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Cairngorms National Park

I am planning to drive through Cairngorms National Park to get from Skye to Aberdeen via Inverness and Loch Ness. I know Balmoral is just a few minutes off, but I am more concerned about road conditions in June and whether 6 hours is appropriate for the whole trip. Also, I plan to use Undiscovered Scotland extensively for places to stop. Any suggestions along this line would be greatly appreciated and thank you to all who have given me ideas so far.

Posted by
939 posts

Keep left.

Edited to add: While that is a good tip for driving in the UK, it's not particularly helpful in the context of your question.

Was there something in particular you wanted to know? Something about driving in general or the Cairngorms?

Do you have any itinerary in mind for your trip? Tell us a bit more and you'll possibly get a more sensible answer from me (I've spent a bit of time around The Cairngorms, Speyside and Moray) or others on the board. We have a couple of members from the Banchory / Ballater area that are quite a bit more knowledgeable than I.

Posted by
1309 posts

The road over from Speyside over to Deeside is a beauty.
The Still viewpoint is just on hillside a few miles north of Tomintoul.
The Old Fire Station cafe in the village is good as is the bar at the Richmond.
The Glenlivet estate office as the top of the village has a small display and they also run events be worth signing up to thier Facebook
Theres a larger Museum type place in the Square too
You could use the minor road from north of Tomintoul to cut through to the Glennore area where there is an excellent trail network and various outdoor sports available.
Great cafe down at Feshie Bridge too ,I always call in on my way to hike Glen Feshie
Also you might want to check the Screen Machine site ..a very fancy mobile cinema that tours the Highland villages, it does vist Tomintoul, Newtonmore etc

Posted by
277 posts

Your post lacks detail so I am not sure quite what information you are looking for?

If it is your first time driving in Scotland then have a look at this page on the Undiscovered Scotland website which may be of interest to you

https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usscotfax/travel/driving.html

and specifically this section which deals with single track roads which you may well come across on your travels through the Cairngorms National Park.

https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usfeatures/singletrack/index.html

Posted by
277 posts

bcmyers I have just realised you have added more to your original post.

If I have understood correctly you appear to want to drive from Skye to Inverness, then through Grantown-on-Spey to Tomintoul then to Crathie (for Balmoral) then to Aberdeen in one day and want to know if 6 hours is appropriate for this trip?

Google maps indicate Portree to Aberdeen driving this route is achievable in 6 hours and 6 minutes without traffic. Realistically it can take much longer to get from one place to another in Scotland than you might think, despite what Google maps or other route planners say.

Each to their own of course but I would not be wanting to undertake this drive in one day. Many roads in Scotland are far from straight, flat or wide and require concentration to negotiate which is tiring in itself and the A939 from Grantown-on-Spey to Crathie is one such.

Can you factor in an overnight stop somewhere on your journey through the Cairngorms National Park?

Posted by
13 posts

This is exactly the kind of information I am looking for. As you rightly point out, all I have is Google maps which gives the 6 hour timeframe for the trip. But looking at pictures of the Cairngorms Park, I wondered if I was biting off more than I could chew. Thank you very much. I will seek another way to get from Skeabost to St Andrews.

Posted by
939 posts

Carrbridge, Nethy Bridge, Grantown On Spey or Aviemore are places you may look at as possibilities for an overnight in, or within easy reach of, The Cairngorms National Park. Spend a little time around this area instead of being in a rush to get to Aberdeen or St Andrews. I'm a big fan of Speyside personally. Lots of very rewarding roads to drive and places to see. Hopefully not too crazy busy with traffic either.

Posted by
6775 posts

I personally like Nethybridge, a small Highland village- when in the area my hotel of choice is the Nethybridge Hotel- https://strathmorehotels-nethybridge.com/

One of those grand Victorian hotels which has been very nicely modernised. Maybe the only hotel I have ever stayed at which has it's own fire engine- as the village Fire Department is based at the back of the hotel.

That's your useless fact of the day.

Posted by
1309 posts

No shortage of daylight for your trip be about 18 hours of light.
I was up on Lewis on June 21st and put the tent up at 1.30am.