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Thread: North Coast 500 suggestions of where to stay etc

  1. #1
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    North Coast 500 suggestions of where to stay etc

    I'm heading to Scotland next month to drive the North Coast 500. The idea is to take a lot of photos of some cars in the spectacular scenery, probably over two (possibly three) days, including some early morning and sunset/dusk shoots. Do you have any tips on where to drive, any viaducts next to beaches accessible by car, particularly scenic diversions and so on please? Anywhere decent and relatively cheap to stay or places best avoided? General tips on what to see/do/take in and what to steer clear of? Best bits for driving with least amount of traffic? Thanks!
    "A man of little significance"

  2. #2
    Craftsman
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    I am going in June and have just ordered this pocket guide literally a few minutes ago from Amazon!

    https://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/n...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

    Never been before so can't help on any advise.


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  3. #3
    Master
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    Ignore the masses, do it anti-clockwise. I would go from Inverness to JoG, stay near Thurso then head West to Ullapool, and finally south to Skye or Applecross or Fort William then come back home towards Glasgow for the routes finale.

    If you go this way the route builds and scenery gets better teach day.

  4. #4
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noidea View Post
    I am going in June and have just ordered this pocket guide literally a few minutes ago from Amazon!

    https://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/n...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

    Never been before so can't help on any advise.


    Sent from my Pixel 5 using Tapatalk
    Fantastic - thank you, I've just ordered it. Maybe see you there!
    "A man of little significance"

  5. #5
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete-r View Post
    Ignore the masses, do it anti-clockwise. I would go from Inverness to JoG, stay near Thurso then head West to Ullapool, and finally south to Skye or Applecross or Fort William then come back home towards Glasgow for the routes finale.

    If you go this way the route builds and scenery gets better teach day.
    Great stuff - thank you.
    "A man of little significance"

  6. #6
    Grand Master number2's Avatar
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    It has some of the most superb scenery that Britain has to offer, I genuinely hope you have a great time - and that it's nowhere as rammed as I think it will be.
    "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by number2 View Post
    It has some of the most superb scenery that Britain has to offer, I genuinely hope you have a great time - and that it's nowhere as rammed as I think it will be.
    I'm staying with friends in a village on the Assynt peninsula in August. They own and rent out their holiday home, they have never had so many booking enquiries. It's going to be rammed!











  8. #8
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete-r View Post
    Ignore the masses, do it anti-clockwise. I would go from Inverness to JoG, stay near Thurso then head West to Ullapool, and finally south to Skye or Applecross or Fort William then come back home towards Glasgow for the routes finale.

    If you go this way the route builds and scenery gets better teach day.
    This ^^^^^^^^^^. I did it on a motorcycle in 2017. I stayed in Inverness( start point) and Thurso. Booking Inverness and Thurso took me 15/20 mins , I spent the rest of the day booking the west coast! We stayed at the foot of the “ Pass of the cattle” near Applecross and Ullapool. Accommodation was rock hard to find.

    Regarding photo opportunities, you will be inundated, as long as the weather affords good visibility the views are jaw dropping.
    Steve

  9. #9
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    For classic scenery and photo ops - these spring to mind

    Glencoe, in any weathers
    Oban
    Loch Melfort
    Connel Bridge
    Glenfinnan Viaduct
    Kylesku
    Ullapool,
    Inverpolly Nature Reserve and Stac Pollaidh
    Lochcarron.
    Applecross
    Plockton

    Amongst many others..............

  10. #10
    I drove it a couple of years ago and echo the advice to do it anti-clockwise as the western coast is breathtaking. At least two weeks is needed to avoid frustratingly missing stuff.

    Some good suggestions above - don't miss the long climbing road up Bealach na Bha and Applecross.

    Summer gets very busy indeed - we were lucky with late April/early May weather and the roads are empty at that time.

    The locals get fed up with slow camper vans (especially those who stock up with provisions before reaching the area and spend nothing locally), people who drive selfishly on the single track sections (most of it) and those boy racers who belt round in a day upsetting everyone else.

    Although there is much single track there are plenty of passing places and we never had any problems even driving a large (borrowed) new Discovery.

    Have a wonderful time - it's the drive of a lifetime.

  11. #11
    Master Templogin's Avatar
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    I have been around it three times clockwise, long before it became popular, by car and motorbike including one trip in October - bad idea. Scenery that would bring a tear to the eye of a rock if it had one. The mile is longer in Scotland and the progress slower due to the single track roads. The NC500 has brought few benefits to most of the locals though, just a lot of traffic to roads unsuitable for that. The best thing that I can advise is spend freely.

    I read a tale of a motorhome owner dumping the black water at a place where the local living nearby drew their drinking water from.

  12. #12
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. It's quite possible then we may look at some very early starts and some late finishes, just to take advantage of the photography opportunities and emptier roads.
    "A man of little significance"

  13. #13
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete-r View Post
    Ignore the masses, do it anti-clockwise. I would go from Inverness to JoG, stay near Thurso then head West to Ullapool, and finally south to Skye or Applecross or Fort William then come back home towards Glasgow for the routes finale.

