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What’s on… on the North Coast 500 in 2022

Highland Games take place on the NC500 throughout the summer. Credit: Angus Chan

For most cyclists, the North Coast 500 offers more than enough interest, with plenty of fabulous views, places to stop and attractions to visit. But how about adding to the experience by tying in with a range of great events and challenges in the summer of 2022?

This is our guide to some of the best of what's on along, or close to, the NC500 between April and September, 2022.

John O'Groats hosts an annual book festival.

What’s on…NC500 in April

John O'Groats Book Festival

When: From April and monthly

Where: Various venues in John o'Groats.

What: The fourth book festival in the village in the far north of Scotland, the 2022 John o'Groats Book Festival will host a series of events from March to October. See October below for more details.

See: festival.

Catch the surfing action at Thurso. Credit: jbdodane

Scottish National Surf Championships

When: April 15 to 17

Where: Thurso

What: Surfing usually makes for a great spectator event if the weather is fine. Watch as some of the best surfers compete in the national champs in whatever the seas throw up for them on the day.

OutDores | The Loch Ness Garden Party

When: April 30

Where: Dores, near Inverness

What: Book in for a mix of mix of genres including electronic, house and techno. Names include Lone and Mark Archer.

Ullapool on the NC500. Credit: FionaOutdoors

What’s on…NC500 in May

Crime & Thriller Festival

When: May 6 to 8

Where: Cromarty, Black Isle

What: A thrilling and suspenseful weekend book festival with many guests and novelists in this historic town on the Black Isle by the Moray Firth.

See: festival.

Ullapool Book Festival

When: May 7 to 9

Where: Ullapool

What: A great place to visit for a celebration of books and authors for across Scotland.

See: festival.

Isle Be Back Festival

When: May 13 and 14

Where: Muir Of Ord, near Inverness

What: Isle Be Back is an eighties music celebration with some of the biggest acts of the time and a mix of tributes to kick start the party.

See: festival.

Hooley In The Highlands

When: May 28

Where: Strathpeffer

What: Book in for a top line-up of country music artistes, who will be hoping to keep you dancing throughout the day.

See: Holly

Inverness is where many people start and finish the NC500.

What’s on…NC500 in June

Piping Inverness

When: June 25

Where: Bught Park, Inverness

What: The event incorporates the European Pipe Band Championships and will see pipe bands and Highland dancers competing. It’s fun day out for competitors and spectators alike.

St Ayles skiff

What’s on…NC500 in July

St Ayles Skiff World Championships

When: TBC

Where: Ullapool

What: Since 2013, Ullapool has played host to regattas that see traditional St Ayles skiff boats and crews competing in the coastal waters near the town. It's hoped the world champs will once again take place in Ullapool this summer. Keep an eye on the website. It is a great event for spectators, as well as rowers.

See: regatta

Belladrum Tartan Heart Rock Festival. Credit: Chris Upson

Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival

When: July 28 to 30

Where: Belladrum Estate, near Beauly

What: The popular music and arts festival returns to Belladrum Estate near Inverness in 2022. The line-up includes Van Morrison, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Emily Sandé, The Fratellis, Passenger, Shed Seven and more.

See: festival.

What’s on…NC500 in August

Black Isle Show

When: August 4

Where: Muir of Ord

What: The largest agricultural show in the north draws entries from all over Scotland. Last year’s Champion of Champions was a Shetland Pony. There is fun for all ages at this event.

See: show

Beautiful Plockton. Credit: Mike McBey

What’s on…NC500 in September


When: TBC

Where: Old Allangrange, Munlochy

What: A celebration of beer at the Black Isle Brewery. Keep an eye on the website to see if the event is confirmed for 2022.

See: brewery

Plockton Kayak Carnival

When: September 9 to 11

Where: Plockton

What: The carnival is a way of saying thank you to the people, landscape and wildlife that have made the first decade of the kayak guiding company Sea Kayak Plockton so memorable. It will be weekend of kayaking, talks, food, ceilidh and good craic.

See: carnival.

Baxters Loch Ness Marathon.

What’s on…NC500 in October

Baxters Loch Ness Marathon

When: October 2

Where: Inverness

What: Take part in a running marathon from Fort Augustus to Inverness, or the 10k and 5k. There are still places up for grabs at this popular running festival.


When: October 6 to 8

Where: Inverness

What: Lots of authors will be contributing to the free annual festival over a long weekend in Inverness.

See: festival.

John O'Groats Book Festival

When: TBC

Where: Various venues in John o'Groats.

What: The fourth book festival culminates in a weekend festival this month. Events include storytelling, musical interpretations, talks, interviews, book launches, visiting writers, local writers, workshops and The John o’Groats Story Walk.

See: festival.

What's more in 2022: Highland Games

No events list should be published for the Scottish Highlands without mention of the famous Highland Games. The traditional events pack a lot of history, culture and entertainment into one day.

Make plans for the North Coast 500

If you want to discuss any plans or ideas you have for cycling the NC500 route in Scotland please do give Highland Transfers a call. We can help with luggage transfer between your overnight accommodations and we have a wealth of other information that we can discuss with you.

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