500 ADVENTUREs & More!

The Scottish Highlands and North Coast 500 route have something for everyone and whilst we don’t want to tell you what you should see, we are happy to tell you some of our personal favourite parts of this beautiful area of Scotland.

Smoo Cave, Durness

This is the largest cave in Scotland. Formed by erosion from the sea with a fabulous 20m high waterfall. Stop and take a walk down the steps and cross the bridge to the main cave. You get fantastic views of the cliffs and sea and the waterfall is breathtaking.

 

As a child I was told by my Grandmother that Donald McMurdo who was a local Highway man murdered people by throwing them down the blowhole of Smoo Cave in the 17th Century. He is buried at the churchyard at Balnakeil, his grave marked on the south wall with a skull and crossbones marker.

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Sango Bay, Durness

When you see this beach you could easily be mistaken to think you are in the Caribbean.

Beautiful white sandy beach, turquoise water and rugged cliffs.

 

A beautiful Bay to explore and don’t miss taking a walk along the wooden walkway at the top of the peninsula to the viewpoint at the end to take in the breathtaking views.
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Balnakeil Craft Village

This is a very unusual craft village and well worth a visit. With art galleries, ceramics, woodwork, glasswork and an amazing chocolatier – if you are a chocolate lover we fully recommend their hot chocolate! As mentioned, this is a rather unusual setting.

 

The buildings were built in the mid 1950’s as an M.O.D early warning station in the event of a nuclear attack, however this was never commissioned and in the mid 1960’s it was taken over by a creative community and has continued ever since

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Chanonry Point

Slightly off the NC500 is Chanonry Point located on the Black Isle. This is said to be one of the best places in the United Kingdom to see dolphins from the land.

 

We have been really lucky and seen pods of dolphins jumping and playing every time we have visited. They really seem to enjoy showing off to the spectators – make sure you have your camera ready!

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Whiskey Distilleries

If you are a Whisky lover you may enjoy a Distillery Tour. With over half of the distilleries in Scotland in the Speyside region you are spoilt for choice of distilleries to visit.

 

A couple of our favourites are: Cardhu Distillery in Speyside and Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye (the only distillery in Skye.)
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Gairloch Beach

This is another favourite of ours. A secluded beach set amongst rugged moorlands and mountains with views out across the Minch.

 

Soft sand and great dunes to walk and explore. Being close to the Gulf Stream the waters are warmer making it a pleasant beach to take a dip.

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Gin Distilleries

If Gin is more your style, you may be surprised to learn that 70% of the Gin produced in the UK is produced in Scotland with many distilleries running tours for the general public.

Rock Rose is a very popular Gin and a great distillery to visit. This is located in close to Thurso and do 45 minute tour which we found really interesting.

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Invergordon Museum

If you are looking for martime history, then look no further than the Invergordon Naval Museum and Heritage Centre.

Presenting the naval history of the town, local oil exploration and the rejuvenation of the area via the sea port, you can also often find local art and crafts for sale.

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The Castle of Mey

Renovated and restored under the instruction of the late Queen Mother, the most northerly inhabited castle on the British mainland is well worth a visit.

Set among beautiful gardens there is a wonderful tour of the castle (that was originally built between 1566 and 1572), that is a lovely testiment to the life of Her Majesty.

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