August In Scotland

Prince Albert's Cairn August in Scotland

August in Scotland is traditionally the busiest time of year for visitors and quite often it is hard to find the accommodation of your choice without having booked well in advance. Unsurprisingly, this is because many international Visitors like to take advantage of the best of Scotland’s weather and of course the tradition of an August holiday.

This leads me to ask has anyone dared to book a flight recently?  Like the rest of the World, I am keen to travel and start exploring again. As a result, I have had to completely abandon one trip to see friends and have fortunately had all my expenses refunded. I am now hoping to visit Krakow and “spend” my non-refundable 4-night stay.  So now I am busy trying to work out which test I take before, which one I take with me and use before I depart and then there is the whole self-isolation, test to release process when and if I get back.  When did life become so complicated?Balmoral Castle

All of which leads me on to say that spending August in Scotland in 2021 starts to look extremely attractive for many guests who find the rules confusing, to say the least!

All of this is possible because thankfully there is so much to explore in Scotland and what opportunities this presents to find so many undiscovered treasures. One such treasure that was discovered many years ago by Queen Victoria is Balmoral Castle Estate. Normally during August the Castle is closed for visitors and even though the Queen will spending longer in Scotland this year a lot of the Grounds will still remain open.

The Balmoral Estate is a beautiful 90-minute drive from us and since you have super long daylight hours during August in Scotland this is a wonderful time of year to visit the Estate.

This is where having the time and opportunity to explore really pays off. In spite of having visited the Balmoral Estate many times during my life, I had never made the time nor the opportunity to explore the Cairns Walk and the Grounds. The Cairns Walk is a delightful ramble throughout the Forest above the Castle. Spend as long as you like, take a variety of routes suitable for all levels and explore as many Cairns as you can.Balmoral Walks Map

To be fair in order to do this walk justice ideally you should book yourself tickets for the Castle Grounds and take advantage of the colour coded map provided by the Estate.

If you are unfamiliar with the term Scottish term of Cairn. By definition, a cairn is a group of stones that have been placed on top of one another to form a mound. The term is derived from the Scottish Gaelic word “carn”.Balmoral Castle

Carrying a stone from the bottom of the valley to be placed on top of an existing cairn has become part of Scottish folklore and custom. Over time, cairns have grown into large mounds and are an intriguing and curious sight. An ancient Scottish blessing, “Cuiridh mi clach air do charn” means “I will put a stone on your cairn”.

In the instance of the Balmoral Cairns, the purpose of the cairn is to commemorate the memory of a loved family member. Cairns can be found throughout Scotland acting as memorials or by climbers to mark their success at reaching the summit of a Munro. They can also be used as waymarkers.

The largest and highest Cairn is Prince Albert’s spectacular Pyramid. My advice is don’t miss the older and smaller Prince Leopold’s Cairn and it sits overlooking the Castle itself.  To truly appreciate the hidden beauty of these Cairns take a trip to Craithes Church and look up the mountainside to view the Cairns – don’t be surprised if you cannot see them I couldn’t and yet the views from these Cairns are truly amazing.

Balmoral CastleOnce you have explored all the Cairns then visit the Castle Gardens and the Tearooms.

So August in Scotland:

is not just about exploring Cairns, it is also about finding some special time for yourself, just getting away and having a break. We have lots of walking, Castles, Beaches, Golf Courses all just waiting for you.

Even just this week I had guests tell me I had sent them on the most interesting walk they had ever been on all along the Moray Coastline with fascinating rock formations, amazing birdlife, dolphins and historic viaducts.Crathes Church at Balmoral

 

And all of this without requiring any vaccine certificates or any testing!