Discover one of the worlds great coastal routes

The North Coast 500

To the northwest, the road runs across to Ullapool and the ferry port for the distant Western Isles; to the south, along Loch Ness, the route goes to Skye and the quiet hills and glens of the Misty Isle.

From Inverness, the A9 leads north to the tranquil, fertile country of the Black Isle; further north, the Whaligoe Steps form a dizzyingly steep path down a cliff to a tiny fishing harbour in a cleft in the rock. The east coast town of Wick was an important fishing port during the heyday of the herring industry, with its restored fishing quarter and scenic harbour. From there, it’s only a few miles to John O’Groats, the northernmost tip of the British mainland, where a maritime museum offers a collection of artefacts and photographs of shipping in the Pentland Firth, the wildest waters in the British Isles.