Home   News   Article

NC500 joins forces with cycling expert Markus Stitz to promote pedal-power adventures around the Far North

By Calum MacLeod

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
Markus Stitz negotiates a gravel track running parallel to the NC500 near Torridon.
Markus Stitz negotiates a gravel track running parallel to the NC500 near Torridon.

The North Coast 500 (NC500) has saddled up with an international cycling expert and filmmaker to encourage people to explore the world-famous route on two wheels in 2022.

Markus Stitz, founder of Bikepacking Scotland, has teamed up with NC500 to devise a new range of off and on-road cycling itineraries that use parts of the NC500 route, including cycle friendly accommodation, cycle-cafés and storage facilities, as well as cycle maintenance and cleaning points along the route.

Mr Stitz is a highly experienced long-distance cyclist and filmmaker, who knows the route well from previous adventures and the research for his upcoming book about gravel rides in the UK.

The new NC500 cycling initiative is getting into gear in time for spring and summer months with a focus on healthy outdoor activity, the benefits of cycling to wellbeing and positive mental, as well as sustainable and responsible travel around the north Highlands.

The aim of the partnership also offers visitors and outdoor enthusiasts a fresh look at the North Coast 500 as more than just a driving route through the eyes of a cycling expert and by highlighting the range and quality of cycling experiences available suitable for all skill levels and abilities.

Markus Stitz looking over Torridon Bay.
Markus Stitz looking over Torridon Bay.

Mr Stitz will be offering his personal tips on planning ahead to make a cycling trip around the NC500, as well as advice on sustainable travel around the route by following the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, leaving no trace and being considerate to local communities.

As part of the initiative, Mr Stitz has used the NC500 app and the route planning app Komoot to plot his journey and devise the new itineraries, including sections of the NC500 between Shieldaig to Kinlochewe, Dundonnell to Ullapool and Beauly to Inverness. The NC500 app is available as a free download from the App Store and Google Play. This interactive, cultural guide helps visitors find the most interesting sights and attractions around the route, as well as detailing the stories and music connected to them.

He said: “Through my work with Bikepacking Scotland I have worked with a number of different communities in Scotland to create opportunities for people to experience the beauty of Scotland by bike and public transport. When creating itineraries, I see those as a guide and inspiration to people to plan their very own journeys.

“For this project I have used the NC500 route as inspiration to devise an itinerary that shows people how to use the route as a connection between several iconic off-road journeys, and to use trains to connect those further. The NC500 takes people through stunning landscapes, and I hope that through travelling this way people can have a positive impact on the communities along the way.”

Markus Stitz takes on the NC500 challenge.
Markus Stitz takes on the NC500 challenge.

Craig Mills, head of operations at North Coast 500 Ltd, added: “We’re really excited to have teamed up with Markus as part of our new cycling initiative 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.

“Whether people have visited the NC500 before or are planning a trip for the first time this year, we want to show that the region has far more to offer than just a driving route.

“By slowing down and spending more time cycling in specific parts of the NC500, people can enjoy new experiences exploring the region’s history and heritage, Highland food and drink, as well meeting local people and learning more about Highland community life.”

He added that while NC500 was encouraging visitors to enjoy their experience on the route, it was also reminding them to be aware of, and respectful to, all types of road users.

"We also encourage visitors to stay alert and continue to follow UK and Scottish Government guidelines on health, safety and social distancing measures,” Mr Mills said.

For more information on cycling around North Coast 500, go to www.northcoast500.com/itinerary/cycling and follow on Facebook (www.facebook.com/northcoast500), Instagram (www.instagram.com/northcoast500) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/NorthCoast500)

The Highlands' favourite touring route, the North Coast 500, is edged into second slot in summer travel study

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More