The Strange Story Behind Scotland’s Pyramids

Visitors to Balmoral are often astonished to discover a series of pointed structures that would look more at home in Egypt

In the heart of Aberdeenshire lies a rather strange and daunting sight: a series of structures that reach high up from the humble surroundings of the Scottish countryside. Located within the Balmoral estate, the pyramids, or cairns, have attracted the attention of walkers and travellers from far and wide. Visible from all over, the Balmoral Cairns were built in the late Nineteenth Century from large stone blocks, creating pyramid-like structures.

The first cairns were built from 1858 onwards to commemorate the marriages of Queen Victoria’s children, including the Princess Royal to Frederick, Crown Prince of Prussia.

The largest and most famous Cairn was erected by Queen Victoria in memory of her husband Prince Albert after his death in 1861.

Later, more Cairns were built and included one dedicated to Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent, with one being built as recently as 2012 for the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Most of the Cairns still stand today, although one built to commemorate Victoria’s servant and confidante John Brown after his death was destroyed by Edward VII because of his dislike of the man.

In 2012, a Cairn was built to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with 60 stones (one for each year) being placed).

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