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Scotland’s Route 66, affectionately known as the North Coast 500 or Nc500, is a captivating and iconic 516-mile scenic route in the picturesque Scottish Highlands. This renowned route takes travellers on an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Highlands, offering an immersive experience with diverse landscapes, historic sites, and rich cultural encounters.

As you embark on this remarkable journey, you’ll notice that “Scotland’s Route 66” parallels the famous U.S. Route 66, often called the “Main Street of America.” Just as the American Route 66 showcases the heartland of the United States, Scotland’s Route 66 proudly unveils the heart and soul of the Scottish Highlands.

The journey begins and ends in Inverness, a city steeped in history and known as the capital of the Highlands. From Inverness, travellers venture into the wild and enchanting landscapes that define this route, meandering through a circuitous path that delivers breathtaking vistas, charming villages, and the magic of Scotland’s history and culture.

Scotland’s Route 66 offers an experience like no other, inviting travellers to explore a diverse range of attractions, from the iconic Eilean Donan Castle, perched at the confluence of three lochs, to the enigmatic Loch Ness, famous for the elusive Nessie, and the captivating Isle of Skye, known for its dramatic landscapes and affluent folklore.

What sets Scotland’s Route 66 apart is the extraordinary beauty of its landscapes, the warmth of its communities, and the cultural tapestry that unfolds as you journey through the charming villages of Ullapool, John O’Groats, and many more. These towns offer a glimpse into the unique characters and stories of the Scottish Highlands, and they often serve as gateways to further exploration.

Accommodation options along Scotland’s Route 66 are as diverse as the landscapes themselves. Travellers can choose from campsites for those with a spirit of adventure, cosy beds and breakfasts that provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere, or luxurious hotels for those seeking a touch of indulgence. Whether you prefer the convenience of staying in towns or the solitude of more remote areas, Scotlands Route 66 caters to every traveller’s preference.

To make the most of your journey, it’s essential to consider the timing of your adventure. The best time to explore Scotland’s Route 66 is typically from May to September. The weather is milder during this period, and most attractions and accommodations are open, ensuring a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.

However, it’s essential to be prepared for the unpredictable weather conditions characteristic of Scotland. The key is to pack accordingly, with layers of clothing to adapt to changing conditions, waterproof gear to stay dry, comfortable and sturdy footwear for exploring, and a vigilant eye on the weather forecast to adjust your plans as needed.

As you traverse Scotland’s Route 66, you’ll encounter natural wonders and historical treasures. The route is dotted with medieval castles, ancient ruins, and sites of great historical significance. These offer a glimpse into Scotland’s rich and storied past and provide a deeper understanding of the region’s heritage.

Driving along Scotlands Route 66 presents unique challenges, especially when navigating the familiar single-track roads in some areas. Courteous driving etiquette is crucial on these roads. Travelers are encouraged to use designated passing places and to be patient when encountering other vehicles to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey for all.

Scotland’s Route 66 also offers opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts. Keep a keen eye out for red deer, seals, otters, and various bird species. The more remote and natural areas along the route provide excellent opportunities for spotting these creatures in their natural habitat.

For film enthusiasts, Scotlands Route 66 has been featured in several films, adding an extra layer of intrigue to the journey. You can visit locations used in films like “Braveheart” and “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” creating a unique cinematic connection to the route.

Hiking enthusiasts will find many reasons to be thrilled along Scotland’s Route 66. The route offers some of the most breathtaking hiking trails and viewpoints. For example, the Bealach na Ba viewpoint provides stunning vistas and the opportunity to marvel at the surrounding landscapes. On the Isle of Skye, the Quiraing is a unique geological formation and outlook that promises breathtaking views and excellent hiking opportunities.

Travelling with pets is also possible along Scotland’s Route 66. Many accommodations and outdoor areas are pet-friendly, ensuring your four-legged companions can share in the adventure. However, checking and planning accordingly is crucial if you intend to travel with your pets.

Drone usage for photography and capturing the beauty of Scotlands Route 66 is possible. However, it’s essential to know that drone usage may be subject to local regulations and restrictions. Researching the specific areas you plan to visit and understanding the rules and guidelines for drone usage is essential to ensure a smooth experience.

