This Ullapool Hill and The Braes walking trail will take you on a stunning walk from the harbour in the delightful Scottish town of Ullapool, all the way up to the outcrop of Meall Mor and around a circular route through the hills and back to the town centre.
Review of Ullapool Hill and The Braes
The beautiful town of Ullapool is the starting point for this walk where you’ll begin at the harbour which is a perfect place to take photos of Loch Broom. The harbour is also a great place to get hot drinks from one of several cafés near it or failing that there’s a supermarket a short walk away where you can stock up on picnic supplies.
The nature reserves around Ullapool are home to a wide variety of Scotland’s wildlife and walkers can enjoy looking for pine martens, wildcats, buzzards and golden eagles as they explore the area.
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The surrounding hills draw in thousands of tourists every year who delight in hiking through the thick purple heather in the summertime, but this walk is well worth doing at any time of year.
As you follow the trail you’ll head into The Braes which is a popular hiking area for tourists throughout the year, with the highest point on the rocky outcrop of Meall Mor offering fantastic views of the surrounding countryside.
Don’t forget to take your camera either because the meandering Ullapool River flows into Loch Achall in the distance, which is a brilliant photo opportunity.
Things to do at Ullapool Hill and The Braes
The walks around the entire region surrounding Ullapool have to be some of the prettiest in Scotland and thousands of hillwalkers come to the region each year to enjoy the peace and quiet of the quiet crofting communities that surround Loch Broom.
While there are small beaches close to the lochside at Ullapool you’ll find some incredibly beautiful beaches further up the coast at Achmelvich and Clachtoll – frequently described as two of the best beaches in the world.
Once you’re in The Braes you’ll find yourself in the midst of a glorious range of mountains and remote peaks broken up with a smattering of trees and open fields of heather which are particularly lovely in autumn but worth walking through year-round.
There are plenty of spots in this part of Scotland that are great for camping but be aware that there aren’t many tourist facilities here (which I think is a good thing) so make sure you bring plenty of food and fresh water with you on your walk.
And whatever you do, above all else, remember to pack some anti-midge spray if you’re visiting in summer. I personally swear by Smidge, which you can buy from Amazon.
I’d also advise you to have either a map of the area installed on your phone or a paper map in your backpack – both of which can be purchased from the Ordnance Survey online store. Buy OS Explorer Maps direct from Ordnance Survey.
- It’s a beautiful walk with great views. The entire area surrounding Ullapool is the perfect spot to switch off from the world.
- If you don’t have time for The Braes walk I recommend just walking Ullapool Hill. It’s a truly breathtaking place (but don’t forget to prepare for midges – read my Midge Guide for advice).
- Ullapool is one of the prettiest places in Scotland in my opinion but it’s quite remote so don’t expect to find a McDonalds anywhere nearby, although there is a Tesco in the centre of the village.
- Ullapool is a very pretty little village. Make sure you take a walk along the shore of Loch Broom before you leave.
- You can take a wildlife-spotting boat tour on Loch Broom. Take a look at Shearwater Cruises who operate from Ullapool.
- If you’re on a sightseeing tour in the area you might like to visit Eilean Donan Castle as you drive north past Skye. From there follow the A890, the A896, the A832 and the A835 for the finest road trip in Scotland.
Things to do near Ullapool Hill and The Braes
- Ullapool Museum. 7 & 8 W Argyle St, Ullapool IV26 2TY. A community-run museum situated inside a Category A listed building in the centre of Ullapool. The museum serves to inform visitors about Loch Broom, the history of Ullapool and the people who lived in the surrounding region. There are exhibitions of crofting and fishing as well as an extensive archive for family history research.
- Loch Broom. A sea loch that opens from the Summer Isles on the north-west coast of Scotland to the River Broom approximately 7 miles to the south-east. The loch is a popular visitor destination for visits to the Summer Isles and Ullapool. Regular ferries from Ullapool sail to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis and Harris.
