Nearby, you’ll also see the ruins of Calda House, once a lavish mansion, it has remained a ruin since 1745. 4.0 out of 5 stars 24. As you start leaving the town, Look out for a lovely beach on your left and stop at the viewpoint of Loch Garliosh. I swear I was feeling chills when taking pictures early in the morning with no one else in sight. To the left of the steps, there’s a bump on your right-hand side. From Drumberg, make your way towards Balchrick. Paperback £5.99 £ 5. 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. From here cross the stone bridge on your left if driving clockwise and then it’s around 9 miles on the one-track road. Check the link to see what’s available right now. Then book a glass-bottomed boat tour to sneak on sea stars, urchins, seals and sea birds. The first chamber of the cave was carved out by the sea and the second by the river which was dry when we visited. Although people are asked to leave only biodegradable cloth, we’ve noticed that some are getting the whole idea wrong. If you have time on your hands, you could also explore the amazing tidal Littleferry beach, part of the Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve. Applecross is a very popular camping spot in the Scottish Highlands and one … Tacky, but we still took a quick picture. Campervan Hire RV & Motorhome Rentals Check out the official page for Smoo Cave to see if the tours are still running. Experience Scotland's answer to Route 66 with everything from fairytale castle ruins to delicious seafood and white beaches. Great spot if you want to be the first or the last one to have a spooky wander around the castle. Clootie Well: If you didn’t get spooked by the nature spirits and need a place to crash for the night, stay in the woods right next to the wishing well. North Coast 500 Road Trip Motorhome / Camper Van Journal / Notebook: Treasure Your Memories. Plus, it wasn’t that busy during the day either. What was your North Coast 500 highlight? 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. Today it’s a peaceful fishing village with a pretty name meaning “herring bay.”. They filled bombs with the Bacillus anthracis bacteria and dropped it on Gruinard island in order to check if they could contaminate cities in Germany. Dunnet Head: A popular nightspot among campervans/motorhomes on NC500. Down in the bay you can park at the harbour and have some of the best crab rolls on the North Coast 500 route. North500 Motorhomes to routes, north coast 500, skye, whisky trail, Highlands. Oh, and look out for some Heilan’ Coos, the beautiful long-haired Highland cows, as soon as you cross the first stone bridge. Nice read. The original priory consisted of many buildings but only the church is all that remains today. This kind of phenomenon has never been detected anywhere else in the world at the time. 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. North Coast 500: NC500 in 3.8 ton motorhome - See 705 traveller reviews, 842 candid photos, and great deals for Inverness, UK, at Tripadvisor. If you are not going down into the gorge, then enjoy the fabulous drive to the next leg of the North Coast 500 trip – Ullapool. The small historic Bettyhill town has a lovely beach nearby, a leisurely 5-minute stroll across the fields. If you have time, check out Badachro Inn and the small gin distillery under the same name. Take the woodland trail and cross the Victoria suspension bridge to see the spectacular show of the falls plunging into the River Droma. There is the popular North Coast 500 route, alongside a number of other routes beyond our website. 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. 99. We drove up in the rain and it was slightly uncomfortable so do take care and stay focused. There’s a big car park located right on the A835 with plenty of space to park up even the largest motorhome. Thurso is only a 45-minute drive northeast from Bettyhill via A836, then a left turn onto the 4-mile long B855. Located in a cute town Beauly, the ruins of the priory, which is still in a very good condition, is worth a quick look. With no need … 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. There might not be any dramatic views at this stop, but John o’ Groats is an iconic landmark in Britain. 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. On a sunny day. The walk is easy but steep in places, with very limited visibility on a rainy day. N … Wow, what a resource. 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. We recommend the longer route and taking a few detours along the way, such as Torridon glen. Framed with sand dunes and adorned with Am Buachaille, a sea stack in the distance, Sandalwood Bay is an unspoiled 1-mile long beach. 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. 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… All of which we can aid you further with. Come here for the sunset or early in the morning to hear the wind howling in between the walls. You don’t even need to make a special effort to stop here to admire the view. The causeway hugged by the turquoise waters of the Kyle of Tongue Bay, looks especially beautiful on a clear day. It’s a real shame the boat tours weren’t running during our visit. Check out their website here. Not cheap, but really good. I’m doing the trip in July with my family (young children $ & 10) and friends. