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B969 (Balmoral)

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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (2)
From:  Balmoral (NO250951)
To:  Gairnshiel Bridge (NJ293006)
Distance:  4.8 miles (7.7 km)
Met:  A93, B970
Now part of:  B976
Traditional Counties


Route outline (key)
B969 Balmoral - Gairnshiel
This article is about the former B969 near Balmoral in Aberdeenshire.
For the current B969 in Glenrothes, see B969

Near the northern end of the former B969 (now B976)

The original course of the B969 started on the banks of the River Dee opposite Balmoral Castle on the A93. It climbed steeply up what is now a rutted track to meet the current line of the B976, and followed that route over the hill into Glen Gairn, where it ended on the B970 at Gairnshiel Bridge. It worked in conjunction with the B970 as a mountainous cross-country route to Speyside. The original route of the B969 followed the line of part of the old military road built by Major Caulfield in the 1750s from Blairgowrie to Fort George via Braemar.


The original B969 near Balmoral

The route remained unchanged until c1935, when the southern end of the road was moved eastwards to join the A93 nearer Crathie. The B969 is still shown on the 1939 and 1944 printings of the Ten-Mile Road Map of Great Britain, but the 1946 edition shows it as part of an extended A939, with the former route of the B970 to Ballater now an extended B972. Then in the 1970s the A939 was rerouted to Ballater (thus taking over all the original route of the B970), and so, with the exception of the southern end which is now closed to traffic, the former B969 is now part of an extended B976.

As noted above, the route used by the B969 was originally built in the 1750s by Major Caulfeild as part of his military road through the Cairngorm Mountains. Having crossed the Cairnwell Pass (now the route of the A93), the route forked off the main road along the north bank of the Dee and climbed steadily up the flanks of Creag Mhor. This ascent is much steeper than that now taken by the B976 a little further east, but was by no means the steepest climb on the route. The old road is still open to walkers, and while the lower section is maintained as property access, the top end connecting to the B976 is less well used, with grass growing up the middle. The rest of the road seems to be unchanged from Caulfield's route.

The 1922 MOT Road List defines this route as: Balmoral Castle - Rinloan

B969 (Balmoral)
Related Pictures
View gallery (2)
B976 alongside the River Gairn - Geograph - 443018.jpgB969-B970.jpg
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