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North Coast 500 Scotland

Motorhome route: The North Coast 500 in Scotland by motorhome

Rugged Scotland: that's what you'll discover on the North Coast 500. This campervan route starts and ends in Inverness, also known as the capital of the Scottish Highlands. In the 830 kilometres of the motorhome route you will make a big loop through the North of Scotland. You would drive just over 500 miles and that is where the route gets its name from! It will take around 5 to 7 days by campervan, but if you want to enjoy the scenery for longer, that's also possible. Get ready for some of Scotland's finest lochs, historic castles, impressive coastal scenery and quintessentially British country roads. These are the highlights to visit when travelling the North Coast 500 by motorhome.

Inverness

Inverness is the capital of the Scottish Highlands and the point from which you begin your motorhome journey on the North Coast 500. Visit Inverness Castle, for example. Several castles have stood here since the mid-10th century. The current castle dates from 1836. The castle looks beautiful on a hill by the river Ness. You cannot visit it from the inside, but from the hill you have a beautiful view over the city and the river! The Victorian market is also a must. In this shopping centre, you can imagine yourself in Victorian times! You can buy various Scottish souvenirs here, such as a scarf with typical Scottish checks.

If you spend a longer time in Inverness during your motorhome trip, you can take various day trips in the beautiful surroundings. For example, the battlefield of Culloden. It was here that the last Jacobite uprising took place, one of the fiercest in Britain's history. The battle took place on 16 April 1746 between the Jacobites and the House of Hanover, the former royal family of Great Britain.
North Coast 500 motorhome
- The current Inverness Castle dates back to 1836.

John o’Groats

The village of John o'Groats is located at the northernmost tip of Great Britain. Here you can take a nice walk along the extensive coastline. The origin of the name of the village is also interesting. The village is named after the Dutchman John the Great. He was granted the right by King James IV to sail between present-day John o'Groats and Orkney. Over the years, Jan de Groot started developing the area and the place was named after him.

Today, you can still visit Orkney from John o'Groats. If you have the time to do so during your motorhome road trip on the North Coast 500, this is also highly recommended. The Orkney Islands consist of around 200 islands, of which Orkney is the largest. You can spot wild whales and dolphins, but the island is particularly known for its puffins. The nickname for this bird species is also 'colourful clown'. You have the best chance of spotting the animals from the end of April to August. The old capital of Orkney, Kirkwall, is also worth a visit. Here, you will find a cathedral from the time of the Vikings, a cosy harbour where you can enjoy fresh fish and a distillery where you can taste Scottish gin.

Watch the film below for an impression of a motorhome trip along the North Coast 500


The most beautiful waterfalls along this motorhome route

Falls of Measach
The 'Falls of Measach' is a 46-metre-high waterfall that is also worth a visit during your campervan journey. From the suspension bridge over the Corrieshalloch Gorge, you have a magnificent view of this natural beauty! The suspension bridge can be reached by walking through the beautiful forests. The best time to visit the falls is when you're in the Ullapool or Braemore area.

The Fairy Glen Falls
At the Fairy Glen Falls, a spring was once decorated with flowers so that fairies would keep the water clean. The two waterfalls now stand out in a beautiful wooded setting. You can reach the falls after a walk through the green surroundings from Rosemarkie.

Eas A'Chual Aluinn
This waterfall is the largest in Britain. You can visit it when you are between Lochinver and Kylesku. You can also take a boat trip from the Kylesku Hotel across Loch Bach. Then you get the chance to admire the waterfall from the water.

Clashnessie Falls
Clashnessie Falls is just a stone's throw away from Clashnessie. From Clashnessie Bay, you can walk to the waterfall and admire the natural spectacle cascading down from a height of 15 metres.

North Coast 500 motorhome
- ©VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Durness

Durness is a walker's paradise to visit on a campervan tour of Scotland. Here, you'll find plenty of high cliffs, beautiful mountain valleys and rugged mountains. There are also some challenging hikes that are for advanced hikers, so check the level before you set off! The most famous place of interest near Durness is Smoo Cave. This cave is special because of the way it was formed. One part of the cave was carved by the sea and another part was created by a freshwater stream, something that rarely happens. It is also the largest cave in Britain.

