|Distance:||25 miles (40.2 km)|
|Met:||A93, B971, B9119, B968, B976, A93|
|Now part of:||B976, B993|
|Route outline (key)|
The A973 ran parallel to the A93 in west Aberdeenshire albeit on the other side of the River Dee.
Starting on the A93 at Crathie, the road immediately crossed the Dee then bore sharply left by one of the lodges to the Balmoral Estate to follow the river downstream. The road remained in the flat valley bottom and so its exact route depended on the width of the valley on the right bank of the river as to whether the road had to run alongside the river or could follow a straighter course a short distance away.
A sharp left-hand bend at Bridge of Muick took the road alongside the Dee with Ballater opposite. The first bridge downstream from Balmoral, the B971, took A973 traffic into the town which has never strayed across the river. Several miles downstream another bridge carried the B968 into Aboyne, then the road bore left at Allancreich before crossing the Dee a second time at Potarch. The road ended back on the A93 on the far side of the river, a couple of miles south of Kincardine O'Neil.
In 1922 the A973 did not exist. The road from Crathie to Aboyne was the B968 and the remainder was unclassified. The A973 came into existence in the mid-1920s leaving only a short section of B968 in Aboyne and taking over a formerly unclassified road to Potarch.
In the 1960s it was decided that having two parallel Class I roads in the Dee Valley was overkill, especially as the one didn't actually serve any places of any size. As such the A973 was downgraded. The majority became an extension of the B976 whilst the easternmost couple of miles became a detached section of the B993.