Day Four on Scotland’s North Coast 500 – Shieldaig to Inverness

shieldaig, inverness, nc500, scotland

Our route from Shieldaig to Inverness

My first post described our planning for our trip round the North Coast 500. My second post covered our first day, travelling from Inverness to Melvich. My third post covered our second day, travelling from Melvich to Lochinver and my most recent post described our trip from Lochinver to Shieldaig. After a short time heading South, we would spend most of today, travelling East back to Inverness.

Leaving Shieldaig, the following morning on the A896, we passed by the village of Kishorn, which I will cover in a separate blog post. Some 40 years ago, as part of my A Level Geography course, I wrote an article about the impact of the building of (what was then) the largest dry dock in Europe in this village. It was created to allow the building of the concrete oil rig called the Ninian Central Platform that was destined for the North Sea.

kishorn, village, Scotland, dock, oil rig

Kishorn, looking towards what was the largest dry dock in Europe when it was built in the 1970s


Well worth a visit on this road is the award-winning Kishorn Seafood Bar. It’s best to check their website before you go, as this is not open 12 months of the year.


kishorn, seafood, shellfish, NC500, scotland

Kishorn Seafood Bar


The A896 is a pretty tough road to drive on. It is a single track much of the way and is very twisty in places. By now, you will be thanking me for my advice to do the NC500 anti-clockwise.

If you are feeling particularly brave, you can do a detour round the coast via the village of Applecross. You will then go back to the A896 on the famous Bealach na Ba (the Pass of the Cattle.) This is a tightly winding single track road, which holds the record for the steepest ascent of any road in the UK. I’ve driven on it in the past and I would only recommend driving on it in the best of weather. There is an excellent, illustrated article about this road here.

Heading East to Inverness

Next, we arrived in Lochcarron. This is a lovely village on a sea loch, which means a lot to me. It’s where my maternal grandparents lived and where my mother, her brother and her sisters were born.

I have fond memories of Easter holidays spent at my grandfather’s house when I was a child. I remember fishing in the nearby burn (stream) and watching my grandfather feeding a robin that would come to his hand.

Both sets of my grandparents are buried in the Lochcarron Burial Ground, along with two sets of aunts and uncles, so we always stop off here.

On my maternal grandparents’ grave is a memorial to my mother’s older brother, Sgt Finlay MacRae, who is buried in Berlin. On his 13th mission as a tail gunner in a Lancaster bomber and just a few weeks after his 19th birthday, he was killed in action. At that point in the war, the life expectancy for RAF Bomber Command aircrew was just 3 missions.

lochcarron, nc500, scotland, east, burial ground

Lochcarron Burial Ground


From now on, we would be heading East. The route back to Inverness from Lochcarron is quite easy nowadays. It used to be mainly single track roads with passing places but is now a mixture of single track roads and dual track roads that are easy to navigate. We covered the final 77 miles of our journey in 2 hours, averaging 39 miles per hour. In total, we had covered  486 miles over 4 days.


loch carron, lochcarron, strathcarron, nc500, scotland, east

Loch Carron, looking towards Strathcarron


Whilst the Culloden Battlefield isn’t on the NC500, it is just a few miles East of Inverness and, as Liz had never seen it, we called in before checking in to our hotel in Inverness.

If you are ever in this area, I can recommend a visit. The Visitor Centre is excellent and what is, in reality, a war grave for Scottish and English soldiers, is strangely beautiful.

Culloden, Scotland, 1746, bonnie prince charlie, jaacobite


From top left hand corner, going clockwise:

The Visitors’ Centre

The Culloden Battlefield

Mass grave headstone

Memorial at the Culloden Battlefield


The NC500 – in summary

4 days and 3 nights spent on the greatest motoring adventure in the UK.

The North Coast 500 has been a hugely successful marketing exercise but it is not without its critics. Those who can benefit from the spike in tourist numbers are fans but those who are doing jobs that do not benefit from the increase in tourism are highly critical of the increase in traffic and the congestion this creates. So don’t forget to let locals go past on single-track roads. You are on holiday; they are trying to do their jobs.

As I previously mentioned, the tourism infrastructure lags behind the demand for hotel rooms, bed and breakfasts and campsites. But I have no doubt that this demand will be filled by the entrepreneurs who have been drawn to this area.

In the years to come, this route is only going to get busier and busier. I doubt if there will be many improvements in the quality of the roads that make up this route – and that will be part of the continuing appeal of the NC500. It has its challenges and when you have completed the trip, you do feel that you have achieved something.

