Loch & Loaded – The North Coast 500 Adventure Begins

Road trips don’t come more spectacular than Scotland’s breathtaking North Coast 500 – and it’s even more luxurious if you take your bespoke tour in a Rolls-Royce Ghost, says Luxurious Magazine’s owner, Paul Godbold

Having travelled to numerous countries, eaten at the finest restaurants and driven the most incredible cars, I thought there was probably little left to inspire me.

After politely declining invitations to spend more than a day out of my office during the past two-and-a-half years, a telephone call was put through to me which caused some long-forgotten inner feelings to stir.

I was being offered the chance to drive Scotland’s legendary North Coast 500 route in a factory-fresh, top-specification Rolls-Royce Ghost – a perfect way to experience the luxury on offer in this beautiful part of the United Kingdom.

Paul-Godbold-in-Kelso

By pure coincidence, the last time I accepted an offer to do a review, I headed up to Kelso in Scotland’s border counties. That, I thought, was my Nirvana: beautiful rolling countryside, a wide variety of wildlife, peace, tranquillity and friendly people. I’m a huge fan of the countryside, living only 40 minutes from the Lake District, but as much as I adore England’s most stunning scenery, the Scottish countryside is my personal yardstick.

rolls-royce-ghost

The brief provided to me was clear and enticing: drive the 500 miles around Scotland’s North Coast, sample three different types of luxury accommodation, eat fine food, meet some entrepreneurs and, lest I forget, do it all in the comfort and luxury of a two-tone liveried Rolls-Royce Ghost II.

Mike Heybourne and Paul Godbold

I was invited to bring along a plus-one but, although I’m very happily married, I chose to go with a good friend (Mike Heybourne) who works as a professional driver and, dare I say it, is a little more fun to be with on a road-trip.

Mike and I are no strangers when it comes to high-end luxury cars. The week before our trip, he took delivery of a gleaming white Mercedes-Benz AMG LWB S-Class as his everyday car, and that’s what we would be using to get us from Lancashire to our starting-point in Inverness.

We headed North from the darkness of Lancashire and after a couple of hours of motorway driving, reached the ‘Welcome To Scotland’ sign just as the sun was rising over the distant hills. From the Border counties, we still had a few hours’ drive to our first destination, the Rocpool Reserve Hotel & Chez Roux Restaurant Inverness.

We arrived to be greeted by our first sight of the Rolls-Royce Ghost, and believe me when I say it looked stunning. In the bright sunshine, the chrome glistened and the two-tone colour scheme seemed to pop and elevate the almost peerless luxury car to an even higher level.

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