North Coast 500 Route
We follow the route west along the famous North Coast 500 towards the west coast. The NC500 has become one of Europe’s most famous driving routes and it’s not unusual to see exotic cars travelling along its route. The scenery becomes increasingly dramatic as we travel along the glen towards Loch Torridon.
Loch torridon & Wester Ross
The road skirts along this dramatic sea loch and there is an opportunity to stop to stretch our legs and take in the landscape. We’ll call into the waterfront village of Shieldaig where you can pick up refreshments if required.
Driving to Applecross is an adventure on its own and the road is definitely unsuitable for larger vehicles (our tour vans come into their own here). “Bealach na Ba” (Gaelic for Pass of the Cattle) is a twisting hairpin pass that is impassible in winter. We climb up the 626m 2,052 ft / pass and stop at the view point which has stunning views across the desolate landscape for miles around. Then we’ll descend into the picturesque heritage village of Applecross for lunch.
Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan is arguably the most magnificently located castle in Scotland, situated on a small island in Loch Duich. Named after Celtic saint Donnan of Eigg who may have held a church on the island, this rocky outcrop has been occupied since the mid 1200s. Eilean Donan was destroyed in 1719 by government forces who had heard about an arsenal of weapons being stored at the castle for use against them. Three frigates were swiftly deployed to remove the threat and the castle was destroyed. 200 years later, the castle was purchased by Lt Colonel John Macrae-Gilstrap and renovated in 1912 and that is the castle we explore today.
After we leave Eilean Donan we travel east past Loch Cluanie. This unique landscape is more lunar than Scottish and we’ll have the opportunity to stop for photos before descending into the Great Glen geological fault line.
The Great Glen
We arrive at The Great Glen, a geological fault line that is carved through the highlands and therefore makes a natural route from Fort William in the South West to Inverness 62 miles to the North East. We’ll travel the length of Loch Ness, the Uk’s biggest body of water by volume. We might even catch a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster!
Urquhart Castle Viewpoint
We’ll stop briefly at Urquhart Castle viewpoint to take in the views of this impressive ruin and the view over Loch Ness. Urquhart has a turbulent history and is ruined as part of the ‘oppression of the highlands’. Your guide will give you the context before we start the final leg of our journey back to Inverness.