My advice

1. Visit the NC500 it before it gets too busy.

2. Travel round the NC500 via the anti-clockwise route. We did the trip in 4 days and with 3 overnight stops but there is more than enough to see and do on this route to make it a week long trip.

3. Use a proper camera, rather than use a smart phone. Digital cameras can now be bought for very reasonable prices and will give you archivable, printable memories for many years to come.

For my work as a photographer, I normally use a Canon Eos 5D Mk III and a Canon Eos 1Dx with a battery of lenses. On this trip, I used just a single Sony RX 10 Mk II, which has a fixed Zeiss 24mm – 200mm f2.8 zoom lens. It is the perfect camera for trips like this but there are much cheaper cameras available if the photos are just for yourselves.


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Liz and Rosie at Culloden

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Day Three on Scotland’s North Coast 500 – Lochinver to Shieldaig

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Our route from Lochinver to Shieldaig via Gairloch

In my first post, I wrote about our preparations for this journey. In my second post, I wrote about our first day, going from Inverness to Melvich. In my most recent post, I wrote about our second day, travelling from Melvich to Lochinver. Today we travel South from Lochinver, down the coast to Shieldaig.

Heading South

After a night in Lochinver, we travelled on single track roads that are a real test of your driving skills, down to Ullapool, which is on the coast.

This was the final stopping off point for the Russian Convoys during WW2. You can still see the fuel tanks set into the hillsides.

Officially, the Convoys were “dry” – no alcohol was allowed on board. However, some enterprising locals had other ideas and distilled their own whisky. My father tried a glass during the war and he told me it was highly potent! An uncle of mine was a GP in this area and he was periodically called out to tend to patients “who had that upset tummy he gets from time to time.” Even today, not all the distilleries in the Highlands have visitors’ centres…

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The A832 road. Note the snow poles.

South of Ullapool we turned onto the two lane A832, which took us along the side of Little Loch Broom and then around the coast. Many stretches of this road have snow poles on either side, so you can navigate after there has been a heavy snowfall. These are quite common in this part of Scotland.


South, loch, broom, A832, NC500

On the A832 looking back to Loch Broom


Further South

Near to Inverewe Gardens, we had our first proper encounter with Highland Midges. September is the worst month for them and they have to be the most vicious little beasties I have ever come across. Don’t come to the Highlands without Midge repellent. Visit to order repellent and get updates on Midge activity in the Highlands.

i can also recommend that you visit this blogpost on the “How I get rid Of” website for further recommended midge repellants.

The scenery on the west coast is dramatic, with steep-sided mountains, covered in low cloud and fast running rivers feeding little lochs. Visitors are advised not to use passing places as temporary car parks, so that they can take photographs.

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West Coast Mountains

Passing places serve two functions (a) to allow traffic coming in the opposite direction to go through and (b) to allow faster traffic behind you to overtake. With regard to the latter function, visitors should avoid holding up locals, whose knowledge of these roads means that they will always be quicker than you are, whatever car or van they are driving. Passing places are marked with white diamond shaped signs, many of which have been used for target practice by local shooters.

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Passing Place. Inset – note the bullet holes.


We called in to Gairloch, where two sets of aunts and uncles used to live. I have fond memories of this village from holidays I spent here. My Uncle Hamish was the GP for this area and my Uncle Hugh used to drag me round the 9 hole Gairloch Golf Course, in the hope of turning me into a golfer.


Our next overnight stop was in the village of Shieldaig, which often appears in the list of the prettiest villages in the UK.

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Shieldaig Village, Wester Ross, Scotland

We stayed in the Tigh an Eilean Hotel, which belonged to my paternal grandparents after WW2, along with the village Post Office and I have cousins who live in the village. This part of Scotland is famous for the quality of its locally caught shellfish and fish which feature heavily on the hotel’s menus.

The village name is a Viking word meaning “Loch of the Herring.” The waters on the West coast of Scotland are some of the purist in the world and most of the locally-caught shellfish are exported overnight to Spain, where they fetch the best prices. There is a display board in the village entitled “Wise Hunters”, which commemorates the local fishermens’ careful approach to conservation. On this board is a photograph of one of the fishermen, my cousin John MacGregor and the “escape hatch” that he designed to allow smaller langoustine prawns to escape. For this invention, he was given a conservation award by HRH Prince Charles and he also featured in one of Rick Stein’s “Food Heroes” programmes.

shieldaig, south, wise, hunters, shellfish,

“Wise Hunters” display in Shieldaig village, Wester Ross

We highly recommend The Loch Torridon Smokehouse for their smoked salmon and they offer a mail order service. I can’t think of any smoked salmon that I’ve tasted that is better than this.

