John O Groats gained fame as the northernmost point of mainland Britain (today we know it’s at Dunnet Head Lighthouse) and is thus the natural endpoint of so-called end-to-end walks and cycles. This is an area teeming with wildlife including the golden eagle. There are many sea kayaking outfitters and activity providers on the North Coast 500, for example in Plockton, Gairloch or Ullapool, but booking an excursion is not always straight-forward. Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment! This hidden wee gem is a quick and easy walk just outside Golspie near Dunrobin Castle. An 874-mile test of endurance that connects John O’Groats to Land’s End in Cornwall (or vice versa). This is a place that you will want to savour, so give yourself plenty of time to explore it. Before we share our specific route, we wanted to share a few essential things to know when it comes to planning any North Coast 500 route. Beinn Eighe hike, Distance: 35 miles, Overnight at Gairloch Sands Youth Hostel, Day 3: Gairloch to Ullapool, Distance: 58 miles, Overnight at Ullapool Youth Hostel, Day 4: Ullapool to Achmelvich Beach incl. The unmistakable shape of Suilven mountain seems to make an appearance wherever you look when you are in this part of the highlands. Maybe experienced drivers in a small campervan would be fine, but I would rather be on the side of caution to avoid issues. Our trip lasted nine days. Before you set off it is worth reading up on the rules of the road in Scotland – Visit Scotland have a great video guide to how to drive in Scotland . Like I said in the post, we had to make choices too because you can only fit so much into a week. Buy my Scotland Travel Guides and Resource Library. Join here!). Stac Pollaidh and Loch Lurgainn (Kav Dadfar). The SOAC specifically excludes activities reliant on motorised activities, this common misconception is causing serious environmental damage here in the Highlands. The walk to the falls from the car park is around 7km and is mostly flat with an easy terrain up to the fork in the path that leads down to the falls. The entrance ticket costs £12.50 (£7.50 for children) and includes the castle and the gardens. The iconic north coast NSW road trip, known as the Legendary Pacific Coast, is one of Australia’s top coastal drives.. Stretching along the Pacific Coast corridor it has something for everyone: stunning beaches and beach side towns, National Parks, historic sites, beautiful hinterland, wildlife watching, wineries and every water sport imaginable. I highly recommend adding an additional day in the area between Ullapool and Durness to make time for the hike to the beach! Will took us out to the Isle Martin, the furthest outlier of the Summer Isles and the one with the most impressive sea cliffs (40m tall and another 40 m under the surface). Starting and ending in Inverness, or specifically Inverness Castle, you will tick off the regions of Wester Ross, Caithness, Easter Ross, Black Isle, Sutherland and Inverness-shire. I fell madly in love with my new home and started Watch Me See to convince all people to visit Scotland at least once! However, due to the popularity of the North Coast 500, the region has seen many new businesses such as shops, restaurants, cafes and activity providers. When you have had enough of the views, take the same road back to Torridon and continue on the main route of the North Coast 500. Sandwood Bay is one of the most magical places in the northwest of Scotland. The Black Isle peninsula is worth a trip of its own, but it is also a perfect final place to visit on the North Coast 500. Salt Rock is situated just north of Shaka's Rock and Ballito - a gem of a holiday resort which creates a relaxed holiday atmosphere and even for the locals.The name Salt Rock originates from King Shaka's days when his handmaidens used to collect dried salt off the rocks at low tide. Online Shop. The narrow single track road winds its way up to a viewpoint at 250 metres above sea level. The North Coast 500 is an EPIC road trip destination. Foodies Guide to the North Coast 500. The views as you descend to Diabaig are fantastic and the small village at the end of the road offers a scenic harbour and the seaside cafe Gille Brighde (closed Mondays & Tuesdays). YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 18 Fun Outdoor Activities to Try in Scotland. The far north-west of Scotland is very sparsely populated and the small and winding country roads connect one natural spectacle with the next. The scenery is spectacular and don’t be surprised if you spot seals, dolphins, whales and even Basking