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Scotland’s North Coast 500 by Land Rover

  • TAILOR-MADE HOLIDAY IDEA

Duration

8 Days

Prices Start from

$4,785pp (ex. flights)

Join a guided, self-drive adventure, exploring Scotland’s renowned North Coast 500 by Land Rover. With an experienced driver-guide leading the way, you will be joined by one other vehicle, as you venture along some of Europe’s wildest coastal tracks.

The route you will take on this trip has been carefully recced to avoid the busier sections of the North Coast 500, but you will still see the most spectacular sights such as Cape Wrath, Applecross and Bealach na Ba pass. If you like the idea of this holiday but would rather travel privately without a guide, please call us to talk to one of our experts.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Coastline, Scotland 1

Spectacular driving

On sealed roads and single off-road tracks, from behind the wheel of your Land Rover Discovery, you’ll see the best of the iconic North Coast 500.

Two people kayaking off Oldany Island, Scotland 2

Active excursions

After a morning’s drive, spend the afternoon mountain biking, trekking, kayaking, fly fishing or tracking otters with an expert guide.

Otter, Scotland 3

Distinctive wildlife

The Highlands are home to a rich variety of wildlife – ospreys, golden eagles, otters, deers and dolphins are regularly seen on our tours.

Old Beauly Priory in Scotland 4

Fascinating history

The North Coast 500 is surrounded by historic battlefields, abbeys and castles, each with its own distinct story to tell.

Why we like it

Travelling in your own Land Rover Discovery, drive along picturesque, sealed roads and off-road, single tracks to witness the last vestiges of wild Britain. Nowhere else in the UK offers such unspoilt wilderness as the Scottish Highlands, home to distinctive wildlife, epic landscapes and colourful culture and history that is brought alive by a rich tradition of storytelling.

Included in your week-long holiday is a boat trip on the Cromarty Firth looking for bottlenose dolphins, a tasting tour, a kayaking trip, a visit to the Pool House museum and a otter tracking trek.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1

    Liverpool to Dunkeld

    Start in Liverpool and drive to Dunkeld

  • Day 2

    Dunkeld to Cromarty

  • Day 3

    Cromarty Firth to Loch Assynt

  • Day 4

    Loch Assynt to Rue Reidh Lighthouse

  • Day 5

    Rue Reidh Lighthouse to Loch Torridon

  • Day 6

    Loch Torridon to Applecross

  • Day 7

    Isle of Skye

  • Day 8

    Drive to Liverpool

Day 1

Liverpool to Dunkeld

Day 2

Dunkeld to Cromarty

Dolphins, Scotland

The Black Isle – Cromarty

Take in the main highland route north via the Cairngorms National Park, to Inverness, and across the Moray Firth. Explore the firth by Rigid Inflatable Boat looking for bottlenose dolphins. In the afternoon take a guided Balblair tasting tour before reaching your final destination for the day, the remote coastal village of Cromarty on the Black Isle.

Day 3

Cromarty Firth to Loch Assynt

Coastline, Scotland

Skyfall country

A longer, wilder drive leaves the conventional North Coast 500 route, and instead heads inland across spectacular Skyfall country. The remote Flow Country, a land of wild tundra, peaks, and lochs serves up a classic drive on some of the finest driving roads in Europe. You will discover the most northerly point of the British Isles at Dunscanby Head, before descending to the incredibly remote Loch Assynt area.

Day 4

Loch Assynt to Rue Reidh Lighthouse

Kayaking with seals in background, Culkein, Drumbeg

Sutherland

Sutherland is a land of stupendous mountains and spectacular beaches of silver sand, soaring cliffs and deep caves, rich with flora and fauna. It is one of the last truly natural and unspoilt places left in Britain. Included in your itinerary today is a guided kayaking excursion or guided fly fishing & a picnic.

Day 5

Rue Reidh Lighthouse to Loch Torridon

Isthmus, Coastline, Scotland

Stoer Peninsula

Taking the coast from Ullapool, the route again leaves the traditional NC500, via a trail around the awe-inspiring Stoer Peninsula, with its remote lighthouses and then south to Badrallach and the Falls of Mearch, where water plunges 160ft into the imposing Corrieshalloch Gorge. This afternoon you will visit the Pool House Museum (ww2 Arctic Convoy base).

