Our roadside activities are flourishing thanks to NC500

One mother shared how the booming NC500 allowed her to open a bakery at the bottom of her driveway.

Donna Mackay, 37, started selling sweet treats from the Crumbs Cake Cupboard to locals and passing tourists on the route.

Donna Mackay runs a baking business from her driveway on the NC500Credit: instagram/lovelycrumbs1
Donna and children Rhea and Kira at the bigger and better KruimelskastCredit: instagram/lovelycrumbs1
Donna’s baking business when it launched last summerCredit: instagram/lovelycrumbs1

She was stunned when it exploded in popularity and struggled to meet the huge demand from locals and NC500 tourists.

Donna trusts customers to pay because the business in Bettyhill, Sutherland, is essentially an ‘honesty box’.

And she talked about how she has had positive and negative experiences.

Donna said, “The good outweighs the bad.

“There are people who do not pay and I notice that we ultimately fall short.

“But I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and wonder if they just got the math wrong. I rely on them to do the sums.

“Everyone here is so friendly. We want tourists and if they all follow the rules that would be great.

“Unfortunately, the minority has failed the majority.”

Former bank employee Donna started the business after her children Rhea, 9, and Kira, 5, asked if they could run a lemonade stand.

They wanted to earn some extra money so they could buy the horse and dog they always dreamed of.

As a compromise, Donna, who runs a small wedding cake business, offered to set up the bright pink cake cabinet.

It took off, but she was devastated to discover someone had taken everything and not paid a cent.

She said: “They completely exonerated us. Approximately €25 worth of items were taken.

“It was upsetting because we are only a small company and it all started as a bit of fun for the girls.”

Donna posted about the incident on social media and was surprised by the response.

She said: “The support we received was incredible. There were people posting money through our letterbox.

“Everyone wanted to be sure that the girls would still get their horse and dog. People offered to transfer the entire amount.

“It was so much fun and it shows that the vast majority of people are kind and respectful.”

Donna sells delicious baking trays and cupcakes, but also cheesecakes, giant New York cookies and sausage rolls.

Her most expensive item is £3.50 and the cheapest is £1.50.

Last year, in the middle of summer, Donna sold out every day, sometimes before lunchtime.

For this season, she decided to make the closet bigger and better, adding a refrigerator and a photo prop.

She has received support from locals and tourists alike, but believes the huge influx of visitors thanks to the NC500 is playing a big role in keeping her going.

Donna said: “It’s not a big business and it’s not hugely profitable.

“It gives me a part-time wage and means I can be a full-time mother and enjoy my time with the girls.

“In the summer it could easily be full-time because the road is so busy with tourists.”

Donna, husband Ross and their children are all involved with Crumbs.
The girls are always desperate to check the box and see what is being sold.

Donna only reopened last week and is quietly entering the new year.

She said: “We have had interest from all over the world. People tell me they take a detour so they can get to the closet.

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“I think it’s the color that attracts everyone. It falls on. People tell me they can see it from space.

“It’s quite overwhelming how much of it has been taken away. The girls are so excited about it and I really love what I do.”