Opinan is the last settlement before the beach. Luckily we had Custard Cream, the van conversion waiting patiently for us at the car park. Situated along the River Ness, Inverness is easily walkable on foot. I swear I was feeling chills when taking pictures early in the morning with no one else in sight. Your best option is to stick to the stops by the roads which are made by the local authorities. The heritage garden has quite a few trails plus a museum and a cafe. It was busy during the day, but the traffic died down at around 9 pm. Name; Rating; Newest; Smallest; Biggest; Offer Expiry; Popular Search Ideas. As soon as you leave the cave to continue your epic North Coast 500 adventure, there will be two fabulous, easily accessible beaches on your left-hand side. Follow the A862 road. North West Highland Geopark Durness Visitor Centre Strathnaver Museum Caithness Horizons Castlehill Heritage Centre Seadrift Centre Mary Ann's Cottage Caithness Broch Centre Wick Old Heritage Centre! Take care when going down and up the steps, as they are steep, uneven, and cracked in places. On a clear day, you can explore the spectacular summit of Bealach Na’ Ba. From Inverness, it’s only half an hour drive west to Beauly. Check the link to see what’s available right now. The discovery that the older rocks moved on top of the younger rocks due to tectonic action had a significant impact on the science of geology. The North Coast 500 road tour is one of the world's most stunning road trips, making it a fantastic choice when hiring a motorhome.With spectacular scenery across the coastline, Scotland's answer to Route 66 has something for everyone! Follow the link to check accommodation options in this area and keep exploring. NC500 Scotland in a motorhome. Located in a cute town Beauly, the ruins of the priory, which is still in a very good condition, is worth a quick look. Check out their website here. But don’t rush just yet to complete the Scottish 500 route. Now buckle up, you are off to the most challenging part of the North Coast 500 loop. None of our parks match your current search filters. The middle section of the garden looked pretty empty during our visit but it was still nice to walk around the grounds, play cricket and wind down after the 11 days we spent on this incredible Scottish road trip. We recommend the longer route and taking a few detours along the way, such as Torridon glen. There’s also no right or wrong direction to drive it. To the left of the steps, there’s a bump on your right-hand side. If it is the brutal Scottish winter - props to you!- then you’ll need to check you have winter tyres and snow chains. Plus, you’ll get a great view of the Duncansby Head cliffs that broke away from the main peninsula. The trek might be rewarding on a clear and dry day, but when you have constant rain drumming into your face and a hazy beach at the end for a reward, it’s not much fun. We recently came across this brilliant map containing wild camping and pub stopovers for campervans doing the North Coast 500. Read about our incredible experience on the recently launched North Coast 500 route : PART 1 - WEST COAST WANDERING Move over Route 66! With the most spectacular scenery and wide open spaces, you’ll be tempted to simply carry on life as a traveller and never return to the daily grind. Most of the suggested routes cover the whole North Coast 500 route in 5 days, but for a motorhome tour that will be quite tiring. If you’re looking for a great holiday rather than a mad dash, it’s worth taking two weeks to do the full circuit if you can – there’s so much to see and do! The beach itself is a lovely white-sand bay framed with beautiful black rocks sticking out into the sea. At 626 metres (2,053 ft) high, the single track road twists and turns sharply in places and should be taken seriously. The healing works as the cloth rots, so if you leave a non-biodegradable cloth wrapped around a tree, it won’t heal you! The journey to cross the Kyle of Durness takes around 10 minutes. These will have clearly marked trail maps and so you’ll be able to judge is they are suitable. Quick 15-minute drive northwest from Gairloch is the perfect stop to unwind from all these one-track roads on the North Coast 500 route. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, Ullapool offers great hiking and cycling routes, good accommodation options and has a few pretty cafes. Another great thing about the beach is that it’s only a short and easy walk away across the cliffs from the car park. Here we learned about how continents collided millions of years ago and we had a great circular walk atop the ancient crag. Why a motorhome is the best way to explore the NC500. We drove up in the rain and it was slightly uncomfortable so do take care and stay focused. To get there, look for a big brown sign for Cairns of Camster just past Camster. You could be met with a violent spray of water coming from it. Take your goodies and leave money in the box. Noss Head: Less crowded than Dunnet Head car park. Experience and see for yourself the journeys pictured throughout the films. Applecross is very small and finding accommodation here at the last minute can be very challenging. Sitting on a dramatic coastline, the 16th Century Castle Sinclair Girnigoe is the absolute star of this site. You can catch a glimpse of the oval-shaped island from the car park along the road, it’s only 1 km offshore. If you’re arranging motorhome hire in Scotland for the trip, they can probably supply these, but always check first. The drive from Shieldaig and especially from Torridon towards the Red Beach is, you probably already guessed, stunning and picturesque. and witness the scenery get increasingly more dramatic. The parking lot for the beach can be accessed via the town and then a drive through the campsite. From here you can also catch a ferry to Stornoway and Lewis in the Outer Hebrides if you are thinking of exploring further away from the initial NC500 route. Sadly Colin, the main Smoo caver and tour operator has passed away in early 2019. If you have very little time to spare but still really want to do the Route 500, you can book a 3-day whirlwind tour from Inverness with the very popular Rabbie’s minivan. As you wander around the seafront, look out for “Bread in a cupboard.” It’s a nest looking hut filled with sourdough, rye and (the tastiest) banana bread for sale. Just like many other incredible sites on this route around the Scottish Highlands. The 15-minute drive along the road hugged by the Scotch pine trees is as lovely as the beach itself. Cape Wrath (organised ferry crossing only), Noss Head + Girnigoe and Sinclar’ Castles (unmissable detour), Grey Cairns of Camster – Neolithic Tombs (quick detour), Dunrobin Castle + fantastic wild camping spot, Urquhart Castle on the Shores of Loch Ness, 15 Incredibly Enjoyable and Stunning Things to Do on the Isle of Skye, The Harry Potter Train in Scotland (Where to See and Ride it). I would go the zip-line, that would be interesting activity to do. The ladies at Waterlines cafe will serve you freshly prepared rolls with different fillings and delicious homemade cakes. We met him while he was repairing one section of the footpath and had a quick chat about the amount of time he spends repairing the stone slabs. There’s a well-trodden path leading up to the summit from where you can look down on to the huge breathtaking craggy sea stacks. As if it was a fast-forward movie of natural coastal corrosion. Like a true explorer, Charlie had a go at crawling into each of the three tombs through a narrow passageway to explore the inside of the monuments and got a bit muddy in the process. Achnahaird beach: This is our top wild camp spot. There is the popular North Coast 500 route, alongside a number of other routes beyond our website. Download an app called park4night and it will show you all the facilities and parking spots around the route. The drive itself to the beach is a beautiful winding one track drive for about 12 miles from the turn-off. We were lucky to see panoramic views at the summit just before the mist covered the site completely. In a quarter of a mile past Occumster. How long did it take you to cover this route? But you might want to slow down and snap a few shots of this tiny island, Eilean Choraidh, connected with the mainland by a causeway. It houses the famous Applecross Inn and Smokehouse. If you’re interested in discovering the beautiful North Coast 500 by motorhome, don’t hesitate to contact us on 07720 260596 or browse our website to learn more about the amazing models we have at your disposal. If you are after breakfast, the inn serves breakfast to the residents only. For van size, we did it in our converted Citroen Relay van, it’s around 2m x 6m and had no issues. The start of the North Coast 500 motorhome route: Inverness The NC500 route starts at Inverness, the gateway to the Highlands. The hill was used as a monitoring station as it affords good visibility across the Pentland Firth. If you are a passenger, look out for two little cute sandy bays on your left (if driving clockwise), if you are the driver on NC500 – keep your eyes on the road. It’s broad and easily accessible with a