    If you go this way the route builds and scenery gets better teach day.
    This, same way I did it.
    Skye is very picturesque if the weather is with you. Applecross is pretty spectacular regardless. A82 through Glencoe towards Loch Lomond is stunning, one of my favourite ever drives.

  14. #14
    Don't miss the Bealach Na Ba as part of the Applecross Loop, probably the highlight for me from the parts of the 500 I've driven. Glencoe is magnificent as are many parts of the west and north coasts.

    If you have the time I'd recommend driving the B863 around Loch Leven, it's hasn't earned the nickname Scotsburgring without good reason. Clockwise is best, IMO.

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  15. #15
    ^^^ ref "clockwise" I'm referring to the B863, just to be clear. I'd say the same for the Bealach Na Ba however if you're intending on driving the 500 anticlockwise the pass is still spectacular.

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  16. #16
    Sounds great Simon, I am very jealous!

    Will you be able to update us afterwards? This is something I would like to do on one of my motorbikes some time in the not too distant future.

  17. #17
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j0hnbarker View Post
    Sounds great Simon, I am very jealous!

    Will you be able to update us afterwards? This is something I would like to do on one of my motorbikes some time in the not too distant future.
    Yes, although as I'll be there primarily for photography (if I was doing it mainly for driving I'd do it in miserable weather in my MX-5, or overnight) I'll not necessarily have time for taking it easy and sampling as much of the local produce as possible. But I'll have a good go at it. And the photographs will be superb.

    I've wanted to do this for ages. Before my wedding a few hundred years ago my wife suggested that since she'd chosen all our previous holiday destinations - all beach holidays in hot places, of no interest to me - I could choose our honeymoon destination. I proposed we drive my old Austin-Healey on the NC500. We had a beach holiday in Thailand.

    Thank you to everyone else for the suggestions - I'm noting them down, and please keep them coming.
    "A man of little significance"

  18. #18
    Master reggie747's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxy100 View Post
    I proposed we drive my old Austin-Healey on the NC500. We had a beach holiday in Thailand.
    Excellent hahahaha

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by reggie747 View Post
    Excellent hahahaha
    Indeed!

  20. #20
    Craftsman
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    5 of us on bikes are setting off this Sunday and having an 8 day ride.
    1st night staying on the Isle of Arran
    2nd night Balmacara
    3rd night Ullapool
    4th night Thurso
    5th night Orkney Isles
    6th night Inverness
    7th night Troon
    Expecting it to be around 1500 miles door to door
    Even crossing to the Isle of Skye on the last manual turntable ferry :
    https://skyeferry.co.uk/

  21. #21
    Master village's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxy100 View Post
    ..... We had a beach holiday in Thailand. .
    You always said how much you loved that honeymoon and that you wish you could’ve stayed longer. You are also always telling us that the long suffering Mrs F is so often completely right and that you should listen to her more often.







    (This message is sponsored by The Friends of Mrs F. Next time I upset her I can point to this post and get back her in her good books )

  22. #22
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by village View Post
    (This message is sponsored by The Friends of Mrs F. Next time I upset her I can point to this post and get back her in her good books )
    Definitely worth a try!
    "A man of little significance"

  23. #23
    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    Did the NC500 last year - most enjoyable.

    Defo do it anti-clockwise, we started from Edinburgh (stayed at the Malmaison).

    Worth scrutinising the map and hugging the coast a bit more in a few places, detour to the Isle of Skye was a good move (drive over the only bridge over the Atlantic) - we stayed at Greshnorish House Hotel (dog friendly and nice food). When heading home we diverted and drove down the side of Loch Ness for our last day - did extra miles but worth the drive.
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_the_UK View Post
    Did the NC500 last year - most enjoyable.

    Defo do it anti-clockwise, we started from Edinburgh (stayed at the Malmaison).

    Worth scrutinising the map and hugging the coast a bit more in a few places, detour to the Isle of Skye was a good move (drive over the only bridge over the Atlantic) - we stayed at Greshnorish House Hotel (dog friendly and nice food). When heading home we diverted and drove down the side of Loch Ness for our last day - did extra miles but worth the drive.
    Technically speaking the Clachan Bridge crosses the Clachan Sound just south of Oban though seeing as the Sound is open ended the bridge itself is referred to as 'Bridge Over The Atlantic'.

    The bridge leads to islands that were mined for slate including the island of Easdale where the World Stone Skimming Championship is held!

    Sent from my SM-A515F using Tapatalk

  25. #25
    Craftsman
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    Got back last Sunday, 1500 miles round trip.
    We stayed at :
    Corrie Hotel, Isle of Arran
    Balmacara Hotel - Balmacara
    Argyll Hotel - Ullapool
    Inn Y Not - Thurso
    West End Hotel - Kirkwall, Orkney
    Royal Highland Hotel - Inverness
    Piersland House Hotel - Troon

    Not a bad thing to be said for any of the hotels, although overnight parking for the bikes was a bit worrying in Thurso.
    All in all a great little trip, we were lucky with the weather and the roads felt like you were in Austria or Switzerland at times.
    I'm sure we would all do it again at some point.

    Last edited by boundary546; 14th June 2021 at 20:51.

  26. #26
    Ullerpool?

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