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    Road Cycling
    The North Coast 500
    Challenge

    Duration: 7 Days / 6 Nights From £1,895

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    Trip Details & Highlights

    Trip created by Paul Easto
    View Paul's Profile

    Region: North West Highlands
    Trip Type: Private Departures
    Comfort: Classic
    Confirmed: When 6 Traveller(s) Book
    Deposit From £473.75 £473.75

    Difficulty:

    All you need to know about your trip, this essential document is a must for all adventures.

    Download Itinerary

    Trip Details

    500 miles in 5 Days. Our toughest adventure by far. We can’t promise this ride will be easy but we can guarantee it will be epic, taking you through some of the most spectacular roads and scenery in Europe.

    Starting and ending in the Highland Capital of Inverness, the 500mi/800km route includes over 10,000m of elevation in 5 unforgettable days of cycling. From the breathtaking and ancient mountains of Torridon to the wild coasts of Assynt and the vast moorland of Sutherland, this is an incredible trip of a lifetime which should be on every serious cyclist’s bucket list.

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

    Trip Highlights

    • Visit the charming village of Shieldaig after a thrilling day of cycling.
    • Ride along beautiful isolated roads surrounded by some of the most dramatic mountainous scenery in the Highlands.
    • Glide through the historic backstreets of Cromarty on your way back to Inverness.

    Day by Day Itinerary

    Day 1 - Arrive into Inverness

    We’ll meet you late afternoon at a location of our your choice before an introductory welcome at our overnight hotel in Inverness. Over drinks, we’ll run through logistics for the trip in detail and make sure everyone is set in terms of bike set up and personal gear. Enjoy dinner and a relaxed night for an early start to tomorrow. (D)

    Day 2 - Inverness to Shieldaig

    Load up at breakfast because our day one sets the standard for the trip. An easy cruise on rolling roads out of Inverness takes us north to Garve before we strike west through increasingly mountainous country, reaching the west coast at Strathcarron. From this point on the riding is incredible. A short warm up climb prepares the legs for what lies ahead. The Bealach na Ba is the UK’s highest and toughest road climb and is reached after 72mi. With ramps of up to 20% you’ll be working all the way to the top where the most incredible view of the Scottish Islands and West Coast awaits. After an amazing descent, our work isn’t quite finished with some punchy climbing around the spectacular coastal road which eventually reaches the charming village of Shieldaig (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 107mi/171km | 2207m/7,285ft of ascent

    Day 3 - Shieldaig to Ullapool

    After our first big day you’ll surely be lifted by the magnificent scenery on day two. Today’s route winds it way through arguably the most spectacular landscape in the UK. Dramatic mountains rise like ancient giants providing an unforgettable backdrop to the riding. The camera as well as the legs will be working hard today. An early lunch in the fishing village of Gairloch offers an opportunity to recharge with some local seafood before we continue around the coast. Our destination for this evening is Ullapool – very much the “capital” of the NW Highlands with a great range of restaurants and bars. (B, L,D)

    Ride details: 92mi/147km | 1969m/6,498ft of ascent

    Day 4 - Ullapool to Durness

    While the shortest mileage, today is arguably the toughest day of the trip with nearly 2400m of climbing. The reward is another day of amazing scenery and some simply brilliant roads. Our favourite section (known locally as “the wee mad road”) squeezes between mountains and sea on the way to Lochinver where you will find an equally amazing pie shop. Stopping here for lunch is not optional! While you might consider seconds, hold back as the next 22 miles almost defy description. A looping ribbon of tarmac climbs and descends for over 3300ft/1000m which may be like no road you have even ridden before! We’ll recharge by the iconic bridge in Kylesku before riding the final section to Durness. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 90mi/144km | 2366m/7,810ft of ascent

