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Driving from Pitlochry to Inverness ...stops? sights?

We will be in Scotland in late November (Nov 21 - Dec 1) and one section of our trip will be driving from Pitlochry to Inverness, hopefully through some of the Cairngorms. I have seen two possible routes: #1: Via the A9, roughly 2 hours and 90 miles, and #2: A more winding way via A93/A939, roughly 3 hours, 120 miles.
I was wondering if anyone has driven either route and has any thoughts/ideas/suggestions for stops or scenic points/lunch etc along the way?
Thanks in advance,

Posted by
1302 posts

The A9 is somewhat of a racetrack the other route is way more scenic.
You could add the short diversion to see the Linn of Dee

Posted by
276 posts

Have to say the A93 would be my choice too.

Stop off in Braemar for lunch at the Flying Stag public bar of the Fife Arms Hotel and unlike any other hotel I have ever been in.

The Linn of Dee and Linn of Quoich are good scenic points, although they would take you out of your way a little bit, but if you are in Braemar already then they are not too far away.

Posted by
5678 posts

I would agree that the A9 is a bit of race track. And if you do take the Braemar route, there is a wonderful Gallery up the hill behind Balmoral. It's the Knock Gallery and has great views as you drive up the hill and can look down on Balmoral.

But you could also consider taking the A9 and dodging off of it for part of the trip. I did this a year ago. I had never been to the Ruthven Barracks and wanted to check them out. If you are at all interested in history this strategically placed barracks is fascinating. You can see the geography so easily and understand how the English came to place the barracks in this key location. There were only two other parties there so I had the place practically to myself! You exit at Kingussie and instead of going back to the A9 take the B road north. It was quite lovely.

Another possible detour would be to exit at Dalwhinnie and head for Laggan before heading back to the A9. If you are a Monarch of the Glen fan, you can further detour south a few miles on the A86 for a glimpse of the castle featured in the show. You would then head back to the A9

One thing to bear in mind for your decision-making is sunset time. Here's a link that will be useful. As you can see the sun is down before 4 PM. I love the wee roads of Scotland, but darkness and potential ice would probably daunt me. :)


Posted by
9851 posts

Pam makes a good point. I would normally do the A93 but in late November, I think I would just take the autoroute.

(Of course that is if you are driving in the afternoon or evening. If you are getting up and hitting the road first thing in the morning, then the A93 becomes a possibility.)

Posted by
91 posts

Hi all, thanks so much for the input thus far, and that very helpful daylight chart (definitely bookmarking that!). Firsthand experience from others is always a bonus!!
We will be getting early starts to all of our days for sure. We arent in any rush on our travel days, so having both the option of a more lesiurely drive and the 'fast route' with stop offs is great info.
Slight change of plans, though, as the night before we head to Inverness, we'll actually be staying in Perth (not Pitlochry). We want to visit Glamis Castle. The map shows the route from Perth to Glamis as the A90 to A928. From Glamis Castle it then gives 3 options for reaching Inverness: #1 joining back on to the A9 around Dunkeld, #2 taking the A939 and then joining A9 or #3 going via the A96.

I guess it will be somewhat weather dependant, as if it's raining or sleeting, a main thoroughfare may be safest (?)

Posted by
2023 posts

Without a map in front of me I can't comment on your driving route. Glamis Castle is definitely one of my favorite castles and I have seen many castles in Scotland. I just wanted to add you might want to see Blair Castle also. It is not far from Glamis--it is fabulous. Both castles are fully furnished with dining tables full of china and crystal. There was a bagpiper playing at Blair when we visited. The tea room at Glamis is very nice and perfect for lunch.

Posted by
5678 posts

Blair Castle is not that close to Glamis. It is just off the A9 and on your way to Inverness over an hour from Glamis. My advice is definitely to choose one. Both are interesting castles with wonderful stories. Google maps say that it will take you nearly 3.5 hours to make the trip from Perth to Inverness via Glamis. I would contact Glamis Castle and confirm their hours. It looks like they open at 10 AM. I would suggest getting there at 10 so you are not rushed. You need at least two hours, then you'll want lunch. It's a minimum of 2.5 hours from Glamis to Inverness. So I would want to leave Glamis by 1 PM in order to get up to Inverness and to your hotel in the daylight. There is a bit leeway there, but you may run into traffic. You may stop and take pictures. There is a restaurant at the Castle.