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North Coast 500

I understand this trip is unsurpassed in scenic beauty. Is it possible to jam it into two long days of driving? I realize it would be much better in 3 or 4, but 2 days is all we could devote to it...

Posted by
244 posts

We drove half of the drive starting from Bettyhill to Ullapool. We spent 3 nights in Bettyhill (ancestral home) then drove to Ullapool. What an amazing trip. We made many stops along the way. It was a very long day! But our favorite of our trip to Scotland. I'm not sure if you can do the entire trip in 2 days. If I were you I would try to do just part of the trip and allow yourself time to really enjoy the adventure. We stopped at Durness to see Smoo Cave, Kylesku Bridge, and at Corrieshalloch Gorge and the Falls of Measach. The sea was breathtaking, the drive was so fun! Part of the drive is on one track roads, drivers are very respectful. I loved the drive! Read over North Coast itinerary and decide what section you would like to drive. We are planning a return trip to drive the other half of the drive! Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
6113 posts

Sorry, no it's not realistic to jam in a 7-9 day itinerary into 2 days! Just do part of the route or go elsewhere if you only have 2 days. There are many areas of Scotland that have equally stunning scenery.

Posted by
3122 posts

I agree there's awesome scenery all around in Scotland. It doesn't make sense to cram long miles and long hours in the car into too few days. Where will you be based? If Edinburgh, you could take a 2-day foray to Pitlochry or Blair Atholl and out into the Cairngorms. If Glasgow, a 2-day trip could take you to Inveraray or up toward Tyndrum.

Posted by
1014 posts

You cannot do it in two days. It would take at least 5 or more. I drove the Thurso to Tongue and back to Thurso part and that took almost a day. Curvy roads, cows, sheep, geese in road. Lovely views, but hard driving. 14 miles is single lane.

Posted by
1469 posts

Look at Google Earth to get an idea of the topography. Some are surprised that many of the "coastal" roads are not that near to the sea.

Posted by
631 posts

2 days!!?? You do realise how far north you have to go before you even reach the start??

Bearing in mind it includes the Applecross Pass I wonder how many actually complete the tour. From a positive view, US visitors won't have to worry about being on the wrong side of the road - for large sections it isn't wide enough to have 2 sides.

By the way, North Coast 500 is a marketing company not a particular road. If I could guarantee the weather I'd take my MG, but I suspect we'd need an asteroid collision before that happens.

Posted by
358 posts

We did one small portion in July, from Inverness to John O'Groats and back in a day. It was a long day, because it is virtually impossible not to stop - or if you do fail to stop you're missing the point of the exercise. Lots of amazing discoveries along the way, and I'm sure we missed far more than we had time to see. This is all to say that one small part of the North Coast 500 took a full day and then some. It seems best to take a bite sized portion of the road that interests you and do enjoy the discoveries over the 2 days you have.

Posted by
3 posts

I want to thank those of you who responded. Obviously I was dreaming to think we could jam the whole NC500 into two days (could if it were interstates!!). We WILL try the one-overnight from Inverness to John O'Groats, as Steve , the visitor from Wisconsin managed. I had eyed that as probably the maximum we could do, and appreciate knowing that portion is just possible. And with MUCH luck, maybe the Northern Lights will be visible from that area on a late September dark night. I'm Canadian but don't live very far north so in fact have never seen them and would love to. Sigh. So many adventures possible, so little time.
I appreciate the experienced input from this group.