After our buttocks had returned to their normal, relaxed state and the roads had returned to a state of general flatness, it was time to start looking for a place to spend the night. Seemingly, quite a few others had the same idea as many of the ideal wild-camping spots were already occupied, or had signs prominently displayed forbidding any overnight camping. So onwards we pressed discounting one option after another as being either already occupied, too close to the road, too sloping or otherwise unsuitable for spending the night.
Just as we’d decided to give up and head to the nearest campsite- which was still a way off – and try to blag a last-minute pitch we turned a corner to find a short track leading down to the side of a loch. What a find! This is what wild-camping is all about: a beautiful view on a beautiful evening with nothing but the sounds of local wildlife and the occasional passing juggernaut to while away the evening. Truly unforgettable. I was expecting at any moment someone to come and move us along because it was just too perfect and we shouldn’t be enjoying ourselves that much. But nobody came and it was perfect and we did enjoy ourselves too much.
Next morning we awoke to start our final day of the trip. It was with mixed feelings that we left our Loch-side pitch and headed for Inverness, thus completing the loop we began nearly two weeks previously. On one hand we felt sad to have completed what we’d, primarily, come to do but on the other we felt strangely liberated – free from a fixed agenda and route and able, now, to go anywhere at our own pace, wherever that may be.
Shortly afterwards we rolled into Inverness and decided that a fitting end to the trip would be a photo of us and Wilma in front of the castle. Unfortunately, access to the castle grounds required a special pass which we didn’t have. It dawned on me that this was one of the special perks you’d get if you’d signed up to become a member of the NC500 club. We hadn’t and such a pass was not, understandably, included with our free map picked up from the local tourist office.
So that was it. Eleven days and five hundred and sixteen miles after setting off (looks more impressive written out that way) we had completed the famous North Coast 500 and it had certainly lived up to expectations.
If you like stunning scenery, fabulous beaches, warm-hearted people and of course,
pies driving, I would urge you to go and experience it for yourself – it is something you will never forget.
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