Updated: Aug 4, 2021
What is the North Coast 500?
The North Coast 500 is a driving route of – you guessed it – about 500 miles (800 kilometres) in northern Scotland. The route was created to promote the North Highlands and entice people to one of the more remote and less visited parts of Scotland. The official route, which covers precisely 514 miles, starts at the Inverness Castle, travels the coast to Wick and Britain’s northernmost mainland settlement, John O’Groats, across the top to Thurso and Durness, and down the western coast through Lochinver, Ullapool, Gairloch, Torridon and Applecross and back to Inverness.
In a nutshell the NC500 serves up castles, mythical creatures, sparkling turquoise coast lines and misty rugged mountains. The NC500 is the best way to see the most scenic part of Scotland. The information provided by the official map and guides makes it easy to experience places that otherwise wouldn’t cross your radar. History buffs will enjoy castles, ruins and learning about some of the darker times in Scotland’s past, such as the Highland Clearances. Photography lovers are in for a treat because the landscapes are varied and beautiful. Although the route is growing in popularity, for a lot of the trip you’ll feel like you have this wonderful place all to yourself.
The roads are narrow, the mobile service is patchy and the pubs are plenty. A lot of the route travels along single-track roads, which means you’ll be pulling over for every car you meet, or they’ll pull over for you. The narrow, twisty nature of these roads means you have to drive carefully. You just don’t know what lies around the corner – a cyclist, a campervan, a sheep. But this is the kind of landscape you want to enjoy slowly.
In our opinion the best way to travel the NC500 is by wild camping! Our team have sourced over 100 great free wild camping stops!
One of our favourite stops on the NC500 is Duncansby head lighthouse, the fantastic views for miles really allows you to appreciate the journey you are on.
If your looking for a campsite while visiting the route we have found some fantastic sites that sit on the route and offer you the same amazing views as the walkers.
View from Duncansby Light house
We have found loads of free pub stops too not forgetting our VIP stops;
If in need of EHu when visiting the NC500 we have found a handful of stops with free parking & and hook up for under £10!
View from our EHU stop in IV40 8DT
Our team have found loads of filling stations that also accommodate those of you using LPG, so if caught empty you know where to go!
If visiting and not walking you might find yourself with free time on your hands or looking for something to do, we have picked out a mixture of things to keep you entertained!