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North Coast 500 road trip


Jan Blom

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Hi all, 

With the fantastic memories of the Jim Clark Memorial Tour 2018 of April in mind, I'm planning a new road trip for a group of Dutch Lotus owners and enthousiasts. All participants of the JCMT2018 want to taste more of wonderful Scotland. And the challenge of the North Coast 500 is so appealing that  it didn't need much encouragement and persuation to make this our goal. 

June 2019 will be the month to do it. We will probably be with 8-10 cars and 12-15 people. Since we can't make it a trip of two weeks, we are limited to 5 full days for the 500 miles. This means we will probably miss out on enjoying all of the sceneries, but since more road trips are planned in 2019 choices have to be made.

Maybe you can help me with some info:

  • Suggestions for accomodation is welcome. I've got a membership on the NC500 website where accomodation is featured, but own experciences help a lot. 
  • The same goes for the 'must-stops'. Recommendations are welcome. 
  • I'm looking for photo's of Lotus on the NC500 to use in the road book and website I want to built. If you have them and I can use them, please post them in this topic.
  • Any chance to meet LEGS members during a LEGS-meeting? We've met some TLF members during the JCMT2018 and these were all fantastic meetings.
  • Actually all tips and suggestions are welcome.

Looking forward to your info.

Regards, Jan

Edited by Jan Blom
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Hi Jan

I haven’t done the NC500 yet so personally can’t recommend accommodations or must see points on the trip. I know a number of our LEGS members have done the trip so hopefully someone will pop up and give you some pointers. I will send a Group PM to our LEGS members and ask them for help. 

Once you have dates for your trip I am sure some of us could meet up with your group.

 

 

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Hi Gerry, thank you so much for the info!! For now I'm planning the route for satnav (with MyRouteApp) so I can share the route with the other participants, but I will keep your offer in mind! The photo's are great and the info so useful! Thanks again and when I have some questions about what you wrote I will sent you a PM. 

Have a great day,

Regards Jan

Hi Duggie, also a big thank you to you! This all makes me wish it was June already. I will sent you a PM if I would like to know some more :-).

Best regards, Jan

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Where are you starting from?

If you start lower down, a route through Pitlochry and over the Fettercarins is one of the best ways to go. It will get you through the boring bits and avoid the dual carriageways.

If you get stuck on the way.  The kettle is always on in Kininmonth. 

Cheers 

Kieran

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7 hours ago, Fueltheburn said:

Where are you starting from?

If you start lower down, a route through Pitlochry and over the Fettercarins is one of the best ways to go. It will get you through the boring bits and avoid the dual carriageways.

If you get stuck on the way.  The kettle is always on in Kininmonth. 

Cheers 

Kieran

Hi Kieran, thanks for your reply. We're arriving in Newcastle early morning. Since we only have 1 day to cover the distance to Inverness I'm afraid Kininmonth and Fettercairns are a bit to far east for us 😞. We do pass Pitlochry though, it seems. Maybe we can avoid the dual carriageways in the second part of that day, if we are on schedule to arrive in Inverness somewhere late afternoon. But thanks for thinking with me!

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 18/11/2018 at 18:53, bingoking said:

Once you have dates for your trip I am sure some of us could meet up with your group.

 

 

Hello Brian and others :-),

The preparation for the road trip has lead to a plan ;-). It wil take place from 5th June 2019 when we will cross the sea with DFDS to Newcastle until 13th June when we will sail back. 

The itinerary is ready also, except for 1 day: Wednesday 12th June when we will cover Inverness back to the Edinburgh area. The finish of that day is not planned yet. 

I think I've read somewhere that in Bo'ness areameetings of LEGS take place, is that correct? It would be the perfect stop for us on 12th June. If a meeting with some guys and girls of LEGS and other enthousiasts on that evening could be arranged, it would make us very happy :-). With whom could I get in contact to try to arrange this?

In the meantime I am working on a website (www.bendsandcurves.com) for the participants of the road trip. It is in Dutch but with the pictures maybe it makes some sense ;-). Only 5th June and 6th June of the itinerary are ready. When the other days of the itinerary are filled I will use more photo's of Duggie and Gerry! 

