Here’s a Google Maps outline of the route, here’s a paper map, and here’s a downloadable file for your GPS. But its all "essential" for us! The stay was relaxing, welcoming, and much needed after our long northbound two day trip on motorbikes, before starting our two-day circular NC500 route. At the tip, just north of Cove, is the Arctic Convoy Memorial and remnants of a WW2 camp and battlements. I got chatting to a family and they advised me to head out to Cove up the coast. Great scenery, and wildness,everything was an adventure, and i amsure we will do this again. For those who are not such a huge fan of the wild side of Scotland, we will also list the best NC500 campsites for motorhomes, caravans and tents in this article. Just reading your VERY, VERY excellent and comprehensive info on the NC500, including your 7 day camping itinerary. Camping on the golf course will lead to campers being asked to relocate. It’s not my sort of place, a little too “fancy“ for my tastes, but I wanted to see what it looked like since the refurb. Often touted as the Scottish equivalent to the USA's Route 66, it's a 500 mile loop, that takes you around the coastline of the Scottish highlands, taking in some of the country's best scenery and a good dose of demanding gradients. The North Coast 500 is Scotland’s iconic coastal route that covers over 500 miles of the stunning North Highlands. If you’re traveling along the eastern coast and spot a cafe or pub that looks nice, and you are even the least bit peckish, you should definitely stop because you won’t find another place for quite some time. Right near the start of the North Coast 500 (NC500) route, this hotel had a good choice of twin, double and king size rooms. We invite you and your family to explore the best campgrounds in the state, offering a premier camping experience with top quality RV sites, tent camping and cabin rentals. An alternative is camping. I’d planned one night wild camping, two in campsites and one at a youth hostel so it was going to be a pretty cheap trip. The first day of our itinerary has you exploring the city of Inverness and … We did our nc500 trip on a serious budget, wild camping most of the way round which meant our only costs were fuel £180, food £80, 1 night at a campsite £12, some stops for food & coffee and various donations for car parks & sights on the way round – Our total spends were £292 for the 2 of us – you could of course splurge out a little more than we did. Yet hotel rooms in the summer are priced at a premium. There looked to be a lull in the storm but the forecast was serious rain by lunchtime. Many people make a detailed North Coast 500 itinerary and plan this in huge detail, mapping every stop, possible rest point and undulation. It’s a nice traditional pub with a friendly atmosphere. If it is the brutal Scottish winter - props to you!- then you’ll need to check you have winter tyres and snow chains. You will find it difficult to come across standard Holiday Inn Express-type accommodation for anything less than £150 a night. For example, Saltire Motorcycles in Edinburgh (again, not an endorsement). No sarcastic tone or hidden joke here. Firstly, which season are you embarking in? After lunch, it started to rain heavily and the fog came down. It was still only 4ish so I decided to ride the last 100 miles home through Glenshee. and the Durbeg loop. This is my attempt to help. Don’t frustrate yourself by getting into the “Trying To Get Somewhere” mindset; you’re there. Renting a Motorcycle for the NC500. After a long hot shower I headed to the restaurant & bar for some hot food and a well needed Guinness or two. See this NC500 camping itinerary for a suggested itinerary, camping advice, and list of campsites. The NC500 route starts and ends at Inverness, then you spend your time traveling around the coast of northern Scotland taking in locations such as John o Groats, the furthest point in the UK! I maybe saw 3 cars on the whole road. When riding in Scotland make sure you have proper wet weather gear; you never know when it’ll turn for the worst. I am the storm.” I’m not sure how many times I said, “A storm is coming. My RST Paragon touring gear is pretty good but even the most expensive gear will eventually let in water. Route at a Glance The North Coast 500 (NC500) was created in 2014 by the North Highland Initiative to highlight some of Scotland’s magnificence to the world. On one corner that had overhanging trees (leaves etc on the road) the back end stepped out. It was then back over the Mam Ratagan Pass and onto Eilean Donan Castle. It’s phenomenal. Probably only a few cm but it felt like half a meter! By the time I got to Lairg it was raining pretty heavily and got gradually worse as the day went on. Take a look at our guide to wild camping in your motorhome for more information. I went back to the hostel and spent around an hour chatting to a hill walker in the drying room. The drawback, of course, can be that that your evening meal options are limited. The tourist board likes to refer to it as Scotland’s Route 66, but such a description only serves to show the tourist board’s ignorance of Route 66. It’s not on the official NC500 route but going “off-piste“ is where the hidden gems are. I’m annoyed that I didn’t take any photo’s; it’s a really nice, friendly place and the food was great. Known alternatively as the Scottish Route 66, this heavenly drive has quickly become the face of Scottish road trips. The potential drawback to my suggestion is that the mountainous west presents more technically challenging riding (including the famous Bealach na Bà). I borrowed some Aloe Vera from a couple of charitable girls as my face was bright red from wind & sun burn. We’re about to take you on the ultimate road trip adventure along Scotland’s North Coast 500 route! It’s also the gateway to the Summer Isles but I’ll come back with Lesley to explore them one day. Please use the login form below if you already have an account or fill in the user details to create a new one. The plan was to ride the top & east side of the NC500 then south to the youth hostel at Braemar, stay the night then head to Edinburgh in the morning. I then headed over to the fantastic Glenelg Inn for a pint and watched the sun setting over Skye. I selfishly get to go where I want, stop where I want, ride how I like etc. AM Explore the capital of the Highlands. It is important to plan ahead! If you’re arranging motorhome hire in Scotland for the trip, they can probably supply these, but always check first. Route planning - you can make your NC500 route planning as easy or as complex as you want. We did this run in April and then October this year.Both runs were brilliant, i did prefer the opposite way round as we live in the west coast and therefore cover a bit more than the title suggests. Dinner was Super Noodles a la poulet in the JetBoil. For example, NC500 Moto Experience (My mentioning the company is not an endorsement). If you’re a UK resident, get your lazy ass on your own bike and invest the time riding to the start point. I do plan to travel the NC500 in summer 2016 with some "much softer southern" mates, so it will be nice to see and experience the seasonal contrast of both times. My 4 day, 570 mile, camping motorcycle tour of the famous NC500 route around the north coast of Scotland. As mentioned above, Scotland’s weather can be pretty grim no matter what the season. A cheeky 760 miles over 4 days riding in weather ranging from fantastic sunshine to seriously stormy. For our final evening of camping along the North Coast 500, we actually went a little bit off the route, as we were trying to escape light pollution from nearby cities. I was pretty drenched by the time I got to the Youth Hostel. It pissed with rain the entire time and we got eaten alive by midges. Because there are so many variables to the NC500 this should not be seen as a comprehensive guide but simply encouragement for you to check it out. For me, travelling on a motorbike, especially self-sufficient with camping gear, is the very definition of freedom. It has been dubbed Scotland's answer to the renowned 'Route 66' and doesn't disappoint. They often say, ‘four wheels will get you there but two will make the journey memorable’! I stopped in Inverness for some fuel and a quick bit to eat at Tiso’s cafe then headed over the Lecht Road to Braemar. What to see and do. Look out for The Secret Tea Garden / Assynt Aromas on the loop. Things get better as you push west of Thurso, however, and by the time you’re making your way down the western coast it seems just about every decent-sized town has at least one place worth popping into. Our motorhome is very self sufficient and that’s the way we like it. I had a well needed pint and fresh, locally caught seafood for dinner. The North Coast 500 (also known as the NC500) offers everyone a taste of the 'tartan, bagpipes and shortbread' Scotland you've seen in the brochures but, importantly, has enough surprises over the five hundred plus miles stretch to make you think about the country in an entirely different way. After a massive failure of a camping trip to Loch Lomond in 2017, I’d pretty much had enough of Scotland. Although the town of Dornoch wasn’t too far from our starting point in Inverness, we didn’t want to pack too much into our first day, so we pulled into the Dornoch Campsite and called it a day! I saw the usual NC500 hotspots: Kylesku Bridge, Ardvreck castle (well turret!) The North Coast 500 (a.k.a nc500) is known as the route 66 of the Scottish Highlands. The payoff is that you’ll be hit with views so incredible you’ll start swearing in disbelief. My 4 day, 570 mile, camping motorcycle tour of the famous NC500 route around the north coast of Scotland. The North Coast 500 (NC500) was created in 2014 by the North Highland Initiative to highlight some of Scotland’s magnificence to the world. So pack your wet weather gear. Once you get to Scotland, though, it won’t matter – it’s always wet and cold. We’d visited Glenelg recently and found out that the beach just past the village is a community campsite and the village hall has pay showers & fresh water taps. May 25, 2016 - The North Coast 500 (NC500) was created in 2014 by the North Highland Initiative to highlight some of Scotland's magnificence to the world. I then popped down to a special place called Manuelas Wee Bakery - it’s like a little Hansel & Gretel village in the Highlands. My Dad and I chose the twin room for our motorcycle trip. If you want to drive from Durness to Lochinver and rely on your sat nav for directions, you will miss the best stretch of road on the entire NC500, perhaps even in the whole of the UK. Review of North Coast 500. Stac Pollaidh (stack polly) looks epic - I’m looking forward to climbing it even though it’s not a Munro. The North Coast 500 has a lot of single track roads – see our advice for how to drive on single tracks roads to help you prepare if you’re not familiar with these. Or you can do what I did: download a map to my Garmin, pick a point to stop over night(s), book some accommodation and press ‘start’! I got out of my biking gear, left it to dry, had a long hot shower and headed to the newly refurbished Fife Arms Hotel. We did the bulk of it on the NC500 but took a few diversions, including Skye and the Black Isle. High quality Nc500 gifts and merchandise. If you have a choice, I’d advise the A1M simply because it’s broadly the case that the eastern side of the United Kingdom is drier. The North Coast 500 is the most popular road trip in Scotland and we’ve put together a comprehensive 7 day North Coast 500 itinerary to help drivers navigate this driving route. It has been dubbed Scotland’s answer to the renowned ‘Route 66’ and doesn’t disappoint. There are a couple of places you can rent motorcycles along the North Coast 500. There are designated campsites to be found here and there, but unlike in England and Wales so-called “wild” camping is legal in Scotland. I’ve driven & ridden through Glencoe countless times but this time was special as it’s rare that the weather is so good. If you do rent a campervan, I would recommend getting the smallest size you need as some sideroads are not accessible to larger vehicles. Between mountains and sea, begin your NC500 adventure by exploring the capital of the Highlands. I packed up the bike then rode along to the village hall for a shower - the facilities there are great. ... For camping / caravaning, see our suggested NC500 camping itinerary for suggestions. View, print and download the touring motorcycle route 'North Coast 500 route' from Dromos (514 mi). If you’re doing the opposite, and cruising dow… Kylesku bridge, Ardvreck Castle, Durbeg loop, The Secret Tea Garden, Durness, Torridon & … Look for a hotel that has a pub or serves dinner, then be sure to book a dinner reservation along with your room. Two people and all their gear can be a pretty tight squeeze in some hotel or B&B rooms, though, so you really should be sure that you’re comfortable with the person. 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