The historical and cultural significance of Scotland’s Route 66 extends beyond its natural beauty. The route has profoundly impacted the local communities along the journey. It has brought economic benefits through increased tourism, supporting local businesses and communities. Moreover, Scotlands Route 66 has become a symbol of the Scottish Highlands’ natural beauty and cultural heritage, capturing the imagination of both locals and visitors alike.

The Scottish Highlands are also known for their rich folklore and legends. Along Scotlands Route 66, you’ll have the opportunity to delve into some of these intriguing stories. One of the most famous legends is that of the Loch Ness Monster, often affectionately referred to as Nessie. This enigmatic creature has captured the world’s imagination for generations, and you can learn more about the legend at the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition.

Guided tours are available for those who prefer expert guidance and regional insights. These tours cater to various interests, including photography, wildlife, and cultural exploration. They provide a deeper understanding of the Scottish Highlands’ landscapes, history, and culture, making the journey even more enriching.

It’s advisable to plan when booking accommodations, especially during the peak season. You can book accommodations online through various platforms or contact them directly. This ensures that you secure your stay and can choose accommodations that best suit your preferences.

Scotland’s Route 66 is not just about the famous attractions; it also offers a treasure trove of lesser-known gems waiting to be explored. These hidden treasures add an extra layer of adventure to your journey. For instance, Sandwood Bay is known for its pristine and unspoiled beauty, offering a secluded and tranquil escape. Ardvreck Castle carries historical allure with its dramatic location on the shores of Loch Assynt. The remote Strathnaver Museum provides insights into the history and culture of the region, offering a deeper appreciation of the Scottish Highlands.

In conclusion, Scotland’s Route 66 is a journey that promises adventure, natural beauty, history, culture, and the warm hospitality of the Scottish Highlands. As you embark on this iconic route, you’ll create lasting memories and experience the magic of Scotland, making it a trip of a lifetime. Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast, a nature lover, or a history buff, Scotlands Route 66 offers something for everyone, ensuring a journey you’ll treasure forever.

Scotland’s Route 66, or Scotlands Route 66, embarks on its epic journey in the historic city of Inverness, located in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Inverness, often called the Highlands capital, is the perfect gateway to this scenic adventure. The city is steeped in history and culture, dating back to the 6th century.

From Inverness, your journey through Scotlands Route 66 unfolds as a circular route, which means it returns to Inverness, creating a convenient and efficient circuit. This circular design offers the advantage of experiencing the full range of landscapes, attractions, and cultural encounters that the Scottish Highlands offer without retracing your steps.

The route is meticulously designed to capture the essence of the Highlands, taking you through a diverse tapestry of landscapes. As you leave Inverness, you’ll soon find yourself immersed in the lush greenery of the Highlands, with its rolling hills and picturesque lochs. The journey then unfolds with breathtaking coastal cliffs, serene sea views, and dramatic mountainous terrain, providing a visual feast for the senses.

Exploring Scotlands Route 66, travellers will encounter charming towns and villages, each with unique characters and stories to share. Ullapool is a delightful coastal town known for its stunning views and vibrant art. John O’Groats, situated at the northeastern tip of the British mainland, offers the feeling of standing at the edge of the world.

The circular design of Scotlands Route 66 is not only practical but also offers the advantage of flexibility. Depending on their preferences, Travellers can start the journey in Inverness and proceed in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. Regardless of the law, the route ensures you’ll experience the same captivating landscapes and attractions.

The return to Inverness at the end of the journey provides the opportunity to reflect on your adventure, perhaps revisiting some of the places you encountered at the beginning with a fresh perspective. It’s a moment to savour the memories created along the route, soak in the culture, and appreciate the natural beauty of the Scottish Highlands.

Inverness is also the perfect location to conclude your journey, as it offers a range of amenities, including accommodations, dining options, and cultural attractions. You can explore the city’s historic sites, such as Inverness Castle and St. Andrew’s Cathedral, and indulge in local cuisine and traditional Scottish hospitality.

