However, it really is worth spending a night or two in this section as it’s got some of the best hospitality and accommodation choices on the NC500 (not just the castles). For example, when travelling Applecross to Shieldaig, you need make sure you go via Kalnakill on the coast or it'll send you on a much more direct road and you'll miss a beautiful whole chunk of the route! The route starts in the northern city of Inverness, then weaves along the west coast to Applecross and then northwards towards the bustling towns of Torridon and Ullapool. You can also take a look at the ‘official’ North Coast 500 map (also linked at the bottom of the page). The default starting place is Inverness Castle. The North Coast 500 route is Scotland’s answer to Route 66. Where we stayed | Kincraig Castle Hotel - a bit of a splurge but your opportunity to have a 'real Scottish castle experience'. Although we didn't manage to stop off and visit everything we hoped for on our eight-day roadtrip, we did see and do a great deal on the route which we can happily recommend to others, alongside our own valuable lessons learned about the realities of driving Scotland's answer to Route 66. It takes travellers along the coast and through beautiful valleys across six remote regions of the Scottish Highlands: Inverness-shire, Wester Ross, Easter Ross, Sutherland, Caithness, and the Black Isle. Each route offers detailed directions as well as popular landmarks and viewpoints along the way. Really unique and atmospheric. 7. Explore opulent castles, sample a dram of whisky or take an exhilarating wildlife safari, enjoy a truly unique touring experience. The circular route starts and finishes in Inverness, the unofficial Capital of the Highlands. Where we stayed | Hartfield House Hostel, Applecross. Overnight Parking is generally allowed on the North Coast 500 but there is exceptions to this. The Official Facebook page for the North Coast 500. The North Coast 500 Map has been created for those interpid adventurers undertaking the 500 mile round trip from Inverness, through the Black Isle all around the North Coast of Scotland, down the uniquley scenic West Coast of Sutherland and Wester Ross before finally returning cross-country to … The North Coast 500 route is a series of roads which form a loop, circling the northern coastline of Scotland, beginning and ending in Inverness. Always one for a challenge, but unwilling to walk 500 miles, I set about trying to cycle the route non-stop, laying down a time-to-beat on Scotland’s The Ultimate North Coast 500 Route - And How to Plan Your Own! and spent a little time in the pretty town of Tain where it’s situated. Any restrictions enforced will be limited to those few instances where the impact of overnight parking has a significant impact on the local community. INFO LEAFLET. Departure & arrival | 10.00 a.m - 5.00 p.m. North Coast 500 Route Map highlighting the full route of the NC500. Find out more about the North Coast 500 at www.NorthCoast500.com The GPX file is available from the official North Coast 500 site, along with a printable map however my Sat Nav (a Tom Tom Rider V) found it far too complex, there are thousands of way points on it, and the sat nav just just refused to load it. We did however have to miss the Smoo Caves because of the delays along the way! Main points of interest | Strathnaver Museum, Farr Bay, Strathy Bay, Melvich Beach, Dunnet Bay, tour at Dunnet Bay Distillery, Dunnet Head, Castle of Mey, John O'Groats signpost! Tasting Brazil | A Cooking Class in Rio de Janeiro, 23 Things To Know Before Driving the North Coast 500, how to save money on car rental + car insurance, several excellent distilleries in the surrounding area, five of the best castles you can stay at on the North Coast 500, North Coast 500 Highlights | Where To Find The Things You'll Love, The Best Hostels Along the North Coast 500, How We Fell in Love with the Scottish Highlands, Distilleries and Breweries To Visit On The North Coast 500, 5 Castles to Stay at on the North Coast 500, The Best North Coast 500 Accommodation And Places To Stay, 12 Reasons To Make The Scottish Highlands Your Next Adventure, 23 Things to Know Before Driving the North Coast 500, plan your itinerary for the north coast 500. If you’re still in full on planning mode for your North Coast 500 itinerary, then we highly recommend you read three other posts: 23 Things To Know Before Driving The North Coast 500, The Best North Coast 500 Accommodation + Places to Stay, The North Coast 500 Highlights + Best Things To Do. A long long day, but excellent roadtrippin'! Twenty-seven years later, the North Highland Initiative created a 500-mile route around Scotland’s most northerly coastal roads. Will you leave enough time for hikes and walks up Munros or to spot some wildlife? If you’re doing the North Coast 500 before or after the summer season, please factor in the shorter days and early nights; you