A road trip around the North Coast – from Edinburgh up to Gairloch

Scotland in the fall already seems like must. For two years already we toured family style around Scotland with always different destinations. The first time was a round trip of the Highlands, the second time we did a road trip up to the Isle of Skye (two other trips include Edinburgh and Shetland) and this time it was going to be a road trip of the NC500. The name refers to the 500 plus miles which make up the North Coast.

Arriving late in Edinburgh we made our way to Kinross, already on the way up north, and stayed for the night at The Green Hotel. And then the next morning, forgoing all sightseeing in the area, we drove up to Inverness with a short tea stop at Ralia Café. I wish we would have such cozy tea rooms along the motorway. Never mind though I am already happy when I can frequent such a place here.

almost the only Scottish cow I saw on this trip @Ralia Café

We stopped on the way up in Inverness and had an hour to ourselves. I used my time wisely to look up the liquor shop Wood Winters. The last time I bought here some excellent gin and I wanted to look for some new ones.As I have learned in the past, it’s always wise to buy things when they are available and not wait for another occasion. Sometimes these never arrive.

With my purchase of gins I looked into the graveyard of the old church across the street. The sun was out which bode well for our trip. The forecast had predicted only rain. But in Scotland you never know.

Old High Church @Inverness

I then left for a much happier visit of Leaky’s Bookshop which is right next door. This shop is like a dream come true for book lovers. Lots and lots of books everywhere. If I wasn’t hard pressed for time already, I could have stayed forever.

inside Leaky’s Bookshop @Inverness

Timing is of the essence when you plan to a road trip with unlimited stops and limited time. So without further ado, we left Inverness in the direction of Badachro. The reason to go there in the first place was a gin distillery. But Badachro Gin didn’t wait for us. Despite emailing with them beforehand, when I called that we were in the area, I was told it was too late. Was very happy then to have bought my gin already before.

The way there lead us through to Achnasheen where we stopped for a photo. The view down into the valley and onto the Loch Maree is breathtaking. While driving next to the lake itself is pretty scenic.

Achnasheen with view into the valley @Scotland

driving next to Loch Maree @Scotland

Since the gin didn’t work out for us, we settled on tea at the Shieldaig Lodge Hotel. This is such a postcard perfect place and I would have loved to spend the night there. But this is definitely not a budget place. Instead I enjoyed tea with shortbread and the overall atmosphere.

Shieldaig Lodge Hotel @Scotland

more deer and a sea view @Shieldaig Lodge Hotel

no wellies needed on this day @Shieldaig Lodge Hotel

For our first night along the NC500 we had booked rooms at the Gairloch Hotel in the village of the same name. It looks out onto the same sea view but just from the other side as the lodge.

view on the sea @Gairloch

Since it was still light we stopped at Big Sand Beach and as the name promises, the sand dunes are amazing. Best way to access the beach was actually through the camping place. Don’t miss out on exploring these sandy shores. To get a good look all around, please click here. Yours, Pollybert

big sand dunes @Gairloch

almost sunset at Big Sand Beach @Gairloch

wide sandy beach @Gairloch

a long way up from the beach @Gairloch

Let me know what you think

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