Menu Close

Drive Away Holiday recommends – The NC 500

What is the NC 500?

The NC 500 or North Coast 500, is a 516 mile automotive tour of the Scottish Highlands. Its spans from Inverness, all the way to Caithness and John o’Groats at the top of the Scotland, and circles back round to Inverness.

We recommend starting your driving tour with the crumbling ruins Ardvreck Castle, on the edge of Loch Assynt. Loch Assynt is located in Sutherland at the heart of the North Highlands, expect to find beautiful beaches and spectacular mountains as you tour through Sutherland. Whilst in Sutherland, why not take in another fantastic ruin at Urquhart Castle, on the banks of Loch Ness. During your visit to Loch Ness, why not try and spot one of its infamous inhabitants.

As you travel on, just south of Brora, you’ll find yourself discovering, Dunrobin Castle. This French style Chateau has been inhabited as far back as the 1300s. During the 1st World War, the castle was used a war hospital.

If you find yourself in Assynt on a clear day, we highly suggest taking a hike up Stac Pollaidh. Not only will you feel a massive sense of achievement from the climb, but you will be rewarded with stunning views across Wester Ross. During your journey, you will also be able to scale other spectacular Scottish mountains including Ben Hope, An Teallach and Suilven.

If the imagery of secluded sands and pure natural beauty is what you are looking for in your trip, we recommend you take a trip to Balnakeil Beach in Sutherland. Near Durness, it is renowned for its pristine white sands for as far as the eye can see. You should also plan to visit Achmelvich Bay and Gairloch Beach on your journey to really absorb the Scottish coastline fully.

Should wet weather take hold of your journey, prepared to be mesmerised by a visit to Smoo Cave in Sutherland. As you enter a staggering 50ft entrance will be greeting you, in the mystical limestone sea cave. Framed by ancient geology, you will be surrounded by impressive cascading waterfalls.

For a rewarding day out, expect to stop at Chanonry point, a narrow peninsula between Rosemarkie and Fortrose. During the summer months there are regular Dolphin spotting boat tours of the area, and you may catch a glimpse of the resident dolphin population.

For those brave enough to attempt it, the drive up at Beach Na Ba in Wester Ross will take you up a challenging 2053 ft ascent up a winding single track road, between Kishorn and Applecross. For those that keep there nerve until the very top, they will be rewarded with the spectacular view over Wester Ross, the Isle of Skye, Rum and the Outer Hebrides.

So, Where will you discover on your NC 500 adventure?