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Where can I get a copy of the North Coast 500 map?
You can pick up a copy of the map from most Visit Scotland Tourism Information Centres along the NC500 and selected businesses across the North Highland area. You will also receive a map as part of your membership pack. Alternatively you can send a SAE (standard DL size) to North Coast 500 Limited, 17 Old Edinburgh Road, Inverness, IV2 3HF and we’ll pop one in the post to you.
Is the road suitable for motorhomes/caravans?
For the most part, the route is suitable and many before have completed the route in a motor home. The ‘Bealach Na Ba’ stretch however is not suitable for large motor-homes, caravans and inexperienced drivers due to its sharp bends and steep gradients so we would advise taking the slip road up at the A896 instead which will be much safer for you and your passengers. We would also recommend avoiding the B869 from Lochinver to Kylesku as this can be a tricky route to follow for large vehicles. If you take the A837 back from Lochinver on the the main road you will be fine. As always, please take due caution on the roads and use passing places where possible.
Advice from several professional drivers that know the road, and from the local breakdown services, is that if your motor-home is more than a standard VW T5 conversion (ie about 16 – 18 ft in length), please take the alternative routes available. It only takes ONE person who is not used to driving a large vehicle to block the road completely to the detriment of other users, those that use the road for work, and importantly – emergency vehicles. For example, the Bealach Na Ba road to Applecross was blocked several times last year because of this. And please remember: If you cannot accurately reverse your vehicle several hundred yards on a narrow single track – you cannot safely drive over a road such as this.
Is the route suitable for walkers?
Yes! Many people have now tried walking the North Coast 500. Why don’t you head to World Walking where you can sign up for support to do the route by foot…
How long would you recommend spending on the route?
We would recommend to fully experience the NC500, you should spend at minimum 5-7 days along the route.
What will the weather be like in…April
Funnily enough, our most popular questions are often.. ‘what will the weather be like?’ Unfortunately, we just cannot give you a definitive answer. The warmest time of the year is typically May-September but we can’t guarantee sunshine!
Is the route suitable November – February?
We can’t gaurantee ‘good’ weather so please be mindful that road conditions do vary during the seasons and we always recommend taking caution on the roads and taking out travel insurance in the event that there are hazardous weather conditions affecting your ability to travel. Please bear in mind some large attractions do close over winter, so plan in advance to make sure you won’t miss out on your favorites.
Is the route suitable for cyclists? Do you have any more info on the specifics?
It is! In fact, so many cyclists have already said that the NC500 is one of the best cycling challenges.. in the world! Namely Mark Beaumont! You can see more specific information at the end of Mark’s video and also from the route on Strava.
Can you wild camp?
You can! Wild Camping is legal in Scotland however there are guidelines to follow and these are simply; act responsibly, be safe and respect the area on which you decide to stop! There is more info available here.
Can you give some advice on midges?
Midges are most prevalent between May and September, particularly in the early mornings and warm evenings. Please be assured it is completely unlikely that your holiday will be largely affected by a few midges or even ruined! Here are some top tips;
- Bring some repellent, i.e. Avon Skin So Soft or Smidge
- Midges cannot be found indoors so head inside if you feel irritated
- There are hats available to deter midges if you are really worried.
Can you book my trip for me?
Unfortunately this is not a service that we currently offer, however if you are an Explorer Member, one of your benefits includes a selection of ready made itineraries. Head to “become a member” on the home page for more information.
Should I book in advance?
Yes. Absolutely. Definitely. Most of the villages/towns on the NC500 route are small and accommodation providers may book up in advance. They may also close at certain times of year. If you have specific requirements for what you are looking for, you may end up being disappointed if you turn up at the last minute. This is not to say that accommodation won’t be available, just that our advice would always be to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
How can I drive safely around the NC500 route?
We recommend having a read over this link, which gives advice for driving on country roads.