Harbour News 23 November – 20 December

38 arrivals for the period

Whitefish totalled 6,700 boxes from five Scottish trawlers, five Anglo long-liners and one Anglo netter. Scottish effort has been much reduced as a result of various restrictions imposed on the vessels which thankfully will come to an end on 1st January.

The new Banff-registered trawler Venture IV (Pic S Gourlay) made her maiden landing after sailing from Macduff and working her way west. The skipper Mark Lovie was delighted with the boat’s performance landing 1,100 boxes of quality whitefish for five days fishing. Visits from the Anglo fleet have become more sporadic in recent months; vessels are landing a mixture of high quality line-caught hake and ling for export. The deepwater freezer netter landed two lorry-loads of processed-at-sea whitefish.

Shellfish activity was busier than in recent months. A fleet of small east coast prawn trawlers worked the North Minch and landed twice weekly along with the busy local fleet. With premium Christmas shellfish prices skippers have been taking advantage of the calm frosty weather working long hours to hopefully finish the year on a high note.

Once again, non-fishing operations consisted of almost exclusively aquaculture vessels which is a relatively new trade for Ullapool. Of the twenty- one arrivals for the period, eighteen were fish-farm vessels with the exception of the MCA tug Ievoli Black for their monthly crew change, civilian naval support vessel Moorfowl carrying out MOD diver training and the Briggs tug Forth Jouster installing the subsea cable from Ullapool to Altnaharrie.

2022 Fishing Summary

101 landings

Spanish Whitefish
Lord Miles – 12 landings

Scottish Whitefish
131 landings

Scottish Whitefish
Ocean Endeavour – 17 landings

Scottish fishing effort was down by 35% primarily due to fishing restrictions but higher prices and fuel cost reductions have led to a reasonable year for the boats. On the other hand, the Anglo effort increased by 55% as vessels returned to a more normal pattern following the pandemic and Brexit

Shore Street Project Update
The works have progressed well in the past few weeks. Piling is now complete, long reach digger dredging and rock armour revetment placement continue daily, the sea wall is taking shape and the pile cap shuttering is well developed. The contractor will finish work on Friday 23rd for two weeks, returning to site 9th January 2023. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the contractor RJ McLeod and their workforce for their hard work in delivering a tricky project efficiently with minimal impact to village life. Visit www.ullapool-harbour.co.uk for regular updates about the project and the recently uploaded condensed timelapse video which shows progress from the very start until late last week (https://www.ullapool-harbour.co.uk/harbour-developments/).

2022 brought a return to what seems like more familiar territory as we continue to exit the worst of the pandemic. The cruise industry somehow survived its enforced layoff and 29 liners visited the port carrying 22,000 passengers and crew. A further seven vessels cancelled their calls primarily due to windy weather. There are 32 day visits in the diary for 2023 carrying a combined total of 34,000 visitors. The ferry returned to more normal business and overall carryings are on a par with pre-covid numbers. In mid-January the ferry Hebrides will run a daily return service from Lochboisdale to Ullapool for an eight-week period whilst the Uig pier is closed for renovations. In addition, the MV Arrow has been chartered for the closure period to run the overnight freight service.

The harbour continued sponsorship, donations and in-kind efforts, assisting a range of groups and projects including Ullapool Book Festival, Beach Cleaning, Community Council play parks, the Dolphin Arts Project and the senior citizens’ Christmas lunch. In addition, scrap metal was collected and sold throughout the year and the proceeds donated to Gino’s Cantina. UHT continues to roll over funds to send local youngsters away for Tall Ship sail training adventures; eight places have been reserved for next year’s Tall Ship race from Norway to Shetland. Harbour calendars are in the shops with all profits going towards the Tall Ship trainee fund, the harbour is immensely grateful to both our customers and outlets for this ongoing support.

The community has sadly lost a number of good people over the year; our thoughts are with the families and friends of the dear departed.

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 2023.