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Cyclists' Itinerary
 

Life's a climb, but the journey is great! If you are interested in cycling over 500 miles then check out this itinerary for inspiration.


This itinerary has been calculated based on around 60 miles cycling per day, slightly more some days and considerably less on others. Please adjust accordingly per your capabilities.

NB: Please note that all our itineraries are based on suggestions alone. If you would like a more comprehensive option please head to our interactive map.

Day One - 65 miles

AM

(44 miles)
 
Velocity Cafe & Bicycle Workshop in Inverness is a haven for cyclists! Head here for a hearty breakfast with like-minded cyclists before you make your way along the North Coast 500! 
 
This morning’s cycle will cover 44 miles across to Ledgowan Lodge, Achnasheen.  This is an excellent spot to stop for a break and refuel (your body) with a delicious lunch!

PM

(21 miles)
 
Your cycle this afternoon will take you west across to the beautiful Lochcarron with views across the Isles. Be careful on this route as some roads are single track!
 
Why not check in to Loch Dubh Bed and Breakfast for a warm Highlands welcome for the night.  They also have a separate chalet in the grounds that is perfect for larger groups!  In Lochcarron you are only 4 miles away from the famous Kishorn Seafood Bar – if you fancy the cycle or perhaps a walk? This place really is worth the effort!
 

Kishorn Seafood Bar

Kishorn, Strathcarron, IV54 8XA
01520 733240
Kishorn Seafood Bar

Ledgowan Lodge Hotel

Ledgowan Lodge Hotel, Achnasheen, IV22 2EJ
01445 720252
Ledgowan Lodge Hotel

Loch Dubh Self Catering Chalet

Croft Road, Lochcarron, IV54 8YA
01520 722854
Loch Dubh Self Catering Chalet

Velocity Café

1 Crown Avenue, Inverness, IV2 3NF
01463 419956
Velocity Café


Day Two - 59 Miles

AM

17 miles
 
Stock up on breakfast – today you are tackling 59 miles of glorious scenery!
 
Your morning cycle will bring you across the most notorious part of the route; the Bealach Na Ba, which is notorious due to its steep gradients and sharp bends – we hope you are ready for this part!  Stop in Applecross to source a packed lunch – this is quite a journey so make sure you have refreshments and perhaps a fresh sandwich for when you complete it. The Potting Shed at The Walled Garden have some delicious things to take away!

PM

 42 miles
 
We hope you enjoyed the first part of the route – after the Bealach Na Ba, the route becomes significantly easier! Wasn’t the scenery spectacular though?
The beautiful journey up to Kinlochewe awaits you this afternoon – check out the Kinlochewe Hotel for the evening for a comfortable place to rest your head and fill your stomach. They also have a great bunkhouse for those on a budget.
 
If you have time in the evening take a walk along the river and soak up the Highlands air, there really is nothing quite like it!

Kinlochewe Hotel

Kinlochewe, Achnasheen, IV22 2PA
01445 760253
Kinlochewe Hotel

The Potting Shed Café and Restaurant

Applecross Walled Garden, Applecross House, Strathcarron, IV54 8ND
The Potting Shed Café and Restaurant


Day Three - 76 Miles

AM

20 miles
 
Hope your legs are not too weary after yesterday! Heading north west early this morning up to the lovely village  of Gairloch! It wouldn’t be a trip to Gairloch without trying the Glass Bottom Boat and Wildlife Cruise or even Hebridean Whale Cruises?  Head down to the harbour to see what’s available!
 

PM

 56 miles

Time to refuel! The Badachro Inn at Gairloch is a brilliant stop for lunch in Gairloch before you leave.  A nutritious menu of locally sourced seafood and hot meals will keep you going for the rest of the day.
 
It is a long haul this afternoon with a 56 mile cycle to Ullapool.  There is plenty to see and do in Ullapool and we recommend taking some time to have a wee wander around the beautiful seaside town.  The Ceilidh Place have bother standard and bunkhouse accommodation to suit all budgets - it is also a good place to get a hearty meal with great company and live music!

