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North Coast 500 – Escape to the Highlands

Liam Yates

North Coast 500 – Escape to the Highlands

Road Cycling Collection by Liam Yates

6

Tours

44:28 h

510 mi

34,900 ft

With winter finally feeling like it had come to an end and travel opening up again, I started talking with friends about some trip ideas. In reality flying was still out of the question, so we looked to the mainland UK for some inspiration. The North Coast 500 was something I’d heard about from many friends over the years but not something I’d fully looked in to.

Bringing together a route of just over 500 miles of stunning coastal scenery, the North Coast 500 naturally follows the main roads along the coastal edges of the North Highlands of Scotland, taking in the regions of Wester Ross, Sutherland, Caithness, Easter Ross, the Black Isle and Inverness-shire.

The route begins and ends at Inverness Castle. Perched on top of a hill it is the perfect starting point to the route and offers unparalleled views over the capital city of the Highlands.

Together with friends Lawrence and Ollie, we decided this would be the perfect route and decided on the dates. Logistics were easy: one train from Kings Cross in London all the way up to Inverness, which was actually pretty cheap. For the savings on a family ticket we needed one extra person to bring our group to four. After some asking around Ollie’s friend Gabe pulled the trigger and that was that. We were going to Scotland!

We had thought about how to document our trip and make the most of what was sure to be an epic adventure, and as Lawrence runs a successful YouTube channel we would have that as a great platform to showcase what we got up to. Having professional photos would be the cherry on the top.

I had previously asked my friend and professional photographer Alex Duffill if he would like to join us on the the trip as our fourth rider, although he was very interested in taking on the ride alongside us the opportunity to come and photograph instead became more appealing once I started to tell him the distance and how it would probably snow or rain at least once a day... A warm car was decided upon as his mode of transport and just like that four became five.

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North Coast 500 Cycle Route

497 mi

28,975 ft

28,950 ft

Last updated: May 23, 2022

North Coast 500 Tours & Stages

  • Day 1: Inverness to Craig — North Coast 500

    04:38
    54.1 mi
    11.7 mph
    1,725 ft
    1,525 ft

    We woke from our beds at the Jury’s Inn and made the walk next door to Morrisons. Originally we had planned to do this trip self supported but now with photographer Alex following in the car it made sense to use it to our advantage in some way at least.

    

    This meant loading up with all the food we thought

    by Liam Yates

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  • 07:31
    89.9 mi
    12.0 mph
    7,500 ft
    7,775 ft

    With the first day of the trip being so short, day two almost felt like the real start of the ride. Everyone was excited to get going as today we would ride the famous climb of Bealach na Ba on the Applecross Peninsula, Scotland’s third highest pass. As it begins its journey to 2,053 feet (626 metres

    by Liam Yates

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  • 07:49
    87.4 mi
    11.2 mph
    7,375 ft
    7,450 ft

    We woke to blue skies in Gairloch and got ready to leave with minimal stress. The forecast looked good and it would be down to luck whether or not we would get caught in any rain. Today was almost identical to day two in terms of distance and elevation but without that one massive climb to tackle. After

    by Liam Yates

  • 10:16
    132 mi
    12.9 mph
    11,775 ft
    11,775 ft

    Day four was the big one for us. 215 kilometres (134 miles) with over 3,500 metres (11,480 feet) of climbing. We had talked up this day so much that when it finally came round we were happy to get going. To make things tougher it decided to hail and snow on almost every climb! The views were worth it

    by Liam Yates

  • 06:36
    71.8 mi
    10.9 mph
    3,650 ft
    3,750 ft

    After the big hack the day before, this ride seemed like a walk in the park. We woke and pushed along to John o' Groats early in the morning, once there we stopped and stayed at the cafe just next to the famous sign for a long lunch before turning south.

    

    With the massive headwind we had been fighting

    by Liam Yates

  • 07:37
    75.2 mi
    9.9 mph
    2,875 ft
    3,000 ft

    Our final day on the North Coast 500, we headed out for the last time with only 120 kilometres (75 miles) to go till Inverness.

    

    We stopped at Dunrobin Castle for some sandwiches along the way and briefly looked around the castle and gardens. It’s an amazing spot and somewhere I would definitely recommend

    by Liam Yates

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    6
  • Distance
    510 mi
  • Duration
    44:28 h
  • Elevation
    34,900 ft

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