The North Coast 500 has been billed as Scotland’s reply to America’s Route 66 however this Scottish street journey is not like something you’ll see within the USA. The North Coast 500 takes you thru the Scottish Highlands seeing legendary castles, extraordinary coastal surroundings, and well-known whisky distilleries lining the winding single observe roads. The NC500 is likely one of the nice street journeys on the planet.
When planning your North Coast 500 journey be certain to give loads of days to discover the sights. We spent a really two weeks on this spectacular driving route via the Scottish highlands and we’ve put collectively the last word NC500 Trip Planner to allow you to benefit from your time within the Scottish highlands.
North Coast 500 Guide
Dave and I’ve achieved a whole lot of street journeys. We’ve come to the conclusion that they only could be our specialty. We’ve pushed a automobile from England to Mongolia within the Mongol Rally, we have been the primary media to drive Ireland’s whole Wild Atlantic Way (the longest coastal route on earth) and sure, we’ve pushed via giant chunks of America’s Route 66.
When we had the chance to drive the North Coast 500, we jumped on the probability, we’ve at all times wished to see the Scottish Highlands and this route takes you thru the most effective of them. We love marking our map with must-see points of interest, stocking up on snacks, placing collectively a playlist, and hitting the street.
The North Coast 500 loop counterclockwise from Inverness and we’ve put collectively the last word plan to allow you to plan forward and benefit from your time within the Scottish highlands.
What is the North Coast 500
The North Coast 500 (NC500) is a scenic route that runs alongside the northern coast of Scotland, protecting a distance of roughly 516 miles (830 km). It was created as an official loop across the north coast of Scotland, however the roads have at all times been there.
The official North Coast 500 was launched in 2015 to increase the Northern Highland economic system and has now turn into a well-liked vacationer vacation spot providing beautiful coastal views, rugged landscapes, and an opportunity to go to picturesque villages and cities.
The route begins and ends within the metropolis of Inverness, taking guests on a round journey via the Scottish Highlands and alongside the coast of the North Atlantic, and down the west coast.
Along the way in which, vacationers can go to iconic landmarks such because the Bealach Na Ba Pass, the ruins of Ardvreck Castle, and the white sands of Achmelvich Beach. The route additionally passes via a number of communities, offering alternatives for guests to expertise native tradition and hospitality.
The NC500 has gained recognition as one of many world’s most scenic street journeys, attracting guests from everywhere in the world who come to discover the pure fantastic thing about Scotland’s rugged north highlands. When you go to Scotland, you’re going to need to expertise no less than a portion its spectacular surroundings.
Where is the North Coast 500
Our North Coast 500 drive began and resulted in Inverness, the Capital of the Scottish Highlands. We drove counterclockwise alongside the north coast of Scotland in a 516-mile (830km) circle route via a number of the most stunning landscapes within the nation, stopping at many cities and points of interest earlier than returning to Inverness.
The North Coast 500 is situated within the North West nook of Scotland winding its method up the east coast, alongside the the north and down west coast of Scotland beginning in Inverness.
NC500 Car Rentals
The greatest method to discover the North Coast 500 is on a street journey is by driving. If you don’t already dwell within the UK and have your individual automobile, you’ll need to guide a rental automobile nicely upfront. There are loads of locations to guide rental vehicles in Scotland. We use Rental Cars Connect to discover the most effective offers on any rental automobile. You can evaluate costs on their web site.
Hot Tip: Be certain your rental automobile is a smaller automobile as roads are sometimes single observe roads alongside the North Coast 500 and a small automobile is simple to navigate via the North Highlands. The roads via the Scottish Highlands are winding and slender there are a number of hairpin turns. Small vehicles also can match simply into the passing locations to let quicker drivers overtake you. Rental vehicles are scarce lately, so be certain to guide nicely upfront. Compare costs at RentalCars.com
Day 1: North Coast 500 – Inverness
We began our North Coast 500 street journey in Inverness and spent two days having fun with this historic metropolis. Inverness is the primary metropolis on the North Coast 500 route and it’s the capital of the Scottish Highlands.
The capital of the Scottish Highlands, Inverness is house to the very well-known Loch Ness the place you possibly can seek for Nessie herself. That was our primary curiosity when visiting Inverness, however there are many different issues to see and do.
St. Andrew’s Cathedral Abertarff House relationship again to 1592 Nessie Islands – Islands linked by stunning walkways and gardens Golf and Spa at Kingsmills Spa Read our full article Things to do in Inverness
Day 2: North Coast 500
There are loads of issues to do in Inverness and within the surrounding space, so you’ll undoubtedly need to spend a while right here. Here are a couple of high points of interest to see earlier than transferring alongside the North Coast 500.
Inverness is the primary hub for exploring Loch Ness. People go to the legendary Loch Ness in quest of the Loch Ness Monster, however it’s price exploring the sandy seashores and surroundings round Inverness as nicely.
The guests middle in Drumnadrochit is enjoyable and kitschy and is a must-stop to be taught concerning the historical past of the Loch Ness Monster, however exploring the large lake is the spotlight.
Drumnadrochit and Glen Affric
If you have got extra time, you possibly can keep in Drumnadrochit, there are many B&Bs within the space. If you’re staying within the space take a drive to Glen Affric to soak up its beautiful panorama and consider the attractive Plodda Falls. This is the spot the place the tour busses cease although so be ready for giant crowds and site visitors.
Be certain to watch the sundown from Dores Beach and it’s possible you’ll even run into the Nessie Hunter who has arrange camp proper on this spot to preserve look ahead to the elusive monster.
Urquhart Castle is one other must-see cease on the lake. It is a ravishing wreck that has survived many a battle over the previous 1000 years. The setting overlooks Loch Ness and the rolling hills of the Scottish Highlands, I can see why individuals fought over this stunning setting.
Where to Stay in Inverness
Accommodation Suggestion: Kingsmills Hotel and spa with swimming pool and breakfast included. We stayed right here and completely beloved it.
The Kingsmills Hotel is situated on a golf course simply exterior the downtown core. Set in a big historic mansion on a large treed property with spa and pool. We stayed within the newer spa portion of the lodge and the rooms have been spacious, and cozy. Parking is free and breakfasts are included. Check it out on TripAdvisor / Booking.com
The Rocpool Reserve Hotel is one other really helpful lodge: Trip Advisor / Booking.com
Suggested locations to eat: Rocpool Restaurant or Dores Inn at Loch Ness in Dores after you’ve watched the sundown.
Day 3 – Drive North to Dornoch
Today you’ll go away Inverness and make your method to Dornoch for the beginning of your east coast drive up North Coast 500 Road journey. Your subsequent in a single day is just a bit over an hour’s drive away, however it’s the excellent base in your subsequent set of explorations as there’s a lot to see and do within the space.
