Star.pngStar.pngStar.pngStar.pngStar grey.png


From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (13)
From:  Dufftown (NJ335395)
To:  Ellon (NJ976308)
Via:  Oldmeldrum
Distance:  46.1 miles (74.2 km)
Meets:  A941, A96, A97, B992, B9001, B9170, A947, B9000, B999, B9005, A948
Former Number(s):  B9014, A96, B9000, B9003, B9004, A92
Highway Authorities

Aberdeenshire • Moray

Traditional Counties

Aberdeenshire • Banffshire

Route outline (key)
A920 Dufftown - Huntly
(A97) Huntly - Bypass
(A96) Huntly Bypass - Colpy
A920 Colpy - Oldmeldrum
(A947) Oldmeldrum - Newton
A920 Newton - Ellon
This article is about the current A920 from Dufftown to Ellon.
For the original A920 in Perth, see A920 (Perth)
For the former A920 from Dufftown to Keith, now the B9014, see A920 (Dufftown - Keith).

The A920, an east-west road mostly in Aberdeenshire, is in two very distinct sections separated by nearly 10 miles of the A96. It is unlikely that many journeys will take in both parts of the road.


Dufftown – Huntly

Crossing the River Fiddich

This section is quite a scenic route and was formerly the B9014, before the numbers were swapped to give it the Dufftown-Keith route. It starts at a junction with the A941 east of Dufftown, near the River Fiddich. Dufftown (formerly known as Mortlach until renamed for himself by the Earl of Fife), is a pretty little town in the heart of Speyside whisky country, with the impressive ruins of Balvenie Castle to the north, and Achindoun Castle to the south.

The road follows the Fiddich east at first, crossing the river at the Bridge of Auchindoun before beginning a long gentle climb into the hills above the Burn of Mackalea. The road reaches a summit of around 340m at the county boundary below the Tips of Corsemaul, and then slowly loses height as it winds between the hilltops. A series of steeper drops between level sections bring the road down in to the valley of the River Deveron, which consists of a patchwork of fields dotted with scattered farms and small patches of woodland. The river is followed east until it crosses Cairnford Bridge below Dunbennan Hill, around which the river loops. The A920 takes the direct route, meeting the river again at Dunbennan.

Half a mile further on, after a long and pleasant rural journey, with little traffic, the A920 crosses the A96 Huntly bypass at a staggered crossroads. Soon after the crossroads the A920 picks up the former route of the A96 along Deveron Road and Deveron Street into the town centre, where this section of the route comes to an end in the Square. Huntly is an important and historic market town near the confluence of the Deveron and Bogie rivers, and the general area is known as Strathbogie. It has some fine architecture to explore and an impressive ruined castle, whose former owners, the Earls/Marquesses of Huntly and Dukes of Gordon, brought the name with them from their lands in Berwickshire. The next section of the A920 can be found many miles to the east after a short multiplex with the A97 back to the bypass, and then along the A96.

Colpy – Ellon

Colpy, at the A920's next junction with the A96, eleven miles south of Huntly, is the destination signposted in Oldmeldrum but is little more than two rows of houses lying off the A96 a little to the south of the junction. The road heads east through villages such as Kirkton of Culsalmond and Tocher, although neither are more than a vague collection of scattered properties. There is a short multiplex with the meandering B992, which first comes in from the south and then continues north just over half a mile later. Some excitement comes at Drum of Wartle where the old skewed crossroads has been realigned to a stagger giving priority to the B9001, and so making the A920 TOTSO twice in quick succession.

Now heading vaguely south east, the A920 continues through delightful countryside, winding between fields and avoiding anything even vaguely resembling a village to reach Oldmeldrum. This is a village which has seen a huge increase in size recently with hundreds of new houses and a new northwest bypass, originally numbered B9170. However, since 2018 the OS have been showing the bypass as the route of the A920, and the former route through the town centre as unclassified. While signing on the ground has not been updated, the council roads list does indeed identify that the A920 now passes around Old Meldrum on the bypass, and then enjoys a short multiplex south on the A947. As the A947 route dates back to 1922, while the A920 route is much newer, the A947 has always had primacy in the short multiplex along Old Meldrum Road, and this continues with the longer multiplex via the bypass.

