Harbour News 14 November-19 December 2017

31 arrivals for the period

Whitefish totalled 7800 boxes from eight Scottish trawlers and seven Anglo-Spanish long liners. The Inverness-registered Adventurer made four landings of mainly monkfish and haddocks from Rockall; the boat then headed northwest to fish the shelf edge for the winter months. The Banff-registered Genesis landed twice from the shelf edge, monkfish was the mainstay of their catch. The Whitehills-based brothers Peter and Mark Lovie with their boats Endeavour V and Venture III normally land into Kinlochbervie however both vessels experienced engineering problems and landed into Ullapool before heading out for the last trip of the year. The Anglo fleet have finally started to work further south and land back into Ullapool with good hauls of mainly hake and ling.

Shellfish was unusually quiet. The larger prawn trawlers are still working in the North Sea where fishing has been much better than home waters. The offshore crabber Our Hazel continues to land weekly with catches still being exported to China. Meanwhile the local fleet worked away between the gales.

Non-fishing was restricted to six arrivals; the fish farm tank ship Gerda Saele was in for a layover, the pelagic super trawler Veronica came in for lube oil, the fishery cruiser Minna visited for spares and the Tie Venture, Nitrox and Sally Anne all carried out day-running to the local fish farms.

2017 Fishing Arrivals Summary

Scottish Whitefish          68 landings   Top Scottish Whitefish                 Adventurer  25 landings

Anglo Spanish              108 landings   Top Anglo Spanish Whitefish      Port of Ayr   12 landings

Offshore crabbers          66 landings   Top Crabber                                   Our Hazel  45 landings


2017 has been a mixed year for fish and shellfish arrivals.  Scottish Whitefish landings are up 28% on last year.  Anglo-Spanish whitefish landings are down 35% and crab arrivals are down by 40% – mainly due to the sale of the Heather K. The Scottish trawlers had a very good year fishing at Rockall. The spring haddock fishery exceeded expectations followed by a reasonable summer squid season and a very good winter fishing of monkfish and haddock. With modest increases in all whitefish quotas and considerable investment in new tonnage, the Scottish sector is looking to the future with optimism.  On the other hand, the Anglo fleet has struggled to find good fishing locally and has spent much longer working north this year landing into Scrabster. With the spectre of Brexit hanging over these guys it’s hard to predict what the future holds for them.


The various harbour projects, (Wee Jetty, Men’s Shed/Community workshop and Changing Place) continue to progress with funding applied for and now the anxious wait for hopefully positive news. The Wee Jetty contract has been awarded to Lochshell Engineering.  This project is scheduled to start in February once we are in receipt of a Marine Licence for the works. At time of writing no significant progress has been made on the issue of transfer of ownership of the Wee Jetty and the lease of the lower floor toilet block from Highland Council. Letters of comfort have been issued by the council which will hopefully appease the funders until such time as the legal formalities are complete.

Tall Ships, Cruise and Leisure Summary

This was another busy year at the harbour and we welcomed three Tall Ships, thirteen cruise ships and two hundred and ten yacht nights over the summer. The Dutch Tall Ships Atlantis, Tecla and Thalassa called in on their way to and from summer seasons on the West of Scotland and Iceland/Greenland. The cruise ship season was disrupted by poor weather with two call offs and an additional arrival relocating from Stornoway. A total of 11,000 passengers and crew came ashore to enjoy the delights of the village and surrounding countryside. We’d like to thank the museum volunteers who ably assisted our meet and greet team throughout the season. Yacht arrivals were slightly down on the previous year – yet again, our unpredictable summer weather played its part disrupting voyage plans.

2018 will see the return of Wylde Swan for four weeks in August and September with a variety of exciting adventure cruises on offer. Prior to that, fourteen lucky UHS pupils will sail on the first Tall Ship race of the season from Sunderland to Esbjerg on the harbour-sponsored voyage. Tecla will be back in April to take hardy sailors to Greenland and beyond plus Atlantis has promised to return and Blue Clipper, new to Ullapool, also plans a visit. For information on all Tall Ship adventure voyages please refer to the ships’ individual websites for further details.  The 2018 cruise season promises to be the busiest ever for Ullapool with 29 ships in the diary carrying 25,000 passengers and crew to the village –  let’s hope for a drier summer!

The harbour was delighted to facilitate Loopallu on the pier in September and pleased that the event was well received by all that attended. The ferry terminal was also busy playing host to the Literally Literary event over the weekend.   Great news for the village that Loopallu will continue in its new home for subsequent years.

Highlights in 2017 included MV Gann disembarking one hundred Norwegian bikers in the pouring July rain and watching them set off to ride to Kyle of Lochalsh).  The Sunnyside Primary School pupils paid a visit to FRV Scotia and despite atrocious weather, their enthusiasm could not be curbed. Together with pupils from Ullapool Primary School, they’ve been championing the #NaeStrawAtAw campaign and between them have almost banished plastic straws from Ullapool pubs and restaurants.  The school exchange visit was made possible by the unstinting efforts of the local Living Seas Officer with Scottish Wildlife Trust Noel Hawkins. Noel has brought enormous enthusiasm and effort to bear locally and nationally, culminating in a well-deserved Nature of Scotland Nature Tourism award for the North West Highland Snorkel Trail.

From a business viewpoint, 2017 has been another very good year for the harbour and with the continued support of the community, Ullapool Harbour Trust can only go from strength to strength. On behalf of Ullapool Harbour Trustees and staff I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our customers, tenants and stakeholders a very Merry Christmas and our very best wishes for a happy and healthy 2018.