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Where Should We Stay Along the Western NC 500?


My wife and I have a trip planned next July/August, 2020, to the UK. We’ve been several times before and have traveled all around the country, from the Orkney and Shetland Islands to Cornwall. Our trip next summer has the main purpose of attending the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The trip is 25 days in all, beginning with a few days in London. From London, we plan to take the train the York and stay 6 days.

Following York, we have 7 days before going to Edinburgh. Last year, we traveled the eastern side of the far north from Edinburgh north to Thurso. We went to the Orkney and Shetland Islands from Thurso. (Very, very highly recommended, by the way). We took the overnight ferry back to Aberdeen, so we didn’t finish the NC 500. Having read that the western section of the NC 500 is the best, we thought we would head up north to Inverness from York (probably by train), hire a car, and drive around for the rest of the week. We have no particular goals of things to do. We really want to decide on 2 or 3 places and just do whatever seems good at the time. By the way, I’m 70 and my wife is 68, and we’ve traveled a lot. We’re in good shape and do like to walk and look around. The remote places always attract us. My family was from Scotland many years ago, and it seems to keep calling me back.

I’ve probably driven over 30K miles in the UK and Australia, so driving on the left with a manual transmission is not an issue. I’ve also driven single track roads a lot as well, so I understand how those work.

I’ve read a lot and have singled out a few places that seem like they would be good places to stay. We will have 5 or possibly 6 nights. We like to stay at least 2 nights in one location, but 1 night stays can work if needed. Going from Inverness to the northwest (clockwise), I’ve found Plockton, Applecross, Achiltibuie, and further north Tongue as possible stops. We prefer small rural hotels with restaurants to B&B’s.

I would appreciate any input you might have about those locations, but more so any other places that might be better. I know the area is beautiful. We’ve been to the Outer Hebrides and all around the Highlands — including a Highland games last summer. So our goal is not to necessarily uncover anything rare or unknown so much as to find the best places to relax a few days, walk or possibly hike a bit, and maybe see some historical sites or museums along the way.

I thank you for any input you might have about this remote northern section of Scotland.

Best regards,


Posted by
3122 posts

It looks like you're wise to be asking about this now, not later! The following site, which calls itself "The Ultimate North Coast 500 Guide Book," says: "In speaking with accommodation providers in October, many were saying that they were almost full in terms of bookings for next May, June and July."

Posted by
518 posts

Thank you for the information. Every post helps to narrow down the choices. I appreciate your time to write a reply.
Best regards,

Posted by
5678 posts

We stopped for lunch in Tongue when we did a similar drive ten plus years ago. It was prior to branding. :) I think that Tongue would be a great place to spend the night. We ate in the small hotel that was there and the host was very courteous. In fact, I am pretty sure this is the hotel.