Having said that, these roads are usually very quiet and safe and a pleasure to cycle, provided you like hills and don’t mind some wind and weather (it is completely gorgeous this week though!). Similarly there’s a route from The Mound, past Loch Buidhe to Bonar Bridge then climbing over the Struie to Alness that is much preferable to NCN7 from Tain (and don’t even think about the A9). You don’t have to travel the entire route to take in the beauty though. The North Coast 500 (The NC500) is an official route created by the North Highland Initiative to “bring together the best of the north Highlands of Scotland in one iconic tour”. I’m a little bit wary of these advertised driving routes though. One tip for Ullapool – all the chip shops close at 9pm so make sure you get in early to avoid disappointment, this was particularly crushing after we found this out after an 117 miles day and couldn’t get the famous Ullapool fish supper! I’d love to do this route too. If you can afford it, there are plenty guest houses on the route but ensure you book in advance. If you plan to speed around, you could do it with 3 full days … Thanks devs, we’re going 20-21 May next year, and so hopefully before it gets too mobbed. Always one for a challenge, but unwilling to walk 500 miles, I set about trying to cycle the route non-stop, laying down a time-to-beat on Scotland’s It is legal to, A full breakdown of our route and camping spots can be found, This has been a dummy run ahead of our world cycle so if you would like to hear more you can sign up to our blog, and/or check out our website, ranked as the UK’s hardest climb on a bike. Clockwise or anticlockwise? This will be a challenging 500+ mile supported ride over 7 Days, stopping at campsites along the route. Arguably, Loch Maree and Tongue are better anti-, but not enough to swing it. Login/cookie issues? It brings some much needed income and tourism to some of the more remote areas certainly and that in turn means better facilities but eventually it leads to a tipping point where you end up with gridlocked traffic and roads that while they’re fine for 3 cars an hour can’t cope with 8 camper vans meeting head on! There's nothing quite like the freedom of the long open road. It’s stunning though, I’ll be back fat biking around Assent with a fishing rod attached to my pack next year. For cycle friendly accommodation, places to eat & drink, including transport & baggage transfers on the popular cycle routes use: C2C (Coast to Coast) Cycle Route. It is legal to wild camp pretty much anywhere in Scotland so make the most of it! If you’re arranging motorhome hire in Scotland for the trip, they can probably supply these, but always check first. The highest sunshine months are May – July, and from my own personal experience the lowest midge months are probably May and September. Carefully plan your route. Home page. Durness to JOG – 93 miles – easier the further east you go This version takes you from Wirksworth. Komoot user Global Cycling Network recorded a road ride: North Coast 500 - Scotland Bikepacking Adventure with Mark Beaumont. My attitude whenever going outdoors in Scotland, is to pack for wind, rain and cold – any weather better than this is a bonus. Hope this information will be useful to you! We were treated to a week of stunning sunshine and so thankfully brought the sunscreen, but it still gets cold at night so ensure you pack warm clothes even when the forecast is good. Dismiss, Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 95 total), Premier Partners for Singletrack issues & exclusive subscriber perks, Metcheck MTB Weather Forecasts At A Glance, https://www.northcoast500.com/interactive-map.aspx, The Self Improvement Edition: Fresh Goods Friday 532, Singletrack Podcast – Where we try to unscramble what Brexit means for us, How A Singletrack Membership Can Save You From Polar Bears, This topic has 94 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated. On a light road bike, the whole Applecross circuit is just wonderful…when the weather is good and gives you the west coast light in the evening coming back to Sheildaig…. South of Brora, look at the map for detours to avoid the A9 if you want, but certainly use the minor road between Alness and Dingwall (and the cycle tack for chunkier bikes between Alness and Evanton) then train or the network of minor roads back to Inverness. Privacy Would love to spend longer doing it, but limits on holidays / family commitments probably means 5 days maximum. the last two days were into a head wind all day – all day!!! (The A897 may take some Dounreay commuting traffic on Sunday evenings/Monday mornings and Friday afternoons). Sample amazing local produce from incredible fresh seafood, organic meats and of course haggis, with the odd wee dram. Travel our North Coast 500 cycling holiday to experience a satisfying active journey – swap four wheels for two. day 4 Tongue to helmsdale I did a section of it in mid-September, had a route from Ullapool > Drumrunie > Inverkirkcraig > Lochinver and