The Final Information to the North Coast 500 – Scotland’s Route 66 in 10 Days

It’s been billed at Scotland’s reply to America’s Route 66 however the North Coast 500 is not like something you’ll see within the USA. With legendary castles, extraordinary coastal surroundings, and well-known whisky distilleries lining the winding single observe lanes, the North Coast 500 is the final word highway journey for journey lovers.


The North Coast 500 Information

Dave and I’ve completed plenty of highway journeys. We’ve come to the conclusion that they simply 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 Eire’s whole Wild Atlantic Approach and sure, now we have pushed via massive chunks of America’s Route 66. After we had the chance to drive the North Coast 500, we jumped on the probability. We love marking our map with should see points of interest, stocking up on snacks, placing collectively a playlist, and hitting the highway. We spent 10 days driving the loop counter clockwise from Inverness and we’ve put collectively the final word plan that will help you profit from your time within the Scottish highlands.

To skip to any part of the North Coast 500 at anytime, click on the hyperlinks beneath

Half 1: Heading out of City: North on the North Coast 500
Half 2: Distilleries of the North Coast 500
Half three: North Coast Wildlife and Surroundings
Half four The Seashores and Scenic Views of the North Coast 500
Half 5: Tongue to Balnakeil
Half 6: Kylesku and Single Monitor Enjoyable
Half 7 Lochinver to Ullapool
Half eight: Gairloch
Half 9 Most Scenic Drive on the North Coast 500
Half 10 Historical past and Wildlife

Introduction – Inverness in two days

Inverness is the principle metropolis on the North Coast 500 route and it’s the capital of the Highlands. Plan on spending not less than two days in Inverness. It’s a stupendous city with quite a bit to discover just like the Inverness Fort, St. Andrew’s Cathedral and Abertarff Home courting again to 1592. Make sure to go to the Ness Islands for a stupendous stroll within the park as effectively.

What we cherished much more than the town was all there’s to see and do close to Inverness. It’s from Inverness that individuals go to the legendary Loch Ness in quest of Nessie herself. It’s enjoyable and kitschy to take a look at the guests centre in Drumnadrochit and study concerning the historical past of the Loch Ness Monster, however exploring the large lake is the spotlight. The banks are stunning housing Urquhart Fort, a stupendous destroy that has survived many a battle over the previous 1000 years.

You probably have extra time, you may keep in Drumnadrochit, there are many B&Bs within the space. That is the spot that the tour busses cease although so be ready for giant crowds and site visitors. In case you are staying within the space take a drive to Glen Affric to absorb its beautiful panorama and consider the attractive Plodda Falls.

The Loch Ness Centre on the North Coast 500

The Loch Ness Centre on the North Coast 500

Make sure to watch sundown from Dores Seashore and chances are you’ll even run into the Nessie Hunter who has arrange camp proper on this spot to maintain look ahead to the elusive monster.

Inverness Particulars:

North Coast 500 Automotive Leases: We rented our automobile from Arnold Clark Depot (44 zero141 648 1200) they usually have been fabulous. They choose you up immediately from the airport and take you to their extraordinarily cool workplace stuffed with basic vehicles. Make sure to hire a smaller automobile as roads are sometimes single lane tracks alongside the North Coast 500 and a small automobile is simple to navigate. Plus, it’s simpler to search out parking and you may pull off on small turnouts and be out of the best way whereas capturing these awe-inspiring photographs of the panorama and surroundings.

Lodging Suggestion: Kingsmills Resort and spa with swimming pool and breakfast included.
Steered locations to eat: Rocpool Restaurant or Dores Inn at Loch Ness in Dores after you’ve watched the sundown.

For extra concepts of what to do in Inverness go to our publish: eight Issues to do in Inverness

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Half 1: Heading out of City: North on the North Coast 500

Round Inverness and Heading out of city

Working your means alongside the A9 there are lots of issues to see and locations to cease. Don’t simply beeline it to the subsequent city, make sure to pop into these highlights in your means out of Inverness following the North Coast 500 route. Don’t miss these unimaginable points of interest, you can be sorry.

Culloden Battlefield

The trendy 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 brief hour. It was the ultimate battle of the Jacobite rebellion the place it got here to its fateful finish.

The Culloden Battlefield on the North Coast 500

The Culloden Battlefield on the North Coast 500

Guests are given headsets triggered by GPS telling them the story of the bloody battle as they stroll either side of the battlefield. One of the highly effective moments comes whenever you enter the inside museum and stand inside a room projecting a 360 diploma reinactment of the battle. You’re surrounded by the cries of the soldiers assembly their destiny.

In case you are fascinated with Highland historical past (as we’re) this can be a place the place you may simply spend hours.

The clan memorials at Culloden Battlefield

The clan memorials at Culloden Battlefield

For extra info see Culloden Battlefield Customer’s Centre

Clava Cairns

There are a number of cairns alongside the North Coast 500 however none as well-known as Clava Cairns. Used because the inspiration for the Outlander sequence (that is the place the place Claire was transported again in time) you may perceive why Diana Gambon felt time journey might occur right here. The standing stones and round cairns really feel like magic.

