I RETURNED home from a sparkling and awesome visit to Wester Ross on the day of the publication of your report on the NC500 ("Locals find living round the NC500 brings problems as well as profits", The Herald, June 7).

Jody Harrison’s article was based on the results of the survey carried out by Gary Woodcock, from Stirling University, of more than 250 people living nearby NC500 who were asked how their lives had changed since the route opened in 2015. Mr Woodcock’s survey centred on the disruption to daily life, the environment and culture for communities along the way. While being sensitive to these views, I should like to affirm the overwhelming positives of NC500.

These include requiring us to be better road-users and experience the opportunity narrow roads and passing places give us to think of others on the road and to exchange those acknowledging signals that are gone completely from faster, often aggressive city driving. The official NC500 map clearly indicates the places where if you cannot reverse your vehicle several hundred yards on narrow single-track, you cannot safely drive over that part of the road.

The NC500 is also greatly boosting the economy of the North of Scotland, from the expansion in food and accommodation provision, to local shops, markets, and craft workshops who are benefiting from the visiting trade. The excellent food, cheerfully and efficiently served on a sell-out Sunday two weeks ago in Applecross, a prime example: the Tuesday market in Poolewe, another.

The full enjoyment of the NC500 is partly indexed to the weather and how menacing the midges are, but along the route nine castles, 18 archaeological sites, 37 museums and visitor centres and 11 distilleries and breweries, are there to be explored and enjoyed, along with local sports facilities and entertainment venues. The 516 miles of the official NC500 spawn further meanderings into glorious gems of scenery and tranquillity.

The NC500 is something of which Scotland can be proud: it is to quote its guide, "one of the top five coastal touring routes in the world, with the emphasis on touring and scenic views".

Go north and enjoy. Drive carefully and be mindful of others, on the roads, and wherever you meet a local person or a visitor on NC500.

Rev Dr Andrew G N Wilson


Coull, Aberdeenshire.