the North Coast 500: A Great Wilderness?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
brynpoeth
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Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby brynpoeth » 30 May 2019, 1:31pm

Navrig is right, it was an awful idea, more holiday routes just increase traffic and use of resources, unlikely that other routes shall reduce use of the nc500
One can see plenty of Scotland by train

And what about amis and germans, , who are used to driving on the wrong side? :?

Mind, I bet they are many quite places still in Scotland, valleys with a handful of dwellers, cul-de-sac roads twenty miles long
Please not to publicise them, I can read a map :wink:
..
There was a thread here some time ago where a driver complained about following cyclists up the Bealach na Ba, he damaged his clutch trying to go slowly
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mattheus
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Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby mattheus » 30 May 2019, 4:11pm

Perhaps I am being protectionist but we have created a monster in the NC500 and other areas are now playing copy cat:

https://www.visitsouthwestscotland.com/ ... tal-route/
and
https://www.northeast250.com/

Having lived in Inverness for 12 years (moved 12 years ago tho'), toured the Highlands extensively by motorbike and, still, regularly holidaying in the highlands (twice a year typically) I am genuinely concerned that the NC500 has been oversold and the damage cannot be undone.


... there is also a route round Pitlochry-ish planned - see link in the Guardian article upthread. Despite the main man behind it being well aware of the problems on the NC500 route :roll:

Soon we'll need Gravel Bikes to find peace-n-quiet ;)

keithg
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Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby keithg » 31 May 2019, 2:58pm

I think Mark Beaumont’s route previously linked is an excellent idea and one I’ve done myself, missing out the JOG and Wick top left (NE) corner and using the A836 or A897. The former is a lovely road via Altnaharra in its own right.
Going in May will produce (slightly) quieter roads and no or very few midges and is probably the best time to go.
The scenery and roads are lovely and it is a gorgeous part of the world. Is there a solution to the newish phenomenon of “over-tourism”? Ask Venice, Dubrovnik or the Amalfi coast, probably no easy answer.
In summer in Scotland, if you’re bike-camping it may be possible to get lots of miles in before 9am and after 6pm and avoid high season as ways to mitigate traffic frustration.

Olliespilot
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Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby Olliespilot » 31 May 2019, 3:46pm

I've just returned home after a month touring Scotland in our motorhome. We choose to stay on proper caravan sites and shop locally wherever possible. I would not try to drive up the western route of the NC500, having researched before our trip. I've enjoyed cycling in Torridon and up to Dunnet Head, amongst lots of stunning scenery. I really resent some motorhome/camper van users for their indiscriminate dumping of toilet waste, especially the inconsiderate idiot(s) who blocked the public toilets at the Beinne Eighe visitor centre - totally selfish! We are not all the same though. Enjoy cycling in this most wonderful part of Britain.

eileithyia
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Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby eileithyia » 31 May 2019, 5:12pm

Well I'm glad I did the '500' back in 1980 before it was classified as such. Met some Scots lads recently when in Mallorca, they feel it has been ruined by defining it as a route; overpriced accommodation, sports car racers, etc etc.
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Navrig
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Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby Navrig » 31 May 2019, 6:32pm

eileithyia wrote:Well I'm glad I did the '500' back in 1980 before it was classified as such. Met some Scots lads recently when in Mallorca, they feel it has been ruined by defining it as a route; overpriced accommodation, sports car racers, etc etc.


Yup, some of whom are now doing the entire route in one go so, other than fuel and maybe a snack, are spending nothing locally.

philsknees
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Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby philsknees » 1 Jun 2019, 10:53am

Yep, I too ticked most of it off several years ago, travelling against the usual flow. Thankfully it was fairly quiet and I was camping, early season.
A disabled friend of mine has tried twice to do it by car in recent years. First time he hadn't booked accommodation and had to abandon it. A Dutch couple he met up there advised him that they'd had the same problem the year before and had now returned after booking all their accommodation in the previous autumn.
He followed suit but found that autumn was too late to secure accommodation for several of his planned overnight stops, so he's given up. I'd suggest that if you need overnight accommodation don't go unless you have it i all pre-booked and to start booking 12 months ahead.
Maybe that's why some try to do it in a day? :)
It's a shame because it was a great ride but as mentioned in earlier posts there are still quiet alternative routes nearby.

