17th March – 29th April (22 arrivals)
Whitefish totalled 3000 boxes from 3 Anglo Spanish liners, 1 gillnetter and 2 Scottish trawlers. The Anglo fleet continue to fish very well with plenty hake and ling for the liners plus monkfish and deepwater crab for the gill-netter. The Banff registered trawlers Endeavour and Genesis landed small shots of quality monkfish, ling and hake from the shelf edge. Both vessels had just started their trips when the Genesis pulled up an old net which fouled his propeller and stopped the main engine. Working 100 miles west of St Kilda in stormy weather the stricken vessel was slowly towed to Ullapool by the Endeavour in order that divers could clear the prop and check for gearbox damage. Marine litter such as lost nets is a growing problem, causing considerable environmental and economic damage. Ullapool, a member of the EU funded KIMO co-ordinated Fishing for Litter scheme, provides a skip for free disposal of redundant fishing gear “caught” at sea. KIMO are in the process of developing a recycling scheme for netting to reduce the landfill burden. www.kimointernational.org/FishingforLitter.aspx
The shellfish sector continues to work away in a period of indifferent weather; the offshore crabbers landing reasonable catches weekly and the local prawn fleet worked the odd day between the gales.
The non-fishing sector was fairly busy with a variety of ships calling in for a number of reasons. The fish-farm support vessels Victoria Viking and Gripfisk called in for layovers, the Norwegian navy ships Valkyrien and Steil called in for fuel and repairs respectively and the Norwegian cruise ship Gann made her maiden call to the village. The recent NATO exercise deployed a variety of unique vessels with the coastal defence ship Steil possibly the most unusual. Designed for rapid reaction in coastal waters the catamaran styled hull is raised by up to 2 metres on an airbag located between the hulls and propelled at speeds in excess of 60knts. Quite and achievement for a 45 metre vessel, although burning 4000 litres of fuel an hour makes for an expensive jaunt. The Norwegian cruise ship Gann had a very successful maiden call with all concerned enjoying the delights of the area on a reasonable day. Many thanks once again to the book festival ladies Joan Michael, Chrissy Boyd and Liz Beer for guiding the 130 students on a bus tour of the Geopark, Ardvreck castle and Lochinver.
Delighted to report that the return of the Wylde Swan has been embraced by the community with trip bookings looking good. The ship is currently dry-docked in Holland being spruced up for the Tallship races prior to returning to Ullapool for a month of fun.
The new ferry infrastructure process is progressing well with detailed design for the pier extension underway, and specialist engineers Royal Haskoning drafted in to design the new elevated gangway system. The car park extension is now complete with vehicle lanes delineated, harbour tenants parking spaces marked out and parking restriction signs laid down. The entire parking area is for the exclusive use of ferry traffic and permit holders. Any unauthorised vehicles left unattended or illegally parked will if necessary for operational reasons be removed at the owner’s risk.