Along the A9 in the direction of the NC500 affords many issues to see and locations to cease. Dornoch is legendary for the Dornoch Castle and makes base to discover the whisky route.
Don’t simply beeline it to the following city, be certain to pop into these highlights in your method out of Inverness earlier than hitting the North Coast 500 Route.
The Culloden Battlefield is likely one of the greatest stops on the North Coast 500 street journey. As you make your method via the Scottish Highlands, be sure that to cease at some of the historic websites on the itinerary. The fashionable customer’s centre opened in 2008 and is a stark distinction to the empty land the place one of many bloodiest battles on British soil befell.
On a spring day in 1746, greater than 1200 males have been killed in only one quick hour. It was the ultimate battle of the Jacobite rebellion and it got here to its fateful finish.
Visitors are given headsets triggered by GPS telling them the story of the bloody battle as they stroll either side of the battlefield. One of essentially the most highly effective moments comes while you enter the inside museum and stand inside a room projecting a 360-degree reenactment of the battle. You are surrounded by the cries of the soldiers assembly their destiny.
If you’re fascinated with Highland historical past (as we’re) it is a place the place you possibly can simply spend hours. For extra data see Culloden Battlefield Visitor’s Centre
Clava Cairns isn’t removed from the Culloden Battlefield and is an efficient cease for this present day of sightseeing on the North Coast 500. Cairns are historic stone cemeteries relationship again 4000 years. There are a number of cairns alongside the nc500 however none as well-known as Clava Cairns.
Clava Cairns was used because the inspiration for the Outlander sequence (that is the place the place Claire was transported again in time) you possibly can perceive why Diana Gambon felt time journey may occur right here.
The standing stones and round cairns really feel like magic. The Cairns of Scotland have been burial tombs used to home the useless and right now, guests can stroll the grounds and stroll proper into the centre of the tombs feeling the peace and quiet of the sacred website. It’s free to go to so don’t miss it!
It’s time to transfer on from Inverness and cross into the Black Isle portion of the driving route. Black Isle is a peninsula situated simply north of town of Inverness. Despite its identify, Black Isle isn’t an precise island however slightly a peninsula, bounded by water on three sides: the Cromarty Firth to the north, the Beauly Firth to the south, and the Moray Firth to the east.
The identify “Black Isle” is claimed to come from the truth that when seen from a distance, the world seems to be black due to the forests that cowl a lot of the peninsula. Black Isle is a well-liked cease on the NC500 for individuals who need a style of the route with its scenic villages away from the bigger cities, seashores, and wildlife reserves. You can simply discover Black Isle on a day journey from Inverness.
Road Trip Snacks
North Coast 500 Road Trip Snacks – We stocked up on water and snacks in Inverness, however there are many native retailers alongside the route. One of our favourite stops for native meats & cheeses, recent fruits, and native treats, be certain to cease in at Roberston’s The Larder.
You also can meet the livestock together with Highland Cows. If you’re frightened about not seeing the well-known highland cattle alongside the route, (don’t be) you’ll have probability right here. It is situated on the route from Inverness to Glen Ord Distillery.
Located within the coronary heart of Black Isle, The Singleton Distilerry is the closest distillery to Inverness so it will probably simply be achieved as a day journey from there. What makes a go to to Singleton distinctive is that it is likely one of the few distilleries in Scotland that also malts its personal barley and their Singleton mix can solely be purchased in Scotland or for those who go to Asia.
For us, it was additionally the primary time we’d seen wood fermentation barrels. Every different distillery tour we’ve ever taken was stainless-steel.
The finish of day 3 in your North Coast 500 journey ends at Dornoch Castle. Dornoch is a vacation spot unto itself with the fort at its middle. The Scottish highlands are full of previous castles which have been transformed into resorts. Do your self a favor and guide an evening no less than one fort lodge.
Dornoch Castle is situated proper available in the market sq. of Dornoch instantly throughout from the Dornoch Cathedral. This Twelfth-century cathedral is such a draw that Madonna had her son Rocco christened right here.
The fort units the tone for this distinctive Scottish street journey. The pub makes you’re feeling like you’re sitting in a Seventeenth-century tavern as the fireplace roars and the whiskey pours. The set dinner menu is divine and the rooms make you’re feeling like royalty.
Dornoch Castle and Whisky Bar
Dornoch Castle is house to the most effective whisky bars on earth. It was voted the #1 Whisky Hotel of the Year by whiskybase.com. It’s the whisky bar that’s the primary attraction. Sitting contained in the thick previous stone partitions with the enormous fire roaring with flame you’re feeling as for those who’ve stepped again in time to when clans dominated the land.
The in depth whisky inventory has gained awards as the most effective whisky bar on the planet and is at present the reigning no 1 whisky lodge of the 12 months as named by whiskybase.com.
Having the distillery tour helped us to perceive the distilling technique of Scottish whiskey and gave us perception into aromas and flavors once we determined to style a couple of drams at Dornoch Castle’s whisky bar. This really made us really feel like we have been taking a tour via historical past and our information Alistair was as obsessed with his scotch as he was informative.
We ordered a tasting flight of three whiskeys after chatting with the bartender who will assist us resolve what photographs to select. He will choose your mind to see what kind of Scotch you favor and supply up selections of various whiskeys at totally different costs to fit your wants.
Note: Scotland spells whisky with out an “e”. So while you go to Scotland, be certain to spell it the way in which they do in Scotland, it’s whisky NOT Whiskey.
Where to Stay in Dornoch
Dornoch Castle – We beloved our keep within the historic Dornoch Castle. Whenever we go to Ireland or Scotland, we at all times strive to keep in a fort for a really genuine and historic expertise. Trip Advisor / Booking.com
There can also be The Dornoch Hotel you possibly can see extra data on Trip Advisor / Booking.com
Royal Marine Hotel – Just slightly farther up the East Coast is the Royal Marine Hotel which was voted the most effective locations to keep in Britain. Just an hour from Inverness alongside the North Coast 500, it is a good place to make a base whereas exploring the east coast of Scotland. Check charges and availability on Expedia.com
Day 4: North Coast 500 – Dornoch to Wick
Click right here for an interactive map of NC 500
Day 4 of your North Coast 500 street journey is all concerning the whisky and the spectacular surroundings of the North Highlands. The drive from Dornoch to Wick takes roughly 4 hours however as with each a part of the NC500 route, you’ll find yourself taking for much longer as there may be a lot to see and do.
There are a number of distilleries in Northern Scotland the place street trippers can choose up a bottle of their favourite Scotch whisky. It is price stopping no less than as soon as however in order for you to spend longer within the space, test all of them out on a day tour. From the city of Dornoch, there are half a dozen distilleries to go to which can be from mere minutes to solely a few hours away.
Balblair Glenmorangie Dalmore Dunnet Bay Pulteney Distilleries are all close by.
If you’re searching for one thing exterior of distilleries, make your method to the Black Isle Brewing Company. Black Isle is an natural brewer with a variety of natural beers and seasonal specials.