Cairns are historic stone cemeteries courting again 4000 years. They have been burial tombs used to deal with the useless and at this time, 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!

Clava Cairns just outside of Inverness, Scotland

Clava Cairns simply outdoors of Inverness, Scotland

North Coast 500 Street Journey Snacks – Keep in mind after we mentioned we love snacks for our highway journeys? We stocked up on water and snacks in Inverness, however if you need native meats & cheeses, contemporary fruits and native treats, make sure to cease in at Roberston’s The Larder.  You may also meet the livestock and in case you are fearful about not seeing the well-known highland cattle alongside the route, (don’t be) you’ll have a superb probability right here.

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Half 2: Distilleries of the North Coast 500

North Coast 500 Distilleries

Half 2: Distilleries of the North Coast 500

Dornoch Fort and Whisky Bar

Driving from Inverness your subsequent in a single day is just a bit over an hour’s drive away, however it’s the excellent base to your subsequent set of exploration. Dornoch Fort is positioned within the coronary heart of the historic city of Dornoch immediately throughout from the Dornoch Cathedral. This 12th century cathedral is such a draw that Madonna had her son Rocco christened right here.

Dornoch Fort is a vacation spot unto itself. The household run enterprise has 22 rooms, every with its personal theme and the fantastic eating restaurant affords up a soothing ambiance with a wonderful alternative of native dishes.

Visit Dornoch Castle on the North Coast 500

Go to Dornoch Fort on the North Coast 500

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 are feeling as for those who’ve stepped again in time when clans dominated the land. The in depth whisky bar has received awards as the perfect whisky bar on this planet and is presently the reigning no 1 whisky resort of the yr as named by

We ordered a tasting flight of three whiskies after chatting with the bartender who will assist us determine what photographs to decide on. He’ll choose your mind to see what sort of Scotch you like and supply up decisions of various whiskies at totally different costs to fit your wants.

Be aware: Scotland spells whisky with out an “e”. After we spelled it as whiskey on our Inveress publish, we raised many a Scottish mood in quite a lot of folks. We received’t be making that mistake once more. So whenever you go to Scotland, make sure to neglect what you realized in Eire, the US and Canada about whiskey, it’s whisky right here. 

In case you are a whisky lover, Dornoch fortress is the proper place to base your travels as you discover the distilleries of the North Coast 500. Go to their web site for bookings and availability.

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Glen Ord Distillery

There are a number of distilleries alongside the North Coast 500 the place highway trippers can choose up a bottle of their favorite Scotch whisky. From the city of Dornoch there are a half a dozen distilleries to go to which can be from mere minutes to solely a few hours away. If you wish to go to distilleries on the North Coast 500, Dornoch is an efficient place to make a base. Balblair, Glenmorangie, Dalmore, Dunnet Bay and Pulteney Distilleries are all close by. We selected to go to Glen Ord Distillery and we have been glad we did!

Our information Alistair was as keen about his scotch as he was informative. Glen Ord is the closest distillery to Inverness so it could simply be completed as a day journey from there, or you may select to do what we did. We stopped at Glen Ord on our method to Dornoch Fort. Having the tour helped us to know the distilling technique of Scottish whiskey and gave us perception to aromas and flavours after we determined to style a number of drams at Dornoch Fort’s whisky bar.

whisky tasting on the north coast 400

Dave’s whisky taster flight

What makes a go to to Glen Ord distinctive is that it is without doubt 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. It was additionally for us, the primary time we’d seen wood fermentation barrels. Each different distillery tour we’ve ever taken was stainless-steel. This really made us really feel like we have been taking a tour via historical past.

Go to Glen Ord for extra particulars. 

Dunrobin Fort

Open from April 1 to October 15, we simply missed visiting Dunbrobin Fort’s inside by mere days however you may go to the gardens and grounds yr spherical. We parked our automobile and walked city the steps to an impressive view of this 800 year-0ld fortress. It’s totally different from different castles of Scotland resembling a French Chateau fairly than the stark stone castles in different components we noticed. It has been house to the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland because the 13th century.

North Coast 500 Guide: Visit Dunrobin Castle

North Coast 500 Information: Go to Dunrobin Fort

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Half three: North Coast Wildlife and Surroundings

North Coast 500 Northern Map

Half three: North Coast 500 Wildlife and Surroundings

One thing we cherished about driving the North Coast 500 was the possibility to remain in historic castles. There many distinctive lodging alongside the route from farm homes, B&Bs, lighthouses and luxurious estates. Making our method to the northernmost tip of Scotland, we stayed on the Ackergill Tower Resort. That grew to become our base for exploring the world. This was in all probability our favorite space to discover on the North Coast 500. Everybody advised us the west coast was the perfect, however the northern tip was beautiful. It’s the space the place you see these huge sea cliffs and stacks housing migrating seabirds and seals. For those who like climbing and wildlife, you’ll love this space.