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, Ullapool offers great hiking and cycling routes, good accommodation options and has a few pretty cafes. Just like many other incredible sites on this route around the Scottish Highlands. We only had two other campervans parked next to us during our stay. by Jennifer Watson. 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. This crazy picturesque stone-walled road alongside Clashnessie Bay is not for faint-hearted. Experience and see for yourself the journeys pictured throughout the films. Experience and see for yourself the journeys pictured throughout the films. Sitting on a dramatic coastline, the 16th Century Castle Sinclair Girnigoe is the absolute star of this site. But is it really? and witness the scenery get increasingly more dramatic. Inverness to the Black Isle. Inverness is where this epic Scottish road trip starts and ends regardless of whether you’ll do it clockwise or anticlockwise. Plus, you’ll get a great view of the Duncansby Head cliffs that broke away from the main peninsula. The spot is peaceful, offers great walks and views. 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! Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links, we may receive a small commission for any purchases at no extra cost to you. Perched on the shore of legendary Loch Ness, this 13-16th-century castle is just about visible from the A82 road. It took us around 11 days to cover it and it has been a spectacular road trip . How and where to see the Harry Potter Train a.k.a “Hogwarts Express.”, Northwest Highlands GeoPark – Knockan Crag (detour). They serve great food and drinks and the staff is very friendly. We saw so many people turn around at the point of a slight incline, which is a shame. Just before the Kyle of Tongue bridge, you can take a quick detour to Talmine viewpoint. North Coast 500 map by Thincat, CC 4.0. But The Junction Cafe nearby serves up a really good full English including a fab veggie option. But we hung around until the weather improved (at around 9 pm) and got to see the legendary valley with our own eyes. 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. See out trip of Scotland's beautiful NC 500 North Coast 500 by Motorhome in May 2017. Thinking of taking a North Coast 500 road trip? 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. In 1986, the government started the cleaning process and declared the island to be safe to visit in 1990. 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. There are many more easily accessible and beautiful beaches along the route so skip it if the weather isn’t on your side. If you are after breakfast, the inn serves breakfast to the residents only. It was busy during the day, but the traffic died down at around 9 pm. Keep driving on the main road for the magnificent Corrieshalloch Gorge and Falls of Measach. 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. The castle is currently undergoing renovation, but part of it is open for an atmospheric wander in the courtyard just across the windy bridge. Please be respectful and leave a small donation if you can. Red Point Beach: Wild camp here if you are not in a rush. Once inside the cave, take the wooden path into the spooktacular waterfall chamber but be sure to protect your camera. The Bealach Na’ Ba Pass will be the most challenging climb of this entire road trip. Have you heard about the North Coast 500? At times it felt like we were in a movie set when passing by the deep green and brown coloured rocks perfectly reflected in the mirror-like lakes. From Ullapool head southeast and follow A893. Check out their website. A 10-minute drive away northeast from Clachtoll Beach, you’ll come across Clashnessie Beach. If you want to discover this quirky site, follow the A9 motorway for about an hour until you reach Munlochy village. 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!). Get it Thursday, Jan 7. Tony. 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. 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. What we weren’t too sure about when we got there was the 8-mile round trek to the beach. North Coast 500 Scotland's answer to Route 66, the new scenic route showcasing the fairy tale castles, beaches and ruins. Have yourself a wee break and stop at Halladale Inn in Thurso. It’s the largest city in the Scottish highlands in case you need to stock up on essentials for the road. Next up will be the intriguing Neolithic Tombs – Grey Cairns of Camster. Complete with pictures, stopping points and highlights along the way, this guide is a must-have for your next trip! There’s a nice view of another bay from up here. The drive from Shieldaig and especially from Torridon towards the Red Beach is, you probably already guessed, stunning and picturesque. Look out for the sign on your right-hand side pointing to Red Point. Your best option is to stick to the stops by the roads which are made by the local authorities. Look to your left to discover a lovely waterfall rushing down the impressive rocks. To visit Lybster, turn off the main road on the left, pass the main town and drive down the steep road into the harbour. The detour drive from Clashnessie Bay all the way towards Balchrick (detour for Sandwood Bay) is lovely, even on a misty day. The hill was used as a monitoring station as it affords good visibility across the Pentland Firth. When you decide to explore the famous Route 500 that runs along the north coast of Scotland, it will be a decision that you never come to regret. Hi, I loved reading this. 