10 reasons to drive the Snow Roads

The Snow Roads Scenic Route is a 90-mile journey which takes you from the picturesque market town of Blairgowrie to the traditional Highland town of Grantown-on-Spey. The route traverses the highest public road in Britain taking you through some of the most outstanding landscapes in the eastern Cairngorms, linking the communities of Braemar, Ballater and Tomintoul.

We thought it was time to experience the route for ourselves and so decided it was time for a road trip and, what an exhilarating journey it was! Think, the most beautiful Highland scenery around every corner, magical attractions along the way, cake and coffee stops, car banter and best of all ….escapism….

This was “work” for us but we felt like tourists for a day and who doesn’t love that holiday feeling?

Here are our top 10 reasons to drive the snow roads

Share yours with us #snowroads

1. Good for the Soul

In these frantic digital times escapism is a must for the soul. Getting out on the open road and stopping off to take in the dramatic scenery whenever it takes your fancy helps to clear the mind. Best of all you get to avoid the A9 and all those pesky roadworks.

Hit the open road

2. Landscape Architecture

Three stunning Scenic Route installations provide new reasons to stop and explore this wild and beautiful highland landscape. Look out for ‘Connecting Contours’ at the Devil’s Elbow, ‘The Watchers’ & ‘A Moment in time’ at Corgarff and ‘Still’ at Tomintoul (Still is pictured left; photo credit VisitScotland).

3. Ride the Chairlift

At the highest point of the route the Cairnwell Chairlift is set to take you even higher. Take a relaxing trip up the side of the mountain and witness the glorious landscape of the Glens, quite literally – at your feet!

4. Castles

The route passes through the start of “castle country”and you can stop at Braemar Castle, a community run project with all sorts of events throughout the year from Murder Mystery Dinners to Highland Flings. Beautiful Balmoral Castle and grounds are a must visit in spring and early summer. Corgarff Castle at Strathdon was an army base for those hunting down Jacobite sympathisers and, later, whisky smugglers.

5. Royalty

Look out for the royal wave as you pass cars along the route as it’s not uncommon to see members of the Royal Family out and about. The Royal Family stay at Balmoral Castle during August and September.

6. Photo opportunities

The scenery in the Cairngorms is breathtaking, a paradise for all you instagrammers out there. Look out for the Cairngorms scenic photo-posts at each installation, take a pic, upload it and allow us to capture the changes in the landscape.

7. Bragging rights

The route traverses the highest public road in Britain (highest point at Cairnwell Pass 670m (2199ft) above sea level by the Glenshee Ski Centre). Top Gear have filmed along the route and it is really popular with classic car drivers and motorcyclists. If driving the route in the depth of winter check Traffic Scotland for road closures and be sure to follow any travel warnings.

8. Whisky

Lochanagar takes its name from the nearby mountain which at over 3000ft is a Munro and, gained Royal status following a visit by Queen Victoria in 1848. A jewel in the Royal Deeside crown and a great place to discover how Scottish whisky is made. Enjoy a dram of 12 year old single Highland malt at the end of the tour.

9. Gin

Just before you enter Grantown at Cromdale be sure to call into Balmenach Distillery home of Caorunn Gin. Carefully handcrafted Gin produced in the Cairngorms, Caorunn is artisanal and small batch. Caorunn the Gaelic word for Rowan Berry forms the very soul of the gin. With tours twice daily throughout the week, book ahead to avoid disappointment.

10. The Challenge

If you like a physical challenge then cycle the route! Featuring some challenging ascents and alpine-esque descents, the Snow Roads wind up and over the Lecht, Gairnshiel and Glenshee.

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