THE BEST and worst hotspots for mobile phone coverage along Scotland’s North Coast 500 have been revealed.
The road trip, which spans across 516 miles, covers the northeast coast of the country and has been affectionately dubbed Scotland’s Route 66.
And with travel options limited because of the coronavirus lockdown and restrictions, there has been a recent spike in people taking to the road over the past two years.
Families have been using it as a chance to explore the country and many have planned to take a drive across the scenic route this Easter weekend.
But holidaymakers are being advised to make sure they adequately plan and prepare for their trip before setting off after a study has highlighted the best and worst areas of 4G coverage.
A team at FarrPoint, a digital connectivity consultancy, created a map which outlines the level of 4G coverage offered by the UK’s mobile network operators throughout the North Coast 500.
These networks include EE, O2, Three and Vodafone.
The map revealed that more than 34 miles of road is without 4G coverage from any provider.
In addition, more than a quarter of the route is only covered by either one or two of the four mobile providers.
Areas with little to no coverage include Inverewe Garden and Estate, the Applecross Peninsula, Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve and the stunning Clachtoll Beach.
And the road hugging the shoreline of Loch Eriboll – the deepest sea loch in Britain – was found to be the worst area for mobile coverage along the route, with more than 18 miles of continuous road without any signal.
This will leave travelers with real connectivity issues when trying to access mobile data and making calls and texts.
Despite its undeniable beauty and fantastic scenery, drivers can quickly run into issues navigating the winding country roads, especially if they deviate off the main road to visit nearby businesses or beauty spots.
FarrPoint is encouraging drivers to consider downloading digital maps before setting off on the epic road trip so they can be accessed in not-spot areas, as well as checking the level of coverage that specific mobile operators offer.
Their reports also show that EE was found to offer the best coverage with 89 per cent of the route having access to it’s nework.
It was closely followed by O2, which covers 77 per cent and Vodafone with 76 per cent.
Three came last, only providing coverage for 51 per cent of the route – leaving more than 252 miles without 4G coverage.
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.
“With more than 34 miles of route having no 4G coverage from any operator, and hundreds of miles of road only being covered by certain operators, undoubtedly people will experience connectivity issues during their journey.
“This may appeal to some travelers who are looking to have a break from their digital devices, but it could equally cause issues if drivers get lost or run into trouble.
“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 do not get lost in this remote, albeit undeniably beautiful part of northern Scotland.”
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