Self-Guided North Coast 500 in 7 Days

SELF GUIDED TOURS

The North Coast 500 7 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

7 DAYS

FROM

£1700

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. Sure, this seven-day itinerary is a challenge, but the brave cyclist who accepts it will find themselves well-compensated with jaw-dropping views and with memories guaranteed to outlive the saddle sores and tired legs! 

500 miles / 7 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 8 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 12-day North Coast 500 self-guided tour, if you fancy a slower and less 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 Lochcarron
On this first day, you’ll cross from Scotland’s east coast to its west coast. It’s a pleasant warm-up as this is the flattest day of the trip, rolling mostly through farmland and beside the occasional loch. You’ll spend the first night sleeping on the shores of Loch Carron.
Duration: 64.9 minutes
Lochcarron to Poolewe
Today’s ride begins with the breath-taking Applecross Pass, or to give it its Gaelic name, Beallach na ba, meaning Pass of the Cattle. Until 1975, this challenging climb, comprised of alpine hairpins and the steepest ascent of any road in the UK, offered the only access in and out of Applecross. From Applecross, you pedal along quiet, undulating roads to Poolewe.
Duration: 84.1 minutes
Poolewe to Lochinver
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. After 50 miles pause in Ullapool; though only 1,500 locals call it home, it’s the region’s largest settlement and therefore an important port and tourist hub. Lochinver offers the best views to Suilven.
Duration: 80 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. The views remain beautiful as the landscape is pocked with lochs and lochans. Reaching Durness is a milestone as this is the most northerly point of our NC500. From here, you head east.
Duration: 60.4 minutes
Durness to Portskerra
Except for a detour inland around Loch Erriboll, today’s route is more direct and heads east keeping the sea on your left. The scenery now begins 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: 52.8 minutes
Portskerra to Lairg
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. You'll ride just 3 miles along the A9 before returning to quiet roads headed towards Lairg, one of the Highland’s only towns not situated on the coast.
Duration: 70 minutes
Lairg to Inverness
The easiest section of the NC500 is reserved for last. From Dingwall, you hug the coast and ride a lap of the stunning Black Isle. Then, you cross Kessock Bridge, rolling high above the Beauly Firth, and land in Inverness, where the journey began a week ago. Congratulations! You have pedalled the North Coast 500!
Duration: 81.5 minutes

Dates and Prices.

2nd - 8th July 2023 - Single
£5300
North Coast 500 self-guided cycling tour. Includes breakfast, lunch, hot drinks and all snacks provided by the support vehicle. Single room for single occupancy.
2nd - 8th July 2023 - Shared
£3600
North Coast 500 self-guided cycling tour. Includes breakfast, lunch, hot drinks and all snacks provided by the support vehicle. Single room for single 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
8 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.

We’re inviting you to join us today and be part of our community.

We’ve been exploring Britain on our bikes for over 40 years, and we want to share our knowledge and passion. Be ahead of the pack and sign up today to receive the latest news and tour offers.

    Cycle Britain

    Download Tour Details

    Opt in for Updates

      Cycle Britain

      Register Your Interest

      Opt in for Updates