One of Scotland’s most beautiful coastal routes – and indeed the Highlands’ answer to Route 66 – take a drive around the North Coast 500 and sweep your way through 500 miles of varied, rugged natural beauty of the sort that only Scotland could ever really claim as its own.
The North Coast 500 takes you through the best of Scotland’s insta-worthy wilderness. Journey up the fairy-tale West coast past Wester Ross in search of ruins, lochs and the tiniest castle in Europe, then plunge into the great green-gold landscape of Sutherland’s awe-inspiring Highlands, filled with mountains, eagles and white sandy beaches.
Wave to the Old Man of Stoer, a huge 60m sea stack sat brooding somewhere between the north-west Highlands and the Hebridean Isles, and journey round into Scotland’s northernmost summit of Caithness, swapping the open road for a deserted beach one evening at the mainland’s most northerly point, perhaps, passing by famous John O’Groats on the way, and waving to Norway over the midnight waves.
Follow the North Coast 500 onwards down along Scotland’s very own north coast, greeting the Mermaid of the North at Easter Ross and seeking freer tailed beings, dolphins, coast-side, before descending into the Black Isle and some true Highland history with medieval ruins and their even more ancient Pictish stones. Then end (or indeed, start) at Inverness, Scotland’s hub of chronicles and the official capital of the Highlands.
Hit the open road solo or bundle the whole fam into the car, either way, an epic Highland adventure, and 500-miles of beauty, nature, history and local tipple awaits. You’ll have hurtled straight into the very heart of Scotland, and come out again all the better for it. Not bad, for just 7-9 days.
When passing through magnificent Sutherland snap up a stay at private-hire Kinloch Lodge, the renovated shooting lodge once owned by the Duke of Sutherland and now a cosy Highland den infused with Scandi-Scot design and delicious homemade cooking.
While the world away here while you peruse your coffee-splattered map and pat yourself on the back again for such a great adventure.
To add to your Scottish Highland agenda, be sure to peek in our Travel Journal and jot down Wildland in the Cairngorms, a pioneering regeneration project that seeks to return nature to its past glory.
STAY along the North Coast 5oo. Enroute through Wester Ross make a pitstop at the 57 Nord a remote crofter's house in a modern architectural design overlooking the infinity of the Scottish Highlands. This is your stylish den of Norse interiors with the traditional soul of the Gaels - a snug holiday retreat for two close to Isle of Skye in Wester Ross.
Further along the route towards the northerly tip and end station is the fabulous Lundies House in Sutherland -This reclusive stopover will give you reason to pause and take in the stillness of your environment while a revelling in the perfectly blended alchemy of Scottish and Scandinavian style.