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    Self Guided+ Cycling
    North Coast 500

    5 review(s)

    Duration: 7 Days / 6 Nights

    From £995

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    Travel Planning and Advice

    Trip created by Craig Little
    View Craig's Profile

    Region: North West Highlands
    Trip Type: Self Guided Cycling
    Comfort: Classic
    Deposit From: £248.75 £248.75
    Difficulty: Your Own Pace

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

    Download Itinerary

    500 miles in 7 days. This epic adventure on two wheels will take you through some of the wildest and most spectacular roads and scenery in Europe. This self-guided but fully supported trip sees you journey from the breathtaking and ancient mountains of Torridon to the wild coasts of Assynt and the vast moorland of Sutherland.

    With your warm and welcoming accommodation arranged, your bikes prepped, and your soigneur taking care of all the details, all you have to think about is turning the wheels. With over 10,000 meters of elevation, this 500 miles-long journey truly is a cycling trip of a lifetime.

    This price is based on a group of 6, prices will vary depending on group size. Please get in touch with the team to confirm the trip price for your group

    Trip Highlights

    • Enjoy full vehicle and mechanical support from a qualified guide, while enjoying the freedom to cycle at your own pace
    • Ride along beautiful isolated roads surrounded by some of the most spectacular mountain and coastal scenery in the UK
    • Pit yourself against the famous Bealach na Ba - voted as the best day cycle in the UK
    • Enjoy the journey as your soigneur / support guide takes care of all the details
    • Experience the freedom of just turning the wheels as your luggage is transferred each day
    • Stay in handpicked warm and welcoming highland accommodation

    Day by Day Itinerary

    Day 1 - Inverness to Achnasheen

    Meeting in Inverness, we’ll transfer a short way out of the city to a quiet spot where we will set up the bikes and make sure you are comfortable with the route and then you’ll head off. An easy cruise out of Inverness on rolling roads, keep your eye out for the red kites as you travel north to Garve. Here, the support vehicle will be waiting to provide a welcome snack before you start heading west. You’ll enjoy a smooth road and lovely views of the winding River Bran as the scenery becomes more mountainous. Arriving at your accommodation you’ll have time to settle in while your support guide makes any adjustments to the bikes to make sure they are ready to go tomorrow. (B)

    Ride details: 40 miles / 64 km | approx. 3 hours | Elevation: 1,955 ft / 595 m

    Day 2 - Achnasheen to Shieldaig

    Set out for the village of Strathcarron after breakfast today. The riding from this point on is incredible and exploring the area by bike gives you the opportunity to really take in the stunning scenery. From Strathcarron, 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. With hairpin bends and ramps of up to 20%, you’ll be working all the way to the top – although the support van is always there if you need a boost – 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)

    Ride details: 39 miles / 63 km | approx. 4.5 hours | Elevation: 5,593 ft / 1,703 m

    Day 3 - Shieldaig to Ullapool

    After breakfast this morning, you’ll get back on the bike ready for the days adventure. The route winds its way through arguably the most spectacular landscape in the UK. Dramatic mountains rise like ancient giants and provide an unforgettable backdrop. 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 Northwest Highlands, home to a great range of restaurants and bars. (B)

    Ride details: 93 miles / 148 km | approx 6.5 hours | Elevation: 6,667 ft / 1,971m

    Day 4 - Ullapool to Kylesku

    Start your morning with a climb out of Ullapool, rewarded with fantastic views as the mountain scene reveals itself. Today you’ll be riding some truly epic roads. Our favourite section, known locally as “the wee mad road,” squeezes between mountains and sea as it winds its way north. We’ll stop in Lochinver where we’ll enjoy lunch in the famous pie shop – a highlight in a day of highlights. The next 22 miles almost defy description. A looping ribbon of tarmac climbs and descends for over 3300ft/1000m. Look out for sheep that roam freely here – they tend to be the cause of traffic jams as you wait for them to casually move off the road. Arriving at your accommodation this evening, you’ll be tired but happy after an incredible day and you can relax as you admire dramatic views of sea lochs. (B)

    Ride details: 55 miles / 88 km | approx 4 hours | Elevation: 5,459 ft / 1,663 m

    Day 5 - Kylesku to Melvich

    You’ll start the day by crossing the iconic Kylesku bridge before continuing north. Following the winding coast, you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the Atlantic. After 21 miles you’ll cross inland on the most northernly road connecting the west and north coasts. It’s 14 miles of single-lane riding as you cross through wild moorland covered in heather and bog cotton. Arriving at Durness, there will be time for a break to explore the quirky artists’ studios and maybe grab a hot chocolate from a local chocolatier. Back on the bikes, it’s a wonderful ride along the north coast following the sea in places and dipping inland again to reach your accommodation with views of a sandy beach and impressive sea cliffs.  (B)

