Scotland’s stunning North Coast 500 route is now on most lists of the top road trips in the world! But why just pass through so many great places further south in Scotland?
So huge thanks to Debbie and Lee who shared their 2-week Scotland motorhome tour route which began at Inverness, the official start of 516 mile NC500 route, but also made the most of some other amazing locations on their route.
As the name suggests, the North Coast 500 is a 516mile route around Scotland’s stunning northern coastline, you can explore white sandy beaches and remote fishing villages, with dramatic coastlines and mountains along the way. Heading north from Inverness, the route takes you up the east coast, through the Black Isle and Easter Ross, then Caithness at the very tip of Scotland. The route then winds back down the western coast and through Sutherland, Wester Ross and back to Inverness.
Debbie and Lee’s route covers most of the NC500 route, plus Skye, the western Peninsulas and right down to Loch Lomond. So if you can take the time to see more of Scotland, here’s what we’re calling their NC1500 route. That might be a bit much time or distance for you, but just like the NC500 itself, you can focus on the parts that appeal to you most, and make your own route. You can have a look at the route highlights here, or if you have plenty of time, read all the details
DAY 1: Getting there
Full of enthusiasm; long drive to Inverness (start of the official NC500 route).
Late arrival but worth it, pitched overlooking beautiful Beuly Firth…..more
DAY 2: Loch Ness – Easter Ross – Caithness
Lots to see; Loch Ness & Exhibition Centre, Urquhart Castle and Culloden Battlefield Culloden Moor.
Then north with a stop at Dunrobin Castle and overnight pub stopover in the pretty village of Keiss (Sinclair Bay)…..more
DAY 3: Sutherland
Exploring around the harbour in Keiss, then north to visit the amazing Duncansby Stacks and Duncansby Head Lighthouse.
A short drive to John O’Groats (park in the main car park) have a look at the refurbished hotel, great views
On to Dunnett Head (the highest point in Scotland) for stunning views, also worth stopping at Dunnet beach
Overnight in Durness – campsite overlooking lovely Durness beach…..more
DAY 4: Wester Ross
Visit to Smoo Cave with its waterfall chamber (Durness)
South-east and across the curving Kylesku Bridge and a visit to Lochinver (good car park for motorhomes) to try the famous pies.
Stop off at the ruined Ardvreck Castle(Loch Assynt) then to Ullapool, with its famous palm trees (shops & entertainment) and overnight pub stopover…..more
DAY 5: Wester Ross – Skye
South with a stop at Corrieshalloch Gorge (National Park) then to Plockton – lovely quiet village, with more palm trees.
Visit the iconic Eilean Donan Castle then to Kyle of Lochalsh (land of castles and lochs ) and over the bridge to Skye
Lots to see and not enough time here – visited Dunvegan Castle, the magical Fairy Glen and Rha waterfall at Uig.
Overnight campsite in Portree…..more
DAY 6: Great Glen
Back to the mainland, stunning drive along lochs and rivers (A87) to Invermoriston Falls on the shores of Loch Ness.
Fort Augustus for an evening walk along the southern tip of Loch Ness and overnight pub stopover…..more
If we only had a week, we could have ended our road trip here, having done our own take on the NC500. But we were lucky to have another week for exploring futher south.
DAY 7: Great Glen – Loch Lomond
Driving along the lochs of the great central rift with amazing views of Ben Nevis, stop off in Fort William (a good place to stock up),
Then along the stunning Glen Etive road, and past Glencoe towards Loch Lomond.
Overnight campsite on the shores of Loch Lomond near Luss…..more
DAY 8: Loch Lomond – Forth Valley
Exploring to the east from Loch Lomond, we visited Stirling Castle, then on to the Falkirk Wheel (a huge rotating boat lift) and the Kelpies – massive sculptures of 2 horses.
Getting a bit tired now, so a 2nd night at Luss Campsite.….more
DAY 9: Argyll & Bute
West today , visting Inveraray Jail (supposedly haunted) and Inverary Castle with lunch at Brambles – famous for great cakes & desserts
Stop-off at Kilchurn Castle on Loch Awe, then west to Oban (a good place for boat trips to the Islands).
Overnight at Campsite on Lunga Estate and ate out at the marina in Craobh Haven…..more
DAY 10: Kintyre Peninsula
We started our day visiting historic monuments in Kilmartin and Nether Largie South neolithic chambers.
A short drive for lunch in Lochgilphead then to the Mull of Kintyre at the tip of the peninsula
Overnight campsite near Campbeltown and dining out for great seafood…..more
DAY 11: Kintyre Peninsula
Morning walk on Machrihanish beach then exploring around Campbeltown and the harbour.
Really slowing down now, so another night at Machrihanish Holiday Park (nr Campbelltown)…..more
DAY 12: Kintyre – Loch Lomond
Coastal drive along the west coast of Kintyre, spotting whales and dolphins along the way.
Then along Loch Fyne and lunch at the famous Loch Fyne Oysters.
Back to Loch Lomond for and a boat trip and pub stopover on the loch…..more
DAY 13 : From Scotland to the Lake District
It was time to leave Scotland, to break the journey back, we decided to spend our last night in the lake district. We got well on our way and stopped in Moffat with lunch at Rumblin Tum, a little bistro and coffee shop. Then driving south again to the Lakes.
South with a lunch stop in Moffat, then left Scotland and headed south to the lake District.
Overnight campsite near Kendal…..more
DAY 14: Heading home
Our final motorhome drive (for now) as we returned our motorhome to Vista Motorhomes. We were pretty tired of driving at this point, but knew we were going to be missing it very soon.