Tour of the Cairngorms
Distance - 181 miles/290km
The Cairngorm Mountains have four peaks over 1200m – only Ben Nevis stands higher in Britain. There are no roads through this mountain range, but this route travels around it, via the scenic Cock Bridge – Tomintoul road, which peaks at 640m. The area is famous for its winter sports facilities, based largely around Aviemore, but a little to the north is an area famous for its whisky. Speyside has the greatest concentration of whisky distilleries in Scotland, many of which are open to the public.
Leave Pitlochry on the road to Braemar in Royal Deeside. This is a spectacular drive taking you from lush farmland high up into the bleak landscape of Glenshee. From Braemar you pass through lovely Ballater followed by a charming route through leafy woodland which brings you out at Cock Bridge and here’s where the fun kicks in. Steep climbs, soaring descents and fabulous, wide roads await you as you pass through the Lecht skiing area and eventually on to Tomintoul. From Tomintoul we suggest taking some small back roads through Speyside which lead you to Rothiemurchus and the heart of the Aviemore outdoor area.
Diversions into Aviemore town centre are possible here if you wish to indulge in the shopping and cafe culture in this vibrant tourist destination. Keeping you away from the busy A9 for as much time as possible our route takes you again on quiet back roads through to the historic towns of Kincraig, Kingussie and Newtonmore (with its excellent and free Highland Folk Museum) and then onto Laggan, at the head of the Monadhliath mountains. Turning left at Laggan you’ll pass through Dalwhinnie with its distillery and then rejoin the A9 for the short return journey to Pitlochry via Bruar and Blair Atholl.