• Post category:Scotland

Scotland North Coast 500 Road Trip

Let the Journey Begin ...

Today, we embark on a long awaited Scotland North Coast 500 Road Trip.  We will be covering over 655 miles over the course of two weeks.

The North Coast 500 website describes this trip as: “the ultimate road trip around the north coast of Scotland, showcasing fairy-tale castles, white sand beaches and historical ruins.”

Scotland North Coast 500 Road Trip

We are timing the trip to avoid the midges and traffic that July and August bring and are hoping for some stunning scenery and some reasonable weather.  Fingers crossed on all fronts!

The GK Chesterton quote springs to mind:  “The traveller sees what he sees; the tourist sees what he came to see.”

Let the journey begin …!

 

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Read my Full Trip to Scotland North Coast 500

Scotland North Coast 500 Final Reflections Just Be

Scotland North Coast 500 – Final Reflections – Just Be

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Our 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.

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A Smooth Finish via The Kelpies

A smooth finish – via The Kelpies

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It took us the best part of 6 hours to drive from Shieldag to Dunblane where we decided to break the long return journey home with an overnight stay.  En route, we made a small detour to visit the Kelpies at Falkirk.

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Chasing Rainbows on the North Coast 500

Chasing Rainbows …

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The sunshine and rain showers meant that we were chasing many beautiful rainbows all along the remainder of the North Coast 500 road from Shieldaig through Applecross/Lochcarron.  At one point, we drove right underneath one!

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Aultbea to Shieldaig Inverewe Gardens Poolewe

Aultbea to Shieldaig – Inverewe Gardens Poolewe

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Inverewe Gardens at Poolewe – just down the road from Aultbea – provided a great place to spend half a day.  There are 54 acres of gardens to explore with interesting plants from all around the world including Japan and Africa.

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Kylesku to Aultbea Kirkaig Falls

Kylesku to Aultbea

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The journey from Kylesku to Altbea wasn’t too long today, so we were able to stop at Invercircaig and walk to the Kirkaig Falls on the way.  

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Accommodation Review Kylesku Hotel

Accommodation Review – Kylesku Hotel – Kylesku

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The Kylesku Hotel is a small hotel sympathetically decorated in modern style with soft natural tones and tweed headboards.  They keep a cosy fire burning throughout the day – nice when the weather is wet.  The hotel is perfectly located on the edge of the loch with good walks all around.

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Durness to Kylesku - Kylesku

Durness to Kylesku

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The drive from Durness to Kylesku only takes about an hour and a quarter, so we took a short detour.at Scourie and almost got blown into the sea the wind was so strong.

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Accommodation Review Mackay's Rooms Durness Bedroom

Accommodation Review – Mackay’s Rooms Durness

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Mackay’s Rooms Durness is a B&B, not a hotel, so if you want an evening meal, you need to walk down the road to the Sango Sands Oasis pub or further to the Smoo Cave Hotel.  Alternatively, there is a café called the Whale Tail at Balnakeil Craft Village which offers a reasonable fish/seafood menu, but they only accept cash and close at 8pm.  There is a cashpoint at the Spa in Durness village if you need it.

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Life is good on Sandwood Bay

Life is Good on Sandwood Bay

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Sandwood Bay – One of Scotland’s Most Beautiful Hidden Beaches About 20 miles from Durness, via Kinlochbervie, the road turns off to the right towards…

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Rainbow

BettyHill to Durness

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En route from Bettyhill to Durness, we stopped at the Strathnaver Museum in Bettyhill (opens at 10). The museum gives excellent coverage of the Highland Clearances.

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Wick to Bettyhill Forsinard Flows

Wick to Bettyhill

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Dunnet Head on the route from Wick to Bettyhill is actually the most northerly point of mainland Britain.  On a clear day, you can see the whole North Coast from Cape Wrath to Dunscansby Head.

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John O'Groat's Fingerpost

Today’s Rain is Tomorrow’s Old Pulteney …

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We had 2 nights in Wick, which allowed us time to tick the box of visiting John O’Groats.  We saw a family waiting to welcome back their Dad & his friend Phil – End to Enders – it is 874 miles to Land’s End from here.   If you headed straight down, it is 12,875 long miles to New Zealand …

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Rainbow over Wick Harbour

Durness to Wick

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We chased rainbows all the way along the A9 from Durness to Wick and found a stunningly beautiful one in the busy little harbour in Wick when we arrived.  

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Accommodation Review Dunblane Hydro

Accommodation Review – Dunblane Hydro

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A really comfortable hotel with a well stocked bar offering a wide selection of whiskies to taste.  The hotel has a pool with a sauna and steam room.  Parking could be challenging when the hotel is being used as a conference centre, but we didn’t have a problem during our stay.

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Dunblane Dalwhinnie Distillery

Dunblane

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We start our trip in Dunblane – best known as being Andy Murray’s hometown and – say – site of the 1996 shooting of 16 Dunblane schoolchildren and their teacher.

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Scotland North Coast 500 Road Trip

Scotland North Coast 500 Road Trip

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Today, we embark on a long awaited drive around the North Coast of Scotland.  we will cover over 655 miles over the course of two weeks. The GK Chesterton quote springs to mind:  “The traveller sees what he sees; the tourist sees what he came to see.”  Let the journey begin …!

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