The circular nature of Scotlands Route 66, beginning and ending in Inverness, provides a sense of completion to the journey, making it a satisfying and memorable experience. Whether you’re starting your adventure in Inverness with a sense of anticipation or concluding it with a sense of fulfilment, the route ensures that you’ll leave with a profound appreciation for the Scottish Highlands’ natural beauty, history, and culture.

The duration of your Scotlands Route 66 adventure can vary depending on your travel pace and the depth of exploration you desire. However, most travellers typically take about 5 to 7 days to fully immerse themselves in this remarkable journey. This time frame allows for a balanced and leisurely exploration of the captivating landscapes, cultural experiences, and historic sites that define the route.

The route spans 516 miles, and its circular design begins and ends in Inverness. This allows you to experience many attractions and landscapes without retracing your steps, making it an efficient and fulfilling journey. The 5 to 7-day timeframe offers the opportunity to visit the major attractions and savour the essence of the Scottish Highlands, immerse yourself in local culture, and appreciate the natural beauty.

Travellers who are short on time may choose to complete the route in a shorter period, focusing on critical attractions and viewpoints. However, a week or more is recommended to truly absorb the magic of Scotlands Route 66 and engage in hiking, wildlife watching, and cultural exploration.

Here’s a sample itinerary for a 7-day journey along Scotlands Route 66:

  • Day 1: Start your adventure in Inverness, exploring the city’s historical sites and cultural attractions. Stay overnight in Inverness.
  • Day 2: Begin the journey by heading west to the iconic Eilean Donan Castle and the picturesque village of Plockton. Stay overnight in or near Kyle of Lochalsh.
  • Day 3: Discover the wonders of the Isle of Skye, exploring the Quiraing, Old Man of Storr, and Fairy Pools. Stay overnight on Skye.
  • Day 4: Continue your exploration of Skye, visiting Dunvegan Castle and other attractions. Stay another night on the island.
  • Day 5: Leave Skye and head north to Ullapool, taking in the scenic coastal landscapes. Explore Ullapool and spend the night.
  • Day 6: Journey north to John O’ Groats, capturing breathtaking sea views. Spend the night in this historic village.
  • Day 7: Make your way south to return to Inverness, with the option to visit additional attractions like Dunrobin Castle. Conclude your adventure in Inverness.

This itinerary allows for a comprehensive exploration of Scotlands Route 66 while ensuring you have time to absorb the beauty and culture of the Highlands truly. Variations and side trips are possible, catering to your interests and schedule.

Whether you complete the route in 5, 7, or more days, Scotlands Route 66 promises an unforgettable journey through a diverse and captivating landscape, offering a taste of Scotland’s natural beauty and rich history. It’s a voyage that can be tailored to your preferences and provides a sense of completion when you return to Inverness at the end of your adventure.

Scotlands Route 66 offers a unique and enchanting experience year-round, but the best time to embark on this journey is between May and September. During this period, the Scottish Highlands come alive with milder weather, longer daylight hours, and many attractions and accommodations that are open and ready to welcome travellers.

Here’s a breakdown of the seasons and what to expect during each:

Spring (March to May):

  • Spring is a season of renewal in the Highlands. The landscape begins to awaken with fresh greenery, and the wildflowers bloom, adding vibrant colours to the scenery.
  • This period can be quieter, making it an ideal time for travellers who prefer a more peaceful experience.
  • While the weather is improving, it can still be unpredictable, so packing for varying conditions is essential.

Summer (June to August):

  • Summer is the peak season for Scotlands Route 66. The weather is at its mildest, with longer daylight hours, providing ample time for exploration.
  • Most attractions, accommodations, and services are fully operational during summer.
  • It’s an excellent time for outdoor activities like hiking and wildlife watching.
  • However, popular destinations may be more crowded, so booking accommodations in advance is advisable.

Autumn (September to November):

  • Autumn offers the beauty of changing foliage, with the landscapes adorned in red, orange, and yellow shades.
  • The crowds begin to thin out after the summer rush, making it a pleasant time for a more relaxed journey.
  • The weather remains generally mild in early autumn, but as the season progresses, it can become calmer and wetter.

