By Gabbi Armstrong
Communications Project Manager for the North Coast 500
Published: 5th June 2018

Make dreams happen!

Slow down, and enjoy – make the most of the great outdoors in the North Highlands

Spending time in the great outdoors is one of the best ways to feel ultimately recharged and connected, and there’s no better place to do just that than the North Highlands. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or if you’ve completed the North Coast 500 before, it’s so important to make time to venture off the beaten track, detour from the famous 516 miles of coastline, and immerse yourself in nature. Remember – getting there is half the fun!

Adventure doesn’t need to be fast-paced and action-packed; enjoy your trip slowly, breathe in the fresh air, stop and rest at viewpoints, and enjoy the wilderness around you. You’ll return home feeling as though you’ve had a proper holiday, away from daily pressures and stress.

Photo: Hamlet Mountaineering, Suilven

Undertaking the Scottish adventure of a lifetime and approaching it as an experience to be savoured, rather than a race, is the message at the heart of the new film EDIE (available for digital download now). Starring Sheila Hancock as Edith Moore, EDIE tells the inspiring story of an elderly woman who, in the aftermath of the death of her controlling husband, decides to fulfil a life-long dream and overcome a lifetime of bitterness and resentment. At the tender age of eighty-three, Edie sets out to try and capture a little of the magic she had as a young girl by climbing a Scottish mountain, employing Jonny (Kevin Guthrie) to help her prepare for the gruelling climb ahead – which sparks an unusual friendship.

Video: Courtesy of Arrow Films

Much of EDIE was filmed at Suilven (Sula Bheinn), one of the most distinctive mountains in Scotland. Located within Inverpolly Nature Reserve in the west of Sutherland, Suilven forms a steep-sided ridge over a mile in length. The highest point, known as Caisteal Li- ath – or the Grey Castle – lies at the northwest end of this ridge. There are two other summits: Meall Meadhonach (Middle Round Hill) at the central point of the ridge, and Meall Beag (Little Round Hill) at the south-eastern end.

If, like Sheila Hancock’s Edie, scaling Suilven is on your must-do list, why not tie this adventure into a wider trip along the North Coast 500? Suilven rises almost vertically from a wild landscape of moorland, bogs and lochs – all of which are waiting to be explored. The main North Coast 500 route can be easily access from several inland points, and most attractions are only a short drive from the coast – many of which can be grouped together for an enjoyable day tour.

The picturesque village of Lochinver, just north-west of Suilven, is another key filming location for EDIE, and is set amidst one of the last great unspoiled wildernesses in Europe. If you haven’t explored far off the beaten track of the main North Coast 500 route, now is the perfect time to see for yourself the majestic scenery which inspires Edie so dramatically in the film. Follow in Sheila Hancock’s footsteps, lace up your walking boots and explore the surrounding Assynt Hills. The great outdoors at its finest.

One of the finest ways in which to get outdoors and into the real Scottish wilderness is to take a canoe exhibition with Tim from Hamlet Mountaineering or Chris from ‘Liquid Footprints’ whose overnight expeditions allow you to properly explore Loch Veyatie, before setting up camp at Fionn Loch, by Suilven’s base, and climbing it the following day. The beauty of joining them on a trip such as this is that you’ll access Suilven by an alternative route – via water – rather than the normally requisite three-hour hike to access its steep, intimidating edges. Paddling between Cul Mor and Suilven evokes a sense of tranquillity, as though you are leaving all civilisation behind – it’s a slow-paced adventure for the soul.

Keep in touch and let us know your favourite ways in which to slow down, recharge and unwind in the wild scenery of the North Highlands.

Accommodation close by

Inverlodge Hotel – A tranquil retreat overlooking the tranquil fishing village of Lochinver.

Glencanisp Lodge –  A stunning Victorian hunting lodge, 1.3 miles out of the idyllic little fishing village of Lochinver.

Shore Caravan Park, Achmelvich – camp on the shores of one of the “best beaches in Britain” with turquoise crystal clear azure waters and white sands.

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