Ullapool – A Fishing Village on Loch Broom

Ullapool was Once A Thriving Fishing Station:

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Ullapool Harbour © Travel Signposts

Ullapool is a small village on Loch Broom, approximately 55 miles north west of Inverness.  Our stop here at lunchtime gave us the opportunity to take a quick look around this picturesque fishing village.

Ullapool began life as a village in 1788 when the British Fisheries Society decided to make Ullapool one of their fishing stations. Thomas Telford was commissioned to work on the village layout and that’s why this small fishing village of approximately 1,300 people has a regular village grid plan. The aim of the Fisheries Society in using Ullapool as a base was to exploit the boom in herring fishing at the time.  As a result of this overfishing, fish stock declined and by 1900, the Ullapool station was deemed a failure.

The fortunes of Ullapool as a fishing port rose and ebbed over time but an interesting period was during the late 1970s when Loch Broom became the base for Russian ships and Eastern European “Klondykers” or factory ships. This was the time of the Cold War and up to 60 Russian and the Eastern European factory ships were based here.  That many large ships in Ullapool’s harbour must have been quite a sight.

The factory ships would process the mackerel catch by the smaller fishing boats and the processed fish were then shipped to their home markets.  The crew used to come ashore and eat and drink at the bars and it was common to hear Russian spoken in the streets of Ullapool.  The villagers did well out of selling fish and supplies to the foreign ships.

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Ullapool Seafront © Travel Signposts

It seems that due to various EU laws the British fishing industry is in decline these days. The boom days are over for Ullapool as well and today it is home to a more locally-based fishing fleet.

Ullapool is a convenient base for exploring the north-west Highlands of Scotland. For more information about the place, call in at the Ullapool Museum and Visitor Centre on West Argyle Street which runs parallel to the seafront.

Ullapool is the main terminus for ferries to Stornoway. For visitors staying here, Ullapool activities include, fishing, walking, golfing, wildlife watching and trips on the loch.

Walking along the shores of Loch Broom we saw some nice cafes, bars and other places to eat.

There is a wide range of places to stay in Ullapool, from guesthouses, B & Bs, and motels and hotels to cater for any budget.

You can search for Scottish Highlands hotels and read reviews here. >

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