North Coast 500 The Road Trip of a Lifetime – NC500 Guide Book by Robbie Roams
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Leaving the north coast of Scotland behind you reach Assynt and Coigach, one of my favourite parts of Scotland, and the most dramatic part of the North Coast 500 and the Scotland Route 66. Assynt is famous for its mountains – and Lochinver for its pies! You can take a detour from Dunnet up to Dunnet Head. This is home to an RSPB wildlife reserve, and is also the most northerly point in mainland Britain. When hiring your car, be aware that some companies require the driver to be over the age of 25 – read up on our top tips for car hire along the NC500 before making your reservation.
The Split Stane, Sutherland– the boundary between Sutherland and Caithness – said to have been split by the devil’s tail. Find the stone at Drumholliston near Melvich. Some that you might want to consider visiting along or near the route (all open to the public, although some have seasonal hours) are Cawdor Castle, Dunrobin Castle, Castle SinclairGirnigoeruins, and the Castle of Mey which all lay along the eastern part of the route between Inverness and the small village of Mey. The road is also well known as being home to the Bealach Na Ba, an alpine style road which is one of the highest roads in the UK. The view from the top of the pass is legendary – as are the curves and gradient on the way down! Just take your time and enjoy the views.Spring and summer is also bird nesting season and dogs can disturb ground nesting birds so good to be aware of if doing walks/hikes. Some of the bird and wildlife reserve areas do not allow dogs for obvious reasons. Wild animals, particularly deer, may also be on the road and are much more likely to run out in front of you. Be extra mindful for deer in the early morning and evening hours when they are most active. Visit Loch Fleet –just fancy a stroll? Walk around Loch Fleet to Little Ferryand explore Balblair Woods. You might spot Ospreys and Crossbills in the trees.
We’d recommend reading this post in parallel with our North Coast 500 planning guide, to get all the information you need for your adventure. The route is just over 500 miles and mainly hugs the northern coast of Scotland, hence the name. It was designed to showcase the natural beauty and local businesses in this part of Scotland which has previously received a relatively low level of tourism. It has become a major tourism success in Scotland with tens of thousands of people having already driven the route. Interewe Gardens– Large gardens run by the National Trust for Scotland that include tropical plants, California redwoods, native plants, and wildlife spotting opportunities. Lots of walking paths and a cafe. There is a special family entrance price.See the RSPB Tollie Red Kites– watch the RSPB volunteers feed beautiful Red Kites from the pretty farmsteading at RSPB Tollie. The Kites can also be seen flying over the A9 as you head north. Entry to RSPB Red Tollie is free.