Blairgowrie to Braemar
Starting from the south of the Snow Roads route you’ll be in what is known as Cateran Country and your journey starts at a town called Blairgowrie, one of the largest towns in Perthshire. Blairgowrie is an ideal place to begin (or end if you’re travelling north to south), you can enjoy one of the many wonderful walking routes in the area through forests, by lochs, or along the River Ericht. The Bluebell Wood walk is not to be missed, particularly in spring and summer, as the area comes alive and the bluebells throughout the oak forest make for stunning photographs.
From Blairgowrie you’ll travel north along winding roads, stopping at Bridge of Cally and Glenshee gives you the opportunity to enjoy more walking in the countryside or even venture into the mountains. Glenshee has an incredible atmosphere, with its name deriving from the Gaelic ‘Gleann Sith’, meaning Glen of the Fairies, and the area does have a magical feel to it as you stand in its wild and windswept landscape. If you’re a keen mountain walker then taking on the Glas Maol Munros circuit is the perfect challenge in which you bad four Munros to the east of the Cairnwell Pass.
Braemar to Ballater
On this section of the journey you’ll enter Royal Deeside, and your first stop is Braemar, a mountainous village that offers adventure and relaxation in equal measure. The hillsides that surround the town are alive with wildlife to be sighted, including deer, red squirrels and majestic golden eagles. While in Braemar you can enjoy a range of activities, including pony trekking, climbing, and taking on Scotland’s highest 18-hole golf course. The town also has two castles that you can explore; Braemar Castle, a fully intact and furnished castle that you can explore inside and out, and Kindrochit Castle, ruins of a 14th-century fortification on the banks of the Clunie Water.
Your next stop, Ballater, is at the heart of Royal Deeside and a mid-way point on your journey along the Snow Roads. This picturesque village has long-standing royal connections, with many of the shops in the area supplying Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s summer retreat, so you’ll have the chance to try the fine local produce that’s fit for royalty. A few events you may want to keep in mind when visiting the area are the Braemar Gathering, Victoria Week, and The Ballater Games, all fantastic family events.
Ballater to Tomintoul
Exploring the area around Ballater is well worth doing as there’s plenty to do and see. In nearby Dinnet you’ll find the Muir of Dinnet Nature Reserve as well as the Glen Tanar Estate, both of which offer fantastic walking routes through scenic landscapes. About half an hour’s drive north of Ballater you’ll find sleepy Strathdon, idyllic and remote, it’s perfect for a quiet walk in the middle of nowhere. In the Summer Strathdon has the Lonach Highland Gathering & Games, their very own take on the Highland Games, with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
Your journey continues north and offers up some less conventional tourist attractions, one of which is the ringing stone of Richachary, which, as you can probably imagine from the name, is a large stone that rings when it is struck, a truly unusual freak of nature. Gairnshiel Bridge is another point on your journey that is very popular as it is very much a throwback, built in 1751 and still in use today, although there are plans for a replacement in order to prevent the old bridge’s condition deteriorating.
As you continue on your journey you’ll travel through varied landscapes of farmland, woodlands and on to moorland, each teeming with wildlife and a photographer’s dream. Corgarff Castle offers the ideal pitstop, the brilliant white structure stands out in the Aberdeenshire landscape. Built in the 16th century, this building has a rich and varied history for you to uncover.
Before you head on to Tomintoul you may want to stop off at The Lecht Ski Centre. Experienced snowsports enthusiasts can hit the slopes and take on challenging jumps, while beginners can be introduced to snowsports at the ski school. In the summer months The Lecht is popular with mountain bikers who can have their bike carried up the mountain on a chairlift before enjoying a thrilling run downwards.
Tomintoul to Grantown-On-Spey
Northwards beyond The Lecht you’ll reach Tomintoul, the highest village in the Cairngorms. Here you’ll find an abundance of outdoor activities to enjoy, from walking and biking trails to Munro bagging on Ben Avon. Tomintoul is also in close proximity to a number of Speyside whisky distilleries, including the famous Glenlivet Distillery, which is well worth a visit to enjoy the tour and some tasting.
Nearby you’ll find the Still Art Installation on the Old Military Road just north of Tomintoul. This viewpoint offers incredible views across Tomintoul, and the installation creates a distinct contrast with the surrounding landscape. This region of the country is blessed with some of the darkest night skies in the UK, making it ideal for parking up and gazing at the wonders above.
When you reach Grantown-on-Spey you’ll find a busy high street that includes traditional architecture, quaint cafes and unique shops to find a gift in. The town also offers an unusual venue in the form of The Pagoda, originally constructed to house a Japanese art collection, it is now a space used for community events and courses.
Grantown-on-Spey is beautifully set on the banks of the River Spey, meaning there are plenty of delightful walking routes to be enjoyed with views of the Cairngorms and the Cromdale Hills.
Travel the Snow Roads in a Luxury Motorhome
There really is no better way to travel the Snow Roads than in a luxury motorhome that gives you the freedom to make your own adventure every day. With everything you need for your journey, a luxury motorhome hire allows you to travel in comfort and style without having to worry about where you’ll rest each evening as your accommodation, cooking facilities and washing area are all with you wherever you go.