Trip created by Craig Little
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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.
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
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
We start today with a cycle that takes you directly under one of Scotlad’s most iconic small mountains, Stac Pollaidh. We reckon this is up there with one of the best day rides in Scotland! 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
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)
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
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
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. (B,L)
Ride: 48km / 30 miles, 393m elevation gain, 2-3 hours riding
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.
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.
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 u2013 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.
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: www.wildernessscotland.com/faq/travel-to-scotland
|Trip Dates for 2019||Availability||Status||Price||Book|
|14th Sep - 20th Sep 2019||Trip Full||FULLY BOOKED||£1,795|
|Trip Dates for 2020||Availability||Status||Price||Book|
|30th May - 5th Jun 2020||1 place(s) left||CONFIRMED||£1,795||Book Now|
|21st Jun - 27th Jun 2020||1 place(s) left||CONFIRMED||£1,795||Book Now|
|4th Jul - 10th Jul 2020||6 place(s) left||CONFIRMED||£1,795||Book Now|
|22nd Aug - 28th Aug 2020||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||£1,795||Book Now|
Sometimes it's nice to get family and friends together and travel privately for some quality time. This means you benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides and we'll take care of it all. Then you can make your choice of departures dates and we'll get back to you to finalise the details.
Craig has over 12 years experience in delivering travel experiences and events of exceptional quality across Scotland. As one of the longest serving members of the Wilderness Scotland team, Craig’s speciality is in road cycling and mountain biking. His expertise and innovation helped create the Road Cycling Guide Award which helps all our guiding team deliver excellence on our trips.
- Craig LittleAsk Craig a Question
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.
Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 3 review(s) of Road Cycling – The North Coast 500
Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday with us. Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.
That’s why we read each of our client’s reviews and although we don’t respond to all of them, if it’s glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your holidays truly memorable.
Reviewed on 15/07/2019
Age: 40 - 50
Trip Date: 29/06/2019
Trips Taken: 1
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
Pre-Trip - Management of booking, payments and providing of pre-trip information was excellent
The Trip was exceptionally well managed. Cycling routes - particularly the "Wee Mad Road" was exceptional. Our guides Craig and Lucy were 1st class in managing the bikes, luggage transfers and sourcing me some road pedals that I forgot to pack. Craig & Lucy were also great company for the entire trip being friendly to talk with & always happy to share their local knowledge, history and even the odd story to two.
Happy with all accomodation, breakfast and dinner options
Bothe Craig and Lucy were excellent guides in all respects. Friendly, helpful and professional in managing the logistics of the tour. Also great company and happy to share their local knowledge and historical knowledge as well as being happy to share the odd story or two.
Wilderness Scotland managed our North Coast 500 cycling tour very professionally and provided us with a very enjoyable experience which I am sure will remain fondly in my mind for many years to come.
Reviewed on 21/05/2019
Age: 60 - 70
Trip Date: 11/05/2019
Trips Taken: 2
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
My queries were answered promptly and fully.
The scenery was spectacular. Who would have thought Northern Scotland could have such beaches! And we were very lucky with the weather- 7 days of sun. Now if the wind on the 5th day could have been fixed... But as another of our group commented-" It was character building".
It did not really matter to me but for some clients, better access to wifi at some of the places might be appreciated. I really appreciated that there were bathtubs at some of the places. After a hard day's ride, for me, it is of great comfort.
John and Cube worked very well together. Both were obviously very experienced and worked hard to make the trip the best it could be for all of us.
Couldn't be any better. The level of riding was challenging but doable; the routes, interesting and varied; the distances well thought out and again, challenging but doable; the guides experienced and a pleasure to share the trip with; food and accommodation great; bikes well taken care of and of high quality. The only aspect that is a bit of challenge and completely out of Wilderness Scotland's hands is the exchange on our Canadian dollar makes it difficult to afford without alot of thought.
Reviewed on 20/05/2019
Age: 60 - 70
Trip Date: 11/05/2019
Trips Taken: 2
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
It was extremely easy to get in touch with the team and when I noticed a discrepancy in payment (to do with bike hire) this was sorted very quickly. Pleasant personalised emails felt friendly too.
We were lucky to have absolutely fantastic weather but in addition to that the two guides 'Cube' and John were terrific, the food was great, the hotels comfortable and the overall support amazing.
I loved every place we stayed and we always had a room with a great view. The food in the hotels was really good.
Our guides were great. They looked after us really well and spent every evening chatting with us. I felt really spoiled. All I had to do was pedal!
Wilderness Scotland is a terrific company. Our holiday was well planned and the guides, hotels and food all of the highest quality. I would highly recommend the company.
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