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Scotland 500 road
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userGaby53
Posted: 26 July 2020 8:45 PM
Subject: Scotland 500 road
 
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Watched a programme last night which showed part of the Scottish 500 coastal trip and I wondered jf the books you can buy reflect the veracity of driving the route in a 7.2 m motorhome. I’m all for an adventure but don’t fancy getting stuck on a narrow road. I lived in the Lakes for over 50 years so am used to driving down narrow lanes etc, just not in a motorhome. Advice appreciated.
userpelmetman
Posted: 26 July 2020 8:54 PM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 


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Gaby53 - 2020-07-26 8:45 PM

Watched a programme last night which showed part of the Scottish 500 coastal trip and I wondered jf the books you can buy reflect the veracity of driving the route in a 7.2 m motorhome. I’m all for an adventure but don’t fancy getting stuck on a narrow road. I lived in the Lakes for over 50 years so am used to driving down narrow lanes etc, just not in a motorhome. Advice appreciated.


If it is a nice new shiny 7.2 m moho .........

Then I would prolly park up on a easily accessible campsite and hire a car .......

userJohn52
Posted: 26 July 2020 9:18 PM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 


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I have done the north 500 and can say there is plenty of room for a 7.2m motorhome
useralan k
Posted: 26 July 2020 9:44 PM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 
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Remember on most of the 500 its the only road, all sorts of supply vehicles, lorries, tankers, buses etc use it. As long as you can reverse your van to a passing place should you meet something bigger there's little problem. Thats of course only an issue when the meeting drivers haven't been able to see or anticipate having to stop in a passing place
Admittedly we last went up their before all the 500 publicity, and we didnt have a problem in our 4 tonne 7.4m van although we might be tempted this year cheers
userJohn52
Posted: 26 July 2020 9:54 PM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 


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I was round that way a couple of weeks ago and it was still pretty quiet.
Smoo cave (Durness), Dunnet Head (better view than John o Groats), and the Big Burn Walk (Golspie) are amongst my favourites. All with easily accessible free parking. Recommended to do it clockwise, so most people are going the same way, minimising congestion on the single track road sections.
userJohn52
Posted: 26 July 2020 9:57 PM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 


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pelmetman - 2020-07-26 8:54 PM

Gaby53 - 2020-07-26 8:45 PM

Watched a programme last night which showed part of the Scottish 500 coastal trip and I wondered jf the books you can buy reflect the veracity of driving the route in a 7.2 m motorhome. I’m all for an adventure but don’t fancy getting stuck on a narrow road. I lived in the Lakes for over 50 years so am used to driving down narrow lanes etc, just not in a motorhome. Advice appreciated.


If it is a nice new shiny 7.2 m moho .........

Then I would prolly park up on a easily accessible campsite and hire a car .......



Its a 500 mile round trip on scenic roads. You can't make the best of it without overnight stops on the way round.

Edited by John52 2020-07-26 9:59 PM
usercolin
Posted: 26 July 2020 10:01 PM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 


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I've not been around there since the publicity of nc500, but aside from that driving the vast majority of the roads is much easier than any narrow roads in the lakes.
userpelmetman
Posted: 26 July 2020 10:09 PM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 


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John52 - 2020-07-26 9:57 PM

pelmetman - 2020-07-26 8:54 PM

Gaby53 - 2020-07-26 8:45 PM

Watched a programme last night which showed part of the Scottish 500 coastal trip and I wondered jf the books you can buy reflect the veracity of driving the route in a 7.2 m motorhome. I’m all for an adventure but don’t fancy getting stuck on a narrow road. I lived in the Lakes for over 50 years so am used to driving down narrow lanes etc, just not in a motorhome. Advice appreciated.


If it is a nice new shiny 7.2 m moho .........

Then I would prolly park up on a easily accessible campsite and hire a car .......



Its a 500 mile round trip on scenic roads. You can't make the best of it without overnight stops on the way round.


Perhaps I'll try it one day .......

Before I need a visa ........and when I feel the need to feed the midges again ..........

userJohn52
Posted: 27 July 2020 7:28 AM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 


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colin - 2020-07-26 10:01 PM

I've not been around there since the publicity of nc500, but aside from that driving the vast majority of the roads is much easier than any narrow roads in the lakes.


Much easier parking too
The contrast between Lands End (privatised rip-off)
and John o Groats (free public parking)
could not be more stark
userJohn52
Posted: 27 July 2020 7:36 AM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 


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pelmetman - 2020-07-26 10:09 PM


Perhaps I'll try it one day .......




