The A980 is a largely rural cross-country A-road, mostly in Aberdeenshire. Originally numbered B976 the A980 came into being in the late 1920s.
Banchory - Alford
The road leaves the A93 North Deeside Road in the eastern part of Banchory, passes Banchory Academy and heads up towards Raemoir House, now a swish hotel, where it gives way to the B977 from Garlogie and TOTSOs left towards Torphins, skirting the southern fringe of the broad massif of the Hill of Fare. This fairly fast section passes the unimpressive ruins of Cluny Crichton castle and the lethal Milton of Campfield bend.
The road continues through Torphins and a long ribbon of houses on its western approach, through the hamlet of Sundayswells, past Satan's Den (as the train-drivers on the parallel, now dismantled, Deeside railway line knew a deep cutting often blocked by snow), to the village of Lumphanan, famed for connections with the real King Macbeth. The A980 TOTSOs right up the hill through the village while an unclassified continuation passes the Peel Ring of Lumphanan and heads towards Dess and Aboyne.
The road climbs to cross the B9119 Aberdeen-Tarland road at the Crossroads Hotel. This is a staggered crossroads with the B9119 number dominant according to the signs (although that road was the A974 at one time). Heading north again, the A980 then passes Craigievar Castle, famed for its outstanding Scottish baronial architecture and now owned by the National Trust for Scotland. It then passes through the hamlet of Muir of Fowlis before doing a large loop along the valley bottom to pass to the south of Bridge of Alford and end at a TOTSO on the A944 between the Bridge and Alford itself. There is a short spur which cuts off the corner to the westbound A944.
The old military road follows a more direct route from Lumphanan to Alford and is now a combination of minor roads, tracks and paths. There are fine views along the A980 especially heading south from the Crossroads towards Lumphanan.