Discover Drive & Hike
Our Top 10 Drive & Hike Walks
There are plenty of great routes to choose from across our Drive & Hike range. Here we have picked out some our favorites for you to peruse (listed in no particular order) ...
1) Sandwood Bay, Sutherland
Not accessible by car, a stroll along the stunning white-sands is earned by an 8 mile hike that's well-worth it! When you get there you'll have wonderful views of the Am Buachaille sea stack (meaning 'the herdsman' in Gaelic), first ascended by rock climbers in 1968.
2) Iona's beaches, Isle of Mull
Just off the south west shores of Mull lies the small isle of Iona, complete with an abbey that's been a site of worship since St Columba landed in 563 AD. There's something about the atmosphere of this tiny island of fields, beaches and rugged coastline that makes for a very relaxing visit.
3) The Butt of Lewis, Lewis
Located at the most northerly tip of the Hebridean archipelago the dramatic cliffs at the so called Butt of Lewis make for a dramatic cliff-top walk complete with a lighthouse teetering on the edge. From the clifftops watch sea birds in the colonies below soaring on the wind that whips in uninterrupted from across the Atlantic.
4) Luskentyre Beach, Harris
The beautiful white-sands of Luskentyre beach make it possibly the most photographed beach in the Outer Hebrides. Located on Harris' west coast the beach has beautiful views of Harris' hills and the isle of Taransay.
5) Stac Pollaidh, Assynt: Hike Torridon's iconic little 612 m hill Stac Pollidadh (pronounced Stac Polly), after reaching the craggy summit and lingering to soak up the views of Suilven, a neighboring Corbet with its iconic two-hump silhouette.
6) Triple Buttress hike on Beinn Eighe, Torridon
Complete the Triple Buttress hike to the mountain's loch affording magnificent views of the towering 200 m high cliffs.
7) The Old Man of Storr, Skye
A short, but rewarding hike just a 20 minute drive from Portree. Hike towards the Trotternish Ridge and it's array of interesting rock features until you reach the needle of rock known locally as The Old Man of Storr. The views over the Sound of Raasay to the mainland are spectacular rendering this one of Skye's most popular hikes. It's popularity means it's best enjoyed in the morning or during the quieter months of the tourist season.
8) Ring of Brodgar to Stenness, Orkney
On our NC500 with a twist you'll spend two nights on Orkney. This iconic stone circle, constructed around 2500-2000 BC, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As the third largest stone circle in Britain it's one of the most popular visitor attractions on Orkney, yet the reason of their construction is as yet unknown. They are thought to have been a site of ritual, religious practice or for astrological observation.
9) The Lost Valley, Glencoe
A justifiably popular hike from Glencoe's iconic Three Sisters viewpoint, up into a wooded hanging valley surrounded by peaks. The route covers rough ground, but the sure-footed will be rewarded with views of this dramatic valley where the MacDonald clan of Glencoe used to hide their rustled cattle.
10) Smoo Cave, Sutherland
A visit to Smoo Cave, and perhaps a short walk along the coast, are the perfect antidote for a rainy day. Smoo Cave is a massive sea cave carved out by a combination of the freshwater stream flowing in from the back and wave action carving it out from the front. The cave is a well-known attraction and with floodlights set-up inside you can really appreciate the caves features.
Why Drive The North Coast 500 with Macs Adventure?
Our North Coast 500 trip follows the traditional well-known route, but with a few twists. Instead of simply driving from place to place, not getting out of the car except to take the odd obligatory photograph, our itinerary has plenty of optional walks allowing you to really immerse yourself in the landscapes of Scotland's far north west. The trip also includes a two night stay on the Orkney Isles famed for their UNESCO World Heritage archaeological sites. As well as knowing the best places to stop en route we will also take of the logistics for you, from accommodation to ferry journeys.
Here are some of our favorite things to do on the NC500 ...
1) Beinn Eighe Nature Reserve
Complete the Triple Buttress hike to the mountain's loch, surrounded by towering 650 ft cliffs. On a clear, sunny day you'll have spectacular views over the wild expanse of Shieldaig and across the sea to the Western Isles.
2) Combine a hill summit with a beach stroll
Hike Torridon's iconic little 612 m hill Stac Pollidadh (pronounced "Stac Polly"), after reaching the craggy summit and lingering to soak up the views make your way back down to the car park. From there it's less than an hour's drive to the white sands and turquoise waters of Achmelvich beach.
3) Visit Lochinver's pie shop
This pie shop has gained almost legendary status among locals and visitors. If you're feeling indulgent why not follow a delicious savory pie with one of their sweet dessert pies?
4) Wander Orkney's Neolithic sites
Take two short walks around Orkney's famous 5000 year old archaeological sites of Skara Brae, Europe's most complete Neolithic settlement, and the Ring of Brodgar standing stone circle, the third largest in the UK.
5) Discover Cape Wrath
A ferry ride and day's hike away from Durness, Cape Wrath lighthouse on Scotland's most north westerly point is well worth a visit on a calm day. Although not as far north as the more famous town of John O' Groats on the mainland's east coast, Cape Wrath is wilder and more scenic by far.
Foodie Highlights of The Highlands & Islands
Our top five foodie experiences in the Scottish Highlands & Islands.
1) Fine dining on the Isle of Skye
There are lots of great restaurant options on Skye. For foodies we recommend checking out Scorrybreac (an intimate dining experience overlooking Portree harbour), the Three Chimneys on the island's west coast or Kinloch Lodge on the southern Sleat Peninsula. Make sure to book in advance!
2) Savour fish & chips on the Scottish mainland's most northerly point
For a down-to-earth supper or hearty lunch head to John O' Groats for takeaway fish & chips with a view over the North Sea.
3) Take a tour of Harris Distillery
For gin lovers this is a must! Located near Tarbert ferry terminal, the distillery welcomes you to the island. Sample their uniquely flavoured gin (infused with Hebridean sugar kelp) and learn about its production on an informative tour and tasting.
4) Visit the Lochinver Larder
The village's pie shop has recently been re-branded as the Lochinver Larder, and is an iconic stop on the NC500. Enjoy a delicious golden-topped savoury pie, perhaps followed by a sweet rhubarb pie for dessert.
5) Sip local ale with a view of Inverness Castle
After a day on the road, wander through Scotland's most northern city and seek out a cosy Scottish pub experience. For the best views of Inverness Castle we recommend the rustic Castle Tavern, dating from the 1700s.