Harbour News 16 November to 17th December 2013

20th December (40 Arrivals for the period)

Whitefish totalled 3600 boxes from a single Scottish twin rigger and 12 Anglo-Spanish liners. The Inverness-registered Adventurer landed a good shot of monkfish and haddocks, despite some horrendous weather throughout the trip. The boat is now tied up for the festive break returning to sea on the 27th December. The Anglo vessels continue to make very good landings and have managed to work away throughout the recent storms; tough lads.

Shellfish arrivals were steady; the two offshore crabbers Heather K and Our Hazel landed weekly, a fleet of Stornoway registered prawners came and went and the local inshore boats worked when weather permitted.

2013 Arrivals Summary

Scottish Whitefish         42 landings   Top Scottish Whitefish                Adventurer  12 landings

Anglo Spanish               105 landings Top Anglo Spanish Whitefish      Ayr Queen   38 landings

Offshore crabbers         82 landings   Top Crabber                                 Our Hazel     44 landings

2013 was a poor year for fish landings with the Scottish whitefish fleet arrivals dropping to an all time low. The annual bun fight for quota and effort restrictions is underway in Brussels; once again I suspect there will be further cuts. Conversely the Anglo fleet had a good year with an abundance of fish on the grounds.  Unfortunately this led to poor market prices. On a more positive note the harbour attracted some new business with the export of 3000 tonnes of local timber and a record number of cruise passengers (8,000) visited the village. The Morefield development is now complete with DC Coachworks, Kanaird Trading, Heather K and Lochbroom Woodfuels Ltd in the process of moving into their new premises. The Wylde Swan made their annual visit, running a series of adventure voyages for over 180 lucky sailors. The harbour placed 46 sail trainees on various voyages, ranging from 10 days in the Baltic to a day-sail round the Summer Isles – your continued support of this fantastic cause through purchasing the Harbour Calendar is very much appreciated. The inaugural Skiff Worlds was another tremendous week – hordes of visitors enjoyed Ullapool at its best with friendship, hospitality and craic being the order of the week. The pipe band had an amazing year playing for Royalty on the pier, touring Europe, competing at the Europeans and Worlds and being crowned Pipe Band of the Year at the 2013 Trad Awards – amazing!

2014 will see some major changes to the harbour in readiness for the arrival of the brand new ferry Loch Seaforth in early August. The Wylde Swan is returning in August for 18 more days of fun. The magnificent Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl is also returning for a weekend in August – hopefully there will be an opportunity for a day-sail and an evening ceilidh onboard. Both ships will be looking for trainees to either make the voyage from Europe to Ullapool or the return leg.  Details of all visits will be posted on the website and notified on Facebook early in the New Year.


Ferry Infrastructure Update

The main construction contract for the 33 metre pier extension has been awarded to RJ Macleod, with work due to start on the 6th January. In order to maintain the vital ferry service, the pier extension (Caisson) will be built in a dry-dock and towed from the Clyde to the village in May. On arrival the Caisson will be fitted out with fenders prior to being sunk in place and once positioned will be ready for berthing vessels. Whilst the Caisson is being constructed, a bund and foundation will be created off the end of the existing pier. Some dredging will be done at the linkspan and a small area of sheet piling will be strengthened, all of which can be done without disrupting the ferry service.

The Passenger Access System (gangway) contract has been awarded to Barcelona-based Adelte. The infrastructure will be built and tested in Spain prior to delivery by ship to Ullapool and installed straight onto the ferry pier. The new versatile gangway is designed to connect with a number of Calmac ferries and will lead directly to the new terminal building.

The terminal building is in the final design stage and will go out to tender in early 2014 with a view to an immediate start for the successful contractor. The current building shell will be retained with a new upper floor and the interior is being fully re-designed. The upper floor will command fantastic views down Lochbroom and has been designed with passenger comfort in mind.

Prior to commencing the terminal works, a temporary ticket office and waiting room will be sited in the ferry car park behind the West Highland College and Made in Ullapool building. Bus lanes will be created in the ferry car park and all service buses will run from this car park rather than the pier. This arrangement will remain in place for the duration of the refurbishment which is estimated to of approximately six months’ duration.

The Loch Seaforth hull is being launched on 14th March and delivered on 18th July prior to taking up the route in early August. The Isle of Lewis will be retained by Calmac until such time as the new vessel is bedded in and running a reliable service. Thereafter it is planned that the new vessel will run 24 hours a day covering both current passenger and freight runs.

The level of investment in the Ullapool to Stornoway route is of the order of £60M, a not insignificant sum of money. The works required over the next 8 months will cause inevitable delays and disruptions to normal village routine and for that we apologise in advance.  If you require any further information, or have issues at any time during the works please do not hesitate to get in touch through the usual channels.

On behalf of Ullapool Harbour Trustees and staff I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.   2014 Harbour Calendars in support of local Sail Trainees are still available – they make perfect last-minute gifts!