- Lael Forest Garden. A835, Garve 2RS. A man-made garden of trees close to the banks of Loch Broom. The arboretum contains trees and shrubs from nearly every country on earth and there is a waymarked trail that allows visitors to explore the forest in a circular route.
- Dun Canna. Ullapool IV26 2TW. A remote historic landmark that overlooks Loch Kanaird. There is a small section of shingle beach next to it and there are low-level mountains walks a short distance away to the north.
- Ullapool Sea Front. W Shore St, Ullapool. A shingle and sand beach on the edge of Ullapool that offers visitors stunning views across Loch Broom. The beach is popular with campers thanks to parking areas off West Terrace road.
Address and map
This walk can be done fairly easily in 1.5 to 2.5 hours, with the total distance coming in at around 5 miles.
The walk is a mixture of town pavements and off-road paths which are in good condition, however they can get fairly muddy after a downpour. The maximum ascent is about 280m which walkers of average fitness should have no problem with.
From the harbour follow Shore Street to the junction of Mill Street and head north up the A835 through the town centre. At the junction of Broom Park road turn off the A835 and head west until you reach the sign for Ullapool Hills. From here you will pass through a wooden gate and begin the climb up into the hills.
The path here is well worn so just follow it until you reach a red and white marker post which is a great place to stop and admire the view over the town. Continue following the main path until you reach a metal indicator which details the view of the surrounding hills and lochs, and keep left at the next path junction.
When you reach the next fork in the path, follow the red markers and climb up to the summit of Meall Mor for some amazing views across Loch Broom and Loch Achall before retracing your steps back to the path fork.
Continue following the white markers on the left until you reach the gate that leads into the forest, head through the plantation, and pass through another gate near a mobile phone tower.
At this point you will be back on man-made roads which will lead you near a housing estate and towards the A835. Turn right at the first T-junction, then right again at the second, and continue down to the pavement onto the A835.
Follow this road all the way back to Ullapool harbour and admire the views at the side of Loch Broom as you walk alongside it.
Tickets and opening times
There is no fee to enter Ullapool Hill or The Braes.
Ullapool Hill and The Braes are open 24/7, 365 days a year.
More places to visit in The Highlands
- Ben Ledi – Stirlingshire: Complete Visitor GuideBen Ledi is an 879-metre high mountain in the lower Scottish Highlands. It can be found 5 miles north-west of the popular country village of Callander in the Trossachs National Park. The Trossachs are famous not just for their mountain ranges but also for their lochs which include the mighty Loch Lomond – one of the most scenic bodies of water in the United Kingdom.
- Muir of Dinnet – Aberdeenshire: Complete Visitor GuideThe Muir of Dinnet is a national nature reserve located on the eastern border of the Cairngorms national park in the Scottish Highlands. The reserve features a wealth of different habitats including heath, woodland and wetland, but it’s perhaps best known for ‘the vat’, a natural gorge formed by glaciers over 10,000 years ago.
- Glen Etive – Inverness: Complete Visitor GuideWhat if I told you there’s a 12-mile stretch of road where you can see those mountains, rivers and forests in a single relatively small area, where gob-smackingly beautiful vistas open up around every corner on a secluded, frequently tourist-free single-track road?
- Faraid Head – Sutherland: Complete Visitor GuideWhile Scotland’s west coast islands usually take first prize for the number of amazing beaches you’ll find (hello Isle of Tiree) you shouldn’t be too quick to discount Scotland’s mainland either, especially in the far north where it’s relatively tourist-free compared to the rest of the country.
- Castle Sinclair Girnigoe – Caithness: Complete Visitor GuideThis castle (actually castles – more on that later) stands on one of the most dramatic viewpoints in Scotland (in my humble opinion) with a wild and windswept coastline that instantly brings to mind a scene from Game of Thrones rather than a tourist attraction thanks to its near-impenetrable cliff-face setting.