Facing the village is Shieldaig Island, which is now a nature reserve. There is a heronry on the island and enormous Sea Eagles nest here. You can see them from the road.


shieldaig, Scotland, South, NC500, village, wester, ross

Shieldaig Island

On our third day on the NC500, we had travelled 129 miles at an average speed of 37 miles an hour. A relatively easy drive but I knew that tomorrow, we would face one of the toughest roads in the country.

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Day Two on Scotland’s North Coast 500 – Melvich to Lochinver

NC500, Scotland

Our route from Melvich to Lochinver

Heading for the West Coast

In my first post, I wrote about our preparations for this trip.  In my second post, I wrote about our first day on the North Coast 500, which ended with us turning West at John O’Groats and driving along the top of Scotland. In this post, I will describe our  journey from Melvich to Lochinver, with a detour to Stoer in Sutherland on the West coast of Sutherland.

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Highland Rainbow


We continued to head West on the A836 through terrain that was much more rugged. Heavy clouds were overhead and we saw rainbows every day of our trip. We were still on quick roads on this part of the journey and were making good progress.

Tongue and Loch Eriboll

In the village of Tongue, we switched to the A838, which gave us an excellent view of the ruins of Castle Varrich, which is believed to be a thousand years old.


castle, varrich, tongue, kyle, Scotland, West

Castle Varrich

The causeway and bridge over the Kyle of Tongue were built in 1971 to replace a ferry or a 10 mile drive on a single track road.

It was in the Kyle of Tongue in 1746 that two Royal Navy ships stopped a Jacobite ship from landing French gold that was intended for Bonnie Prince Charlie. Some historians believe this this had a significant impact on his campaign to claim back the throne.

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The Causeway and Bridge over the Kyle of Tongue

Some years ago, a late uncle of mine was working as a GP locum in this village. He had graduated from Edinburgh University in 1948 and was one of the first graduates to join the newly created National Health Service.

The Mail on Sunday decided to run a couple of articles, tracing what had happened to “the class of 48”. They sent a photographer to take some pictures of him. Having got the “proper” photos, the photographer suggested that – just for fun – he should take one of my uncle next to the sign for Tongue, with his tongue sticking out. This was only going to be for the family. Of course.

Guess which photo The Mail on Sunday used? My uncle had a great sense of humour and thought it was really funny.

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The causeway across the Kyle of Tongue

As we headed over to the west coast, the roads became twistier and, as we travelled down the eastern side of Loch Eriboll, the road ahead became a single track with passing places. Traffic was quite light and we had no delays.

Loch Eriboll is a sea loch that is almost 10 miles long. During World War 2, the Royal Navy used it as a deep water anchorage. It enjoys much calmer weather than in the nearby seas around the Pentland Firth and Cape Wrath.


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Ard Neackie in Loch Eriboll, a former ferry terminus

In May 1945, the surviving 33 U Boats of the German Kreigsmarine came in from the Atlantic and surrendered to the Royal Navy in Loch Eriboll. The majority of them were scuttled in the North Atlantic as part of Operation Deadlight.

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Loch Eriboll, looking North

On the way between Loch Eriboll and Durness, we stopped to look at the beach at Ceannabeinne and saw a memorial to a very sad time in the history of the Scottish Highlands – the Highland Clearances.  All across the Highlands of Scotland, you can see the ruins of cottages that were abandoned when the families were forcibly evicted to make way for sheep. It is one of the darker chapters in this country’s history that has had little coverage in the history books. All that remains of the village is an empty white cottage that used to be the school house.

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Beach and Information board at Ceannabeinne


Heading for the West Coast

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A Lochan in Sutherland

A few miles after Durness, the road became two lanes again and, at Laxford Bridge, we turned onto the A894, which would eventually take us to the West coast at Scourie. On the way, we had some incredible views. We stopped by a “Lochan” (a small loch) that was framed by a menacing sky. Not far after, I stopped to take some photos of the beautiful Loch Glendu and the Glendu Forest.

This is an area of dramatic changes in scenery; remote, wild and beautiful in equal measure. I can think of nowhere else in the UK that you can see such contrasts in scenery in such a short space of time.

glendu, forest, loch, Scotland, sutherland

Loch Glendu and the Glendu Forest, Sutherland


In 1984, a year after I did this trip on my own, a bridge was opened at Kylescu by HM Queen Elizabeth II, replacing the free ferry service, though you can still see one of the old ferry boats parked up at the side of Loch Gleann Dubh. Perhaps this was the one that I travelled on in 1983?

