One of Scotland’s greatest drives: A939 road

A939 road
A939 road

The A939, also known as the Lecht Road and Old Military Road, is one of Scotland’s greatest roads, nestled in the Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands. The road contains a few 20%+ parts that are quite steep.

Where is the A939 Road located?

In the Scottish Highlands, right in the middle of the Cairngorms National Park, sits the A939 road. The Old Military Road and Lecht Road are other names for it. It’s also important to note that this road has some really steep portions and may be among the greatest in Scotland.

You can locate this road on the map below:

Enlarge the map

Information about the A939 road :

The road’s asphalted surface was added following the Jacobite uprising in 1745. It was previously a vital military road and will pass through Glenshee and Braemar. British Army officer William Caulfield was the one who constructed it.

The average person will need 1.5 to 2 hours to complete the route without stopping. The route is beautiful but difficult, full of curves and detours, and occasionally without phone service. It’s truly in the middle of nowhere with barren landscapes, unending mountain panoramas, sheep and lambs grazing nearby, and is so far away that you could even see deer or other wild creatures.

A939 road drive preview:

You can obviously have a preview of that drive. Here is a YouTube video that shows a part of the road:

How to get to the road?

The entire route is paved. It is 96 kilometers (59 miles) long and travels from Ballater to Nairn. That’s located in the Highland council region on the Moray Coast in Aberdeenshire.

This road can be driven while you’re on the road to the North Coast 500. Also, if you are going to England next, you can drive the Lindisfarne Causeway.

You can visualize how to get there on this map of the drive:

What to do in the Cairngorms National Park:

You will be in the middle of nowhere when traveling along the A939, surrounded by desolate landscapes, unending mountain views, and sheep and lambs grazing in the fields. This road will allow you to enjoy the miles of breathtaking views that the surroundings offer. You’ll travel through elevation changes and hairpin turns. It’s the type of countryside you want to pass through while traveling across Scotland. The fact that there is hardly any traffic is also fantastic since it gives you time to enjoy sliding around the numerous turns on this route.

There are a few passes you’ll climb along the journey, including Dava Moor (321 m/1053 ft), Bridge of Brown (438 m/1436 ft), Lecht Ski Center (637 m/2090 ft), and Gairnshiel Summit (550 m) (1836 ft).

You can cycle, ski, or go on a trek depending on the season.

Is the A939 road open?

Although the A939 route is always open, there are instances when it may be blocked due to inclement weather or when the path has not been cleared of snow. Overall, this is a fantastic recommendation for those who enjoy driving because it has all the qualities that make a road enjoyable to travel.

From a technical standpoint, it should be noted that the layout is excellent and includes lovely curves blended with certain elevation changes that resemble rollercoasters and will make the journey even more thrilling. 20% is the greatest elevation.

A road journey across Scotland should not be missed if the A939 is included. It does really take you through the kinds of landscapes you might anticipate seeing on a journey across Scotland, and it is one of those roads with almost little traffic because the majority of traffic will be on the motorway that parallels the national park.

Picture credit: By Bex-Lemon – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

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