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davidx Ullapool - A travel report by David
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Ullapool,  United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom
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davidx's travel reports

From Poolewe to Ullapool [photos later if poss]

  14 votes
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This report continues northwards from my earlier one on Diabaig and will, itself, be followed later by one of the next area up, looking at Lochinver, Achiltibuie and the northern peaks of Torridonian sandstone.


The pier on a gloomy day
The pier on a gloomy day
Ullapool is a place that appeals as soon as you see it. Unlike other places on the northwest coast of Scotland, it offers a choice of shops, restaurants and pubs, all without having spoilt its village-like character. Calmac run a car ferry to Stornoway on Lewis from here and there’s a passenger ferry across Loch Broom. The pier is a bit like a people-magnet, particularly on a summer evening when the sun can still be beaming down from a blue sky well after 22.30. I have never seen anything approaching violence there, even though sobriety might not always be apparent. To stay with the water for a moment, there are regular trips out to the magical Summer Isles, a bit further north off Achiltibuie and a shorter one to ‘Bird Island’, where you need to be careful not to tread on tern eggs in the breeding season. To travel either south to Torridon or north to Durness, from where you can see the Orkney Islands, is to drive all the way with beauty and excitement – but here we concentrate on a relatively small area, which still manages to include one of the best mountain ridges on the UK mainland, An Teallach, a bautiful gorge and waterfall at Corrieshallock, some lesser known deer covered mountains above the arboreal garden at Inverlael, an outstanding garden with tropical plants [yes!] at Inverewe, and the start of a magnificent coastal walk from tiny Blughasary to Achiltibuie, the latter having to wait until my next move north. A place I rate highly for its cliff scenery, formed from Torridonian sandstone rock, is the minute Rhue with its lighthouse, a short distance left off the road north from Ullapool. I had no idea of the existence of the prehistoric site here [www.ullapool.co.uk/-r huesettle.html] and I hope to see it one day. Slightly further north is the unpopulated isle Martin, where a golden eagle seems to have contracted with the Tourist Board to frequent a particular piece of air. www.undiscoveredscot-land.c o.uk/ullapool/ullapo-ol/

Favourite spots:
Heaven knows what’s my favourite in this area – probably wherever I happen to think of at the time. It might be Corrieshallock Gorge and the falls of Measach, but sadly the area is closed at the time of writing because of safety concerns. The National Trust for Scotland seems to intend re-opening once they have carried out necessary work, if any, and it would be worth deferring a visit to the area until then. www.nts.org.uk/web/s-ite/home/vi sit/places/Property.-asp?PropID=10 101&NavPage=10101&Na-vId=5122 Meanwhile you can get some idea what you’re waiting for at www.teije.nl/framese-t-en.htm?/2 001/sch/sch_foto_en.-htm&2 Apart from its scenic splendour, Corrieshallock scores well on its wildlife. It’s the only place where I’ve ever seen a family of goldcrested wrens – the smallest form of birdlife we have in the UK.

What's really great:
Up now to the opposite side of Ullapool. Shortly after passing Ardmair opposite to Isle Martin, the A835 turns inland As you cross a bridge over a small river, there is a minor [very!] road to your left that gives out at Blughasary. We stopped there once, when the children were young and we had to wait to get into our accommodation. The stream provides a wonderful, if not very warm, place for a swim. More normally the significance of Blgashary is that it gives access to a wonderful coastal walk to Achiltibuie. Have a good map with you as the first part of the path is a bit vague – but don’t be put off! Towards the end of your walk, you’ll have amazing views of the Summer Islands.

Sights:
Back to the southern side. Not far from Ullapool is the Lael Forest Garden with wonderful specimens of trees from all over the world. Close to this you can start a walk to mountains hardly visited except by Munroe baggers. Why? Presumably proximity to An Teallach and the more northerly peaks – because I assure you they’re delightful and teeming with deer and grouse. Now go farther, beyond Corrieshalloch and on the A832. If you haven’t been to An Teallach, one of the two finest ridges on the mainland, stop at Dundonnell on Little Loch Broom and do it. It’s fabulous. If you don’t feel up to doing the whole thing, at least get as far as Loch Toll an Lochain, if you can. It’s one of the finest coire [corrie] lochs in Scotland.
www.nafirchlis.co.uk/anteal.htm is a great site - but forget those snow scenes, unless you’re an experienced mountaineer. It’s a hard enough scramble for most of us at the best of times.
Look out for ptarmigan – I’ve seen them up there.

Accommodations:
There’s no shortage of holiday accommodation in Ullapool, though it would seem a good idea to start early and have a good choice. Go to www.ullapool.co.uk/ and click on the type of accommodation you want. If you want self-catering and you fancy somewhere with plenty of red deer around, you could try Cadubh, where I stayed once for a week with students, provided a couple of miles of rough road doesn’t put you off. You’ll have wonderful peace! [www.rhidorroch.com/ho liday_cottages.html]


Hangouts:
Being a fairly large group, we tended to go to the Royal Hotel in the evenings. It’s conveniently situated and often there may be a group playing in the main bar. I,ve also enjoyed the Ferry Boat Inn in Shore Street and the Seaforth in Quay Street.

Other recommendations:
Something other than mountains, did you say. OK. It’s a bit longer to drive this time. Go past Dundonnell, staying on the main road, and continue almost to Poolewe. You’ll see the sign for Inverewe gardens to your right. You can particularly enjoy the website on
www.treasuresofbritain.or g/InvereweGarden.htm with terrific photos. Like me you may well not have realised the huge influence of the Gulf Stream in enabling the growth of plants here that are native to far warmer climates. Osgood Mackenzie got the point well enough in the 19th century and all you need do is enjoy it.


Published on Friday April 1th, 2005


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Sun, Apr 03 2005 - 02:57 PM rating by carolr

Hi David,
Did enjoy you comments, brought back many happy if wet memories - a bit midgy too! Got the josticks from Ullapool!
Carolr

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