Winter (December to February):

  • While Scotlands Route 66 can be travelled in winter, it’s the least popular season due to the challenging weather conditions.
  • The Highlands can experience snowfall and icy roads, making specific routes and attractions less accessible.
  • Some accommodations and businesses may close during the winter months, limiting options for travellers.
  • If you travel in winter, be well-prepared for adverse weather conditions and check the status of attractions and accommodations in advance.

Overall, the best time to travel Scotlands Route 66 largely depends on your preferences. For the most comfortable and comprehensive experience, the summer months offer the best conditions, with pleasant weather and a wide range of options. However, spring and autumn provide a more serene atmosphere with their unique charms. At the same time, winter is suitable for those who appreciate a more challenging and off-the-beaten-path adventure.

No matter when you decide to embark on this iconic journey, Scotlands Route 66 promises a unique and unforgettable experience, with the landscapes and attractions of the Scottish Highlands ready to leave a lasting impression on your heart and soul.

Most definite. Many people now walk the North Coast 500.

Google ‘World Walking’ where you can sign up for support to do the route by foot…

Also, Check out the John O’Groats Trail for great Information

Is There a Starting and Finish Point for the Route

If you go by the North Coast 500, the Start and Finish point is Inverness Castle.

We believe you should start at the Culloden Battlefield.

Although Inverness Castle is a nice looking building it is certainly not what you would call an ‘Impressive’ place as far as Castles go.

In Past years access was limited as the Main Purpose of the Building was for use by the Law Courts of Inverness.

The Castle is undergoing a transformation into a Visitors Attraction now its use as a Law Court has ended.

This should certainly Help those making it there starting point or just as a place to visit in the future.

We prefer Culloden due to its historical importance to the Highlands, Scottish, UK and European History which changed after the Battle, and the importance of Culloden should not be underestimated.

To understand the Highlands and make your trip have a better understanding then, go to Culloden….

Is the road suitable for motor homes/caravans?

The route is suitable and many complete the route each year in a motor home.

There are, like most places, things you should make yourself aware of, especially if you are not a very competent driver on single track roads.

The ‘Bealach Na Ba’ stretch, however, is not suitable for large motorhomes, caravans and inexperienced drivers due to its sharp bends and steep gradients so we would advise taking the slip road up at the A896 instead.

We would also recommend avoiding the B869 from Lochinver to Kylesku as this can be a tricky route to follow for large vehicles. If you should, take the A837 back from Lochinver on the main road.

If your motorhome is more than a standard VW T5 conversion (ie about 16 – 18 ft in length), please take the alternative routes available.

It only takes ONE person who is not used to driving a large vehicle to block the road completely making things very difficult for those that use the road for work, and more importantly for emergency vehicles.

The Bealach Na Ba road to Applecross was been blocked several times because of this.

Locals and driving authorities say: If you cannot accurately reverse your vehicle several hundred yards on a narrow single track – you cannot safely drive over a road such as this.

The Bottom line as it should always be, Plan and ensure you are capable of driving the route you choose.

Other Questions

Scotlands Route 66 is renowned for its natural beauty and historic sites and its connection to the world of cinema. Several famous film locations can be found along the route, allowing film enthusiasts to explore scenes from some iconic movies. Here are a few notable film locations to discover:

  1. “Braveheart” (1995): Mel Gibson’s epic historical drama “Braveheart” is set against the backdrop of the Scottish Wars of Independence. While much of the filming took place in various locations in Scotland, you can visit Glen Nevis, near Fort William, which served as a critical setting for the film. The dramatic landscapes of Glen Nevis featured prominently in “Braveheart.”
  2. “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (2005): Fans of the Harry Potter series can venture to the Hogwarts Express route, better known as the Jacobite Steam Train line. This iconic railway journey takes you over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, a stunning bridge with 21 arches that provides a memorable scene in the film. The viaduct’s appearance as the Hogwarts Express route has made it a popular attraction.
  3. “Skyfall” (2012): The James Bond film “Skyfall” featured some breathtaking Scottish locations, including the dramatic scenery of Glen Coe. The winding roads and rugged mountains in Glen Coe were prominently showcased in the film, and you can drive through this cinematic landscape as you journey along Scotlands Route 66.
  4. “Stardust” (2007): The enchanting fantasy film “Stardust” utilized several locations in Scotland for its magical settings. One notable location is the Isle of Skye, which provided the backdrop for the scenes set in the magical realm of Stormhold. The otherworldly landscapes of Skye added to the film’s sense of wonder and adventure.
  5. “The Wicker Man” (1973): The original “The Wicker Man” film, a cult classic, was filmed in and around Dumfries and Galloway in southwest Scotland. While not directly on Scotlands Route 66, it’s a notable film location for those interested in cinematic history.

These film locations offer additional intrigue and excitement to your journey along Scotlands Route 66. Whether you’re a fan of epic historical dramas, fantasy adventures, or spy thrillers, you can explore the cinematic landscapes that have graced the silver screen and experience the magic of these locations in person.

Navigating the single-track roads along Scotlands Route 66 can be a unique and rewarding experience, but following specific driving tips is essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. Single-track roads are characteristic of the Highlands, and while they offer stunning views and access to remote areas, they require a courteous and considerate approach to sharing the road.

Here are some driving tips for navigating single-track roads:

1. Use Passing Places: Single-track roads are typically only wide enough for one vehicle at a time. Passing places are marked with “Passing Place” signs or indicated by widening the road. Use these designated spots to allow oncoming traffic to pass. If you reach a passing place first, pull into it and wait for the approaching vehicle to pass. If you encounter a car at a passing home, it’s common courtesy to allow them to proceed first.

2. Keep Left: Drive on the left side of the road, as in the rest of the UK. This is especially important on single-track roads to safely navigate passing places and curves.

3. Use Your Horn Sparingly: In some rural areas, it’s customary to use your horn as a friendly signal to let oncoming drivers know you’re approaching a blind curve or hill. However, be mindful not to overuse it, as excessive honking can be considered impolite.

4. Be Patient: Patience is vital when driving on single-track roads. If you encounter a slower-moving vehicle, wait for an appropriate passing place to overtake safely. Likewise, if someone is patiently waiting for you to pass at a passing home, acknowledge them with a wave of thanks.

5. Watch for Wildlife: The Scottish Highlands are home to various wildlife, and you may encounter animals on or near the road. Drive cautiously, especially during dawn and dusk when nature is more active. Slow down if you spot animals, and be prepared to stop if necessary.

6. Keep an Eye on the Weather: Highland weather conditions can change rapidly. Be prepared for rain, fog, or even snow, depending on the season. Drive at a safe speed and be cautious on wet or slippery roads.

7. Prepare for Narrow Bridges: Some single-track roads cross narrow bridges, and only one vehicle can pass at a time. Exercise caution when approaching these bridges and yield to any oncoming traffic.

8. Plan Your Stops: Use designated parking areas or passing places when taking breaks or enjoying scenic viewpoints. Avoid stopping in the middle of the road, as it can obstruct traffic.

9. Use a Suitable Vehicle: A smaller vehicle is often more convenient if you plan to drive on single-track roads. Larger vehicles, such as campervans or motorhomes, may find some sections of the route more challenging due to the narrow streets.

Following these driving tips and practising courteous road etiquette, you can navigate the single-track roads along Scotlands Route 66 safely and respectfully, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey for yourself and fellow travellers. Embracing these roads’ slower pace and scenic beauty is part of the unique charm of the Highlands.

Accommodations along Scotlands Route 66 are as diverse and captivating as the landscapes. Whether you’re seeking a cosy bed and breakfast, a luxurious hotel, a campsite close to nature, or a unique and charming guesthouse, you’ll find options to suit every traveller’s preference.