Sharks in the sea. Check out my map for the North Coast 500 including all scenic stops, recommended activities, places to eat & stay and useful facilities outlined in this post. The North Coast 500 is one of the most popular road trip destinations in Scotland. Many of the roads are single track and are home to highland coos, sheep, geese and all manner of other travellers. All hostels on the North Coast 500 have shared kitchen facilities making these the perfect place to stay if you are on a budget or need to prepare your own food for dietary requirements. Walk onto the viewing platform on the west side of the beach for panoramic views of the entire coast. The hike is just under 5 km (3 miles) and takes just 2-4 hours. Sadly many people see how fast they can get round, this is not what the NC 500 is about as you discovered. Dunrobin Castle is one of the oldest, biggest, and most iconic castles in Scotland. The castle looks like it is clinging on to dry land for its life and it’s a fascinating site to visit. Their 10-day Orkney and Outer Hebrides tour spends a few days in the northern and eastern parts of the NC500. 50-60,000 guillemots visit the island every year! It is one of Scotland's best-known mountains and sits in the heart of the Assynt. The castle dates from the late 16th/early 17th century. North Coast 500 – Places to stay. This NC500 tour includes two nights stay in an NC500 accommodation, easy level guided nature walks and the following North Coast 500 itinerary: Day 1: Inverness to Ullapool Leaving Inverness Bus Station at 8 am, the first-day route may include a stop at the National Nature Reserve , Corrieshalloch Gorge (weather permitting) with an easy walk to one of Scotland’s waterfalls. Continue to make your way west and you will reach Lochcarron and the adjoining Loch Kishorn. Otherwise, you will spend all day in the car without the option to spend a significant amount of time to discover the things to do in the North Coast 500 from this post. This delightful village sits along the shore of Loch Shieldaig and Loch Torridon and might be the most picturesque you will come across on the NC500. Today, the Battlefield is a historic site and memorial ground for the many people who have lost their lives here. Cocoa Mountain! Experience it on our small guided tour from Inverness. Walk to west side of the beach and keep going up onto the rocks and onto the flat area at the top. The advice you gave is misleading. Easter Ross. One of Ireland’s most special places, the spectacular North Coast, is blessed with a number of fantastic sites. Jutting out into the North Sea, Dunnet Head is the most northerly point of mainland Britain. The Access Right does not apply to motorised vehicles, which means that it is not your right to park your car, campervan or motorhome by the side of the road to spend the night. Hi Mary Jane, many thanks for your comment and question. It is well worth stopping here for a few hours and taking in the gorgeous scenery on a walk. If you have a bit more time and would like to stay in the area, get in touch with Gairloch Trekking Centre who offers guided pony trekking in the area. There is plenty of parking and easy access to the shore of Loch Maree with possibly the best view of Slioch mountain peak in the distance. There is a 6 km (4 miles) trail around the island which takes about 3 hours to complete. Needing some local tips? The beach has some of the whitest sand I have seen in Scotland and is well-sheltered from the wind. It stretches from Loch Maree over the peaks of Beinn Eighe towards Liatach and Torridon. Helmsdale was one of the biggest surprises on our North Coast 500 road trip. One of my personal favourites was Achmelvich Beach. Check out VISIT SCOTLAND or UK GOVERNMENT for more guidance and advice on driving in Scotland or POLICE SCOTLAND for driving in winter. We’ve put together this comprehensive North Coast 500 guide to help you plan the perfect North Coast 500 road trip in Scotland. I was expecting a gorge alright, but this one went above and beyond what other gorges look like! Inverewe Garden near Poolewe is home to plants from across the world, many of which are rare species (£13, FREE for National Trust for Scotland members. Along the route and at the top, which climbs to 626m, you will be rewarded with incredible views of Wester Ross, Isle of Skye, Isle of Rum and the Outer Hebrides. We’ve got a lot more content to share with you from our trip to help you plan your perfect North Coast 500 trip, but in the meantime, here are some links to help you with your trip planning. However, it is important