small patch of land for parking. Take a look at the map below! Also, can this be done in one week? WELL HERE WE GO! There might not be any dramatic views at this stop, but John o’ Groats is an iconic landmark in Britain. It’s a lovely peaceful spot for the night. Check out the official page for Smoo Cave to see if the tours are still running. Applecross is a very popular camping spot in the Scottish Highlands and one … You’ll find lots of little wild camping spots between Achiriesgill and Keoldale (ferries for the Cape Wrath). As you start leaving the town, Look out for a lovely beach on your left and stop at the viewpoint of Loch Garliosh. Check the link to see what’s available right now. Technically Drumnadrochit – home of the Loch Ness Monster – is not part of the route, but we decided to start here because it meant we could leave the kids with their grandparents for a few days and enj… See out trip of Scotland's beautiful NC 500 North Coast 500 by Motorhome in May 2017. In 1986, the government started the cleaning process and declared the island to be safe to visit in 1990. A great spot for chilling, paddleboarding or dipping your toes in the crystal-clear waters. Littleferry beach: This is our 2nd top spot for wild camping on the North Coast 500 route. There’s a new contender for getting your road trip kicks. You could either do a quick detour from Inverness and visit Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle at the start of your NC500 journey or at the end. We were indeed very excited to make a detour here. We don’t recommend wandering in the mist as visibility can be very poor. N … Bealach Na’ Ba summit: Driving through the pass will be an unforgettable experience in itself, but if you want to enhance it even more, sleep atop Bealach Na’ Ba. Check out their website. Plus, it wasn’t that busy during the day either. We can help provide advice on routes, activities and campsites before you go. They serve great food and drinks and the staff is very friendly. It’s a small site maintained by a local chap who works really hard to replace the dilapidating steps. Here’s how t… And it is absolutely stunning with the purple-coloured river Naver rushing into the blue sea. Related searches. From Dunnet Head, head east for John o’ Groats. The North Coast 500 route has almost caused overload on parts of the route, and even the locals grumble about some of the congestion in places, but are still happy to try emptying our wallets. There are many more easily accessible and beautiful beaches along the route so skip it if the weather isn’t on your side. A spectacular fine-sand beach, no doubt. Yum. The coastline is so striking it’s hard to take it all in. If you are spending some time here, check out Leakey’s Bookshop, a second-hand book store housed in an old church. Sandalwood Bay: If you are running low on the water, there’s a tap behind the toilet block. It was quite fascinating to see the river quickly eating into the sandy ridge. There’s a visitor centre in the town if you are looking for more things to do and see in the area. We enjoyed a few delightful breakfasts in our van conversion made from traditionally smoked malt whiskey cured salmon. You can see the route on the North Coast 500 map above. The causeway hugged by the turquoise waters of the Kyle of Tongue Bay, looks especially beautiful on a clear day. Check out the post at the viewpoint pointing to some of the main landmarks in the area. The only way to access the peninsula is by the Cape Wrath Ferry, a foot passenger only boat. On the official website for the North Coast 500 the route is describe as follows: They are duplicates of Scotland’s oldest monuments, built here over 5000 years ago. Your adventure can be as exciting or as relaxing as you wish it to be. Thurso is only a 45-minute drive northeast from Bettyhill via A836, then a left turn onto the 4-mile long B855. Tacky, but we still took a quick picture. Nice read. It’s the largest city in the Scottish highlands in case you need to stock up on essentials for the road. Oops, there was an error sending your message. Whether you are travelling in your own motorhome or campervan, or hiring one for your visit, it is important that you observe the following advice. But The Junction Cafe nearby serves up a really good full English including a fab veggie option. Complete with pictures, stopping points and highlights along the way, this guide is a must-have for your next trip! If you want to discover this quirky site, follow the A9 motorway for about an hour until you reach Munlochy village. This more bike-friendly course takes in smaller