Caithness Wildlife Excursions

Dave and I like taking excursions. As a lot as we get pleasure from exploring on our personal, we discover that assist us uncover hidden gems and areas we by no means would have considered visiting. Information and proprietor Kate is a marine biologist and outside lover who takes guests to see view seabirds, seals and different wildlife of the world.

caithness wildlife tours north coast 500

Dave and Kate watch nesting sea birds

However she additionally confirmed us historic websites reminiscent of Mary Ann’s Cottage courting again to 1850 and The Fort of Mey. The Queen mom purchased and restored the Fort of Mey and Prince Charles nonetheless visits every summer time.

Don't miss the Castle of May on the North Coast 500

Don’t miss the Fort of Might on the North Coast 500

It was the spectacular views of Dunnet Head and Brough Harbour that actually took our breath away. However what we cherished essentially the most was studying of the fascinating details of the world from Kate. For instance, Jimmy Web page of Led Zeppelin was an everyday customer to the world and practically purchased an property in Caithness for a recording studio. He by no means did purchase the studio, however he did rebuild the harbour and there’s a plaque along with his title on the Harrow Harbour commemorating the reopening.

The Jimmy Page plaque on the North Coast 500

The Jimmy Web page plaque on the North Coast 500

There was one specific second after we actually appreciated being on the tour. We had stopped with Kate to view seals within the harbour (an everyday vacationer would miss seeng this on their very own) and he or she advised us to show round. The harbour 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. Different vacationers drove proper on by us as a substitute of the scene and missed this spotlight of the coast.

The old mill on the north coast of Scotland

The previous mill on the north coast of Scotland

To guide your individual wildlife and scenic tour, try the Caithness Wildlife Excursions web site

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Duncansby Head

For those who lookup photos of the North Coast 500 on Google, chances are high you’ve seen numerous photos of Duncansby Head. Mountain climbing right here is spectacular. Positioned only a mile and a half from John O’Groats, make your method to parking on the Duncansby Head Lighthouse. You probably have extra time, you may hike immediately from John O’Groats to absorb all the spectacular view. 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 couple of 10-15 minute stroll, however alongside the best way, be certain to stay to the coast so you may view the dramatic slender sea gullies generally known as the Geo of Sclaites.

View the mighty sea gullies along the North Coast 500

View the mighty sea gullies alongside the North Coast 500

After marvelling that views right here, we moved on to the stacks of Duncansby Head. There’s a path proper alongside coast overlooking the stacks so you may view them from all instructions. Make sure to hold a watch out for seabirds. Totally different are continuously migrating via the world always of the yr. Together with puffins!

Whaligoe Steps

If you wish to get down inside one thing just like the Geo of Sclaites, the Whaligoe Steps are an excellent trek. We met a girl strolling up from the steps commenting on how she has travelled this space many instances and at this time was her first time ever visiting them. She didn’t even know they existed. The Whaligoe Steps encompass 330 steps main right down to some of the inaccessible harbours in Scotland. Courting again to the mid 18th century, the Whaligoe Steps have been utilized by fishermen’s wives to haul fish up of their baskets.

North Coast 500 Guide: Walk the Wailigow Steps.

North Coast 500 Information: Stroll the Whaligoe Steps.

At its prime, 24 fishing boats have been working these waters fishing for herring.

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Wick Heritage Centre

If you wish to study 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 19th century and devoted guides volunteer their time to inform share their historic information.

There are numerous 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 identified for its Scotch, however Gin is making an enormous mark within the nation. Excursions function from Might to Sept at 3pm on Mon, Wed, Fri and on Saturdays at 11am and 1pm.

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Ackergill Tower

Like Dornoch Fort, Ackergill Tower is an lodging that may be a vacation spot. The Tower is an unimaginable 600 yr previous stone tower that stands proud on the shores of Sinclair Bay. The Northernmost level of Scotland. This luxury highland estates is as romantic as it’s distant.

North Coast 500 Guide: Visit Ackergill Tower

North Coast 500 Information: Go to Ackergill Tower

Eating 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 contemporary out of Downton Abbey. As we sat by the hearth we learn concerning the historical past of the fortress and questioned what life might need been like again in time. Essentially the most well-known story of the fortress tells the story of Helen Gunn, generally known as the Fantastic thing about Braemore who was kidnapped on her wedding ceremony evening and held prisoner on this very tower. To flee her destiny she leapt to her demise. It’s mentioned that her ghost haunts the halls to today.

Chilling out in the Ackergill Tower.

Chilling out within the Ackergill Tower.

Try Ackergill Tower to guide your lodging

Fort Sinclair Girnigo

Positioned only a brief stroll or drive from Ackergill Tower the ruins of Fort Sinclari Girnigo is an imposing sight on the coast. Sadly it was a whole downpour after we confirmed as much as hike to the fortress and after simply crashing our drone a few hours earlier, we weren’t up for going through the weather. So we missed exploring this fortress regardless that it was simply inside our grasp. We determined to maneuver on and see if our luck on the North Coast 500 would change

Packing Tip: The climate modifications dramatically in Scotland. When asking the locals what the temperature is like in the summertime, many mentioned it wasn’t a lot totally different from after we visited in late March/early April. We really had unimaginable climate for many of our journey with sunny skies and comfy temperatures within the excessive teenagers (Celcius). We have been advised by Kate of Caithness Excursions that final summer time the common temperature was about 16 levels Celcius. 
So when touring the North Coast 500, make sure to pack layers, waterproof climbing boots, and waterproof outer layers. We had all of this with us and apart from this one time at Fort Sinclair Girnigo, we didn’t let wind or rain cease us from exploring and also you shouldn’t both. That’s the allure of Scotland. It’s precisely the identical as Iceland. For those who don’t just like the climate simply wait a minute or so, it’ll change. 