don’t want to be driving sections of this trip in darkness. In total, with all our detours and diversions to spots off the main route, we actually clocked 739 miles on our Highlands roadtrip!). The North Coast 500 (NC500) was created in 2014 by the North Highland Initiative to highlight some of Scotland's magnificence to the world. North Coast 500 Route Map. As well as the route, it also includes all our recommended campsites on the North Coast 500 for reference. The North Coast 500, the Route 66 of Scotland has been opened since 2015, to link the beautiful scenery of Northern Scotland. To help other travellers, we would love if you could come back and share your own 5-day, 7-day or 2-week NC500 itineraries after your own road trip, so that our readers can learn from your lessons and experiences too! Have you heard about the North Coast 500? North Coast 500 is a spectacular 516-mile scenic route around the northern coast of Scotland, The route snakes around beautiful scenery and the many well known and historic features located in the Highlands of Scotland all incorporated into one very iconic pleasurable touring route around scotland. 128K likes. Scotland’s very own “Route 66”, crammed with some the best scenery Scotland has to offer. Onward past the Dounreay Nuclear Facility and through Scrabster and the tiny town of Thurso, via a petrol station stop, we took in the dunes at the impressive Dunnet Bay. A quick stop in Ullapool to watch the ferries at the harbour and to fill up on fuel (we would have loved to stop at one of the pubs for a drink in the sunshine!) The absolute minimum length of time we'd advise is five nights for the NC500. Road type | As we said above, the roads from Lochinver to Kylesku are a challenge - make sure you drive with adequate caution and make good use of the passing places. From there, you'll venture to some of the most northerly coastal points in Scotland, passing by Caithness and John o' Groats before heading south again through Dingwall and finally back to Inverness. We grabbed a much-needed takeaway coffee at Coast Coffee Company and enjoyed it overlooking one of the village's pretty beaches. Route profile for 'North Coast 500'. A walk through a field of sheep took us towards the photogenic Duncansby Stacks but unfortunately they were completely obscured - next time eh? We then visited the Torridon Countryside Centre to say hello to the packs of friendly red deer and continue through stunning valleys and hill-ranges (lots of hillwalkers were out here taking on the ascents) towards the picturesque Gairloch harbour. Where we stayed | Rhian Guest House, Tongue. However, with so much variety on offer up in the Highlands, we'd be lying if we told you there was one perfect way to structure your North Coast 500 trip in terms of nights in this place instead of that place, doing this so that you miss out on that, or telling you that you have to follow our own route down to the last mile and petrol stop. You should also reduce your speed where country roads enter villages. The North Coast 500 is a circular driving route, beginning in Inverness. It was about 24 degrees at this point, with not a cloud in the sky, and the beach was simply amazing. Back in the car, we continued on to walk around the gardens of the incredible fairytale-esque Dunrobin Castle before a wee stop off at a pub in Golspie. We’re about to take you on the ultimate road trip adventure along Scotland’s North Coast 500 route! North Coast 500. Departure & arrival | 10.30 a.m - 6.30 p.m. Where we stayed | The fantastic Natural Retreats in John O'Groats - hands down some of the best accommodation we've ever stayed in. Tight and narrow with numerous blind summits and corners, you'll need to be very cautious on these and, although the mileage count will be low, they will take you much longer than you think to pass through safely.However, once we crossed the iconic Kylesku Bridge, it was good, quick, double-sided road through to Scourie Bay and a little beyond until a return to single track roads (with lots of sheepies) leading towards Durness. Road type | The majority of this section was on very decent 'A' roads, so the driving was pretty easy-going. Main points of interest | Beaches at Achmelvich and Clachtoll, a number of signposted viewpoints, Kylesku Bridge overlooking the water, Sandwood bay and other beaches in and around Durness, the Smoo Caves and Cocoa Mountain in Durness, the view over the Kyle of Tongue at sunset with the Castle Varrich ruins, the village of Tongue. If you choose to purchase through these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. We knew the highlight of today's section would be the notorious Bealach na Bà road, however we wanted to start the route with open eyes and to drink in the first few hours of scenery. Ullapool, situated on the shores of Lochbroom is the first big village on the North Coast 500 route (when driving