Arda and the NC500
In a few short years the branding of the 516 circular route around the North Coast (NC500) has become celebrated as the best touring route in the world.
The diversity of microclimate and microculture within this route is astonishing. No 30 miles are the same, every corner reveals another jaw dropping view, every side road leads to enchanting secrets and mind blowing history. Our Glens are filled with Faeries, our seas with Orca and Dolphins (including the largest sized and biggest pod of most Northerly Bottle Nosed Dolphins in the world), skies are filled with rainbows and aurora, beaches with tropical white sands, and castles burst with Clan War history and Viking Kingdoms.
We'd love to help you find all these treasures so check out our blog for half and full day itineraries that take you out on routes within and around the NC500.
Read below for other ways to interact with the NC500.
Our best recommendation for a unique horse back experience is to go to Cougie and the Highland Trekking and Trail Riding for a half or full day ride. The scenery surrounding Cougie is like going back in time as it is so unspoilt and wild. The last original Caledonian Pine Forest still exists close by in Glen Affric, and the area is well known for it's local history and outstanding unspoilt beauty.
Alternatively we recommend Highland Horse Fun to the home of Ormiston Highland Ponies and the origins of the first ever pony trekking holidays, and take a horse and carriage ride.
For shorter hour long treks closer to home we have a couple of recommendations depending on your level of experience.
Within 30 minutes of Arda are 32 sports climbing routes from Grade 4 -7. Many are in enchanting spots with short woodland walks to reach them and some are right at the roadside, with the majority surrounding Loch Fleet RSPB nature reserve - the home of so many seals and rare water birds. You might even see an Osprey hunt, or an otter.
RIVER AND SHORE OPEN CANOEING
Go Wild Highlands is a local canoe tour operator who offers trips that include food and bush skills on both the rivers and shores around us. They last several hours, offer local fare, views, and knowledge.
Arda is ideal for MTB enthusiasts. You can ride right off the croft into Balblair woods at the back of the croft house and go for hours on trails for all abilities. Then leave the wood at Invershin, go to the Invershin Hotel Bunk House and Bar for lunch before taking the specially designed footbridge, parallel to the railway bridge, over the river to Culrain and the trails around Carbisdale Castle. Make your way home by returning through the woods or along the single track roads back to Ardgay.
We have hoses at the house for cleaning bikes and we can store them if needed, although some bases come with bike shelters.