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November 14, 2021

ART OF LIVING – We drove the North Coast 500 with Aston Martin

The North Coast 500 is one of the finest grand tours and an unforgettable experience.

We discovered the dramatic mountain ranges, lakes and highlands along the Scottish coast in a selection of the latest Aston Martin models. The Art of Living Experience reflects the core values of Aston Martin and invites you to an unforgettable journey through fantastic places normally reserved for a very select audience.

Dive into a carefully crafted lifestyle experience with us, capturing unforgettable moments of haute cuisine, sport and culture. In combination with luxury hotels and private fairytale castles, we enjoy the best authentic cuisine, traditional culture, exclusive events and insights. We embrace the charm and infamous warmth of the Scottish Highlands as this exceptional route reveals its natural beauty and hidden secrets.

The first stage of the NC500 is the legendary Bealach Na Bà, a winding one-lane road through the mountains of the Applecross Peninsula found in Wester Ross, an area of breathtaking scenery, secretive hill lakes, misty peaks and Mediterranean-style beaches. Caithness, in the most north-easterly part of NC500, is home to Mey’s Castle, the often-frequented holiday spot of the late Queen Mother.

On the way to Easter Ross, we pass the mythical town of John O’ Goats, which offers unbeatable views from the Fyrish monument and is also home to several malt whisky and vodka distilleries that are well worth a visit.

The Torridon Resort is set in 58 acres of parkland at the end of a beautiful sea lake and is one of the most idyllic locations on our trip. There is something for everyone here, from boisterous outdoor activities to relaxation and pure indulgence by a crackling fire.

The Torridon Inn, a luxury hotel and family-run gourmet restaurant offers traditional Highland hospitality. The Torridon Whiskey & Gin Bar serves over 365 different malt whiskies, more than one for each day of the year, from personal favourites to rare treats. When it comes to choice, few places in the world can beat the Torridon Whiskey & Gin Bar.

The Torridon Whiskey & Gin Bar also has over 120 different gins and their own gin label Arcturus.

The Torridon 1887 restaurant packs a AA three-star rosette rating, reflecting the excellence of its ingredients, dishes, well-equipped wine list and exceptional service. “We are here to provide our guests with the best possible experience and just a fraction of what this great country has to offer” said Chef Paul Green. The seasonal menus offer innovatively prepared dishes using produce grown locally and on the Torridon farm. Carrots are treated with the same care as turbot here!

The Captain’s gallery is one of the world’s leading seafood restaurants. This superb, multi-award winning and sustainable family restaurant is located in the 18th century historic Scrabster Icehouse & Salmon Bothy. It offers a historic, truly unique dining experience. All dishes are prepared using seasonal vegetables and ingredients and fish available on that particular day. The menu is never the same and differs on each visit, making this unpredictability part of the delightful experience.

The Granary Lodge is situated on the seafront and offers 10 luxurious, individually styled rooms including two suites and guarantees all guests a warm Highland welcome. The relaxed lounge offers stunning views across Pentland Firth to Orkney.

Next door is Mey Castle, purchased in 1952 by Her Majesty, the Queen Mother after she had completely restored it and given it back its original name. The Queen Mother often found herself in the Captain’s House where she enjoyed a picnic lunch overlooking the sea.

Skibo Castle and The Carnegie Club are home to one of the world’s most prestigious private clubs, nestled in 8,000 acres of majestic Highland scenery and an experience in itself. Members of this prestigious club experience the elusive Skibo ‘je ne sais quoi’ every time they visit.

The house’s ‘bagpiper’ wakes guests from their slumber for breakfast before setting off on the world-class Carnegie Links or for fishing. Skibo offers a wide range of outdoor activities. Guests can try to break their personal record on the shooting range or gallop on a fox mare enjoying the beautiful estate, quad biking, clay pigeon shooting, enjoying a refreshing swim or a luxurious spa treatment or singing a song around the piano.

Each of the 21 rooms in the castle has its own charm. Some have four-poster beds and bathtubs on legs, others have balconies and one even has a private library tucked away in a tower.

2020 also marks 25 years of The Carnegie Club, a momentous occasion.

Expect nothing less than world-class cuisine from the Chefs at Skibo. Executive Chef Craig Rowland, recently inducted as a ‘Fellow’ of the prestigious Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, oversees a team of passionate and talented professionals. Breakfast can be healthy or hearty, from homemade muesli to traditional porridge or a classic Scottish fry-up and croissants baked fresh in the morning by the Skibo pastry chef.

Lunch is served in the clubhouse with floor-to-ceiling windows and stunning views of the Dornoch Firth. Choose from salad or seafood, wood-fired pizza or breaded fish & chips. Members can join in the traditional afternoon tea in the castle’s lounge, served daily from 4pm to 6pm. Finger sandwiches accompany the selection of loose leaf tea and freshly baked scones with whipped cream and raspberry jam.

Dining options depend on the season and preference. Members can enjoy an evening barbecue in the clubhouse, a private dining room with hosted dinner or lodge service. And maybe afterwards it’s time for a little ‘highland’ affair?

Written by Patrick Van Tolhuyzen for Luxuria Lifestyle International

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