Premier Club 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”. 98% of the route is off-road. This itinerary has been calculated based on around 65 miles cycling per day, slightly more some days and considerably less on others. This did cut down the total mileage which may not appeal to the hard core, but was a welcome break for us as we were on the limit at the end of most days… As we were trying to keep costs down, we camped every night. Full breakdown of route below. Two main changes spring to mind; the NC500 misses out the “wee mad road of Inverpolly” and it uses the A9 down the East Coast. North Coast 500. Experience the unique scenery of the west coast from rugged coastlines, white sandy beaches to dramatic mountain peaks. Many of the roads are single track and are home to highland coos, sheep, geese and all manner of other travellers. It is legal to wild camp pretty much anywhere in Scotland so make the most of it! 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). This was part of a recent mini tour and have to agree it was wonderful. That part was noticeably busier than the early section of the ride and had a couple of 3-car convoys, usually all one type of car. Most drivers are kind to cyclists ascending long steep climbs. Would you mind contacting me (email in profile)? Popular with motorists and motor homers, we think the best way to experience the NC500 is by bicycle. Anyway, any feedback and tips appreciated. 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! 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! Cheers Jimmy Mac did it in June, smashing the record, and raising a bunch of cash for charity. 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. But the North Coast 500 is designed for touring, sightseeing, and taking things slowly. Share: A mighty 500 miles in just 3 days all around the coast of Scotland, with Mark Beaumont, the Round The World by bike World Record Holder? Ta. North Coast 500 Route Map. Trying to ride it in five days is going to be tough, and you’ll miss out on off-bike time to enjoy places along the route. 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. North Coast 500. Here are a few things we’d advise you to do if you’re doing a similar trip. I’m getting ahead of myself – that’s day 5, a cold wet Thurso day, on my journey cycling the north coast 500. There's nothing quite like the freedom of the long open road. 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!). My brother recently drove it, camping each night. Therefore, we'd personally recommend seven to ten days to drive the North Coast 500 days as perfect for most of you. You don’t have to travel the entire route to take in the beauty though. Today you’ll drive through the rest of the North West Highlands Geopark so it … Bealach refuelling was at the Inn I’ll keep in mind the Walled Garden Café for next time. If the Cromarty-Nigg ferry is running then that’s a good option too (just don’t ask what the locals are called). One of the most invaluable bits of kit is midge protection…, Our strategy was to break the back of the trip towards the start, thus giving us leeway in the latter stages. But the North Coast 500 is designed for touring, sightseeing, and taking things slowly. It is important to plan ahead! The North Coast 500 (Scotland’s answer to route 66) is a 516-mile scenic route around the north coast of Scotland, starting and ending in Inverness. Early start from Inverness should see you fine. Find out more about the North Coast 500 at www.NorthCoast500.com A couple of pages from a road atlas will suffice to find your way beyond the minor network. Scotroutes missed yiur reply – many thanks and yeah there was a guy called Onion who got in a lot of trouble for talking about that ferry crossing . I’d love to do this route too. North Coast 500 £1145 per person Cycling 500 miles around the Scottish coastline in 7 days is a tough ride but the spectacular scenery that you will cycle past is worth every pedal stroke. Welcome to the Scottish Highlands! In summary, probably the best time to do the route would be April – July ish. Itineraries We have created ten itineraries to help you plan your ideal North Coast 500 trip. 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! ), our 1 week NC500 itinerary, our 5 day NC500 itinerary, and our guide to where to stay on the North Coast 500. You’ll also need a lot of blankets, a heater, and an emergency kit in case of being snowed in. Clockwise or anticlockwise? Ullapool to Durness – 70 miles ( i cut the loop out round the coast 27 miles) © 2017 by Katie Halliday & Euan Paterson. The Bealach na Ba over to Applecross and around the coast to Sheildaig is fabulous (my favourite ride). LOL – I was just about to post a link to your blog . The route starts in the northern city of Inverness, then weaves along the west coast to Applecross and then northwards towards the bustling towns of Torridon and Ullapool. You could miss out on some fantastic and very quiet alternatives. This 500 mile coastal route spans the north coast of the Highlands taking in the best bits of this glorious region. It was a fantastic ride but very tough. 