|Population||1,500 (mid-2020 est.)|
|OS grid reference|
|• Edinburgh||153 mi (246 km)|
|• London||485 mi (781 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Ullapool (//; Scottish Gaelic: Ulapul [ˈul̪ˠapʰul̪ˠ]) is a village and port located in Northern Scotland. Ullapool has a population of approximately 1,500 inhabitants. It is located around 45 miles (70 kilometres) northwest of Inverness in Ross and Cromarty, Scottish Highlands. Despite its modest size, it is the largest settlement for many miles around. It is 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 Ullapool River flows through the town, which lies on Loch Broom, on the A835 road from Inverness.
On the east shore of Loch Broom, Ullapool was founded in 1788 as a herring port by the British Fisheries Society. It was designed by Thomas Telford. Prior to 1788 the town was only an insignificant hamlet made up of just over 20 households. The harbour is used as a fishing port, yachting haven, and ferry port. Ferries sail to Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides.
A road to link Ullapool with Dingwall was commenced in 1792. 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 Victorian era discoveries[example needed] that informed the concept of plate tectonics were made[by whom?] in this area. There are still[when?] regular international geological conferences[example needed] held in Ullapool, which has been described as the top geological hotspot in Scotland.
The name is possibly derived from the Norse for "Wool farm" or "Ulli's farm".
Landscape and geology
The region surrounding Ullapool is dominated by rugged mountains, and especially by Bheinn Ghobhlach 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 Beinn Mhòr na Còigich to the north. These summits are referred to as periglacial enclaves, a term used to describe areas that were adjacent to glaciers and impacted by cold climates.
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 a considerable distance from the nearest road. Climbing affords views to the sea and the islands to the west, but also to the south, and the desolate Whitbread wilderness.
Ullapool sits on a substantial geological structure known as the Moine Thrust Belt. This geological feature spans a considerable distance from Loch Eriboll in the north, extending southwards to the Isle of Skye. The Moine Thrust Belt represents the forefront of the ancient Silurian-era Caledonian orogeny.
Venues for music and the performing arts in Ullapool include the Macphail Centre, which is located in the High School and includes a small theatre, and The Ceilidh Place, a hotel, restaurant and music venue which has previously held concerts by artists including Rab Noakes, Dick Gaughan, Kathleen MacInnes and The Peatbog Faeries. The Ullapool Guitar Festival is also held annually in the village.
An talla solais, an arts centre, is located in the village, along with a swimming pool and fitness centre, and several pubs, restaurants and tourist accommodation facilities. The 19th, and final, Ullapool Book Festival was held in the village in May 2023. The Tall Ships visited Ullapool in July 2011, whilst sailing from Greenock to Lerwick.
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 rock-grass band Hayseed Dixie and local promoter Robert Hicks in 2005, 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. The final festival took place in 2019.
In popular culture
Ullapool is referenced in the multiplayer video game Team Fortress 2 as the hometown of the Demoman and in the name of an in-game melee weapon that the Demoman can choose to have in his loadout, the "Ullapool Caber".
In 1970, Ross and Cromarty council voted to create a new £460,000 (equivalent to £7,569,800 in 2021) 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. The ferry terminal is linked to the A835 trunk road with the A893. During 2022 the Ullapool Harbour Trust commenced a £4.3 million project to construct a new promenade and wider access road along the trunk road which will improve the inner harbour, provide pontoons for marine tourism and provide better access for pedestrians and cyclists. At the terminal Caledonian MacBrayne operates a roll-on/roll-off carferry to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.
Old Telford Church: memorial to J H Wallace, lost in the sinking of the SS City of Benares
Sgurr Fiona and the Corrag Bhuidhe pinnacles on An Teallach
Ullapool Ferry Terminal
A view of Ullapool from a nearby hill (Maol Calaisceig)
The main street in Ullapool
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)|
|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: |
|Source 2: |
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