Cairngorms circular drive

A driving day along amazing nature, castles and highland villages. This circular drive uses part of the famous Snow Roads Trail and is best navigated by map as the satnav is not always correct. Some parts of this route are single track roads (with passing places), sharp bends and steep bits. The route is about 90 miles but if you do all the stops and explore a bit it will take 6-8 hours to complete the drive.

  1. Start: From the clock tower drive down Five Street and take the right to Huntly (A920). After 1 mile take a right turn to Rhynie (A 941).
  2. First stop: Auchindoun Castle (ruin, free access)
  3. Continue on the A941, after Cabrach turn right on the B9002 to Craig Castle until you reach the A97, turn right. After Lumsden keep to the right to stay on the A97 to Kildrummy Gardens (stop 2). CHECK IF THEY ARE OPEN, NO WEBSITE
  4. Continue on the A97, after a few miles turn right onto the B9119 to visit the natural phenomenon Burn O Vat. There is a spacious car park (Muir of Dinnet). Take the path from the visitor centre and follow the signs to the Vat. Returning from the vat cross the bridge on your left for a short walk through the woods and a view point. Follow this track back to the car park.
  5. Continue on the B9119 and turn right onto the A93 to Ballatar village (stop 3) for a coffee or lunch (and maybe fuel up the car). We can recommend The Bothy (take away only at the moment).
  6. From Ballatar go back to the A93 and turn right onto the A939 to Tomintoul.
  7. Stop 4: Corgarff Castle. Not open at the moment but easy to park the car, walk around it and take some nice pictures.
  8. Continue on the A939 and stop at the Lecht Ski Centre (stop 5) for more pictures and stretching your legs.
  9. Keep on driving until you reach Highland village Tomintoul (stop 6), in the middle of the high street there is a parking lot on your right (free parking). Have a browse at Spindrift giftshop, the Whisky Castle (whiskyshop specialised in independent bottlers) and the Highland Market. They also serve coffee and lunch.
  10. At the end of the High Street turn left onto the B9008/B9009 back to Dufftown.