Scottish road trip

Im thinking of doing a solo Scotland road trip in June or July in my new (to me) ND. Any thoughts on the NC500 or other good driving roads i shouldnt miss in the highlands. I did the road to Applecross many years ago and i remember it being a blast.

PM me with your email and I will send you my guide, which many friends have used . I first drove in the Highlands in 1983 and have spent a lot of time there. The NC 500 was a marketing exercise and to a degree has been victim of its own success. It shows some good routes but is flawed in many respects , especially as it advocates an East- West route.

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Nice plan!
I have a roadtrip booked for the last week of may. Really looking forward to it! When you spot a Dutch galaxy grey NC1 and a driver with a big grin on his face, it’s me! :slight_smile: Here’s my route:

You’re stopping in Kemnay? Very local to us in Grampian area, let us know when you’re on the go.

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When your route is plotted out like that does anyone else just see Woody Woodpecker?
Probably just me!!


I can’t unsee that now!!


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Yes! I will be staying for 1 night at the Bennachie Lodge Hotel on saterday may 25th.

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Apart from the Scottish guide which I’ve already provided to some members I should mention that I’ve also written another which might be of interest to anyone driving up the A1M through Yorkshire to Scotland . It avoids some tedious dual carriageway and tracks the route of the old A1 Gt North Road via lightly used A roads . As before , PM me for details. Prompted by the interest in the Scottish guide , I’m giving it a long over due tidy up and edit and will send it to those who already have the current version and anyone else interested . It’ll be ready next week .


I don’t know the detail of your route, here is one suggestion for the section from Kemnay to Roybridge which also offers you the option to explore round about. In my opinion driving on the the South/East side of Loch Ness is better than the much busier North/West side.

Very much interested. Planning a week in September. Travelling over from Belfast.

Hi John
I’d like a update version of Scottish route and A1 route as I’d be coming from sunny South Yorkshire :sunglasses::sunglasses::sunglasses:
( I’d love to go to Loch Ness too :flushed::hushed: :rofl:)

If that’s possible please :pray:

Once North of Aberdeen really makes little odds which route you take or how long you spend taking it you are sure to enjoy it. Have fun.

Sure - just email me

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“I don’t know the detail of your route…”
Thanx for the tip IanH, much appriciated!

Some routes I’ve used before:

Day 1, Mon 16-May-22

Bridge of Allan to Nairn via Glencoe, Spean Bridge, and 5 others.

Option 1 – includes Skyfall road. 5 hr 18 min driving time.Ytin5Z7xFg63kiAD8

Option 2 – doesn’t include Skyfall. 4 hr 43 min driving time.

Stops: ???

Lunch – picnic at Glencoe, or café at Spean Bridge Cafe or Fort William? Or a more expensive option at the Lochside Brasserie. Or a very cheap option at the Eagle Barge Cafe?

Dinner -

Accommodation – lots available at

I’ve booked The Bandstand for Kev and me.

Departure time: 1040 from Bridge of Allan Stirling Castle Greggs at the Shell garage Blair Drummond Smiddy Farm Shop. 1hr lunch and 1 hr meet ups and 5 hr 20 min driving = 7 hr 20 min total.

Arrival time: 1800

Dinner booked at Classroom Bistro for 8.00pm . Can have drinkies here or elsewhere if we’re early. I might have a can or two in the room…

Day 2, Tue 17-May-22

3 hr 2 min driving

Nairn to Applecross via Inverness, Rhinduie, and 8 others.

Stops: ???

Touchstone Maze Mad little stone labyrinth

Strathpeffer Pavilion Strathpeffer’s a lovely wee town

Coffee Bothy at the Smiddy Nice wee cafe

Black Water Falls

Rogie Falls view

Grudie Bridge

Late lunch? Kishorn Seafood Bar

Lunch – TBC

Dinner – Applecross inn not open so food vans, do a bbq or 20 mins walk to the walled garden?

