The only settlement of any size on a peerless section of the north-west seaboard, this coastal community makes a good base for touring the Northern Highlands.
Ullapool – with wilderness Scotland all around
Like Wick on the east coast, Ullapool’s early story is bound up with the herring shoals. The British Fisheries Society, created to ease unemployment in the Highlands, founded a fishing station on the promontory here in 1788. A grid of streets was laid out behind the Loch Broom shore, to a design by the famous engineer, Thomas Telford. The decline of the fishery started in the 1830s. Not until almost a century later, in the age of the steam drifter and trawler, was Ullapool’s natural advantages as a port and anchorage again exploited by the Scottish fishing fleet while fishing the Minch.
Later still came the factory ships (called ‘klondykers’) from Russia and other parts of eastern Europe to anchor in the loch and process catches bought direct from other fishing boats – another chapter in Ullapool’s fishing story. Today, there are still landings of whitefish and shellfish at the port. Ullapool is also a ferry port for an important link to the Western Isles.
As a touring base, Ullapool is popular with visitors, and has a very lively air in the main season. It has a good range of shops and visitor facilities, including a local museum.