NC500 restriction N of Lochinver

mikeroch

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NC500 news .... We live near the A837 / B869 junction, numb with boredom on Monday, decided, now that 'the Season' is in decline, to go and drive the B869 loop from Lochinver to Kylestrome (returning via the main roads), something we have not done since the inception of the NC500 in 2015. As we passed the turn to Achmelvich, just before Rhicarn, there was a Council crew installing roadside signs declaring / advising / demanding "No camper vans or caravans beyond this point". We pressed on along the narrow, twisting, blind and in places very tricky (even in an estate car) road encountering some traffic, including a couple of absolute behemoths of vans coming the other way. At the NE end especially, the twists and gradients are reckoned to be even more testing than those at Bealach na ba on Torridon ... so they had done well to navigate it at all. No signs as yet installed at the northern junction with the A894. The campground at Clachtoll will suffer a loss of income as the result of this restriction, but it should make the remaining traffic flow a bit better. The signs appear to be advisory rather than legally binding, so it'll be interesting to see if a) anyone takes the slightest notice or b) any action is taken against them if they do not.

B869 loop (Medium).jpg click to enlarge
 

jagmanx

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Yes & no !
On our 1st trip (2014) we drove on the A837 to Lochinnver from Ardvreck Castle and retraced our steps before heading North to Kylestrome.
We noticed the signs "banning Caravans" on the B869.
In 2017 going the other way round we turned onto the B869 following the "coastal Route". We have a coachbuilt at 6.5 m long
No particular problems not too steep or narrow.Wwe had aa minor delay somewhre after Clachhtoll a a lorry was "parked up in the road" delivering building materials to a house so maybe a 20 minute wait. maybe a further short delay a bit later.
BUT what else do you expect. Not a problem if you can drive and reverse.
However I am not surprised by increased warnings.
Perhaps a suitable width limit sign which would include and except for access exclusion.
Clearly the locals are on a b road and should expect deliveries as normal.
As I say the road itselt was OK but given the time it took and no exceptional scenery (Hard Hat On)...I would give it a miss in a motorhome.
I am not averse to narrow roads but for some "once is enough" !
 

mikeroch

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Agree on your stance Re. the views off B869 ... there is one good viewpoint at Drumbeg across Eddrachillis Bay, but that aside, for mountain scenery taking the main road down to Loch Assynt is the better (and shorter) bet. That loop, like Hillary v Everest, only gets done "Because it is there".
 

jann

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We drove that way last year. It is OK to drive so long as the oncoming traffic understand that they may have to give way or reverse a short distance! There seem to be a lot of drivers who are unused to driving a large vehicle on single track roads, so it may be best avoided.
 

Fisherman

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Quite frankly give me a single track road with sufficient passing places over a narrow two way road anytime. I look upon driving any road as a challenge that I tend to enjoy. Many a time I have told my wife to breath in on narrow two way roads, the Loch Lomond road north of Tarbert comes to mind, not just because it’s narrow, but it’s also busy. Each to their own.
 

Tonybvi

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I drove that loop a couple of years back. Before taking it I chanced upon a large council wagon with large trailer in tow and asked them if the road was ok for my van. Their reply was that they use that road with lorry and trailer all the time and there would be no problems. Indeed it was a lovely drive, care needed but absolutely no problems in an 8m van.
 
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mikeroch

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Agree Tony, it's perfectly drivable until vehicle numbers overwhelm the road's ability to handle it ... serious grief occurs in particular when a group of pals travelling in convoy meet a similar bunch coming the other way and have to work out how they are going to pass each other when the passing bay can only accommodate two vehicles max. For pure entertainment it cannot be beaten! Weight of traffic has to be balanced against size of road and the drivers need to understand driving style and etiquette necessaryfor a proper flow to happen... in 'normal' use / off-season, while there are occasional 'moments' which have to be handled carefully volume and capacity are well matched.
 

jagmanx

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Quite frankly give me a single track road with sufficient passing places over a narrow two way road anytime. I look upon driving any road as a challenge that I tend to enjoy. Many a time I have told my wife to breath in on narrow two way roads, the Loch Lomond road north of Tarbert comes to mind, not just because it’s narrow, but it’s also busy. Each to their own.
Agree I look to avoid the Loch Lomond road.
Some A roads in England have very narrow carriageways..Many drive too fast but even if you are "pootling" along and have a glancing collision with a vehicle coming the other way it would be nasty. The insurance battle over who was at fault is of course of no benrfit! Then again if you keep too far left you risk damage due to stone walls
 

Tookey

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Not going to help with community relations either;

My total length is 4.7m and no wider than an awful lot of vehicles on the road so there is no logical reason I should not drive it, so I will, some locals will say "look, there goes another bloody MH ignoring the signs" regardless that I am basically the same size as mwb panel van.

I think we are being stitched up again unless the OP didn't mention weight/size restrictions that are on the sign
 

jagmanx

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Not going to help with community relations either;

My total length is 4.7m and no wider than an awful lot of vehicles on the road so there is no logical reason I should not drive it, so I will, some locals will say "look, there goes another bloody MH ignoring the signs" regardless that I am basically the same size as mwb panel van.