  1. B&Bs and Guesthouses: Along the route, you’ll discover numerous welcoming bed and breakfasts and guesthouses. These provide a personal and homey atmosphere, often run by friendly and knowledgeable hosts who can share local insights and recommendations. They are perfect for travellers who value a warm and authentic experience.
  2. Luxury Hotels: If you’re looking for a touch of luxury during your journey, you’ll find a selection of elegant hotels along the route. These establishments offer exquisite accommodations, fine dining, and often spa facilities. They’re ideal for travellers who want to pamper themselves while enjoying the Highland’s beauty.
  3. Campsites: For the adventurous at heart, camping is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the natural surroundings of Scotlands Route 66. Camps are available in various locations, including showers, electrical hookups, and more remote sites for those seeking a wilderness experience.
  4. Hostels: Budget-conscious travellers can use hostels in some towns along the route. These hostels offer shared accommodations and are an excellent choice for those who want to make the most of their budget while still experiencing the journey.
  5. Local Inns and Pubs: Many charming towns and villages along the route have local inns and pubs offering accommodations. Staying in these traditional establishments can provide a sense of community and allow you to mingle with locals.

To help you get started, here are a few recommendations for great places to stay at various points along Scotlands Route 66:

  • Inverness: Inverness offers many accommodations, from luxury hotels like the Kingsmills Hotel to charming B&Bs like the Glen Mhor Hotel & Apartments. The city caters to various preferences and budgets.
  • Isle of Skye: The Isle of Skye is known for its unique accommodations, including the Sligachan Hotel, which offers stunning views of the Cuillin Mountains, and the romantic Kinloch Lodge, which combines luxury with Highland charm.
  • Ullapool: Ullapool has a selection of accommodations, such as the charming Morefield Motel and Guest House and the quirky Caledonian Hotel, known for its character and live music.
  • John O’ Groats: At the northeastern tip of the route, you’ll find accommodations like the Seaview Hotel, offering breathtaking views, and John O’ Groats Inn, known for its hospitality.
  • Kyle of Lochalsh: Near the famous Eilean Donan Castle, you can stay at the Balmacara Hotel or the Lochalsh Hotel, providing convenient access to the castle and the scenic surroundings.

It’s important to note that accommodations along Scotlands Route 66 can get booked up, especially during the peak season from May to September. To ensure you secure your preferred places to stay, it’s advisable to book in advance. This is particularly important if you have specific accommodation preferences or requirements.

Whether in a cosy B&B, an elegant hotel, or under the starry Highland skies at a campsite, the accommodations along Scotlands Route 66 enhance your journey by offering comfort, convenience, and a taste of Highland hospitality.

Exploring the history and culture of the Scottish Highlands is an integral part of the Scotlands Route 66 experience. The region is steeped in a rich and captivating heritage, and you can delve into it through various means along the route:

1. Museums and Heritage Centers: The Scottish Highlands are home to numerous museums and heritage centres that provide insights into the region’s history. Some notable options include the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore, where you can discover traditional Highland life, and the Strathnaver Museum in Bettyhill, which explores the history of the Strathnaver region.

2. Historic Sites and Castles: The Highlands are adorned with historic sites and castles that reveal the region’s storied past. Urquhart Castle, situated on the shores of Loch Ness, offers a glimpse into medieval history. At the same time, Eilean Donan Castle is a splendid example of Scottish castles and their role in history.

3. Visitor Centers: Throughout the route, you’ll encounter visitor centres that provide information about local history, culture, and attractions. These centres are excellent resources for learning about the areas you’re passing through.

4. Local Events and Festivals: Check for local events and festivals that may be happening along the route. These gatherings often celebrate Highland culture through music, dance, food, and storytelling. For example, the Highland Games offer a window into traditional Scottish sports and festivities.

5. Cultural Experiences: Embrace the local culture by attending ceilidhs (traditional Scottish social gatherings with music and dancing) or trying Highland dancing. You can also savour conventional Scottish dishes in local pubs and restaurants.

6. Guided Tours: Consider taking guided tours focusing on the Scottish Highlands’ history and culture. Knowledgeable guides can provide in-depth information and anecdotes about the places you visit.

7. Local Art and Craft Galleries: Explore the vibrant arts scene in the Highlands by visiting local galleries and studios. You can find unique artworks and crafts that reflect the region’s culture and creativity.

