The town of Ullapool is a major tourist centre and base for the north west of Scotland. It is sited half-way along the north shore of Loch Broom where the Ullapool River from Glen Achall reaches the sea and has formed a flat delta large enough to get a few rows of streets. The main street on the shore frontage offers a wide range of shops and cafes/pubs for the summer visitors and is usually busy; included amongst these was one of the most cramped supermarkets we know of (although a new shop was opened in 1998 next to the main car park where there is more space). The town was founded in 1788 by the British Fisheries Society as a fishing station to land and process the herring catches. There were other fishing stations in the region, one at Isle Martin and another on the Summer Isles, but these have disappeared following the collapse of the herring trade. Ullapool still records a high tonnage of fish each year, although the vast majority is landed and processed by factory ships anchored in Loch Broom. We have seen the large factory fishing vessels, the Klondykers, anchored in the middle of the loch - these are still regular summer visitors. With the general upgrading of the roads on the mainland the ferry terminal for sailings to the Outer Hebrides was moved here in the 1970's and this service provides a main focus for the town. For day tourists the local skippers offer a number of boat trips around the loch and to the Summer Isles, these being operated from small kiosks by the pier. In addition to numerous hotels and many guest houses there is also a camp site just along the road from the pier - very handy if waiting for the ferry - and an excellant swimming pool.
Whilst we have used Ullapool regularly as a base for shopping and nosing around we have not stayed in the town itself. The town offers a highly rated museum that is well worth a visit as it hosts excellant displays and a wide range of local history material - this includes old guidebooks and the minutes of the public inquiry into the evictions of the Crofters.. The Ceilidh Place just to the north of the pier can be visited for a bite or drink (or stay) - it also hosts an impressive range of entertainment throughout the year. The other places we have visited when in the locality are the gardens at Leckmelm, and the spectacular gorge at Corrieshalloch - both along the main road to the south. You can find out more on the town's facilities by linking to other sites... and to other sites.. as it is to the mountains that we head in these pages.
With the major road improvements of the past decade or two you can reach Ullapool very easily - either from the East coast at Dingwall which is not more that 40 miles, or take the somewhat longer and more scenic coastal route via Gairloch and Poolewe. However it is to the north that our hearts are set and whilst a day trip into Coigach District is perfectly practical - a quick jaunt up Stac Pollaidh perhaps - we urge you to leave this hectic conurbation behind and base yourself to the north in the very centre of this remote and magnificent area of Scotland. Our tour starts by heading north and climbing the hillside above Loch Broom to reach Ardmair and the hills of Coigach.
Title Page for Loch Broom Region
Map of Loch Broom Region
|North into Coigach District.|