Cairnwell Pass

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Looking South in Winter

The Cairnwell Pass (Scottish Gaelic: Càrn a' Bhailg) is a mountain pass on the A93 road between Glen Shee, Perthshire, and Braemar, Aberdeenshire, in the Scottish Highlands. The border between the two counties crosses the summit of the pass. With a summit altitude of 670 m (2199 ft), the Cairnwell Pass is the highest main road in the United Kingdom, and at the summit is the Glenshee Ski Centre, Scotland's largest and oldest ski centre.[1] Historically, the pass was a drover's route from the Lowlands to the Highlands. The road is often blocked by snow in the winter.

The Devil's Elbow

A mile south of the summit is the Devil's Elbow, a notorious double-hairpin bend. The often-quoted gradient of 33 percent (1 in 3) is a myth: in reality it was no more than 1 in 6 (17%).[2][3] The modern road bypasses the hairpin bends, but the old road still exists and its route can be walked, or carefully cycled.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Glenshee Ski Centre website
  2. ^
  3. ^

Coordinates: 56°53′10″N 3°24′53″W / 56.8862°N 3.4146°W / 56.8862; -3.4146