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Road Cycling – The North Coast 500

  • Ride the best sections of Scotland’s spectacular North Coast 500 touring route
  • Take to the waves in a private zodiac trip through the Summer Isles
  • Cycle through the incredible scenery of northern Scotland on winding tarmac past towering mountains, sandy beaches and rolling wilderness
  • 6 nights accommodation in small Highland hotels and guesthouses on a B&B basis
  • Meals as stated in the itinerary (denoted B, L, D) – breakfast each day, lunch all days except day 4 and dinner on the first and last evenings
  • The services of a professional and qualified Wilderness Scotland road cycling guide and support driver
  • All transport throughout the trip beginning and finishing in Inverness
  • RIB trip on Day 3, and Loch Cruise on Day 4

Blue Graded Road Cycling Holidays 4-6

Blue graded trips are suitable for people with a good level of bike fitness, who regularly enjoy cycling and may have joined a multi-day cycle holiday before.

Distances each day will be between 35 – 45 miles, cycling at around 12/13mph. Each day will be rolling and hilly terrain and there will be notable climbs most days. Some of these will be more testing and some riders may opt to push or ride in the support vehicle. Some climbs are also followed by exciting descents. We will be in the saddle for 5 – 7 hours each day plus the odd longer day. There is also time each day for breaks and lunches, plus some visits to sites of interest.

Accommodation and Meals

During this trip, we will stay at carefully selected small hotels and guest houses along the route of the NC500, with two nights at Kylesku.

Accommodation is on a bed and breakfast basis, and lunch will be provided each day (except Day 4) either at a local cafe or a Wilderness picnic. Dinner is provided on the first and last evenings. On the other nights, we will normally eat as a group with your guide recommending a local restaurant.

Specific dietary requirements are happily catered for – please just inform us at the time of booking.

On this trip we generally eat dinner as a group however if you would like to make alternative arrangements you are free to do so. Your guide will have an evening off during this trip where they do not eat with the group. They will recommend options for dinner that evening and will help you make any necessary reservations.

Single Rooms

There is no supplement charged to solo travellers, however, you will be required to share a room with another solo traveller of the same sex. If you require a single room please request this at the time of booking and we will check availability for you. A single room supplement of £200 is charged if a single room is available. Single rooms are allocated on a first come, first served basis and there is normally a maximum of 2 available per departure.

Arrival and Departure

You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide at Inverness Railway Station at 10.00am on Day 1 of your trip. You will be returned to the station and dropped off for 4.00pm on the last day of the trip.

For advice on getting to and from Scotland please our travel advice page on our website:

Trip Details

Ride the best sections of The North Coast 500, on a 7-day road cycling tour through the untamed beauty of the Scottish Highlands. Travel our North Coast 500 cycling holiday to experience a satisfying active journey – swap four wheels for two!

The North Coast 500, often described as Scotland’s Route 66, take in some of Scotland’s most impressive wild places, from the mountains and lochs of Wester Ross and Assynt to the rugged sea cliffs of Sutherland. The ever-changing landscape will take your breath away, leaving you eager to get back in the saddle wanting more every day.

At the end of each day, have a well-deserved rest in carefully selected accommodation, with mouth-watering local food and drink providing the perfect fuel for the next day of riding. For more check out our itinerary on our North Coast 500 cycling holiday.

Need a bike? See our bike hire page for details.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – West to the NC500

This morning we meet at the railway station in Inverness at 10.00am. From Inverness, a 1-hour transfer takes us to the tiny village of Achnasheen in Wester Ross. Here we have lunch and do a bike fitting before starting our ride – a leisurely route with more downhill than uphill, past beautiful Loch Maree to reach the coast at Gairloch. Here we settle into our hotel for the night and enjoy a welcome dinner. (L, D)

Ride: 46km / 28 miles, 420m elevation gain, 2-3 hours riding.

Day 2 – North to the Gorge

Riding from the door of the hotel, we hug the coastline of Wester Ross, passing mountains, moors and wild scenery as we ride north and then east along the NC 500. We end the day’s ride at the impressive Corrieshalloch Gorge. From here, we jump in the van for a 15-minute transfer into the pretty port of Ullapool, thus avoiding a short section of busy road. Settle into the hotel and then explore the village with its scenic waterfront and good pubs and restaurants. (B, L)

Ride: 70km / 43 miles, 1,019m elevation gain, 5 hours riding

Day 3 – The Mad Road

We start today with a thrilling zodiac ride across Loch Broom, passing through the beautiful Summer Isles to reach the tiny settlement of Achiltibuie in Coigach. We get off the boat and onto our bikes to start what is perhaps the best day ride in Scotland! We explore the stunning Coigach peninsula with views across beautiful beaches backed by impressive mountains. We ride north along the coast to reach the port of Lochinver, where we’ll pause for lunch. We’ll then head north following ‘the wee mad road’. Your legs will soon realise why it has this name! We finish at a lovely hotel on the water’s edge. You can rest now – we’re here for 2 nights. (B, L)

Ride: 75km / 46 miles, 1,253m elevation gain, 5-6 hours riding. 

Day 4 – Rest Day with Boat Trip

We’re at the halfway point so we take a day off to recover. A lovely boat trip departs from right outside the hotel, so we’ll join that in the morning and enjoy views of Scotland’s highest waterfall, as well as some wildlife such as the local seal colony. In the afternoon you can relax at the hotel, or perhaps enjoy a short walk along the coast. (B)

Day 5 – Reaching the North Coast

Riding from the door of the hotel, we set out on what is the most challenging day of the trip (remember that our support van is always available to give you a boost if required!). If you thought the scenery had been wild so far, it’s about to step up a notch! We’ll ride on rolling roads as we head north to reach the north coast at the tiny village of Durness. Turning east now, we weave around a couple of notable inlets before, just 10 miles from home, there’s a testing climb of 200m elevation gain. Make it to the top and it’s an easy coast down to the village of Tongue and our hotel for the night. (B, L)

Ride: 104km / 64 miles, 1,344m elevation gain, 6-7 hours riding. 

Day 6 – East to Thurso

A shorter ride today after the exertions of yesterday. We ride from the hotel, following the road east past lovely beaches and bold, isolated peaks. It’s a short but ‘lumpy’ ride, with several short but quite steep climbs, so your legs will be glad when we reach the small town of Thurso mid-afternoon to check into our hotel. With just a short ride to go tomorrow, we enjoy a celebratory meal in a local restaurant. (B, L, D)

Ride: 70km / 43 miles, 891m elevation gain, 4-5 hours riding. 

Day 7 – True North and John O’Groats

Riding from the hotel door, we set out on the final leg of this journey. Rather than head directly to John O’Groats, we detour to a viewpoint on Dunnet Head, which is actually the most northerly point on the Scottish mainland. We then continue around the coast to reach John O’Groats, the most northerly village on the Scottish mainland. Here, we can pose next to the iconic mileage sign and share stories with any ‘LeJoG’ riders over a coffee. All too soon, it’s time to go and we transfer south back to Inverness, arriving late afternoon. (L, D)

Ride: 48km / 30 miles, 393m elevation gain, 2-3 hours riding. 

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Prices and Dates

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2019 Trip Dates

Trip Date
Trip Status
11th May - 17th May 2019
4 place(s) left
29th Jun - 5th Jul 2019
3 place(s) left
14th Sep - 20th Sep 2019
5 place(s) left
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Price from: £1,795

Next trip: 11th May

Duration: 6 night(s)

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Region: North West Highlands

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 6

Trip Photos

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