Intrepid explorers Sarah and Arthur hired our motorhome Finney for 10 days for their trip around the North Coast 500, Scotland – also known as the NC500. Here is their diary and photos of the highlights of their trip – I hope you enjoy it as much as we did – we can’t wait to do this trip ourselves.
We wanted to make the most of our holiday, so we thought we’d get the long journey to Scotland out of the way. We set off for the NC500 in our motorhome from Leicestershire straight after finishing work. We arrived in Tarbet in Loch Lomond at around 11.30pm, a long drive, but happy in the knowledge that the rest of our holiday / drives would now be pretty and scenic. Earlier on in the day we used the Brit Stops book and phoned ahead to ‘The Slanj’ Restaurant, asking if we could stay in their car park that night, if we arrived earlier it looked like a beautiful venue for dinner – a converted church.
Parking up, we settled for our first night in Finney. The car park is big enough for 12+ motorhomes, and although there are no facilities for the motorhomes, there is a restaurant and bar and for the morning there was a small shop that sold the essentials and made the most amazing bacon/sausage/egg roll.
We woke up and enjoyed breakfast rolls from the on-site shop, then drove the 2 minutes to Loch Lomond and enjoyed the views.
Next, we drove to Oban to explore the scenic fishing village and came across gorgeous scenery and views the entire journey. In Oban, we enjoyed the world’s best hot chocolate and chocolate fondue at the Oban Chocolate Co.
After Lunch we headed an hour and a half north to Fort William, where we started the famous ‘Harry potter railway’ journey’. In Finney we followed the A830 which runs from Fort William to Mallaig. We stopped half way to see the Glenfinnan viaduct.
Another 30 minute drive and we took a left off the A830 into a more secluded road where we started to look for a parking spot for the night. Within 5 minutes we had found the perfect spot overlooking Loch Ailort, there was space for 2 motorhomes in this spot.
Waking up in Loch Ailort and opening our blinds to see deer drinking from the Loch – it was incredible. The best part of wild camping is enjoying views that you wouldn’t necessarily see on a camp site.
We headed off towards Mallaig where we caught a morning ferry to Armdale in the Isle of Skye. We had planned a one day whistle stop tour of the main tourist spots and would highly recommend.
Around 6pm we visited ‘Camping Skye’, a small camp site in Broadford where we were able to fill up on water, empty the grey and black waste for £5. We then wild camped in a car park 2 minutes drive away overlooking a Sea Loch. There is space for 5 motorhomes here. There is a Co-op nearby and fish and chip takeaway over the road, however we walked 10 minutes to ‘Claymore’ fish restaurant, and had a lovely meal including delicious fresh lobster and sea bass.
We woke up to beautiful blue skies and more amazing views.
Following the A87 we left the Isle of Skye over the Skye bridge, and headed to Plockton, a quaint village with pretty multi coloured painted houses. After a short visit, we headed off onto A890 and officially started the NC500 in our motorhome, following the road to Sheildaig where we stopped for lunch at ‘Nanny’s Cafe’ where we had the most delicious Smoked Salmon Chowder and carrot cake overlooking the beautiful Loch.
Following the A896, through Torridon, Gairloch, Laid enjoying the beautiful scenery, we parked up for the night in a viewing point in between Mungasdale and Durnamuck at the top of a Glen overlooking Little Loch Broom, where we enjoyed a beautiful sunset and sunrise. There are no facilities here and space for around 8 motorhomes.
We headed to 45 minutes into Ullapool where we enjoyed a morning of sea kayaking, following this we explored the scenic town of Ullapool and stocked up at Tesco.
We continued along the A835 and A837 to Lochinver, then followed the coastal road to Clachtoll Beach Campsite where we used their Water and waste facilities for £6. We continued along the NC500 towards Ullapool but stopped in a viewing point overlooking Loch Chairn Bhain. We were the only ones there and it was completely secluded. There was only space for one motorhome here.
We headed along the NC500 in our motorhome to Durness, where we visited the Chocolate shop and had a delicious hot chocolate! We saw some gorgeous beaches and the impressive Smoo Cave, which we spent an hour exploring.
We spent the rest of the day slowing moving along the North coast through beautiful scenery where we eventually stopped in a small village called Castleton east of Thurso.
We parked in a car park down a country road 10 minutes walk from the small village and next to the harbour. There are no facilities here, but space for around 5 motorhomes.
We headed straight to John O’ Groats, the most northerly point. After an hours explore we started our descent down the eastern coast of Scotland, and drove through Wick. We stopped in a village called Berriedale for lunch at ‘The River Bothy’ which served the most amazing homemade cakes and desserts.
Following this we visited Dunrobin Castle and explored the grounds, before heading to Chanonry Point in Fortrose to Dolphin watch. We then headed to Cromarty, where we parked on the Sea front for the night. There was space for 5 motorhomes. There were no direct facilities, but the village with shops, bakery, pubs, cafe and toilets were a 3 minute walk away. We had a delicious fresh fish dinner at ‘The Cromarty Arms’
We had a wildlife Rib Boat trip arranged from Cromarty with ‘Ecoadventures’, (www.ecoadventures.co.uk) which was great fun. Following this we headed to Loch Ness to explore, before heading to Edinburgh. We stayed in Mortonhall Caravan and Camping Park, (www.meadowhead.co.uk/parks/mortonhall/) had full facilities and was £32 a night. A bus stop is located right outside the campsite which has a direct bus into Edinburgh that runs until early in the morning should you require!
We caught the bus into Edinburgh and spent the day Exploring!
We made the long journey back to Leicestershire, to drop Finney home.
We hired Finney for 9 nights to explore Scotland and experience the NC500. Trudi and Adam were so helpful and friendly from start to finish. This was the first time we had hired or used a motorhome and Trudi and Adam went the extra mile to answer any questions and explain things even before we chose to rent and then again after. During handover, everything was explained thoroughly and clearly inside and outside the motorhome, and there is a clear instruction guide inside incase you forget anything! Covid wise everything inside the motorhome is fully sanitised and clean so felt really safe and comfortable. Finney is absolutely brilliant! It has everything you need for a comfortable stay if you decide to wild camp or stay on a camp site. All of the small touches have been thought of that make life easier and packing easier; gas and electric kettle, beer and wine glasses, torch, outdoor table and chairs, everything you could imagine you would need has ready been thought of. We originally planned to stay one night in a camp site then one night wild camping, but we enjoyed the freedom and views of wild camping so much, and Finney had everything we needed that we ended up wild camping the entire trip. We had the best time and cannot recommend Finney and Heycampers enough. We can’t wait for our next motorhome holiday!”