If you’re a whisky lover, Dornoch fort or Royal Marine Hotel is the right place to base your travels as you discover the distilleries of the route. Visit their web site for bookings and availability.
Open from April 1 to October 15, visiting Dunbrobin Castle is a should. You can go to the gardens and grounds year-round. We parked our automobile and walked down the steps to a powerful view of this 800 year-old fort. It’s totally different from different castles in Scotland resembling a French Chateau slightly than the stark stone buildings in different elements we noticed.
Dunrobin fort has been house to the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland because the thirteenth century.
This fort could be visited from Dornoch, or you possibly can plan as we did and make it a cease alongside the way in which to our subsequent vacation spot which in our case is Wick. Read all about Donrobin Castle right here.
Where to Stay – Ackergill Tower Hotel
Something we beloved about driving the North Coast 500 was the prospect to keep in historic castles. There are many distinctive lodging alongside the route from farmhouses, B&Bs, lighthouses, and luxurious estates. Making our method up the East Coast in the direction of the northernmost tip of Scotland, we stayed on the Ackergill Tower Hotel.
We loved a scrumptious meal on this grand lodge. Like Dornoch Castle, Ackergill Tower is an lodging that may be a vacation spot. The Tower is an unbelievable 600-year-old stone tower that stands proud on the shores of Sinclair Bay. The Northernmost level of Scotland. This luxurious highland property is as romantic as it’s distant.
Dining within the nice corridor, we ate a scrumptious three-course menu earlier than retiring to the sitting rooms for an after dinner drink. It felt recent out of Downton Abbey. As we sat by the fireplace we learn concerning the historical past of the fort and puzzled what life might need been like again in time.
The most well-known story of the fort tells the story of Helen Gunn, referred to as the Beauty of Braemore who was kidnapped on her marriage ceremony night time and held prisoner on this very tower. To escape her destiny she leapt to her dying. It is claimed that her ghost haunts the halls to this present day.
Day 5: Wick to Dunnet Head
Once we reached the Northern Tip of Scotland, the surroundings turned to dramatic views. This was most likely our favourite space to discover on the street journey. Everyone advised us the west coast was the most effective, however the northern tip was beautiful. We may have spent no less than two extra days exploring the strolling trails alongside the coast.
It is the world the place you see these huge sea cliffs and sea stacks housing migrating seabirds and seals. If you want climbing and wildlife, you’ll love this space.
If you need to get down inside one thing related to the Geo of Sclaites, the Whaligoe Steps is an outstanding trek. The Whaligoe Steps encompass 330 steps main down to some of the inaccessible harbors in Scotland. Dating again to the mid 18th century, the Whaligoe Steps have been utilized by fishermen’s wives to haul fish up of their baskets. At its prime, 24 fishing boats have been working these waters fishing for herring.
Wick Heritage Centre
If you need to be taught extra concerning the fishing and historical past of the world, the Wick Heritage Centre is the place to go. Wick was Europe’s premier herring fishing port throughout the nineteenth century and devoted guides volunteer their time to inform share their historic data.
There are many artifacts on show and rooms furnished to painting the previous. To get instructions and lookup hours go to the Wick Heritage Centre web site.
Dunnet Bay Distillery
Scotland could also be recognized for its Scotch, however Gin is making an enormous mark within the nation. Tours function from May to Sept at 3 pm on Mon, Wed, Fri and on Saturdays at 11 am and 1 pm.
This was most likely our favourite space to discover on the North Coast 500. Everyone advised us the west coast was the most effective, however the northern tip was beautiful. It is the world the place you see these huge sea cliffs and stacks housing migrating seabirds and seals. If you want climbing and wildlife, you’ll love this space.
Ackergill Tower – Overnight
The Ackergill Tower Hotel grew to become our base for exploring this portion of the Scottish Highlands and we stayed right here one other night time.
Like Dornoch Castle, Ackergill Tower is an lodging that may be a vacation spot. The Tower is an unbelievable 600-year-old stone tower that stands proudly on the shores of Sinclair Bay. The Northernmost level of Scotland. This luxurious highland property is as romantic as it’s distant.
The most well-known story of the fort tells the story of Helen Gunn, referred to as the Beauty of Braemore who was kidnapped on her marriage ceremony night time and held a prisoner on this very tower. To escape her destiny she leaped to her dying. It is claimed that her ghost haunts the halls to this present day. Check out Ackergill Tower to guide your lodging
Day 6: North Coast 500 – Wildlife and Scenery
Dave and I like taking excursions. As a lot as we get pleasure from exploring on our personal, we discover that helps us uncover hidden gems and areas we’d by no means have considered visiting. We spent a half day exploring with Caithness Wildlife Tours. Guide and proprietor Kate is a marine biologist and out of doors lover who takes guests to see view seabirds, seals, and different wildlife within the space.
But she additionally confirmed us historic websites resembling Mary Ann’s Cottage relationship again to 1850 and The Castle of Mey. The Queen Mother purchased and restored the Castle of Mey and King Charles nonetheless visits every summer time.
Castle of Mey
It was the spectacular views of Dunnet Head and Brough Harbour that actually took our breath away. But what we beloved essentially the most was studying the attention-grabbing info of the world from Kate. For instance, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin was an everyday customer to the world and almost purchased an property in Caithness for a recording studio.
He by no means did purchase the studio, however he did rebuild the harbor and there’s a plaque together with his identify on the Harrow Harbour commemorating the reopening.
Castle Sinclair Girnigo
Located only a quick stroll or drive from Ackergill Tower the ruins of Castle Sinclair Girnigo is an imposing sight on the coast. We noticed this from the street, however once we determined to go for a stroll to it, the rain got here down in full pressure.
There was one specific second once we actually appreciated being on the tour. We had stopped with Kate to view seals within the harbor (an everyday vacationer would miss seeing this on their very own) and she or he advised us to flip round.
The harbor was good, however the scene behind us was stunning. The peaceable setting housed an previous mill and quiet brook that was simply screaming to be photographed. Other vacationers drove proper on by taking a look at us as an alternative of the scene and missed this spotlight of the coast.
If you lookup photos of the North Coast 500 on Google, chances are high you’ve seen numerous photos of Duncansby Head. Hiking right here is spectacular with many strolling paths alongside the coast. Located only a mile and a half from John O’Groats, make your method to parking on the Duncansby Head Lighthouse.
If you have got extra time, you possibly can hike instantly from John O’Groats to soak up all the spectacular view. It is essentially the most northern level of mainland Scotland, We had restricted time, so we began our hike from the lighthouse and made our method to the awe-inspiring stacks. It’s solely a few 10-15 minute stroll, however alongside the way in which, be sure that to stick to the coast so you possibly can view the dramatic slender sea gullies referred to as the Geo of Sclaites.
