Strathmore and Royal Deeside
Distance - 171 Miles/275 Kms
A big adventure on great driving roads taking in castles, big hills and the Royal Family’s favourite holiday destination – Deeside. This route crosses two high passes over the Cairngorm Mountains – Cairn o’Mount at 454m and Glen Shee at 665m – with superb views from both. Heading south from Pitlochry on the A9 turn off to beautiful and historic Dunkeld with its cathedral and many independent shops and cafes. Follow the road at the end of the town to Blairgowrie and then through fertile berry-growing country to Kirriemuir. After Kirriemuir you join the main A90 dual carriageway albeit briefly, before turning left towards the village of Edzell with its 16th century castle and walled gardens.
Here’s where the fun begins, travelling though the Mearns up and over the Cairn o’Mount which emerges into wonderful Deeside with its granite built towns and villages, all set on the banks of the mighty River Dee. Visit Banchory, Aboyne, Ballater and Braemar with their myriad attractions and choices of places to eat. Take a tour of Balmoral Castle, open to the public as long as the Royals aren’t in residence! From Braemar the road rises gently and then in more dramatic fashion when the slopes of the Glen Shee skiing area can be viewed ahead. Bleak moorland accompanies you until once again you descend to lush farmland through Kirkmichael and then on to Pitlochry. Phew!