|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||50.3 miles (80.9 km)|
|Meets:||A96, B986, B985, A978, A92, B9119, A90, B979, B9126, B977, B993, B992, A980, A97, A939|
|Former Number(s):||B983, B973|
|Old route now:||B9119|
|Route outline (key)|
The A944 is a long A-road in two sections, running inland from Aberdeen, much of it along the River Don.
The route starts at the Mounthooly roundabout on the north side of Aberdeen City Centre, and follows Hutcheon Street and Westburn Road to the City Ring Road (A92 North Anderson Drive). It then follows (the) Lang Stracht (to the Sassenach - ‘long straight’) out of the City: this wide road should be a two-lane dual carriageway but is wasted by a bewildering series of bus lanes, lane changes and traffic lights. At the new Maidencraig Way junction, the speed limit increases from 30mph to 40mph, which remains the speed limit now all the way to Elrick.
Until the 1980s, the A944 followed the now-B9119 along Queen's Road and Skene Road, and the road returns to its original route from a new link road from Lang Stracht to Skene Road between Hazlehead and Kingswells. The junction here is a three-way roundabout with a through-lane for traffic on the B9119 coming out of Aberdeen and continuing west. The A944 and B9119 continue in a multiplex now for a couple of miles. We encounter a roundabout at Kingswells, location of a busy park and ride facility. (The buses from this use a buses-only road from Kingswells on the old Lang Stracht which joins the A944 at the City end of the link road described above.) Part-time traffic lights operate at rush hour along here, as this is an extremely busy commuter route. Immediately after the roundabout are traffic lights controlling access to and from the Prime Four business park. Around half a mile further on, we encounter the large new roundabout for the A90 Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, otherwise known as the Aberdeen bypass, which runs above us on a flyover. Here you can turn left onto the A90 southbound, or right to head northbound. The roundabout itself has seven exits in total, with several local roads being accessed here now rather than through gaps in the central reservation. Once you're through the roundabout, the next major junction is a set of traffic lights just outside Westhill (formerly a roundabout, remodelled in 2014), where the A944 and B9119 part ways again. The recently-extended dual carriageway continues for a half a mile to the Westhill Roundabout.
From the Westhill roundabout the route continues through the edge of Westhill past its industrial park and through the village of Elrick, now just an expanding part of Westhill. It then heads into the country, past the Loch of Skene, through Dunecht, past Sauchen, through Ordhead, Millbank and Tillyfourie and then between the forests of Corrennie and Pitfichie. This takes it into the Howe of Alford, a bowl surrounded by hills, with the market town of Alford at its centre. After continuing through the town, a newly-aligned section of A944 takes us smoothly to a junction where you can take the A980 south to Banchory. This was formerly a TOTSO, with A944 westbound traffic having to turn right. The A944 continues over the River Don at Bridge of Alford, before sharply turning left over the river. The route then follows the wooded valley of the Don to join the A97 at The Mossat Shop.
Until the 1980s this was the western end of the A944. However, after a duplex of almost 10 miles with the A97 the A944 now reappears at Heugh Head and continues west via Strathdon, through a scenic wooded area along the river to the A939 at Colnabaichin near Corgarff. This section was previously the B973 but was renumbered in the 1980s. Why the A944 number was chosen for this section of road is anyone's guess.