NC500 - North Coast 500

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  • Yeah going in May, in part to avoid midges! But I’ll investigate head net.

    @Brain-Stew this is the sort of intel I’m after!!

    Also any possible hazards to be wary of.

  • Ditto for headnet. If you had to fix a puncture when they were swarming, doing it without one would be pure hell.

    Otherwise the route is lovely, some of the roads are a bit busy, mostly with camper vans, road surfaces mostly good, for UK at least, I enjoyed getting an early start when the roads are quiet.

    Some of the shops are not that well stocked, eg the spar at Durness was out of sandwiches and almost out of bread by mid afternoon. I ended up making my own sandwiches a few times as there wasn't a lot of ready stuff (might be more options if you eat meat).

    I've got a Google sheet of shops and opening times if useful:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1­RpuAP3L2lhE28q1iwpdX-34mswx1gSnThVP6lDpl­LFA/edit?usp=sharing

    'Long version' down at the bottom is similar to your intended route

  • I've had a failed attempt. The weather was insane. So windy and rainy that our speed had dropped to about 8kph. Blown off my bike on Bealach na Bà was a highlight. Then as we descended tot Applecross it was sunny and warm. An hour later we turn in-land to Gairloch, hale stones the size of small eggs. Anyway, we made it our first stop, absolutely knackered and drenched. About 3 hours behind schedule.

    Washed our clothes, ate food, got some sleep, hoped the weather would turn when we woke. When we left at 5am the rain was coming down in torrents, so we were drenched again inside a minute. This was to be our long leg Gairloch to Thursoe but it was too wet, too windy, too cold to keep the pace high enough to get there before the B&B shut at midnight. We needed to average 20kph and we were doing about 13. Had to ride another 100k before we could turn off and quit.

  • If you do a ride in Scotland with nice weather, does it even count?

  • There’s bad weather and then there’s hale stones the size of eggs.

  • Nah, there's weather and then there's dangerous weather.

  • What time of year were you there?

    @frank9755 thanks I’ll look at that later

  • Any horror stories to share??

    The North of Scotland is equal parts horrific and beautiful. This is what makes it so special.

    Prepare for negative temperatures any time of year
    Prepare to get wet
    Prepare to cycle into a miserable headwind all day
    If no wind prepare for midges

    Prepare for great hospitality
    Prepare to fall in love with the most beautiful part of the UK.

  • This is so true. There are moments that are breathtaking. White sand beaches, seals off the coast, not car to be seen, etc.. then them big hale stones.

  • 17th June.

    My Irish father-in-law used to say, in connection with the west of Ireland but west of Scotland is similar: 'the winters are often better than the summers over here'

  • If it's open I would heartedly recommend lunch at the Applecross Inn (ideally after descending the Beaclach). That seafood, combined with the local ale, and then the ride up past Shieldaig is probably my number one day on the bike

    +1 for the applecross inn. Cracking place to eat.

  • Lochinver Pie Shop...

  • Kylesku Hotel used to be worth a stop, but I haven't eaten there for probably 10 years.

    The bridge is worth admiring either way.

  • Applecross walled garden was a pretty great place to eat as well.

  • How closed are things on a Sunday?
    Also has anyone been on any of the route recently, I’m wondering if some shops might be closed due to Covid concerns?

  • Good question.
    Things were open last summer when COVID levels were a bit higher than now but on the way down.
    One shop was strictly one customer at a time - even though it was pretty big.
    I got the impression that most shops serve locals - none I went to looked like they would close in the winter, so I wouldn't expect them to close if no tourists.
    Wasn't there at the weekend so no idea about Sunday.

  • Thanks.
    Wondered how Presbyterian it might be for Sunday shopping, especially given we’ll be on the NW leg.

  • Can't comment on Sunday but one thing I would say is be careful with the closing times. Think it was Tongue where the shop owner decided to close an hour early because it wasn't that busy, much to our dismay...

  • Yeah figured they might be owner reliant.

  • Wondered how Presbyterian it might be for Sunday shopping, especially given we’ll be on the NW leg.

    Google should give the official opening hours

  • My experience is that the mainland is mostly fine. Outer Hebrides are a different matter.

  • Thanks @wence

    Last question road surfaces, am I better keeping my GP4 seasons, my winter tyres on, or swapping out to GP5000s?

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NC500 - North Coast 500

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