Getting away from it all with zero mobile phone signal

A new map showing where mobile phones WON’T work properly due to lack of signal can be used in reverse for those who want to really get away from it all.

Digital devices that need a 4G connection are the biggest distraction to our modern lifestyles, and it’s no surprise that people head for the tranquility and remote parts of Scotland to chill out, relax and cut themselves off from the constant dings and bleeps of notifications and messages.

Digital connectivity consultancy FarrPoint has produced a map of the North Coast 500 which shows that 34 miles of it have no 4G signal at all from any of the four providers, and hundreds of miles of it only has coverage from one or more operators.

While the intention of the map is to raise awareness for visitors who might find themselves without coverage, it can work in reverse for those who literally seek out the places where they can’t be contacted.

No Netflix? just chill!

In fact, it’s one of the advantages of coming to rural Scotland, that places that are remote are often cut off from the mobile networks, and that means you can pack away your smartphone, tablet and laptop and make your break an actual break.

After surveying the length of the route which circles northern Scotland with its Coverage Mapping solution, FarrPoint identified more than 34 miles of road 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, EE, O2, Three and Vodafone.

The digital not-spots extend across some of the most popular tourist hotspots on the road trip – including Inverewe Garden and Estate, the Applecross Peninsula, Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve and the stunning Clachtoll Beach. In addition, the road hugging the shoreline of Loch Eriboll was found to be the worst area for mobile coverage along the route, with more than 18 miles of continuous road without any 4G coverage. This will leave travellers with real connectivity issues when trying to access mobile data and making calls and texts.

The downside

There is of course a downside to being off-grid. 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.

Drivers, walkers and cyclists should 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.

According to FarrPoint’s analysis, EE was found to offer the best coverage (89% of the route includes access to its network), closely followed by O2 (77%) and Vodafone (76%). Three came last, only providing coverage for 51% of the route – leaving more than 252 miles without 4G coverage. 

FarrPoint has made an interactive version of the map available for use on its website, and visitors are encouraged to look at what their operator’s coverage levels are in advance so they can make informed decisions before they travel.