|From:||Aviemore (N) (NH899153)|
|To:||Boyndie (SW) (NJ619624)|
|Distance:||63 miles (101.4 km)|
|Meets:||A9, B9152, B9153, A938, B9102, A939, B970, B9137, B9008, B9138, A941, B9103, A96, B9014, B9116, B9017, B9018, B9117, B9022, B9023, B9025, A98|
|Old route now:||B9102, A939, A96|
|Route outline (key)|
The A95 is an important through route in east Scotland, running along Strathspey and ending within striking distance of the coast.
Section 1: Aviemore – Grantown-on-Spey
The A95 starts just to the north of Aviemore, on its bypass. We leave the A9 and head east for about 100 m before immediately reaching a TOTSO with the B9152 which is the old route of the A9 through the town. Turning to the left, the A95 follows the old A9 route for just over two miles to Kinveachy, its original starting point. Here it is the B9153 that takes up the old A9, continuing north to Carrbridge.
We are now heading east once more, passing through Strathspey, with trees on the higher slopes to the north and open views across the river to the south. Below, to the right, Boat of Garten sits on the riverbank with the intermediate station of the preserved Strathspey Railway from Aviemore to Broomhill. The road then drops slightly towards the river, and for a while the railway is clearly visible on the right, before we diverge once more. The surrounding landscape is littered with prehistoric cairns and standing stones, but the A95 ploughs on, passing the Speyside Heather Centre and then finding a new alignment past Broomhill. From here to Grantown, the old road is frequently visible to the left, although as we bypass Dulnain Bridge, the A938 briefly takes up its course. A little further on, the old Railway line suddenly rears up out of a field, with a truncated embankment. The Strathspey eventually intend to reach Grantown, so that could be interesting!
On the outskirts of Grantown, we meet the B9102 at a roundabout, and turn right onto the short bypass. Half a mile later, we find another roundabout, this time with the A939. Originally the A95 passed through the town on these two roads. At the second roundabout, we now turn right across the New Speybridge. However, the old road stayed on the north bank to cross the river a little further down stream on the Old Speybridge. We rejoin the original alignment where the A939 turns off after its short multiplex and heads south to Tomintoul and climbs over the Grampian Mountains. Our own journey is far less exciting as we continue east.
Section 2: Grantown-on-Spey – Keith
From Grantown, the A95 continues to closely follow the River Spey as it winds its way north-eastwards. The small villages of Cromdale and Advie are the only real settlements passed, and the latter is largely down the hill nearer the river. The road is, for the most part, a wide and fast route. However, with significant numbers of lorries using it, and only short straights allowing overtaking between gently sweeping bends, progress can be slower than you might otherwise expect. There are also a couple of narrow bridges requiring traffic light control.
After Advie, the road continues to climb the contours away from the river, passing a distillery at Tormore. Another is located at Cragganmore at the end of the B9137, a short and rather pointless B road that drops down the hill towards the river. Shortly after the B9137 junction, the A95 turns round to the south and drops to cross the Bridge of Avon, although a new bridge has long since replaced the pretty old arch. After the bridge, the road takes a sharp hairpin back to the north to climb back up the side of Strathspey, and so passes the junction with the B9008 which continues south through the Avon Valley. After a couple of miles the B9138 turns left to drop down and cross the river on Blacksboat Bridge.
Once more the A95 is undulating through short straights and sweeping bends as it uses a high pass to cut off a large, steep meander in Strathspey itself. The river is rejoined once more as we approach Charlestown of Aberlour, commonly known simply as Aberlour. This long, pretty town sits alongside the river, straddling the road, but doesn't provide a road bridge. For that, we have to wait for Craigellachie, a mile or so to the north. Here, Telford's famous Craigellachie Bridge provides a dramatic view as the A95 drops down the hill to its twin junctions with the A941. The first junction sees the A941 heading south east to Dufftown, with the A95 as the mainline. However, at the second junction the A95 has to TOTSO right and also loses the company of the River Spey. Worse still, it used to lose primary status here as well (giving it to the A941) for many years but the status quo has switched and the A95 now remains primary whilst the A941 is not.
With the A941 continuing north across the Spey as the direct route to Elgin, the A95 passes through the small village of Craigellachie. Rather strangely, at one point a quick glance between buildings shows that the A941 to Dufftown is just a stone's throw away, following a parallel course, separated by old buildings and steep narrow streets - it's fairly obvious why the A95 no longer goes that way. Soon, however, the two routes have diverged and the A95 continues its north-easterly journey towards Keith. There are few houses, let alone any villages, along this stretch, but after only 6 or 7 miles, the A95 is humiliated once more, this time having to TOTSO with a B road! The B9103 looks wide enough to start with, but soon narrows, and crosses the Spey on the single-track Boat O'Brig. Meanwhile, the A95 heads east, following the railway line into Keith, meeting the A96 on the town's western edge.
Section 3: Keith - Boyndie
There is a short multiplex east into the centre of town with the A96 number dominant (originally the A95 was as is suggested by the road layout; presumably the change was made when the A95 was made non-primary east of Craigellachie). The multiplex crosses the River Isla and the route's second preserved railway, the Keith & Dufftown Railway, before the A95 regains its number by turning left, finally losing its primary status. Open countryside is soon reached and the road crosses the railway line (the main one, not the preserved line) and the Isla once again. It continues along Strathisla for another couple of miles until turning away just before reaching the B9117.
Now heading northeastwards once more, the A95 continues across gently undulating terrain, avoiding the hills to the left before climbing to meet the B9022. It crosses the saddle and descends through the scattered village of Gordonstown where the B9022 turns off again in the direction of Portsoy. We bear right along a more winding road. After going through Cornhill, the last place of any size en route, we cross another ridge before descending towards a wind farm. The B9025 crosses at a staggered crossroads and the A95 ends a short distance further on at a T-junction in the middle of nowhere on the A98. Banff, our destination since leaving Keith, seems to have disappeared from the signs (it's to the right, signed as Fraserburgh).