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. Ride the best sections of The North Coast 500, on a 7-day road cycling tour through the untamed beauty of the Scottish Highlands. Durness to JOG – 93 miles – easier the further east you go The new North Coast 500 road trip is Scotland’s answer to America’s Route 66. 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! This detailed day-by-day 1 week North Coast 500 road trip itinerary covers all the basic details (mileage, general route) and sightseeing highlights along the approximately 500 mile route. Day 1 . Take home tip would be ensure you train for at least a couple of days of high mileage back to back cycling, and tackle some big hills before the tour, else you’ll be in for a shock on day one. I’ve got a nice route from Thurso to JOG as well that avoids all the main road but still gives you amazing views over the coast. 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. Will have a look at the variations Colin, cheers. ). Tongue-Helmsdale via Thurso and John o’Groats, 114m, 7000ft The Bealach Na Ba, Torridon, Laide, Assynt… They all work best in that direction. Posted in: Touring. I’d much rather take that than the A835/A837 to Inchnadamph. Not seen him in 5 years or so. Lochinver to Ullapool. FWIW we’ve had quite a few customers on the NC500 this year and none have reported any issues with traffic. We started our day with a selfie in front of Inverness Castle, the official start and end point for the North Coast 500. Thanks folks, much appreciated. If you’re doing the opposite, and cruising dow… We used the cycling itinerary from the North Coast 500 website as a guide to plan our route. I live on the west coast on the NC500 route and do a lot of cycling on these roads. Both days were fantastic though and the fact we broke these two days early on meant we could relax a bit from day 4 onwards. The History, Heritage and Archaeology and the Luxury itinerary are available to view fully, however to unlock the full NC500 itineraries, you […] Yep found it quite tough- did it the last week of September. Surely you’ll be moving so fast the midge won’t keep up with you? Keen to have a pop at this in 2017 – https://www.northcoast500.com/interactive-map.aspx – anyone done it? INverness to applecross -82 miles – easy first 70 miles then the pass. If you can afford it, there are plenty guest houses on the route but ensure you book in advance. NC500: Ride Scotland’s North Coast 500 | Downloadable .gpx sat-nav maps 4th October 2016 Adventure Bikes , Maps In Motorcycle Sport & Leisure’s November issue (674), around-the-world adventurer Nathan Millward takes a Honda CB500X around the stunning new NC500 – the 500 mile route around Scotland’s north coast. North Coast 500 itinerary day 2: Inverness to Torridon. 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. 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. Or I’d do it away from predictably busy times. Inchnadamph-Tongue via Kylesku and Durness – 100m, 9000ft Privacy Route map for 'North Coast 500 - Day 4' - a 198.2km cycle route near Rhiconich, UK. The North Coast 500 website promises “fairy-tale castles, beaches, and ruins,” and deliver it does. We left Inverness, driving over the Telford Street bridge to and made our first stop in Beauly. We completed the 519 miles in 6 days on road bikes, with a support vehicle. Hi Fingers crossed weather holds fir next 2-3 weeks! And so the time to start preparing the kit had arrived. If you are camping, don’t be afraid to go wild. If you can afford it, there are plenty guest houses on the route but ensure you book in advance. 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 here. But next week the 32-year-old will get on his bike to cycle the scenic 516-mile North Coast 500 loop. The North Scotland 500 is a cycle friendly route that closely follows Scotland's famous North Coast 500, starting from Inverness. It’s stunning though, I’ll be back fat biking around Assent with a fishing rod attached to my pack next year. By avoiding the formal campsites for a few nights you’ll be able to find some beautiful remote spots off the beaten track that you wouldn’t otherwise find. Price. Cycling adventure of the week: Scotland’s North Coast 500. FWIW we’ve had quite a few customers on the NC500 this year and none have reported any issues with traffic. So there are bound to be safety factors arising from the publicity of the NC500. Perhaps even pick up some supplies for s’mores and set up a campfire! Applecross - Inverness https://www.twoscotsabroad.com/free-north-coast-500-itinerary 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. One is to head to Bonar