Day 6

Loch Torridon to Applecross

Bealach Na Ba Pass

A mainly coastal route along Gruinard Bay, with Golden Eagles and Seals frequently spotted, and on to the 2045ft ascent on the daunting 1:5 gradient Bealach Na Ba pass towards the Applecross Peninsula, and probably the most iconic section of the NC500 route, before crossing to the Isle of Skye.

Day 7

Isle of Skye

Autumn on Loch Maree, Scotland

Isle of Skye

Head south with views across Loch Duich to probably Scotland’s most classical scene, the Kyle of Lochalsh, overlooked by the magical Eilean Donan Castle. Crossing north of Ben Nevis via Fort William, the final destination of the trip is Port Appin on the shores of Loch Linnhe. Today you will take a trek looking for otters and the coastal birdlife in the area. You will also get the chance to observe for them from a hide.

Day 8

Drive to Liverpool

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

More details

Kayaking with seals in background, Culkein, Drumbeg
Drumbeg, Scotland
Two fishermen walking towards Loch to go fishing, Assynt, Scotaand
Scotland
Dolphins, Scotland
Dolphins, Scotland
Sea kayaking at Arisaig, Scotland
Arisaig, Scotland

How Does it Work?

You will be accompanied by one other vehicle, typically booked by a couple, with a lead vehicle at the front showing the way, driven by a knowledgeable guide. There will be planned stops en route and Steppes will pre-book the following excursions on your behalf:

  • Day 2 – Dolphin Rib safari and Balblair Tasting Tour
  • Day 4 – Guided sea kayak adventure, or guided fly fishing and picnic
  • Day 5 – Pool House Museum visit (ww2 Arctic convoy base)
  • Day 7 – Skye otter spotting trek and hide

In the evenings, you will join the guide and the people travelling in the other vehicle, at your accommodation for the night, and it is normal for the group to join together for an evening meal and a few drinks. If you think you may prefer an unguided, self-drive experience then please talk to our experts.

Beach, Scotland
Scotland

Castle of Mey to Kylesku inlet

Traverse the Kyle of Tongue to access the wild shores of Loch Eriboll and a stunning stretch of road that leads to Durness. Stop at the spectacular Ceannabeinne beach (meaning ‘end of the mountains’) with its white sand and brilliant blue sea before taking an off-road trail, located on a private estate, that fords the River Dionard before heading high into the Sutherland mountains.

Today epitomises why we love this holiday. The route combines the best of the Highlands, from its rugged coastline and iconic glens to its mist-covered mountains and lochs. The driving is spectacular but there is also ample opportunity to park up the Land Rover to explore on foot. Trek to castle Varrich (once a stronghold of the powerful Mackay clan) and for an eagle’s eye view of the Atlantic Ocean, travel at 40mph on a zip line that transcends Ceannabeinne beach.

Bealach na Ba (Applecross Pass), NC500, Scotland, United Kingdom
Scotland, United Kindom

Bealach Na Ba pass

Start the day kayaking or paddle-boarding in the maze of inlets found at Shieldaig Bay before getting behind the wheel of your Land Rover to commence one of northern Europe’s most spectacular 4×4 drives. The Bealach Na Ba pass is the most renowned section of the NC500 and the journey to Applecross Peninsula is a 625 metres ascent at a dramatic 1:5 gradient. It is the perfect finale to an exceptional road trip, giving outstanding views across to the Isle of Skye before finally descending to the enchanting village of Applecross.

4 X 4, Celtic Routes, Land Rover, Scotland
Scotland

Land Rover Touring

Land Rover is renowned for its exemplary design credentials and engineering capabilities. It is arguably the most iconic, robust yet comfortable all-terrain vehicle available and as such, is the perfect 4×4 for our trips. You will be given a Land Rover Discovery 2014 model to drive for the duration of your tour.

If you want to familiarise yourself with driving a Land Rover then take the opportunity to put a vehicle through its paces in a challenging but safe environment at Land Rover’s centre on the shores of Butterstone Loch in Perthshire. You’ll be given a new factory Land Rover Defender to drive across a natural, off-road assault course with rutted tracks, steep hills, boulders, slippery slopes and woodland tracks. This optional add-on can easily be included on Day 1 of your holiday.

