|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||59.6 miles (95.9 km)|
|Meets:||A96, B9101, B9007, A940, B9102, A95, B9136, B9008, A944, B976, A93|
|Former Number(s):||B970, B969, B972|
|Old route now:||B976|
|Route outline (key)|
The A939 is perhaps one of the most varied and enjoyable drives Scotland has to offer, certainly of any route under 60 miles long. It starts in the fertile farmland of the Moray Firth and heads south into the Cairngorm Mountains. There are four major climbs, with the road crossing the 300m contour four times, and reaching a summit of 638m. Despite this, however, the road is often quiet, and has to give way to other routes at no less than five TOTSO junctions, with a sixth due to be opened in 2023. Sections of the route are single track, longer stretches are too narrow to have a centre line, and there are few sections that are straight and level as the road twists and climbs through the passes.
Nairn - Grantown-on-Spey
The road starts in the pleasant coastal town of Nairn, but doesn't take long to leave as it heads south through the fertile landscape that surrounds the Moray Firth. It soon finds itself winding through the low hills around the Findhorn Valley, before striking off on the long climb up to Dava Moor. This is perhaps the first taste of what is to come, but before long the summit is crossed and the road starts the descent into Strathspey and the bustling town of Grantown.
Grantown-on-Spey - Cock Bridge
After a brief multiplex with the A95, the A939 starts climbing again, a long hard climb across the hills to cross the watershed and dive steeply down to the Bridge of Brown set at the bottom of its steep glen. A shorter climb takes the road over the hill to the Bridge of Avon, and so in to the mountain village of Tomintoul. Continung south, with the valley sides slowly closing in on the road, it appears to have no way out until the Well of the Lecht is reached, and the road turns to climb dramatically up and over the Lecht Pass, reaching its summit before the spectacular descent to Cock Bridge.
Cock Bridge - Ballater
Cock Bridge lies at the head of Srath Don, but there is only a brief respite in this scenic valley before the road is climbing once more, over the hills to Glen Gairn where the stunning Gairnshiel Bridge is due to be bypassed in 2023. The last section is narrow and twisty as the road winds down the glen to meet the A93 near Ballater on Deeside.
Much of the route of the A939 was built by Major Caulfeild in the 1750s as part of his military Road from Perthshire to Fort George on the Moray Firth. Despite this, only the northern section of the route, from Nairn to Grantown was classified as the A939 in 1922, the remainder being the B970. By 1946 this has been changed, and the A939 extended south to the A93 near Balmoral, later being swapped to its current route.