Willie’s View: Ullapool Winter Festival


Anyone organising anything outdoors in Scotland can face a bit of a worry, especially in the depths of winter. Especially in Ullapool . . .

It’s the last weekend in November and I’ve driven north for a few days to visit the Ullapool Winter Festival. This year’s festival couldn’t have hit it luckier with the forecast set to be dry, sunny and frosty for the whole weekend.

There’s no need for any so-called celebrity to switch on the Christmas lights either – that duty falls on the floodlights and horn of the Stornoway Ferry.

Friday night sees a great lantern lit procession led by the Ullapool & District Pipe Band, as hundreds made their way through the streets to a purpose built full-sized artificial ice rink and colourful Christmas Market.

The star of the show of course is Ullapool’s famous “creel tree” – a Christmas tree built from 340 creels and topped, not by a fairy, but by a giant crab.

With the activities not kicking off until 5pm, I’d no problem deciding what to do the rest of the day. I’d take a climb to the top of Ullapool Hill.

Oddly enough, for such a perfect day, I met only two others on the climb. Looking out over Loch Broom, the Summer Isles, the hills of Coigach and Inverpolly Forest and lonely Loch Achall, it fair recharges the batteries to visit a spot like this.



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Willie Shand