We're waiting to help you

It all starts here

Let’s put that once-in-a-lifetime trip in your hands. Get in touch with the team and we will work with you at every step to make sure that it’s extraordinary.

01285 880 980

Get in touch with our travel experts to start
creating your tailor-made holiday.

Start planning your trip

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we have recommended for this journey.

Dornoch Castle £££££

  • Scotland
  • Boutique

A 500-year-old converted Scottish castle that’s paired with the inspiring 12th-century Dornoch Cathedral directly opposite. This historic hotel is full of character and boasts its own highly-rated distillery and close links to plenty of activities, including first-rate golf courses.

View Property

Sheildaig Lodge £££££

  • Scotland
  • Boutique

Described as “The ultimate Highland hideaway” – in The Times,  this stay is a recently refurbished Victorian hunting lodge perfectly placed in a 26,000-acre estate of wild West Highlands scenery next to Shieldaig Bay.

View Property

Duisdale House £££££

  • Scotland
  • Boutique

Built in 1865 as a hunting lodge, Duisdale House was given a new lease of life when it was refurbished to create an immaculate, stylish boutique hotel. And the critics agree – with this acclaim being reflected in the awards won by the hotel, including Scotland’s Independent Hotel of the Year.

View Property

A note on price

The price shown is for the small group, guided option, based on low season and including excursions. Please call our experts for a quote based on private hire.

This Itinerary
Price
From $4,785 Per person

When to travel

United Kingdom in January

January is usually the coldest month of the year and also when you’re most likely to experience clear and frosty days but with blue skies and crisp mornings. Perfect conditions for winter walks, if dressed suitably.

United Kingdom in February

You may experience snowfall in February and temperatures will still be relatively cold. In the south of the United Kingdom, snowdrops begin to emerge, particularly in woodland areas and you’ll see the first sprouts of wild garlic.

United Kingdom in March

The weather gradually begins to improve in March as the Spring season starts to get underway. Temperatures begin to rise and spring flowers appear, both on the ground and as blossom on the trees. The rugby Six Nations Championship is held during February or March when England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy all go head to head.

United Kingdom in April

April can be a little unpredictable for the weather; it can be warm and sunny or it can be a very rainy month. Towards the end of April swathes of bluebells cover ancient woodland areas and meadows burst into colour.

United Kingdom in May

The weather is usually warm during May. The month has two Bank Holiday weekends, which can be particularly busy as British people make the most of this time off work. There are quite a few festivals that will take place from May through to August, making the most of the sunshine, so talk to our experts as to what you can get involved in.

United Kingdom in June

The warm weather continues through to June. There are quite a few festivals that will take place from May through to August, making the most of the sunshine, so talk to our experts as to what you can get involved in.

United Kingdom in July

Traditionally the summer months, July and August are in theory the hottest and driest months of the year although, as with all British weather, this cannot be relied on. There are quite a few festivals that will take place from May through to August, making the most of the sunshine, so talk to our experts as to what you can get involved in.

United Kingdom in August

Traditionally the summer months, July and August are in theory the hottest and driest months of the year although, as with all British weather, this cannot be relied on. There are quite a few festivals that will take place from May through to August, making the most of the sunshine, so talk to our experts as to what you can get involved in.

United Kingdom in September

September often has warmer and drier weather than August, and the summer crowds start to disperse as schools reopen.

United Kingdom in October

The autumn leaves are at their best, most vibrant russet shades during October with around, on average about 10 days of rain. Temperatures are cooler and some sites in more rural areas start to close for winter.

United Kingdom in November

In early November the autumn leaves are still in full show, but mountainous areas may experience snow and daylight is restricted to around seven hours in northern Scotland. The weather is usually cool and damp, although it’s not uncommon to have wonderful cold, dry spells. The UK acknowledges daylight saving time on November 1 and the clocks will be set back by one hour

United Kingdom in December

December is usually cold and damp, with little foliage and the least daylight hours of the year (fewer than seven in the north of Scotland).

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise set us apart. So too our curiosity. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary once again?


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