Harbour News 26 July


3rd – 15th July (32 arrivals plus 31 Skiffs)

Whitefish totalled 2550 boxes from 1 Scottish trawler and 5 Anglo Spanish liner/netters. The Kirkwall registered Aalskere continues to fish for squid at Rockall with reasonable numbers of mature fish being caught close to the Rockall reefs. The Anglo fleet continue to land very good catches of hake from the deepwater shelf edge.  Unfortunately this abundance has halved the market value with some skippers retuning home until prices pick up again.

The shellfish sector has been very busy with 24 landings from larger offshore prawn trawlers. The North Sea fishery has been extremely poor this year which has displaced a number of more powerful vessels from North Sea grounds to the Minches. One would suspect that tough times are coming for the UL  fleet given the sustained increase in effort on local waters. The offshore crabbers have been missing in action of late with both the Our Hazel and Heather K having their annual refits and paint jobs.

The non-fishing sector saw the arrival of the German cruise liner Deutschland for a full day visit. A proportion of the 406 passengers undertook half-day excursions leaving plenty of time for exploring the local shops and enjoying the excitement and colour of the skiff races. Feis Rois Ceilidh Trail went onboard for the first gig of their summer tour; playing to a packed audience they received a standing ovation for their efforts. The next ship due is the Fred Olson-operated Balmoral on Sunday 21st July for a full day visit.  At 43,500 tonnes, 1400 passengers and 510 crew, this will be the largest capacity ship to ever have visited our shores.

Tall Ship News

Ullapool currently has 6 trainees on the Wylde Swan racing from Aarhus in Denmark to Helsinki in Finland. Tragically at the start of the race the Wylde Swan went to the aid of a sinking 24m ketch, the Wyvern, and during the operation a crewman was lost. Wylde Swan immediately retired from the race and headed for Sweden to undergo an enquiry and to allow all on board some time ashore. Despite their ordeal the trainees have decided to remain onboard and complete the voyage, returning home to Ullapool later this evening. Our thoughts go out to all concerned at this difficult and tragic time.

Skiff Worlds

What a week! Regal beginnings followed by gladiatorial effort, determination, skill, power, friendship, camaraderie, raw emotion, blisters, aching joints, tears and that’s only the pier team!  To stage an event such as this on and around the pier requires the full support of regular pier users, boat owners and visiting vessels. Many thanks to all skippers/owners for being so cooperative despite at times being inconvenienced by the racing.  Amazing week on the beach and in the marquee, heartfelt thanks to all concerned and in particular the sterling efforts of Ian, Iain, Martin, Phil, Cooie, Brian, Uggy, Edel, Pat, Robert, Gemma, Amy and the marquee team. Ullapool has once again punched above its weight in delivering a fantastic spectacle in glorious surroundings. Messages of thanks have been flooding in – true testament to the Highland hospitality shown to all teams from near and far.

The mighty Lions prevail, super-hero Andy Murray conquers Wimbledon, local skiffs collect a hat-full of medals in glorious sunshine and the first Skiff World Champions are Coigach Community Rowing!