Badachro Inn Restaurant

Badachro, Gairloch, IV21 2AA
01445 741255
Badachro Inn Restaurant

Hebridean Whale Cruises

Gairloch Harbour, Pier Road, Gairloch, IV21 2 BQ
01445 712458
Hebridean Whale Cruises

Sealife Glass Bottom Boat

Ceol Na Mara, Pier Rd, Gairloch, IV21 2BQ
01445 781729
Sealife Glass Bottom Boat

The Ceilidh Place

14 West Argyle Street, Ullapool, IV26 2TY
01854 612103
The Ceilidh Place


Day Four - 62 Miles

AM

37 miles
 
Rise and shine! Today’s target location is Lochinver!  Following the route north you will pass some amazing sights, so be sure to stop and capture these for memories! Sights you will see include Ardvreck Castle, perched on Loch Assynt, Ben More and of course the ‘helmet’ shaped mountain Suilven!
 
Once you arrive in Lochinver you will most definitely need fed and we have to recommend the Lochinver Larder – this place serves up arguably the best pies in the area! 

PM

After a long day yesterday, perhaps you fancy a spot of kayaking this afternoon to work some different muscles! NorWest Kayaking offer some excellent options and it is worth having a chat with them to see what they can offer to fit in with your schedule.
 
Up to Kylesku to finish off the day. The Kylesku Hotel would be an excellent choice for the night! Recently renovated, this hotel has a brilliant, locally produced menu and offers up excellent atmosphere for the evening! Don’t forget the obligatory photo at Kylesku Bridge before you go!

Kylesku Hotel

Kylesku, Lairg, IV27 4HW
01971 502231
Kylesku Hotel

Lochinver Larder

Main Street, Lochinver, IV27 4JY
Lochinver Larder

Norwest Sea Kayaking

6 Inver Terrace, Lochinver, IV27 4LL
Norwest Sea Kayaking


Day Five - 45 miles

AM

37 miles
 
We hope you had a good night last night at Kylesku! It is a shorter cycling day today so take it easy and follow the route north. Passing through the North West Geopark area, you will spot mountains such as Ben Hope and Ben Loyal in the background! Remember to take your camera!

Stop at Scourie for some lunch. Eddrachiles Hotel serves up some great food to keep you going!  

PM

8 miles

Time for a detour! Take the road to Kinlochbervie and head to Blairmore Car Park. A four mile walk/cycle  will take you up to one of Britain's finest beaches; Sandwood Bay! The walk will be rewarded, we promise! 

On to Durness now! It would be a shame to miss Smoo Caves – check them out before you go! They are Britain’s largest sea cave and there are boat tours available for a small fee!

Eddrachilles Hotel

Badcall Bay, Scourie, IV27 4TH
01971 502080
Eddrachilles Hotel

North West Highlands Geopark

396 Elphin, By Lairg, IV27 4HH
North West Highlands Geopark

Smoo Cave Tours

Lerin, Durness, IV27 4QB
Smoo Cave Tours


Day Six - 56 Miles

AM

30 miles
 
Good night? We hope so! This next part of the journey will have you taking many a sideways glance at the beautiful stretch of scenery around you.  Weavers Café in Tongue is a great place to stop on the route and fill up on their delicious food. 

PM

 26 miles
 
Be careful on the next stretch – there are single track roads aplenty! Our resident sheep and Highland Coo’s love a wander across the roads – so keep an eye out for these friendly Highland residents!
 
Across the top of the route to the small village of Melvich this afternoon.  Melvich Hotel serves some delicious meals. If you have the energy, an extra 17 miles to the UK’s most northerly Town, Thurso, would offer a wider variety of places to eat and sleep.

Melvich Hotel

Melvich, Sutherland, KW14 7YJ
01641 531 206
Melvich Hotel


Day Seven - 72 Miles

AM

17 miles

Good morning!  Next stop – Thurso! A lovely seaside town with a great community spirit, Thurso has a brilliant 5* attraction in Caithness Horizons!  Caithness Horizons has a wonderful museum with plenty of things to entice you to learn about the area.

