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Cairngorms drive - Snow roads

Opinions on driving in Cairngorms - 90 mile snow roads route. We will be staying Grantown on Spey and heading to Dunkeld the next day. We do have tickets for Blair Castle so would plan to arrive there by 3 pm to have a couple of hours. Looks like last entry is 4pm and closes at 5pm. We would plan to start our day by 9 am. My husband has done lots of mountain driving in Colorado - just on the other side of the road:) Looks like this would take us through Ballatar and Braemer which are of interest to see.

My other thought is to hike the Meall a' Bhuachaille circuit (or a portion) and then head to Dunkeld.

Mainly looking for thoughts on the Snow Roads route - traveling end of May. Is this something you should even attempt do in six hours or is it best to be done in a few days? I'm sure that would be the ideal! If only we had a month in Scotland!

Thank you!

Posted by
1828 posts

We did this drive one day last summer and didn't find any of the roads at all difficult. The beginning near Pitlochry and the ending close to Grantown were the scenic parts. The rest was pretty but not nearly as exciting as Glencoe, Skye, or the Torridon regions. We enjoyed the next day exploring ruined castles along the coast just north of Grantown.

Below is an edited version of our "snow roads" day.

"Today is our “explore the Cairngorms” day. The “snow roads” route is mountainous around Glenshee, mostly level through Braemar – Balmoral – Ballater, then gets mountainous around the Lecht area. It is pretty but certainly not spectacular likeTorridon – Skye – Glencoe. After enjoying a walk in the Linn of Dee, we bought some picnic supplies, then headed off to Tomnaverie Stone Circle. The stones are only a few feet high but the circle is still complete and the circle is nicely located in a remote area. An excellent site for our picnic. After lunch we headed to Kildrummy Castle which was NOT enclosed by a chain-link fence. This was the home of Robert the Bruce, a brutal Scottish hero. We spent an hour exploring this substantial ruin, before heading to Grantown.
We had dinner at the Wee Puffin - Bart’s chicken was good, my beef and ale pie was a weird presentation but tasted OK."

Posted by
6485 posts

That's interesting- another marketing name. I knew what these roads were, and know they are always some of the first roads blocked by snow, and have snow gates for when that happens, but I didn't know it was a marketing name. That's at least 5 named driving routes in Scotland now.

Posted by
275 posts

Back in the day on his radio show Sir Terry Wogan would chat about Mrs MacKay the postmistress in Tomintoul who would keep the A939 road clear in winter.

This came about when he criticised Moray council for not doing a better job where snow clearing was concerned because the road was regularly closed in the winter months. Apparently he was contacted by a local who said it was not the council but the aforementioned Mrs Mackay who battled the snow using nothing more than a shovel. Some years she began shovelling in June!

Apparently visitor number to the area were boosted by Sir Terry's light-hearted comments. Those were the days............

Posted by
33134 posts

Sir Terry Wogan

still missing the Togmeister.....