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Half four The Seashores and Scenic Views of the North Coast 500

This stretch of the North Coast 500 takes you throughout the highest of Scotland. It was stunning to look on a map and see simply how a lot farther north we have been than the place we stay in Canada. Northern Scotland is the equal of being half means up the Hudson Bay, or only one diploma shy of Oslo, Norway, Stockholm Sweden or St. Petersburg, Russia. That was actually cool to us. It’s no surprise Northern Scotland reminded us a lot of Iceland! 

It was additionally actually stunning to search out 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 Amadale Bay and Melvich, we did see surfers within the water taking over the swells.

Watching the surfers on the North Coast 500

Watching the surfers on the North Coast 500

We have been a bit too early within the season for kayaking and after we return to Scotland we will certainly give it a go. However we did see a number of skilled kayakers within the water.. Wanting on the tough seas, we determined it was greatest left to the professionals right now of yr. We’ll courageous the North Sea when the climate is a bit more inviting.

The Tongue Resort

The northern part of the North Coast 500 is unquestionably a soothing a part of the journey the place you may cease at your leisure to absorb the views. We didn’t discover plenty of historic websites right here so we took this time to benefit from the surroundings as we made our method to the Tongue Resort. It was as soon as a former sporting lodge to deal with the elite on their searching journeys. The well-known stags of the highlands may be seen alongside the North Coast 500 and at this time they’re protected so you’ll discover they aren’t skittish in any respect when coming throughout human beings. They’re essentially the most magnificent creatures.

Stags are all along the North Coast 500

Stags are all alongside the North Coast 500

We loved a soothing night sipping the sherry offered in our resort room full with fire as we deliberate the times forward.

Fort Varrich

Hopefully by the point you drive the North Coast 500 you’ll be capable of discover the ruins of Fort Varrich. It was underneath scaffolding after we arrived as we have been advised that they’d simply found a bone and it was being excavated. The resort employees advised us it ought to be open by summer time. You may hike from the Tongue Resort. It’s believed that the fortress was constructed within the 14th century upon an previous Norse fort. So that you may be positive there’s plenty of historical past simply ready to be found right here.

Drive to Smoo

The views around Loch Eriboll are stunning

The views round Loch Eriboll are beautiful

As an alternative of driving immediately 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 highway 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 positive to cross the bridge for a full view of the highlands earlier than turning round once more to proceed our journey.

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Half 5: Tongue to Balnakeil

Smoo Cave

One in all our favorite issues to do on the North Coast 500 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 right 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.

North Coast 500 Guide: Visit Smoo Caves

North Coast 500 Information: Go to Smoo Caves

Many individuals simply go into the caves and take a fast look, however we extremely advocate taking the tour led by Colin. He has been excavating these caves for years making discoveries and digging throughout the off season. For £5 he’ll take you on a ship throughout the water contained in the cavern to discover deeper into the system. Donning our onerous hats and cameras, we floated contained in the cave getting so near the waterfall it splashed on our faces. We then walked alongside slender paths as he defined the geology of the cave and his theories on how deep the cave goes and the way it could be related. Convey some money with you and make sure to take this journey!

Try Colin’s web site for extra info on his excursions and the geology of the caves. It’s an enchanting learn and also you’ll end up getting misplaced within the details. 

Tour the Smoo caves with Colin!

Tour the Smoo caves with Colin!

Balnakeil Bay

A fantastic stretch of sandy seaside may be discovered simply out of city and it’s positively price visiting. Not solely is it very picturesque, you’ll expertise the distinctive feeling of strolling on a seaside whereas navy automobiles drive by with nice function. The Royal Naval gunnery ranges are positioned out right here and navy personnel come to this space to coach. You continuously hear weapons and bangs within the distance making you surprise “what on earth is happening on the market?”

North Coast 500 Guide: Visit Balnakiel Bay

North Coast 500 Information: Go to Balnakeil Bay

There’s a scenic cemetery positioned on the positioning housing an previous church and tombstones. It’s very photogenic and John Lennon’s aunt is buried right here.

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John Lennon

John Lennon Memorial North Coast 500

John Lennon Memorial

Talking of John Lennon, he spent plenty of his childhood within the space and there’s a memorial to him within the city of Durness. He revisited it once more with Yoko Ono and it’s mentioned that a few of his happiest reminiscences befell right here. It’s an fascinating little backyard to go to with a bit path weaving via the backyard resulting in the John Lennon memorial. It’s a spot for quiet contemplation and surprisingly very serene regardless that its positioned on the facet of the highway.

