queen Victoria after Albert’s death. Finally, on the lower slopes of the hill, we visited the cairn to the marriage of Princess Beatrice, the youngest of all Victoria’s children. A great day out which we all thoroughly enjoyed.