Which was lucky as we needed to stock up on fresh fruit and veg. 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… During the 19th century, the island was used for lime quarrying which was then calcinated in limekiln on the nearby peninsula. It can get crowded and a little bit noisy with people coming and going, but in general, it was quiet at night. We stayed here for 2 nights and found it peaceful. If you can time your visit to this fairytale castle on a Monday (or any other weekday) morning, you’ll have a pleasant wander without too many crowds. Download an easy to use, NC500 map and North Coast 500 Itinerary right here. Popular searches for North Coast 500 … Here are some of our highlights. The walk along the river is actually one of the best things about this place. The North Coast 500 (nc500) has everything you could want from a Scottish road trip. Spot the Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye. The heritage garden has quite a few trails plus a museum and a cafe. Even though they aren’t the original pieces, they are fun to investigate. From here you can enjoy a lovely view of the bridge. From here cross the stone bridge on your left if driving clockwise and then it’s around 9 miles on the one-track road. Noss Head: Less crowded than Dunnet Head car park. Check out the official page for Smoo Cave to see if the tours are still running. The drive itself to the beach is a beautiful winding one track drive for about 12 miles from the turn-off. Hey Colette, thanks for your kind words, we’re glad you loved the post! They also have a sign in their garden (kind of hidden away behind the smoking bin) of the Route 500 which is a copy of the Route 66 in the US. If you are doing NC500 in a campervan or motorhome, we did the full loop in our van conversion and have some good tips … At Kinlochewe the road turns to the left onto A832 all the way to Shieldaig. From Balchrick head towards Rhiconich and from here join the A838 road all the way to Durness. No one bothered us. You’ll also need a lot of blankets, a heater, and an emergency kit in case of being snowed in. The second leg of the road trip, Applecross to Ullapool, is no less exciting than the first. From here you can explore Loch Ness further, but if we are brutally honest, there are many more beautiful and less touristy lochs around. If you have time on your hands, you could also explore the amazing tidal Littleferry beach, part of the Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve. Clootie Well or a Cloth Well is associated with ancient Scottish and Irish traditions and dates back to pre-Christianity. North Coast 500 Itinerary. If you have time, check out Badachro Inn and the small gin distillery under the same name. Applecross, also known as “the street” to the locals is one of the earliest settlements in Scotland. I swear I was feeling chills when taking pictures early in the morning with no one else in sight. We were indeed very excited to make a detour here. 6, then a left turn onto the 4-mile long B855. If you are not scared of heights, you can cross a super narrow path to the summit of the bluff. Travelling The North Coast 500 In A Motorhome. Plenty of space for caravans/motorhomes. 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. This lovely botanical garden is a true manifestation of the founder’s vision to plant and grow as many exotic plants as possible. Name; Rating; Newest; Smallest; Biggest; Offer Expiry; Popular Search Ideas. Top 10 tips for driving the North Coast 500 in a campervan 1 – plan your route. North Coast 500 Route Map. North500 Motorhomes to routes, north coast 500, skye, whisky trail, Highlands. There are also some lovely beaches between Coast and Mungasdale if you fancy a quick stop. 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! Located between Coast and Mungasdale in Guinard Bay, it holds a grim past dating back to WWII when the British were testing Anthrax, a dangerous infectious chemical for use in the war. It’s a small site maintained by a local chap who works really hard to replace the dilapidating steps. Formed over thousands of years, Smoo Cave in Durness is well worth a visit. Get excited. But don’t worry, they don’t hang around for long. The view of the bay, the beach and the hills in the distance is magnificent. Here we learned about how continents collided millions of years ago and we had a great circular walk atop the ancient crag. N … The valley was covered in thick mist when we were driving through the pass. The village was originally founded in the 1800s to train up seamen for war against Napoleon, hence the cannon along the seafront. 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. If you are craving peace and an off the beaten path spot, then Achnahaird beach is worth the detour. Clashnessie Bay: There’s a tiny car park across the road from Clashnessie beach, suitable for overnight parking for around 4-6 motorhomes. Don’t miss the tiny Gruinard island inhabited by sheep. Tour buses stop here too so you might have a mob of tourists suddenly obstructing the view for 5 minutes. Even though perched close to the road, Clashnessie is another lovely beach in beautiful surroundings. Lovely. You will then be picked up by a minibus service and given a 3-hour tour with commentary. From Applecross head east towards A896. It marks the longest distance (874 miles) between two extreme points in the southwest (Land’s End in Cornwall) and northeast (John o’ Groats) of the country. We were going to hire a converted van, as I’m thinking campervans may be too big for some of the route? The viewing platform here is perfect for an overnight stop if you are doing the North Coast 500 route in a campervan/motorhome. We recommend popping into the Ullapool Smokehouse shop in the town and stock up on cured salmon and other locally produced goodies. Great spot if you want to be the first or the last one to have a spooky wander around the castle. Down in the bay you can park at the harbour and have some of the best crab rolls on the North Coast 500 route. For van size, we did it in our converted Citroen Relay van, it’s around 2m x 6m and had no issues. 