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North Coast 500 Oct. '18 mini review

Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:42 pm
by StuBeeDoo
Last week Elaine and I had our first road trip (as a couple, I've done several on my own) in the F25.  We travelled the North Coast 500.

For some reason I can't remember, when I was doing the planning I decided to travel anti-clockwise.  All the books I've seen since - and the website - suggest clockwise.  I can only think that by going clockwise you travel up the "better" side of Bealach Na Baa, but as we've already done it twice before I wasn't too bothered.

Day one, we drove as far as Perth (couldn't leave home before lunchtime due to El having commitments up 'til lunchtime).  Stayed overnight at the Mercure Hotel.

Day two (after Scottish breakfast), up the A9 - stopping briefly in Inverness - to our first fuel stop in Wick.  Then on the A99 to John o' Groats, where we spent the night at the Seaview Hotel.

Day three was the day it got interesting for us - roads neither of us had travelled before.  Across the north coast - stopping at a damp, foggy, Dunnet Head - to the Smoo Cave Hotel, near Durness, for our next night.

After a brief stop at Smoo Cave itself first thing, day four saw us heading south(ish) down the west coast, taking several detours to our right as I wanted to see as much of the coastline as possible - rather than stick to the A-roads.  100-odd (I didn't do an accurate check) miles later we arrived in Achiltibuie, at the Summer Isles Hotel.

The following day followed a similar format, ending in Poolewe.  I never intended this report to include recommendations or otherwise, but who ever heard of a Scottish hotel that doesn't have porridge on the breakfast menu??  :wacko:

Day six, the last day of the actual "500" was alongside Loch Maree, through Glen Torridon, then 'round the coast to Applecross, over the pass, and wave goodbye to the coast at Lochcarron.  Across country, returning to the A9 at Inverness and on down to our last overnight in Carrbridge. By the time we arrived, rain was lashing down.

All that was left, for day seven, was the 270 mile drive (setting-out in pouring rain again - hell! it's Scotland, after all) back to Tyneside.

Would we do it again?  Ooh yeah!  ;D  Next time (next year?) we're going to do it the "right" way - up the west coast - but only as far as Tongue.  We'd stay in a couple of different hotels.  Nothing wrong with the ones we stayed in, though.  Then we'll come down the middle back to Dingwall, again roads we've never travelled before.

Re: North Coast 500 Oct. '18 mini review

Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:04 pm
by Stevo
Looks like you had a good time Stu although clockwise and summer are definitely the best way and time to do it. Summer brings the midge of course but its a smallish price to pay. ;)

Re: North Coast 500 Oct. '18 mini review

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:59 pm
by Sport160
Sounds like a fantastic trip!

Re: North Coast 500 Oct. '18 mini review

Posted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:05 am
by StuBeeDoo
StuBeeDoo wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:42 pm
Would we do it again?  Ooh yeah!  ;D  Next time (next year?) we're going to do it the "right" way - up the west coast - but only as far as Tongue.
Plans are afoot for sometime during the first 2 weeks in October. We are able to leave home from the morning of Monday 7th and we have to be home by the evening of Saturday 19th. So when the weather forecast is best within that window........

Day 1 - Home to Fort William
Day 2 - F.W to Kinlochewe via Applecross
Day 3 - Kinlochewe to Achiltibuie via Red Point, Melvaig & Mellon Charles
Day 4 - Achiltibuie to Tongue
Day 5 - Tongue to Newtonmore via Altnaharra & Lairg
Day 6 - home

1100 miles total. :)

Re: North Coast 500 Oct. '18 mini review

Posted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:31 pm
by mr angry
I did it a couple of years ago on the motorbike, and like you decided on anti-clockwise. I wanted to get the less scenic part (east coast) over first. Although I have lived in Scotland all my life, I had never travelled on the A836 which is a fantastic road. I have to say that John O` Groats was a bit of an anti-climax.

Re: North Coast 500 Oct. '18 mini review

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 5:46 am
by StuBeeDoo
mr angry wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:31 pm
I wanted to get the less scenic part (east coast) over first.
Yes, that was part of my thinking. That, and that we'd already been to JOG before.

mr angry wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:31 pm
I have to say that John O` Groats was a bit of an anti-climax.
Most definitely.

Re: North Coast 500 Oct. '18 mini review

Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 7:24 am
by StuBeeDoo
StuBeeDoo wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:05 am
StuBeeDoo wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:42 pm
Would we do it again?  Ooh yeah!  ;D  Next time (next year?) we're going to do it the "right" way - up the west coast - but only as far as Tongue.
Plans are afoot for sometime during the first 2 weeks in October.
I've been over-ruled by A Higher Authority. :( "We've done it in Autumn. I'd rather do it in Spring, next time". So, in three weeks time, we're going to Pennine Yorkshire (Haworth-ish) for a week instead.