then picked up the NC500 where it goes round to Clashnessie and Drumbeg. Make sure you have lights though. Early start from Inverness should see you fine. Lee Craigie and half a dozen mates are doing it in a relay fashion this weekend, hoping to get round faster than Mark Beaumont did. I'll probably rely on B&Bs. None of us ride competitively, or for a club, but we can all cover 100 miles in a day and tackle some tasty hills. This was the brain child of Laura Moss, Syndicate director, round-the-world cyclist and all-round good influence. In 2019, this new 800-mile mainly off-road and carfree cycle route between England and the north coast of Scotland was created. That’s coming from some European riders too. It was a fantastic ride but very tough. You’ll also need a lot of blankets, a heater, and an emergency kit in case of being snowed in. The Bealach na Ba over to Applecross and around the coast to Sheildaig is fabulous (my favourite ride). A full breakdown of our route and camping spots can be found here. We opted to complete the ride in eight days (many people do less with the record of 31 hours set by James McCallum) but looking back, I wish we would have given ourselves nine or even 10 days. All of the Airbnb apartments in this self-contained apartments guide have private parking so you don’t have to pay extra during your road trip.. North Coast 500 Hotels Surely you’ll be moving so fast the midge won’t keep up with you? Any thoughts welcome. There is a 519 mile road route, running in a circular loop from Inverness in the east, cross country to the west, up the coast, across the northern highlands and back down the east coast from John O’Groats. The next day’s cycle ride was the part I’d been looking forward to … The minimum number of days we’d recommend to drive the North Coast 500 is 5 days, but 7 to 10 days would be ideal. These itineraries are based on the minimum amount of time we recommend to allocate for your journey. How Long SHOULD you spend on the NC500 is the better question to ask, and to that my answer is between 7-14 days.When we first set off on the North Coast 500, we spent a total of 8 days … 128K likes. Explore more Explore more. North Coast 500. Anyway, any feedback and tips appreciated. Always one for a challenge, but unwilling to walk 500 miles, I set about trying to cycle the route non-stop, laying down a time-to-beat on Scotland’s The North East 250 explores everything for which Scotland is famous in a unique Scottish road trip taking you through the whisky distilleries of Speyside, the spectacular mountain passes of the Cairngorms National Park, the famous castles of Royal Deeside, the Granite City of Aberdeen, the rugged North Sea coastline to the east, and the picturesque seaside villages of the Moray Firth Coast. We were treated to a week of stunning sunshine and so thankfully brought the sunscreen, but it still gets cold at night so ensure you pack warm clothes even when the forecast is good. We’d suggest reading this in parallel with our other North Coast 500 content, which includes our guide to planning a North Coast 500 road trip, our seven day NC500 camping itinerary (you can switch out campsites for B&Bs! 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 We reckon that it’s better to pass the bottom of Stac Polly on the way to Lochinver and we have a couple of better options for the East once you get around Dornoch. Twenty-seven years later, the North Highland Initiative created a 500-mile route around Scotland’s most northerly coastal roads. © 2017 by Katie Halliday & Euan Paterson. The Bealach Na Ba, Torridon, Laide, Assynt… They all work best in that direction. As there were four of us, and none wanted to be full time support driver, we split the driving each day meaning each of us got a rest from the bike. Jog to Golspie – 70 miles -OK but the wind! I’ve noticed a real increase in the number touring / fast touring cyclists already this year (NW Highlands). Price. Therefore, we'd personally recommend seven to ten days to drive the North Coast 500 days as perfect for most of you. Itineraries We have created ten itineraries to help you plan your ideal North Coast 500 trip. This version takes you from Wirksworth. North Coast 500 Length 500 miles / 805 km Location Inverness – Inverness. The weather was pretty good If it is the brutal Scottish winter - props to you!