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The local area guide to living in Ullapool

Visitors are drawn to the charming town of Ullapool for its spectacular natural scenery. This fishing village is nestled at the banks of Loch Broom, just an hour’s drive from Inverness. It provides a natural gateway to the Northern Highlands, with the Summer Isles and Outer Hebrides a ferry ride away. Hill walking is a major pastime, due in no small part to the looming shadows of Beinn Ghobblach and An Teallach nearby. The Inverpolly National Nature Reserve is positioned to the west, where you may spot golden eagles and wildcats among the trees.

Within Ullapool, there’s a tight-knit friendly community that draws visitors in for repeat visits. The town hosts a museum, arts centre, and swimming pool, as well as multiple arts and cultural events. Residents enjoy a busy social calendar with events like the Ullapool Guitar Festival, Ullapool Book Festival, and Loopallu Music Festival each year. In addition to special events, Ullapool has its own schools, churches, library, theatre, and a selection of friendly tea rooms and pubs.

Information about the local residents

As is the case with many small towns in the area, Ullapool’s demographics are typically mixed. The town is home to a blend of ages, housing types, and activities, which creates a diverse atmosphere. Some of the main employment categories in Ullapool include retail, transport, the arts, and accommodation. This reflects the importance of tourism to the local economy. Nearly 18% of residents are self-employed, and 30% work in part-time employment.

The population was listed as 1,541 back in 2013, remaining fairly steady over time. Ullapool is served by the Highland Council, and is part of Ross-shire County. The council overall has an older age profile than the national average.

Nearby schools

Residents don’t have to travel far to access a high quality education. Ullapool is home to schools at the primary and secondary levels. Children between the ages of three and 12 may attend Ullapool Primary, a nondenominational school with a nursery class. There’s also a Gaelic medium provision. The school was rated either satisfactory or good in all categories according to the 2011 HMIE inspection report.

Ullapool High School is a main draw for students from the larger region, with a 6 year comprehensive secondary provision. At the time of the 2009 HMIE inspection, Ullapool High was rated as ‘very good’ when it comes to meeting learning needs, and ‘good’ for learner experiences overall. It boasts modern facilities, including the Macphail Centre. This public library and theatre often hosts live cultural events for the whole community.

Getting around

Ullapool is well-connected to the rest of the highlands, particularly Inverness. It’s an hour’s drive away along the scenic A835 road. There’s also the A832 road for motorists in the area, which connects Ullapool to Achiltibuie in the north and Gairloch in the south. Taxi services are operated by Ullapool Taxis and Ewen’s of Ullapool.

Bus services are operated by Citylink Coaches and D&E Coaches. Citylink runs regular bus services between Ullapool and Inverness, which coordinate with ferry timetables. It also connects Ullapool with Stornoway, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. The ferry is operated by Caledonian MacBrayne, connecting Ullapool with the Summer Isles with impossibly scenic trips on the water – travellers often spot dolphins and whales on the commute. Although there’s no railway station in Ullapool, train services can be accessed in Garve and Inverness. Airports are located in both Stornoway and Inverness.

Local shops

Although it may be small, Ullapool offers a rich selection of independent shops and friendly eateries. These cater to the tourists who visit in droves during the summer months, as well as the tight-knit community of locals. Made in Ullapool is a highlight for visitors and residents alike. This social enterprise helps support vulnerable individuals, selling handmade products in a community gift shop setting.

Local cafes and tea rooms including the Frigate Café, Gallery Café, and Tea Store. A book shop, hardware store, outdoor clothing shop, and newsagent are also positioned in town, and a Tesco Superstore provides all of the necessities of modern life.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.


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