Scotland North Coast 500 Road Trip - Final Reflections

Just Be ...

Our Scotland North Coast 500 road trip ends today with aa 5 hour drive south from Dunblane home..  It has been an interesting trip to this remote,  far flung land where there is a marvellous amount of nothing to do.  If you are looking for solitude, room to wander and reflect and allow yourself to ” just be”, then you will find plenty of it in the Scottish Highlands.

The North Coast 500 is certainly a spectacular road trip – equal or better than the Garden Route, the Big Sur. the Beartooth Highway, the Badlands Loop the Canadian Iceway or the Coromandel Peninsula NZ that we have experienced previously.  Although only established in 2015 (with support from Prince Charles), its reputation is growing quickly with world’s best road trips ratings: of  CNN Travel No. 2, Wanderlust No. 11, Hello Magazine No. 8, The Telegraph No.4.

Scotland North Coast 500 Final Reflections
Scotland North Coast 500

Tips for Future Travellers

You can obviously do this trip either way round, but I think East to West is best because the scenery on the West coast is much more stunning than the East, so you can get the history and a feel for the place on the East and save the best until last on the West coast.

It would have been quite possible to do this trip in three or four fewer days, though this would have given much less opportunity to explore on foot, especially making allowances for the rain and windy weather.  It would be possible to complete it in just a week, but to do it all in the car would be missing a huge amount.  We walked a total of 135kms in two weeks and the walks were the highlights of the trip for us.

The trip would probably have been better in May, when the maquis would have been in flower and the seabirds would have been around (April to July, but before the onslaught of beastly midges.  The roads would probably be pretty challenging in the height of Summer given the volume of traffic still on them at the tail end of the season.

Useful Website

Scotland North Coast 500 Final Reflections Scottish Flora - Thistle

Perfection on this trip would have been a combination of the best bits of all the hotels we stopped in:

Views, welcome and fireside – Kylesku Hotel, Kylesku
Breakfast, bed and bath – Mackay’s Rooms, Durness
Restaurant – Aultbea Hotel, Altbea
Beach and view from the room – Bettyhill Hotel, Bettyhill
Whisky Selection – Dunblane Hilton Hydro, Dunblane
After dinner coffee, chocolates and liqueurs – Mackay’s Hotel, Wick

What I'm Reading

The North Coast 500 Guidebook by Charles Tait.  A comprehensive guide to all the region has to offer.

Wish I Had Seen

A Highland Fling

Castle Mey (ran out of time!)

Wish I had Packed

More Kleenex tissues


Scotland North Coast 500 Final Reflections Just Be

Let's Walk the Coastline of Great Britain!

Coastal walking is my favourite sort of walking and if you follow Love to Wander, you will already know that I have set myself the task of walking the coastline of Great Britain – well all the nice parts at least – a chunk at a time.  Take a look at some of the other coastal walking trips we have enjoyed on this interactive map.  Click on the locations to discover detailed walking itineraries.

 If you want to watch the map continue to fill with coastal walks that might inspire you to lace up your own walking boots and take a wander along the beaches and cliffs of our beautiful coastline yourself, do sign up to receive regular updates.

  • Post category:Scotland