Scotland's North Coast 500 An Island Within An Island (Within An Island)

By way of geography, history, politics and savvy marketing mastery, Scotland is a place unto itself, a land far removed from the trappings - and pitfalls - of modernity. Quaint, wee, and unspoilt, Scotland exists in a time-warped utopian state, where clansmen in kilts wander wild hills and glens - with bonnie lassies in tow - in search of inspiration and adventure. Ah, paradise.

I am of course winding you all up.....but just a bit. Scotland does have that certain something, a palpable mystique about its landscape and people, which lends itself to fantastical myths, legends, and works of art. It also makes epic fodder for an Instagram feed (@unfocusedphotographer, ahem). As an American who has lived here for only 5 years (though I first visited 9 years ago) I likely look upon things differently, with more innocent wonder and awe, than most native born Scots (or Brits), many of whom seem to regard the hinterlands of the far north (if they regard them at all) as being little more than depopulated wastelands unworthy of holidays.

Enter the North Coast 500.

Starting and ending in Inverness, the North Coast 500 makes a meandering loop around mainland Britain's wildest region, delivering intrepid travellers to (relatively) little visited mountains, glens, rivers, lochs, beaches, caves, castles and villages. Just to be clear, the North Coast 500 isn't an actual physical 'thing' - there is no specific purpose built North Coast 500 infrastructure - so much as a clever and well executed marketing concept. It's an itinerary and a brand, brilliantly elegant in its simplicity and functionality.

But enough blethering and bleating: let's hit the road.

Day 1: Inverness* to Applecross

(*We actually started from our home west of Aberdeen, but photos are all from within the NC500 zone.)

Day 2: Applecross to Ardmair Point
Day 3: Ardmair Point to Sango Sands, Durness
Day 3: Ardmair Point to Wick
Day 4: Wick to Inverness (and home beyond)

Fancy your own North Coast 500 road trip? Well I should think so! Check out the official website at the link below and get to planning a hinterland holiday.

Created By
Robert Stokes
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