So you have never tried it
But still feel qualified to tell others how to do it
userHymerVan
Posted: 27 July 2020 8:40 AM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 


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The North Coast 500 comprises long sections of single track roads. These roads are slightly wider than a single carriageway so apart from passing they are easy to drive on. HOWEVER the passing places are really only designed to cope with about two vehicles IN the passing places. Unfortunately the combination of lack of experience driving a "large" (more often than not hired) vehicle and of the correct procedure and etiquette using a single track road and passing places can and does lead to problems. You just have to note the number of damaged and taped up mirrors to get the idea.

We took our van to Skye and thence further North last July. We are long experienced motorhome/campervan travellers to the remotest parts of Scotland including the outer isles and to many remote and challenging places in Europe including Artic Sweden and Norway.
We will not return to Skye (which we appreciate is not on the NC 500 however we experience problems on other parts of the route too its just that Skye was worst). It was mayhem. For example a group of around 25 Italian motorhomers left our site in convoy. You don't have to be genius to work out that on a single track road that will cause mayhem.
To compound the problem people park in passing places especially at viewpoints. The NC 500 has I believe been a great success commercially and I readily concede that Scotland needs tourist trade. The problem is that it has caught the public imagination to an extent not anticipayed and the tourist infrastructure and in particular roads and toilets just hasn't expanded (and probably cannot expand sufficiently) to cope.

Edited by HymerVan 2020-07-27 8:49 AM
userConrad
Posted: 27 July 2020 9:56 AM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 
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An article in this month's Practical Motorhome may help you plan; especially as it details the bits best avoided in a larger 'van. Only part I'd disagree with is at the end it says "best time for weather" - those months coincide with midge season! Autumn is surprisingly beautiful in the Highlands.

https://www.practicalmotorhome.com/motorhome-travel-guides/north-coast-500?
userJohn52
Posted: 27 July 2020 12:34 PM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 


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I've always found the midges only bother me when I'm walking in open countryside in still damp air - especially when there are no animals around for them to feast on which they seem to prefer as they can't swat them away. Must be hell for cattle with a fur coat full of midges in the hot sun. I've not known midges come into the van, but you can get a door fly curtain just to be sure.
I wouldn't like to leave it much later because this is all about scenery, so you want as much daylight as possible - being further north makes winter days even shorter, and summer days even longer.
Biggest spoiler though is rain and mist - so you don't want to get out the van and you can't see the scenery - which is the only point in going

Edited by John52 2020-07-27 12:38 PM
userBS20
Posted: 28 July 2020 11:19 PM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 
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Although I have not tried the 500 yet but later this year I may give it a leisurely drive at the end of September.
I expect a lot of you have completed the route but do the majority travel east-west, west-east or is it 50:50 both ways around.
It would be better to follow the crowd rather than head in to them all the time.
I suspect the answer may be that it is the same both ways but would appreciate your opinions on your preferred route if you were to take the journey again.

Mike
userJohn52
Posted: 29 July 2020 7:41 AM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 


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BS20 - 2020-07-28 11:19 PM

Although I have not tried the 500 yet but later this year I may give it a leisurely drive at the end of September.
I expect a lot of you have completed the route but do the majority travel east-west, west-east or is it 50:50 both ways around.
It would be better to follow the crowd rather than head in to them all the time.
I suspect the answer may be that it is the same both ways but would appreciate your opinions on your preferred route if you were to take the journey again.

Mike


General recommendation is to do it clockwise for that reason.
You want as much daylight as possible and by the end of September the days are getting shorter than they are further south,
If you can, check the forecast
https://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/2650621
and go when there is a long dry spell.
Its wonderful in clear weather, but not worth doing in rain and mist.
userBS20
Posted: 29 July 2020 11:38 PM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 
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Thanks John,
We may bring our trip forward to the 2nd week of September when schools are back and hopefully not that crowded.
Looks like we will go clockwise, although 1st thoughts were to go anticlockwise and let the scenery get better on the way around but if the traditional route is clockwise I will go with the majority.
Mike
userjumpstart
Posted: 30 July 2020 9:08 PM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 
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We enjoyed it anti clockwise and took in some of the islands. East coast not as interesting as the west but don’t get too hung up on doing the 500 route,there are plenty of other areas which are if anything better.