After marveling on the views right here, we moved alongside the North Highlands to the stacks of Duncansby Head. There’s a path proper alongside the coast overlooking the stacks so you possibly can view them from all instructions.
Geo of Sclaites
Be certain to preserve a watch out for seabirds. Different are always migrating via the world always of the 12 months. Including puffins! A Geo is a deep inlet of water with excessive seacliffs and whereas there are a lot alongside the northern coast of Scotland, none are fairly as dramatic because the Geo of Sclaites.
Rock formations date again 4000 years and you’ll take strolling paths proper to the sting of the cliff to see migrating birds and the spectacular surroundings.
Where to Stay close to Dunnet Head
Ackergill Tower was the right base for exploring the northernmost level of Scotland. This Sixteenth-century tower has a whole lot of historical past, and you’ll sit by the fireplace studying about its checkered previous as you get pleasure from a dram of whiskey. Dining within the nice corridor, we ate a scrumptious three-course menu earlier than retiring to the assorted sitting rooms for an after-dinner drink.
We love street journeys! We included the North Coast 500 in our greatest street journeys we’ve ever taken.
Day 7: Dunnet Head to Tongue
This stretch of the nc500 takes you throughout the highest of Scotland. It was shocking to have a look at our map and see simply how far north we have been. Northern Scotland is the equal of being midway up the Hudson Bay in Canada’s north, or simply one-degree shy of Oslo, Norway, Stockholm Sweden, or St. Petersburg, Russia. It’s no marvel Northern Scotland reminded us a lot of Iceland!
Surfing in Scotland
It was additionally actually shocking to discover out that this space is a well-liked browsing vacation spot. World browsing occasions are held right here. We didn’t courageous the water, however whereas driving via the likes of Armadale Bay and Melvich, we did see surfers within the water taking up the swells. These bays are nonetheless method up within the north coast of Scotland so I can solely think about what the temperatures have been like.
We have been a bit too early within the season for kayaking and once we return to Scotland we will certainly give it a go. But we did see a couple of skilled kayakers within the water. Looking on the tough seas, we determined it was greatest left to the professionals right now of 12 months. We’ll courageous the North Sea when the climate is a bit more inviting.
Hopefully, by the point you go, the ruins of Castle Varrich might be open. It was underneath scaffolding once we arrived as we have been advised that they’d simply found a bone and it was being excavated. It needs to be open now for you to see.
You can hike from the Tongue Hotel. It is believed that the fort was constructed within the 14th century upon an previous Norse fort. So you could be certain there may be a whole lot of historical past simply ready to be found right here.
Kyle of Tongue
Instead of driving instantly alongside the A383 to cross the Kyle of Tongue, take the scenic route across the tip of the loch for extraordinary scenic views. We had the only observe roads all to ourselves. We’d spy a lake, park the automobile and hike to extraordinary views.
We spent the day right here earlier than assembly up once more with the A383 on the Kyle of Tongue Bridge. We made certain to cross the bridge for a full view of the highlands earlier than turning round once more to proceed our journey.
Overnight at Tongue Hotel
The Tongue Hotel It has a comfortable ambiance with giant rooms, and there’s at all times somebody providing a drop of sherry while you arrive. There is a eating room and on the town there’s a retailer shut by to replenish on provides for the remainder of your street journey. See costs on Trip Advisor / Booking.com
Ben Loyal Hotel is one other prompt place to keep on this portion of the north coast 500. Located on Main Street Tongue. View it on Trip Advisor / Booking.com
Day 8 – Tongue to Balnakeil
This is one other fabulous stretch full of lengthy abandoned sandy seashores, extra coastal hike and one unbelievable cave.
One of our favourite issues on our journeys was to discover the Smoo Caves. Stopping within the city of Durness, the Smoo Caves are stunning to see inside and outside. There are boardwalks main down to the caves on both facet supplying you with views of the steep path. A bridge helps you to cross the river main in from the ocean whereas wanting into the enormous cavern.
Many individuals simply go into the caves and take a fast look, however we extremely advocate taking a geological tour. Previously it was run by Colin who spent his lifetime excavating these caves. We had the privilege of doing a tour with him, however sadly he handed away in 2019.
Check out the web site for extra data on his excursions and the geology of the caves. It’s an interesting learn and also you’ll end up getting misplaced within the info.
A stupendous stretch of sandy seaside could be discovered simply out of city and it’s undoubtedly price visiting. Not solely is it very picturesque, however you’ll additionally expertise the distinctive feeling of strolling on a seaside whereas navy autos drive by with nice goal.
The Royal Naval gunnery ranges are situated out right here and navy personnel comes to this space to prepare. You always hear weapons and bangs within the distance making you marvel “what on earth is going on out there?”
There is a scenic cemetery situated on the location by the seaside housing an previous church and tombstones. It’s very photogenic and John Lennon’s aunt is buried right here.
John Lennon visited the world many occasions to see his aunt and there’s a memorial within the city of Durness. He revisited it once more with Yoko Ono and it’s stated that a few of his happiest reminiscences befell right here.
Belnakeil Craft Village
This is a cool spot the place locals are beginning to construct a craft neighborhood changing an previous navy camp into an artist’s compound. The most well-known attraction right here is the Cocoa Mountain espresso store. We stopped right here to load up on chocolate and choose up a takeaway cappuccino for our drive out of city.
We didn’t strive the new chocolate, however we heard two totally different prospects give glowing suggestions on our method out. Don’t fear although, we undoubtedly had our fill of handmade chocolate and an oh so clean cappuccino.
Be ready to give your pockets a exercise. When you stroll in, you’ll need to pattern all of the truffles and handmade native chocolate within the retailer.
Smoo Cave Hotel
Smoo Cave Hotel a primary lodge, however the location is an ideal cease after driving from Tongue, supplying you with the prospect to spend a day or two in Smoo. There’s bar they usually have a number of the greatest Haggis round.
Where to eat – Sango Sans, The Whale Tale, or Pick up a picnic lunch on the Carfour and cease on the Cocoa Mountain espresso store in Belnakeil Craft Village
Smoo Cave Hotel has bar they usually have a number of the greatest Haggis round.
Day 9: North Coast 500 – Belnakeil to Lochinver
Today is a giant day as we make our method down the west towards Achmelvich Bay. It is throughout this part that the driving will get actually enjoyable. The single observe roads can get fairly hair-raising and the drive is alongside enormous lakes and thru mountains is a thrill.
This is one other beautiful drive alongside a single observe with views to die for. The surroundings alongside the North Coast 500 is exclusive. It varies from place to place, so be sure that to take your time to actually get pleasure from the entire views. If you possibly can, take your time and presumably keep in Lochinver for an evening. We nonetheless moved on.
Located the place Loch Glencoul and Loch Glendhu meet, it is a very picturesque spot within the coronary heart of the highlands. The Kylesku bridge is likely one of the Most Photographed Stops on the North Coast 500.
