Distance: 200 miles
Ascent: 3,420 m
Terrain: Mix of on and off-road sections, some very remote.
Difficulty: The route contains gates which, if closed, might require you to lift your bike over the gate and may require pushing on more technical uphill and downhill sections.
Best time to visit: April to October. Some sections can be muddy or boggy in wet weather conditions.
Starting his journey in Strathcarron, taking a train for the first leg, he then followed the NC500 route up and down the Bealach na Bà, on the third-highest road in Scotland. On the second day he set off from the picturesque fishing village of Shieldaig in Wester Ross, to combine the NC500 route with gravel tracks along Upper Loch Torridon, then continuing through picturesque Glen Torridon.
From the shores of Loch Maree, he ventured off the NC500 route towards Achnasheen and on to Lochluichart. This section can be done by either bike or train. Markus crossed the Lochluichart Wind Farm on gravel tracks to meet the A835 at Loch Glascarnoch. His route joined the North Coast 500 again at Corrieshalloch Gorge, continuing on the road and an alternative route on the opposite side of the River Broom to Ullapool.
From Ullapool Stitz continued on a well-known coast-to-coast route to Oykel Bridge, having already ridden this section during his inaugural bikepacking trip in 2006 and also during the Highland Trail 550. He continued on to Culrain, where his route met the railway once again to Ardgay. After a final overnight stop near Invergordon he continued on a mixture of roads, paths and Sustrans National Cycle Route 1 across the Black Isle back to Inverness.