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 :(. Opinan is the last settlement before the beach. It houses the famous Applecross Inn and Smokehouse. This crazy picturesque stone-walled road alongside Clashnessie Bay is not for faint-hearted. But is it really? Inverness to the Black Isle. There are also a lot of places just to pull up and wander down to the sea or beach in a few minutes. There are many more easily accessible and beautiful beaches along the route so skip it if the weather isn’t on your side. The family still lives here but a large chunk of the manor is open for exploring. Firstly, which season are you embarking in? Scotland’s incredible road trip takes in 500 miles around the north coast of Scotland taking in some of the most spectacular scenery in the world – there’s no wonder they call it Scotland’s Route 66. Take care when going down and up the steps, as they are steep, uneven, and cracked in places. It would only be the massive RV type motorhomes which would struggle on the smaller roads. 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. 4.0 out of 5 stars 24. Get it Thursday, Jan 7. Check out the post at the viewpoint pointing to some of the main landmarks in the area. It’s a tidal almost-white sand beach located in Coigach peninsula. Need a few tips and inspiration before you go? The drive from Shieldaig and especially from Torridon towards the Red Beach is, you probably already guessed, stunning and picturesque. Sandalwood Bay: If you are running low on the water, there’s a tap behind the toilet block. Although people are asked to leave only biodegradable cloth, we’ve noticed that some are getting the whole idea wrong. There were a couple of families camping on the beach and two other campervans next to us during our stay. 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. And don’t hold on to the walls – they might be unsupported or just recently repaired. You’ll have to either do it from the car or simply enjoy the ride. 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. 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. Wild and remote, Red Point Beach is worth a quick detour or an overnight stay if you are tackling the North Coast 500 in a campervan or motorhome. We saw so many people turn around at the point of a slight incline, which is a shame. I’m doing the trip in July with my family (young children $ & 10) and friends. North Coast 500 map by Thincat, CC 4.0. Plus, you’ll get a great view of the Duncansby Head cliffs that broke away from the main peninsula. Planning Your Motorhome Trip for Winter. Then book a glass-bottomed boat tour to sneak on sea stars, urchins, seals and sea birds. Thurso is only a 45-minute drive northeast from Bettyhill via A836, then a left turn onto the 4-mile long B855. Sitting on a dramatic coastline, the 16th Century Castle Sinclair Girnigoe is the absolute star of this site. Hi, I loved reading this. It is important to plan ahead! 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. There’s also no right or wrong direction to drive it. Check out their website here. The journey to cross the Kyle of Durness takes around 10 minutes. North Coast 500 itinerary day 2: Inverness to Torridon. We drove up in the rain and it was slightly uncomfortable so do take care and stay focused. Halfway down Bealach Na’ Ba, the tiny village Applecross will start to appear. The road across the mountains of the Applecross peninsula is open all year round, however, occasionally it gets closed during extreme weather conditions. That way you’ll never be caught out but there are often toilets at the carparks by the start of walking trails. John o’ Groats is often used as a starting or finishing point for charity walks or cycling challenges and can take up to 14 days to complete the end-to-end trail. Needed attachments or gear for RV or campervan (e.g., hoses, leveling blocks) Bike rack (if planning to take or rent bikes) 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. Back home now, so where to next???. Achnahaird beach: This is our top wild camp spot. and witness the scenery get increasingly more dramatic. Check out some of these less-visited sights. We christened it “the most boring walk in Scotland” as we were sloshing through the puddles. 99. What was your North Coast 500 highlight? 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. You’ll see a plaque tribute for him as you explore the information boards outside the cave. Unfortunately, there’s nowhere you can stop to take a photo of this stunning road. It’s a good stop before tackling the remaining east coast of the Scottish 500 route. My advice would be to either book a couple of campsites (or hotels) around the route ahead of time or hire a campervan with a basic toilet included. Pin for later! Here’s the website where you can check out prices and availability. You’ll have lots of options around the entire coastal route. It’s the largest city in the Scottish highlands in case you need to stock up on essentials for the road. The start of the North Coast 500 motorhome route: Inverness The NC500 route starts at Inverness, the gateway to the Highlands. There’s beach after beach after beach on this bit of road and you don’t have to see them all. Many NC500 travellers miss these ancient tombs. But we hung around until the weather improved (at around 9 pm) and got to see the legendary valley with our own eyes. The coastline is so striking it’s hard to take it all in. The first chamber of the cave was carved out by the sea and the second by the river which was dry when we visited. The walk is easy but steep in places, with very limited visibility on a rainy day. The beach itself is a lovely white-sand bay framed with beautiful black rocks sticking out into the sea. Once a big herring fishing village, these days Lybster is a sleepy harbour village. But don’t miss Achnahaird Beach, it’s well worth a detour, especially on a sunny day. 