Belnakeil Craft Village

This can be a cool spot the place locals are beginning to construct a craft neighborhood changing an previous navy camp into an artists compound. Essentially 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. Be ready to offer your pockets a exercise. While you stroll in, you’ll need to pattern all of the truffles and handmade native chocolate within the retailer.

north coast 500 snacks

Stocking up for the highway forward

We didn’t strive the new chocolate, however we heard two totally different prospects give glowing suggestions on our means out. Don’t fear although, we positively had our fill of handmade chocolate and an oh so clean cappuccino.

Durness, The Particulars

The place to remain: Smoo Cave Resort, Mackay’s Rooms, Bae Seren B&B
The place to eat: Smoo Cave Resort, Sango Sans, The Whale Story, or Decide up a picnic lunch on the Carfour and cease on the Cocoal Mountain  espresso store in Belnakeil Craft Village 

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Half 6: Kylesku and Single Monitor Enjoyable

It’s throughout this part that the driving will get actually enjoyable on the North Coast 500. I need to admit we coated plenty of floor on this leg of our journey and didn’t spend plenty of time sightseeing between Belnakeil and Kylesku. It wasn’t till we reached the Kylesku Bridge that we actually stopped to take all of it in. Positioned the place Loch Glencoul and Loch Glendhu meet, this can be a very picturesque spot within the coronary heart of the highlands.

North Coast 500 Guide: Visit the Kylesku Bridge

North Coast 500 Information: Go to the Kylesku Bridge

Kylesku sits in the midst of Scotland’s 2,000 km2 (770 sq mi) World Geopark. There may be plenty of historical past human and geological on this land and the Geopark is acknowledged by UNESCO and is ready as much as promote and protect that historical past.

Staying on the Kylesku resort is an efficient base for exploring this space. There are boat journeys, climbing trails and wildlife excursions the place you may spot sea otters, seals and migrating sea birds.


Many individuals reduce this portion of the North Coast 500 and head on to Lochinver alongside the A894 and A837 however some of the picturesque highway routes we took was in the direction of Drumbeg. The open roads that we had seen so far, gave method to slender single observe lanes dropping off into deep valleys. It was a stupendous winding journey that whereas solely 10 miles lengthy, took us effectively over an hour to navigate and take within the sights. It was right here that we noticed numerous stags operating via the hills.

The beautiful Highland cows near Drumbeg

The attractive Highland cows close to Drumbeg

It was right here that we got here throughout the very fairly highland cows, and it was right here that we noticed a whole bunch of sheep grazing within the fields and skittering away every time we drew close to.

Keep: We stayed at a small farmhouse referred to as the Croft 338 B&B. It’s a two room place run by a pleasant couple. There isn’t a sitting space so your room is what you get, however the Web is sweet, there’s cable TV and he or she makes a hearty breakfast within the morning. There may be additionally the Drumbeg Resort.

Stoerhead Lighthouse

I bear in mind driving the Wild Atlantic Approach in Eire the place we got here throughout many a lighthouse alongside the coast. We didn’t appear to come upon as many throughout our drive on the North Coast 500, however the Stoerhead Lighthouse was actually price a brief detour. The lighthouse itself isn’t tall, but it surely stands on a cliff that’s 54 meters (162 ft) above sea stage.

North Coast 500 Guide: Stay in or visit the Stoerhead Lighthouse

North Coast 500 Information: Keep in or go to the Stoerhead Lighthouse

The scene is spectacular and you may really guide a keep within the lighthouse. There are two flats and a kitchen, so if you wish to spend extra time exploring this a part of the North Coast 500, that is as distinctive because it will get for lodging and also you’ll have unimaginable views of the ocean!

Espresso Cease

Dave and I like a superb espresso on a highway journey and admittedly the alternatives for on the go espresso on the North Coast 500 was few and much between. That’s why after we noticed an indication selling espresso forward, we adopted it. Flossies is a tiny espresso store positioned on the facet of the highway, however it’s an establishment within the space.

Coffee on the North Coast 500

Flossies is a good place for espresso

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 creating nice espresso to heat your bones from the damp Scottish climate. When driving via this part, make sure to replenish!


The only observe enjoyable continues from Clachtol via an extremely stunning rocky and rolling panorama. When in Clachtol make sure to try the stone broch. Scottish broch’s date again to someplace across the first century BC. Specialists can’t fairly agree on what they have been, however these stone constructions are price a go to to witness how these mounds of stones have survived via the centuries.

Achmevilch Seashore

Achmevilch Bay is outwardly fairly beautiful and a great spot to park your caravan in case you are touring the North Coast 500 that means. Sadly for us, we have been heading in that path whereas the highway was underneath building. We have been advised to return again in a number of hours by employees, however alas, we needed to transfer on as we have been on a mission to complete our NC500 highway journey. The time to go to is throughout the summer time months anyway as there’s water snowboarding, wind browsing, plenty of strolling trails and fishing. It’s settled then, we should return to Northern Scotland!

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Half 7 Lochinver to Ullapool

The drive from Clachtol to Lochinver is one other beautiful drive alongside a single observe with views to die for. For those who can, take your time and presumably keep in Lochinver for an evening. The surroundings is breathtaking. We didn’t have plenty of time to discover, however we did benefit from the drive which is a large a part of the journey.

