August 23, 2017 at 2:05 PM
What is the NC500?
Created in 2014 by the North Highland Initiative, the NC500 is a route of just over 500 miles of stunning costal scenery. Following the main roads around the edges of the Northern Highlands, it takes in picturesque towns like Ullapool, Durness, John O’Groats, Dornoch and Inverness.
The North Highland Initiative (NHI) is a non-profit organisation that was established by HRH, The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay in 2005 in an effort to develop economic growth across the North Highlands. .
NHI works across three main sectors; food and drink, tourism and built environment. It was through the Tourism Project Board, that the idea of the NC500 was born. The concept of the NC500 was developed in order to create a tourism product that the whole of the North Highlands could benefit from and with such natural beauty already on offer, it was from there that the idea was formed.
The Official North Coast 500 route begins and ends in Inverness at Inverness Castle. The Castle is a perfect starting point to the route as it’s perched on the hill and offers unparelled views over the capital city of the Highlands.
What to pack for the NC500
Even though your going to enjoy the NC500 from the comfort of your own motorhome, your probably not going to want to miss some of the many walks that are on offer along the length of the route. So we think it’s worth having a pair of good quality walking boots which are comfy and waterproof. There’s nothing worse than picking up blisters and missing out on amazing walking trails.
A Walking Jacket
Your going to need a good outdoor jacket, this is Scotland after all! To be honest, most people have a pre-conception about the weather being constantly wet in Scotland which couldn’t really be further from the truth. Yes, it can be rough at times, but Scotland actually has more sunshine per year than most other parts of the UK. We suggest you get something which is lightweight, waterproof and of course stylish.
We strongly recommend you take a good quality sunscreen with you. You will be spending a lot of time outdoors and it’s surprising how the sun can catch you when your not expecting it. You can pick up various brands from your local supermarket and they cost next to nothing. Don’t forget the higher the sun factor, the better.
The Scottish midge has a reputation for being something of a nightmare. They are written in Scottish legend as being one of the most ferocious creatures on the planet. Anyone who has been in the middle of a swarm of midges will be able to relate to the itchy feeling you get all over any piece of bare skin.
They mostly come out in early morning or late evening, but can attack at any time of the day, However, the locals inform us that the best form of defence against these little pests, is to use Avon Skin So Soft.
You can now get midge forecasts to help identify high risk areas, we suggest you google this to ensure you know where your most likely to come across the worst concentrations.
In Car Chargers
On some parts of the North Coast 500 route, mobile/cell service is excellent; on others, not so much… Many people relish the opportunity to switch off and enjoy a ‘digital detox’ while travelling, but most still rely on their smartphone for one very important function: as a camera! Lest you run out of charge just as you summit a hill and a spectacular landscape is revealed (and spectacular landscapes are what we do best), we recommend investing in an in-car or solar charger to keep you topped up on the road.
A Wet Suite
The North Highlands is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world – no contest. And there are plenty of opportunities to get into the water for a quick dip or some serious surfing – particularly on North Coast where the town of Thurso is a haven for watersports lovers. So, if you yearn to catch some big waves, or just want a paddle, pack your wetsuit and dive in.
An emergency kit for your car
In the spirit of being prepared for everything, it’s always advisable to take an in-car emergency kit on any road trip – you never know when you’ll have a breakdown, and you’ll feel very smug when you reach into your boot and find everything you need just waiting there for you. The British Red Cross advise that this should include a spare tyre; first aid kit; bottled water; warm clothes; map; torch; ice scraper; shovel; and jump leads.
What To See & Do
There are more things to take in than we could possibly list here, but you will find it all as you travel through the highlands of Scotland. From ancient castles, stunning coast scenery and mountains to rare wildlife and some of the best food and drink in Scotland. We recommend that you check out the official NC500 website to find out more at www.nc500.com
If you do the NC500, we would love to hear from you about your adventures and see some pictures too. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be featured on our facebook page.