John Craddock Ltd Magazine (May 2021)

Scotland is calling and so is an adventure, so what better way to pair the two than with a trip to tour the NC500? If you don’t know what NC500 stands for, it is the North Coast 500, and it is a 516-mile trip that starts and ends at Inverness Castle. It offers up some of the best scenery and sights that Scotland has to offer, and it is also the perfect route for a Land Rover, trust us.

What is the North Coast 500?

The North Coast 500 is a 516 mile route along Scotland’s northern coast that begins and ends at Inverness Castle.

Following main roads along the coastal edges of the North Highlands, the route covers the regions of Wester Ross, Sutherland, Caithness, Easter Ross, the Black Isle and Inverness-Shire.

With wide meandering country tracks, beautiful bends through some of Scotland’s finest coastal scenery and a back drop of jutting mountains, vast lochs and huge sea caves, this really is an adventure of epic proportions!

North Coast 500 Scenic

Wild Camping with Your Landy

The first piece of information, if you didn’t already know, is that wild camping is actually legal in Scotland, meaning you can pull up and call anywhere home, providing you have the right kind of kit. This is where a roof tent would be the perfect solution. Attaching to your roof rack and taking minutes to fold away, roof top tents can be a great way of upgrading your camping experience.

Looking for something on the cheaper side? Our Skydome Swag tents come in single and double sizes and will nestle nicely next to your vehicle.

For added shelter, one of our awnings could be a great addition to your kit, offering privacy and protection from the weather. Designed to fit onto your Land Rover, you will be pitched up and ready to relax in no time!

Must Visit Spots Along The Way

Wherever you choose to stay along the way, there is plenty to do and plenty to explore, and we will start by giving you the lowdown of the beaches to visit, which, even in the colder weather, are perfect for dipping your toes or watching from afar if you want to keep all ten toes intact and sand-free!

While Scotland may not spring to mind as the top place to find a beach in the UK, you will be surprised at how beautiful and untouched a lot of them are. Unspoilt by trillions of tourists and the perfect getaway or stop off point for an hour or two.

Dornoch Beach

First up we have Dornoch Beach, which has won awards for its cleanliness and is deemed a clean and safe swimming spot – just make sure you have a wetsuit or some gear to hand if the weather is not kind and you fancy a dip! It’s also home to a lot of wildlife, so look and listen, and get the binoculars out if you like as well.

Dornoch Beach

Melvich Beach

Another pick is Melvich Beach, which is at the bottom of a narrow road and a short walk away. Don’t let the rocky terrain put you off as when you arrive over the dunes, you will find white sand and turquoise waters, so much so that if the wind weren’t a welcome reminder, you could think you were overseas!

Melvich Beach

Achmelvich Beach

Last on our list is Achmelvich Beach, which is home to livestock and the backdrop for some serious sunsets. The sand is made up of crushed shells and geology plays a huge part in this beach’s history.

While we all love a good beach, there are plenty of places to marvel at that are have other things to offer, so it is only fair to give some of those a mention as well.

Achmelvich Beach

Rogie Falls

Next, we have Rogie Falls, a series of stunning waterfalls that will take your breath away. A short walk from the car park, put your boots on and get ready for a mini hike to see them in their glory. Keep your eyes peeled for wild salmon swimming in the waters too.

Rogie Falls

John O’Groats

The most North-eastern point is up next, the one and only John O’Groats! While it is popular with tourists, it almost seems criminal not to check it out during your trip. It’s picturesque and you do, quite literally, feel on the edge of the country, maybe even the world.

John O'Groats

How Long Do You Need for the NC500?

The NC500 is a trip and a half. You want at least five days, potentially seven and more if you can spare them to truly make the most of this trip. There are a couple of things you might want to keep in mind as well, that often get overlooked or forgotten about.

First off, always allow yourself more time than you think you will need. Just because something is ten miles away, doesn’t mean it will be plain sailing. The roads of Scotland wind round and round, which make them plenty of fun for driving but also mean that you clock up extra time on your journey. Be generous with your timings and drive carefully as you go.

Essential Bits of Kit

Along the same theme, fuel up as and when you can. While it is unlikely you will get caught short, it is the last thing you want to happen, stranded on your trip with an empty tank and a grey mood. If this is a worry for you, grab a jerry can and keep it handy, just in case the worst should happen! On the subject of an emergency kit, there are always a few things we like to carry…

Winches, Hi-Lift Jacks and Recovery Kits

A winch is a great addition to the box, should you get into muddy waters. A hi-lift jack is next on the list and whether you need a lift, a spread, a winch or a clamp, this kit has you covered. Lastly, an ARB recovery kit is an ideal purchase, giving you peace of mind that you have a purpose-built recovery kit onboard with you.

Expedition Storage Boxes

With spending so long on the road it’s only natural that you’ll be packing lots of belongings, whether that’s camping equipment, clothing, food supplies, camera supplies, recovering equipment or something else entirely. Our expedition storage boxes help to keep your Landy organised and your belongings protected. Highly durable, waterproof and available in both low and high lid options, these hands boxes can be stored in the boot or on the roof rack.

Spare Wheel

The North Coast 500 is remote, fact. No matter what model of Land Rover you’re driving, we always recommend taking a spare wheel just in case an emergency strikes. In addition to supplying a huge range of tyres, online you’ll also find a wide selection of wheel carriers to choose from, to help you to be prepared for any eventuality!

Mud or Snow Tyres Depending on The Time of Year

The NC500 is a huge adventure which can require weeks of planning. One hugely important factor to consider very early on in your preparations is your tyre choice. The terrain can vary greatly across the route and if you’re planning a trip from October onwards, the weather can also be very unpredictable too! Winter tyres are definitely a sensible choice for the harsher months whilst mud tyres are perfectly suited to the summer seasons.

Share Your North Coast 500 Stories With Us

If you’re planning a trip, let us just say we envy you, but enjoy every moment and see where your Landy takes you! We’d love to see some of your pictures, whether you take on the route this year or you’ve completed it previously! If you have any top tips to share with the Landy community, let us know and we might just feature you in our next North Coast feature!

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May 2021

The May 2021 issue of the John Craddock magazine is all about getting your Land Rover summer ready with tips for camping, info on upcoming events, a short guide to the North Coast 500 and more!

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