North Coast 500 Route: Ullapool To Durness

Shutterstock © Scotland's North Coast 500 route attractions. Sango Bay beach at Durness one of Scotland's stunning North Atlantic beaches

The diversity of the North Coast 500 route is perfectly illustrated on the road between Ullapool and Durness. Much of the journey runs north through Sutherland’s incredibly dramatic landscape, where the rocks are some of the oldest in the world.

The route from Ullapool to Durness

Ardvreck Castle on the shores of Loch Assynt, Sutherland

Ardvreck Castle on the shores of Loch Assynt, Sutherland Pic: Shutterstock / Marten_House

After leaving Ullapool, and passing Loch Kanaird, the breathtaking and savage beauty of the landscape unfolds. The view towards the mountains of Coigach is incredible, particularly that of Stac Pollaidh, its translation from the Norse language meaning the stack at the pool.

If you have time, it’s worth exploring the wee roads between Achiltibuie and Lochinver, stopping in at Achins Bookshop for a chat and Peet’s Restaurant for the best of local seafood.

The scenery becomes ever more dramatic as the A837 runs through Inchnadamph, underneath the unique profile of Quinag and past the remains of little Ardvreck Castle.

It is then onto the A894, which twists and turns through more wild countryside, then Scourie and the Kyle of Durness, eventually culminating at Durness and the stunning Sango Bay.

Viewpoint at Sango Bay beach

Viewpoint at Sango Bay beach Pic: Shutterstock

Route Highlight

Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve, north of Ullapool

The North West Highlands Geopark, Knockan Crag, comes to life at the visitor centre where you can discover Scotland’s geological history on sculpture trails and poetry trails in a landscape that held the key to an amazing story of colliding continents and scientific intrigue.

The Globe at Knockan Crag Trail in theNorth West Highlands

The Globe at Knockan Crag Trail in the North West Highlands Pic: Shutterstock / Susanne Pommer

Other Things To See And Do:

Map from Ullapool to DurnessArdvreck Castle

Ardvreck Castle, built by the Macleods of Assynt in 1490, now lies in ruins on the shores of Loch Assynt, north of Lochinver. It’s striking position is well worth a visit.

Clachtoll Broch and Beach

This short 3km walk in beautiful surroundings is perfect for stretching your legs on route to Durness. Follow the beach until you come to the remains of Clachtoll broch, an iron-age defensive tower.

Hermit’s Castle, Achmelvich

While many visitors stop off at the well-known white sands and deep blue sea at Achmelvich beach, a few miles north-west of Lochinver, Hermit’s Castle is also worth a visit. Maybe better described as a “concrete bothy” than a castle, it’s hunched presence on a rocky outcrop is a distinctive sight.

Hermit's Castle

Hermit’s Castle, reputedly Europe’s smallest castle Pic: Shutterstock / Chris Waistle

Ultimate Scottish Road Trips magazineThis route was taken from the Ultimate Scottish Road Trips magazine (£8.99), out now!

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