The cave is home to many legends, for example, you could travel to the world of the fairies via the cave. The entrance to the cave can be reached on a circular walk from Durness. You can walk along a wooden path to the waterfall that the cave contains. Alternatively, you can take a geological tour to go deeper into the cave and learn about its formation.

North Coast 500 motorhome
- Durness is a paradise for hikers who like rugged cliffs. 

The most beautiful beaches to visit by motorhome on the North Coast 500

Achmelvich Beach
Just outside Lochinver is Achmelvich Beach. This sandy beach is a great place to fish. You can also spot the most beautiful marine animals, including dolphins and porpoises. You can also see black- and red-throated divers. That makes it a must for animal lovers to visit with the motorhome!

Red Point Beach
Red Point Beach is located near Gairloch. The sand here turns - very unusually - red, hence the name of the beach! Along the coastline you can take lovely walks, and if you're lucky with the weather, even have a distant view of the famous Isle of Skye!

Strathy Bay
At Strathy Bay in Strathy, the river of the same name flows out. The beach is surrounded by beautiful cliffs and in the summer months, a whole field of flowers blossoms here along the coastline. This makes it a must visit destination for all seasons!

Inchnadamph

Inchnadamph is a small village in northern Scotland. You can visit a number of beautiful locations from the motorhome. For example, climb Ben More, a mountain of 1,174 metres high. The climb up is steep, but doable. The mountain is part of the Grampian Mountains, one of the three largest mountain ranges in the country. You can also take a walk to the Bone Caves. During excavations, a striking number of animal bones were found in these caves. Presumably, these bones are a special find from the last ice age, as they included bones of polar foxes and polar bears. The ruins of Ardvreck Castle are also worth a visit. This castle was built at the end of the 16th century. It is situated in the beautiful, rough surroundings of Sutherland, where you can take a lovely walk, for example along a part of Loch Assynt, which borders the castle.
North Coast 500 motorhome
- On the way, you might even come across a Scottish Highlander!

The most beautiful castles to visit by motorhome on the North Coast 500

Dunrobin Castle
Dunrobin Castle is situated near Golspie. The castle is privately owned, but you can visit the museum and castle gardens. At the museum, you can admire various objects owned by the castle's owners, such as art and furniture.

Dunbeath Castle
Dunbeath Castle is situated in a beautiful location on the east coast of Scotland, a few kilometres from Dunbeath. The original castle dates back to the 15th century. The building you can admire today, however, is from the 17th century. The castle is privately owned and therefore not open to visitors. But the beautiful location on a rugged cliff makes up for this!

Castle of Mey
The Castle of Mey is just a stone's throw away from John o'Groats. Queen Elizabeth II's mother bought the castle as a holiday retreat. Since she died in 2002, it has been open to the public during the summer months. During your visit you will discover the beautiful, classic interior of the castle and the romantic castle gardens.
North Coast 500 motorhome
- At Dunrobin Castle you can visit the castle gardens and the museum. 

Braemore

Near Braemore, you will visit the beautiful Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve. The most famous point in this area is the eponymous Corrieshalloch Gorge. This gorge was formed 2.6 million years ago by the waters of a melting glacier. The name of this gorge is translated from the Gallic 'ugly hollow', but nothing could be further from the truth: you will enjoy its natural beauty. You can take a lovely walk through the surrounding forest and the previously mentioned Falls of Measach are also in this nature reserve. In short: the perfect destination for nature lovers!

Complete list: motorhome stopovers along the North Coast 500

Wild camping is allowed in Scotland. However, there are a number of rules, such as you may not leave any tracks after your stay. When in doubt, always ask the landowner if it is allowed. More information can be found on the website of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Of course, there are also camper van sites along the route. Below is a complete list of motorhome sites along the North Coast 500.

Helmsdale Harbour | Helmsdale
Dunnet Bay Club Site | Dunnet
Sango Sands Oasis | Durness
Balchrick Campsite | Balchrick
Scourie Campsite | Scourie
Kylesku Campsite | Kylesku
Ardmair Point Campsite | Ardmair
Dundonnell Campsite | Dundonnell
Campervan site Kalnakill | Kalnakill
Visit even more beautiful locations on your campervan trip to the UK. These 7 locations, including Scotland's Cairngorms National Park and England's Cotswolds, are among the highlights.

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