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. Suilven View Pod Assynt, Lochinver, Highlands. The beach itself is a lovely white-sand bay framed with beautiful black rocks sticking out into the sea. Dog walkers come here throughout the day, but the spot is quiet at night. The walk along the Knockan Crag was a pleasant surprise. Full attention must be paid to the road here. We chose the latter. Stay focused, keep your eyes on the road and enjoy the ride. You’ll see a plaque tribute for him as you explore the information boards outside the cave. Clashnessie Bay: There’s a tiny car park across the road from Clashnessie beach, suitable for overnight parking for around 4-6 motorhomes. North Coast 500 itinerary day 2: Inverness to Torridon. You can take the quick route (approx 2h) but you’ll miss some epic drives. Needed attachments or gear for RV or campervan (e.g., hoses, leveling blocks) Bike rack (if planning to take or rent bikes) Elevated so that you could enjoy this elaborate mansion from the gardens, Dunrobin Castle is the seat of the Clan Sutherland. WELL HERE WE GO! Follow the link to see what’s available in Gairloch today. If you are planning to stay close to John o’ Groats, check accommodation options in Canisby. Even though they aren’t the original pieces, they are fun to investigate. There is the popular North Coast 500 route, alongside a number of other routes beyond our website. It houses the famous Applecross Inn and Smokehouse. It’s quite Harry Potter-esque. Plus it’s free of charge! We can help provide advice on routes, activities and campsites before you go. Hey Colette, thanks for your kind words, we’re glad you loved the post! Smoo Cave is located on the main road, easily accessible from the car park. There is a hut with lots of information about, supposedly, the oldest rocks in the world, at the start of the walk. Unfortunately, there’s nowhere you can stop to take a photo of this stunning road. From John o’ Groats, drive up to Duncansby Head. Here’s how t… To get there, look for a big brown sign for Cairns of Camster just past Camster. Halfway down Bealach Na’ Ba, the tiny village Applecross will start to appear. Now buckle up, you are off to the most challenging part of the North Coast 500 loop. What are the highlights of the North Coast 500? We enjoyed a few delightful breakfasts in our van conversion made from traditionally smoked malt whiskey cured salmon. You will then be picked up by a minibus service and given a 3-hour tour with commentary. On a clear day, you can see the islands of Stroma, Hoy and the Orkney Mainland. 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 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. 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. Explore the famous locations of Harry Potter and Outlander! None of our parks match your current search filters. Perhaps try one of the related searches below. We christened it “the most boring walk in Scotland” as we were sloshing through the puddles. The turn off for the beach is at Kerrisdale. It would only be the massive RV type motorhomes which would struggle on the smaller roads. Be sure to book early and enjoy your stay stress-free. There are also some lovely beaches between Coast and Mungasdale if you fancy a quick stop. FREE Delivery on your first order shipped by Amazon. But don’t miss Achnahaird Beach, it’s well worth a detour, especially on a sunny day. Spot the Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye. A deluxe en-suite pod with a hot tub and views of … 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. 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. Once you cross the Kyle of Tongue bridge, join the A836 road for Bettyhill. It was founded by the French monks in 1230, hence the name “Beautiful Place,” that comes from the riverside setting (beau lieu). The wild camping spots, do they have toilets, I can cope without showers, but not toilets. But the sun was out and we found ourselves trotting off yet to another beach. As if it was a fast-forward movie of natural coastal corrosion. Be sure to (carefully) walk around the cliff to take in the view of the thrilling rocks beneath the castle. Sadly Colin, the main Smoo caver and tour operator has passed away in early 2019. The walk along the river is actually one of the best things about this place. It’s a tidal almost-white sand beach located in Coigach peninsula. You could be met with a violent spray of water coming from it. We didn’t plan to stop here but were intrigued by the big brown heritage sign. It can get cold at night even in the summer so bring warmer PJs. Check the link to see what’s available right now. Applecross Campsite. From Inverness, it’s only half an hour drive west to Beauly. North Coast 500 Route Map. The road across the mountains of the Applecross peninsula is open all year round, however, occasionally it gets closed during extreme weather conditions. NC500 Scotland in a motorhome. The picture-perfect Shiledaig will forever