Round the world biker Markus Stitz enjoys some of Scotland’s most spectacular scenery by cycling the North Coast 500
Much has been said and written about the attractions of the now famous North Coast 500 road trip for motorists but few people realise its appeal for cyclists.
Now, round the world cyclist Markus Stitz aims to change that with a new short film he has produced to showcase some of the best bits on the NC500 for bikers - of the pedal variety.
The Edinburgh-based filmmaker, in partnership with the North Coast 500, documented a 200-mile (320km) gravel bike journey in ‘Where Roads End’.
“My first ever bikepacking adventure in 2006 took me through the absolutely stunning North of Scotland, and I vividly remember that journey,” said Markus.
“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 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.’
Staying in hostels, B&Bs and hotels along the route in Shieldaig, Ullapool, Invergordon and Inverness Stitz designed an itinerary that can be ridden in a week or less.
Based on the time constraints that make it difficult for people to cycle the whole NC500 he started his journey in Strathcarron, 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.
On the second day he set off from the picturesque fishing village of Shieldaig in Wester Ross to combine the NC500 route with gravel tracks along Upper Loch Torridon, then continued 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.
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.
After his last overnight stop near Invergordon he continued on a mixture of roads, paths and Sustrans National Cycle Route 1 across the Black Isle back to Inverness.