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Doing NC500 & camping - any tips, sites to see, etc.?


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I've just got back from oop North a few hours ago, was in Loch Eriboll yesterday morning and back home this morning with a couple of brief naps on the way.

I didn't take care of any of the accommodation as I was helping a friend guiding and off-road tour around the Highlands but when booking in say the ambulance is a motor-home rather than "camping". A lot of the campsites have in the last few days stopped accepting campers and restricting them to motor-homes because they have built in toilet facilities and showers.

Not just because he's a good friend of mine but I'd highly recommend stopping off at Hughie's (of Portal Rover fame) North57 campsite (anyone who want's his mobile number drop me a PM). He only accepts off-road vehicles because it's basically wild-camping with toilet facilities. He's got several fire-pits set up and if you come primed with a bottle of whisky you'll definitely get some very good stories off him (lead an extremely interesting life). If needed there's also a pretty well stocked garage with 4t two-poster in it if you need some tinker time on a vehicle, coupled with someone who's extremely knowledgeable about off-road vehicles. Campsite is just outside Beauley and if you speak to him nicely he might let you take his canoe out on the river (may or may not have a mount for an outboard on the back :rolleyes:).

Here's a quick piccy of the campsite he took the morning we were setting off.

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Be prepared for hundreds of VW Transporters up there - I drove a couple staying at Hughie's AirBnB over to Skye via Applecross and we must have passed 40-50 of them on the way over there. Thankfully didn't come across too many wobble boxes but we were off the beaten track a little bit.

Points of interest on the way around:

  • A890 from Hughie's to Skye is utterly spectacular (train line goes along the same Glen but usually on the other side and has been voted one of the most scenic train rides in the world).
  • Applecross Pass - nuff said, had a picnic / lunch just over the summit there on Wednesday
  • Road from Loch Eriboll down past Ben Hope to Altnaharra (cuts off bits of the NC500 but very beautiful up there). I've not actually done the corner from the north end of Loch Eriboll down to Loch Hope because we've got permission from the Eriboll estate to use one of their roads to cut across.
  • Scourie is a beautiful little village and great campsite but they're only accepting units with built in toilets and wash facilities.

Midgets (or midges) 

The buggers are out in force this year. The wet and warm winter hasn't killed them off as well as it normally does so try and find spots that are up on hills where you're likely to keep a breeze most of the time. If the campsites allow it then the best way to keep them away is a smoky fire.

And some nice scenery from this week to wet your appetite, the colours in the hills are superb at the moment.

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I have driven this NC 500 several times, once just myself and the wife I wanted to do the entire run and did it anti-clock wise from Inverness, I just wanted to have driven the entire NC500 route.

The second time I lead a convoy with another 4 landys over a 6-day period, I agree the west coast drive is spectacular, in fact this time I missed out the east coast and drove from Inverness to Tongue up the centre of Scotland so to speak.

If you are coming from the south then this route below is excellent from Perth to Inverness, this is my wording on the route which my friends had copies as we didn’t stay nose to tail.

Plenty of things to see and do but as another poster says bring a load of patience and stop and do what you feel yourself wanting to do, no rush it’s about the journey

However, whatever you do drive the pass from Applecross to Loch Carron this is breath taking scenery.  

 

 Green lane run from Perth to Inverness about 89 miles in total

Old Military Road, this is all tarmac roads but the scenery is beautiful.

Just make sure you have good brakes lol lol lol and you will need second gear as the hills are steep.

 

Take the M90 into Perth as normal.

 Cross the Friarton Bridge and take the junction immediately after it (J11).

 Heading back towards Perth town on the A85.

 Continue on this road until it leaves Perth and becomes the A93 towards Scone & Lethendy

Continue through Blairgowrie still on A93 towards Bridge of Cally

 Eventually you'll end up at Glenshee Ski Centre.

 Continue on towards Balmoral Castle.

 Just BEFORE Balmoral Castle there is a sharp left that doubles back slightly leading uphill onto the B976 towards Braenaloin, YOU WILL PASS THIS JUNCTION so double back and continue

 Bear left in Gairnshiel to join the A939 and over the hump back bridge.

 Follow towards Colnabaichin

 Just before Colnabaichin turn left to stay on the A939 towards Lecht Ski Centre.

 End up in Tomintoul and stay on A939 towards Bridge of Brown.

 Eventually you'll end up in Grantown-on-Spey.

 Head south west on A95 towards Carrbridge via Duthill on the A938 and then join the A9 towards Inverness.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well we're back in sunny Basingstoke 1,996 miles later - PC's exploded so no photos to upload just yet <_<

Some great scenery, some great roads, some not-so-terrible weather, all went very well really.

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18 hours ago, FridgeFreezer said:

Well we're back in sunny Basingstoke 1,996 miles later - PC's exploded so no photos to upload just yet <_<

Some great scenery, some great roads, some not-so-terrible weather, all went very well really.

Pleased to hear it and looking forward to the pictures and where you went. The Volvo is nearly ready for it's trip

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