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Rock Climbing and Journey Excursions

Guided Climbing and Treeking with Hamlett Mountaineering

One 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 positively that man that you simply need 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 possibly can 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. That is the world of the North Coast 500 the place we might really spend days exploring. Whereas climbing with Tim, we commented that if there was one place to stay round in Northern Scotland for a number of days, this might be it!

North Coast 500 Guide: Go hiking around Ullapool

North Coast 500 Information: Go climbing round Ullapool

You may stroll the paths your self, however to rent a information is the place you actually get the true expertise. Tim is aware of this space just like the again of his hand and might take you to see something you want. The climbing is world class and the surroundings is excellent. For those who haven’t climbed earlier than, don’t fear, Tim will arrange a high rope and information you thru it. He has tons of outside expertise the place he honed his expertise at a younger age rising up in Nepal. He trekked to Everest Base Camp at 11 years previous!

We met Tim on the Stac Pollaidh automobile park the place we joined as much as climb Stac Pollaidh. This can be a premiere attraction within the space however we met early sufficient within the morning that the opposite trekkers had but to reach and we had the path all to ourselves.

Hiking with Tim of Hamlett mountaineering

Mountain climbing with Tim of Hamlett mountaineering

Tim advised us of the geology and different climbs within the space. His spouse works for the GeoPark and he’s very keen about selling tourism and conservation within the highlands. His enterprise is increasing quickly and we are able to’t wait to return again within the close to future to do some correct mountaineering with him.

You need to positively guide a visit with him and tell us what we must always do subsequent! Go to Hamlet Mountaineering for extra particulars.

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Ullapool is a picturesque fishing city that’s bustling with enterprise. Evidently everybody driving the North Coast 500 stays right here. We cherished our B&B and extremely advocate it. We put it up there as the good lodging on the NC500. Westlea Home is a classy and comfy resort that has a tremendous frequent space. You’ll need to sit by the hearth perusing the large alternative of books and magazines, or chances are you’ll need to pop into the music room and select from the in depth assortment of vinyl information

ulapool bed and breakfast on the north coast 500

Rooms are elegant and trendy. We arrived on a really wet afternoon and have been content material to calm down indoors having fun with all of the facilities together with our enjoyable tub.

Ullapool affords a substantial alternative of eating choices for the scale of the city. Suggestions are the Arch Inn, Argyle Resort Seafood Bar, The Ceilidh Place and Ferry Boat Inn. We completely loved espresso at Mountain Provides Espresso Store. Positioned on the second flooring of a mountaineering tools retailer, this café has a hipster vibe with and outside lover’s twist. The pleasant employees made us really feel heat and welcomed.

We fell in love with the little town of Ullapool.

We fell in love with the little city of Ullapool.

Try extra at The place to Eat in Ullapool 

Corrieshalloch Gorge

North Coast 500 Guide: Visit the Corrieshalloch Gorge

North Coast 500 Information: Go to the Corrieshalloch Gorge

Positioned simply 15 minutes outdoors of Ullapool, the Corrieshalloch Gorge is an fascinating cease. A brief but steep stroll from the automobile park takes you to a deep and slender field canyon the place you may cross the suspension bridge. The bridge is a bit hair elevating because it’s slender and the railings are low, however it’s well worth the view. There are climbing trails to discover and a waterfall to go to.

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Half eight: Gairloch

Gairloch makes for an ideal base when exploring the western portion of the North Coast 500. You may go up and down the coast in each instructions. There’s a lot to see and do right here and you may cowl plenty of floor. Gairloch is a particularly essential city in Scotaland. It was based by the McKenzies as a protected vacation spot for Scottish Highlanders to put on their kilts and proceed their Scottish traditions when the British weren’t permitting them to take action.

north coast 500 gairloch Scotland

Dave’s household historical past started in Gairloch

Dave has ties to Gairloch. We discovered about it after we had our Ancestry DNA completed simply earlier than leaving. See our story right here. 

In relation 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.

Steered Stops

Inverewe Gardens

north coast 500 inverewe gardens

Go to the gardens

Inverewe Gardens is an fascinating cease stuffed with unique crops that merely shouldn’t be capable of 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 crops from all over the world 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 Nationwide Belief for Scotland.

Isle of Ewe Smokehouse

smokehouse north coast 500

Fishing is a large a part of the economic system in Northern Scotland and whereas you could have visited the Wick Heritage Centre to study concerning the historical past or gone to fishing villages or perhaps a boat tour, it’s fascinating to cease and see what occurs to the fish after the catch. This household run store smokes all their fish in conventional stone kilns utilizing whisky barrel staves & native Larch to offer their fish its personal distinctive flavour. They’ve a present store the place you may choose up provides to your highway journey or seize a present field for somebody particular at house. You may even order on-line! 

