Harbour News 8 July–4 August 2020

25 arrivals for the period

Ullapool Harbour Trust continues to operate during the Covid-19 pandemic; we are supporting vital transport links to the Western Isles and handling routine fishing and commercial traffic. Harbour services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we can be contacted by phone, email and VHF.  We are observing strict social distancing and hygiene measures.   

The ferry is now running to the summer timetable with an additional Sunday morning voyage making twenty return sailings per seven days. Passenger numbers are limited to 330 per sailing and advance booking is mandatory for all travellers.

Whitefish landings totalled 11,500 boxes from nine Scottish trawl and seven Anglo long-line landings. The Rockall fishery has started to decline with jellyfish and grey gurnards arriving on the grounds in huge shoals driving the haddocks into deeper water. This pattern of events has occurred for a number of years.  It lasts a few weeks and then magically the gurnards and jellies move off and haddocks re-populate the grounds in time for the autumn fishery. The Anglo fleet is mainly fishing further north now and landing into Scrabster. 

Shellfish landing were restricted to two visiting prawn trawlers combined with the efforts of the local fleet.

Non-fishing activities saw three small Archer Class warships in for a layover, the MCA tug Ievoli Black and fish farm tank ship Inter Caledonia in for fuel and the Wylde Swan made a welcome return en route to France.

Tall ships have largely been tied up throughout lockdown with owners undertaking extra maintenance but unfortunately in some cases companies have gone bankrupt. Generally tall ship business is very hand to mouth and the owners struggle along both for the love of the job and lifestyle involved. Thankfully Wylde Swan seems to be surviving and as lockdown restrictions relaxed, decided to undertake a six-week Masterskip voyage from the Netherlands to Norway, Shetland, Ullapool and France before returning home this week.  Masterskip is a school-at-sea programme which runs annually.  Young people under eighteen apply to participate in six-week adventures which includes their normal school lessons. The ship carries teachers, a doctor and the usual sailing crew and in normal circumstances they sail the Caribbean seas. Due to the pandemic the ship retuned home early from St Martin and after lockdown decided to complete the fifth and final Masterskip trip in European waters. The fifteen students isolated for two weeks before joining the ship and they remained at sea for two weeks prior to landing in Norway. The ship’s doctor took daily temperature and health checks and the ship provided a Health Declaration Certificate pre-arrival.  The passengers and crew had a great 36-hour stopover here in Ullapool topped off with a couple of trips in the new Seascape rib to see the dolphins, seals and eagles. Many thanks to Josh and Laurie for taking care of the groups and giving them such a great time. Wylde Swan plans to return to Scotland in 2021 with a return three-day trip from Scrabster to Fair Isle, an eight-day trip from Scrabster to Lerwick and an eight-day trip from Lerwick to Reykjavik. Please keep an eye on the ship’s website for details.  Trip dates should be released very soon https://www.wyldeswan.com/en/

Harbour Speed Limit. The harbour received a letter of complaint regarding leisure craft travelling at excessive speeds in and around the pier and wee pier.  With lockdown easing and increased small boat activity it is important that all vessel owners abide by the 6 knot limit in the immediate vicinity of piers, moorings and shoreline to prevent unnecessary incidents, accidents and coastal erosion. UHT has the power to fine and ban persistent offenders under our general directions which can be viewed on the harbour website: