North Coast 500 Tour 2020 – Part 4 – Castletown to Ullapool

The day started with a full Scottish breakfast at our hotel and a civilised start time of around 10 am…which was rather nice!

The first part of the drive was along the A836, through Thurso and Tongue before taking the A838 for our first stop of the day, Smoo Cave. It’s over 60m long, 45m wide, and 15m high at the entrance…a pretty impressive sight. To get to it you have to descend some steep steps, which going down seemed fine but did give you a good workout going back up.


Nick - Smoo Cave

A few of us took a walk down towards the cliffs above the cave (the sun was shining and the wind seemed to have dropped) by the time we were at the furthest most point away from our cars, the heavens opened and the wind picked up, driving freezing cold, sideways rain directly at us.

After drying out, we headed a little further along the coast to the beautiful Balnakeil Beach. I think it’s fair to say that if you were blindfolded and dropped here you would probably guess you were somewhere in Spain or the South of France. (admittingly on a winters day!)

Balnakeil Beach 2

The rest of the day’s drive was along some fantastic sweeping roads that gradually got narrower and narrower until they were truly single track. At that point, we quickly got the hang of using the passing bay efficiently. 

We arrived at our destination for the night much earlier than we had anticipated, which wasn’t a bad thing! Ullapool is a lovely little town.

Roads 1
Ullapool 1

Due to the ongoing Covid restrictions, we were unable to pre-book anywhere for dinner in Ullapool. It didn’t matter though as our hotel was most accommodating by allowing us to bring takeaway food back to the hotel, providing us somewhere to sit and eat and even supplying plates and cutlery. And so Gavin had the task of popping next door to the local Fish & Chip shop and ordering over £100 of food…much to the dismay of the people behind him in the queue!!

With dinner consumed, talk turned to the final day of the tour and also the longest days driving ahead. 

The final installment to follow shortly…

Fish & Chips

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