NC500 (north coast road)

NC500 (north coast road)

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Discussion

GetCarter

28,317 posts

256 months

Wednesday 30th March
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Graham The Bruce said:
My brother and I are renting a Caterham for 4 days for a bit of exploring of the North West. He’s coming over from NZ and never driven up there ever before.
I’ve been round the NC500 many times and reckon a few days exploring the best bits up the west are better than doing the full 500. That east coast stretch down from JoG to Inverness is just awful in my opinion.
Really looking forward to it and hopefully the weather in mid June will be fine for a Caterham, and the fact that the schools are still in hopefully not too much tourist traffic to battle with either.
Difficult to know how busy it'll be this year with travel restrictions relaxing, but last year was heaving in June. As always, there will be empty roads early in the morning and it'll be busy from 10 am onwards. As I'm sure you know, it's light at 04:00 here in June, at which time the only car you'll see on the road is mine smile

GetCarter

28,317 posts

256 months

Friday 1st April
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Just a heads up folks. Due to Brexit, places such as the Applecross Inn will be closed for some of the week (can't get staff). At the moment it's all day Tuesday and Wednesday lunchtime. The Torridon and Shieldaig bars are trying to recruit but it looks like hey won't open all week.

It's very likely that other places on the route will have similar difficulties, so worth checking if you intend to stop for lunch etc.

Edited by GetCarter on Friday 1st April 17:56

Drive Blind

4,480 posts

154 months

Saturday 2nd April
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from what I see local to me half of scotland has bought either a caravan or a camper, ok slight exaggeration but you get my drift. Any notion that the NC500 will be getting quieter I think is misplaced.

GetCarter

28,317 posts

256 months

Saturday 2nd April
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Drive Blind said:
from what I see local to me half of scotland has bought either a caravan or a camper, ok slight exaggeration but you get my drift. Any notion that the NC500 will be getting quieter I think is misplaced.
You may well be right, but I have to say that 90% of the people who visit seem to be from England, Germany and Holland. Relatively few from Scotland.

jet_noise

5,108 posts

159 months

Sunday 3rd April
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Just got home after a month down south.
Chalk and cheese difference in the traffic.

irc

3,357 posts

113 months

Sunday 3rd April
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I was up in Sutherland from 21st to 24th March. Hillwalking. Went across the interior, the A838, going up. Coming home it was down the coast to Ullapool then across to Inverness.

Other than 10 miles single track east of Durness where a driver hadn't read the pull in to let traffic overtake signs I wasn't held up more than a minute or two The roads were so quiet that every time I got a straight it was clear for the overtake.

Beautiful weather. Blue skies 18c. The way to do yhe NC500 if you can manage is if you can go at short notice when there is a weather window March or October.



ScotHill

1,790 posts

86 months

Friday 13th May
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GetCarter said:
Difficult to know how busy it'll be this year with travel restrictions relaxing, but last year was heaving in June. As always, there will be empty roads early in the morning and it'll be busy from 10 am onwards. As I'm sure you know, it's light at 04:00 here in June, at which time the only car you'll see on the road is mine smile
I managed to book a little apartment in Strathcarron in July, will be riding up from Glasgow on a Sunday and then heading over the Applecross pass about 5am on the Monday so maybe I'll race you. smile

What's the first open shop I'm going to encounter leaving Applecross about 6am, going round the coast then down through to Strathcarron again about 10am, is there anything before Strathcarron? Probably too early for Shieldaig maybe.

GetCarter

28,317 posts

256 months

Saturday 14th May
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ScotHill said:
I managed to book a little apartment in Strathcarron in July, will be riding up from Glasgow on a Sunday and then heading over the Applecross pass about 5am on the Monday so maybe I'll race you. smile

What's the first open shop I'm going to encounter leaving Applecross about 6am, going round the coast then down through to Strathcarron again about 10am, is there anything before Strathcarron? Probably too early for Shieldaig maybe.
Spa and the Lochcarron garage will be open. Lochcarron Garage/shop/hot snacks at 07:30. Shieldaig shop opens at 9 and the cafe at 10, so too early.

ScotHill

1,790 posts

86 months

Saturday 14th May
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Thanks, I might stash something at Tornapress then so I can pick it up when I come back round.

Edit - I might be able to sneak into the campsite to top up with water, that would help a lot...

Edited by ScotHill on Saturday 14th May 09:01

Drive Blind

4,480 posts

154 months

Saturday 14th May
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Saw the NC500 got a mention in the media again this week,

Concerns from locals around "convoys of sports cars"

s2kjock

1,320 posts

124 months

Saturday 14th May
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Drive Blind said:
Saw the NC500 got a mention in the media again this week,

Concerns from locals around "convoys of sports cars"
It's understandable, and something I was very wary of when I used to go up there with 4-10 friends once or twice a year, years before the route became a "thing".

Together with the massive increase in other more sedate tourist traffic it is one of reasons why I would not be likely to go up in a big group again.

It only takes one member of the group to misjudge something (or just be a dick) for the whole group to be tarnished, and similarly for the Polis to take an interest.

As with everything there is bound to be politics involved when "local representatives" start commenting.

GetCarter

28,317 posts

256 months

Saturday 14th May
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s2kjock said:
Drive Blind said:
Saw the NC500 got a mention in the media again this week,

Concerns from locals around "convoys of sports cars"
It's understandable, and something I was very wary of when I used to go up there with 4-10 friends once or twice a year, years before the route became a "thing".

Together with the massive increase in other more sedate tourist traffic it is one of reasons why I would not be likely to go up in a big group again.

It only takes one member of the group to misjudge something (or just be a dick) for the whole group to be tarnished, and similarly for the Polis to take an interest.

