Why go there?
Just an hour north of Inverness, Ullapool provides the perfect base for exploring the Highlands and islands of Scotland. This picturesque fishing village and it’s surroundings offer a huge range of activities for everyone, from hill walking to whiskey drinking. Breathtaking views abound, whether taking a short walk up Ullapool Hill or an even shorter walk to the award winning Seaforth restaurant on the pier.
Be sure to carry your camera, as you never know when you might be surprised by a seal or treated to a view of the Northen Lights (Aurora Borealis). Being so far north, the Highlands also provide sociable sunrises at this time of year for great photo opportunities. A morning meander along the loch is usually a great way to see some local wildlife, but for closer encounters with the sea life, take a cruise to the Summer Isles and their seal colonies, and you may be lucky enough to spot dolphins too.
Views of the Summer Isles can also be enjoyed from the mainland at Achiltibuie, just up the coast from Ullapool. You can drive there in under an hour or take all day stopping to admire the oystercatchers at Rhue Lighthouse, stocking up on local seafood at the Summer Isles smokery, and taking in the unspoilt beauty of Achiltibuie beach.
As well as the hidden treasures to be found in the forests, glens and coves around Ullapool there are also some famous attractions nearby. Inverewe Garden is a must, and the leaping salmon at Shin Falls will entertain all the family. A visit to the Victorian spa town of Strathpeffer or take a tour of the Glenmorangie distillery are also popular with tourists, and worth saving for a rainy day. When downing a dram of whiskey is considered a cultural activity you cannot help but feel a certain warmth towards the highlands.
If you indulge in too much culture and need to clear your head before the journey home there are plenty of outdoor activities around Ullapool, including rock climbing, fishing and diving. The range of activities available and the year round beauty surely makes Ullapool the ideal destination for a holiday this half term.
Where to stay?
The Ceilidh Place, located in the centre of Ullapool, offers accommodation from basic bunks to simply furnished private rooms. The honesty bar and bookshop adds to its quirky charm and provides the perfect end to a day in the Highlands.
Alternatively, there are the cosy log cabins, converted croft house or luxury suits of the Summer Isles Hotel if you fancy staying somewhere a little more isolated.
Where to eat?
The Seaforth in Ullapool, and Summer Isles Hotel in Achiltibuie, are both award winning restaurants, specialising in dishing up superb local seafood.
A local secret
Most people drive straight past the Ullapool Woodturning Centre without even knowing it is there. But why not try your hand at this traditional skill with personal tuition from Alec, who set up the business in 1991.