    Day 5 - Durness to Brora

    Our journey continues east along the coast, passing some superb beaches on this unspoilt section of rugged coast. At the sands of Melvich we turn south and head into the “Flow Country”. We exchange wild coast for wild moorland where few cars travel and traverse a remote and isolated valley to cross the west-east watershed. Here we climb through an even more wild and beautiful glen before descending to the East Coast. Upon hitting the coast road it’s a short distance to our overnight stop at Brora. (B, L, D)

    Ride details: 98mi/157km | 2150m/7,095ft of ascent

    Day 6 - Brora to Inverness

    The final push. After 4 days of epic riding, just one century lies between you and completing this incredible and challenging bike tour. While the east coast has fewer mountains there is still some climbing to be done, especially in the first half of the day. However, by the time we hit the Black Isle, Inverness is nearly in sight and we’ll be rolling well on the flat roads. It’s tempting to dwell a while in the historic backstreets of Cromarty before the final 20mi to Inverness. Crossing the Moray Firth, victory is in sight and we’ll finish were we began, right on the esplanade of Inverness Castle. Muster up your final reserves of energy for a celebratory dinner in Inverness (B, L, D).

    Ride details: 108mi/173km | 1638m/5,406ft of ascent

    Day 7 - Depart Inverness

    Take it easy this morning over a relaxed breakfast before packing the bikes and saying farewell to the Highlands. Alternatively stay on in the Highlands for some recovery time – ebikes available to get from the hot tub to the bar! (B)

    Download Detailed Itinerary

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    Private Departures
    The North Coast 500

    To download a PDF copy of our Trip Itinerary, containing full details about this holiday, please complete the form below:

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    What's Included

    Accommodation - Accommodation in carefully selected guest houses and hotels Read More

    ACCOMMODATION

    On this trip, we generally use 3-4* small hotels/guest houses with some flexibility on location depending upon group size. Wherever we’re staying we aim for a warm welcome and, where possible, facilities that are welcome by cyclists.

    We would normally eat dinner as a group and plan to dine in the hotels where we are staying for convenience at the end of a long day.

    SINGLE ROOMS

    There is no supplement charged to solo travellers, however you will be required to share a room with another person of the same sex. If you request a double room for single occupancy, a supplement will be payable.

    Due to the nature of the accommodations we use, single supplements are limited and are allocated on a first come first-served basis.

    Meals Read More

    MEALS

    Each of the accommodations includes breakfast with a wide range of choices.

    Lunches are taken on the road in the form of a rolling picnic or a cafe/pub depending upon the weather and location. We also take care of your additional nutrition requirements and provide energy snacks and drinks on demand.

    All meals are included in the price except for one dinner in Ullapool where your guides will have a night off. In Ullapool you can choose from a wide range of restaurants.

    Inclusions Read More

    This trip includes the following:

    • 6 nights accommodation in 3*-4* small hotels
    • All meals as indicated in the itinerary B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
    • The services of two qualified road cycle guides
    • Private and dedicated support services on the road
    • Specialist nutrition, hydration and other snacks and drinks

    Our All Inclusive trips include all accommodation, meals, guiding and travel during the trip. We do not include drinks with dinner or any gratuities you may choose to leave.

    Travel - All transport throughout the trip Read More

    ARRIVAL

    • Your Guide will meet you in Inverness at the location of your choice
    • Typically 5.00pm on Day 1 of your trip

    DEPARTURE

    • Choose from departure at your final hotel, or Inverness train station or Airport
    • 10:00am on Day 7 of your trip

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    Price from: £1,895
    Duration: 7 Days 6 Nights

    Speak to an Expert

    Paul Easto

    As founder of Wilderness Scotland Paul’s craving for adventure and knowledge of Scotland knows no bounds. His leadership has resulted in Wilderness Scotland twice being named as Best Green Tour Operator in the World at the World Travel Awards and ranked as No.1 Adventure Travel Company in Europe by National Geographic. Paul’s commitment to excellence in all that he pursues becomes obvious in the routes we follow and the little touches included in this trip.

    Ask Paul a Question

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