The North Coast 500, often known as the NC500, is an expedition that promises stunning scenery, engrossing history, and life-changing encounters. However, it’s imperative to put safety first while driving to appreciate this long drive completely. The NC500’s roads can be difficult, but with the appropriate planning and knowledge, you can guarantee a safe and pleasurable drive.
You pass through some of Scotland’s most beautiful landscapes on the North Coast 500 course. However, it’s crucial to remember that the roads can occasionally be steep, winding, and small. Driving safely and with consideration for other road users is crucial. Additionally, a safe drive depends on being aware of the traffic circumstances and changing your driving accordingly.
The North Coast 500 is a journey that provides a variety of life-changing encounters. However, it’s crucial to truly feel comfortable during the travel to appreciate these experiences. To avoid weariness and maintain your alertness when driving, it is advisable to take regular rests, drink plenty of water, and engage in some easy workouts.
The North Coast 500 is a voyage that will provide you with lifelong memories. However, it’s crucial to remember that safety comes first. By following the advice, you may secure a risk-free and enjoyable drive on the NC500.
Detailed Driving Tips
Navigating the North Coast 500 requires understanding various road types. Because the route includes single-track roads with passing places, dual carriageways, and town and city roads, adhering to the speed limits is crucial. These may change frequently as you transition between different types of roads – stay alert and be aware.
Despite the stunning landscapes that may tempt your eyes away, it’s important to stay focused on the road. Overtaking should be done with extreme caution. Instead of rushing, take your time to enjoy the journey. Moreover, remember to pull over safely to let faster vehicles pass when necessary. Try not to hinder local traffic, who are not on holiday!
North Coast 500 Emergency Services Information
During your journey on the North Coast 500, knowing what to do in case of an accident or breakdown is essential. Obviously, the immediate priority is to ensure everyone’s safety and move off the road if possible. Then, contact the relevant emergency services. Dial 999 for emergencies or 101 for non-emergencies.
Meanwhile, if your vehicle breaks down, it’s important to alert other road users by using your hazard warning lights. Subsequently, contact your breakdown service provider. Always note your location; many parts of the route have limited mobile phone reception.
Wildlife on the Roads
While driving the North Coast 500, encountering wildlife on the roads is a distinct possibility. Particularly, deer and sheep are common sights. Therefore, driving cautiously and preparing for animals that might suddenly appear on the road is essential. Keep your speed down and pay attention to the road warning signs.
Equally, it’s important to remember that causing injury to a deer or a domestic animal like a sheep is a reportable road accident. Consequently, if you hit and injure such an animal, you should report it to the police.
The weather in Scotland can be unpredictable and can change rapidly. Therefore, it’s important to be prepared for all weather conditions when driving the North Coast 500. During periods of heavy rain or fog, visibility can be significantly reduced. Thus, adjusting your speed accordingly and maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front is crucial.
In winter, the route can be affected by snow and ice. Hence, checking the weather forecast regularly and planning your journey accordingly is advisable. Also, always carry a winter car kit, including a snow shovel, blanket, and de-icer.
Staying Comfortable During Long Drives
Long drives can be tiring, and comfort is key to enjoying your journey on the North Coast 500. Regular breaks help keep you alert and allow you to stretch your legs and take in the stunning scenery.
For those prone to car sickness, the winding roads of the North Coast 500 can be challenging. However, simple measures like avoiding reading or watching a screen can help. Try and look ahead through the windscreen and focus on objects in the distance. Furthermore, keeping the car cool and well-ventilated and taking regular breaks can make a big difference.
Scenic Spots for Breaks
The North Coast 500 is dotted with scenic spots that are perfect for taking breaks. For instance, the viewpoint at Bealach na Bà offers a stunning panorama worth a stop. Similarly, the picturesque village of Applecross is a great place to stretch your legs and enjoy some local cuisine.
Another spot to consider is the beach at Achmelvich Bay. Not only is it a beautiful place to relax, but it’s also a great spot for a picnic if the weather allows. Likewise, the gardens at Dunrobin Castle provide a tranquil setting for a leisurely break.
Fuel Stations and Planning
When driving the North Coast 500, planning your fuel stops is important. While fuel stations are along the route, the distances between them can be significant. Therefore, keeping your tank at least half full is a good idea, and if you see a fuel station, we recommend filling it up.
Some fuel stations along the route may not be open 24 hours, especially in more remote areas. Hence, it’s advisable to fill up when you have the opportunity. Furthermore, remember that not all stations may accept credit or debit cards, so carrying some cash is a good idea.
Navigating the North Coast Route
Navigating the North Coast 500 can be part of the adventure. While the route is well signposted, having a map or a navigation app can be helpful. An app can alert you to any road closures or traffic delays.
However, remember that mobile reception can be very patchy along some parts of the route, especially the West Coast – not helped by the mountain ranges. Therefore, it’s a good idea to download offline maps or directions. Additionally, a traditional paper map can be a useful backup, just in case.
