Buy locally around the route!
Rather than stock up at the supermarket, make the most of the farm shops, local grocery stores, delis and farmers markets as you travel around the North Coast 500 – whether you’re looking for ingredients for your dinner, a picnic in the hills, a platter for your Highland retreat or a welcome pack for your Highland stay!
The majority of towns, villages and hamlets around the route have a village shop, and some will even provide more.
Check out our mouthwatering delis, smokehouses and stores around the route, and try to tie in a market somewhere along your trip. Are you camping around the North Coast 500? Find out ‘how to eat like a foodie whilst camping‘.
Shops, delis and smokehouses
Situated on the shores of the Cromarty Firth (near the start and end of the route), stock up on local produce from the Storehouse Restaurant. They offer relaxed dining throughout the day and boast one of the best wee farm shops in the north Highlands. They have a wide selection to choose from, whether you are looking for meats, fish, bread and cheeses to chutneys, preserves and home baking. Popular among locals and visitors alike..!
All things fishy
Fishing is a large part of the economy in the north Highlands. Stop and find out what happens to the fish after they are caught, then opt to stock up on some smokey goodies or a delicious picnic for the road at either The Isle of Ewe Smokehouse or Applecross Smokehouse.
The first champion haggis maker
As you begin your adventure, stop off at Cockburns Haggis in Dingwall – the best haggis maker in Scotland, if you ask us! Haggis has progressed from a once a year meal on Burns Night, to being used every day in a variety of dishes at home and in restaurants alike. Add it to your Scottish breakfast, or savour it as part of a tasty evening meal. Nearly as famous as Cockburns haggis is their black pudding! Why not post a haggis home for your return while you reminisce on your NC500 travels – perfect to pair with a dram or two.
Fine food delicatessen on the west coast
Whether you are just after a quick espresso and a roll, ingredients for your supper, a picnic for the hills, a platter for a party or a welcome pack for your Highland stay, check out the West Coast delicatessen in Ullapool. This fabulous food store has an extensive range of quality local Highland produce, sourced from small artisan suppliers, including smoked salmon, cured venison, award-winning black pudding, the best of farmhouse cheeses and freshly baked bread, to name but a few. Enjoy homemade humus, salads and pies fresh from their tiny kitchen, and be tempted by desserts, tarts and naughty cream cakes.
Enjoy the spectacular coastal views
Culkein Stores is a small family run business based in the spectacular coastal location of Culkein Stoer, situated off the popular Drumbeg coastal loop. From their seaside cabin, The Culkein Store offers a range of local produce and arts and crafts. Their mini jammery produces a selection of jams, chutneys and marmalade in the traditional hand-made stove top method, with no additives for a fresher, sweeter taste. They also produce oils, salts and sauces, as well as fresh bread on selected baking days, Scottish tablet, and ice cream during the warmer months.
Their craft shop stocks a wide selection of unique items, all created in Culkein by the owners, Amanda and Steve. Pop in and visit them – you won’t regret it!
Pick up some general supplies on route
The majority of towns, villages and hamlets around the route have a village shop, and some will even provide more: for example, you can purchase fishing permits at Bettyhill General Merchants.
While you’re in the Coigach region, don’t forget to stop in past Achiltibuie Stores for essentials – established in 1900, this is the oldest independent grocers in the area.
Mackays Hardware and Chandlery at Lochinver, too, could prove a highly useful stop – this hardware and DIY store stocks an extensive range of camping, fishing and cycling equipment, as well as Calor Gas.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a gift for a friend, family member or just for yourself, our community markets and some farmers markets showcase the diverse craftsmanship around the route. Check out our selection of craft shops around the route too.
Farmers Markets and Craft Markets on the NC500
Farmers’ markets and craft markets are fast becoming a regular feature across towns and villages in the Highlands of Scotland, and it’s not hard to see why! Providing locals and visitors alike with the opportunity to sample a wonderful array of delicious local produce and purchase handmade arts and crafts, markets also give back to the local economy.
