Cairnwell Pass

Cairnwell Pass is a sensational steep drive in Scotland

Cairnwell Pass is a mountain pass at an elevation of 684m (2,244ft) above the sea level, located on the boundary of Perthshire and Aberdeenshire, in Scotland. Plenty of sections well into double digits on the way to the summit. It's one of the highest roads of the country.

Where is the Devil's Elbow in Scotland?

The road to the summit, Càrn a' Bhailg, is totally paved. It’s called A93. At this elevation it is the highest main road in the United Kingdom. A mile south of the summit, the road had a hair-raising, double-hairpin bend, with a gradient of 17 percent, nicknamed as the Devil's Elbow. It was bypassed in the 1960s when a section of the road was straightened, but can still be walked or cycled.

Is Cairnwell Pass open?

Set high in the Scottish Highlands, access to the pass is typically open all year round, with the occasional closure in winters due to dangerous weather conditions. At the summit is the Glenshee Ski Centre, Scotland's largest and oldest ski centre.

How long is Cairnwell Pass?

The pass is 23.97km (14.9 miles) long, running south-north from Glen Shee to Braemar. Traffic is sparse and the scenery is stunning. The pass follows the military road built by William Caulfeild in the 1750s and was used by drovers to take cattle and sheep to market. The road is very steep, with plenty of sections well into double digits hitting a 17% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps.

 

 

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