Where Roads End – A Slow Journey on the North Coast 500 in Scotland: by Markus Stitz

North Coast 500 bikepacking route
All photos in this article by Markus Stitz

“A slow journey on Scotland’s North Coast 500 with a hire bike from Inverness-based Ticket to Ride, staying in hostels, B&Bs and hotels along the route in Shieldaig, Ullapool, Invergordon and Inverness, a partnership between North Coast 500 & Bikepacking Scotland, supported by Komoot.” – Markus Stitz

North Coast 500 bikepacking route

“New short film from round the world cyclist Markus Stitz encourages people to use the iconic North Coast 500 route as an inspiration to cycle Scotland.”

Continued from Above:

The Edinburgh-based filmmaker Markus Stitz, in partnership with the North Coast 500, documented his recent 200-mile (320km) gravel bike journey in ‘Where Roads End’. The film, supported by Komoot, is available to watch on YouTube now (embedded above).

North Coast 500 bikepacking route

Markus comments, ‘My first ever bikepacking adventure in 2006 took me through the absolutely stunning North of Scotland, and I vividly remember that journey. Having worked on a couple of different cycling route projects over the last years and most recently a book about gravel riding in Britain, I was interested to partner up with the North Coast 500 not only to showcase the stunning landscapes I travelled through, but also to give people an idea that the NC500 is much more than just a driving route.’

North Coast 500 bikepacking route

Stitz cycled on a road/gravel bike hired from Ticket to Ride, Inverness-based bike hire specialists run by Lindsay Mackinnon. He swapped tyres and used his own bikepacking bags, staying in hostels, B&Bs and hotels along the route in Shieldaig, Ullapool, Invergordon and Inverness. Mackinnon comments on Markus’ journey:

‘The sustainable future for tourism in the Scottish Highlands depends more on cyclists. Visitors who cycle travel slowly, spending more time and more money in local communities. Not everyone has the legs for an epic adventure like Markus, but I know his film will inspire many to plan a North Coast 500 cycling adventure of their own.’

North Coast 500 bikepacking route

“Based on the time constraints that make it difficult for people to cycle the whole NC500, Stitz designed an itinerary that can be ridden in a week or less. He started his journey in Strathcarron, after staying at Black Isle Bar & Rooms in Inverness, taking a train for the first leg, then following the NC500 route up and down the Bealach na Bà, on the third-highest road in Scotland.”

North Coast 500 bikepacking route

“On the second day he set off from Tigh an Eilean, a small hotel that nestles in the picturesque fishing village of Shieldaig in Wester Ross, to combine the NC500 route with gravel tracks along Upper Loch Torridon, then continuing through picturesque Glen Torridon. From Kinlochewe, on the shores of Loch Maree, he ventured off the NC500 route towards Achnasheen and on to Lochluichart. This section can be done by either bike or train. Markus crossed the Lochluichart Wind Farm on gravel tracks to meet the A835 at Loch Glascarnoch. His route joined the North Coast 500 again at Corrieshalloch Gorge, continuing on the road and an alternative route on the opposite side of the River Broom to Ullapool, where the Harbour House B&B offered shortbread and sherry on his arrival.”

North Coast 500 bikepacking route

“From Ullapool Stitz continued on a well-known coast-to-coast route to Oykel Bridge, having already ridden this section during his inaugural bikepacking trip in 2006 and also during the Highland Trail 550. He continued on to Culrain, where his route met the railway once again to Ardgay. The newly-opened White Rose Tower B&B near Invergordon was his last overnight stop, before continuing on a mixture of roads, paths and Sustrans National Cycle Route 1 across the Black Isle back to Inverness.”

North Coast 500 bikepacking route

The new itinerary and film are part of a partnership between North Coast 500 & Bikepacking Scotland. Craig Mills, Head of Operations at North Coast 500 Ltd, comments:

‘We’re really excited to have teamed up with Markus as part of our new cycling campaign for 2022. As we cautiously open up to visitors again, it’s more important than ever that we promote the unique wide-open green spaces, coast, countryside and natural beauty of the NC500 to be enjoyed by everyone for the benefit of positive mental and overall wellbeing.’ 

North Coast 500 bikepacking route

The Route

More information about the bikepacking route can be found at www.bikepackingscotland.com/nc500, more information about the North Coast 500 can be found at www.northcoast500.com, and bikes can be hired from Ticket to Ride at www.tickettoridehighlands.co.uk.

North Coast 500 bikepacking route

About North Coast 500

Bringing together a route of just over 500 miles (516 miles, to be exact…) of stunning coastal scenery, the North Coast 500 naturally follows the main roads along the coastal edges of the North Highlands, taking in the regions of Wester Ross, Sutherland, Caithness, Easter Ross, the Black Isle and Inverness-shire. The official North Coast 500 route begins and ends at Inverness Castle which, perched on top of a hill, is the perfect starting point to the route and offers unparalleled views over the capital city of the Highlands. North Coast 500 Ltd works to market the route’s unique tourism offering to a worldwide audience in order to benefit the whole of North Highlands. More information on cycling around the North Coast 500 can be found at www.northcoast500.com/itinerary/cycling, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/northcoast500, Instagram at www.instagram.com/northcoast500 and Twitter at www.twitter.com/NorthCoast500. #NC500 #NorthCoast500

Additional Photos


  1. Avatar Stephen

    Sometime in the last couple of weeks the format of the emails sent out from this site has changed fairly drastically, and the newer ones are much less useful, in Android particularly. Also, the links to the videos are not apparent, either in the new or old format emails. If you stick with the new format I’d suggest omitting any images as they’re too small to be useful anyway; a short text summary and a link to the relevant webpage would waste less bandwidth for all concerned. 😉

    • JOM JOM

      Stephen, I have no control over the format of the emails, that comes from WordPress itself.

  2. Avatar Stephen

    Thanks JOM. If the emails get too frustrating I guess I can unsubscribe and just check the webpage regularly instead. WordPress should do something about the video links being dead/invisible though…

    • JOM JOM

      Have to agree the omission of the embedded video is highly annoying. Additionally, the email post version also omits any of the nice photo galleries, all you see is the embedded text.

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