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Podcast Episode 10 – Trip Report: Driving Scotland’s North Coast 500

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Do you dream of exploring Scotland? For many people, the ultimate Scottish road trip is the 516-mile scenic route around the north coast of Scotland known as the North Coast 500.

In this episode of the podcast, we chat to guest Chris Wheable who has recently returned with his partner from a 9 day trip following the North Coast 500 around northern Scotland in their self-built camper van.

Chris shares his day to day itinerary, highlights of the trip and tips for anyone planning to drive the North Coast 500. Hear about destinations including the Isle of Skye, Smoo Caves, Puffin Cove, Ullapool and their 2 day trip to the Orkneys.

Also discover where the northernmost point of the UK is (clue it isn’t John O’Groats), why Chris decided to drive the route anticlockwise and his experience of driving Applecross – not only one of the scenic drives in Scotland but also the road with the steepest ascent of any road climb in the UK.

Click the blue button below to listen:

Episode 10 Show Notes – Trip Report from Scotland: Driving the North Coast 500

Topics covered in this episode include:

  • The route Chris took around the North Coast 500 and why he decided to do the route anti-clockwise
  • The availability of petrol stations along the way
  • The availability of WiFi along the route
  • The benefit of joining the UK Camping and Caravanning Club and recommended apps
  • The Park4Night app which Chris used to source accommodation options
  • Taking the ferry over to the Orkney’s and what to see on the islands.
  • Chris’s thoughts about driving the route in particular the notorious Applecross
  • What to see and do around Fort William including a recommended place for fantastic sandwiches – Nevis Bakery
  • Signposting along the route
  • What they packed for the trip

Places mentioned in this episode include

  • Invernessthe Highland city which marks to starting (and end) points of the NC500.
  • The Orkneysan island archipelago off the coast of Scotland. Famous for its many neolithic sites.
  • John O’Groatsa village on the northeastern tip of Scotland
  • Dunnet’s Headthe northernmost point of the British mainland
  • Smoo Caveslarge sea cave located in Durness
  • Puffin CoveSite of the UK’s largest mainland puffin colony
  • UllapoolPicturesque fishing town located on the west coast of Scotland
  • ApplecrossSpectacular narrow lane track and drive and the greatest ascent of any road climb in the UK
  • Isle of Skye – Large island of the Inner Hebrides famous for rugged landscapes
  • Fort WilliamKnown as the gateway to Ben Nevis Fort William is located on the banks of Loch Linhe in the western Scottish Highlands
  • The Glenfinnan Viaduct, monument and visitor centreMonument to the location where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard in 1745 to signal the start of the Jacobite uprising. The viaduct is a 21 span concrete bridge featured in many of the Harry Potter movies.
  • GlencoeThe Glencoe valley is known for its stunning scenery, waterfalls and mountain peaks.
  • Loch LomondLocated in the Trossachs National Park in southern Scotland.

A transcript of this episode is available to read – click here to download a PDF version.

The Isle of Skye features in episode 10 of the UKTP podcast.
The Orkeys
The sign at John O'Groats - listen to episode 10 of the UKTP podcast for details of the NC500 including where to find this famous sign.
Skye 1
Glenfinnan 2
Dunnet Head 1

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