Accommodation – camping at Applecross campsite. £10 each.

I love this bit of road: Google Maps

Day 3, Wed 18-May-22

4 hr 27 min driving

Applecross to Clachtoll Beach Campsite via Ardheslaig, The Torridon, and 4 others.

Stops: ???

@Raymie - did you want to do a dolphin trip? £25 a head

‘Resident’ stag on the route…

Google Maps - possible lunch stop?

Breakfast - the junction cafe at applecross appears to have closed down so there’s the walled garden or a coffee van 30 mins up the road but not sure what food they do. I believe the van at the campsite does breakfast too but not sure from what time?

Lunch – TBC – would we be too early to stop at the Torridon? It’s just 1 hr 10 min from Applecross, which means there’s another 3 hr mins to go. Having said that, if we don’t stop here are we likely to end up in a pub type restaurant in Ullapool? There’s the golf club at Ullapool for something different.

Dinner – BBQ?

Accommodation – camping at Clachtoll Beach campsite. £19 each.

Day 4, Thu 19-May-22

This is the Grand Tour route, as I think the bit along the top to John O Groats and particularly the bit down the East Coast are nothing special.

Option 1 - Selected:

3 hr 34 min driving

Clachtoll Beach Campsite to Dornoch via Scourie, Durness, and 4 others.

Stops: ???

This is on the way up to Durness - Badcall bay. We have to go here I reckon, even just so we can say ‘that was a bad call’.

In Durness area there’s Smoo cave and also Balnakeil beach walk out to Faraid Head.

There’s Cape Wrath and Dunnett Head too but a long trip involving ferry and mini bus - no public access across Kyle of Durness.

Lunch – Sango Sands or Cheese & Toasted at Durness or if we’re up early and further down the road (a lot further) then there’s The Pier at the bottom end of Loch Shin. In between (after Durness and on the way South) there’s these: Worth a Look and The old Schoolhouse. Or for more expensive seafood The Shorehouse.

Dinner – I’ve booked this for 7pm - Platform 1864 Google Maps

Accommodation – maybe stay in Alness or Tain as much cheaper than Dornoch?

I’ve booked a room for Kev and me in Tain at Shandwick House (not Shandwick Inn).

Option 2 - Not selected:

4 hr 26 min driving

Clachtoll Beach Campsite to Inverness via Scourie, Durness, and 4 others.

If we go to Inverness this day – more choice of accommodation, food and drink?

Day 5, Fri 20-May-22

2 hr 18 min driving.

Dornoch to Aviemore via Bonar Bridge, Struie Hill Viewpoint, and 4 others.

Stops: ???

Lunch – Rothiemurchus café at Aviemore or similar.

This is heading home day…so shorter driving time and people can choose what they want to do next. Route is completely optional – you can come straight down the A9 from Dornoch if you want to save time.

Depending on day 4 option, we may start this from Inverness instead of Dornoch. Aviemore is just 40 mins down the A9 from Inverness.

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And you probably want to fit in Aviemore - Tomintoul - Cock Bridge - Balmoral - Bridge of Cally.

NC500 gets my vote.

Random thoughts & memories.

From Lochinver, if travelling south, the little road down to Polglass has lovely views of the summer isles (photo attached). You’ll need to back track from here so NC500ers tend to miss it.

I love the Black Isle. Rosemarkie is probably one of the best places in the UK to see dolphins. In June, the Cromarty-Nigg ferry should be running which is fun. I was disappointed when we did the NC500 that this ferry doesn’t run in May.

From Perth to Inverness, Blairgowrie, Glenshee, Braemar, Tomintoul and over to Nairn is much nicer than the A9.

We shall be going to NI soon so revisiting Dumfries & Galloway en route, we’ll stop by Castle Douglas on the way to our overnight at Kirkcudbright.


Not sure of current condition but last time I was there the road to applecross was in really terrible condition and ruined the fun tbh. And Skye was the same poor condition in 2023.

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