Harbour News 13th January – 3rd February 2015


Whitefish totalled 2650 boxes from one Scottish and eight Anglo-Spanish landings. The Peterhead- registered Atlantic Challenge made a decent landing of monkfish and ling from the shelf edge whilst the Anglo fleet continue to land quality hake from deepwater.

Shellfish landings were largely restricted to crabs from the two offshore creelers; the local prawn fleet once again suffered at the hands of wild weather.

Pelagic vessels, at one time the mainstay of Ullapool are largely a thing of the past with ships now landing direct to processing factories. A small and very welcome reminder of the gold rush era of the 70’s and 80’s saw the modern super-trawlers Voyager, Charisma, Chris Andra, Antarctic and Lunar Bow berthed alongside over the weekend sheltering from the weather. These ships and others are currently hunting mackerel in a seasonal spring fishery that will last for only eight weeks. The mackerel congregate in massive shoals and make an annual migration along the 200 metre contour from the Norwegian Sector to the Bay of Biscay to spawn. The skippers report decent marks of good quality fish moving rapidly south. The trick is to try and catch their quota before having to travel too far from home as this pushes up expenses and lowers the value of the catch. The fleet resumed fishing west of Barra Head on Sunday night with a number of vessels already heading north to land.

Non-fishing sector was pretty quiet with the fishfarm support vessels Gerda Saele and Nitrox in for layovers, and the bulk carrier Cosmos in from Ireland with 1200 tonnes of salt for Highland Council Roads Department.

Ferry works continues apace with a number of elements of the works having the finishing touches applied. The Terminal Building is nearing final completion with floor coverings and decoration the order of the day. External drainage and ground works have been hampered by the recent weather but thankfully this week normal service has resumed. The Linkspan works are on track; an important milestone was reached with the completion of pile-driving activities last weekend. With all piles driven the contractors are preparing the shuttering and reinforcement required to form the concrete support structures for the Linkspan Bridge. At the behest of Transport Scotland and Calmac the Linkspan Replacement Project has been extended by a period of eight weeks. The main reason behind this was vessel availability/deployment during the four-week vehicular closure from 20 April to 18 May. The closure period has been reduced from the initial six weeks to a period of no more than four weeks. This has been achieved by deploying a massive floating crane capable of removing the old Linkspan in a single lift. The added benefit will be a far more efficient and much quieter demolition of the existing concrete dolphin.  The contractors will continue to complete the works and reinstate the beach as previously agreed prior to the Easter holidays. Once again UHT would like to apologise for the long and at times noisy construction processes.  Thankfully the end is now in sight.

Wylde Swan Final arrangements are being put in place for the Harbour-sponsored trips for local high school students to take part in a sailing programme later this year.  Up to sixteen Ullapool High School students and two teachers have been confirmed to take part in yet another fantastic sail training adventure, departing Ullapool on 21 July and sailing to Kristiansand in Norway. Additionally four UHS students have been offered the opportunity to sail as volunteer crew from Kiel in Germany to Ullapool and a day-sail will be organised for S2 pupils on the 16th July.  The level of interest underlines just how popular these trips are with our local young people.  We are incredibly grateful for the support we receive from those of you who buy and contribute images to the now world famous Ullapool Harbour Calendar.  100% of the profits go to the sail trainee fund and we know that the experience for our local young sailors is quite simply life-changing.

Ullapool Harbour Trust would especially like to congratulate Charlotte Watters and her husband Dan Johnson who have been awarded the Royal Cruising Club’s most distinguished award, the Challenge Cup 2014, in recognition of their tremendous and inspiring adventure in their self-built 34-ft junk-rigged schooner in Coigach, Europe, West Africa and America. This is the most prestigious award in the sailing world and we are truly proud of their remarkable achievement. Check out their story at http://junkdorybuild.blogspot.co.uk/ – it’s well worth a read.