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North Coast 500

  • Gadget
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15 Aug 2020 21:46 #226749 by Gadget
North Coast 500 was created by Gadget
With the upcoming Jimny meet in October pulling me into the top half of the country, I'm planning to keep on going after the off-road day and tour the NC500 route. Stopping off near Glasgow on the Sunday night, then up through Inverness to John O'Groats and following the circuit counter-clockwise back to Inverness. Doing it solo as family are at work/school that week, with current itinerary being Sunday through to Thursday.

Any recommendations on sights that need to be seen? Tight schedule means I sadly won't be doing any long hikes, so looking for any recommendations on natural sights that I shouldn't miss close to the route.Not bothered about museums/distrillerys and man made stuff, just the landscape and natural world.
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15 Aug 2020 22:14 #226753 by Scimike
Replied by Scimike on topic North Coast 500
Did it on a motorcycle a few years back, hugged the road nearest to the coast as much as we could, it's simply spectacular. Went all the way to Dunnet Head before we swung south again. It's all good, you will enjoy it all. I recommend you travel slow enough to take it all in, even Dunnet head is spectacular.
Due to stopping to look and take photos It took longer to travel the distance each day than we planned. Fuel up at every opportunity (or carry a can), at one point we did not know if the next station was open, they are few and far between with a 200 mile tank range.
Have fun.

Yokohama Geolanders, Sony 2D head unit, Elvis Bobblehead, Jimnybits transfer Guard, Hand crafted Indian hanging Elephant, Koni Heavy track dampers, Voodoo Doll with pins (active spell - I believe it's working), Jimnybits Adventure Rack, towbar, Light bar and vintage caravan.
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16 Aug 2020 04:00 #226761 by Lambert
Replied by Lambert on topic North Coast 500
I do this every year if possible. Its possible to do it in a long weekend if you're solo and just want to look at your surroundings as opposed to photographs of every mountain and blade of grass. The one sight worth making a schedule stop for is Smoo Cave, it's a massive sea cave with a huge waterfall at the back. Epic is too small a word. As far as amazing views from the road go, the pass down from Applecross is magnificent and Glen Coe has atmosphere on a different level to anywhere else on earth. But every new corner is spectacular you will never be bored. Oh and have a contingency for fuel in October as not every petrol station will be open, i rolled into one with 1.5 litres left in the tank having been past 2 that were closed, squeaky bum times.

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16 Aug 2020 08:11 #226766 by gusthegorilla
Replied by gusthegorilla on topic North Coast 500
West side....Sheildaig to Applecross, then head east over the Bealach Na Ba (Pass of the Cattle) to Lochcarron.....50-ish miles of scenery as good as Norway....photo stops are obligatory...B) B)


I'm planning to live forever.....so far, so good !!
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16 Aug 2020 08:35 #226768 by Gadget
Replied by Gadget on topic North Coast 500
Thanks all. Yes, I've been worrying about the fuel situation, given the low range of the Jimny. I usually only get about 250 miles to a tank, so had been planning on 200 mile refills, but might have to consider carrying some spare.
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17 Aug 2020 15:13 #226850 by gilburton
Replied by gilburton on topic North Coast 500
I've done it in my Jimny towing a small caravan.
No problem with fuel. There is a Tesco at wick on the way to John'O' Groats or top up at Thurso.
The fuel will be plenty as your speeds will be right down on the single track section.
I stopped at Durness camp site next to Smoo Cave and there is a Spar shop and a pub.
There are some smaller single pump places but it is expensive.
After Thurso the next larger fuel station is in Ullapool. so you can work that out.
As said it will take you longer than you think and you may have to ring ahead or book a B&B with the Covid situation??

I started off high and worked my way down ever since :-)
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17 Aug 2020 16:03 #226852 by Lambert
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The problem is the time of year. In general by October much of Northern Scotland is preparing to or has already closed for the season so that not every petrol station is actually open especially on the weekend which can be an issue. Its also worth expecting about 150 miles from a tank, anything more being a bonus, because you are not going to be cruising along in 5th all day, you will be up and down the box and the rev range like a yo-yo, because Mountains. Gandalf.

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17 Aug 2020 16:06 #226853 by Lambert
Replied by Lambert on topic North Coast 500
Oh and whilst increasing numbers of petrol stations are now automatic self service you can guarantee that the one you have just pulled into running on vapour is waiting for an engineer. Ask me how I know!

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17 Aug 2020 16:34 - 17 Aug 2020 17:49 #226855 by gilburton
Replied by gilburton on topic North Coast 500
According to what you are saying you won't actually be doing the full NC 500 and basically doing a loop around the North coast and back down to Ullapool and return to Inverness.
You won't be deviating far off the route or doing Applecross.
The distance from Thurso to Ullapool is app 140 mls and there are dotted along the route single pumps outside shops. These keep normal shop hours so are open at 9-5. I did put a couple of gallons in at the Spar shop at Durness but that was more for my peace of mind.
There are no large petrol stations between Thurso/Ullapool so you either take a couple of gallons spare or chance it.
Personally I found the Jimny was very economical at 30/40 mph which is the speeds you will be doing as a lot of it is single track.
it is quite civilised on the East coast and you get all the normal supermarkets/small towns up as far as Thurso.
It's not a race just take your time and see the views. There are plenty at every turn. If someone comes up behind on the single track roads just indicate and pull in to a passing place which are every 1/4 mile or so.
It will be getting dark early so allow plenty of time and enjoy it..
This is near Durness on the North coast.

I started off high and worked my way down ever since :-)
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Last edit: 17 Aug 2020 17:49 by gilburton.
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17 Aug 2020 21:57 #226867 by TillymintDLG
Replied by TillymintDLG on topic North Coast 500
This is on my bucket list....not really interested in the East Coast tbh, the highest I have been up to is Applecross but would like to go up to Ullapool and beyond, that's where the Best Beaches are...
But seeing as 'Glencoe' has been mentioned here, I have just after extensive research into the 'wee hours',found the exact GPS coords of where Bond parked the DB5 in Glen Etive (SKYFALL)...
For a paltry 'One Million Dollars' I will post them on here for anyone so inclined to replicate this Iconic piece of Cinematography....



Only kidding....It's One Million Euros!

Only kidding... It's 56.6194928,-4.9313601
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17 Aug 2020 22:00 #226868 by TillymintDLG
Replied by TillymintDLG on topic North Coast 500
Single track roads too, you will be pulling into 'Passing Places' quite a lot! I had to get from Loch Awe to Oban in an emergency once (pull up a chair), Twenty Five miles away and it took me over TWO hours!...

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17 Aug 2020 22:03 #226870 by TillymintDLG
Replied by TillymintDLG on topic North Coast 500
Scariest ride ever with a 110 and a Sankey trailer! But the VIEW !!

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