Kylesku sits in the midst of Scotland’s 2,000 km2 (770 sq mi) Global Geopark. There is a whole lot of historical past human and geological on this land and the Geopark is acknowledged by UNESCO and is about up to promote and protect that historical past.
Many individuals lower this portion of drive and head instantly to Lochinver alongside the A894 and A837 however some of the picturesque street routes we took within the north highlands have been towards Drumbeg. The open roads that we had seen so far, gave method to slender single observe roads dropping off into deep valleys.
It was a ravishing winding journey. It was solely 10 miles lengthy however it took us nicely over an hour to navigate and take within the sights. It was right here that we noticed numerous stags working via the hills. And, it was right here that we got here throughout the very fairly highland cows, and it was right here that we noticed tons of of sheep grazing within the fields and skittering away every time we drew close to.
The Stoerhead Lighthouse was definitely price a brief detour. The lighthouse itself isn’t tall, however it stands on a cliff that’s 54 meters (162 toes) above sea degree jutting out from the West Coast of Scotland.
The scene is spectacular and you’ll really guide a keep within the lighthouse. There are two flats and a kitchen, so in order for you to spend extra time exploring the world, that is as distinctive because it will get for lodging and also you’ll have unbelievable views of the ocean!
Dave and I like espresso on a street journey and admittedly the alternatives for on-the-go espresso on the North Coast 500 have been few and much between. That’s why once we noticed an indication selling espresso forward, we adopted it.
Flossies is a tiny espresso store situated on the facet of the street, however it’s an establishment within the space. Opened in 1972 by Mrs Flossie Machphail it has now been taken over by her son William and his spouse Caroline who proceed the custom of constructing nice espresso to heat your bones from the damp Scottish climate. When driving via this part, be certain to replenish!
The single observe roads proceed from Clachtol via an extremely stunning rocky and rolling panorama. When in Clachtol be certain to take a look at the stone broch. Scottish Brochs date again to someplace across the first century BC.
Experts can’t fairly agree on what they have been, however these stone buildings are price a go to to witness how these mounds of stones have survived via the centuries.
Achmevilch Bay is outwardly fairly beautiful and a great place to park your caravan. Unfortunately for us, we have been heading in that route whereas the street was underneath building. We have been advised to come again in a couple of hours by staff, however alas, we had to transfer on as we have been on a mission to end our NC500 street journey.
The time to go to Achmevilch Bay is throughout the summer time season anyway as there may be water snowboarding, windsurfing, a number of strolling trails and fishing. Okay then, it’s settled, we should return to Northern Scotland!
Where to Stay
Kylesku lodge is an efficient base There are boat journeys, climbing trails and wildlife excursions the place you possibly can spot sea otters, seals and migrating sea birds. See it on Trip Advisor / Booking.com There can also be the Drumbeg Hotel.
We stayed at a small farmhouse known as the Croft 338 B&B. It’s a primary B&B, however the Internet is sweet, there’s cable TV and she or he makes a hearty breakfast within the morning.
Day 10 – Lochinver to Ullapool
The surroundings is breathtaking within the North Highlands, and as soon as once more as we make our method additional down the west coast to Ullapool we’re treating to beautiful views. The single-track street weaves via mountainous terrain and closely wooded areas. Have your digital camera prepared, there are many picture alternatives of untamed deer on this leg from Lochinver to Ullapool.
On our method to Ullapool, we met up with adrenaline junkie and information extraordinaire, Tim Hamlett. Tim runs Hamlett Mountaineering and we immediately grew to become quick pals. He’s undoubtedly that man that you really want to hang around with. He affords guided climbing journeys and guided treks into the mountains. Tim actually does all of it!
With kayaking adventures and snorkelling journeys coming quickly, you could possibly spend every week hanging with him exploring the highlands. He affords multiday treks, however we have been on a schedule so solely had the morning with him. You can stroll the paths your self, however to rent a information is the place you actually get the true expertise.
We met Tim on the Stac Pollaidh automobile park the place we joined up to climb Stac Pollaidh. This is a premiere attraction within the space however we met early sufficient within the morning that the opposite trekkers had but to arrive and we had the path all to ourselves.
Tim advised us of the geology and different climbs within the space. His spouse works for the GeoPark and he’s very obsessed with selling tourism and conservation within the highlands. His enterprise is increasing quickly and we will’t wait to come again within the close to future to do some correct mountaineering with him.
You ought to undoubtedly guide a visit with him and tell us what we must always do subsequent! Visit Hamlet Mountaineering for extra particulars.
Located simply quarter-hour exterior of Ullapool, the Corrieshalloch Gorge is an attention-grabbing cease. A brief but steep stroll from the automobile park takes you to a deep and slender field canyon the place you possibly can cross the suspension bridge.
The bridge is a bit hair-raising because it’s slender and the railings are low, however it’s definitely worth the view. There are climbing trails to discover and a waterfall to go to.
Overnight in Ullapool
Ullapool is a picturesque fishing city that’s bustling with enterprise. It appears that everybody driving the North Coast 500 stays right here. We beloved our B&B and extremely advocate it. We put it up there as the good lodging on the NC500.
Where to Stay in Ullapool
Westlea House Boutique B&B was by far our favorite place to keep on the North Coast 500. You’ll need to sit by the fireplace perusing the large selection of books and magazines, or you might have considered trying to pop into the music room and select from the in depth assortment of vinyl information.. Check it out on Trip Advisor / Booking.com
Argyll Hotel is another choice for resorts on this portion of the NC500 – See it on Trip Advisor / Booking.com
Ullapool affords a substantial selection of eating choices for the dimensions of the city. Recommendations are the Arch Inn, Argyle Hotel Seafood Bar for recent native seafood, The Ceilidh Place and Ferry Boat Inn.
We completely loved espresso at Mountain Supplies Coffee Shop. Located on the second flooring of a mountaineering tools retailer, this café has a hipster vibe with and out of doors lover’s twist. The pleasant employees made us really feel heat and welcome.
Day 11: North Coast 500 – Gairloch
Gairloch makes for an incredible base when exploring the west coast portion of the NC 500. You can go up and down the coast in each instructions. There is lots to see and do right here and you’ll cowl a whole lot of floor so in order for you to make a base right here for a few days, it’s an incredible possibility. Gairloch is a particularly essential city in Scotland with a whole lot of historical past.
Gairloch was based by the McKenzies as a secure vacation spot for Scottish Highlanders to put on their kilts and proceed their Scottish traditions when the British weren’t permitting them to achieve this. Dave has ties to Gairloch. We discovered about it once we had our Ancestry DNA achieved simply earlier than leaving.
Inverewe Gardens is an attention-grabbing cease full of unique vegetation that merely shouldn’t have the ability to develop on this nook of northern Scotland. In 1860 Osgood McKenzie created this rigorously sculpted backyard out of some scrub willows and naked rocks.
