Ullapool is a picturesque village nestled on the shores of Loch Broom in the Ross-shire region of the Scottish Highlands. Established in 1788 as a herring port by the British Fisheries Society, Ullapool has grown into a vibrant tourist destination while managing to retain its historic charm.
The village is renowned for its white-washed buildings and attractive harbour, but it’s best known for its stunning landscapes of mountain ranges, glens, and coastlines which provide ample opportunities for hiking, bird-watching, and other outdoor activities.
This Ullapool Hill and The Braes walking trail will take you on a stunning walk from the harbour in the delightful village all the way up to the outcrop of Meall Mor and around a circular route through the hills and back to the village centre.
The historic 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.
The surrounding hills draw thousands of tourists every year who delight in hiking through the thick purple heather in the summertime, while winter brings with it a carpet of dazzling white snow. As you follow the trail you’ll head into The Braes which is a popular hiking area throughout the year, with the highest point on the outcrop of Meall Mor offering fantastic views of the surrounding countryside.
1: Ullapool Hill offers a gorgeous walk with stunning views. The entire area surrounding Ullapool is the perfect spot to switch off from the world.
2: If you don’t have time to visit The Braes I recommend just walking up Ullapool Hill. It’s a truly breathtaking place (but don’t forget to prepare for midges – read my Midge Guide for advice on how to deal with them).
3: Ullapool is one of the prettiest places in Scotland but it’s quite remote so don’t expect to find a McDonald’s anywhere nearby, although there is a Tesco supermarket in the middle of the village.
1: Ullapool is a good place to go for a walk even if you don’t venture into the surrounding hills. A recommended place to go for a stroll is Loch Broom which has a tarmac footpath that runs along the shore of Ullapool.
2: If walking doesn’t interest you, consider taking a wildlife-spotting boat tour on Loch Broom. There are lots of boat tours advertised near the harbour but from personal experience, I can recommend Shearwater Cruises which has a friendly crew and is reasonably priced.
3: 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 one of the best road trips in Scotland.
The walks around the entire region surrounding Ullapool have to be some of the prettiest in Scotland, which is why thousands of hillwalkers come to the region each year to enjoy the peace and quiet of the crofting communities that surround Loch Broom. In addition, you’ll find some incredibly beautiful beaches further up the coast at Achmelvich and Clachtoll which have been 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 range of mountains and remote peaks broken up with a smattering of trees and open fields. There are plenty of spots in the area that are great for camping but be aware that there aren’t many tourist facilities, so make sure you take plenty of food and fresh water with you.
The biggest tip I have for you is to pack some anti-midge spray if you’re visiting in summer. I swear by Smidge, which you can buy from Amazon. I 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.
This walk can be completed 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 920 feet (280 metres) 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 there you’ll pass through a wooden gate and begin the climb into the hills. The path 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 plaque 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 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 a gate that leads into the forest, head through the plantation, and pass through another gate near a mobile phone tower. At this point, you’ll 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 till you arrive back at Ullapool Harbour.
Things to Do
Hiking at Ullapool Hill: Ullapool Hill, with its stunning panoramic views of Loch Broom and the Summer Isles, is a hiker’s paradise. Its winding trails, suitable for all levels of fitness, will lead you through a variety of terrains from lush green meadows to rugged hilltops. Don’t forget to stop by the Cnoc na Croiche viewpoint for a breathtaking bird’s eye view of Ullapool.
Wildlife Watching: The Braes, a series of steep slopes located southeast of Ullapool, is a must-visit destination for wildlife enthusiasts. Roaming red deer and soaring golden eagles are just some of the animals you can spot there. Experience the thrill of seeing these animals in their natural habitat while basking in the beauty of the area.
Mountain Biking: For adrenaline junkies, mountain biking down the tracks of Ullapool Hill is a must-do experience. The trails cater to a variety of skill levels, from smooth paths for beginners to challenging tracks for experienced riders. Take your own bike or rent one in the village and get ready for an exhilarating ride in one of Scotland’s most beautiful landscapes.
Photography Walks: If you’re an avid photographer, both Ullapool Hill and The Braes offer an array of captivating subjects. From the dramatic views of the islands to the serene waters of Loch Broom there are ample opportunities to capture the essence of Scotland through your lens.
Stargazing: With minimal light pollution, Ullapool Hill and The Braes are perfect locations for stargazing. On clear nights you can set up a telescope and marvel at the night sky and possibly even see the awe-inspiring Northern Lights.
Things to Do Nearby
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.
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.
A sea loch that opens from the Summer Isles on the northwest coast of Scotland to the River Broom approximately 7 miles to the southeast. 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 mountain walks a short distance away to the north.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Ullapool have a beach?
Ullapool has a seafront with a narrow shingle beach on the shore of Loch Broom.
Address of car park: Ullapool IV26 2XB
Directions map: Google Maps
What is Ullapool known for?
Ullapool is traditionally known as a fishing village, but in recent years it has become a tourist hub due to its picturesque location on the shore of Loch Broom.
Ullapool is also a great base for visits to the North Highlands as it’s the largest settlement for many miles around.
Is Ullapool worth visiting?
Ullapool is definitely worth visiting. Tourists have a wide variety of activities to take part in around Ullapool, whether it’s walking in the surrounding hills, taking a boat trip to the nearby Summer Isles, driving the NC500, or enjoying the coastal walks around Loch Broom before returning to the village to sample its superb fresh seafood.
What visitor facilities are there at Ullapool?
Ullapool has a car park, cafés, pubs and restaurants, pleasure cruises, car parking, public toilets and gift shops. Visit the official Ullapool website for updated information on available facilities.