Cheers and hope to find some info about Bo'ness!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Jan,

You are correct about the 12th June being a meeting in Bo-ness.  It is officially a Club Lotus meeting (which many of us are also members of)  But they throw open the doors to all the Lotus groups like LEGS and Lotus Drivers club etc.  There aren't so many of us that we can't all get along!  There is a meeting tomorrow evening (9th) which I am attending so I will pass on this message to them and come back to you with a point of contact.  Unfortunately I am flying abroad that morning myself so will not be there.  The meeting is actually above a Motor Museum which has a very strong James Bond theme running though it including a white S1 Esprit and lots of other memorabilia so I'm sure we can get that opened for you as well.  

As far as accommodation is concerned I am not sure about Bo'ness itself as not a particularly great area for tourists or visitors but Stirling is close by which has a good choice of hotel price ranges.  There is also Linlithgow which is nice enough but again accommodation may be limited.  Falkirk is closer than Stirling and your choice of hotel will be more towards the cheaper end as more of an industrial location.

A LEGS man and proud to declare it! Lotus Enthusiasts Group Scotland

Autocar's Best UK Drivers Car 2009. Car's Performance Car of the Year 2009; Evo's Car of the Year 2009. Top Gear Sports Car of the Year 2009

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21 hours ago, Al. said:

Hi Jan,

You are correct about the 12th June being a meeting in Bo-ness.  It is officially a Club Lotus meeting (which many of us are also members of)  But they throw open the doors to all the Lotus groups like LEGS and Lotus Drivers club etc.  There aren't so many of us that we can't all get along!  There is a meeting tomorrow evening (9th) which I am attending so I will pass on this message to them and come back to you with a point of contact.  Unfortunately I am flying abroad that morning myself so will not be there.  The meeting is actually above a Motor Museum which has a very strong James Bond theme running though it including a white S1 Esprit and lots of other memorabilia so I'm sure we can get that opened for you as well.  

As far as accommodation is concerned I am not sure about Bo'ness itself as not a particularly great area for tourists or visitors but Stirling is close by which has a good choice of hotel price ranges.  There is also Linlithgow which is nice enough but again accommodation may be limited.  Falkirk is closer than Stirling and your choice of hotel will be more towards the cheaper end as more of an industrial location.

Hi Al, thank you very much for replying and the information. In the meantime I have been in contact with Brian and Jim Love who pointed out some other points of interest in the neighbourhood like the train museum and his help to get in touch with Colin of the Motor Museum. It all sounds really good and we definitely would like to meet you all in Bo'ness! Since I'm a member of Club Lotus as well as Lotus Drivers Club that shouldn't be a problem then ;-). 

In 1 or 2 weeks time I will be planning the itinerary for that day and then I will check on the hotels/B&B's; I've heard from others too the area around Bo'ness maybe better suited for 'tourists' to stay. I will check on Stirling for sure. 

It would be great if you can pop it up at tonights meeting and get a point of contact. Have a pleasant evening,

Cheers, Jan

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Hi Jan,

I only read this after returning but I have sent you a PM with some information.  Have a great visit and I hope the infamous midges aren't too bad that early in the season!

Cheers,

Al.

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A LEGS man and proud to declare it! Lotus Enthusiasts Group Scotland

Autocar's Best UK Drivers Car 2009. Car's Performance Car of the Year 2009; Evo's Car of the Year 2009. Top Gear Sports Car of the Year 2009

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Hello all, time flies! In two days time our NC500 adventure will start. If you'd like you can follow this adventure on my website www.bendsandcurves.com.

We'll be in Bo'ness for the Lotus meeting on 12 June evening. I'm in contact with Andrew Laing for this, maybe a meeting and drive up with Scottish Lotus owners in the afternoon of 12 June is possible; we'll be coming in from the Cairngorms, maybe our lunchstop at the Dalmunzie Castle Hotel is a good meeting place. We'll be there approximately at 1.30 pm. I think Andrew is checking this out with Scottish Lotus drivers.