The 50-acre backyard stands on the shore of Loch Ewe and unique vegetation from world wide thrive right here due to the nice and cozy currents of the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic. Drift In 2016 the home was opened to the general public after present process a £2million restoration by the National Trust for Scotland.
Isle of Ewe Smokehouse
Fishing is a large a part of the economic system in Northern Scotland and when you are in Gairloch, you might have considered trying to cease on the Isle of Ewe Smokehouse. It’s attention-grabbing to cease and see what occurs to the fish after the catch. This family-run store smokes all its fish in conventional stone kilns utilizing whisky barrel staves & native Larch to give their fish its personal distinctive taste.
They have a present store the place you possibly can choose up provides and native seafood in your street journey or seize a present field for somebody particular at house. You may even order on-line!
There are so many lochs in Northern Scotland it’s tough to select the place to cease, however Loch Maree is unquestionably a ravishing place to go to at dawn. Campervans park in a single day on the shores of this loch however you possibly can drive in for a view as nicely. It’s not extremely traveled and could be tough to discover.
At first, we parked at a logging street and began to stroll the gap to the loch, however fortunately we determined to transfer on. Just a few kilometers down the street we discovered the lower off to the seaside and have been handled to a spectacular view.
Beinn Eighe is Britain’s oldest nature reserve and a premier climbing vacation spot. There is 48 Square km to discover with trails as quick as 1 1/2 km. Hiking is fashionable in Scotland and you’ll’t go to the nation with out doing a correct trek.
The primary entry is from Loch Maree close to the village of Kinlochewe and trails go away from both the customer centre right here or the Coille na Glas-Leitir automobile park additionally on the shores of Loch Maree. For full path maps and data see the go to Scotland National Nature Reserve web site
Picking up a espresso on the newly opened Klinlochewe Coffee Shop on the gasoline station we chatted with the homeowners who gave us some tips on the most effective viewpoint within the space. I can’t consider we virtually missed this!
Many individuals miss this view as a result of they take the coastal scenic route to Applecross. But be certain to no less than drive up to the point of view. Top Gear named it one of many nice drives of the UK.
We have been fortunate as a result of we had a few days within the space so we drove the coast the day earlier than and may take the shortcut via the mountains right now. Both are extremely really helpful.
Another unbelievable view that we stumbled upon was Diabag Viewpoint. Driving from Torridon we heard that this was an incredible place for panoramic views and whoever gave us that recommendation was proper!
The street is an unbelievable thrill of 1 lane switching backwards and forwards up a steep mountain. There are a number of stops to see views to the east, to the west, and over the water wanting from Scotland’s beautiful west coast.
It’s definitely worth the drive and to do all the route to Lower Diabag took us about an hour every method. (we do like to cease for lots pictures although)
Where to Stay in Gairloch
The Old Inn. It’s an previous teaching inn transformed with fashionable conveniences. Set on a ravishing property, there are strolling trails, gardens and streams working via the property. On-site, there is a wonderful seafood restaurant and an award-winning pub. This is a spot that felt like we have been in the true Scotland. See it on Trip Advisor / Booking.com
Shieldaig Lodge This previous looking lodge is situated on Loch Gairloch. It is about on a 26,000 acre property within the West Highlands. See it on Trip Advisor / Booking.com
Day 12: North Coast 500 – Klinlochewe to Applecross
When it comes to the North Coast 500, the surroundings is the star attraction so take your time to cease, go for hikes, benefit from the trails, guide a path trip (the Highlanders have been nice horsemen), go kayaking, crusing, and seek for wildlife. The sky is the restrict right here.
This last stretch of driving alongside the coast might be essentially the most scenic and enjoyable driving you’ll have alongside the North Coast 500. There are so many viewpoints to cease and benefit from the scene, you’ll spend a whole day getting via only a quick 32-mile stretch. As you drive from Torridon the views are plentiful.
We picked up a scrumptious cappuccino for takeaway (have you ever seen we like espresso?) on the Torridon Hotel and bar and started our scenic journey alongside Upper Torridon Loch. This is a good day journey for a coast journey taking you all the way in which across the route to Applecross the place you drive essentially the most spectacular move Baelnabach Pass; The star attraction of the North Coast 500.
Town of Sheildag
Be certain to pull over as a lot as doable alongside this route as you’re going to discover some wonderful overhead views. The preliminary climb up the coast has hairpin turns and viewpoints. A stunning one we discovered was a pull-off with a brief path main to a view of the city of Sheildag.
Famous Red House
Have you ever seen the images of the little pink home in northern Scotland? Well, it’s right here alongside this route that you simply’ll discover it. Enjoy a quiet cease on the facet of the street right here and watch the sheep graze within the yard.
Non-stop pullovers and Passing Places
This route across the North Highlands takes you alongside the ocean facet of the west coast and there are such a lot of stops you simply might take a whole day to get to your vacation spot. We noticed a whole lot of highland cows alongside this street too. The slender roads have pullovers and passing locations the place you possibly can both get out of your automobile for images or let quicker drivers move. This is a spot you need to take your time, but in addition be thoughtful of quicker drivers.
Flocks of sheep have been plentiful and there have been even views of the Isle of Skye. It was an unbelievable drive however be ready for lots of wind. We had stunning sunny climate, however the wind was sturdy. When getting out of the automobile we had to placed on a jacket. Never assume you’ll be high-quality in shorts or a t-shirt all day when driving in Northern of Scotland.
Applecross to Baelnabach Pass
This is the spotlight of all the North Coast 500 and it doesn’t disappoint. Baelnabach Pass used to be an previous cattle path that was changed into a driving transport route and is now a well-liked vacationer route.
The drive is thrilling with hairpin activates single-lane tracks that you simply nonetheless share with transports. There are a couple of pullovers and it’s price stopping for those who see one and really feel assured. The views are magnificent wanting down the valley.
When you get to the highest of the move be certain to get out of your automobile and go for a hike. The rocky panorama is like nothing you’ve ever seen main out to the ocean.
Kishorn Seafood Bar
It’s been a giant day and also you’ve most likely constructed up an urge for food. If you retain following the primary street in the direction of Lochcarron you’ll come throughout the nice Kishorn Seafood Bar. Serving recent native seafood, this isn’t to be missed.
This family-run eatery is full of wonderful selections for lunch or dinner and the employees is pleasant. They even gave us a style of the native specialty. If you haven’t tried oysters earlier than, that is the place to do it. They even give certificates to first-timers.
Day 13: North Coast 500 – Plockton
Our last vacation spot earlier than ending off the loop to Inverness took us to Plockton. Plockton grew to become our house base to discover the world. Like different elements of the nc500, there may be a whole lot of historical past, wildlife and surroundings to get pleasure from and listed below are a couple of highlights of what you should see and do!
