Our Journal

Informational, Tips & Advice
08 December 2021
Kim Pierce

5 Reasons to Visit the North Coast 500 in Spring

The Scottish Highlands are beautiful throughout the year and each season brings with it something special. By March we are bringing the Highland Overland trucks out of hibernation and sprucing them up for our guests to enjoy another season exploring Scotlands North Coast 500.

From March to May days are getting longer and temperatures are warming up, ranging from between 7° to 13° approximately and its actually one of the driest times so wrap up and make sure to pack your camera so you can capture spring’s stunning morning light, especially if the mist is about.

Here are just a few reasons why we love Easter time in the Highlands.

The Flowers are Blooming

In Spring the Highlands start to come alive again with beautiful flowers including snowdrops, daffodils, bluebells, cherry blossom and rhododendrons bursting into bloom and the landing erupting into colour.

Great places to visit to enjoy the stunning spring colours are Loch Lomond, Trossachs National Park or the banks of Loch Katrine where you’ll enjoy an abundance of ramson, primroses, bluebells, wood sorrel and wooden anemone as well as a host of other flowers.

Make sure you pack up a picnic so you can enjoy the spring blooms while exploring the grounds of one of Scotlands many castles or taking one of the thousands of walks from short strolls to all day hikes that litter the Scottish Highlands.

Cherry Blossoms in May – Image by Seema Miah via Unsplash

No Midges

The Scottish midges, known for all the wrong reasons don’t come out until late May and the biting species don’t hatch until even later, which makes the Spring the best time for hiking, biking and paddling with the dryer, bite free weather.

July and August are generally the worst times for these biting bugs.

If you are visiting the Highlands in the summer months stick to the Eastern side as the acidic peat soils of the Western Highlands are where they like to lay their eggs and so where you find them in greater numbers.

However, they aren’t all bad. The midges are one of the reasons our beautiful Highlands are still so unpopulated and help keep our wilderness wild. They also keep a number of animals fed and our an important food source for creatures such as bats.

Keep Away from the Crowds

The North Coast 500 tourist season doesn’t really get going until the end of May so spring time is perfect to escape the summer crowds and you’ll have more choice of campsites, hotels and restaurants as well as uninterrupted views and quieter roads.

Enjoy greater flexibility on planning your trip day by day and having more options to choose from. You’ll also get your pick of the scenic lay-bys and enjoy every moment of being on the road, enjoying it in your own time.

Castles Re-open, the Highland games Begin and May is the month of Whisky.

Most castles open their doors for the season on the 1st April and hospitality is at its best with residents welcoming back visitors coming to explore the Highlands.

May also marks the beginning of the Highland Games season. These games have been a part of Scottish culture for hundreds of years and bring together communities and a chance to make new friends with these celebrations of Scotlands heritage.

Find a Highlands Games event and enjoy the music, dancing and games such as caber toss, shot putt and tug o’ war.

It’s also the season to celebrate the ‘Scottish water of life’ and enjoy a whiskey event. In late May the Highlands Whisky Festival gets underway with eight distilleries coming together to celebrate the regions established Highland Whisky Trail and the finest distilleries along the North Coast 500. An unmissable experience for anyone who enjoys a wee dram.

Balmoral Castle has been a Royal residence since 1852 and, situated on the south side of the River Dee, near the village of Crathie.

It’s Lambing Season and the Puffins are Back!

During spring you can enjoy fields upon fields of wobbly legged newborn lambs frolicking in the fields.

The Highland cows, stoats and red squirrels will also be giving birth. With so many beautiful young newborns around its especially important to take your time and be careful on the roads so as not to disturb them and why would you want to rush when you have the joys of new born baby animals to enjoy.

Not only are the cows calving and the lambs lambing but many bird species start returning from the warmer climates. Species such as puffins, swallows and osprey migrate home for the summer months. Keep your eyes out for large flocks travelling back to their breeding grounds.

Spring is a great time to spot the puffins on the west coast, top spots to try is along the Isle of Mull and the Isle of Staffa as well as up in the Shetland Isles.

Lambing season begins in Spring – Image by Sven Brandsma via Unsplash