Carved out by the glaciers of the last ice age, Loch Broom offers good protection from the open waters of the Minch. Combine this with a port authority which has the experience and skills to cater for a diverse range of traffic and you have a recipe for success. The harbour area covers 26 square miles, providing a safe, deep-water anchorage for large vessels of all types.
The harbour is manned day and night, every day of the year with trained and experienced harbour assistants on hand to assist as required.
The fishing industry has been at the heart of Ullapool for over 230 years and the village maintains its position as one of the ten major fishing ports in the UK. The modern pier has been upgraded and enlarged several times over its long history and can cater for vessels up to 140m LOA, 7m draught. In times past, herring boats from all over the UK would descend on Ullapool to plunder the Minch, with catches processed and salted on the quayside. The collapse of the herring stocks and subsequent closure of the fishery in 1978 resulted in a switch to hunting mackerel. The mackerel fishery of the 1980s and 90s was a gold rush era for Ullapool with up to 140 fishing boats and Klondykers working from Loch Broom.
These days Ullapool is primarily a white fish and shellfish harbour with Scottish and Spanish vessels making weekly landings. The Scottish white fish fleet targets the seasonal Rockall haddock and squid fisheries in the spring and summer, while monkfish is their primary target in the winter months. The Anglo-Spanish fleet working long lines, tends to fish in deeper water targeting high-quality hake and ling, while the freezer vessels target monkfish and deepwater crab. The shellfish fleet lands crab, lobsters and prawns daily/weekly with much of the catch being exported once the local eateries have secured their share.
The harbour has supported the fish farm industry for many years, initially with the transfer of feedstuffs and more recently with the transhipment of live salmon smolts from shore sites via purpose-built tank ships to west coast sea farms.
The continued success of this fishing port is in a large part due to the facilities the harbour has to offer. A large open pier is available for net mending and warp checking, along with fuel, fresh water, tube ice, crane, forklift and waste disposal services available 24/7. Ships’ stores, maintenance welding and agency facilities are all available with advance booking. Ullapool Harbour Trust is a participating harbour in the Fishing for Litter Scheme, enabling those who collect litter at sea to dump it in a dedicated harbour-side skip.
Road links to the east coast and continental markets are excellent with Scottish road haulage contractors offering very favourable rates for trucking fish from the harbour.