to keep in mind that many roads in north-west Scotland are narrow and winding. YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 20 Beautiful Towns to Visit in Scotland. Smaller villages usually have shops too, such as small Spar shops or village shops run by the local community. To get the most out of your visit to Achmelvich Beach, I recommend staying at the Achmelvich Beach Youth Hostel, which is right next to the beach. Inverness Castle Viewpoint; Chisholms Highland Dress; Dolphin Watch; Castle Gallery; Inverness Day Tours; Happy Tours; Inverness Bike Tours; Inverness … There are many places to camp along the North Coast 500 route, but you should not just take up your temporary residence anywhere. I guess it is a chance to return for more on another opportunity! There is plenty to keep anyone entertained in and around Dornoch for a few days. Hence, walking barefoot on … It is a circular coastal route that takes you through the North West of Scotland. There are plenty of things to see in the city and in the surrounding area. If you prefer to just enjoy the views, keep driving along Loch Maree until you reach Slattadale and make your way along the narrow road through the forest to the Loch Maree picnic site. I love it there, such a cute little town and I never see anyone mention it. Along the way, he pointed out local wildlife, shows us sea urchins and sea stars, deep-sea anemones which we could see thanks to the low tide and several seabirds like fulmars, shags and guillemots. From guided walks to trips to Orkney, it’s a popular stop on the NC500 road trip. Achmelvich Beach is another popular North Coast 500 detour, and you can even spend a night at the hostel located a short walk from the white sand beach like we did! The views are magnificent and if visibility is good you can see the Old Man of Hoy in Orkney in the distance. It is definitely worth the effort though once you reach the end of the road! There are challenging climbs for experienced mountaineers, but also a few moderate hikes that you can easily incorporate into your North Coast 500 road trip. There is a visitor centre and you can either walk the field by yourself or participate in a guided tour. The narrow single-track road to Redpoint leads through several small villages and finally, to a gorgeous red sand beach. There are a few shops and restaurants – I recommend Stacks Bistro for vegan options – and several boat tours leaving from the little harbour. I want my readers to be realistic and prepares for their trips! There are a handful of tourist services in the village such as a local shop, hotels, and some excellent restaurants. Eat seafood so local it practically swam in the door! What makes Mellon Udrigle Beach so special is the unrivalled backdrop that is visible from its white sand beach. Achmelvich Beach is slightly off the main route of the NC500 and requires you to drive down a small single-track road for a couple of miles. The water is often too cold for much swimming, so I’d consider bringing wetsuits or drysuits if the kids want to spend a lot of time in the water. NOTE: Bealach na Bà is closed during the winter months due to ice and snow. There is no shortage of petrol stations (gas stations) all along the route. We were not lucky enough to spot any dolphins as it was raining, but we did see some seals bobbing in the water. The sand is soft, and the water although cold is a beautiful turquoise color. Seeing wildlife is never guaranteed on the North Coast 500, but Chanonry Point might be your best bet. The castle dates back to the 16th century and stands in a prime location overlooking the wide-spanning Loch Assynt. Its biodiversity of fauna and flora make it a site of special scientific interest and attracts a wide range of botanists, biologists and geologists. 10 Places Not to Miss along the North Devon Coast. Interactive Map. Speaking of paradise beaches – Handa Island should definitely be on any beach lover’s NC500 bucket list! After hours you can only go as far as the first chamber, but that is still really impressive. North Coast 500 Itinerary. Many believe it was built by the Vikings or the Norse. I first read about the Golden Eagle Zipline in a blog post about family-friendly activities on the North Coast 500 (and subsequently asked the author to write a guest post about visiting Scotland with kids)! The volunteer guides will give you a little map, but the path is very easy to follow. The further you walk along the cliff tops the more your angle of view changes and the quieter the experience becomes. 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