Join Willie as he takes a trip to lovely Loch Broom.
It’s said that much of Ullapool is built upon shingle from Ireland, transported in ships laden on the outward journey with barrels of salted herring.
Beneath that ballast, though, is a natural raised shingle beach. It was left in the wake of the last Ice Age around 12,000 years ago.
Walking along Shore Street, one feels less vulnerable to the waves than one might imagine from our first view of the village.
Still, if sea levels rise as fast as predicted, that view may well have changed a bit in another 100 years!
Like tourists, a row of seagulls are perched on top of the sea wall watching the boats come and go. The gulls will no doubt pay more attention to those landing their catch in the hopes of an easy meal!
A worrying sight
For fishermen, these gulls may be a more worrying sight. It’s an old belief that to see three gulls flying together is an omen of death. Something you wouldn’t want to see when setting out on rough seas!
Guiding these ferries and fishing vessels to the mouth of Loch Broom is the little lighthouse at Rhue Point. Its name in Gaelic is Rubha Cadail, meaning the “Point of the Sleepy People”.
A strange name, but one they say is owed to the fact that a number of shipwrecked sailors were found safe and sleeping there on the rocks.
Walking the coast
From Quay Street and Riverside Terrace a fantastic coastal walk heads out to the lighthouse. Soon, you’re exchanging the noise and bustle of the busy port for the gentle rush of the waves.
If you’re lucky you may catch sight of seals, dolphins, porpoises and even whales. I’m afraid my luck’s out today, though. All I have to keep me company are a few oystercatchers, redshanks and curlew.
Ancient stone circles show that folks have been settling around Ullapool for almost 4,000 years. If these early settlers were ever to return they might not recognise Ullapool.
The climate might be a bit wetter and cooler, but there are some things that remain unchanged. The fresh Hebridean air, the magnificent views of Loch Broom and the timeless mountains of Wester Ross.
For more from our Willie’s View series, click here.
Willie’s visiting the Cairngorms in our current Jan 26 issue. Get it delivered to your door with a subscription.