The North Coast 500 is a scenic driving route along the northern coast of Scotland. The route is filled with never-ending back roads, wide meandering country tracks and beautiful bends through some of Scotland’s finest scenery.
The route starts and ends in the northern city of Inverness and loops along the west coast then northwards and up to some northerly coastal point before heading south back to Inverness.
Along the route:
- Surfing at Thurso - Visit the most northerly town in main Scotland, Thurso. It is a great place to stay while exploring the countryside. The town is full of thing to see and do including lovely traditional shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. It is also a major surfing area that hosts surfing championships. There are many reefs, points, river mouths and beach with make it a great location for water-sport lovers.
- Black Isle Brewery - Stop along the North Coast 500 in Inverness to try UK’s premier organic brewery, Black Isle Brewery. The brewery makes world class beers from the finest organic malt and hops grown on farms without chemicals. The brewery has their own organic farm where they grow malting barley for brewing. This is a great, unique stop along the North Coast 500. They also serve organic food making it a perfect place to stop in for a drink and some food!
- Royal Dornoch Golf Club - Royal Dornoch Golf Club is in a remote corner of Sutherland. The course stands as one of the great outposts in the world of golf and is one of the finest gold courses. The charm of the course comes partly from its remoteness. The coastal course has spectacular views and is a great stop for all golf lovers.
- Chanonry Point - Morary Firth is known for its population of dolphins and it is the best place in Europe to see them in the wild. The dolphins often leap clear of the water close to the shore which makes for some phenomenal views. The coastline also provides a wealth of other wildlife including plants and animals. On the southern shore is the Culbin Forest which is one of the largest sand dune systems in Britain. There are also mature plantations of pine that support wildlife such as bagels and pine martins. This is a great place to check out for all nature lovers.
- Dunrobin Castle - Dunrobin Castle is the most northern of Scotland’s great houses and is the largest in the Northern Highlands. It contains 189 rooms and is one of Britain’s oldest continuously inhabited houses. The castle’s architecture is simply magnificent with influences from Sir Charles Barry, who designed London’s House of Parliament. The castle has had many purposes over the years including a naval hospital during the First World War and a boys’ boarding school from 1965 to 1972. The Castle overlooks Morary Firth making for beautiful, scenic views.
- Bealach Na Ba - Applecorss is a remote peninsula in Wester Ross and it is famous for it’s spectacular drive. Locally, the village is simply called “the street”. The village has a wonderful atmosphere creating the impression that you are at the edge of the world. There are only two ways to get to the village including a winding coast road from Shielding and the Bealach na Ba. Both of these routes have wonderful views and Bealach na Ba is one of the highest roads in Britain that heads into the clouds before dropping down to the quiet street. There are incredible views out across the bay along the route making it worth the trip!