How To Eat Like A Foodie Whilst Camping Along The NC500
The NC500 is a stunningly beautiful route to travel, no wonder it has brought 29,000 new visitors to the Highlands. In fact there has been a 26% rise in visitors, in particular to the Highlands. When you’re taking a tour along the NC500, camping is ideal if you don’t want to stick to a set itinerary, and you can make the most of the amazing Scottish independent food producers along the way.
Here are some great foodie ideas for you to try using just a simple camping stove and pan, just make sure you check with the campsite what their rules are on campfire cooking.
Amazing Scottish Smokehouses
Scotland is blessed with some of the most incredible fresh seafood and fish. Simple camping food doesn’t have to be complicated – it’s just about buying good ingredients to make the perfect meal. Applecross Smokehouse (Kenmore, Stathcarron IV54 8XH) is overlooking the beautiful Loch Torridon. Stop and stock up on some of their beautiful award winning smoked salmon . These can be cooked for an easy supper and eaten with oatcakes. Alternatively some of their amazing smoked salmon can be added to a simple bowl of penne, for a tasty lunchtime treat. Whilst you are in the area, Beauly Holiday Park (Beauly IV4 7AY) is a great place to camp.
The Isle of Ewe Smokehouse (Ormiscaig, Aultbea, Achnasheen IV22 2JJ), is another must-visit destination for the foodie camper. There is a real depth of flavour to their salmon, which is smoked in stone kilns, using larch from the area and whisky barrel staves. It’s the true taste of Scotland, that will make you smile.
Photos: Fiona Watson Photography , Applecross Smokehouse
Scotland’s national dish
Another traditional Scottish favourite that fries up well on the campfire stove is of course haggis. Head to Cockburn’s Haggis in Dingwall for some prize winning puddings. They have been making haggis since 1955.
Photos: George Cockburn & Son Butchers
Delicious delis and farm shops for diners
Why go to a big, sprawling supermarket, when you can find food that is great quality and tasty in local delis? The Culkein Stores (251 Stoer Lochinver, Culkein, Lairg IV27 4JG) is a good place to start. It’s a family run business that is based in a little crofting community. You can enjoy some of their fresh bread and homemade jam for breakfast, or even scrambled eggs cooked on your camping stove. There is an honesty box for your jam and eggs if the store is closed, so you don’t need to worry if you’ve turned up at an odd hour. The West Coast Delicatessen (5 Argyle St, Ullapool IV26 2UB), on the shore of Loch Broom is another great deli that prides itself on it’s selection of local produce. Fire up your camping stove and cook yourself a delicious breakfast of rich black pudding, fried eggs, and slices of farmhouse cheese, on freshly baked bread.
Fantastic farmer’s markets/community markets
Visiting the local farmer’s markets whilst you are travelling along the NC500 is another great way of filling your plate with foodie favourites. The markets give back to the local communities too. The guide to the markets on the NC500 can help you find one that is close to you. As you start your NC500 journey – visit the Black Isle. There are now three Community Markets on the Black Isle each month – at Cromarty, North Kessock and Culbokie. Stock up on supplies for the start of your trip or stop by on your return home.
From locally produced food to crafts and soaps, there should be something there to appeal to all tastes. Community markets can be an altogether gentler and more sociable affair with the opportunity to talk to the producers.
There are stallholders here too that provide easy “ready meals” for campers to reheat, such as stovies. This is a hearty and delicious meal, made from meat (usually beef) and potatoes, cooked in a thick stew with onions, vegetables and spades of seasoning. It will warm the cockles of any camper’s heart. Local producers, farm shops, delis and markets can provide the NC500 traveller with the perfect ingredients for simple and delicious meals. The quality of the Scottish food will sing out on your plate.