Local Radio Stations or Playlists
Music or local radio can add fun to your North Coast 500 drive. Scottish radio stations offer a mix of music, news, and local information that can enhance your journey. For instance, BBC Radio Scotland provides a wide range of programming that reflects Scotland’s culture and heritage.
Alternatively, you can create your own NC500 playlist. Include a mix of your favourite tunes, interspersed with some Scottish music. After all, what could be better than driving through the stunning Scottish landscapes with the sound of bagpipes or a Scottish ballad in the background?
Sustainable and Respectful Driving on the North Coast 500
While enjoying the North Coast 500, it’s important to drive sustainably and respectfully. This includes sticking to the speed limits, not leaving litter, and respecting local communities. Remember, the route takes you through places where people live and work.
When it comes to wildlife, be sure to observe any animals from a safe distance. Do not feed wild animals or leave food where they can access it. Also, use designated parking areas and avoid parking on grass verges or blocking gates.
Road Tolls or Fees on the North Coast 500
Good news for drivers on the North Coast 500 – there are no road tolls or fees for using the route. However, you may need to pay for parking at some attractions or facilities. Having some change handy for parking meters is always a good idea.
Activities or Games for Passengers
Long drives like the North Coast 500 can sometimes be tiring for passengers, especially children. Therefore, having a selection of activities or games can be a great way to keep everyone entertained. Traditional car games like ‘I Spy’ or ’20 Questions’ can be fun and engaging.
Consider bringing activity books, portable board games, or audiobooks. These can be particularly useful during longer stretches of the journey. Similarly, creating a scavenger hunt or a bingo game based on things you might see along the route can add an element of excitement to the drive.
Capturing Memorable Photos on the North Coast 500
The North Coast 500 offers countless opportunities for capturing memorable photos. There’s no shortage of photogenic spots, from stunning landscapes to historic landmarks. However, it’s important to remember to respect the environment and private property when taking photos.
When taking photos, ensure you’re not obstructing traffic or trespassing on private land. Furthermore, use designated parking areas and avoid stopping on bends or narrow road sections. Lastly, remember that drones can disturb wildlife and are prohibited in some areas.
North Coast 500 Conclusion
Driving the North Coast 500 is an unforgettable experience. With its stunning landscapes, rich history, and diverse wildlife, it’s a journey that offers something for everyone. By following these tips, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable drive. So, buckle up, hit the road, and enjoy all that the North Coast 500 has to offer!
Q: What is the best time of year to drive the North Coast 500?
A: The best time to drive the North Coast 500 is generally between May and October, when the weather is most favourable. However, it’s important to check the weather forecast and road conditions before you set off, as these can change rapidly.
Q: Are there any specific rules for overtaking on single-track roads?
A: Yes, on single-track roads, you should only overtake when it’s safe to do so. Use passing places on your left to allow faster vehicles to overtake, and if the passing place is on your right, stop opposite it to let the other vehicle pass.
Q: What should I do if I encounter wildlife on the road?
A: If you encounter wildlife on the road, slow down and give the animals plenty of space. Do not honk your horn, as it may startle them. Wait patiently for them to move off the road.
Q: How can I stay comfortable during long drives?
A: To stay comfortable during long drives, take regular breaks to stretch your legs and rest your eyes. Keep hydrated and consider bringing along snacks. Adjust your seat and steering wheel to a comfortable position before you set off.
Q: Where can I take breaks along the North Coast 500?
A: There are numerous scenic spots, picnic areas, and facilities along the North Coast 500 where you can take breaks. Some popular spots include the viewpoint at Bealach na Bà, the village of Applecross, and the beach at Achmelvich Bay.
Q: What should I do if my vehicle breaks down on the North Coast 500?
A: If your vehicle breaks down on the North Coast 500, move off the road if possible and alert other road users by using your hazard warning lights. Contact your breakdown service provider and give them as much information about your location as possible.
Q: How can I plan my fuel stops on the North Coast 500?
A: It’s a good idea to plan your fuel stops before you set off. Keep in mind that while there are plenty of fuel stations along the route, the distances between them can be significant. Also, not all stations may be open 24 hours, especially in more remote areas.
Q: Are there any road tolls or fees on the North Coast 500?
A: There are no road tolls or fees for using the North Coast 500. However, you may need to pay for parking at some attractions or facilities.
Q: How can I keep passengers entertained during the drive?
A: Keeping passengers entertained during the drive can be achieved with games like ‘I Spy’ or ’20 Questions’, activity books, portable board games, or audiobooks. You could also create a scavenger hunt, or a bingo game based on things you might see along the route.
Q: What are some tips for capturing memorable photos on the North Coast 500?
A: When taking photos on the North Coast 500, ensure you’re not obstructing traffic or trespassing on private land. Use designated parking areas and avoid stopping on bends or narrow sections of the road. Remember that drones can disturb wildlife and are not permitted in some areas.