8. Libraries and Local Archives: Some towns along the route have libraries and local archives where you can delve into historical records and documents. These resources can be invaluable for those interested in the area’s history.

9. Books and Maps: Before or during your journey, consider reading books or using maps that provide historical and cultural context for the areas you visit. This can enhance your appreciation of the region’s heritage.

As you travel Scotlands Route 66, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with the history and culture of the Scottish Highlands at your own pace. Whether you’re drawn to the ancient stories of clans, the myths and legends of the landscape, or the enduring traditions of the Highlands, your journey will be enriched by the myriad ways you can connect with the region’s rich history and culture.

Scotlands Route 66 is an enchanting and diverse journey through the heart of the Scottish Highlands, teeming with remarkable attractions that captivate the senses and create lasting memories. From iconic castles to breathtaking natural wonders, here are some of the top attractions you can explore along this extraordinary route:

  • Eilean Donan Castle: Perched at the confluence of three lochs, Eilean Donan Castle is one of Scotland’s most iconic and photographed castles. The castle’s dramatic setting on a small island creates a fairytale-like ambience, making it a must-visit attraction for history and architecture enthusiasts.
  • Loch Ness: No visit to Scotlands Route 66 is complete without encountering the mystique of Loch Ness, famous for the elusive Loch Ness Monster, affectionately known as Nessie. The loch’s deep, dark waters and the surrounding lush landscapes provide a captivating setting for exploration and intrigue.
  • Isle of Skye: Known for its dramatic landscapes, the Isle of Skye is a jewel along the route. From the otherworldly rock formations of the Quiraing to the jagged peaks of the Cuillin Mountains, the Isle of Skye offers unparalleled natural beauty and hiking opportunities.
  • Ullapool: This charming coastal village is an ideal stop for those seeking to taste local culture and stunning sea views. Ullapool is a hub for arts and music and a gateway to the Western Isles, offering ferry connections to explore even more of Scotland’s remote beauty.
  • John O’Groats: Situated at the northeastern tip of the British mainland, John O’Groats provides a sense of standing at the world’s edge. This historic village is a fantastic viewpoint and a place to contemplate the completion of your Scotlands Route 66 adventure.
  • Dunrobin Castle: Located on the east coast of the route, Dunrobin Castle is a splendid stately home with magnificent gardens. It is often compared to a French château, and a visit here reveals a captivating blend of Scottish and continental influences.
  • Castles and Ruins: Throughout the journey, you’ll encounter a multitude of castles and historic ruins that transport you back in time. These include Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness, the eerie Ardvreck Castle overlooking Loch Assynt, and the medieval ruins of Ruthven Barracks, each with a unique history and ambience.
  • Wildlife Watching: The Highlands are home to an array of wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for red deer, seals basking on coastal rocks, otters playing in the lochs, and various bird species, including puffins on the north coast.
  • Cultural Encounters: Beyond the natural beauty, Scotlands Route 66 provides opportunities to immerse yourself in local culture. Visit the Highland Folk Museum to learn about traditional Highland life, or explore the Strathnaver Museum to explore the region’s history.
  • Hiking Trails and Viewpoints: Scotlands Route 66 is a paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The Bealach na Ba viewpoint offers breathtaking vistas, while the Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye is an iconic and mystical rock formation that beckons hikers to explore its unique beauty.
  • Whisky Distilleries: The Scottish Highlands are renowned for their whisky, and you can take a detour to visit whisky distilleries along the route. From Glen Ord Distillery near Inverness to Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye, you can savour the flavours of Scotch whisky.

These are just a few of the top attractions along Scotlands Route 66. The route is a treasure trove of diverse experiences, offering something for everyone, whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or a culture enthusiast. Each attraction adds a unique charm to this unforgettable journey through the heart of the Scottish Highlands.

The Scottish Highlands, home to Scotlands Route 66, offer a rich and diverse array of wildlife. As you journey through this stunning landscape, you can spot various creatures, both on land and in the water. Here are some of the wildlife species you might encounter along the route:

1. Red Deer: The red deer is the largest land mammal in the UK and is often spotted in the Highlands. They graze in the open moorlands and are particularly active during the early morning and evening.