clockwise) and a good hub from which to explore the nearby sights. In 1988, The Proclaimers penned Scotland’s alternative national anthem: I’m Gonna Be (500 miles). Be prepared for our Scottish midgies too. It is a journey of ups and downs, a lot of wet weather, and endless adventures! Surrounded by beautiful scenery, Ullapool offers great hiking and cycling routes, good accommodation options and has a few pretty cafes. The route is also known as the NC500 and was launched in 2015, linking many features in the north Highlands of Scotland in one touring route.. Do not worry, we create NC 500 Route Maps using Google Maps with all the attractions and sightseeing highlights that we share with you including (hotels,Guesthouses, pubs, cafes, Campsites, Glamping Pods). This means it's sensible to drive, fly, or train into Inverness and bookend your travels with a night or two there. After Kylesku, you've got some lovely tarmac to eat up before a return to single-track country roads nearer Durness and towards Tongue. Weaving a path from Inverness to Applecross and on to Ullapool, Caithness and John o'Groats, the never-ending roads wind their way through majestic coastal scenery. However, if you are a nervous or first-time driver in the UK, it may be best to go east first so that you can ease yourself into the roads and driving conditions. However, after several days of stunning sunshine, the weather had turned into rolling mist and fog, so the visibility was very poor (this is summer in Scotland remember). North Coast 500 - Distance: 816.99 km - Elevation: 2029 hm - Location: Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom The North Coast itinerary is now followed by drivers, cyclists, locals and visitors ticking over the 500 miles (516 to be exact) of ‘Scotland’s Route … Route Overview The NC500 starts in the northern city of Inverness, weaves along the west coast to Applecross and then northwards towards the towns of Torridon and Ullapool. There are several excellent distilleries in the surrounding area, so we paid a visit to Glenmorangie in Tain for a tour and tasting (unfortunately for Andrew he was driving!) BOOKING FORM. You can travel in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction – or do it both ways on different trips. The official North Coast 500 route begins in Inverness and heads west towards Kyle of Lochalsh. Departure & arrival | 2.30 p.m - 7.30 p.m, but we actually started super early to go and spend the day kayaking. © COPYRIGHT ALONG DUSTY ROADS LTD 2014 -2020, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - PHOTOGRAPHY CANNOT BE USED WITHOUT OUR PERMISSION. If you’re doing the opposite, and cruising dow… There was simply too much driving involved across too many miles, and it should have been spread out over 2-3 nights. North Coast 500 Camping Route Map To help you visualise the above, we’ve put together a map of our 7 day North Coast 500 itinerary, which you can see as an image below, and on Google Maps here . Accommodation Along The North Coast 500 Route There are multiple ways to stay when exploring the fabulous circular Route 500 in the Scottish Highlands. The route is also known as the NC500 and was launched in 2015, linking many features in the north Highlands of Scotland in one touring route.. When you have eliminated the JavaScript , whatever remains must be an empty page. North Coast 500 Route Map highlighting the full route of the NC500. Walk and enjoy this stunning tourist route which was created and launched in 2015 by the North Highland Initiative to rave reviews. There are also lots of walking opportunities in this section. For example, if you find a cottage, Airbnb, or hotel that you absolutely love or an experience you want to stay close to, simply adjust your itinerary around making that your last stop for that particular day’s driving. Some roads in the Scottish Highlands and islands, are single track roads. The different colours indicated the stops for different days, and the yellow markers indicate surrounding towns that I recommend throughout the itinerary if you have some more time. As well as the route, it also includes all our recommended campsites on the North Coast 500 … All of which we can aid you further with. North Coast 500 FAQs; North Coast 500 highlights (voted by NC500 fans) Final words. Road type | The country roads have all been left back in the north as from here on in it's good quality trunk roads (however there are some wicked bends on the descent down to Dornoch). The turquoise beaches, the fresh fish from line to lips and the friendly locals looking to share a sing-song with you are not new but they definitely are unique and thanks to a strong marketing strategy, the secret is out and Scotland’s North Coast 500 itinerary is on the map. Especially those officially designated as such, are provided with passing places 553 miles ( this our! 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