Edited by jumpstart 2020-07-30 9:08 PM
userJohn52
Posted: 30 July 2020 11:54 PM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 


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BS20 - 2020-07-29 11:38 PM

Thanks John,
We may bring our trip forward to the 2nd week of September when schools are back and hopefully not that crowded.
Looks like we will go clockwise, although 1st thoughts were to go anticlockwise and let the scenery get better on the way around but if the traditional route is clockwise I will go with the majority.
Mike


Clockwise also has the advantage that if the mist comes down before you have finished, you will at least have seen the best views. The big burn walk at Golspie is one of the few places that can still be enjoyed when you can't see very far.
userBogfoldcruiser
Posted: 31 July 2020 7:25 AM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 


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John52 - 2020-07-30 11:54 PM

BS20 - 2020-07-29 11:38 PM

Thanks John,
We may bring our trip forward to the 2nd week of September when schools are back and hopefully not that crowded.
Looks like we will go clockwise, although 1st thoughts were to go anticlockwise and let the scenery get better on the way around but if the traditional route is clockwise I will go with the majority.
Mike


Clockwise also has the advantage that if the mist comes down before you have finished, you will at least have seen the best views. The big burn walk at Golspie is one of the few places that can still be enjoyed when you can't see very far.



That must be Scotch Anti Clockwise mist John
userblaven
Posted: 31 July 2020 8:20 AM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 
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HymerVan - 2020-07-27 8:40 AM

The North Coast 500 comprises long sections of single track roads. These roads are slightly wider than a single carriageway so apart from passing they are easy to drive on. HOWEVER the passing places are really only designed to cope with about two vehicles IN the passing places. Unfortunately the combination of lack of experience driving a "large" (more often than not hired) vehicle and of the correct procedure and etiquette using a single track road and passing places can and does lead to problems. You just have to note the number of damaged and taped up mirrors to get the idea.

We took our van to Skye and thence further North last July. We are long experienced motorhome/campervan travellers to the remotest parts of Scotland including the outer isles and to many remote and challenging places in Europe including Artic Sweden and Norway.
We will not return to Skye (which we appreciate is not on the NC 500 however we experience problems on other parts of the route too its just that Skye was worst). It was mayhem. For example a group of around 25 Italian motorhomers left our site in convoy. You don't have to be genius to work out that on a single track road that will cause mayhem.
To compound the problem people park in passing places especially at viewpoints. The NC 500 has I believe been a great success commercially and I readily concede that Scotland needs tourist trade. The problem is that it has caught the public imagination to an extent not anticipayed and the tourist infrastructure and in particular roads and toilets just hasn't expanded (and probably cannot expand sufficiently) to cope.


100% agree. Promotional material has made the NC500 a huge success for the tourist industry to the detriment of the original idea of touring a relatively pristine environment. It has become a victim of its own success. Traffic has noticeably increased here in the last week or so since lockdown eased. The Italian Convoy was a nightmare for local folk. All those little nooks and crannies one hopes to find in which to overnight may well be already taken by other wild campers, and facilities are few and far between for emptying ‘The box’.
On a practical note, be aware that some of the narrow single track roads are relatively well maintained by BEAR Scotland. Others are repaired on ad hoc basis by Highland Council. The passing places here can be dire, with deep, and I mean deep, potholes to catch the unwary. These are especially dangerous if full of water, and more so if you’re travelling after dark. Do not under any circumstances be tempted to pull your wheels off the tarmac. Verges are usually soft peat. And please pull over and let us locals past, (I’m sure you would anyway)! You will get a thank you. You may be on holiday, but others have got to work and travel.
Hymervan, I’m sorry your Skye experience was so negative. International exposure in the media has ruined the peace and tranquility this area was famed for. Traffic here has become a nightmare in the tourist season which now extends from March to October. And I’ve seen road rage here recently which was previously unheard-of. It has become like a theme park. There is no money in the coffers for toilets and their upkeep. Tourists behind bushes and in people’s gardens in their desperation. Not nice.

Edited by blaven 2020-07-31 8:44 AM
userJohn52
Posted: 31 July 2020 9:58 AM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 


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blaven - 2020-07-31 8:20 AM

There is no money in the coffers for toilets and their upkeep. Tourists behind bushes and in people’s gardens in their desperation. Not nice.


Yes, but that is the situation throughout the UK, and its worse in England where Government spending per head is much lower.
In Central London, as a substitute for the free public toilets they used to provide, councils are erecting signs telling people not to defecate in the street. (Doesn't say what else the homeless can do)
Whilst closing public toilets to save money, we are spending £900,000 painting motifs on Boris Johnson's plane.
Sign of the times - you can't rule out visiting UK just because of the shortage of public toilets or you would never go out.
userJohn52
Posted: 31 July 2020 1:24 PM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 


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I didn't include it as its still closed, but if its re opened by the time you have finished, the botanic gardens at Inverness (and Aberdeen) are definitely worth a visit.
Parking and entry is free
A far cry from the rip-off at Kew
userGrumpyman
Posted: 4 August 2020 3:29 PM
Subject: RE: Scotland 500 road
 
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Worst thing that ever happened giving the that drive a NC500 handle.
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