The Highlands is an excellent spot for discovering fresh, locally sourced produce and our producers offer some of the finest produce around! Why not sample some of these delicious items as well as discover some of the beautiful hand-made arts and crafts. Make sure to add some markets and shops to your NC500 itinerary.
Markets are generally held periodically throughout the month, in various locations across the route. Read our guide below to some of the markets and shops on route…
Find out where you can find the finest produce at farmers markets and craft fairs along the NC500:
Who: Inverness Farmers’ Market
Where: Eastgate end of the High Street, Inverness IV2 3NA
When: First Saturday of every month, 9am until 4pm (from February till December + pre-Christmas market)
What: Inverness is home to the biggest farmers market along the North Coast 500. Featuring prominent local businesses from across Inverness-shire and beyond, purchase from a selection of vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy, bread and cakes.
Who: Dornoch Community Market, Dornoch
Where: The market runs from 9:30 am to 1 pm on the Cathedral Green.
When: Wednesdays 9th May, 13th June, 27th June, 11th July, 25th July, 8th August, 22nd August and 12th September.
What: Come and browse up to 30 stalls with homegrown produce, plants, arts & crafts, baking, artisan bread, specialist chocolates, cheese, handmade cosmetics, jewellery, gifts & clothing.
Who: Dingwall Farmers’ Market, Dingwall
Where: High Street, Dingwall, IV15 9HL
When: Second Saturday of every month
What: Dingwall Farmers’ Market is held in the pedestrian-friendly area of the High Street and Supports local producers and the local community with lots of market stalls and stalls for voluntary organisations.
Who: Poolewe Tuesday Market, Poolewe
Where: Poolewe Hall, Poolewe, IV22 2LD
When: Every Tuesday, 10am to 2.30pm
What: A fantastic community market featuring a range of stalls from food and drink to arts & crafts.
Who: Ullapool Farmers’ Markets, Ullapool
Where: Seaforth Car Park, Seaforth Lane, Ullapool, IV26 2XB
When: Every Saturday (April – September), 9.30am – 4.30pm
What: The Ullapool Farmers Market offers a wide variety of local produce including vegetables, home baking, jams, plants and crafts.
Who: Made in Assynt, Craft and Produce Markets, Lochinver
Where: Lochinver Hall
When: 10am – 4pm
11th May, 1st June, 22nd June, 6th July, 20th July, 3rd August, 17th August, 31st August, 14th September, 28th September, 19th October, 24th November
What: Made in Assynt showcases talented artists, crafts people and crofters from Assynt and the surrounding areas, and provides access to a fine selection of locally grown and produced food. At each of these Highland craft fairs you’ll find a great variety of goods for sale, including local pottery, glassware, jewellery, clothing, knitting yarns, horn craft, books by local author, wood turning, artworks, jams and preserves, hand baked breads, fresh vegetables and various other unique local gifts and produce.
Who: North Kessock Community Market
Where: North Kessock Village Hall
When: Last Saturday of each month between 10 am and 12.30pm
What: Lovely, local fresh vegetables and other produce, such as local crafts. Stop by for a cup of coffee and a blether – much more sociable than supermarket shopping!
Who: Cromarty Community Market
Where: Victoria Hall
When: Second Saturday of each month 11 am – 2 pm
What: Local food, garden plants, crafts, hand-made soap and a ‘swap your stuff’ stall.
Who: Culbokie Community Market
Where: Findon Hall, Culbokie
When: 3rd Saturday of each month between 10am and 12.30pm
What: A fantastic market bringing together high quality local food and drink produce, from meats, cheeses and herbal remedies, to vegetables, handmade chocolate, local arts, crafts and jewellery.
If you organise a farmers’ market and it is not listed here, please get in touch! Additionally, if you know of any of the above information to be incorrect, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: The Culkein Store, Made in Assynt Market