Cheers, Jan

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Damn, I will be home from work later tomorrow but I fly out on holiday that morning. Bad timing 😏

hope all the trip goes well

A LEGS man and proud to declare it! Lotus Enthusiasts Group Scotland

Autocar's Best UK Drivers Car 2009. Car's Performance Car of the Year 2009; Evo's Car of the Year 2009. Top Gear Sports Car of the Year 2009

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Guys,

I have no idea if we will see you guys en-route, but there is a yellow S2 eclat, a white S2 elite and a grey excel SE doing the route (anti clockwise) starting on Monday 10th.

The north coast 500 in cars approximately 40 years old.... what could possibly go wrong?

Dunc

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  • 1 year later...

Hi all, apologies for the thread hijacking and resurrection, but I thought it would make more sense to follow on from the above than start a new thread...

I am planning a trip up to Scotland to do the NC500 in October with a friend in his Aston V12 Vantage.  I'll be in my Exige.  Unfortunately we do not have the luxury of time, so we will be limited to 4 nights.  Planning to start in Inverness on Sunday 11th October, do the loop anti-clockwise, and finish up on Wednesday 14th in Oban for a spot of whisky tasting (rather than going back to Inverness).

There are lots of great tips on this thread already, so thank you for sharing those.  I'll post more details of my trip as things come together and all advice would be gratefully received.

If there are any LEGS members who might be at a loose end on any of those days and fancy joining us for part of the journey, please do shout!

Thanks

 

 

 

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  • Gold FFM

The bit from Inverness to John O'Groats on the East Coast is very meh!  My view you are better to miss that bit out if time is tight and focus instead on the roads from Inverness north towards Betty Hill and then play from their to the left - the circle below is by far the absolute best bits  Just my view. If I can meet up I will but can't promise as work is just nuts right now. There are some roads up through Scotland to get to Inverness that are simply outstanding too and will more than make up for the North East roads you miss.  however, I know people like to take the piccies at John O'Groats.....   Also please note that there is a current speed awareness campaign being run by the Police around the NC500 route.

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Thanks @C8RKH, that is really helpful.  I have to admit that I did want to go past JOG solely for the "I was 'er" photo opportunity as I expect I am unlikely to get it again!  However, I am prepared to sacrifice a silly photo op at the altar of driving Nirvana, so would love to hear your advice on better alternatives.

I had heard that the East coast is less appealing than the North/West as you say, and so we were planning to drive from Inverness all the way to Tongue on the first day to leave ourselves more time to head down the West coast as far as Oban.  Very rough itinerary would be:

Day 1 - London to Inverness

Day 2 - Inverness to Tongue

Day 3 - Tongue to Applecross

Day 4 - Applecross to Oban

Day 5 - Oban to Newcastle

Day 6 - Newcastle to London

I'd love to hear of the best roads up to Inverness (and back down from Oban to Newcastle), as well as alternative routes if we miss out the East coast/JOG.

Would be great to see you if you can join us, but totally understand if you can't of course.  Feel free to play it entirely by ear.  Cheers

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You have to take the Pitlochry road that goes past Glenshea.

Via this road you go over the Fettercairns, avoiding all the speed cameras between Perth and Aberdeen plus avoid the awfully boring road that they are sited on.

 

For many years, old "proper" top gear filmed all of their sequences on the Pitlochry road.

 

Edited by Fueltheburn
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Before you get to Pitlochry however.

Take the route that will bring you past the lake and peak district.

A and B roads in the UK take a bit longer to navigate but by far provide you with the best experience.

 

Just read the above again...

You say you won't have time for Pitlochry.  Honestly the road from Newcastle up on the dual carriageway is boring as hell.  

 

I have moved from KininmonthK. Kettle is always on but even my relocation to Tarves is still out of the way for you.

Edited by Fueltheburn
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Think I'd probably go B862/B852 down the east side of Loch Ness to Fort Augustus, then A82 through Glencoe to Crianlarich. The A85 next to Lochearnhead is lovely too. I'd then try to find my way over to the B822 - Kippen to Fintry, then over the Crow Road to Lennoxtown. South of Glasgow I'm not too sure of a good route sadly!

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