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Teato

North Coast 500

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Teato

Looking at doing the North Coast 500 over a week in March. Any recommendations of things to see on the way round. Got a rough guide of things we want to see on the way round based on a couple of blogs and a guide book. 

 

Also looking for recommendations for accommodation along the way. Initially thought about wild camping but I think we're more likely to stay in B&Bs and hotels. 

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SUTOL

General consensus is that the West coast is far better than the East. But I don't fully agree. 

 

I'd go East-North-West and enjoy the varying landscapes and sights as you go. 

 

Lots of things to see and do, plenty castles/homes to visit and museums and iron age or similar sites. 

If history is of interest then I can make some suggestions. 

Lots of fantastic beaches to see and find, caves to explore, water-falls (highest in UK) some stunning scenery and some very good hotels and pubs and food outlets.

 

You'll probably need to book any of the better hotels now, rather than nearer the time. If you plan to stay in any of them. 

(Kylesku, Torriden, Applecross Inn etc) 

 

What's your initial thoughts for number of days and overnight stops? 

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Hugh Phamism

My brother-in-law cycled it in October last year. Took him 10 days and he says each day was torture. He went west (clockwise) from Inverness. 

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Teato
36 minutes ago, SUTOL said:

General consensus is that the West coast is far better than the East. But I don't fully agree. 

 

I'd go East-North-West and enjoy the varying landscapes and sights as you go. 

 

Lots of things to see and do, plenty castles/homes to visit and museums and iron age or similar sites. 

If history is of interest then I can make some suggestions. 

Lots of fantastic beaches to see and find, caves to explore, water-falls (highest in UK) some stunning scenery and some very good hotels and pubs and food outlets.

 

You'll probably need to book any of the better hotels now, rather than nearer the time. If you plan to stay in any of them. 

(Kylesku, Torriden, Applecross Inn etc) 

 

What's your initial thoughts for number of days and overnight stops? 

We're going to do it over 7 nights (including a stay in Inverness on night 1). We plan on going up the East with overnight stays in Dornoch, John o'Groats, Durness, Achmelvich Bay, Gairloch then finally Applecross.

 

Where did you stop on the east coast? It seems like a very short drive between Inverness and Dornoch but I think there's likely to be more time consuming things to do on that part compared with the trip the following day to John O'Groats.

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Jamhammer

I’d like to do it on a motorbike but need to pass me test and get a bigger one first

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whodanny

I want to walk it !   I'm very familiar with that part of Scotland and have driven those roads to climb all the various mountains and hills up there. There must be a route that parallels the road route without actually incurring too much road walking, I've walked much of the Cape Wrath Way and criss crossed the land in various ways up there, but an actual NC500 walking version... Hmmm...  need to get the maps out.

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Ugly American

Stay at the Glencanisp Lodge in Lochinver. (And eat at both the Lochinver Larder and the Caberfeidh, as well as at the Lodge. Three fantastic restaurants.) And An Cala cafe does a lovely breakfast.

 

See the view at Drumbeg -- something about it takes my breath away every time.

 

Also a small plug for Achins bookshop -- nothing too special but I had a long fun chat with the owner and liked him quite a lot.

 

The Ceilidh Place in Ullapool was slightly kitsched up but the food and service were very good, and they have a nice little bookstore. I really enjoy Ullapool as a town to stroll around.

 

Bit of an anti-recommendation for Inchbae Lodge outside of Garve. The room and the breakfast were fine and the lounge was nice for a drink but the dinner was poor.

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All roads lead to Gorgie

The mountains in the northwest are spectacular, provided the weather is playing ball and you can see them. Suilven, An Teallach, Slioch and Liathach are probably the standouts on the route but everything around is not far short.

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SUTOL
15 hours ago, Teato said:

We're going to do it over 7 nights (including a stay in Inverness on night 1). We plan on going up the East with overnight stays in Dornoch, John o'Groats, Durness, Achmelvich Bay, Gairloch then finally Applecross.

 

Where did you stop on the east coast? It seems like a very short drive between Inverness and Dornoch but I think there's likely to be more time consuming things to do on that part compared with the trip the following day to John O'Groats.

Inv to Dornoch is a short day, but you could take a detour round by the Black Isle, to Fortrose/Chanonry Point to hopefully see the dolphins, and Cromarty. You could get the ferry from Cromarty to **** and explore around by Fearn and Portmahomck before joining the route near Tain.

Or you could start the first day with a distillery tour at Glen Ord/Muir of Ord and follow the route.

 

At Tain there's also the Glenmorangie distillery. And in Dornoch if you're a golfer take your clubs! If not the beach is great and the one slightly further north at Embo is definitely worth a visit. There's also the Cathedral to see (where Madonna married Guy Ritchie) and the Caste Hotel is worth a visit even just from a drink in the bar. 

 

There is nothing good about John O'Groats that would make it worth staying there, I'm not even sure if there is anywhere decent to stay or eat! I'd extend on that day to Thurso or even somewhere further if you can. Dunnet head is the furthest north point of the mainland anyway and another great big beach. On the way, Timespan in Helmsdale and the old fishing village of Dunbeath are both worth a visit. Dunbeath being the home of the author Neil M Gunn. A few miles north of Helmsdale there's a short walk to see the deserted old crofting township of Badbea, high up on the cliffs above the sea. 

 

 

That'll do for this morning! ?

Edited by SUTOL

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Irufushi

As sutol said , I would go to fortrose then onto Cromarty, when in Cromarty get yourself to sutors creek cafe for a pizza, delicious. 

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Deek
On 10/01/2019 at 17:44, Ugly American said:

Stay at the Glencanisp Lodge in Lochinver. (And eat at both the Lochinver Larder and the Caberfeidh, as well as at the Lodge. Three fantastic restaurants.) And An Cala cafe does a lovely breakfast.