Oldjohnw
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Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby Oldjohnw » 1 Jun 2019, 12:42pm

I have done it many times, a bit at a time spending a week at a time in one area.

These days people have to compile 'bucket' lists to tick off. Imagine doing the NC500 in 3 days! Just to say that you've done it.

Suddenly, people who wouldn't dream of holidaying in Scotland because they thought far off places much more interesting, come just because it's a fashion. They speed around so they have no idea how brilliant it is just so they can say they have done it.
John

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ambodach
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Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby ambodach » 1 Jun 2019, 5:59pm

I cycled all around the area now designated as NC500 for many years, starting as a teenager about 60 odd years ago. At least half dozen cars and the mail-bus everyday was regarded as pretty busy. I won’t go near it now as it would spoil my memories.

Navrig
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Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby Navrig » 2 Jun 2019, 8:43am

Oldjohnw wrote: Imagine doing the NC500 in 3 days! Just to say that you've done it.

They speed around so they have no idea how brilliant it is just so they can say they have done it.


Seems to be a fashion of the most recent tourist generations. We used to see people "doing Scotland" by spending a week in Edinburgh then taking a Wallace Arnold tour up to Inverness and back. That was the Scotland box ticked. They would be better spending two weeks in Edinburgh and experience more, better quality time and ticking the Edinburgh box. A return trip would give a flavour (and nothing more) of the Highlands.

I suspect some of the issues relate to large and small country syndrome. People from large countries look at Scotland and see it as tiny meaning they can "do it" in a stupidly short time.

Something like the NC500 is better savoured over a longer period. At least cyclists appreciate and understand this.

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John1054
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Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby John1054 » 2 Jun 2019, 8:56am

Navrig wrote:
Something like the NC500 is better savoured over a longer period. At least cyclists appreciate and understand this.


Couldn't agree more!

Oldjohnw
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Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby Oldjohnw » 2 Jun 2019, 8:59am

Navrig wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote: Imagine doing the NC500 in 3 days! Just to say that you've done it.


Something like the NC500 is better savoured over a longer period. At least cyclists appreciate and understand this.


Dead true.

A few years ago an American friend phoned me to say he was "doing yurp" and could we meet up.

Eventually I worked out that he was coming to Europe: 5 capitals in 5 days. That was Yurp sorted.
John

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nirakaro
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Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby nirakaro » 2 Jun 2019, 10:14am

John1054 wrote:
Navrig wrote:
Something like the NC500 is better savoured over a longer period. At least cyclists appreciate and understand this.


Couldn't agree more!

Few years back, I cycled the Amalfi coast. Fabulous. Spectacular. But as I was riding I realised that no other way would have been pleasant: too far/hot to walk, you'd miss it all if you were driving, nauseating in a coach. Maybe OK on a motorbike. And the only place in Italy where you get an overpriced, crap coffee.

althebike
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Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby althebike » 3 Jun 2019, 9:37am

I do love the highlands . I live on the Heathrow flightpath and so the air quality is not brilliant. When in the highlands last year I did not need my inhalers once. The locals were friendly and hospitable the scenery fantastic .A long tour in the highlands need not be an nc500 , it is just a question of finding quieter routes. As has been often mentioned, it is a shame when a beautiful area gets spoiled by mass tourism.

climo
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Re: Scotland north coast 500

Postby climo » 3 Jun 2019, 10:48pm

Oldjohnw wrote:A few years ago an American friend phoned me to say he was "doing yurp" and could we meet up.

Eventually I worked out that he was coming to Europe: 5 capitals in 5 days. That was Yurp sorted.


Met some Americans last year who had flown to Paris, stayed a few days, hired a car and driven here (Wiltshire) without telling the hire company. Next day they planned 2 hours in Bath then to be in Holyhead by 6pm for the ferry. They were going cross country via an ancestors castle (they didn't know where) and buying the families tartan.
I hadn't the heart....

My wife's American.....