Ullapool

Ullapool

 

I don’t suppose that when the British Fisheries Society commissioned Thomas Telford to create a purpose-built fishing village on the shores of Loch Broom in 1788, that they envisaged a design which would appeal to tourists as well – but that’s what they got.

Having said that, I don’t suppose there were many tourists around in those days either, but as the fishing stocks declined, then the number of tourists increased, and when I first came here back in the early 1980s there were both plenty of tourists – and fish.

I can remember seeing the ‘Klondykers’ anchored in Loch Broom. Up to seventy Soviet and East European factory ships were regularly seen in the loch processing the fish, even though the UK and the Eastern Bloc were at each other’s throats politically. The Cold War prevented many people from both sides of the Iron Curtain travelling across the borders, but here in Ullapool there were many instances of ‘fraternising with the enemy’ including a football match between Russian fishermen and locals.

The Celidh Place

The factory ships have long gone and fishing is done on a much smaller scale now, but tourism still has an important part to play. A boat trip up Loch Broom will take you to the gorgeous Summer Isles, but if that isn’t far enough away for you, then you can also take the 3 hour ferry crossing to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.

Whether it’s by sea or land – and no matter which way you go, the scenery all around is outstanding. The village only has a population of about fifteen hundred, but it’s the largest community for miles around which makes it an ideal base for touring Wester Ross and beyond.

Accommodation in the area is based on supply and demand – in other words – you don’t get what you pay for, but that applies to many places in Scotland.

Even so. If you’ve come this far it’s unlikely that you wouldn’t want to stop here. Not only is the village surrounded by some exceptional scenery, it’s a worthwhile place to visit in its own right, and if you intend travelling on even further north, then you’ll want to take a break somewhere – and Ullapool would be hard to beat if you’ve never been to this part of the world before.

Shore St
Shore St
Loch Broom
Loch Broom
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4 thoughts on “Ullapool

  1. Malcolm Post author

    Thanks for taking a look Barbara. Interesting to hear about meeting the Russians, and the connection with the Vikings is more than possible. Pleased to hear that you enjoyed the read.

    Reply
  2. Liz Morley - Barbara

    Lovely piece and great pictures that brought back some very special memories.
    We had a grown-ups only family holiday there in the heat wave of July 1995 after all our children had left school. We stayed in a house on the shore of the Lake. A very rusty Russian ship berthed on the opposite shore every night after it returned from a days fishing and we heard its motors every morning as it set out to the open seas When shopping in the village we met some of the sailors and my husband surprised them with his Russian – almost as rusty as their ship but there were lots of smiling faces and hand shakes. The very comfortable house was a long, timber built single storey. All the men were agreed it would soon be in need of rebuilding The one and only downside – the famous Scottish midges which as always made a direct hit on my brother!
    As for the name Ullapool – a minute walk up the road – my husband guessed it had something to do with the Vikings who had occupied the land long after even earlier peoples were the inhabitants.

    Reply
  3. Don Porsché

    I’ve always been puzzled about how Ullapool got its name. I don’t suppose the “pool” part means the same as the modern word pool. Maybe a harbour? Similar to Liverpool, perhaps?

    Reply
    1. Malcolm Post author

      You’ve got me on that one Don. I’ve no idea. I thought there may be a gaelic connection but I’ve never been able to find one

      Reply

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