The narrow highway is flanked by a pair of mist-shrouded mountains. Hairpin turns descend to the head of a long freshwater loch. As we pull over to behold the view down the glen, sunlight glistens off a rainbow and the soaring drone of bagpipes comes on the radio, which is tuned to BBC Gaelic, one of the only stations we can receive. A few miles ahead, according to the map, there’s a stretch of twisty single-track tarmac — with single-lane bridges. And, considering our location, there’s a decent chance we’ll also encounter some free-range sheep.
To be considered “classic,” a road trip must have several essential features: stunning scenery; distinctive food, drink and accommodations; rich history and culture; and activities that appeal to a range of travellers (to justify confining your family in a car for a few hours every day).
Scotland’s North Coast 500 — an 800-kilometre coastal loop around the northern Highlands — is billed as the British version of the United States’ Route 66, albeit with no neon Americana. Launched three years ago, the NC 500 is a thrilling journey punctuated by breathtaking hikes, lavish lodgings and cliff-top castles, and populated by dreamers who are reimagining old traditions to craft new lives in this beautiful region they call home….
My feature on last summer’s family road trip on the NC 500 is on the cover of the new May issue of WestJet Magazine. Click here to read the full story. And scroll down below the lovely cover to see some photos by @lisaanngregoire to further entice you.