I think we are being stitched up again unless the OP didn't mention weight/size restrictions that are on the sign
Do not worry.Guy..You will find some much more "playful roads" on your Mongolian rally.
But as you say you would have no problems on the Lochinver route and no reason not to do it !
 

lthoel2

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Me and my late husband went down that road back in 2018 In our motorhome. He pulled into a passing place to let a car go past us. The woman driving the car pulled along side us and she let rip with the foulest language telling us we shouldn’t be allowed on the road. While she was ranting she started to block the road nothing could move till she drove off. She said she was a local and was fed of of getting stuck behind vans. She may well have been local but she had a very strong southern accent.
 

mikeroch

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There is no excuse for that sort of rudeness Ithoel2 ... but folk who've lived here peacefully for many years and who regularly need the village for the Doc, optician etc have now started moving away in frustration because what should be a 10 minute trip now often takes them an hour. Postman, Doctor on call, ambulance, school bus, courier vans, police, coastguard, fire engine ... folks 'on a mission' and up against a schedule, can often find themselves totally stymied. It's not an excuse, but it's a valid reason to get wound-up. I've lived here 16 years but hail originally from the cultural quarter of Dagenham... where people speak proper English wiv a proppa accent ... neverthess I'm adjusting, and actually said "Och!" in context the other day, but admit that I have some way to go before I could emulate Tony Hancock in 'The Blood Donor' when he speaks to Dr. McTavish as below:

Tony: Ah, guid morning, It's a braw bricht moonlicht nicht the morning, mista, it’s a bonny wee lassie ye got there helping you, hoots mon…and och aye te ye the noo.
Doctor (Patrick Cargill with a 'plummy' educated English accent) Would you mind sitting down there, Mr Hancock.
Tony: Oh, I beg your pardon for lapsing into the vernacular but the young lady did say you were a Scottish gentleman.
Doctor: Yes, well we’re not all Rob Roys.
 

colinmd

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I can imagine that people who have moved to the area thinking they have left behind the traffic of more populated areas, are a tad miffed that it has caught up with them, but I'm afraid that's life. I do have more sympathy for those born and brought up in the area, but then it does need some tourism to keep the area viable to live in.
 

caledonia

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I think the true born and bred locals are happy to have the tourism and the chance of an income but the incomers who have moved there are a little less tolerant of the tourist spending some cash and bringing income into the area.
 

Martin P

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Went through a couple of weeks ago. A motorhome had broken down on a particularly narrow section. We got through but if we had a couple of inches spare per side that would have been it. We passed a lot of vans after that heading towards it. Now they may have all been very good at squeezing through a tiny gap but if not there was going to be an almighty snarl up. Perhaps this was the reason for the new signs
 

Wully

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Cal Your bang on wae that it’s the Glasgow and Edinburgh hooray Henry mob especially hyndland Jordan hill area get a few quid for there pile in Glasgow or Edinburgh retire young buy a cottage in the highlands then think they have some sort of entitlement like a laird or something.
 

caledonia

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Cal Your bang on wae that it’s the Glasgow and Edinburgh hooray Henry mob especially hyndland Jordan hill area get a few quid for there pile in Glasgow or Edinburgh retire young buy a cottage in the highlands then think they have some sort of entitlement like a laird or something.
I was thinking more our friends from south of big H,s wall. 😱🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
 

davep10000

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Will have a look at the road in a few days time (been over this route many times in last 30 years) after finishing up here working in Kinlochbervie.
 

mikeroch

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The NC500 is not going to go away ... the Genie is out of the bottle, its creation has brought significant benefits for a small proportion of the community, but there remains a grudging acceptance by the remainder (90+% indigenous Scots by the way) that it has changed their home-patch and its atmosphere once and for all. I hope that readers have noted that in none of my contributions to this thread have I expressed 'English Nimby Incomer' views but have simply reported matters as they are, firstly to make future motorhome visitors aware of potential issues on this stretch of the route and to point out that 'every silver lining (does indeed) have its cloud'. NC500 has unfortunately become a victim of its own success, the roads that make up the route have always been there to be quietly enjoyed by adventurous travellers, turning them into ‘a challenge’ has added a competitive element with several undesirable outcomes.

I think I am done with this thread now that anti-English trolling has started, I doubt if Scots who go south of "big H,s wall" to live and work experience such antipathy?

many vans (Custom).jpg Lochinver church car park. 5 more vans out of shot in a secondary parking place.
 

Fisherman

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The NC500 is not going to go away ... the Genie is out of the bottle, its creation has brought significant benefits for a small proportion of the community, but there remains a grudging acceptance by the remainder (90+% indigenous Scots by the way) that it has changed their home-patch and its atmosphere once and for all. I hope that readers have noted that in none of my contributions to this thread have I expressed 'English Nimby Incomer' views but have simply reported matters as they are, firstly to make future motorhome visitors aware of potential issues on this stretch of the route and to point out that 'every silver lining (does indeed) have its cloud'. NC500 has unfortunately become a victim of its own success, the roads that make up the route have always been there to be quietly enjoyed by adventurous travellers, turning them into ‘a challenge’ has added a competitive element with several undesirable outcomes.

I think I am done with this thread now that anti-English trolling has started, I doubt if Scots who go south of "big H,s wall" to live and work experience such antipathy?

View attachment 87738 Lochinver church car park. 5 more vans out of shot in a secondary parking place.
Mike first many thanks for your posts on here.
But what I find difficult to accept is that motorhomes are the main issue here.
I know three couples all friends who have done the NC500 but all in cars staying in hotels and B&Bs during their travels. They all report that the vast majority of vehicles that they encounter were cars not Motorhomes. I would be interested to find out what percentage of vehicles doing the NC500 are Motorhomes. Many use their cars then pitch tents also, it seems that many of the problems stem from campers who act poorly. I am not stating that all or even the majority of campers have behaved this way, but from what I am hearing some have.
 

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