THE SCALE of connectivity issues facing travellers on the NC500 route has been unveiled by a new interactive map.
Scotland’s most well-known road trip plays a vital role in the Highland economy, estimated to have injected nearly £23m into the area in 2020.
180 jobs were also created by the route in the same year, emphasising just how important its stunning scenery is to the local community.
However, tourists have been warned that alongside the gorgeous views comes a significant lapse in connection with other parts of the world.
Independent technology consultancy Farrpoint, the creators of the interactive map, surveyed the route in search of connectivity.
They found that more than 34 miles of the NC500 route is completely without 4G coverage from any of the four mobile providers in the UK.
EE, O2, Three and Vodafone are unable to reach some of the most popular tourist hotspots on offer.
This includes Clachtoll Beach, Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve and Inverewe Garden and Estate.
Those looking to tick off the UK’s deepest sea loch, Loch Eriboll, could be the most affected, with 18 miles of continuous roads without connectivity hugging the shoreline.
Trying to access mobile data, texting with loved ones and receiving important phone calls are all made impossible without strong connectivity.
The research also found that more than a quarter of the route is only covered by one or two of the mobile providers.
EE was found to be the most covered in the area, followed by O2 and Vodafone, while Three was buffering behind.
Andrew Muir, CEO of Farrpoint, said: “With stunning scenery and views, the North Coast 500 provides the setting for one of the world’s best road journeys right here in Scotland.
“But without adequate preparation, the trip could turn into difficulty in parts given the remote nature of the surrounding area and the limited connectivity across the route.”
In order to better prepare travellers for the inevitable lack of connection of the route, Farrpoint have created an interactive map.
The guide outlines the level of 4G coverage offered by the UK mobile providers across all 516 miles of the famous road trip.
It is hoped that access to this tool will help tourists to make better travel chances and ensure they can safely enjoy the beauty of the Highlands.
Muir continued: “To help provide better peace of mind, we recommend that drivers check their mobile connectivity and download any maps of areas before they set off to ensure they don’t get lost in this remote, albeit undeniably beautiful part of northern Scotland.”