Reraig Forest Tour
We met our information Colin at Lochcarron village not having a clue as to what we have been doing or the place we have been going. Hopping into his truck he took us to Reraig Forest the place we obtained right into a buggy to make our method up a steep mountain.
The buggy was an journey sufficient as we clung to the sting of steep banks, rammed via deep mud and trotted alongside the rocky panorama. But that was simply a part of the journey.
The true magnificence got here once we reached the pack of deer and stags roaming the land. It’s right here that you simply’ll discover stunning deer that roam free on hundreds of acres of property.
Colin feeds the deer particular pellets to subsidize their weight loss plan as he says the vegetation doesn’t give them the vitamins they want. You can inform he loves the herd and he even identified a couple of that jumped over the fence to stick round.
Colin additionally has sheep and rams on the land that come working when he arrives. It was fairly humorous to see the deer comply with our buggy over the hills like a flock of sheep. They have been very excited to see him!
Eilean Donan Castle
Possibly essentially the most well-known fort within the land, Eilean Donan Castle was used for the set of Highlander, James Bond’s The World is Not Enough, and the New Avengers. It’s a ravishing fort the place you possibly can tour and be taught concerning the historical past of the clans that dominated the Highlands.
It tells the story via a wonderful audio-visual show concerning the Jacobite rebellion and fall, and the wars of the clans. You can stroll via the totally different rooms of the fort which can be adorned simply as they have been tons of of years in the past and get a real sense of what life was like. The present store is superb and it was right here that we purchased a woolen scarf within the colours of Dave’s ancestors the McKenzies.
A far much less intact fort however nonetheless stunning to go to is Drome Castle. Today it’s in ruins, the outer partitions are nonetheless standing and you’ll stroll inside and outside exploring the coastal piece of land.
At low tide you possibly can stroll fairly far out to the ocean for view of the fort and you’ll snap the compulsory image via the doorway arch.
Duncraig Castle is a fort that has been changed into a mattress and breakfast and is price a photograph cease in case you are not staying there. The street main to the railway station goes instantly via the fort grounds, you possibly can simply drive your automobile proper up to the entrance door to take a look. It’s situated on Loch Carron and could be seen from the city of Plockton. There are even hikes that lead out to the fort.
Where to Stay in Plockton
The Plockton Hotel – Located on the waterfront of Plockton, the Plockton Hotel is the most well-liked spot on the town. With a Michelin rated pub, it has a number of the greatest pub meals and ambiance in Scotland. We ate there every night time, having fun with native seafood with whiskey and wine. Trip Advisor / Booking.com
Plocton Inn is one other lodge on the town and it has wonderful eating as nicely.
Duncraig Castle is a fort that has been changed into a mattress and breakfast and is price a photograph cease
Where to eat in Plockton: The Plockton Inn, Plockton Hotel, and Plockton Shores all concentrate on seafood and are all wonderful.
Day 14: Isle of Skye – North Coast 500
Visiting the Isle of Sky is an good elective facet journey. While it isn’t situated instantly on the North Coast 500, it’s a stones throw away. Plockton can also be a wonderful place to make a base for visiting the Isle of Sky. As one particular person stated to us, “You can’t really come to this part of Scotland and not visit Skye.” We made some extent to go to the Isle of Skye to see a number of the highlights. A day isn’t sufficient however was simply sufficient to view its high points of interest.
When visiting the Isle of Sky, don’t miss seeing the Old Man of Storr, its most well-known website. We made a b-line on the market whereas the climate was good after which weaved our method across the island to see its stunning panorama from its dramatic sea cliffs, waterfalls, fairy swimming pools and the city of Portree. If you’re a whisky lover, pop into the Talisker Distillery for a tasting.
And that ends a two-week North Coast 500 itinerary. You could make your method again to Inverness or proceed on to discover Scotland. If you have got your individual automobile, why not keep a month? There remains to be a lot to see from Edinburgh to Glasgow and in every single place in between.
The NC500 is likely one of the best drives on the planet. In the long run, the single-track roads could also be changed into double-lane highways and extra resorts could be popping up in every single place. But for those who get there rapidly, you’ll get pleasure from previous Scottish hospitality with some extraordinary scenic views. So what are you ready for? Book your North Coast 500 Accommodation now, rooms replenish quick and it’s possible you’ll miss out for those who wait!
North Coast 500 Tips
The North Coast 500 covers an enormous portion of mainland Scotland and planning could be overwhelming. We’ve put collectively a couple of ideas to allow you to set up your lodging, packing and automobile leases in your official North Coast 500 street journey.
The climate modifications dramatically in Scotland. When asking the locals what the temperature is like in the summertime season, many stated it wasn’t a lot totally different from once we visited in late March/early April.
So when touring Northern Scotland, be certain to pack layers, waterproof climbing boots, and waterproof outer layers. We had all of this with us and aside from this one time at Castle Sinclair Girnigo, we didn’t let wind or rain cease us from exploring and also you shouldn’t both.
That is the allure of Scotland. It’s precisely the identical as Iceland. If you don’t just like the climate simply wait a minute or so, it should change.
How to Get to Inverness
There are a number of methods to get to Inverness, Scotland. If you aren’t driving your individual automobile from one of many different international locations within the United Kingdom, chances are high you’ll be flying.
Inverness has its personal airport (Inverness Airport – INV) with home and worldwide flights. From main cities within the UK, resembling London, Manchester, and Birmingham, you possibly can fly instantly to Inverness. There are additionally direct flights from some European cities, resembling Amsterdam and Dublin. Once you arrive on the airport, you possibly can take a taxi or bus to get to town middle.
By Train: Inverness is well-connected by rail to different main cities within the UK, together with London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. The prepare station in Inverness is situated within the metropolis middle, making it handy for vacationers. You can test prepare schedules and guide tickets on-line through web sites resembling National Rail Enquiries.
By Automobile: Inverness is accessible by automobile through the A9, which is the primary street linking town to the remainder of Scotland. If you’re driving from the south, you possibly can take the M6 and A74(M) to attain the A9. The journey time from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Inverness is roughly 3-4 hours by automobile, relying on site visitors situations. There are a number of automobile rental firms out there at Inverness airport or within the metropolis middle, for those who want to lease a automobile.
Tips for Driving the North Coast 500
The North Coast 500 is a scenic driving route that covers the northern coast of Scotland, and it may be an exciting journey for drivers. Here are some ideas to consider when driving the North Coast 500.
When driving the North Coast 500 be ready for singletrack lanes. You share one lane in each instructions and you should have to again up or pull over usually for oncoming site visitors. The guidelines work that if there’s a passing place in your facet, you’re the particular person to pull over. If the passing place is on the opposite facet of the street, they are going to.
There are loads of passing locations the place slower drivers can transfer out of the way in which if they’ve vehicles behind them, and there are pullovers the place you possibly can pull in to let oncoming site visitors via. In the summer time season, site visitors is busier, for those who journey within the low season, you’ll come throughout fewer vehicles.