2. Seals: Along the coastal areas and islands, seals are a common sight. You can spot them basking on rocks or swimming in the sea. Keep a respectful distance to avoid disturbing them.

3. Otters: Otters are elusive creatures, but with patience and a watchful eye, you may be lucky to see them playing in the lochs and rivers. Dawn and dusk are good times for otter spotting.

4. Golden Eagles: The Scottish Highlands are home to these magnificent birds of prey. Look to the skies for their distinctive silhouette as they soar over the mountains and glens.

5. Puffins: If you venture to the north coast, particularly around John O’ Groats and nearby islands, you may have the chance to see puffins during the breeding season. These comical birds nest in burrows along the cliffs.

6. Red Squirrels: While red squirrels are less common than their grey counterparts, you can still encounter them in wooded areas along the route. They are known for their distinctive ear tufts and reddish fur.

7. Dolphins and Whales: The coastal areas near the route, especially on the west coast and the Inner Hebrides, are excellent for dolphin and whale watching. Common sightings include bottlenose dolphins, minke whales, and orcas.

8. Birds: The Highlands are a paradise for birdwatchers. Watch for various bird species, including golden eagles, white-tailed eagles, red grouse, ptarmigan, and various waterfowl.

9. Red Foxes: You may encounter red foxes, particularly during the quieter hours of dawn and dusk. They are known for their rust-coloured fur and bushy tails.

10. Mountain Hares: In the higher, more remote areas, you might spot mountain hares, especially in their distinctive white winter coats.

Remember that wildlife encounters are a privilege, and respecting the animals and their natural habitat is essential. Keep a respectful distance, avoid feeding wildlife, and follow specific wildlife-watching guidelines or regulations.

For the best chances of spotting wildlife, bring a camera with a telephoto lens binoculars, and consider joining guided wildlife tours led by experts who can enhance your wildlife-watching experience. Scotlands Route 66 offers a unique opportunity to connect with the natural world and witness the beauty of Scotland’s untamed creatures.

What Will I See as I travel the Route

The are plenty of small settlements that you will come across. Some are only a few 10’s of people but there are larger settlements of small villages and towns. Obviously, Inverness is by far the largest place on the route. Other towns that have populations of well under 10,00 are the likes of Ullapool, Durness, Dornoch, Wick, Thurso, Golspie and Lochinver.

The Scenery is what most people come for and there is plenty of that especially on the West Coast and inland which many fail to ventures to.

Sticking to the route is the safe option, but going off route can be a huge bonus in terms of Scenery and wildlife.

The East and North coasts have plenty on offer, they may lack scenery but if you take time to look and find out you will be amazed at what there is.

From the rugged coastline, beaches, rural farmland, bogs, rivers, forest, lochs, and Munros each coast does have it all and its own uniqueness.

Wildlife is in abundance and changes as does the time of year you should be able to see deer, squirrels, pine martens, birds of prey, seabirds, and sea mammals such as dolphins, whales and seals.

Of course, there are also loads of sheep and the iconic Highland Coo’s, but remember many of these animals can easily be on the road around the next corner.

In this part of the World you have to drive with even more caution than normal, so, always be aware.

The entire route is filled with other things to see and do. You can go hiking, golfing, visit castles, heritage sites, prehistoric sites, a geological park, museums, beaches, whisky distilleries, and so much more.

Each part of the route holds its very own appeal, it all depends on what you want.

The West has stunning scenery, the North has a tremendous coastline and wild sea bird, just for starters. The East has a stunning coastline and terrific, places to visit. It is full of history and culture, and to venture slightly inland gives an extra sense of the Highlands.

The Low road although not given enough coverage still has plenty to offer, you just need to look…

Plenty will venture to the Highlands and spend woefully too little time in one place, to us that is a Huge Mistake.

Slow Down, Explore More, Chill Out and take in the breathtaking Landscape and all that t offers, we always say, it is More than Just a Journey, Make it your own.