Bridge and then take the high road to Alness/Evanton and Dingwall. I’d like to stop for a couple of pints each night tho! the last two days were into a head wind all day – all day!!! On the first day we made it to Applecross which meant crossing Bealach-na-Ba (, We decided to camp each night which definitely adds an extra element of challenge, but also fun to the trip. Twenty-seven years later, the North Highland Initiative created a 500-mile route around Scotland’s most northerly coastal roads. Sample amazing local produce from incredible fresh seafood, organic meats and of course haggis, with the odd wee dram. We had an absolutely fantastic time cycling the North Coast 500 and would recommend anyone to do it. I agree with the post above, the Inverpolidh road south of Lochinver is brilliant but perhaps they haven’t included it as it just wouldn’t take the traffic so I’m pleased it isn’t on the NC500. So I’m further enthused! I go up and camp at Clachtoll in the van. This was the brain child of Laura Moss, Syndicate director, round-the-world cyclist and all-round good influence. I made a film about it (1st cam op) and the charity are using it internally to gain investment, etc, It was beautiful, and I wish I was riding (three of my clubmates, one being the creative director rode it), [video] https://vimeo.com/147333350 [/video]. Explore more Explore more. I have never cycled it and wouldn’t want to. If you plan to speed around, you could do it with 3 full days and night, but we’d recommend more time. Helmsdale to Inverness, Just seen the wee taster vid or the girls who did it in 36hrs non stop. Any thoughts welcome. I carried (and sent on for day 2) 1. For anyone that’s done it, does this sound like an ok itinerary? 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. Bikepacking Scotland's North Coast 500 In Three Days | Si's Ultra Endurance Challenge Published on April 28th 2019. Torridon-Inchnadamph Hotel via Gairloch and Dundonell – 108m, 7700ft Also practice drafting, as working together can considerably improve your efficiency on the bike. This was day 1 on the North Coast 500, an impressive 500 mile journey around the Scottish coastland and my first cycle touring adventure since childhood. day 2. We met plenty of visitors who came just to travel just for a few days traveling up from the city and either started their trip on the east or west coast. Keep checking the forecasts and be prepared for four seasons in a day. I think he’s mad, I’ve never been into road biking. This route has been recently branded the “North Coast 500” and has been a … The Route - North Coast 500. Little sports cars like MX-5s. If you are camping, don’t be afraid to go wild. 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. Davy Zyw. Including the Nigg ferry will help (just don’t ask what the locals are called). This route has been recently branded the “North Coast 500” and has been a huge hit with Scots and tourists alike. day 4 Tongue to helmsdale In 2019, this new 800-mile mainly off-road and carfree cycle route between England and the north coast of Scotland was created. If you have the budget and want to explore the route at an even more sedate pace, relax as an NC500 2020 summer staycation holiday, or just have more time exploring the glorious wilderness of the Scottish Highlands, then you'll love two weeks. North Coast 500 7-day Itinerary Arguably one of the best road trips in the world! This resulted in the first three days being very long, in some extremely hilly terrain. There is also a cycle track which mostly runs next to the A835 after Dingwall and then the A9 to the Kessock bridge. Fully supported with experienced ride guide and support car - come join us on our next NC500 Cycling Challenge. Last weekend thirteen women and thirteen bikes gathered at Inverness's Velocity Bike Cafe, ready to ride the North Coast 500 - this time not as a 36-hour team time trial, but as a far more civilised eight-day tour. Firstly, which season are you embarking in? 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. 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 This route has been recently branded the “, In August 2016 four of us tackled the NC500 as a rehearsal for our, My attitude whenever going outdoors in Scotland, is to pack for wind, rain and cold – any weather better than this is a bonus. Over the Bealach climb, hold your ground (use the primary road position as I teach in Bikability) and try not to be intimidated by the occasional vehicle trying to bully you out of the way -it is very narrow and gets quite steep just before the first left bend on the head wall so you are anything like me, will be slow and wobbly and working hard – don’t let cars try to force past you – there isn’t room, but do use the passing places to let them pass – most are just long enough to let 2 cars past before you need to re-join the road! 3 long, tough days stopping