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. Download an app called park4night and it will show you all the facilities and parking spots around the route. You can catch a glimpse of the oval-shaped island from the car park along the road, it’s only 1 km offshore. Take a look at the map below! 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! Campsite in Ullapool: Showers, washer and dryer, but very busy. Drive further west from Priory for just under 2h and witness the scenery get increasingly more dramatic. From Dunnet Head, head east for John o’ Groats. Touring the North Coast 500 in a motorhome or campervan is becoming increasingly popular as it allows you the freedom to enjoy all the North of Scotland has to offer at your own pace. North Coast 500 route maps are made easily available online plan your route around Scotland's Route66 NC500 with google maps & plan your route around the Coasts of the Northern Scottish Highlands as you drive through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, visit famous location made popular by movies like Braveheart filmed in Glen Nevis by Fort William From Inverness, it’s only half an hour drive west to Beauly. If you are planning to stay close to John o’ Groats, check accommodation options in Canisby. Dunnet Head: A popular nightspot among campervans/motorhomes on NC500. The spot is peaceful, offers great walks and views. Hey Nick, glad you found the post useful! Dog walkers come here throughout the day, but the spot is quiet at night. The 15-minute drive along the road hugged by the Scotch pine trees is as lovely as the beach itself. Achnahaird beach requires a slight detour from the main NC500 route, but what a find! The North Coast 500 route. Around 10-15 minutes south down the road from Wick, there’s a quick detour to Whaligoe Steps on your left just before Ulbster. Be sure to book early and enjoy your stay stress-free. From John o’ Groats, drive up to Duncansby Head. 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. Needless to say, we came back soaking wet despite wearing waterproof gear. Suilven View Pod Assynt, Lochinver, Highlands. The beauty of the North Coast 500 is that it allows you to see the wonders of the Scottish coast and drive through beautiful small villages and towns that you might have otherwise missed. There’s a nice view of another bay from up here. Maybe I wasn’t alone after all?!? 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. So there you have it, your ultimate guide to the campsites of the North Coast 500 . Once you cross the Kyle of Tongue bridge, join the A836 road for Bettyhill. You’ll be passing right through the Torridon valley on the A896, with a view into the mighty Ben Eighe with its many summits. Experience and see for yourself the journeys pictured throughout the films. And it is absolutely stunning with the purple-coloured river Naver rushing into the blue sea. 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. To get there, look for a big brown sign for Cairns of Camster just past Camster. Here’s how t… It’s a real shame the boat tours weren’t running during our visit. The hill was used as a monitoring station as it affords good visibility across the Pentland Firth. A hat can also be handy if you are thinking of going for a wander in the valley later in the day. The small historic Bettyhill town has a lovely beach nearby, a leisurely 5-minute stroll across the fields. We would have loved to see what’s inside further down the cave. We skipped this spot and drove further west for around 5 minutes along the picturesque B869 road until we reached a tiny lake by the road. The detour drive from Clashnessie Bay all the way towards Balchrick (detour for Sandwood Bay) is lovely, even on a misty day. Have you heard about the North Coast 500? On a clear day, you can see the islands of Stroma, Hoy and the Orkney Mainland. It’s broad and easily accessible with a small patch of land for parking. The healing works as the cloth rots, so if you leave a non-biodegradable cloth wrapped around a tree, it won’t heal you! Plus it’s free of charge! There’s a new contender for getting your road trip kicks. 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. Nearby, you’ll also see the ruins of Calda House, once a lavish mansion, it has remained a ruin since 1745. The wooden steps descend into the waterfall/lake chamber but during heavy rains, the cave floods and you might not be able to access it. Keep driving on the main road for the magnificent Corrieshalloch Gorge and Falls of Measach. Plus, the countryside, bathing in the morning light, is so beautiful and fresh – great for photos. If you are spending some time here, check out Leakey’s Bookshop, a second-hand book store housed in an old church. NC500 Scotland in a motorhome. You can see the route on the North Coast 500 map above. ? I’m wondering if you would recommend any stops that wouldn’t be good for them (too long a walk, dangerous walk, too many steps). From Ullapool head southeast and follow A893. Our breakfast consisted of baked goods and coffee from Harry Gow Bakery. 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. They believed that if you leave a piece of cloth here, over time, as the cloth disintegrates, it will relieve their bodies from illnesses. Stay focused, keep your eyes on the road and enjoy the ride. Have some spare pennies? Inverewe is a delightful stop to inhale the dreamy English rose scent and walk the woodland trails. Oops, there was an error sending your message. There’s a visitor centre in the town if you are looking for more things to do and see in the area. Another great thing about the beach is that it’s only a short and easy walk away across the cliffs from the car park.