Kylescku, Sutherland, Scotland, NC500

Kylescku, Sutherland, Scotland

The bridge has won awards for its design and there is a car park which gives you a good vantage point to take photos of the bridge. On one side of the car park is a memorial to the crews of the X-Craft miniature submarines, who, during World War II, trained in this area.

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Memorial to the X Craft submariners, Kylescu, Scotland

Nearby is the waterfall Eas a’ Chual Aluinn (waterfall of the beautiful tresses) which is the highest waterfall in Britain. With a sheer drop of 658 feet / 200 metres, when it is in full flow, it is three times the height of Niagra Falls.

The Kylescu Bridge, Sutherland, Scotland

The Kylescu Bridge, Sutherland, Scotland



A short detour

Instead of staying on the A894, which would take us to Lochinver via Loch Assynt, we took the single track B869 out to the tiny village of Stoer, where my father was born in 1925. I have a family tree that goes back to 1715 and which confirms that my “Sept” of the Matheson Clan came from Assynt.

Looking out to the Atlantic from Drumbeg Viewpoint, Sutherland, Scotland

Drumbeg Viewpoint, Sutherland

I remember spending a holiday here as a very young child in a hamlet called Achnacarnin. The house we stayed in was lit by oil lamps as the hamlet did not have electricity and we drew fresh water from a well. Things are a bit more civilised nowadays in this part of Scotland.

Looking out to the Atlantic from Drumbeg Viewpoint, Sutherland, Scotland

Looking out to the Atlantic from Drumbeg Viewpoint, Sutherland, Scotland



We spent that night at the Inver Lodge Hotel, in Lochinver, which sits on a hillside that has a wonderful view over Lochinver Harbour. This is an excellent hotel but it isn’t in the budget category, if that’s what you are looking for.

But then the 6th of September was a special birthday for my wife, Liz, so we had dinner in the Albert Roux run restaurant in the hotel. Our dinner was superb. As a rule, Scottish hotels – at all price levels – pride themselves on the quality of their food and try to showcase local produce at every opportunity. Every hotel we’ve ever stayed in, in Scotland, offers a Breakfast menu that would be a challenge to even the hungriest guest.

Including our detour, we had travelled 124 miles at an average speed of just under 29 mph.

In my next post, I will describe our journey from Lochinver to Shieldaig in Wester Ross.

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Day One on Scotland’s North Coast 500 – Inverness to Melvich

Day One’s route from Inverness to Melvich


In my previous post, I spoke about the prepraration and planning that is required before you attempt Scotland’s North Coast 500 route, round Caithness, Sutherland and Wester Ross. Today, I will tell you about our first day on the route, which takes us from Inverness to Melvich, via Brora, Wick, John O’Groats and Thurso.

On the North Coast 500

You leave Inverness on the A9, which passes over the Beauly Firth via the North Kessock Bridge into the Black Isle (which is actually a peninsula.) You then cross the Cromarty Firth via the Cromarty Bridge and travel on fast, open roads in the direction of the Dornoch Firth.

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Looking towards the Cromarty Bridge from The Black Isle

There are a huge number of distilleries along this route and one of the best visitor centres is at the Glenmorangie distillery, just outside Tain. A word of warning about distillery tours – the legal limit for alcohol in your bloodstream is 80mg per 100ml of blood in England, Wales and Northern Ireland but it is only 50mg in Scotland.

Further up the coast, we stopped at the village of Brora. We listened to the hiss of the sea as waves crashed onto its shingle beach, while sea birds screamed overhead. The more you travel on this route, the more aware you become of how the Scottish landscape has been shaped by water – Ice Age glaciers, fast-flowing rivers, the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

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Shellfish boat in Brora, Scotland

The A9 runs close to the coast all the way up to Latheron, where it turns north up to Thurso. If you want to stick on the official NC500, you need to turn onto the A99 which will take you to the town of Wick. Continuing along the A99, you will eventually reach John O’Groats at which point your turn west.

Heading along the North Coast

The NC500 now uses the A836 to go along the top of Scotland, with views of the island of Stroma and, beyond that, the Orkneys.

Worth a small detour is the Castle of Mey, previously owned by the Queen Mother and now owned by Prince Charles. It has a good visitor centre and a nice cafeteria. Rosie is a good traveller but we always plan a few stops en route to allow her to stretch her legs from time to time, or to have a drink of water.