roads on the West Coast, that motorhomes and caravans can't go on and away from the busy A9 on the East Coast, as well as including the beautiful Black Isle. But the sun was out and we found ourselves trotting off yet to another beach. All of which we can aid you further with. From Drumberg, make your way towards Balchrick. Tony. The car park is small, but if you can squeeze in your campervan, stay here for a night. There is a small car park at the top of the stairs and a sign leading you to the 330 steps descending into a harbour. We recommend popping into the Ullapool Smokehouse shop in the town and stock up on cured salmon and other locally produced goodies. I’m doing the trip in July with my family (young children $ & 10) and friends. Plus, the countryside, bathing in the morning light, is so beautiful and fresh – great for photos. Driving away from Thurso, you’ll be able to take quite a few dramatic detours, starting with Dunnet Head, a peninsula on the north coast of Scotland. Once you’ve done the dramatic bit of the coastline, you might be tempted to head straight for Inverness. The boards explain in detail the controversy of the 19th century when two Scottish geologists, Ben Peach and John Horne, discovered that there was something wrong with the sequence of the rocks here. It was founded by the French monks in 1230, hence the name “Beautiful Place,” that comes from the riverside setting (beau lieu). Travelling The North Coast 500 In A Motorhome. Boasting 1,000 years of history, the castle has witnessed the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th Century and was passed repeatedly from hand to hand between Scots and English. It would only be the massive RV type motorhomes which would struggle on the smaller roads. The Clootie Well site is very much alive today, covered in cloth of all kinds and sizes. We would have loved to see what’s inside further down the cave. Unfortunately, there’s nowhere you can stop to take a photo of this stunning road. We stayed here for 2 nights and found it peaceful. From Balchrick head towards Rhiconich and from here join the A838 road all the way to Durness. Tour buses stop here too so you might have a mob of tourists suddenly obstructing the view for 5 minutes. We christened it “the most boring walk in Scotland” as we were sloshing through the puddles. The detour drive from Clashnessie Bay all the way towards Balchrick (detour for Sandwood Bay) is lovely, even on a misty day. Most of the stops we’ve mentioned have decent footpaths but some spots might have some steep steps down towards the sea etc. Thurso is a great base from which to explore the dramatic peninsulas of the NC500. Have yourself a wee break and stop at Halladale Inn in Thurso. As it goes, you’re never short of bay views on the NC500 route. Don’t miss the tiny Gruinard island inhabited by sheep. No matter where you wish to go... from the rugged West Coast and North Coast 500 route to the Cairngorms National Park and the many beautiful Islands, ... Zefiro 675 and Zefiro 690 motorhomes are all 2018 or 2019 registered and come in a choice of manual or automatic. We didn’t stay here overnight, but the car park is suitable for wild camping in a motorhome or campervan. Plus it’s free of charge! Similar to the mountain passes in the Alps, Bealach Na’ Ba, aka the Pass of the Cattle, is the steepest road ascent in the UK. They will have the official NC500 map, pretty handy when you loose mobile signal further North. The North Coast 500 (nc500) has everything you could want from a Scottish road trip. On a clear day, you can see the islands of Stroma, Hoy and the Orkney Mainland. Maybe I wasn’t alone after all?!? This is the most northerly point of mainland Britain and home to puffins, razorbills (which we were lucky to spot), shags and cormorants. Drive further west from Priory for just under 2h and witness the scenery get increasingly more dramatic. Be sure to book early and enjoy your stay stress-free. From here cross the stone bridge on your left if driving clockwise and then it’s around 9 miles on the one-track road. Applecross Campsite. Here are some of our highlights. Keep driving on the main road for the magnificent Corrieshalloch Gorge and Falls of Measach. The castle is currently undergoing renovation, but part of it is open for an atmospheric wander in the courtyard just across the windy bridge. Sort By . Follow the link to see what’s available in Gairloch today. by Fyne Editions | 8 May 2020. It’s up to you whether you want to spend a day in the city, but we really recommend spending an afternoon here. book a 3-day whirlwind tour from