 

See the view at Drumbeg -- something about it takes my breath away every time.

 

Also a small plug for Achins bookshop -- nothing too special but I had a long fun chat with the owner and liked him quite a lot.

 

The Ceilidh Place in Ullapool was slightly kitsched up but the food and service were very good, and they have a nice little bookstore. I really enjoy Ullapool as a town to stroll around.

 

Bit of an anti-recommendation for Inchbae Lodge outside of Garve. The room and the breakfast were fine and the lounge was nice for a drink but the dinner was poor.

 

We spent 4 nights in Lochinver last January. As it was off season what little pubs and restuarants were closed. We stocked up in Tesco in Dingwall before heading west via Ullapool.

 

The mountains between Ullapool and Lochinver whilst not huge are incrrdibly beautiful due to their unique shapes.

 

We hiked to Achmelvich beach. There was not a soul there and it was absolutely gorgeous.

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FinnBarr Saunders
11 hours ago, SUTOL said:

Inv to Dornoch is a short day, but you could take a detour round by the Black Isle, to Fortrose/Chanonry Point to hopefully see the dolphins, and Cromarty. You could get the ferry from Cromarty to **** and explore around by Fearn and Portmahomck before joining the route near Tain.

Or you could start the first day with a distillery tour at Glen Ord/Muir of Ord and follow the route.

 

At Tain there's also the Glenmorangie distillery. And in Dornoch if you're a golfer take your clubs! If not the beach is great and the one slightly further north at Embo is definitely worth a visit. There's also the Cathedral to see (where Madonna married Guy Ritchie) and the Caste Hotel is worth a visit even just from a drink in the bar. 

 

There is nothing good about John O'Groats that would make it worth staying there, I'm not even sure if there is anywhere decent to stay or eat! I'd extend on that day to Thurso or even somewhere further if you can. Dunnet head is the furthest north point of the mainland anyway and another great big beach. On the way, Timespan in Helmsdale and the old fishing village of Dunbeath are both worth a visit. Dunbeath being the home of the author Neil M Gunn. A few miles north of Helmsdale there's a short walk to see the deserted old crofting township of Badbea, high up on the cliffs above the sea. 

 

 

That'll do for this morning! ?

 

I think everyone in Dunbeath and Berridale are called Gunn

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AngleParkMenace

We did it last year, took a blow up tent from decathlon. Plent campsites allong the  way, we never booked any just stayed where we wanted all about £10-14 a night.  Living in the east coast we sped upto John o groats thinking that anything decent before then can be a day trip. John O groats was pretty boring, couple pubs/restaurants etc but we had to get the photo from the sign. Dog loved it there as we walked quite a bit by the coast. 

 

On on the top of Scotland it’s a nice easy drive, plenty places to stop and see/explore. Durness was brilliant, great deserted beaches, caves, walks etc. Nice wee village with pubs/coffee shops. 

 

Day after we did the walk to sand wood bay. Only accessible by foot or boat. Quite busy considering the walk but well worth it. 

 

Coast down to Ullapool is breathtaking, plenty Kodak moments. Ullapool a great town, stock up relax and eat some great seafood (the lack of which prior to here I really found surprising)

 

The drive  into Applecross was brilliant. Sharp blind bends, cliff faces literally in your face. We seen loads of deer/stags walking about. Pub was busy but langoustines  were  incredible.

 

I’d do it again in a heartbeat. 

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Craig_
1 hour ago, moshy said:

If you have some disposable income you could do it this way.

http://www.north-coast-classics.co.uk/

 

Nice idea, but can you imagine 500 miles in a 50-year-old British Leyland heap?! 

 

:sick:

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SUTOL
On 10/01/2019 at 17:44, Ugly American said:

 

Also a small plug for Achins bookshop -- nothing too special but I had a long fun chat with the owner and liked him quite a lot.

 

 

Special for being the remotest bookshop on the UK mainland. 

 

They stock a good range of titles and some more obscure stuff that you might not expect to find in such a location. 

Also sell some gift items and some kids toys etc. 

I believe it's for sale. 

 

Well worth a visit when in the area and is at the start of the walk to the Falls of Kirkaig where you can see salmon attempting to get up the waterfall, and the path leads on to the base of Suilven. 

 

 

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ri Alban

This thread makes me want to drive to Inverness for an Asher's coffee and pie.

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Teato

Thanks for all the responses guys.

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SUTOL
16 minutes ago, ri Alban said:

This thread makes me want to drive to Inverness for an Asher's coffee and pie.

 

It's making me want to drive to Lochinver for a venison and cranberry pie at the Larder.

Or a Steak and haggis pie from the butcher. 

 

?

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Bridge of Djoum
On 10/01/2019 at 12:31, Jamhammer said:

I’d like to do it on a motorbike but need to pass me test and get a bigger one first

:oohmatron:

Edited by Bridge of Djoum

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Ugly American
2 hours ago, SUTOL said:

 

Special for being the remotest bookshop on the UK mainland. 

 

They stock a good range of titles and some more obscure stuff that you might not expect to find in such a location. 

Also sell some gift items and some kids toys etc. 

I believe it's for sale. 

 

Well worth a visit when in the area and is at the start of the walk to the Falls of Kirkaig where you can see salmon attempting to get up the waterfall, and the path leads on to the base of Suilven. 

 

 

 

Indeed -- bought my current billfold there. And yes, it's for sale -- lovely spot too.

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80bob

Bettyhill is a lovley wee spot to stay.

spent a week there at the caravan park as a bairn.

 

would love to do the NC500 but kids are to young to appreciate it.

 

i have customers spread from inverness upto thurso.

 

might need organise a “business development “ trip along the north coast and down to Ullapool this year.

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