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Ullapool is a small town located in the North West of Scotland. This is one of the countries most northerly towns and is located in the county of Wester Ross. The town only has a population of around one thousand four hundred people but it often seems much busier as many people come to visit this area for it's outstanding natural beauty. The little town sits on the shores of Loch Broom and there have been people living in this area for well over two hundred years. Despite being in the North of Scotland this area benefits from the North Atlantic Drift which means often the climate can be quite mild. However this is not always the case and sometimes there are very harsh winters in this area.
If you are looking to stay in this area you have limited options. Due to this only being a small place there are not to many hotels. However the Caledonian Hotel and the Glengrove Hotel both have very good reputations for good service and a high standard of rooms. There are a few more small hotels and bed and breakfasts in the town that again offer very nice rooms and service. There are plenty of privately owned holiday homes in the town and also in the surrounding area, these are great if you are looking for self catering accommodation. There are also some nice areas to camp in around the town, this makes for a good cheap alternative to other accommodation.
Despite this being a small town there is a surprising amount of things to do and see in the town. This area relies on tourism so the locals make sure there is plenty to keep people interested. There is a museum which provides an interesting place to visit and gives you a good history of the area. There is a small art gallery which has some excellent example of local art. The town has a swimming pool and leisure centre which can be an ideal place to visit if the weather is bad. There are also a few nice little pubs in the town, the Arch Inn provides very nice food and a warm welcome to anyone visiting.
Many people come to this area to experience the stunning scenery. There really is so much to enjoy here. The coastline is wild, rugged and beautiful. There are long snady beaches and small rocky coves, the marine wildlife is wonderful and there is always something to see. The mountains in this area of some of the best in the UK and some of the ranges offer excellent climbing and scrabbling. The famous An Teallach is often voted Scotland's best mountain and this only lies a few miles south of Ullapool.
If you have never visit the town of Ullapool then you really are missing out. This is a lovely area and the town itself is really pretty. Although the town is a long way out of the way it is still worth the drive, plus the road to Ullapool is really spectacular. Next time you are in the North West of Scotland go and give Ullapool as visit.
If you've spent time in the North Western Highlands of Scotland, chances are that you've been to Ullapool. If you're planning on visiting, this is a good base from which to explore the area. The nearest airport is at Inverness, this is a small affair and you may find yourself flying from Glasgow or Edinburgh in a plane that resembles a transit van, although flights from London through BA tend to be in more substantial planes. Anyway this is part of the experience, the Northern Highlands are, after all, one of the few remaining areas of genuine wilderness in Europe.
Not that Inverness, which is a bustling and rapidly expanding town, would appreciate being described as wilderness! From here Ullapool is about an hour north by car, trains go only as far as Garve - Ullapool has no train station. Neither could Ullapool be described as wild, although it is remote by city-dwellers standards it boast a swimming pool, hotels, plenty of B&B accommodation, busy pubs, gift shops, restaurants, camp site, and most recently - a Tesco, albeit a small one. Importantly, it also has a petrol station. This is the last town of any size (and it is really village sized) before traveling further north.
Ullapool itself is really beautiful, resembling a Cornish village, with white cottages nestled on the sea shore, but with spectacular views of mountains all around. Have a look at the Ullapool website http://www.ullapool.co.uk/ - which is very amateurish as are many village sites, but at least does show some (disappointingly small) pictures of the area. The scenery is truly breath taking and can compete with any beauty spot in the world.
In the summer months, partly due to having a relatively welcoming climate compared to some other parts of Scotland, Ullapool is bustling. Local pubs offer entertainment such as folk clubs and lie bands, but also some surprisingly big acts have been known to visit - one notable example being Eddie Izzard playing in a room the size of a village hall. The Ceilidh Place has a good reputation for live entertainment.
From Ullapool there are boat trips to see birds and seals, go slightly farther afield and you can see dolphins playing in their natural habitat. From here also, you can catch the ferry to the Western Isles - Stornoway and Lewis - don't miss the standing stones at Callanish.
Ullapool tends to be lucky with weather, at times resembling a continental village in the summer, especially as it attracts visitors from all round the world - it can be difficult to remember where you are! This summer Ullapool fared much better than southern England, and did not receive the battering of storms and rain rain rain that we suffered here in Devon. This may surprise some people, as Scotland is generally viewed as being cold and wet! This makes it an attractive alternative to a further afield holiday in these days of belt tightening and carbon footprint lessening. However, I'd be lying if I said it isn't sometimes pretty grim - sometimes you can look out of the window and see nothing but grey, the rain is spectacular when it does come, and when it isn't raining you've a good chance of being eaten alive by midges. (Those are teeny biting flies, for those of you lucky enough not to know of them.)
I worked in Ullapool a few years ago, and its a great place to be in - certainly in the summer. Its a very pituresque village, set along the harbour. Theres lovely trips out to the Summer Isles , and smaller trips closer by, with a chance to see great sea life. Its busy, the pubs can be jumping - theres often Klyondyers in the bay, with the crew mixing in the pubs and lots of hill walkers. The Ceilidh Place is renowned for its support of music - local and visiting artistes. It has lovely bedrooms and for the less well off ,a bunk house. Theres a well stocked book shop and a good restuarant especially if your vegetarian - where you won't find much of a selection in many places in the Highlands. There are many other hotels and guest houses, a fish and chip shop, a leather shop, a good music shop and plenty nick nack shops. Ullapool also hosts Feis Rois which is a week long festival for children celebrating traditional music - with concerts and plenty sessions in the pubs. In the winter I believe Ullapool is a completely different place, and it must be strange going from a season of heaving pubs to a few people propping up the bar - but strangely peaceful I'd imagine.
We had a week in Ullapool a couple of years back, and it is a very very beautiful part of the world. If you are uncertain where to stay, you must stay at Point cottage. It is a small friendly guest house, with just three rooms, but it has the most superb position in Ullapool. It is right down at the end of the point, where the ferries turn to go out to Stornaway, and you can lie in bed and see right across the loch, and watch the ferries passing. It is wonderful. It is a very peaceful little town, not a lot there, just some gift shops, pubs and resteraunts, and a small harbour. There are lots of nice walks though, and lots of beautiful places to visit in the Scottish Highlands, and it is just so peaceful that you cant help soaking up the atmosphere and relaxing. The weather wasnt too brilliant when we were there, but it is supposed to have its own micro climate, warmed by the gulf stream, and on the whole they are supposed to do quite well for weather there!