These include how to get around the route, including being aware of single track roads, etc., what to pack for Scotland, where to stay along the route and what travel insurance to book. Maybe even inspire them to visit the NC500 castles themselves! Complete with pictures, stopping points and highlights along the way, this guide is a must-have for your next trip! This route features some of the most rugged and isolated coastal landscapes in the country. From the Falls of Measach, there is a right turn just after the car park that will take you along the seaside route through the towns of Poolewe and Gairloch, which are both beautiful places to stop and stretch your legs. There is one road, however, that is NOT suitable for larger vehicles and that is the Bealach na Ba pass towards Applecross. Find out about the Trail and use the interactive map to explore accommodation, services and attractions on … The island Scotland Wildlife Trust nature reserve, home to over 100,000 wild seabirds and a greatly significant area in terms of birdlife and marine vegetation. Choose and book a National Trail break or be inspired by our suggested itineraries. There was a batch of 3 days in a row where the wind went nonstop and was probably a constant 20 mph, harsh even at your back. If there is one part of Scotland that catches most people by surprise, it is the number of stunning beaches that it has. For such a small village, there are actually a good number of options for roofed accommodation nearby Applecross. Instead of the standard North Coast Trail: water taxi to Shushartie to Cape Scott Trail parking lot, better itineraries are: • hiking the easier West Coast Trail , instead • hiking the much easier Juan de Fuca Trail , instead Unfortunately, the viewing platform is not accessible for wheelchairs. I walked North to South, so Sobo. After it turns 9 you can check out the Cocao Mountain cafe. The view from our tent was absolutely spectacular. The first stop as you head south from Ullapool is at the cascading water of the Falls of Measach, situated about 12-miles from Ullapool town centre. Cows wander around the shoreside golf course and offer the perfect photo opp if you like cute animals. Eventually, you will reach the lochside waterfall known as Victoria Falls, a beautiful waterfall made from the burns and rivers tumbling down from the towering Beinn Eighe National Park. Thurso is a small fishing village on the northeast coast of Scotland, where the earliest history dates back 5000 years with evidence of Neolithic burial sites. Be sure to share this article with your family and friends to let them know all about your big plans. The beach itself stretches for miles along the coast, with the softest sand I have felt in a long time! The result was like that of a card dealer pushing cards together, with some layers pushing on top of others, allowing older layers to overlap and sit on top of younger rock layers. This article may contain affiliate links that provide us with a small income. As the day comes to an end, the surrounding hills begin to light up a magnificent pink, which in turn illuminates the buildings and the water. The main focus of the story is of the infamous 19th century “Highland Clearances” when local villagers were forced from their homes by rich land-owners. The furry runs six days a week, with no service on Sundays, and is of course art the discretion of the captain based on weather conditions. There are three campsites in Dornoch you can choose from Grannie’s Heilan Hame Holiday Park, Pitgrudy Holiday Park and Dornoch Camping and Caravan Site. If you can’t find a spot on this side of the village, we also saw plenty of campervans pitched up on the stony beach beside the Applecross Heritage Centre, many of which looked like they had been there for a while. The Falls themselves are easy to find, with lots of signposts leading to the car park. After only 24 years of living here, we decided it was finally time to make the trip to the true north and see what lay there. Bees to carry across to the East coast! PLUS it also makes use of paper straws, so you can have a guilt-free cocktail if you fancy. If you have been to Scotland recently, let us know how you found it in the comments below. If you choose to start the trail at Nitinaht Narrows and want an easy and scenic hike, head north from the Narrows. In order to reach the castle, head down the high street towards the river and take a left along the river bank. How Long Does it Take to Drive the North Coast 500? eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'highlands2hammocks_co_uk-banner-1','ezslot_8',117,'0','0'])); The main sight we wanted to see in the city centre of Inverness was the local castle, Ness Castle. Head around the cafe and down the hill and you will find the steps. A lot of the cave openings are currently inaccessible due to being underwater, however, it is believed that during the time of the Vikings, the lower sea levels meant that the cave floor was actually about 10ft lower than it is today, giving access to the huge expanse underneath. It is believed to have been built Earl Harald Madadson, the earl of Orkney, with intention of the castle being his chief seat on the mainland. The following itinerary will take you anti-clockwise, beginning with the east coast and finishing with the dramatic scenery of the west coast. Take these hikes not just a means of reaching your destination, but to experience the rugged beauty that is revealed with each remarkable step. Fill up at a local cafe or with a campsite breakfast and get ready for another day of adventure! For our full list of items that we pack no matter where we go in the world, check out our full packing guides over here. Look for signs to Raft Cove or Cape Scott Provincial Parks. The entire time we were backpacking the North Coast Trail (NCT), we were happy even though we had next to nothing with us compared to our every day lives. Really Cool. This Coast and Castles North Itinerary outlines our late summer tour for 2017. Required fields are marked *. Click here for more options for accommodation near Thurso. A fantastic, secluded stop is in the town centre, on the small Brora harbour. We will gladly answer any questions you have with regards to your trip, so either DM us or send us an email. Depending on how adventurous you are, there may be more accommodation choices than just the above, often with an even better view. Nels Bight is an excellent camping beach with food caches, a water source and outhouse facilities. With years of experience working for backpackers around the globe, the service they provide is perfect for whatever type of trip you have planned. View amenities, descriptions, reviews, photos, itineraries, and directions on TrailLink. In fact, we originally called it the "North Highlands Tour", but we have to admit that NC500 is a catchier title. For your reference, the average temperatures in Scotland are listed below during each season. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. North Coast 500 Itinerary: 5 Days. The last thing you want is for an unexpected medical emergency to ruin your trip of a lifetime. Catch up with us on social media and see what we are currently up to. As well as this site there are some stunning lodges that overlook the sea if you are feeling fancy! From this campsite, it is possible to catch a nearby boat tour to see the beautiful Duncansby Stacks up close, or you can climb the Dunnet Head hill for a spectacular view of the bay. Stop and enjoy the view here before walking along the river until the castle comes into sight. The more stealthy marine mammal-eating population of killer whales known as “Transients” are also often hunting in the area. Our directions take you from Inverness on a clockwise tour around the scenic highlights of Scotland’s North coast. This varies from guesthouses to bed and breakfasts, however, all of the options are sure to be clean, comfortable and affordable. Inside the cave, you are able to board a small boat and enter deeper into the realms of the hidden world beneath the surface of Durness. This is one of the most common questions about the North Coast 500 when it comes to planning the road trip, however, it is one without a real answer (unfortunately). Climb the light tower for a bird’s eye view and meet the light keepers. This cafe is sister to the one in Dornoch and is a good stopping point before you head south to your next destination. Read more about the castles of the North Coast 500 in our full guide. Whenever we travel abroad, we get covered with World Nomad’s Travel Insurance, a reliable, friendly and extremely affordable method of covering yourself on any adventure. Make sure you subscribe to our Youtube channel for more by clicking here! It requires a flexible attitude and adventurous spirit and in return rewards guests with truly remarkable moments in stunning wilderness settings. The beach sections contain: logs, deep sand, wet sand, pea gravel, pebbles, sloped surfaces, seaweed, algae, boulders, creeks, rocky headlands, tide problems, and tidal rivers. How Long SHOULD you spend on the NC500 is the better question to ask, and to that my answer is between 7-14 days. Each year, thousands of backpackers and nature lovers head to the northern limits of Vancouver Island, bound for the jewel of the region: Cape Scott Provincial Park and the recently completed North Coast Trail. Continuing south along the west coast of Scotland, you will eventually reach the peaceful spot of Scourie Caravan and Camping campsite. Most people start the North Coast Trail by taking a water taxi from Port Hardy to Shushartie Bay and hike the trail from east to west. Read more about this wild camping spot and all the best wild camping spots along the NC500 in our full guide. Above the falls lies a suspension bridge that spans the gorge and delivers a beautiful, birds-eye view of the waterfall below. The ancient ruins of the old boathouse and boat-winch remain at the bottom of the cliff for you to see yourself, just take care of the steps! Tips for walkers: Check the Coast track webpage to plan your trip. The North Coast Walking Trail is just a 7-minute walk from the Kawaguchiko Music Forest … Once you reach Applecross, the campsite sits on the road that winds its way down from the Bealach an Ba viewpoint. If you are looking for a history lesson with a view then the Ceannabeine Village Trail is one for you. To get here you can either cross the Dornoch Firth Bridge and turn west or simply follow the southern coast of the Dornoch Firth towards Invershin. From here, walk over the hill to your right and the incredible towers of rock will come into view. Spring (March, April, May) – 5-10 degrees C, Summer (June, July, August) – 15 degrees C, Autumn (September, October, November) – 5-10 degrees C, Winter (December, January, February) – 0-5 degrees C. As you can see, the weather never really gets above the teens, with anything over 25 degrees C considered a heatwave. One NC500 must see sight is the ancient Castle Ardvreck. Thurso was a much larger town than we expected, with a high street, plenty of shops and lots of bars and restaurants to choose from to rest for the night. If you arrive late and leave early (and of course leave no trace! As for public transport, the use around the NC500 is understandably difficult due to how remote each location is, however, with the increasing problem of congestion along the route, this is a good option to research if you have time. These caves are all the site of excavations that have uncovered the bones of ancient predators such as wolves, polar bears and lynxes that used to roam these lands. Due to this, signposts for the stairs have been removed from the main road and they are quite easy to miss. The best value hotels that are all within walking distance of the pubs and restaurants in Dornoch are the Dornoch Hotel, Royal Golf Hotel, and the Albatross B&B. To help you plan your own epic adventure, we are giving you this North Coast 500 itinerary free of charge. 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