Nearly there but nowhere to stay

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
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Nearly there but nowhere to stay

Postby Brianjeff50 » 2 Sep 2020, 11:21am

Whoever invented the North Coast 500 has transformed the tourist economy of the Highlands - but also made it nigh on impossible to find somewhere to stay.

I start from Lands End tomorrow and am all booked through in b&bs until Inverness but after that I've ground to a halt. I'd like to head up via Route 1 but simply can't find anywhere to stay - except one or two whose prices are way out of my budget.

Anyone got any secret b&b spots they know? Failing that it'll have to be buying a tent and gear in Inverness or trudging round the A9 and missing the best scenery.

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Re: Nearly there but nowhere to stay

Postby PH » 2 Sep 2020, 12:19pm

The independent Hostel in Tongue may be of use, they also have private rooms, I have no idea of availability. I used it after getting back from a very wet camping trip to Orkney, in the dorm but there was just the two of us and one other guest. ... gue-Hostel
The inland route is lovely, though I prefer to follow the Naver to Bettyhill rather than NCN1 to Tongue. There isn't much between Lairg and Tongue, with or without the NC500, there's the Crask Inn and the Altnaharra Hotel, I don't recall passing anywhere else.
I've ridden that way on several camping trips, but on my JoGLE we stopped at a B&B in Bettyhill, where I think there was a choice of two, and in the now closed Carbisdale Castle SYHA, then through Inverness to an independent Hostel in Fort Augustus (Which due to a cancellation we had to ourselves!)

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Re: Nearly there but nowhere to stay

Postby Enigmadick » 2 Sep 2020, 12:52pm

ENIGMA DICK aka Richard Barrett
Use the code RB20C to get 20% off any Cicerone guidebook when you buy direct

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Re: Nearly there but nowhere to stay

Postby rareposter » 2 Sep 2020, 2:42pm

Go up the middle - Muir of Ord, Dingwall, Bonar Bridge, Altnaharra, Bettyhill.

It's away from the NC500 plus it's far nicer scenery. Bonar Bridge seems to have very few B&Bs - Lairg a bit further north is better served and from there it's only about 90 miles up through the middle to JOG so doable in a day. Once you're north of there, accommodation is limited, Altnaharra being the obvious (but limited) one. You run into a situation then that you're almost too close to JOG to bother stopping unless you're on a really relaxed schedule.

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Re: Nearly there but nowhere to stay

Postby greyingbeard » 2 Sep 2020, 3:22pm

I wouldn't be surprised if share-with-strangers accomodation is all closed due to covid, especialy in Wales and Scotland where the whole subject is being taken more seriously then England.

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Re: Nearly there but nowhere to stay

Postby Jon Lucas » 2 Sep 2020, 5:25pm

There is the Sleeperzzz hostel in the old railway carriage at Rogart, north of Dornoch, about midway between Inverness and JoG. I've not stayed there myself but did hear good things about it when I was up that way (some years ago now).

I did stay at the Bettyhill Hotel, which was comfortable and cheap, but that was 15 years ago, and having just looked at their website, the price has gone up a lot since then!

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Re: Nearly there but nowhere to stay

Postby Brianjeff50 » 2 Sep 2020, 6:51pm

I’m afraid I’ve tried all those (and a lot more) and they’re all booked up. To be fair I imagine some are reducing capacity to cope with Covid.
Personally I think a lot of places are very expensive (especially when I’ve booked Premier Inns and Travelodges on the way up for under £40 a night
Anyway I think I’m sorted now thanks to a night in a hotel room (no bath) for £100 and another in a static mobile home for £70!
Get your accommodation sorted well in advance up there is my advice.

My final few days are: Bonar Bridge to Bettyhill. Bettyhill to Thurso. Easy ride Thurso to JoG, pause for celebratory stuff then ride down to Wick. Up at 6 next morning for train to Inverness to collect hire van and head home to Suffolk.
(I could have done the Bettyhill - JoG in a day but a) the route was determined by what I could book and b) I have to get the train from Wick at 6.30 to get to Inverness hire base before it closes at 12 - it’s a Saturday)

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Re: Nearly there but nowhere to stay

Postby cycleruk » 2 Sep 2020, 7:01pm

Stayed at Sleeperzzz a few times. It is self catering so you have to fend for yourself. There are cooking facilities etc.
There is a pub just up the road that does excellent evening meals but not sure if they serve every night?
('Pittentrail Inn' - need to book as it can be busy)
Local Spar shop that is a good source for provisions.
I wouldn't have thought that Rogart was a practical stop-over for LeJoG'ers but will depend on the route taken.
You'll never know if you don't try it.

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Re: Nearly there but nowhere to stay

Postby Morzedec » 9 Sep 2020, 3:33pm

Buy a tent.
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