Would May be a good time to do this?
Any tips or how to section it up?
@frank9755 did you do the alternative route?
My plan started off as NC500 but it evolved as I did more research. So I did this - apart from on the last day, I ran short of time (or decided I wanted to get to hotel for 5pm rather than 10pm) so had to miss out the last couple of off-road sections, and head for Inverness from Rosehall.
The more I researched it, the less keen I was on the east coast bit so that was first to go. Then the north coast, which I'd always wanted to do from looking at it on a map, started to sound a bit marginal too. Then I discovered the GNT, and thought I'd come back that way.
I only had three and a bit days, with more time I would have tried to get to Cape Wrath and done more of the GNT sections, then maybe a bit more of the north coast. I wouldn't bother with the east.
Definitely do the 'wee mad road' bit by Lochinver and Drumbeg. It's hard but an experience, and fewer camper vans than the main road. A lot of the west coast section is main road, so there's a fair bit of traffic.
Sectioning it up is not an issue if you are camping. I was so didn't think about hotels, etc. But obviously things are pretty spread out.
It sounds sacreligious on the NC500 thread, but I preferred the inland bits to the coast. Partly the solitude but the scenery was more majestic. The coast is wonderful and worth doing once but it does get a bit same-y after a while. Maybe that was because I did the west coast in a day and a half, which doesn't really do it justice
I did it last year, think it was the Mark Beaumont version so a slight amendment in that it comes inland at around Melvich instead of going to Thurso etc.
Did it July and we had amazing weather, only a few hours of rain the entire trip.
Day 1 - Inverness to Lochinver 370k. In hindsight, this was too much. From memory, there was the most amount of climbing in day 1 and it meant arriving late and being pretty fucked for the second day really. The sensible thing would have been to ride to Ullapool and finish there for day 1 (320k)
Day 2 - Lochinver to Lairg 300k. I felt quite shit this day and just mentally wasn't there. We had an apartment booked in Lairg but I got to Melvich and decided to get a bnb there. Without doubt the best decision I made the whole trip. Think it was called the 'The Sheiling', guy who ran it was really sound. Let me wash my clothes and made some really good food too.
Day 3 - Melvich to Inverness - 245k. Probably enjoyed this day the most. As @frank9755 says I wasn't that arsed about the coast bit either, the section where you turn inland was great. The section just south off Kidonan Lodge sticks out as amazing bit.
So if I were to do it again it would be :
Day 1 - Inverness to Ullapool 320k
Day 2 - Ullapool to Melvich 235k
Day 3 - Melvish to Inverness 245
Used booking.com for the apartments, they were basic but fine. Very few options were available. Worked fine as it was a lockbox set up for access.
I would say I found this ride really tough! It's pretty relentless, no chance for a rest on a long descent really.
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