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 10,000 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 venture 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 it offers, we always say, it is More than Just a Journey, Make it your own.
If you go by the North Coast 500, the starting 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 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 abetter understanding then, go to Culloden….
This is really the million-dollar question. One thing about the Highlands is predicting the Weather would be as difficult as guessing the correct numbers as the National Lottery. You can expect average maximum temperatures to range from approximately 7°C (45°F) to 13 °C (55°F) during the months of March, April and May. We do tend to have April showers, but it’s the Scottish Highlands, you can expect rain any day. June, July and August are normally the warmest months in Scotland, with average maximum temperatures ranging from approximately 15°C (59°F) to 17°C (63 °F). Scotland’s high latitude means that we enjoy lovely long summer days and often an extended twilight. At the height of summer, there is actually no complete darkness in the far north of Scotland. And, with the extra hours of daylight, you can pack a lot more into your summer holiday. In the Autumn months, Scotland is likely to experience temperatures ranging from around 8°C (46°F) to 14°C (57°F) from September to November. but although it’s colder it is a perfect time of the year to get some photographs with stunning colours as you take an invigorating autumn amble through the forests and Glens. December, January and February are generally the coldest months in Scotland, with the average maximum temperature usually around 5°C (41°F). The average number of days with snow falling in Scotland ranges from 15 to 20 days. However, the peaks and mountains of the Highlands experience around 100 days of falling snow. In short really and in truth you can experience the year’s weather in one day, it has been known to snow in May and for temps to reach summer heights in November. Never trust the Weather in Scotland, prepare for all weathers.
We are just a page in a way dedicated to helping people who wish to travel to the Scottish Highlands, make the most of it. Although we are very very similar to the North Coast 500, in that we started as a Fan page to that said Route. Due to legal trademarking laws, we were forced to change our name and hence reborn Scotland’s Route 66. We do differ slightly from the NC500 in we believe the Route to the Highlands should start at Culloden. Because of History, it is too important to miss Culloden out. To travel the Highlands with an understanding of how we are here Historically will allow a greater understanding as you travel and visit certain places. Although our route is similar it does differ ie: Culloden and we miss out on two of the modern-day bridges to allow people to see all or as much as the Highlands as possible….using the bridges cuts out a large part of the local area. We also believe in allow folk to advertise their businesses on our site for FREE, as we want to help those living and working on the route to gain the most from it. In Short, Scotland’s Route 66 is just a Name, but made by people with a Love for their Highlands.
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
To us we recommend to experience the NC500, you should spend at minimum 5-7 days along the route minimum. To have a full experience and to benefit from all that there is on offer we certainly recommend 10-14 days. Find somewhere and set a base and spend a few days exploring whats on offer. The distance between places is minimal and taking your time is certainly beneficial to all. The Route and the Highlands needs deserves and is best experienced at a slow pace, It really is more than Just a Journey.
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. Here is a great Wee Video for those who will experience Single Track Roads https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RWwKgCVhuQ