Scotland’s Route 66, the NC500, named in the world’s top 6 coastal road trips
I would drive 500 miles! Scotland's stunning answer to Route 66 is named one of the top coastal road trips in the world – just two months after it was launched
- The 500-mile road, North Coast 500, nicknamed NC500, was launched only two months ago Ã?Â
- The initiative, backed by Prince Charles, aims to showcase local Scottish food, drink, accommodation and activities
- Key photographic points include the mountain ranges, Ben Hope and Suilven, and Dunrobin Castle
19:33, 4 August 2015
10:58, 11 August 2015
Scotland's answer to America's Route 66 has been named among the top six road coastal road trips in the world – after only being officially launched two months ago.
North Coast 500 – to be known as NC500 – aims to open up a fresh tourist market in the far north in a journey along the region's coastlines.
The venture is the brainchild of the North Highland Initiative (NHI), set up by Prince Charles to showcase the area, and is targeting car and motorbike enthusiasts, as well as cyclists and walkers wanting to take in some of the most scenic parts of the country.
New to the scene: Scotland's NC500 has been named among the top six road coastal road trips in the world – after only being officially launched two months ago
The North Coast 500 route in Scotland covers over 500 miles of spectacular Scottish scenery, including the stunningÃ?Â Kylesku Bridge
Travel Now magazine has placed the North Coast 500 route in fifth place in a list of 'six of the best' coast road trips on the planet.
Top was Cape Overberg in South Africa, followed by the Amalfi Coast in Italy and The Atlantic Road in Norway. The Pacific Coast Highway in America and the Coral Coast in Australia made up the list.
The 500-mile Scottish route – whose website only went live in June – links natural heritage and scenery, celebrates local food and drink and highlights accommodation, retail, arts, crafts and attractions of the region.
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The stunning route runs from Inverness, to the Kyle of Lochalsh on the West Coast, via the rugged north coast to John O'Groats, before heading down the east coast, completing the loop in Inverness.Ã?Â
Unmissable sights along the road include mountain ranges, Ben Hope and Suilven, the fairytale grand castle, Dunrobin, the Ardvreck castle ruins and the breathtaking Achmelvich and Dornoch beaches.
The route can be completed in a long weekend, or over several weeks on a more leisurely schedule and can be explored as a loop or in part.
Experience the beauty of driving along the North Coast 500
Enjoy Achmelvich Beach, Assynt along the way. The unspoiled beach is an ideal place for a pit stop along the road trip for a picnic
See the incredible Scottish landscape, including witnessing mountains Suilven and Canisp from Loch Druim Suardalain
The North Coast 500 route in Scotland runs from Inverness, to the Kyle of Lochalsh on the West Coast, via the rugged north coast to John O'Groats, before heading down the east coast, completing the loop in Inverness
While launching the route, NHI chairman David Whiteford said: 'Across the globe, touring routes have become famous and are often the very reason for visitors making the journey to that country.
'We have, in the north Highlands, an opportunity to create a globally significant route that captures the essence of the wonderful landscapes and seascapes, people, stories, culture, history, adventures, food and drink and much more.
'This is about bringing together for the first time the west, north and east coasts of the Highlands into an experience of 500 miles, with more than 500 things to do and secret places you could find on foot, on wheel or on the water.'
He added: 'While it may be a coastal route, it is also about the wonderful diversions from it where you will experience the places, the personalities and the craic that make up this extraordinary journey.'
Of NC500, Travel said it had 'rugged romance.'
The title said that Achmelvich's 'crescent of talc-white sand, sloping gently into the mineral-green waters of a sheltered bay, would give any Med beach a run for its money.'
Dunrobin Castle has 189 rooms, making it the largest in the northern Highlands. Its origins lie in the Middle Ages, but most of the present building and the gardens was added by Sir Charles Barry between 1835 and 1850. It is located on the NC500 1 mile north of Golspie
Ardvreck Castle is a ruined castle dating from the 16th century which stands on a rocky promontory jutting out into Loch Assynt in Sutherland, north west Highland, Scotland
It also waxed lyrical about the scenery describing Applecross in Wester Ross in spring sunshine as a place where 'fields of acid-yellow gorse clash dazzlingly against the cherry blossom, while fishing boats bob like toys in the bay.'
VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay said famous routes around the world attract tourists and generate millions for the economy.Ã?Â
He believes NC500 could have a similar impact in the Highlands, adding: 'From our enchanting wildlife and countless historic attractions to magnificent mountains, dramatic lochs and sandy beaches, the Highlands is a true touring paradise.Ã?Â
'There really is nothing quite like the open road. People travel from all over the world for Route 66, and with our scenery, there's no reason NC500 can't prove to be just as popular.'Ã?Â
A LOOK AT AMERICA'S ROUTE 66Ã?Â
1. Route 66 is 2,448 miles long and was commissioned in 1926.
2. Route 66 starts in Chicago, and ends in L.A. (Santa Monica), covering Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
3. Route 66 crosses three time zones.
4. In 1926 only 800 miles of Route 66 were paved. The completion of the paving end-to-end came about in 1937.
5. Despite a lot of the Route 66 being replaced by the interstate highways I-55, I-44, I-40, I-15 and I-10, a surprisingly high amount of old road is still waiting to be found by the more adventurous traveler.
6. Route 66 was the title of a TV series running from 1960 till 1964.
7. In 1985 Route 66 was officially decommissioned, but for daily use it was replaced far earlier by the Interstates.
8. The popularity of Route 66 improved the economy of the small towns along its route during the Great Depression.
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Would have been more useful to show a map of NC500 …
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