North Coast 500: Stunning sand and sea!
The first stop on our trip around Scotland’s northern coastline takes us to Wester Ross in the small village of Gairloch. Where, as well as having stunning scenery, there are some truly stunning beaches too; such as the brilliantly-named Big Sand, and at Redpoint, which offers lovely views to Raasay, Skye and the Western Isles, an unforgettable sunset across the Minch. As well as beautiful sandy beaches the area also has a lot of rocky coastline for those looking for a bit of daring adventure. Visitors might be able to spot the odd whale or two offshore also have they have been known to travel through the waters here. Lastly you can also enjoy the stunning view north, which looks towards the volcanic peaks of Assynt. This is one stop on the NC500 that is truly not to be missed!
The next stop takes you just a little further north on the north western coastline of the NC500 to Achmelvich, which is just three miles northwest of Lochinver. However, they are three long miles when you take into account the "sporting" nature of the single track road that takes you there, and especially the last mile and a half of it leading down from the B869 coast road. Not to worry though, our campers can handle these remote single track roads! This is a truly wonderful place, and you shouldn't let the idea of some unusually challenging single track roads put you off making the short trip from Lochinver. As well as lots of beautiful white sandy bays, the surrounding scenery is equally stunning, with once again beautiful views to some wild and rocky mountains in the north; most notably Suilven, which rises high and narrow into the northern skyline.
Heading even further north and on to the top of the Scottish mainland you’ll come to Strathy Bay; a beautiful, sheltered and enclosed bay with a wide sandy beach. This blue flag beach and rural bay consists of numerous caves and rocky stacks and is bounded by cliffs on one side and the River Strathy on the other. It is most spectacular in the months of May and June when cowslips, northern marsh orchids and the spring squills flower in the short turf just behind the beach. There are some outstanding views from the beach out over the Pentland Firth.
Once over and around the tip of the Scottish mainland, and you’re coming back down the north eastern coast you’ll find even more stunning beaches. Specifically in the areas of Easter Ross. The first of which is Brora Beach, a small golden sandy beach with Jurassic rocks and sloping sea front. This rural and unspoilt beach, situated within the village of Brora, is great for wildlife watching. You can sometimes see dolphins, minke whales, and grey and common seals off the coastline, which makes it an ideal place for walking and picnics. There are benches on the seafront too. If you are also in the mood for a spot of golf you’ll find that this blue flag beach is located next to a golf course. With stunning views, a golden beach, wildlife and even a spot of golf for further relaxation; Brora Beach is not to be missed!
Heading just a little further south you’ll come again to another stunning spot at Dornoch. Sitting on the edge of the Dornoch Firth, the small historic town of Dornoch boasts a tranquil location, stunning scenery and sunny climate. This thriving community sits on the east coast of the north Highlands that runs from the Moray Firth up to Sutherland. It is blessed with a particularly sunny climate thanks to its sheltered position, and has miles of golden sand beaches. The beach stretches from Dornoch Point heading past Embo beach to the mouth of Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve. Adjacent to the beach is a Site of Special Scientific Interest that features nesting birds, flora and fauna. And for those keen golfers, tee-off on the Royal Dornoch championship course, ranked 13th in the world.! The coast is also a favourite with wildlife such as seals and a sizeable population of both breeding and wintering birds. The town is famed for its impressive cathedral. Founded in 1224, it was restored by the Countess of Sutherland in 1835, and again in 20th century. Scotland’s top philanthropist Andrew Carnegie paid for some of its stained-windows. The town is also reputedly where the last witch in Scotland was burnt in 1722 - a fact commemorated by the Witch’s Stone. With so much to both do and see, Dornoch is a perfect wee place to stop for some relaxation on your trip!
That concludes our trip around the best beaches along the NC500. As you can see there is a whole variety of sand and sea along this route, with plenty of experiences on offer; whether its wildlife you want to see or waves that you want to catch! Remember to check the availability of our campers, all of which are suited for this route and act as the perfect vehicle for seeing all the sights and sounds.
Thanks again for reading!