Hi. Does anybody have any must sees, dos and don'ts when do the Scotland 500?
If you're in a campervan or a caravan then it doesn't hurt to pull over into a layby to let traffic past from time to time.
Some of the beaches are worth checking out maybe Clachtoll if you want something near the car or Sandwood Bay for a walk in. Also the old man of stoer is worth checking out. I'd also defo go for climbing one of the mountains in Assynt (quinaig / suilven / cul more / stac pollaidh) the views in that area are stupendous especially nearish to the coast. Depends what you aiming for but there are some great scrambles on that route or some really worthwhile hills to walk up too. You could also consider visiting the summer isles etc A boat trip is well worth while in any case as the coast line is stunning.
I'd tend to take the road along lock assynt if I was you, its one of the nicest roads around there (rather than take the southern detour). Stop off at Ardvreck Castle for pictures.
Sorry to be more negative than the other responders, but I think you should reconsider your trip.
Have you seen the FB group NC500 The Land Weeps?
It logs and charts the concerns caused by people driving and generally camping and making a mess of the NC500.
I'm not for one second suggesting that you would make a mess of the land up there. I think it's fair to assume that when restrictions are lifted it will be the busy up there, and basically the view of the locals is that the infrastructure just can't cope with the numbers of people.
The fact you have mis-named the route suggests you are in the early stages of planning your trip, get some maps, gaze at the beautiful beaches and mountains, book a camp site and go to one place and really enjoy it rather than clogging up 500 miles of single track roads is my suggestion.
and : if you are driving a large motor home down a a steep hill ,which you are clearly scared of , spare a thought for how difficult it it for the short fat ,( but still handsome ) occasionally competent climber coming up the hill towards you on a laden touring bike , it really is much harder for them to stop and get off and get out your way than it is for you , going down hill , to just stop or pull over and let them stop at a convenient place . Also don’t be surprised when said little fat bloke hoys a rock and some very unusually combinations of words you would nt say in front of your grandma , at your £100 , 000 monstrosity after you knock him off his pride and joy .
< and breath >
edit : not aimed at you OP , just many drivers on that route , which is really best avoided on a bike
I have to agree. Convoys of mobile homes and single track roads do not mix well. I've seen too many stuck camper vans that can't or won't reverse (or indeed rolled into a ditch). At least the Suez Canal was only blocked for a short while. The only upside might be that it (hopefully) is putting off the "lets see how fast we can do the NC500" brigade which was plaguing the roads before the campers arrived. I've done bits by bike and I'd rather pedal round a stuck camper than have to dodge a Caterham 7 taking a 'racing line' the other way.
Advice? By all means go - it's a glorious area, but use the roads to get to one chosen place (hard to avoid unless you can paddle) and then just enjoy being there. 'Touring' in the busy period (late May- early Oct) just doesn't make sense. And don't expect to 'wild camp' at the roadside.
The NC500 does follow a wonderful route, all of which was known about prior to it being named and publicised to death by social media.
I would choose a smaller section, somewhere in the north west and just enjoy it, there's so many great beaches, little walks and big mountain days out that can be had without spending 6 hours a day driving.
Am I the only one who suspects a troll? Why would you join a climbing specific website to ask about something you can easily Google an answer to? I mean it’s a road trip!! They’ve also misnamed it.
0/10. Must do better.
The "NC 500" is a fking joke. Designed to attract the dullards who can't be bothered looking at a map and explore using their own curiosity, but who need to feel like they've "done" something.
It's a complete contrivance born out of all that's wrong with modern tourism and instatwatgram, and it's trashing the most beautiful place in the world (my opinion).
> Am I the only one who suspects a troll? Why would you join a climbing specific website to ask about something you can easily Google an answer to? I mean it’s a road trip!! They’ve also misnamed it.
> 0/10. Must do better.
To be fair he has made previous posts, including one on learning trad, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
> Hi. Does anybody have any must sees, dos and don'ts when do the Scotland 500?
Dont do it. Do something else.
> Without doubt, the pie shop in Lochinver
Featured in Winner's Dinners in his Sunday Times column years ago. Glad to know that it is still rated. Agreed with all the peaks suggested, as well include Ben More Assynt & Conival.
reply to Mancclimb:
If you the NC500 please leave no litter or waste, drive and park considerately and use the local shops.
It was very very busy up here last summer with some inconsiderate visitors.
Its a lovely area, enjoy it.
Bracing ourselves in Gairloch, getting single track patience head on. Lucky to live somewhere people want to visit so won't winge (well not yet anyway) first vans beginning to appear and some lost looking folk in lively coloured shorts wandering about. Better get a litter picker stick thing for summer,
> Hi. Does anybody have any must sees, dos and don'ts when do the Scotland 500?
Don't do it unless you would have been doing it anyway without the name and the marketing.
> Don't do it unless you would have been doing it anyway without the name and the marketing.
A thousand times this.
OP: If you are doing it by bicycle, be prepared for huge hired motorhomes driven by people with little concept of how wide they are. If you are doing it by huge hired motorhome, keep in mind how wide it is to avoid pushing cyclists and motorcyclists off into the verge. If you are going in a hired Ferrari, or your own one for that matter, keep in mind the hero points a Highland polis gets for collaring someone doing over twice the speed limit.
Also, have a look at the map and plot a route that deviates from the 'official' NW500 and invent an alternative. Enjoy, feel smug and tell no-one, especially anyone who asks you for advice about the NW500.
When you stop in a lay-by to take a photograph of some well-known view, don’t stray into the undergrowth because it’s full of human shit.
> OP: If you are doing it by bicycle, be prepared for huge hired motorhomes driven by people with little concept of how wide they are.
I had my best ever days cycling last September from Ullapool - Torridon via Gairloch on an absolutely glorious day. I was suprised by the number of large camper vans but I wouldn't say they detracted from my enjoyment too much and nearly all gave me enough space. Roads still very quiet compared to the lake district or snowdonia. Maybe it is worse in July/August, but I was always going to avoid the worst of midge season.
You might want to add the eponymous route into your itinerary (or just go do the route and not grind around the rest of the 500 miles of traffic jam...)
The tongue in cheek name comes from the newly signposted driving circuit around the Highlands: “Scotland’s answer to Route 66” which seemed to be attracting a lot of traffic. Some might feel that the climb is similar to its driving namesake: A somewhat pointless excursion through already well known territory, with a high likelihood of getting in people’s way! Alternatively, it’s great fun (if the crag is empty!), a fine workout and a candidate for the longest sports climb in Scotland! There are a few pictures on my blog: https://rockaroundtheworld.co.uk/2017/08/06/creag-bheag/