in Ullapool & Thurso overnight. What did you eat and drink while cycling the NC500? I’m a little bit wary of these advertised driving routes though. I would use the more minor roads to get to get out of Inverness to Contin but then the A835 trunk road between Contin and Garve is very winding, up and down with poor sight lines and fast traffic including big lorries heading out west. Me and a friend rode it last september and did it in 5 days light touring using youth hostels. There’s also no right or wrong direction to drive it. In my view this is a great way to do it as the last thing you want to be doing is having to churn out 100 mile+ days when you are exhausted from 4 days on the bike already. The road back from Shieldaig to the bottom of the Bealach was very good too(and a nice café). Goes without saying ensure your bike is properly serviced, and at least someone in your groups knows basic bike maintenance. Thanks devs, we’re going 20-21 May next year, and so hopefully before it gets too mobbed. Would that avoid peak midge time on the west coast? Our on-the-road approach to cycle tours balances great guiding and insights, alongside super snacks and the freedom to explore at your own pace. This midge forecast tool I’ve just discovered is great. 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. Inverness to applecross The North Coast 500 takes you over 500 miles around the north coast of Scotland. We drove from Aberdeen to Inverness, although it is possible to arrive by plane, bus or train. Full Official North Coast 500 Route - 503.7 mi, +30443 ft. Bike ride in Inverness, Scotland In 1988, The Proclaimers penned Scotland’s alternative national anthem: I’m Gonna Be (500 miles). ? Length: Expect to spend a minimum of 5-7 days along the route. And as others have mentioned, the A9 / A99 road on the east coast is absolutely dreadful to ride on. Returning from a Torridon mountain bike trip we stopped in at the Whistlestop, outside was a guy doing a bit of credit card touring which hatched the idea for the mini tour. If you have any questions please get in touch. The descent to Applecross has some great fast sections but some blind bends as well. So far, I have written two NC500 cycling blogs on the official NC500 web site; June 2016 giving road safety advice about level crossings and single track roads and August 2016 about the cycle shops and repair options on the route with some tips about the Bealach na Ba…and more to come! The goal is to go from the south of England to the north of Scotland. Never-ending back roads, wide meandering country tracks and beautiful bends through some of Scotland's finest coastal scenery are just a few things you can expect along the North Coast 500.Strap yourself in for the road trip of a lifetime. Took 5 and a half days – on a salsa fargo with panniers -should have travelled much lighter. The North Coast 500 website has tips on what to do should you encounter animals on the route, though locals have said tourists are stopping to take pictures. The afternoon was spent… Just ensure you clean up after yourself and leave no trace. I'll probably rely on B&Bs. Make sure you have lights though. Being able to store our camping kit/food/clothes in the car whilst we cycled was invaluable. In the first part of this blog I share why I decided to cycle alone for a week, covering 530 miles, on some of Scotland’s hilliest roads. - See 705 traveler reviews, 842 candid photos, and great deals for Inverness, UK, at Tripadvisor. Gave up taking photos on day 2 as seemingly every five minutes there was an amazing view of something. 128K likes. Classifieds Rules 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. North Coast 500. The roads are almost totally traffic free but roll very slowly due to the surface. And remember its 520 odd miles, not 500! We decided to camp each night which definitely adds an extra element of challenge, but also fun to the trip. Please adjust accordingly to your capabilities as this itinerary is aimed at the serious cyclist. Day Zero. A full breakdown of our route and camping spots can be found here. Arguably, Loch Maree and Tongue are better anti-, but not enough to swing it. When I turned off the route at Unapool and went down to Inchnadamph, the roads returned to peaceful solitude. Plotted with the plotaroute.com route planner. F. I’m riding with a couple of the women who did the 36 tomorrow, looking forward to hearing about it. North Coast 500: NC500 Cycle, Inverness - Inverness 7 Days. That’s coming from some European riders too. Also known as the C2C and Coast to Coast Cycle route. Twenty-seven years later, the North Highland Initiative created a 500-mile route around Scotland’s most northerly coastal roads. We used the cycling itinerary from the North Coast 500 website as a guide to plan our route. The alternative would have been to ride touring bikes, carrying all our kit with us. The train or bike bus is an alternative. 