Whilst you are here, why not stop past the Blue Door Café & Diner? The American owners have created a winning formula for hungry diners and you are sure to love their sumptuous chocolate fudge cake! 

PM

57 miles

Head out to John O’Groats this afternoon. You will pass through Dunnet, a small village which has a spectacular forest walk and also a lovely beach if you want to break your journey. Dunnet head is also worth the detour as it is Britain's most northerly point!

If you are a fan of gin, then pop past the award-winning Rock Rose Gin distillery as you cycle by! Lovely owners Claire & Martin can even arrange postage for you in case you don't have any room in your backpack!

Through now to the village of John O'Groats - stop past the official sign for the obligatory photo and perhaps a quick ice-cream from the delicious Flavours ice cream shop? Our favourite is Orkney Fudge, what is yours?  

In to Wick now for the last leg of the journey! If the budget allows, check in to the locals' favourite, Norseman Hotel, which is  ideally located on the banks of Wick River. The Bar also provides delicious evening meals and a relaxing atmosphere for the night.

Blue Door Coffee Shop & Diner

@ Thurso Bay Caravan & Camping Park, Smith Terrace, Scrabster Road, Thurso, KW14 7UF
01847 892244
Blue Door Coffee Shop & Diner

Caithness Horizons Museum

High Street, Thurso, KW14 8AJ
01847 896508
Caithness Horizons Museum

Flavours

2 The Craft Centre, John O'Groats, KW1 4YR
01955 611399
Flavours

The Norseman

Riverside, Wick, KW1 4NL
01955 603344
The Norseman


Day Eight - 62 Miles

AM

35 miles

Back on the bike and head out of Wick on the A99. The road is rather windy and often frequented by large vehicles so remember to be careful. Passing the notorious 'Berriedale Braes' will possibly raise your blood pressure, but at least you are going down it rather than up it! 

 

PM

27 miles

Arriving in Helmsdale, it is time for lunch! Stop at the delectable Thyme & Plaice cafe for local produce with a modern twist. 

Back on the road again, you'll find yourself passing through the coastal villages of Brora and Golspie. Perched on the edge of Golspie, you will find Dunrobin Castle. This idyllic castle is worth a visit - pop in and explore the seat of Clan Sutherland. 

Onwards now to Dornoch, which is your base for the evening! Some great B&B's available such as Amalfi B&B.  A walk along the beach at night in Dornoch is a must and if you are a fan of whisky, you can't leave without a trip past Dornoch Castle Hotel and their award-winning whisky bar. 

Amalfi Bed and Breakfast

River Street, Dornoch, IV25 3LY
01862 810015
Amalfi Bed and Breakfast

Dornoch Castle Hotel Restaurant

Castle Street, Dornoch, IV25 3SD
01862 810216
Dornoch Castle Hotel Restaurant

Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin Castle, Golspie, KW10 6SF
01408 633177
Dunrobin Castle

Thyme and Plaice

10 Dunrobin Street, Helmsdale, KW8 6JA
Thyme and Plaice


Day Nine - 46 Miles

AM

28 miles

The final stretch this morning sees the end of your NC500 journey.  Once you have decided whether to head straight down the A9 or finish off the way you started, through Beauly, a final lunch stop in the Highlands is thoroughly recommended.
 
Storehouse of Foulis is an excellent choice and if you have a acquired a penchant for food from the Highlands check out their farm shop for some final few souvenirs. Situated on the banks of the Cromarty Firth, here is also your chance to spot some seals and maybe even dolphins!

PM

18 miles

Last leg of the journey now to Inverness. If you don't have prior travel commitments, why not take a detour round the Black Isle where there is an established cycle route round the penninsula?


Well Done! You have completed the North Coast 500!

Storehouse of Foulis

Foulis Ferry, Evanton, Dingwall, IV16 9UX
01349 830038
Storehouse of Foulis