Many roads in this part of the Uk are "single track with passing places" - these are perfectly safe to drive on if you understand how to use the passing places!
- Allow faster traffic to pass you, by pulling into a "passing place" - Do NOT pull over to the right to do this, but instead stay on the left unless the vehicle coming towards you is particularly large, and therefore might have problems turning into a passing place.
- Faster traffic may well have a reason for going faster - maybe they are going to hospital with a sick child, for example? Please don't assume they are speeding or being reckless.
- Please acknowledge vehicles that pull in for you with a wave or similar - why? It's polite! And everybody will smile!
- Two NC500 roads in particular can cause problems for motorhomes and caravans. These are the Bealach na Ba road from Kishorn to Applecross, and the Clachtoll - Stoer road North of Lochinver on the coast road. For these two roads, official advice is as follows:
Advice from several professional drivers that know the road, and from the local breakdown services is that if your motorhome is more than a standard VW T5 conversion (ie about 16 – 18 ft in length), please take the alternative routes available. It only takes ONE person who is not used to driving a large vehicle to block the road completely to the detriment of other users, those that use the road for work, and importantly – emergency vehicles. The road was blocked several times last year because of this. And please remember: If you cannot accurately reverse your vehicle several hundred yards on a narrow single track – you cannot safely drive over this road.
Just to underline this, there was a fire at Applecross campsite just recently. Given the warm dry conditions we had here at the time, had the road been blocked - even for a few minutes or so - the end result could have been far worse. Places like Applecross don't have full emergency vehicle coverage. The advice is general, and obviously there will be those that think "Ach, what's the problem" - but please remember as above - it just takes one error of judgement to create that problem.
- Finally - Download this PDF leaflet on Passing place etiquette - 2 pages that might just make your holiday here less stressful, and far more enjoyable!
Still in doubt? Have a look at this slightly quirky information film from the early 70's (we think). Have some fun identifying the vehicles, the roads, or the people!
So drive safely, allow a bit more time (it's not a racetrack), and enjoy the scenery. And especially at the height of the Season OR between November - March, please make sure you have accommodation booked in advance. This IS still a remote area with what are very small communities by most standards! Oh, and don't assume you will have mobile phone coverage!