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Snow and ice warning for Highlands and Moray as section of A9 closed due to ‘treacherous’ conditions

A fourth day of heavy snow is causing disruption on roads, railways and at airports across Grampian, the Highlands and Islands.

Weather warning for the coming days. Image: DC Thomson.
Weather warning for the coming days. Image: DC Thomson.

Heavy snow and icy conditions have impacted travel across the Highlands, Islands and Grampian.

Day four of snowy conditions in the region has lead to significant travel and transport disruption.

Two amber snow warnings were in place for areas in the northern Highlands and Islands today, with a yellow warning in place for most of the rest of the north.

Met Office snow warning map
Amber warning issued for the Highlands and Orkney until 6pm on Thursday. Image: Met Office.

Met Office forecasters warned many areas could expect “frequent heavy snow showers” throughout the day.

Residents across the Highlands, particularly in the Wester Ross and North Sutherland areas, are being advised not to travel due to “treacherous” conditions.

From midnight until 3pm tomorrow, a yellow weather warning for further snow and icy patches is in effect across the north of Aberdeenshire, Moray and much of the Highlands, Orkney and Shetland.

Whiteout condition in the Highlands. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson.

Snow will be replaced by strong winds on Sunday with another yellow weather warning across the whole country until 6am on Monday.

Meanwhile, a yellow warning for rain is in place from midday on Sunday which covers much of the A9.

The latest on the roads

Snowfall is forcing the overnight closure of a section of the A9 Inverness to Thurso.

According to Traffic Scotland, snowy conditions resulted in several vehicles becoming stuck on the A9 between Helmsdale and Dunbeath.

Bear Scotland said they were also grappling with wintry conditions on the A99, A835, A87 Skye, and A82 outside Inverness through the night.

Conditions on the A9 have resulted in some vehicles becoming stranded. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson.

Also closed to traffic is the B9176 Evanton to Ardgay road, known as the Struie.

Highland Council has shared details on the various routes being impacted by snow drifting, as motorists are being advised to avoid them.

These include:

  • A897 Helmsdale to Melvich CLOSED
  • A836 Bettyhill to Melvich CLOSED
  • A836 Lairg to Tongue CLOSED
  • A836 Tongue to Bettyhill CLOSED
  • A838 Durness to Tongue CLOSED
  • A832 Braemore to Dundonnel CLOSED
  • A837 Ledmore to Rosehall CLOSED
Highlands Council posted this map of the road closures shortly after 5pm on Thursday, January 18. Image: Highlands Council/Facebook

In the northeast, several roads were blocked later in the evening as winds picked up.

These include:

  • B9031 in Banff and Buchan is CLOSED due to drifting snow
  • A98 Banff to Fraserburgh
  • A952 Mintlaw to Fraserburgh

Travel is restricted on several others.

These include:

  • A90 – Toll of Birness to Peterhead
  • A96 – Pitcaple to Huntly
  • A952 Toll of Birness to Fraserburgh is only just passable where the road meets the A90
  • A947 Oldmeldrum to Turriff
  • A93 Drumoak to Crathes
  • A92 Inverbervie to St Cyrus
  • and the A948 Ellon to New Deer is only passable with a 4×4

Further north on Shetland, police are asking residents to “only travel if it is absolutely necessary.”

Orkney Islands Council told drivers to stay home with many roads on the island closed.

These include:

  • The Kirkwall to Stromness road is currently blocked at Tormiston, at the Harray Junction, at Deepdale and at Howe
  • Airport bends
  • Holm Road

In a statement, the council wrote: “With the heavy snowfall this afternoon and the subsequent drifting we are facing SIGNIFICANT issues on our roads.”

“Most of the main roads are currently blocked and our crews are fighting a losing battle to try and get anything cleared.”

Other incidents out on the roads

A snow plough left the road on the A836 at Loyal between Altnaharra and Tongue. Nobody in the crew was injured.

On the A98 between Fraserburgh and Macduff, an ambulance left the road. No occupants were injured.

An ambulance left the road on the A98 between Fraserburgh and Macduff. Image: Fubar News.

Aberdeen City Council is continuing to grit its primary route – about half of the city’s road network, including roads to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, nearby police, fire and ambulance stations and major bus routes.

They will be unable to grit most residential streets, side roads and cul-de-sacs.

The B9075 road at the Wesidale to Sandwater junction is closed to all traffic due to wind-blown snow.

A car covered in snow on the side of the road.
The snow can cause a lot of disruption in some places. Image: Jason Hedges/ DC Thomson


All flights in and out of Sumburgh Airport have been cancelled for the day. This includes flights to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Inverness.

Inverness Airport has confirmed the weather is having an impact on flight schedules throughout the day. Customers are advised to contact their airline directly.

Cancelled flights:

  • 6.30am – Inverness to Manchester
  • 10.10am – Inverness to Stornoway
  • 10.30am – Inverness to Sumburgh
  • 11.30am – Heathrow to Inverness
  • 12.50am – Amsterdam to Inverness
  • 1.20pm – Inverness to Amsterdam

There are also flights from Aberdeen International Airport to Orkney, Shetland and Wick cancelled today.


Council workman clearing street paths in his gritter
Council workman clearing street paths in his gritter. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson.

Train services across the north are being impacted by the weather. Disruption is expected to last all day.

Aberdeen to Glasgow: Fewer trains are able to run on all lines due to the severe weather. Trains between Arbroath and Glasgow Queen Street will be terminated at and start back at Dundee.

Aberdeen/Edinburgh/Glasgow to Inverness: Severe weather between Carrbridge and Inverness is causing delays of around half an hour.

Aberdeen to Inverurie: Trains services are mostly suspended.

Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh: ScotRail has said there are significant changes on this route. Check your journey in advance.

Inverness to Wick and Thurso: Services are currently cancelled or being terminated at Lairg.

Snow on country road
Heavy snow as traffic crosses the Struie from Ardgay in Sutherland to Evanton in Ross-shire. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson.

Bus services disrupted 

Stagecoach has asked customers to check ahead due to disruption.

All Caithness and Skye services, and those across Orkney, are suspended until further notice due to the adverse weather.

Buses in the Inverness area may be delayed or cancelled at late notice. Services from Tain to Dornoch and vice versa have been cancelled this morning.

Services between Inverness have been delayed until further notice.

Stagecoach Bluebird has confirmed delays to its services in the Dufftown, Macduff, Aberchirder, Huntly, Turriff and Oldmeldrum areas.

All services in and around Moray are delayed by about 20 minutes.

There are no public buses running in Shetland throughout the day.

Katherine Robertson in the snow at Schivas, Ythanbank
Katherine Robertson pictured in the snow at Schivas, Ythanbank. Aberdeenshire. Image: Claire Leslie.

Buses across the Western Isles are also disrupted or cancelled:

  • W2 Westside – services to resume after 1pm
  • W3 – normal service from 12.30pm
  • W4 Uig – normal service except cancelled 1.25pm request to Stornoway
  • W16 and W17 Uist and Benbecula – contact operator on 01878 700599
  • W32 and W33 Barra – no services
Partially frozen Dornoch Firth with Ardgay behind the trees
The partially frozen Dornoch Firth with Ardgay in the background. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson.

If you see a road that is closed, or transport disruption please contact us on