Ellon New Bridge

The A920 therefore resumes at Newton and heads east again, meandering across the landscape. Just before Pitmedden the road TOTSOs left to head north past Pitmedden Gardens, in the care of the National Trust for Scotland, and then turns sharply east again around the park and across the B999, which again has priority. The last three miles past Esslemont are perhaps the most sparsely settled of the whole route, although the road has been widened and bends eased in a number of places along this section. A slight kink across a former railway line brings the route into Ellon on Riverside Road, which leads to yet another TOTSO, this time with the B9005 as it turns left onto South Road, which crosses the River Ythan on Bridge of Ellon.

A small roundabout on the north bank turns the A920 onto Market Street, which passes the town centre and becomes Castle Road as it heads out of town. A large park is hidden behind a tall stone wall to the north, then the road passes the cemetery and sports pitches to the south with an industrial estate opposite. Finally, the A920 comes to a roundabout junction with the A948 by the Ellon Park and Ride terminus, 200m west of the A948 junction with the A90.


Oldmeldrum in 1932, showing what would become the A920

As the third incarnation of the A920, this route is relatively recent, gaining its number in the 1970s (the current number is shown on the 1974 Landranger maps), although sections of the route appear to have been improved in the late 1960s when a few Class II roads were upgraded across Aberdeenshire. For the most part, this is limited to widening, junction improvements and the straightening and improving of bends, but bypasses have also been built at Huntly, Oldmeldrum and Ellon, each of which has affected the route of what became the A920 to some extent.

The section from Dufftown to Huntly was originally the B9014, except for the section of the current A920 within the Huntly bypass, most of which was the original route of the A96. In fact, the A920 and B9014 numbers were swapped in the Dufftown area - the road to Keith was the A920 and is now the B9014. East of the A96 the A920 presumably came into existence to provide a single through route. The Colpy to Oldmeldrum road was originally numbered B9000. That number took over the former B9003 east of Oldmeldrum and the A947 - giving a through route to the coast at Newburgh. However, when the A920 came into existence it only took over the B9000 as far as Pitmedden, where it instead followed the route of the B9004, which ended on the A92 in the centre of Ellon. In more recent years, Ellon has been bypassed and the A920 extended along the pre-bypass route of the A92 to the east of town.

Related Pictures
View gallery (13)
A920 - Coppermine - 21541.jpgEllon New Bridge - Geograph - 1300313.jpgA920 near the Drum of Wartle.jpgBridge over the River Deveron - Geograph - 379279.jpgA920 west out of Ellon.jpg
Other nearby roads
A900 • A901 • A902 • A903 • A904 • A905 • A906 • A907 • A908 • A909 • A910 • A911 • A912 • A913 • A914 • A915 • A916 • A917 • A918 • A919

A920 • A921 • A922 • A923 • A924 • A925 • A926 • A927 • A928 • A929 • A930 • A931 • A932 • A933 • A934 • A935 • A936 • A937 • A938 • A939
A940 • A941 • A942 • A943 • A944 • A945 • A946 • A947 • A948 • A949 • A950 • A951 • A952 • A953 • A954 • A955 • A956 • A957 • A958 • A959
A960 • A961 • A962 • A963 • A964 • A965 • A966 • A967 • A968 • A969 • A970 • A971 • A972 • A973 • A974 • A975 • A976 • A977 • A978 • A979
A980 • A981 • A982 • A983 • A984 • A985 • A986 • A987 • A988 • A989 • A990 • A991 • A992 • A993 • A994 • A995 • A996 • A997 • A998 • A999

Defunct Itineries: A920 (Perth) • A920 (Banff) • A921 (Perth) • A921 (Fife) • A922 • A949 • A951 • A968 • A982

SABRE - The Society for All British and Irish Road Enthusiasts
Discuss - Digest - Discover - Help