Castle, Mey, NC500, Scotland, Caithness, North Coast 500

Liz and Rosie at the Castle of Mey

A few miles further on is Dunnet Bay which boasts an excellent micro distillery for gin and vodka called the Dunnet Bay Distillery.

"Dunnet Bay", Scotland, Atlantic, Ocean, north

Dunnet Bay on the North Coast of Scotland

It was opened 3 years ago by a husband and wife team and the owners told me that they used to get 20-30 visitors a week. Since the launch of the NC500, they are now getting 200-300 visitors a week and so are building a visitors’ centre that will be open 7 days a week. This is where the increasingly popular Rock Rose gin is made in a still they call “Elizabeth.” As well as the generic Rock Rose gin, they make a limited edition run of gins for each of the four seasons of the year. If you like gin, this is a “must visit” on this tour.

"Dunnet Bay Beach", Caithness, Scotland

Dunnet Bay Beach

We carried on through the town of Thurso, which with a population of 8,000, is the most northerly town in Britain. Many of the people who live here arrived to work at Dounreay nuclear power station in the 1950s. It is now being decommissioned but remains a large employer of local people.

thurso, NC500, Scotland, North Coast 500

Looking back to Thurso

For our first night on the North Coast 500, we stopped for the night in a very comfortable hotel in the village of Melvich, called The Melvich Hotel. One of our reasons for picking this (and the next two hotels) is that it is dog friendly. It also has a wood burning pizza oven and some lovely views out to sea. We saw the biggest full moon we have ever seen and we couldn’t believe how quickly it rose in the sky. Sadly, we never saw any Northern Lights on this trip.

The hotel was full – I did warn you to book all your accomodation in advance. The hotel closes for the winter but I would not recommend that anyone tries to do the NC500 in the winter anyway. The weather can be awful and heavy snowfalls are common.

On our first day on the NC500, we had covered 156 miles at an average speed of just over 40 miles an hour. This was the easy part of our journey completed. We knew the road ahead would be more of a challenge.

In my next post, I will tell you about our journed from Melvich to Lochinver.

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Scotland’s North Coast 500

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The village of Shieldaig in Wester Ross

Introduction to the North Coast 500 in Scotland

Join me on the greatest motoring adventure in the British Isles on the North Coast 500 in Scotland.

I’ll take you along some of the most challenging roads in the country and will show you some of the most amazing scenery that you will ever see in Britain. Deserted beaches made of silver and golden sand. Forbidding mountains covered in cloud. Dramatic changes of weather and places where there is a real sense of history in the air.

You will see where the WW2 German Atlantic U Boat fleet surrendered to the Royal Navy in 1945. You will also see where a Jacobite ship, loaded with French gold for Bonnie Prince Charlie, was captured by the English Navy in 1746.

I’ll show you a “ghost village” that stands as a sad memorial to the Highland Clearances in the 1840s and the memorial by the loch where the heroic X-Craft Submariners were trained in WW2.

I’ll also show you a pretty village where you can buy what I consider to be the finest smoked salmon in the country, direct from the smokehouse. In the same village you can watch 2.5 metre wing spanned Sea Eagles with the naked eye from the roadside.

You will be given plenty of tips to help you plan your own journey. This is a trip that requires a lot of preparation both for your safety and your enjoyment.


A very brief history of the North Coast 500 in Scotland

In 2015, the Tourism Project Board of the North Highland Initiative launched the concept of the “North Coast 500.” It is now commonly referred to as the NC500. The idea was to increase tourism in the counties of Ross-shire, Sutherland and Caithness, by encouraging people to travel on existing roads around the coast of each county. From start to finish, it is about 500 miles long and will take you through some of the most dramatic scenery in Britain.

Very few people who you know will have covered the North Coast 500, which is now being compared to Route 66 in America as one of the greatest drives in the world.

It has been a hugely successful initiative and everyone who I talk to about it or who sees my photographs wants to add it to their “Bucket List.”

These articles are not meant to be a comprehensive guide to the North Coast 500. In addition to resources on the internet, the best book to read is “The North Coast 500 Guide Book” by Charles Tait. At the time of writing, costs £12.95 and is worth every penny.

What I hope these articles do is to give you a taste of a remarkable part of our country that very few will have ever visited, coupled with some helpful hints to make your trip successful and safe.