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Loch Maree

North Coast 500 Guide: Don't miss sunrise at Loch Maree

North Coast 500 Information: Don’t miss dawn at Loch Maree

There are such a lot of lochs in Northern Scotland it’s tough to decide on the place to cease, however Loch Maree is unquestionably a stupendous place to go to at dawn. Campervans park in a single day on the shores of this loch however you may drive in for a view as effectively. It’s not extremely travelled and may be tough to search out. At first we parked at a logging highway and began to stroll the space to the loch, however fortunately we determined to maneuver on. Simply a few kilometres down the highway we discovered the reduce off to the seaside and have been handled to a spectacular view.

The Previous Inn

Take in the history at The Old Inn

Take within the historical past at The Previous Inn

A wonderful place to remain simply outdoors of downtown Gairloch is the Previous Inn. It’s an previous teaching in remodelled with trendy conveniences. Set on a stupendous property, there are strolling trails, gardens and streams operating via the property. On website there is a wonderful seafood restaurant and award-winning pub. This can be a place the felt like we have been in the actual Scotland. Locals popped in for a pint and the relaxed ambiance makes you are feeling welcome. You may take your drinks by the hearth within the sitting room, or as much as your conventional suites. There are board video games, DVDs to borrow, books concerning the historical past of the world, and guides for issues to do close by.

Stroll the paths of Beinn Eighe 

Beinn Eighe is Britain’s oldest nature reserve and a premiere climbing vacation spot. There are 48 Sq. km to discover with trails as brief as 1 half km. Mountain climbing is common in Scotland and you may’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 knowledge go to Scotland’s Nationwide Nature Reserve web site.

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Klinlochewe Viewpoint

North Coast 500 Guide: Visit the Klinlochewe Viewpoint

North Coast 500 Information: Go to the Klinlochewe Viewpoint

Choosing up a espresso on the newly opened Klinlochewe Espresso Store on the fuel station we chatted with the house owners who gave us some tips on the perfect view level within the space. I can’t consider we nearly missed this! Many individuals miss this view as a result of they take the coastal scenic path to Applecross. However make sure to not less than drive as much as the point of view. High 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 might take the brief reduce via the mountains at this time. Each are extremely advisable.

Diabag Viewpoint

North Cost 500 Guide: Marvel at the views from the Diabag Viewpoint

North Price 500 Information: Marvel on the views from the Diabag Viewpoint

One other unimaginable view that we stumbled up on was Diabag Viewpoint. Driving from Toridon we heard that this was an ideal place for panoramic views and whoever gave us that recommendation was proper! The highway is an unimaginable thrill of 1 lanes switching forwards and backwards up a steep mountain. There are a number of stops to see views to the east, to the west and over the water. It’s well worth the drive and to do all the path to Decrease Diabag took us about an hour every means. (we do prefer to cease quite a bit for images although)

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Half 9 Most Scenic Drive on the North Coast 500

This ultimate stretch of driving alongside the coast might be essentially the most scenic and enjoyable driving on the entire North Coast 500. There are such a lot of viewpoints to cease and benefit from the scene, you’ll spend a complete day getting via only a brief 32 mile stretch. As you drive from Torridon the views are plentiful.

We picked up a scrumptious cappuccino for takeaway (have you ever observed we like espresso?) on the Torridon Resort and bar and commenced our scenic journey alongside Higher Torridon Loch. This can be a nice day journey for a coast journey taking you all the best way across the route toAppleCross the place you drive essentially the most spectacular move Baelnabach Go. The star attraction of the North Coast 500.

Highlights alongside the best way are.

View level of the city of Sheildag

Looking over the village of Sheildag on the North Coast 500

Wanting over the village of Sheildag on the North Coast 500

Make sure to pull over as a lot as potential 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 beautiful one we discovered was a pull off with a brief path resulting in a view of the city of Sheildag.

Well-known Crimson Home

North Coast 500 Guide: Visit the famous Red Cottage.

North Coast 500 Information: Go to the well-known Crimson Cottage.

Have you ever ever seen the images of the crimson home alongside the North Coast 500? Effectively, it’s right here alongside this route that you simply’ll discover it. Take pleasure in a quiet cease on the facet of the highway right here and watch the sheep graze within the yard.

Non cease pullovers 

Beautiful views are everywhere on the North Coast 500

Lovely views are in every single place on the North Coast 500

This route takes you alongside the ocean facet and there are such a lot of stops you simply might take a complete day to get to your vacation spot. We noticed plenty of highland cows alongside this highway. Flocks of sheep have been plentiful and there have been even views of the Isle of Skye. It was an unimaginable drive however be ready for wind. We had stunning sunny climate, however the wind was sturdy. When getting out of the automobile we needed to placed on a jacket. By no means assume you’ll be fantastic in shorts or a t-shirt all day when driving the North Coast 500.

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AppleCross to Baelnabach Go

The view are magnificent from the top of the Baelnabach Pass

The view are magnificent from the highest of the Baelnabach Go

That is the spotlight of all the North Coast 500 and it doesn’t disappoint. Baelnabach Go was an previous cattle path that was become 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 number of pullovers and it’s price stopping for those who see one and really feel assured. The views are magnificent wanting down the valley.


North Coast 500 Guide: Hike along the Baelnabach Pass

North Coast 500 Information: Hike alongside the Baelnabach Go

While you get to the highest of the move make sure 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.

