North Coast 500 by Sunday Echappée
It’s hard to remember exactly where I read or heard about the North Coast 500 but that quickly becomes insignificant. I do remember visiting the website for the first time and thinking that for something so newly marketed as a tourist destination has a very good and very user friendly website. The North Coast 500 follows the coastal road around the top of Scotland starting and finishing in Inverness. The cycling itinerary via the website breaks the journey down in to several days, something like 9 off the top of my head. In the knowledge that the route was 500 miles a quick and simple decision was made to break this down into 5 days. 100 miles in the worst conditions is still an achievable goal. 5 days, 500 miles. For reasons unknown the popularity of the trip proved unpopular. Circulated amongst fellow Echappee and the extended Echappee family few hands were raised. However, unsurprisingly resident Echappee cycling holiday extraordinaire Tim was always going to jump at the chance and the lady hitter Sophie from 5th Floor was keen to join as she had heard good things from a previous friends trip to Scotland. Our trip started with a 560-mile drive and despite Tim’s best efforts my Audi estate comfortably made it there with a quarter tank of fuel to spare. We planned to do this trip lightweight so I packed in my Apidura saddle bag an outfit for the evenings, down jacket, merino top etc. Phone charger, garmin charger. Soap. Tools, inner tubes. We planned to wear the same lycra for 5 days. Thinking I had packed the most sensible of evening outfits proved to be quite the opposite as the weather turned out to be unbelievably warm so my down jacket and long sleeve merino weren’t the wisest of choices. In my defence it was hard to predict the entire weather of the trip as we were covering such a large area and had it been awful weather I definitely would have been winning.