be known to us as the “best banana bread stop” on Scotland’s most scenic North Coast 500 route. You can catch a glimpse of the oval-shaped island from the car park along the road, it’s only 1 km offshore. From Duncansby, it’s a straightforward drive along the A99 road to Wick where Noss Head is located. A hidden gem for sure and worth the detour if you are after a good wild camping spot on NC500. in the Alps, Bealach Na’ Ba, aka the Pass of the Cattle, is the steepest road ascent in the UK, Have some spare pennies? But don’t rush just yet to complete the Scottish 500 route. It’s a wishing well where pilgrims would make offerings by leaving a piece of cloth to the water spirits. These will have clearly marked trail maps and so you’ll be able to judge is they are suitable. We highly recommend staying here before visiting Dunrobin Castle if you want to beat the tour buses and get there as soon as it opens. There’s beach after beach after beach on this bit of road and you don’t have to see them all. 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. We missed the sign for the viewpoint and went all the way up into the tiny village. If you are doing NC500 in a campervan or motorhome, we did the full loop in our van conversion and have some good tips … We recommend popping into the Ullapool Smokehouse shop in the town and stock up on cured salmon and other locally produced goodies. Download an easy to use, NC500 map and North Coast 500 Itinerary right here. Planning Your Motorhome Trip for Winter. It is important to plan ahead! You’ll be passing right through the Torridon valley on the A896, with a view into the mighty Ben Eighe with its many summits. How long did it take you to cover this route? That way you’ll never be caught out but there are often toilets at the carparks by the start of walking trails. Campsite in Ullapool: Showers, washer and dryer, but very busy. Back home now, so where to next???. We left Inverness, driving over the Telford Street bridge to and made our first stop in Beauly. 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. We were indeed very excited to make a detour here. Read about our incredible experience on the recently launched North Coast 500 route : PART 1 - WEST COAST WANDERING Move over Route 66! And don’t hold on to the walls – they might be unsupported or just recently repaired. Why a motorhome is the best way to explore the NC500. At 626 metres (2,053 ft) high, the single track road twists and turns sharply in places and should be taken seriously. Applecross, also known as “the street” to the locals is one of the earliest settlements in Scotland. Neither of us is particularly fit so wouldn’t do anything akin to rock climbing or walking along narrow ledges. Top 10 tips for driving the North Coast 500 in a campervan 1 – plan your route. The family still lives here but a large chunk of the manor is open for exploring. Because of the scenic surroundings, Shieldaig is a popular spot among the NC500 tourers and gets booked up quickly. On A832 and shores of Loch Gairloch, sits Gairloch, a pretty harbour village with galleries, shops, a post office and inns. The 15-minute drive along the road hugged by the Scotch pine trees is as lovely as the beach itself. The heritage garden has quite a few trails plus a museum and a cafe. Oops, there was an error sending your message. For van size, we did it in our converted Citroen Relay van, it’s around 2m x 6m and had no issues. The village was originally founded in the 1800s to train up seamen for war against Napoleon, hence the cannon along the seafront. Pin for later! Traveling the North Coast 500 by motorhome is by far the best way to explore it. There’s also no right or wrong direction to drive it. As it goes, you’re never short of bay views on the NC500 route. Filled with mysterious locks, towering mountains, ancient castles and secret beaches just waiting to be explored. A great spot for chilling, paddleboarding or dipping your toes in the crystal-clear waters. No one bothered us. A spectacular fine-sand beach, no doubt. It was quite fascinating to see the river quickly eating into the sandy ridge. Yum. 6, then a left turn onto the 4-mile long B855. Drive further west from Priory for just under 2h and witness the scenery get increasingly more dramatic. 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. Be sure to follow the path leading over the highest point of the peninsula for fantastic views over the Thirle Door and the Stacks of Duncansby. 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. As for wild camping, it means just that and there are often no facilities, just spot to park up. Plenty of space for caravans/motorhomes. But it can take months if you take off-road routes. Check out the post at the viewpoint pointing to some of the main landmarks in the area. This is the most northerly point of mainland Britain and home to puffins, razorbills (which we were lucky to spot), shags and cormorants. Charlie had lots of fun demolishing and arch that looked like a mini version of the long lost Azure Window in Malta. 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. Follow the link to see what’s available in Gairloch today. Here’s the website where you can check out prices and availability. 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