Eat on the Kishorn Seafood Bar

Grab some chow at the Kishorn Seafood Bar

Seize some chow on the Kishorn Seafood Bar

It’s been an enormous day and also you’ve in all probability constructed up an urge for food. For those who hold following the principle highway in the direction of Lochcarron you’ll come throughout the nice Kishorn Seafood Bar. This household run eatery is stuffed with wonderful decisions for lunch or dinner and the employees is pleasant. They even gave us a style of the native specialty. For those who haven’t tried oysters earlier than, that is the place to do it. They even give certificates to first timers.

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Half 10 Historical past and Wildlife

Our ultimate vacation spot earlier than ending off the loop to Inverness took us to Plockton. That grew to become our house base to discover the world. Like different components of the North Coast 500, there’s plenty of historical past, wildlife and surroundings to get pleasure from and listed here are a number of highlights of what you will need to see and do!

Reraig Forest Tour

Our information Colin is a craic because the Scottish say! He’s essentially the most enthusiastic and loveable information you’ll ever have. We met 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 received right into a buggy to make our means 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.

North Coat 500 Guide: Head out into the wilderness and hang with some deer.

North Coat 500 Information: Head out into the wilderness and hold with some deer.

However that was simply a part of the journey. The true magnificence got here after 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 the 1000’s 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 may inform he loves the herd and he even identified a number of that jumped over the fence to stay round.

Colin has a very friendly heard of stags and deer.

Colin has a really pleasant heard of stags and deer.

I used to be a bit nervous as I noticed that he affords searching journeys as effectively, however after seeing him with the stags, I noticed that an individual can presumably hunt and be a conservationist unexpectedly. He advised us tales of discovering sick or harm deer that he put out of their distress and the way he was fearful about one male that was a bully within the herd and he was involved that if it didn’t settle down he’d need to put it down, but it surely had settled in and he thinks it’s going to be okay. I’m not fairly positive how many individuals come to hunt right here, however I really feel that if picture safari tourism takes off, they received’t have the necessity to promote to trophy hunters anymore.

Colin additionally has sheep and rams on the land that come operating 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!

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Eilean Donan Fort

Presumably essentially the most well-known fortress within the land, Eilean Donan Fort was used for the set of Highlander, James Bond’s The World is Not Sufficient and the New Avengers. It’s a stupendous fortress the place you may tour and study of the historical past of the clans that dominated the Highlands. It tells the story via a wonderful audio visible show concerning the Jacobite rebellion and fall, and the wars of the clans.

North Coast 500 Guide: Visit Eilen Donan Castle

North Coast 500 Information: Go to Eilean Donan Fort

You may stroll via the totally different rooms of the fortress which can be embellished simply as they have been a whole bunch of years in the past and get a real sense of what life was like.

Eilean Donan Castle is even stunning in the rain.

Eilean Donan Fort is even beautiful within the rain.

The reward store is superb and it was right here that we purchased a woolen scarf within the colors of Dave’s ancestors the McKenzies.

Strome Fort

Strome Castle offers some great views across the Loch

Strome Fort affords some nice views throughout the Loch

A far much less in tact fortress however nonetheless stunning to go to is Drome Fort. Now simply in ruins, the outer partitions are nonetheless in tact and you may stroll inside and outside exploring the coastal piece of land. At low tide you may stroll fairly far out to the ocean for a superb view of the fortress and you may snap the compulsory image via the doorway arch.

Duncraig Fort

Duncraig Castle is going to be the place to stay when it is done

Duncraig Fort goes to be the place to remain when it’s completed

It’s about to be become a mattress and breakfast and it’s presently on personal property, however because the highway resulting in the railway station goes immediately via the fortress grounds, you may simply drive your automobile proper as much as the entrance door to take a look. It’s positioned on Loch Carron and may be seen from the city of Plockton. There are even hikes that lead out to the fortress .

Plockton Resort

The Plockton hotel is a perfect place to base yourself.

The Plockton resort is an ideal place to base your self.

Our keep on the Plockton Resort was the proper location because it was positioned immediately on Loch Carron. It even has an outside patio the place you may get pleasure from a stupendous view of sundown and Duncraig Fort. The pub is a good alternative for dinner and there’s additionally a proper eating room providing native seafood, whisky and beer.

The place to eat in Plockton: The Plockton Inn, Plockton Resort and Plockton Shores all specialise in seafood and are all wonderful. 

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This takes us to the tip of our North Coast 500 highway journey. We checked out of the Plockton Resort and made our method to Inverness. The drive again to Inverness is gorgeous too. We had a day flight or we might have spent extra time exploring and climbing on our means again, however alas, all journeys should come to an finish.

North Coast 500 Bonus Tip

Plockton can be a wonderful place to make a base for visiting the Isle of Sky. As one particular person mentioned to us, “You may’t actually come to this a part of Scotland and never go to Skye.” We made a degree to go to the Isle of Skye to see a few of the highlights on a fast half day tour within the morning and it was spectacular. However that my pals is one other story. However whenever you plan your individual tour of the North Coast 500 make sure to give additional days to see all of it. We visited the are in 10 days, however we extremely advocate two weeks.