ULLAPOOL, northwest Scotland’s principal centre of population, was founded at the height of the herring boom in 1788 by the British Fisheries Society, on a sheltered arm of land jutting into Loch Broom. The grid-plan town is still an important fishing centre, though the ferry link to Stornoway on Lewis ensures that in high season it’s swamped with visitors. Though busy, Ullapool remains a hugely appealing place and a good base for exploring the northwest Highlands.
By day, Ullapool’s attention focuses on the comings and goings of the ferry, fishing boats and smaller craft, while in the evening, yachts swing on the current, shops stay open late, and drinkers at the Ferry Boat Inn line the sea wall. In summer, trips head to the Summer Isles – a cluster of uninhabited islets a couple of miles offshore – to view seabird colonies, dolphins and porpoises.
The only formal attraction in town is the award-winning museum, in the old parish church on West Argyle Street, which provides an insight into life in a Highland community, including crofting, fishing, local religion and emigration.