‘The midges are horrendous’: Cyclists share extraordinary moment they run into King Charles out walking on Balmoral

A group of cyclists have shared the extraordinary moment they ran into King Charles III while cycling on the Balmoral estate.

In footage posted by Scottish mountain biker Andrew McAvoy, who regularly shares videos to his YouTube channel, McTrail Rider, the British monarch can be seen chatting about his memories of the estate, and grumbling about the “horrendous” number of midges flying around.

Before setting off on their trip, McAvoy had joked that they might run into the king. He said: “I think Charlie boy is here because there’s guards down there with big assault rifles and stuff like that - it looks pretty cool.”

“They probably wouldn’t do that if no one important was here,” the cyclist added.

After cycling past a number of Range Rovers driving in the opposite direction, McAvoy’s friends said that he thought a minor royal could be visiting the estate. They filmed themselves setting up camp in one of the Balmoral bothies: basic accommodation or shelters left unlocked and free of charge for visitors to use.

McAvoy then included the clip of them chatting with Charles, who was walking in the opposite direction.

“You’re old hands at it?” Charles, wearing a flat cap and carrying a walking stick, asked of their biking trip.

McAvoy’s friend then told Charles that McAvoy is a “minor celebrity” in the mountain biking world. “Not compared to you, sir,” McAvoy added, eliciting a chuckle from the king.

He said the rain during his traditional summer holiday was “typical” and said the midges were “horrendous” this year.

“So you’re being left to walk and everyone else is...?” McAvoy’s friend asked, apparently stunned that Charles was out on his own.

“Yes, but I like my walking,” the king responded, who seemed pleased to hear the group were staying in one of the bothies.

“So good. I’m so glad it works. I think it’s because it is really nice. We renovated recently, but I’m trying to get more trees,” the monarch added, gesturing to the view across the hills.

“Yeah, it looks lush compared to what it was two years ago. Do you ever stay there?” McAvoy’s friend asked.

“No we used to,” Charles explained, “camping with my father and sister. It’s occasionally used nowadays by another generation.”

As they parted ways, the monarch couldn’t help cracking a joke as the cyclists began to move on. “Take care,” he said. “Don’t fall off!”

Andrew McAvoy caught the moment he and his friends ran into King Charles III while cycling on the Balmoral estate (YouTube)
Andrew McAvoy caught the moment he and his friends ran into King Charles III while cycling on the Balmoral estate (YouTube)

After the interaction, McAvoy turned to the camera to gush over how “nice” he thought the King was. “Lovely man, had time for us. Nice. I’m annoyed because I didn’t want to care, but that was nice,” he said.

The biker continued: “He’s a nice man. He’s walking when everyone else is driving. I’m just perplexed. It’d be one thing to like, see the King with everyone - he was just wandering down the trail on his own.”

King Charles and Queen Camilla arrived in Scotland in August for their annual summer break at the Balmoral estate, but broke tradition by not staying in the main castle.

The estate was the summer residence of the late Queen Elizabeth II, who typically stayed there from mid-July until September or October each year. Following her death in September, this year marked Charles’s first summer at the estate without his mother, and his first as monarch.

Charles and Camilla are currently in France on a state visit, six months after their trip was postponed due to the riots in Paris.