In Scotland, like within the UK, site visitors drives on the left facet of the street. If you aren’t used to this, take a while to regulate and be further cautious when driving, particularly on slender and winding roads.
The North Coast 500 can get busy throughout peak season, so be respectful of different drivers and locals. Follow the velocity limits, yield to different autos, and use pull-outs or designated passing locations to let different vehicles move in case you are driving slower. There is not any hurt in pulling over to let somebody move you. It is a standard courtesy so be respectful of the drivers behind you.
Driving the North Coast 500 could be difficult. The route runs via a various panorama with slender single observe roads winding via steep hills, and blind corners. Stay alert and centered, particularly when driving within the night or early morning when visibility is low.
Be ready for all climate situations: Scotland’s climate could be unpredictable, so be prepared for all sorts of climate and climate can change instantly. You may encounter snow, rain, wind and sunny climate. Dress in layers and pack waterproof clothes. Bring heat clothes, waterproof gear, and a primary support package in case of an emergency. See our ideas
Watch out for wildlife: The North Coast 500 takes you thru some wild and distant areas, so preserve a watch out for wildlife on the street, resembling deer, sheep, and cows. They could be unpredictable, so decelerate and drive cautiously.
Car Rentals and Driving
Make certain to be thoughtful of different drivers when driving the NC500. The roads are slender and many individuals don’t use the passing locations devoted to permitting others to move. If you’re driving slowly, pull over when one of many passing locations comes up to let one other move.
Plus, it’s simpler to discover parking in cities and you’ll pull off on small turnouts alongside the route to be out of the way in which whereas capturing these awe-inspiring photographs of the panorama and beautiful coastal surroundings. If you have got a smaller automobile, you gained’t have an excessive amount of hassle getting round.
We rented a small automobile and it made issues a lot simpler to pull over for oncoming site visitors. Many individuals camp on the NC 500. Campervans are allowed, however can’t navigate a number of the trails and smaller tracks. So take that into consideration when reserving your automobile.
Scotland is on the Pound Sterling – 1 Pound Sterling = 1.30 USD. For up to date trade charges go to XE Currency Convertor.
Eagle Creek Plug Adapter – This multi function adapter is all of your want for Scotland shops and different European and world travels.
Get your tunes prepared, there are various locations you gained’t get radio service – See our Road Trip Songs Playlist
Take your time and benefit from the surroundings: The North Coast 500 affords a number of the most breathtaking surroundings in Scotland, so take your time and revel in it. Stop usually to take images, stretch your legs, and benefit from the views. There are loads of scenic spots to cease and admire, resembling seashores, cliffs, and waterfalls.
By following the following pointers, you possibly can have a secure and gratifying driving expertise on the North Coast 500 in Scotland.
North Coast 500 Packing Tips
The climate modifications dramatically in Scotland. When asking the locals what the temperature is like in the summertime, many stated it wasn’t a lot totally different from once we visited in late March/early April.
Packing for the North Coast 500 in Scotland requires cautious planning, particularly in case you are touring throughout the cooler months. Here are some packing ideas to contemplate:
Warm and waterproof clothes: Scotland’s climate could be unpredictable, and it will probably get chilly and moist even throughout the summer time months. Pack heat and waterproof clothes, together with a water-resistant jacket, pants, and footwear. Layering can also be important to keep heat, so convey sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, and thermals.
Comfortable climbing boots: The North Coast 500 affords loads of alternatives for out of doors actions, resembling climbing and strolling. Bring snug strolling footwear or climbing boots with good traction to discover the countryside.
Sun safety: While Scotland’s climate could be chilly and moist, the solar can nonetheless be sturdy, particularly throughout the summer time months. Pack solar safety, together with sunscreen, sun shades, and a hat.
Insect repellent: Scotland has its fair proportion of midges, tiny flying bugs that may be a nuisance throughout the summer time months. Pack insect repellent to keep away from being bitten.
Camera and binoculars: The North Coast 500 affords a number of the most beautiful landscapes and wildlife in Scotland, so convey a digital camera and binoculars to seize the surroundings and wildlife.
Mobile telephone and charger: Make certain to convey a cell phone and charger, as there are many scenic spots with no telephone protection. It can also be important to have a GPS and a paper map to navigate the route. We additionally carry a transportable adaper.
Cash and bank cards: While there are ATMs and bank card services out there alongside the North Coast 500 route, it’s at all times good to have some money available for smaller transactions, resembling parking or buying gadgets from native companies.
Where to Stay on the North Coast 500
We broke down the place we stayed on the North Coast 500 in every part, however to make issues simpler for you, we’ve rounded up the most effective luxurious resorts, self catering lodging, and BnBs for you to take a look at on this wonderful driving route. You ought to guide your lodging upfront as this
Dornoch Castle – A historic fort situated within the coronary heart of Dornoch Trip Advisor / Booking.com Royal Marine Hotel – One of the few luxurious resorts on the North Coast 500 East Caost and makes for an incredible base to discover this portion of the driving route.
Wick / Dunnet Head
Ackergille Tower Hotel – If you’re searching for extra luxurious resorts on the North Coast 500, take a look at the fort resorts. We beloved our keep at Ackergille Tower lodge making for an outstanding base to discover alongside the north coast. Check it out on Trip Advisor / Booking.com If you’re searching for self catering lodging, Riverside Apartments has kitchens, washing machines and free WiFi view it on Trip Advisor / Booking.com
Smoo Cave Hotel a primary lodge, however the location is an ideal cease after driving from Tongue. There’s bar they usually have a number of the greatest Haggis round. Compare costs on TripAdvisor
Lochinver / Drumbeg / Lochinver
Kylesku lodge is an efficient base There are boat journeys, climbing trails and wildlife excursions the place you possibly can spot sea otters, See it on Trip Advisor / Booking.com There can also be the Drumbeg Hotel. We stayed at a small farmhouse known as the Croft 338 B&B. It’s a primary B&B, however the Internet is sweet, there’s cable TV and she or he makes a hearty breakfast within the morning.
The Plockton Hotel – Located on the waterfront of Plockton, the Plockton Hotel is the most well-liked spot on the town. Trip Advisor / Booking.com Plocton Inn is one other lodge on the town and it has wonderful eating as nicely. Duncraig Castle is a fort that has been changed into a mattress and breakfast and is price a photograph cease
Plan your route and stops upfront: The North Coast 500 route covers over 500 miles and takes you thru some distant areas. Plan your route rigorously, and analysis the points of interest and guide your lodging upfront.
When you go to Scotland, be sure that to add the North Coast 500 to your itinerary. It is likely one of the nice street journeys on the planet and takes you thru a number of the most beautiful coastal surroundings within the nation and really helps you to expertise all of the highlights of the Scottish Highlands.
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