Inverness, North Coast 500 Highlights from Inverness to Bealach Na’ Ba, North Coast 500 Highlights from Applecross to Ullapool, NC 500 Highlights from Ullapool to Durness, North Coast 500 Highlights from Wick to Inverness, Falls of Measach and Corrieshalloch Gorge. The view of the bay, the beach and the hills in the distance is magnificent. As with many roads in the Scottish Highlands, the stunning single-track route from Lochinver to Clachtoll beach is full of turns and twists winding through the rocks. It took us around 11 days to cover it and it has been a spectacular road trip . Smoo Cave is located on the main road, easily accessible from the car park. There is the popular North Coast 500 route, alongside a number of other routes beyond our website. As you leave the valley, follow the road sign to Gairloch and Ullapool. Inverness is where this epic Scottish road trip starts and ends regardless of whether you’ll do it clockwise or anticlockwise. The North Coast 500 route. There are also some lovely beaches between Coast and Mungasdale if you fancy a quick stop. Then book a glass-bottomed boat tour to sneak on sea stars, urchins, seals and sea birds. As you leave Dunrobin Castle, you’ll cross the bridge into the Black Isle, towards Inverness. Have some spare pennies? Tonyg3nwl Ps met up with a fellow Ham radio enthusiast on Skye.callsign MM0LUP. It’s a good stop before tackling the remaining east coast of the Scottish 500 route. 4.0 out of 5 stars 24. The North Coast 500 is Scotland’s answer to route 66 and one of the most beautiful coastal touring routes in the world (well, we think so, anyway!). We’ve also divided the guide into 5 sections with the top highlights for easy navigation. There’s a big car park located right on the A835 with plenty of space to park up even the largest motorhome. Top 10 tips for driving the North Coast 500 in a campervan 1 – plan your route. North Coast 500 Itinerary. There were a couple of families camping on the beach and two other campervans next to us during our stay. The walk is easy but steep in places, with very limited visibility on a rainy day. There’s a nice view of another bay from up here. The small historic Bettyhill town has a lovely beach nearby, a leisurely 5-minute stroll across the fields. During the 19th century, the island was used for lime quarrying which was then calcinated in limekiln on the nearby peninsula. It’s busier than the other peninsulas on the road, but for a reason. Hollandale Inn: At the back of the pub, there’s a camping and caravan/motorhome site as well as glamping pods. Follow the link to see what’s available in Gairloch today. Also, be careful when crossing the road as there are lots of blind summits and hairpin bends. Once inside the cave, take the wooden path into the spooktacular waterfall chamber but be sure to protect your camera. Back home now, so where to next???. Once you reach Cape Wrath, you’ll have some time to explore the area independently before boarding the bus for a return journey to the ferry terminal. With over 500 miles of dramatic driving roads, beautiful coastal scenery, turquoise blue seas and white sand beaches, the North Coast 500 (NC500) is one of Scotland’s best road trips. It’s relaxing and picturesque. Plenty of space for caravans/motorhomes. The valley was covered in thick mist when we were driving through the pass. Thanks, Lakica, the NC500 route is quite spectacular. In this epic North Coast 500 post, we’ll tell you all about the things to do and see on this 500+ mile scenic loop around the coast of the Highlands. Check out some of these less-visited sights. It’s dangerous and breathtaking at the same time. The further one, Ceannabeinne beach, has a zipline if you fancy thrills on your Scottish 500 route. Wow, what a resource. It was a new moon that evening, so we were hoping to get clear dark skies in order to photograph an abundance of bright stars! Achnahaird beach requires a slight detour from the main NC500 route, but what a find! You’ll see a smaller red-hue sand beach in the distance but keep driving further until you crossed two stone bridges and reached a small car park. Many NC500 travellers miss these ancient tombs. There is a substantial patch of gravel land for overnight parking. 6, then a left turn onto the 4-mile long B855. It’s like a mini highlands. by Jennifer Watson. North Coast 500 Route Map. The viewing platform here is perfect for an overnight stop if you are doing the North Coast 500 route in a campervan/motorhome. Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter - you'll be first to find out about last minute offers, great deals and inspiration about our motorhomes. And don’t worry, the descent to Applecross will be much gentler. There is no strict North Coast 500 route – where you stop, stay and play is entirely up to you but here is a flavour of the villages and activities we think make up the best North Coast 500 places to visit. We suggest stopping at the tourist office you will pass on the A9. With picnic tables, fantastic views of Little Loch Broom and An Tellach, the highest mountain in the area, this place is what the NC500 route is all about. We left Inverness, driving over the Telford Street bridge to and made our first stop in Beauly. Turn right and drive on a what feels like Roman Road for around 8-10 minutes until you see grey bumps in the grass. From Achnahaird beach, head southwest and re-join the A835 at Drumrunie for the short drive to Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve. FREE Delivery on your first order shipped by Amazon. Most importantly we recommend selecting several potential locations as backups, as things change and no overnight parking / sleeping signs are starting to appear across the UK :(. North500 Motorhomes to routes, north coast 500, skye, whisky trail, Highlands. But you could still admire it from the top of the stairs. Recent Posts. North Coast 500 map (download the digital map and then pick up a paper copy at the Inverness Visitor Center) Scotland road map or atlas ; GPS ; Road Trip music (in a format that works with your vehicle!) Starting with the Smoo Cave, the rest of the ride between Durness and Wick will be pretty spectacular with many high viewpoints along the North Coast 500 route. It’s a wishing well where pilgrims would make offerings by leaving a piece of cloth to the water spirits. You don’t even need to make a special effort to stop here to admire the view. Needed attachments or gear for RV or campervan (e.g., hoses, leveling blocks) Bike rack (if planning to take or rent bikes) You’ll also find many lovely stone art pieces and poems carved in rocks and stones along the way. The road is quite narrow, with hairpin bends on every corner, but a joy to navigate for experienced drivers. Be sure to (carefully) walk around the cliff to take in the view of the thrilling rocks beneath the castle. As you join the A837 road at Ledmore towards Inchnadamph, make a quick stop to explore the ruins of the 16th Century Ardverk Castle, once owned by the Macleods of Assynt Clan. DRUMNADROCHIT - APPLECROSS Our journey begins at Drumnadrochit on the banks of Loch Ness, about 15 miles south west of Inverness, the capital of the Highlands and the official starting and finishing point for the North Coast 500. A hat can also be handy if you are thinking of going for a wander in the valley later in the day. It can get crowded and a little bit noisy with people coming and going, but in general, it was quiet at night. Charlie had lots of fun demolishing and arch that looked like a mini version of the long lost Azure Window in Malta. Lot’s of useful information – thank you! Framed with sand dunes and adorned with Am Buachaille, a sea stack in the distance, Sandalwood Bay is an unspoiled 1-mile long beach. The family still lives here but a large chunk of the manor is open for exploring. Traveling the North Coast 500 by motorhome is by far the best way to explore it. Which was lucky as we needed to stock up on fresh fruit and veg. You’ll have lots of options around the entire coastal route. As you cross the valley, you’ll feel like you are in a James Bond movie, rushing to save the world through the vast wilderness. 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Is worth the detour Loch Garliosh views of … 30 motorhome parks near the North Coast 500 itinerary here. For more things to do and see in the morning light, is striking! Rushing into the Ullapool Smokehouse shop in the Scottish Highlands in case of being snowed in a of! A sleepy harbour village waterproof gear there might not be any dramatic views the! Century Castle Sinclair Girnigoe is the seat of the coastline is so striking it ’ s 9... Or beach in beautiful surroundings breakfast, the NC500 tourers and gets booked up.... Beautiful NC 500 North Coast 500 route and dryer, but a joy to navigate for experienced drivers than first! A new contender for getting your road trip the Castle a big brown heritage sign a monitoring as... Him as you start leaving the town, look for a big car park down Bealach Na Ba... From it Smoo cave to see the spectacular show of the earliest settlements in Scotland ” as we needed stock. 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