Self-Guided North Coast 500 in 12 Days

SELF GUIDED TOURS

The North Coast 500 12 Day self-guided tour is one of Britain’s most legendary road trips. We’ve adapted the route to transform it into an epic cycling adventure. You do the cycling, we do the organising.

DURATION

12 DAYS

FROM

£2600

DISTANCE

500 miles

Meeting Point

Inverness

End Point

Inverness

Cycle at your own pace. We provide the accommodation, luggage transfers and route maps. The rest is up to you. E-bike hire is available.

Tour Overview.

Our self-guided North Coast 500 is one of Britain’s most legendary road trips. We’ve adapted the route – avoiding main roads such as the A9, winding through more scenic regions, detouring to luxury accommodation options – to transform it into an epic cycling adventure. This self-guided tour allows you to do all of the cycling independently at your own pace and leave the organising to us! We transfer your luggage, book the accommodation, provide the electronic route maps and are on hand with a support vehicle if needed – but we leave the cycling to you, giving you the right balance of freedom and support.

This trip is packed with rugged coastal and mountain landscapes, and a road that twists and turns as though its sole purpose is to showcase the best of Scotland. This slower-paced 12-day tour will allow you to enjoy the jaw-dropping views and create memories guaranteed to outlive the saddle sores and tired legs!

500 miles / 12 Days

Cycle Britain tours offer the best customer experience. Every decision is made to create an experience you will remember and treasure forever. Though this tour is self-guided, we will have a support vehicle on-hand for anything unforeseen. Ride in a maximum group size of 8 and enjoy the freedom to cycle at your own pace, whilst having the luxury of knowing your accommodation has been booked and your luggage will be transferred between hotels each day. We will provide the GPX files prior to the start of the tour. We provide 13 nights of high-quality accommodation with breakfasts. We book private rooms to guarantee optimum rest and recovery, however, room-sharing discounts are possible on request.

We also offer a 7-day North Coast 500 self-guided tour, if you fancy a faster and more challenging pace. If you prefer fully-guided tours for the North Coast 500 (7 and 12 days), check out our dates here.

This tour is also suitable for e-bikes – we are the only company to offer this as a guided option – so this route is now more accessible than ever! E-bike hire is available with Cycle Britain.

Tour Highlights.

Our small-group policy ensures you ride in a maximum group size of 8 people.
'Beallach na ba' - Applecross Pass
Lochinver. The fishing village offers stunning views to Suilven.
Low-traffic roads. This trip packs all the beauty of the NC500 but adapted specifically for cycling!
The rugged landscapes of the Highlands. Ride past shimmering lochs, craggy mountains and barren hills.
The satisfaction of riding the North Coast 500.
Making new friends and enjoying the camaraderie of riding in a group of 8.
Great accommodation, specifically chosen to be both comfortable and memorable.
Exceptional service that goes beyond your expectations.