    Ride details: 88 miles / 141 km | approx 6 | Elevation: 7,064 ft / 2,153 m

    Day 6 - Melvich to Lairg

    From the sands of Melvich, you turn south this morning and head into the “Flow Country” where we exchange wild coast for wild moorland. There is very little traffic on this route so keep an ear out for the songs of the many bird species that make this remote and isolated valley their home. You’ll cross the west-east watershed and climb through another wild and beautiful glen before a fun descent takes you to the east coast. You’ll follow the coast for a short time on quiet roads before heading back inland, past three tranquil lochs and into Strath Brora where you finish the day. (B)

    Ride details: 76 miles / 122 km | approx. 5.5 hours | Elevation: 3,651 ft / 1,112 m

    Day 7 - Lairg to Inverness

    After a final hearty breakfast, you’ll get back in the saddle today for the last push. You’ll ride south along the River Shin, one of the best places to see salmon leaping upstream. You’ll rejoin the coast at the Dornoch Firth and then tackle the 200m climb up and over Cadha Mor and on to the Black Isle. Here you’ll cycle fast, rolling roads through quiet farmland and friendly villages. Stopping in the historic town of Cromarty for lunch, you can explore the streets and look out for the dolphins that are often spotted on this stretch of coast. The final 20 miles sees you cross the Moray Firth and head on backroads into the centre of Inverness where your North Coast 500 journey will end. Your support guide will hand back your luggage and you can either continue your journey home or spend a final night in Inverness. (B)

    Ride details: 81 miles / 122 km | approx. 6 hours | Elevation: 4,504 ft / 1,235 m

    Self Guided Cycling
    North Coast 500

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    Price from: £995
    Duration: 7 Days 6 Nights

    What's Included

    Accommodation Read More

    This itinerary includes 6 nights in 3-4 star accommodation, staying at some of our favourite locally-owned guesthouses and small hotels along the North Coast 500 route, each handpicked for their warm welcome and bike friendly facilities. Single rooms are available on request.

    Accommodation Upgrades are available in some locations for a supplement and are subject to availability. Please note that choosing to upgrade the accommodation may mean additional transfers to and from the route at the beginning and end of each day.

    Meals Read More

    Breakfast is included each day barring Day 1. Your soigneur will suggest a number of options for your lunches and evening meals in each location.

    Inclusions Read More
    • 6 nights accommodation in 3-4 star locally-owned guesthouses and small hotels
    • Meals as indicated in the itinerary; Breakfast each day
    • A support vehicle throughout the trip who will offer guidance, local insights, snacks, change of clothes, navigation and a boost if needed
    • Soigneur / Support driver, bike mechanic and first aider available 24/7 while on the trip
    • Essential equipment including GPS with pre-loaded routes, bike lock, bike tool, spare inner tube, pump and tyre levers
    • Bike cleaning and maintenance throughout the trip
    • Welcome briefing and expert bike fitting on Day 1 if hiring
    • Daily luggage transfers

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

    Travel Read More

    Arrival Info

    Meet at Inverness Train Station at 10:30 on Day 1

    Departure Info

    You will be returned to Inverness Train Station by 18:00 on the final day

    Upgrade and Customise Your Trip Read More

    Accommodation Upgrades are available in some locations for a supplement and are subject to availability. Please note that choosing to upgrade the accommodation may mean additional transfers to and from the route at the beginning and end of each day.

    Other Read More

    For a full list of inclusions please see our comparison table here

    Looking to extend your stay? Get in touch with our friendly sales team to book extra nights before or after your trip.

    Photo Gallery

    Speak to an Expert

    Craig Little

    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.

    Ask Craig a Question

    Difficulty Grades Explained

    Self guided trips can be taken at your own pace, meaning that you can travel whenever and at whatever pace you feel comfortable, leaving time for optional extra activities, explorations or relaxing.

    On this self guided cycling adventure, each day you will have detailed route notes to follow. On most days, you will also have the option to extend your cycling routes with optimal extensions ranging from 2 to 25 miles.

    Trip Reviews

    Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 5 review(s) of Self Guided+ Cycling – 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.


    Ed Watson

    Reviewed on 18/07/2021

    Age: 40 - 50
    Country: United Kingdom
    Trip Date: 09/07/2021
    Trips Taken: 1

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    Magic trip of a lifetime. Body still in bits…. Wilderness Scotland are and I hope continue to be a great operation. Somehow they even nailed the weather. Rachel was a true star helping me sort it all out and deserves a whopping pay rise!!!!!


    Jon Mitchell

    Reviewed on 18/07/2021

    Age: 50 - 60
    Trip Date: 09/07/2021
    Trips Taken: 1

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    A bucket list trip with amazing scenery, along with a decent amount of challenging but doable cycling. We had a fantastic time.


    Belinda Hutchinson

    Reviewed on 05/07/2021

    Age: 50 - 60
    Country: UK
    Trip Date: 26/06/2021
    Trips Taken: 1

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    The ride was a challenge and we were very lucky with the weather but it was a great experience and we really loved it

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