Ullapool is a picturesque fishing village nestled on the shores of Loch Broom, set against a backdrop of some of the best hills and mountains the Northwest Highlands has to offer. Beautiful, rugged and remote, the town makes a great base for exploring the surrounding countryside by foot, road or sea.
Driving in from Inverness on an (initially) sunny day, the road sweeps through the stunning scenery and you are immediately struck by how vast your surroundings are. The notoriously fickle Scottish weather changes from sun to mist to rain within minutes; the mist resting on the hills and mountains then sun bursting through, the landscapes constantly changing colours and atmosphere.
Ullapool is striking as it appears, a homogeneous collection of small white buildings appearing beside the rugged, hulking mountains and serene sea loch. A small fishing village of roughly 1500, Ullapool’s architectural regularity dates back hundreds of years from the original designs of Thomas Telford. Just outside of the village the historical remnants go back further still, with abandoned forts, crofts and farm lands harking back as far as the iron age scattered around the coast.
The surrounding area is a hiker’s haven, with a multitude of walks of varying difficulty in every direction. Some of Scotland’s greatest peaks are well within reach with Stac Pollaidh, Cul Mor, Cul Beag and the world famous Suilven all less than an hour away. The highlands of Scotland offer limitless opportunities to watch wildlife and enjoy nature; the hills and glens are home to many varieties of deer, while the skies are patrolled by birds of prey such as golden eagles and peregrine falcons.
Sightseeing is not just limited to land with boat trips to the Summer Isles (or further on to Stornoway in the Western Isles) proving to be very popular. The sea is similarly thriving with wildlife rarely spotted in other parts of the UK: we shared our boat trip with seals, dolphins and a pair of white-tailed eagles which are starting to flourish after being re-introduced to the region.
Ullapool is perfectly placed to explore the Northwest Highlands with an abundance of adventures on your doorstep; walk, hike, sail, reflect and relax in the middle of the most beautiful and stunning surroundings.
I would recommend:
- Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve
- A small gallery and coffee shop just outside Ullapool Lael Craft Gallery
- Lunch at the cafe above the shop in the centre of the village Cafe Margot
- A trip to The Candle Shop, a social enterprise
Written by Kirstin Furber
Contributors Peter Keble