Cairnwell Pass (A93)

Aberdeenshire / Perth & Kinross | Braemar | Road pass | ★★★★

[Heading north on the A93 at Spittal of Glenshee]

Running above wooded gorges and through huge glacial valleys, the A93 climbs ever more steeply until the magic 670 metres above sea level is reached in passing the county border from Perthshire into Aberdeenshire. The Cairnwell Pass is the country's highest road, one of its most scenic, and one of the most enjoyable to drive; Top Gear made the trip here to road test the Jaguar F-TYPE in 2013, for example. The steepest climbs and descents are either side of Glenshee Ski Centre (the notorious Devil's Elbow hairpins fortunately now bypassed), but the magnificent Cairngorm scenery extends all the way from Blairgowrie in the south to Braemar in the north. It's also the bane of many a Scottish skier's life; in winter the road can be a different beast altogether, with the long southern approach in particular vulnerable to drifting snow.

[A snowy approach to the ski centre from the north in winter (26/1/13)]

Location & info

📌 Cairnwell Pass (A93) ★★★★
Cairngorms. Summit is between Spittal of Glenshee and Braemar, G.R.: NO 142775 ///fast.prelude.estimates. South end is at Spittal of Glenshee turnoff, G.R.: NO 111702 ///mopped.swerving.elevates. North end is at Braemar, G.R.: NO 152915 ///labels.rivers.grasp

▶ 24 km / 15 mi | ▲ 330 m
Surfaced A-road, suitable for all vehicles
Almost always open: snow closes the pass a few times each winter, mainly overnight | Free

[Southern approach to the pass, seen from Ben Gulabin (25/11/17)]

[Glenisla junction at Lair (northbound) (25/11/17)]

[Slochnacraig (northbound) (25/11/17)]

[Spittal of Glenshee (northbound) (25/11/17)]

[Gleann Beag (northbound)]

[Gleann Beag (northbound) (25/11/17)]

[Gleann Beag (northbound) (25/11/17)]

[Gleann Beag (northbound) (25/11/17)]

[Gleann Beag (northbound)]

[Gleann Beag (northbound)]

[Final ascent (northbound) (25/11/17)]

[Summit of the pass at Glenshee Ski Centre (northbound)]

[Descent on the north side (northbound)]

[By the Clunie Water (northbound)]

[Clunie Water (northbound)]

[Beginning the descent on the south side (southbound) (25/11/17)]

[Near the old Devil's Elbow hairpins (southbound) (25/11/17)]

[Gleann Beag (southbound) (25/11/17)]

[Gleann Beag (southbound) (25/11/17)]

[Gleann Beag (southbound) (25/11/17)]

[Spittal of Glenshee - not as big as the sign suggests (southbound) (25/11/17)]


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