SCOTLAND is best known for its rolling landscapes, enchanting castles and Scotch whiskey – but did you know that it also has a number of pyramids?
You may have seen the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, but it turns out you can visit an impressive pyramid on King Charles’ Balmoral estate too.
The pyramid is actually called “Prince Albert’s Cairn”, and is a memorial site dedicated to Queen Victoria’s husband.
A “cairn” is a Gaelic term for a structure made from stacked stones, and they have been seen around the world since prehistoric times as burial sites, memorials, or landmarks.
Balmoral actually has 11 cairns to discover, but Prince Albert’s site is the most famous, and offers breathtaking views across the stunning Cairngorms National Park, which is the largest national park in the United Kingdom.
The granite-made monument was erected in 1862 by Queen Victoria following the passing of her beloved husband in 1861, and it measures 41 feet by 41 feet at the base.
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Those who undertake the steep climb to the Prince Albert Cairn, can see the loving inscription on the side from Queen Victoria to her husband.
It reads: “To the beloved memory of ALBERT, the great and good Prince Consort.
“Erected by his broken-hearted widow VICTORIA. R. – 21st August,1862.”
Prince Albert died prematurely at the age of 42 after contracting an illness, and led to a grief-stricken Queen Victoria mourning him wearing black for the rest of her reign.
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While Prince Albert Cairn was created in his memory, the late royal’s body was actually laid to rest at Frogmore House & Gardens in Windsor.
Queen Victoria was later buried next to her husband in the mausoleum when she died forty years later in 1901.
The first pyramid to be erected by the royal family had happier memories.
It was the “Purchase Cairn”, and was made after Prince Albert purchased the estate for Queen Victoria in 1852.
The couple had a hands-on role in the construction, and helped to place the first stones.
The other cairns were created to celebrate the marriages of Queen Victoria’s children, including Princess Royal, Prince Albert Edward, Princess Alice, Princess Helena, Princess Louise, Prince Arthur, Prince Leopold, and Princess Beatrice.
The full Balmoral Cairns walk is about 6 miles long and takes about two to three hours to complete.
But if you are just keen to see Prince Albert’s Cairn, it is located about 1.5 miles from the Balmoral car park.
The good news is it is totally free to visit, but you’ll just need to pay for Balmoral Castle parking while you’re there.
The Balmoral Estate has been the Scottish residence of the royal family since 1852 – and was referred to as the Queen's favourite home.
Last year, the beloved Queen Elizabeth passed away peacefully at the castle on September 8, at the age of 96.
Each summer, royals flock to the sprawling castle and do activities including fishing, hunting, picnicking and barbecuing.
As well as the main castle, there are 150 other buildings on the estate, including Birkhall, the estate of King Charles, Craigowan Lodge, and several other cottages.
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As far as memorial locations go, Balmoral is a breathtaking spot.
Princess Beatrice said of the Scottish residence: “It's the most beautiful place on earth, I think Granny is the most happy there. She really, really loves the Highlands.”
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