NC500 – catchy isn’t it? Some call it Scotland’s answer to the Route 66 but we think it’s a lot more special; a lot closer to home for a start. Let it’s landscapes and stories capture your heart.
Starting from the Highland capital Inverness and heading either North or West along the circular route you’ll experience more breathtakingly spectacular scenery than you could imagine. From beaches with clear turquoise waters and white sand to hair-raising bridges across ancient gorges. There are internationally renowned gardens and stately homes as well as historic points of interest from ancient Pictish settlements to many strategically important navel sites from the second world war.
When in Wester Ross…
Mellon Udrigle beach is just one of the many sandy beaches that dot the western coastline but it is certainly one of the most beautiful. With white sand and great views to the surrounding mountains this is definitely a spot to stop and explore – look out for the mysterious stone art works.
In the village of Poolewe you will find the renowned Inverewe gardens. Managed by the National Trust of Scotland, the gardens are a lush, surprisingly sub-tropical-style oasis on the edge of Loch Ewe.
Perhaps at the top of your itinerary in our westerly corner of the Highlands will be the Bealach Na Ba – or the ‘Pass of the cattle’ one of the highest and steepest roads in the country. If you hold your nerve you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and even across to Skye on a clear day.
Your route on the NC500 will take you past Loch Maree. Considered one of the most beautiful of the Scottish lochs, you will be in photographer paradise. The loch has more than sixty islands scattered throughout it with some hosting the nearest thing to untouched natural woodland in Britain.
You’ll find a suitable trail for all abilities at Britain’s oldest National Nature Reserve – Beinn Eighe. Amongst the abundant wildlife you will spot crossbills, golden eagles and red deer.
The cluster of seven peaks that make up Beinn Eighe are famous with hillwalkers who sometimes call it the ‘saw-toothed mountain’ or ‘file mountain’. Formed from the oldest dated rocks in the world Beinn Eighe is also surrounded by ancient pine forests and rivers.
Another reminder of planet Earth’s tumultuous past can be found further inland at the Corrieshalloch gorge– a box-canyon that was formed 2.6million years ago.
With a Victorian suspension bridge and a viewing platform the jaw-dropping delights of the gorge can be truly appreciated.
Staying With Us
When all the above mentioned spots and so many more are accessible within a 30 minute drive, the Aultbea Hotel really is the perfect spot from which to explore this section of the North Coast 500.
With fabulous dining options that showcase the local produce, a great hotel bar with an array of Scottish gins, whiskies and local ale and of course the best of Highland hospitality, we’re proud to be a part of so many peoples Highland adventure.
Plan your trip
To help you plan your North Coast 500 trip use the interactive map from the NC500 initiative HERE
And book your stay at the Aultbea Hotel Here.
NC500 members get a 10% discount on room rates when booked directly with the hotel.
Photography kindly supplied by Mark Appleton