- then you’ll need to check you have winter tyres and snow chains. Oh they were – on some stretches of road round there you can’t be anything other than courteous and patient as there simply isn’t any space to get past! The North Coast 500 (NC500) was created in 2014 by the North Highland Initiative to highlight some of Scotland’s magnificence to the world. When I turned off the route at Unapool and went down to Inchnadamph, the roads returned to peaceful solitude. Fully supported with experienced ride guide and support car - come join us on our next NC500 Cycling Challenge. Plotted with the plotaroute.com route planner. It’s certainly gaining in popularity this year. Ensure your tents are waterproof (not a £10 Sports Direct job) and can handle wind. We’re very lucky in Scotland to have such liberal access laws so make the most of it. Welcome to the Scottish Highlands! Day 1 Inverness -> Ullapool (200 miles) Day 2 Ullapool -> Brora (190 miles) Day 3 Brora -> Inverness (114 miles) In 1988, The Proclaimers penned Scotland’s alternative national anthem: I’m Gonna Be (500 miles). The North Coast 500, often described as Scotland’s Route 66, take in some of Scotland’s most impressive wild places, from the mountains and lochs of Wester Ross … The train or bike bus is an alternative. Here are a few things we’d advise you to do if you’re doing a similar trip. Ride the best sections of the spectacular NC 500 touring route. Technically the North Coast 500 is 516 miles, but let’s be honest – 500 sounds way better. The topic ‘North Coast 500 – anyone done it?’ is closed to new replies. Take some extra strong bug spray, and I’d recommend a midge head net for when things really get tough. The 7 Day “Tourer” challenge is suitable for sportive riders who want to challenge themselves over a 7 day cycling touring adventure around the stunning North Coast 500 route. Thanks chaps. This simple and spacious site will allow you to take out the awning, and enjoy the final of many North Coast 500 campsites. Our strategy was to break the back of the trip towards the start, thus giving us leeway in the latter stages. Please share to let it be more widely known that this information is out there and readily available to anyone thinking about cycling the NC500 or anywhere in the North Highlands. For most folk it’s beyond a weeks cycling so many want to chop it into two bit or just do the most scenic “central” bit north of Kyle to Tongue. Ensure your tents are waterproof (not a £10 Sports Direct job) and can handle wind. fraochmor – thanks for the long post and the promise of more cycling stuff on the website soon, sounds good. The Bealach Cafe – very nice indeed and the Whistlestop at Kinlochewe, seem to see lots of our ex-pupils working in these in the holidays! Other benefits of the car include having support if there is an accident/mechanical issue, having someone free to do a food/drinks run whilst the rest are cycling, and have someone free to scout a good camp/lunch spot so reducing the pressure on the cyclists. But the North Coast 500 is designed for touring, sightseeing, and taking things slowly. There is a 519 mile road route, running in a circular loop from Inverness in the east, cross country to the west, up the coast, across the northern highlands and back down the east coast from John O’Groats. He’s always done heaps of road biking far more than he’s ever done on an mtb. The roads are almost totally traffic free but roll very slowly due to the surface. This 500 mile coastal route spans the north coast of the Highlands taking in the best bits of this glorious region. The North Coast 500 Only three years since its inception, the North Coast 500 has already become one of the worlds iconic road touring routes. Many of the roads are single track and are home to highland coos, sheep, geese and all manner of other travellers. We decided to, and it was probably the best decision we made on the trip. Popular with motorists and motor homers, we think the best way to experience the NC500 is by bicycle. Premier Club We are hopefully having a back up van (one of the lads missus) so will be travelling light and meeting up each lunchtime get full bottles, waterproofs etc. Forum Rules The North Coast 500 takes you over 500 miles around the north coast of Scotland. There are some sections I would avoid as they are really not good for cycling (but then I am not used to urban cycling and traffic). Hh asked me if I fancied doing this with him next year. Torridon-Inchnadamph Hotel via Gairloch and Dundonell – 108m, 7700ft £24 for two adults, one night. Inchnadamph-Tongue via Kylesku and Durness – 100m, 9000ft I have never cycled it and wouldn’t want to. This slightly alternative North Coast 500 was made in collaboration with the people behind the official driving route, to make an official NC500 Cycle Route. For those with chunky wheels, there are good forest roads north of the river and you can re-join the A road near Garve (OS map required or the local mountian biking map). - See 705 traveler reviews, 842 candid photos, and great deals for Inverness, UK, at Tripadvisor. But the North Coast 500 is designed for touring, sightseeing, and taking things slowly. ITINERARY Day 1 - 64miles (2450ft elevation gain) Day 2 - 69miles (7230ft elevation gain) Day 3 - 80miles (4552ft elevation gain) Day 4 - 81miles (4428ft elevation gain) Only had one camper van on the Bealach Na Ba and that was around 1030 in the morning on a sunny day. There is also a cycle track which mostly runs next to the A835 after Dingwall and then the A9 to the Kessock bridge. Please adjust accordingly to your capabilities as this itinerary is aimed at the serious cyclist. Ta. 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