In August 2016 I decided it was about time I explored Scotland and it didn’t take much of research to know that I wanted to do the North Coast 500 route.
The NC500 is advertised as Scotland’s answer to Route 66 and is named one of the top coastal road trips in the world. The advertised route starts in Inverness and snakes west across the country in the direction of the little town of Applecross, where you get to experience the epic Applecross Pass. The route then continues northward to Torridon, Ullapool and finally Durness where you will start heading east towards tongue (be sure to stop in the shop/petrol station for your “I Love Toungue” sticker) and finally John O’Groats. Before you get to John O’Groats make a stop at Dunnet head which is the most northerly point of mainland Great Britain (we are not called The Furthest Point for nothing!) here on a good day you will get amazing 360 degree views from the lookout point, including a great view of the Shetland islands. After John O’Groats you will start heading back down towards Inverness.
You can get more in depth information from the official website for the North Coast 500 here.
As I was setting off from Lancashire I added a very large section to my route which bumped the overall NC500 loop from just over 500 miles to 1300 miles round trip. The first leg of the journey was from Burnley in Lancashire at a friends house where we loaded the bikes up (my VFR and friends MT09) and set off towards our first stop which was Milarrochy Bay campsite on Loch Lomond, just north of Glasgow. Here we met up with a fellow Youtuber Riot Rider, who was staying at the campsite after a big vloggers meet up in the area. Be sure to check some of his videos out here.
We then wound our way North to Glencoe stopping after Loch Lomond at “The Green Welly Stop” which is a service station. If you are travelling north on a bike it is a must see due to the number of bikers that visit, we got there in the pouring rain and there were still 50+ bikes in the carpark. After a hot drink and a perv over all the different bikes in the car park we continued up through Glencoe which has to be some of the most picturesque roads I have ever seen! Designated as a national scenic area with its volcanic mountains and some of the greenest scenery you can lay your eyes on, its what I imagine New Zealand to look like. After a few photography stops and generally staring in ore of how beautiful it all is, we continued our journey further north to Fort William.
We stayed the night at Glen Nevis Caravan & Camping Park which was a very well maintained campsite with every amenity that you could possibly need including a fancy restaurant. The campsite has a great view of Ben Nevis which towering over it at 1,345 meters high and if the weather is good you will wake up to a great view out the door of your tent. At this point my friend and I parted ways as he retuned south and I carried on northward to continue the adventure solo.
From Fort William I headed up to Fort Augustus to check out good old Loch Ness for myself, unfortunately there were no monster sightings. I then headed west to Eilean Donan Castle, I would highly recommend a stop here giving you enough time to take in the scenery as well exploring around the castle itself as it is open to the public. If you haven’t heard of it you will probably recognise it as it was the castle which featured in the 1986 movie Highlander. I then continued on to the Isle of Skye where I now wish I had spent more time.
As I was spending a night on Skye I stopped at the first campsite I came to which was full, they directed me about 13 miles up the road to Sligachan Camping. I loved this campsite! it is very basic but you are surrounded by mountains and have the sea at the bottom of the valley that the campsite is nestled in. I am very glad the first campsite was full as it was a very pleasant surprise coming round the bend to see this campsite. I pitched up next to a guy with a very nice BMW S100RR which was an interesting choice for touring but he seemed to be enjoying himself. We went across the road to the Sligachan Hotel which has a brilliant bar with HUNDREDS of whiskies and some great food, it is also the only building for miles so its handy they have a fantastic range of real ale. After a good few hours of good conversation and drinking we emerged to see the greatest night sky I have ever seen! even with the naked eye you could see all the different colours of the milky way stretching into the distance above us. This is when I found that drunken long exposure photography is much harder than you think at the time.
The next morning after letting the hang over subside I rode up to Portree for something to eat before riding back down skye and across onto the mainland to head in the direction of Applecross where I would actually start the North Coast 500 route.
To be Continued…….
The Furthest Point.