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Ullapool sun.jpg
Ullapool is located in Ross and Cromarty
Location within the Ross and Cromarty area
Population1,541 [1]
OS grid referenceNH125945
• Edinburgh153 mi (246 km)
• London485 mi (781 km)
Civil parish
  • Lochbroom
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtIV26
Dialling code01854
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
57°54′00″N 5°09′58″W / 57.900°N 5.166°W / 57.900; -5.166Coordinates: 57°54′00″N 5°09′58″W / 57.900°N 5.166°W / 57.900; -5.166

Ullapool (/ˈʌləpl/;[2] Scottish Gaelic: Ulapul [ˈul̪ˠapʰul̪ˠ])[3] is a port and a village of around 1,500 inhabitants in Ross and Cromarty, Scottish Highlands, located around 45 miles (70 kilometres) northwest of Inverness. Despite its modest size, it is the largest settlement for many miles around, and an important port and tourist destination. The North Atlantic Drift passes Ullapool, moderating the temperature. A few Cordyline australis (New Zealand cabbage trees) are grown in the town and are often mistaken for palm trees. The town lies on Loch Broom, on the A835 road from Inverness. The Ullapool River flows through the village.


On the east shore of Loch Broom, Ullapool was founded in 1788 as a herring port by the British Fisheries Society.[4] It was designed by Thomas Telford. Before then the town was only an insignificant hamlet of just over 20 households.[5] The harbour is used as a fishing port, yachting haven, and ferry port. Ferries sail to Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides.

The village was historically in Cromartyshire, a county made up of many separate enclaves scattered across northern Ross-shire. Cromartyshire was abolished and combined with surrounding Ross-shire in 1890.

Many of the pivotal discoveries of the Victorian era that contributed to the development of the concept of plate tectonics were made in this area, and there are still regular international geological conferences. It is described as the top geological hotspot in Scotland.[6]

Parliament granted permission in the 1890s for a railway from Ullapool to the main Highland network at Garve, but the scheme was abandoned due to insufficient funds.

The name is possibly derived from the Norse for "Wool farm" or "Ulli's farm".[7]


The region surrounding Ullapool is dominated by rugged mountains, and especially by Bheinn Ghobblach to the west, An Teallach to the southwest (both across the loch), Beinn Dearg to the southeast close to the head of Loch Broom, and Ben Mhòr na Còigich to the north. An Teallach is a mountain which dominates the area and consists of Torridonian sandstone, which is layered nearly horizontally. It is a challenging climb and is a considerable distance from the nearest road. The walker will be rewarded by magnificent views of the surroundings, especially to the sea and the islands to the west, but also to the south, and the desolate Whitbread wilderness.[8]



Ullapool has a strong reputation as a centre for music, the arts and performance.[citation needed]

The village has a small museum housed in a Telford Church, An Talla Solais, an arts centre with frequently changing exhibitions and workshops, a swimming pool and fitness centre, and several pubs, bed and breakfasts, restaurants and hotels. It is a centre for walkers, wildlife enthusiasts and other holidaymakers and is situated in a spectacular and remote part of Scotland.[citation needed]

In May every year there is the three-day Ullapool Book Festival which attracts a diverse range of writers and with work in both Scottish Gaelic and English. The Macphail Centre has a theatre hosting a regular programme of musical, dance and theatrical performances, many by the Scottish national companies but some work from smaller reps and travelling Edinburgh Fringe performers. Often the number of performances in any week will mean there is overspill to the Village Hall and other venues.[citation needed]

The Tall Ships visited Ullapool in July 2011, a major event for the village and the surrounding area.[citation needed]

Ullapool is home to the shinty team Lochbroom Camanachd.[citation needed]


Throughout the year there are many small fèisean and music festivals in the local halls and hotels, especially in the Ceilidh Place and the Arch Inn. The Ullapool Guitar Festival takes place in early October each year, attracting performers at several venues over the weekend. The Loopallu Festival, created by the American rockgrass band Hayseed Dixie and local promoter Robert Hicks in 2005,[9] was well received and has become a major regional annual event, more than doubling the size of the village during the festival. In 2007 it attracted several bands including The Saw Doctors, Dreadzone and Franz Ferdinand headlining on the second night. There are also fringe events at local bars. The Pigeon Detectives have played the Village Hall. Amy MacDonald in 2008 and Paolo Nutini in 2007 both played the Ceilidh Place. Mumford & Sons have also played in Ullapool twice.[citation needed]

Ullapool has a local radio station called Lochbroom FM broadcasting on 102.2 and 96.8 FM and online, with programming provided mostly by Two Lochs Radio in Gairloch.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

The community was rated as among the "20 most beautiful villages in the UK and Ireland" by Condé Nast Traveler in 2020.[10]

Ullapool is referenced in the multiplayer video game Team Fortress 2 as the hometown of the Demoman[11] and in the name of an in-game melee weapon that the Demoman can choose to have in his loadout, the "Ullapool Caber".[12]

Ferry service[edit]

In 1970, Ross and Cromarty council voted to create a new £460,000 (equivalent to £7,274,400 in 2020)[13] ferry terminal at Ullapool, 43 miles (69 km) from Stornoway, replacing that at the Kyle of Lochalsh that is 71 miles (114 km) from Stornoway.[14] The ferry terminal is linked to the A835 trunk road with the A893. At the terminal Caledonian MacBrayne operates a roll-on/roll-off carferry to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.

Preceding station   Ferry   Following station
Terminus   Caledonian MacBrayne
Lewis Ferry



Ullapool has an oceanic climate (Cfb) with, considering its northerly latitude, relatively mild temperatures year-round. With an average 1,105 sunshine hours per year, it is cloudier than any major city in Europe.

Climate data for Ullapool (1 m asl, averages 1981-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 5.1
Average low °C (°F) −1.2
Average rainfall mm (inches) 236.3
Average rainy days (≥ 1 mm) 19.7 17.0 20.4 16.0 14.7 14.2 14.9 16.5 17.4 20.1 19.2 17.2 207.3
Mean monthly sunshine hours 26 54 85 134 186 151 127 125 96 66 34 21 1,105
Source 1: [15]
Source 2: [16]

See also[edit]

  • Morefield
  • Stac Fada Member, distinctive geology resulting from the largest bolide impact ever to strike what are now the British Isles


  1. ^ "Highland profile - key facts and figures: population". Highland council. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  2. ^ John C. Wells, Longman Pronunciation Dictionary
  3. ^ Iain Mac an Tàilleir. "Placenames" (PDF). Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  4. ^ "History". Ullapool Harbour Trust. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  5. ^ "Welcome to Ullapool". Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Dramatic Scottish coasts among top geology hotspots". The Scotsman. 16 June 2016.
  7. ^ Iain Mac an Tàilleir. "Placenames" (PDF). Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Make Mine A Big Whitbread Please (1)". Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  9. ^ "AUK album premiere: Mark Olson "Spokeswoman of the Bright Sun" – Listen". 31 August 2017.
  10. ^ "THE 20 MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES IN THE UK AND IRELAND, 20 October 2020". Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  11. ^ Team Fortress 2 - Demoman Retrieved 2012-5-7.
  12. ^ Ullapool Caber - Official Team Fortress Wiki Retrieved 2017-1-6.
  13. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  14. ^ "Ross and Cromarty council vote. Ullapool is Ferry Terminal". Aberdeen Press and Journal. Scotland. 22 October 1970. Retrieved 25 November 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  15. ^ "Ullapool climate". Met Office. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  16. ^ "Climate information for Ullapool". Scottish Places. Retrieved 16 October 2015.

External links[edit]