Itinerary

Inverness to Achnasheen
Leave Inverness on Scotland’s east coast, and begin heading for the west coast. Today offers a pleasant warm-up as it is one of the flatter days of the trip, rolling mostly through farmland and beside the occasional loch. Assuming availability, you’ll spend the first night in Ledgowan Lodge, a luxury country house on the bank of the River Bran.
Duration: 43.9 minutes
Achnasheen to Applecross
Today’s demanding ride takes you up and over the breath-taking Applecross Pass, or to give it its Gaelic name, Beallach na ba, meaning Pass of the Cattle. Until 1975, this challenging yet iconic climb, comprised of alpine hairpins and the steepest ascent of any road in the UK, offered the only access in and out of Applecross.
Duration: 38.4 minutes
Applecross to Kinlochewe
From Applecross, you’ll hug the coast on a quiet road around the Applecross Peninsular. You’ll pass south of the rugged Torridon Hills which offer some of Britain’s most dramatic mountain-scapes and then continue through Beinn Eighe Nature Reserve to Kinlochewe, situated near the head of Loch Maree.
Duration: 41.7 minutes
Kinlochewe to Poolewe
Water provides a constant companion throughout today’s ride. You’ll begin along the shimmering shore of Loch Maree, cross heather-draped hills pocked with tiny nameless lochans and then descend to the sea alongside streams and rivers. Stay the night in Poolewe which sits at the sheltered head of Loch Ewe.
Duration: 25.1 minutes
Poolewe to Ullapool
As you near Scotland’s north-west corner, the villages become more infrequent, the roads more desolate and the scenery even better! The route hugs the dramatic coastline where possible, but is forced to detour inland around lochs and mountains. Only 1,500 locals call Ullapool home, but it’s the region’s largest settlement and therefore an important port and tourist hub.
Duration: 50.2 minutes
Ullapool to Lochinver
Most of today’s riding unfolds along the C1047, a tiny, non-descript singletrack road that appears to have been forgotten by the rest of Scotland. The cycling is breath-taking as you wiggle northwards past lochs and mountains. Lochinver, where you overnight, is a small fishing port with one of the best views to Suilven mountain.
Duration: 30 minutes
Lochinver to Durness
Today’s elevation profile resembles the teeth of a crocodile. The ride is one of short, sharp climbs and descents that exert a heavy tax on your energy. Reaching Durness is a milestone as this is the most northerly point of our NC500. From here, we head east.
Duration: 52.7 minutes
Durness to Bettyhill
Except for a detour inland around Loch Erriboll, today’s route is more direct and heads east keeping the sea on your left. One highlight is crossing the 2.4 mile Kyle of Tongue causeway and another is watching the scenery begin to change; the rugged crag and rock of the west coast is replaced by greenery and woodland. The cycling remains hilly, but by now the worst is behind you.
Duration: 40.8 minutes
Bettyhill to Brora
To remain on beautiful, cycle-friendly roads, the route leaves the coast from Melvich and heads into the rugged interior of the Highlands. The route climbs gradually beside the Halladale River, before a steep climb over the shoulder of Ben Uarie. This is the remotest section of the tour, hence today is the longest distance; it is necessary to reach Brora in order to find accommodation.
Duration: 57.2 minutes
Brora to Lairg
After a short (two miles) stretch of the busy A9, we plunge back into the barren world of the Scottish Highlands. One highlight is riding on the singletrack road beside Loch Brora which sits in a valley of heather-clad mountains. Lairg, where you overnight, is one of the Highland’s only towns that isn’t situated along the coast.
Duration: 27.3 minutes
Lairg to Evanton
This morning’s route parallels rivers as they head to the sea; first the River Shin, and then the Kyle of Sutherland. From Ardgay, the road climbs up and away from Dornoch Firth, before dropping back to sea level. We’ll stay in Kiltearn House, an imposing four-star Victorian guesthouse built in 1894 that offers stunning views across the Cromarty Firth.
Duration: 33.6 minutes
Evanton to Inverness
From Dingwall, we hug the coast and ride a lap of the stunning Black Isle. Then, we cross Kessock Bridge, rolling high above the Beauly Firth, and land in Inverness, where the journey began twelve days ago. Congratulations! You have pedalled the North Coast 500!
Duration: 49.8 minutes

Dates and Prices.

19th - 30th June 2023 - Single
£5300
North Coast 500 12-day self-guided cycling tour. Includes accommodation, luggage transfers and breakfast. Single room for single occupancy.
19th - 30th June 2023 - Shared
£3600
North Coast 500 12-day self-guided cycling tour. Includes accommodation, luggage transfers and breakfast. Shared room occupancy.

What's included.

Support vehicle
The Cycle Britain support vehicle will be transferring your luggage between hotels and is on hand for any unforeseen circumstances.
Nutritious breakfasts.
A hearty breakfast is provided with your accommodation.
komoot mapping & detailed route notes
We are an official partner with komoot and make your route available to you once you have booked so you can check the full details of the tour. We provide GPX and TCX files. These can be transferred onto Garmin and Wahoo. When you attend a tour you will receive all the route notes and our free guide as a PDF. Information is also provided in our navigation notes to read on arrival. With detailed trip notes, and komoot mapping you can't go far wrong.
Live Tracking
Our live tracking allows you to share your journey.
Microsoft Teams Tour Groups
We use Microsoft Teams to help you get to know your team before your departure.
Castelli Cycle Jersey
We provide a high-quality and professionally-designed Castelli Jersey for your tour.
Free use of soft bike bag if needed
Storage bag for your bike if required to take it into your hotel.
Accommodation
13 nights of high-quality accommodation. Unless requested otherwise, we book single rooms to ensure the best rest and recovery.
Expert staff
We are available to support your trip and answer any questions.
Route plans
Accessible as a GPS track on your phone before you even leave. All you need is your phone to use our turn-by-turn navigation.
Daily luggage transfer
We carry your bags between hotels so you don’t have to! When you arrive at the hotel your bags will be waiting in your room for you.
Unrivalled knowledge of cycling in Britain
We pride ourselves on being the experts on cycling in Britain.
Free guide to nutrition, training and bike setup
To help you prepare for this demanding tour, we provide you with free guides on what to eat, how to train and general bike setup tips.

What's not included.

A bike and helmet.
Please provide your own bike and helmet for this trip. Get in touch if you have any questions regarding whether your equipment is appropriate.
Travel Insurance
We highly recommend you take out insurance.
Transport to/from Inverness
Our tour starts and finishes in Inverness.
Evening Meals
We prefer to give you flexibility for your dinners.

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