Tour # 16
Aberdeen - Inverness (via The Lecht)
180 km.
Approx. total hill climb: 1000 meters.
Highest point: The Lecht 620 meters above sea level.
Traffic: Minimal.
Severity Rating: ******
Fun rating: *****

How to get to Aberdeen:
Train from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and London. Plane from the rest of the world. Ferry from Shetland, Orkney and Norway.

This is probably the hardest daytrip in Scotland under 250 km. The road between Ballatar and Grantown On Spey contains no less than four considerable hard mountain climbs. He second one, The Lecht, is probably the steepest mountain climb in Scotland. The road from Grantown On Spey to Inverness is very exposed to the weather.
The route is very scenic throughout. This tour is highly recommended and a must do if you are fit and mentally strong. For the rest of you; dream on....
This route can also be done in two daytrips with a B & B in Tomintoul or Grantown On Spey.


The road out of Aberdeen follows the A 93 along River Dee through Banchory (shops) and Aboyne (shops) to Ballatar (shops). The 65 km. up to Ballatar is flat with some very small hills along the valley. The road (A 939) goes steep out of Ballatar into a valley. After some kilometers of moderate climbing up the valley, the road is joined by the road from Balmoral. Take the road to the right, over a small bridge and up to an approx. 450 meters high mountain. The view over the next valley to the Lecht is soul destroying. The road drops down to Cock Bridge before it goes into a vertical climb up to the Lecht. A pub halfway up the first climb is a big help if it is open. The view from top of The Lecht is brilliant. The road down to Tomintoul (the highest situated village in Great Britain) is a nice descent. Tomintoul (shops) at the end of this descent is a nice break before the two next mountains.
The first climb starts after crossing a bridge five hundred meters after the village. The climb is vertical over a kilometre. The road goes on a terrace high above the valley (brilliant views) before it drops vertical down to Brown Bridge. The climb from Brown Bridge towards the 500 meters above sea level top overlooking River Spey is first vertical, but then drops off into a moderate climb. The view in all directions is brilliant. The road drops down to River Spey, crosses the river and enter the very scenic village of Grantown On Spey (shops). The road rises again in a moderate climb towards Dawa Moor. The road across Dawa Moor is very exposed and full of rabbits. Both dead and alive rabbits. Be aware. The road itself is flat over the moor. The road drops down to a river before it rises again in a short steep climb. From this top, the road goes down again to Nairn along a small gorge. The road from Nairn over the flatlands to Inverness is very busy. After completed this tour; you should be very proud of yourself.