As with everything there is bound to be politics involved when "local representatives" start commenting.
Indeed. But it's convoys of anything, not just sports cars. Most in this room have been on the single track roads up here and know that when a convoy meets a few cars, motorhomes or even worse, articulated logging lorries coming the other way, there simply are not enough passing places for the two lines of traffic to pass. It can take blimmin' ages to sort out, cars having to reverse 10 or 20 passing places (about half a mile or more), especially when the motorhome drivers (who have often just hired them) have no idea how to reverse.

When car clubs or blats come here - when they reach single track roads they should split into 3 cars maximum - and they'd all get to the next village quicker and spend far less time standing still or reversing.

I sat on decking with my neighbour last summer and watched for a good 20 minutes as a convoy of about two dozen assorted cars met 4 motorhones on 'Tar Brae' (a very steep hill with 5 blind corners by my house). It was very entertaining to watch, but must have been a right PITA for all concerned.

Check out how many passing places there are on this 1:4 hill - now imagine a convoy meeting half a dozen HUGE motorhomes coming the other way. (They travel in packs too).



http://stevecarter.com/random/bealachJan181.jpg

Also. Just a heads up. Lochcarron Garage fix over 50 punctures a week in August, almost all caused by cars putting wheels off the grey stuff.

Blown2CV

26,041 posts

180 months

Saturday 14th May
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Drive Blind said:
Saw the NC500 got a mention in the media again this week,

Concerns from locals around "convoys of sports cars"
Yes I’m with the locals personally.

towser

771 posts

188 months

Saturday 14th May
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Drive Blind said:
Saw the NC500 got a mention in the media again this week,

Concerns from locals around "convoys of sports cars"
My brother, who works on one of the council road crews along the north coast, now doesn't do any work that involves traffic control after 10:00am in the morning during the summer months due to dangerous, high speed driving and the abuse they've had thrown at them over last couple of years. Some proper morons do the NC500 - treat it like a race track.

Edited by towser on Saturday 14th May 16:45


Edited by towser on Saturday 14th May 16:49

irc

3,357 posts

113 months

Saturday 14th May
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GetCarter said:
Indeed. But it's convoys of anything, not just sports cars.
Correct. When a doddler doesn't show consideration or obey the sighs about letting faster traffic pass you end up with a 8 or 10 cars in convoy. When they meet another convoy it is chaos. Easily avoided by slow traffic letting faster traffic past so it all remains more spaced out.

That said the increased NC500 traffic is here now and isn't going anywhere. Upgrading all the single track roads is not happening soon. Perhaps increasing the number and sizes of passing places should be prioritised.

I'll probably stick to choosing off peak good weather windows for my trips to the far northwest but locals are stuck with the issues all year round.

lizardbrain

712 posts

14 months

Sunday 15th May
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If time is on your side, and if temperament permits, one way to deal with traffic is to pull over whenever you hit traffic. And chill for however long it takes for no car to go past in 5 mins. Then you are guaranteed 10 mins of fun driving, assuming you drive twice as fast.

This is very personality dependent, but for me it works really well on recreational drives.

S2red

2,452 posts

168 months

Monday 16th May
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Well done

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/c25n7w79884o

But I hope there is not an attempt in a car!



toon10

5,572 posts

134 months

Monday 16th May
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My brother and I are doing the route next month over 5 days. We're using his stage 1 S4 Avant and staying over in hotels. Hopefully it will be a good way to test the roads and see if I can do them again in a small camper which I plan to get in a year or so. I appreciate some of the passes and roads are not campervan friendly! Completely new to the route but here's where I'm staying each night.

• Day 1: Inverness to Wick
• Day 2: Wick to Tongue
• Day 3: Tongue to Ullapool
• Day 4: Ullapool to Torridon
• Day 5: Torridon to Inverness

Unfortunately, the place we were staying on the last night has cancelled on us late on and we're struggling to find a decent stop over for the night around the Torridon area. We were thinking of parking up somewhere in the evening and sticking a couple of small popup tents up for the night. Does anyone know of any good spots? We don't want to annoy the locals or get moved on if we can help it.

GetCarter

28,317 posts

256 months

Monday 16th May
quotequote all
toon10 said:
My brother and I are doing the route next month over 5 days. We're using his stage 1 S4 Avant and staying over in hotels. Hopefully it will be a good way to test the roads and see if I can do them again in a small camper which I plan to get in a year or so. I appreciate some of the passes and roads are not campervan friendly! Completely new to the route but here's where I'm staying each night.

• Day 1: Inverness to Wick
• Day 2: Wick to Tongue
• Day 3: Tongue to Ullapool
• Day 4: Ullapool to Torridon
• Day 5: Torridon to Inverness

Unfortunately, the place we were staying on the last night has cancelled on us late on and we're struggling to find a decent stop over for the night around the Torridon area. We were thinking of parking up somewhere in the evening and sticking a couple of small popup tents up for the night. Does anyone know of any good spots? We don't want to annoy the locals or get moved on if we can help it.
There are a bunch of places you can camp as you drive down Glen Torridon. (After Kinlochewe). There's also a campsite by the countryside centre as you reach Torridon.

irc

3,357 posts

113 months

Tuesday 17th May
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toon10 said:
Unfortunately, the place we were staying on the last night has cancelled on us late on and we're struggling to find a decent stop over for the night around the Torridon area. We were thinking of parking up somewhere in the evening and sticking a couple of small popup tents up for the night. Does anyone know of any good spots? We don't want to annoy the locals or get moved on if we can help it.
Have you tried

https://gerryshostel.com/

Basic but far better tgan a trnt in midge ssason.