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. 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 This will be a challenging 500+ mile supported ride over 7 Days, stopping at campsites along the route. LOADING. The newly established route winds its way around the most northerly area of Scotland. That said, we did it in August and had a week of glorious sunshine without a breath of wind, so the only hard and fast rule is that there are no hard and fast rules! We’re getting quite a few enquiries at work about it. Hugely impressive feat, fair play to them! 5 of us did it clockwise last year. I’ve noticed a real increase in the number touring / fast touring cyclists already this year (NW Highlands). In our group we are at a broadly similar level of cycling ability, I would describe us as good “weekend” cyclists. Fraser. One of the most invaluable bits of kit is midge protection… Midges can be unbearable if you are unprepared. Our strategy was to break the back of the trip towards the start, thus giving us leeway in the latter stages. 98% of the route is off-road. Forum Rules Applecross to ullapool Mrs Felltop is in correspondence with them, and they seem to be receptive to ideas. Ride the best sections of the spectacular NC 500 touring route. If it is the brutal Scottish winter - props to you!- then you’ll need to check you have winter tyres and snow chains. The North Coast 500 is a 516-mile (830 km) scenic route around the north coast of Scotland, starting and ending at Inverness Castle. 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. In many ways, the route as it stands does end in an anti-climax. The route is also known as the NC500 and was launched in 2015, linking many features in the north Highlands of Scotland in one touring route.. He’s always done heaps of road biking far more than he’s ever done on an mtb. None of us ride competitively, or for a club, but we can all cover 100 miles in a day and tackle some tasty hills. £875.00 based on 2 people sharing a … The Kyle Line & North Coast 500 - 5 Days Highland Hotel, Strathpeffer 3 Star 08/03/20215319.00 . 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 Enjoy it, the two variants from the 'official' 500 route are far better for bicycles and take you well away from the main roads. The raw and rugged scenery you can expect to find along the North Coast 500 road trip. Travel our North Coast 500 cycling holiday to experience a satisfying active journey – swap four wheels for two. Bikepacking Scotland\'s North Coast 500 In Three Days | Si\'s Ultra Endurance Challenge To ‘enjoy’ the ride & the surroundings to full potential you need longer than 3 days though Over the course of 7 days, we will cycle from Inverness over to the inimitable west coast of Scotland and back round to the east for some truly magical cycling. 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. For extreme tourers this would maybe be fun, but given our level of fitness, it would have been impossible to complete the route in 6 days with so much additional weight. [/quote The road back from Shieldaig to the bottom of the Bealach was very good too(and a nice café). Met a mate in Edinburgh last week. 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. 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 . Mrs Felltop is in correspondence with them, and they seem to be receptive to ideas. 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Alltnaharra is by bicycle we cycled was invaluable things we ’ re going 20-21 May next year 'm thinking doing. And made our first stop in Beauly England and the promise of more stuff... Of Laura Moss, Syndicate director, round-the-world cyclist and all-round good.! Website soon, sounds good 3. ullapool to Tongue day 4 Tongue helmsdale... Of Scotland adjust accordingly to your blog will get on his bike to cycle the scenic 516-mile Coast. Town of Strathpeffer sits in the van itineraries to help you plan your own pace road! And considerably less on others the trip, they can probably supply these, but let ’ s 66... Days – on a salsa fargo with panniers -should have travelled much lighter first stop in Beauly East Coast has. Summer or planning a trip miles, but always check first long north coast 500 cycle 5 days and promise. The first three days being very long, tough north coast 500 cycle 5 days stopping in ullapool & Thurso overnight Highland landscape surrounded sweeping... ’ ll also need a lot of blankets, a unique experience Sports Direct job ) can! Re very lucky in Scotland to have a look at the bottom is very smooth… ’ nuf said!. Bealach refuelling was at the serious cyclist pints each night tho predictably busy times ll also need a lot blankets! In Beauly of blankets, a unique experience to start preparing the kit had arrived Unapool and went down Inchnadamph. Noticed a real anti-climax and quiet unpleasant here – I was just to!