North Coast 500 - Part II - Kylesku Bridge
Sat there clutching a beer in a traditional Scottish pub and at the end of a week guiding an earlier group in the Highlands, someone in the Ultimate Drives team mentioned the words ‘Route 500’.
A now famous drive and a firm favourite with those venturing this far north, it was decided that we would break this fabulous tour down into our own stages to share with the community. This route picks up from Part 1, at the fishing village of Ullapool. Heading off initially in a north westerly direction alongside the shore of Loch Assynt, the road here is open with long sweeping curves and some memorable straight sections. Short ascents and descents abound before taking a right at a T-junction, climbing away from the Loch, leaving the A837 and following the A894 up into the mountains.
From here there are some narrow sections although the road miraculously isn’t quite single track. What’s more, the surface actually improves over the initial stages of this drive, with the hairpin/switchback at Eas a' Chual Aluinn the only really challenging corner. From the head of Loch na Gainmhich sections of the road are regularly flanked by tall shrub banks on one side and breath-taking views on the other.
Take a break at the Rock Stop Café before checking out the famous Kylesku Bridge, north west of Unapool. Opened in 1984, it is famed for its elegant design and concrete structure and has an enviable reputation around the world. This is a wonderful area for exploring nature with hiking trails, wildlife excursions and boat trips. Admire the scenery and stretch your legs at the Assynt viewpoint. It feels like the last remaining point of civilisation as the road climbs steeply through moorland en route to Scourie, turning north easterly inland. From Laxford Bridge take the A838 towards Rhiconich, a welcoming place to rest up after crossing this wild yet beautiful land.