The 7-mile-long A942 leaves the A98 at a T-junction a mile west of Cullen and runs through gently sloping farmland, with good views of Cullen Bay - and on a clear day, to the hills of Caithness 60 miles across the Moray Firth - to the clifftop fishing village of Portknockie.
It runs through the centre of Portknockie as Bridge Street, Church Street and Station Road, mostly being narrow double-track with no footpaths, although part of Church Street has a footpath below the road level. Bridges over the railway (closed 1968) at both ends of the village, with right-angle bends, were demolished in the 1980s, thus removing useful traffic-calming features and allowing traffic to enter the built-up area at speed. A diversion off the main road, via the B9021 at the western end of Church Street is worthwhile to view the Portknockie cliffs and harbour and explore the coastal paths.
After a mostly straight section through another two miles of farmland, with the road atop a cliff offering great views out to sea, the road drops fairly steeply through a cutting (replacing a railway bridge and several tight bends) into Findochty, a picturesque village built around a sheltered harbour. Again a diversion to the shore via the B9020 is worthwhile as the A942 itself virtually bypasses the village. Continuing west, the road climbs lightly, crosses Strathlene golf course and drops to shore level before entering Portessie, where it runs between the houses and the sea. This section used to be blocked from time to time by shingle thrown from the sea during storms until the present sea wall was built.
At Ianstown the road leaves the shore slightly to run through housing and past what was Herd and Mackenzie's shipyard (now the Buckie Shipyard and the only survivor of three in the town), before reaching Buckie Harbour, which is still an active fishing harbour although much reduced by decommissioning and restrictions on the industry. This section of the road feels very industrial compared to the wide coastal views and residential streets elsewhere.
Ford dealer near Buckie
After the harbour the road climbs past the junction with the A990, which continues along the coast as the A942 turns inland to Buckie Square and the town centre, stretching off in either direction as the unclassified Church Street. The junction is a mini roundabout between two imposing church towers. The final mile is the High Street and then a short length of open road leading back to the A98 at the Toll Bar.
The original A942, way back in 1922, was less than two miles long, running north from the A98 (at the Toll Bar) into Buckie, then turning east along the coast and terminating at the harbour entrance in Ianstown. The remainder of the route was the B9019, but the A942 seems to have been extended over its modern route in the 1920s.