Long before anyone thought of the name “North Coast 500”, I drove this route in 1983, on my own. I didn’t stop very much to admire the scenery – which I should have done. In a recent readers’ poll of the Rough Guide, Scotland was voted the most beautiful country in the world. Our recent trip round this route reminded us just why.

Officially, the route starts at Inverness Castle, heads west and goes clockwise round the coast. Back in 1983, I did it anti-clockwise and my wife, Liz and I did it that way again this year. I would encourage readers to do the same, particularly if you are not used to driving on twisty single-track roads. You encounter these quite early on in the clockwise route. This can be a bit off putting for anyone who is not used to roads like these.

Twice a year, my wife Liz, our West Highland Terrier, Rosie and I visit an Aunt of mine who lives in Dingwall, north of Inverness. We combined a couple of visits to my Aunt and a visit to cousins I have on the West coast, with a trip round the NC500.

Before you travel to Scotland

This trip requires some serious planning. The success of the “NC500” concept has taken everyone by surprise and there is not yet the tourism infrastructure in place to cope with the surge in visitors. There aren’t enough hotels, bed and breakfasts or campsites to handle the number of visitors, so make sure that you book all your accommodation in advance.

Some of the roads you will encounter on this route are not for inexperienced drivers or the faint-hearted. If you have driven on the Wrynose Pass or the Hardknott Pass in the Lake District, you will know what to expect.

In my opinion, this route is not really suitable for caravans, though you do see a few on the route.

We saw a lot of motorhomes on the route, many of which had been hired. If you have never driven a modern, large motorhome before, this is not the place to start. Winnebago size motorhomes are definitely unsuitable for this route. Because of the number of blind summits you come across, very low sports cars are also unsuitable.

motorhome, Scourie, Sutherland, NC500, Scotland, North Coast 500

Motorhomes in Scourie, Sutherland

The route is also popular with motorcyclists (usually in pairs.) Cyclists and walkers use the NC500 as well, so keep an eye out for them all.

Satellite navigation systems and mapping software calculate how long it will take you to reach your destination, based on the speed limit of the road you are travelling on.

Apart from when you are in a town or a village, most of the NC500 is on the national speed limit of 60 mph. This is misleading as you will struggle to average 60 mph on even the best stretches of road. You would be lucky to achieve half this average speed on the single track roads. Allow yourself extra time for each stretch of your trip. This isn’t a race.

Mobile phone coverage is patchy and broadband in hotels is often a bit hit and miss. It’s probably not the fault of the hotel, as much of this area is only now beginning to catch up with the rest of the country in communications. If you do need to be reachable for family or work reasons, circulate an itinerary of where you are staying each night, giving the phone number and e-mail address.

Allow yourselves plenty of time to go off the NC500 and explore places that are close to the route. If you are travelling up from England you will see Stirling Castle from the A9 and not far from Inverness is Cawdor Castle.

Some warnings


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Average Speed Camera on the A9 road near to Stirling

1. This route has become very popular with drivers from other European countries. You will see many cars and motorhomes with Dutch, Belgian, German and French number plates. The problem that these drivers sometimes have is when they are coming off single-track roads onto dual-track roads and they forget which side of the road to drive on.

2. Always be prepared to do an emergency stop in situations like this. As the single-track roads often have sheep grazing next to the road, they will sometimes wander out in front of you. If you are travelling in the early mornings, beware of deer on the roads. Many years ago, I had a Red Deer Stag jump over the roof of my car in this area.

3. Most people who will be travelling on Scotland’s NC500, will have travelled up on the A9 from Stirling to Inverness. There are now average speed cameras along the entire length of the road and the speed limit for cars is 60 mph. For HGVs, the speed limit is 50 mph and you can sometimes find yourself sitting in a queue behind several HGVs. Be patient and admire the scenery.

4. There are not many convenience stores in villages on the NC500. Those that are open mostly sell the most awful sandwiches and snacks. A better idea is to ask the hotel or bed and breakfast you are staying in to make you up a packed lunch. They will welcome the extra business and you’ll get a much better lunch that you can find in the chill cabinet of a convenience store.

5. Do fill up your tank in Inverness, as the price of fuel en route is rather high. There are petrol stations but their remoteness is reflected in the prices you’ll pay, which are some of the highest in Scotland.

I will give you three “top tips” to help you make this a really safe and enjoyable adventure at the end of my blog post about the fourth day we spent on the NC500.

Click here to read about our first day on the North Coast 500, as we travel from Inverness to Melvich.

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Drumbeg Viewpoint, Sutherland


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