Ullapool & the Highlands

The highlands of Scotland - defined generally as anything North of Inverness, all the way up to Durness & John 'o Groats - are wild, rugged, and stunning. It is home to a variety of wildlife - including Golden Eagles, Red Deer & Scottish Wildcats - and boasts some of the most dramatic Munros in the country (see "An Teallach" on my munros page).

In recent years, the Highlands have grown massively in popularity, thanks largely to the development of the North Coast 500 route. Due to over-crowding, tourists overnighting at roadside carparks, and the quantity of rubbish being left behind with complete disregard for Naure, it is now quite opposed by most locals in the Highlands.


Ullapool is a place very close to my heart. Over the five or so years I lived there, I made some really great friends, got to know some wonderful people, and met and married the Love of my life.

While the town may only have a population of less than 2000 over the course of the Winter, that almost doubles in the Summer with the influx of seasonal workers and holidaymakers. It's a major ferry departure point, with two sailings a day to the Isle of Lewis, and is also an active fishing port - not only for local fishermen, but also for Spanish & Portugeuse vessels.

I spent my five years here working at the Seaforth - at the time a large Family-run pub smack in the center of the town, just off the pier. We were constantly busy in the Summer (as were all the other 17 or so pubs in town), with regular music in the evenings - in it's heyday featuring bands such as Ash & Shed Seven.

In later years the focus turned to food, and the quantity / quality of artists dropeed off slightly, but we still pulled in the occasional class act, and Loopallu was always a hit!

The two Winters I stayed through could not have been more different though; Most days had just a couple of locals coming in for a beer after work. Good memories were sitting by the fireplace through the day, Friday evening disco's, and watching large trucks trying to make it up the Icy road into town - and often failing!

The Seaforth is no longer Family-run, with Harry having sold it several years ago now, and has (for me at least) lost quite a bit of it's charm. But that's just me, and I'm likely biased.


I've been up to Durness a few times now, and every time I'm blown away by the sheer beauty of the region. Whether driving up the West coast, with it's windy cliff-side routes, or cutting through the hills from the east, you're sure to be impressed by the rugged, sometimes martian landscape that you'll pass through.

The North-West highliands are host to some of the most spectacular sandy beaches in the UK, and the best part of it all is that they're almost always deserted! Achmelvich & Oldshoremore are just two that spring to mind - the last time we visited, there were less that 10 folk on the beach with us.

Durness itself is very small, and boasts a general store and a campsite. barely even a pub! That said, you don't travel all the way to the far North-West of the ocuntry to sit in a pub, now do you?

What you do want to do is visit Smoo Cave, spend time on one (or more) of the many beaches, and maybe climb Ben Hope, the UK's Northern-most Munro. You can read more about each of these in the Durness Attractions section below.

Ullapool & the Highlands Attractions

The Arch Pub

The Arch Pub, situated on the bottom end of Shore Street, has long been a personal favourite for me, and for the majority of the locals, in fairness.

It's got a great vibe with wonderful staff, it's small and cosy with Darts and a Pool table, and has a brilliant menu if you want to eat in the small restaurant downstairs.

There is some seating across the road looking out over the Loch and the distant mountains, as well as in an external courtyard. They also do have a more formal restaurant upstairs, which is open during the summer.

Back in 2011, Asia and me had our (first) wedding celebrations in the Arch. While it may not seem the most romantic of solutions, it was an awesome night enjoyed by all!

Ullapool Hill

It's a reasonably easy walk up Ullapool hill, starting from Broom Park (The East end of Ulapool). The path meanders up the hill, and from the top you get a wonderful view of the whole town and surrounds.

Looking South and West across the loch, the majestic An Teallach looms, and on a clear day you can see across the Summer Isles all the way to Lewis. Looking North, you can see the massif of Beinn Mhor na Coigich and maybe Stac Pollaidh in the distance - Asia's favourite mountain!

It is possible to walk over the hill into the moorlands to the West of the village, but there's not really much more to see after the initial peak.

Smoo Cave, Durness

Durness' most famous attraction, Smoo Cave is an 83-meter deep massive sea-cave, with the largest cave entrance in Britain, at 40 meters wide and 15 meters high. It's technically 2 caves in one, as the main chamber (formed by ocean erosion) links on to 3 smaller chambers that formed within the Dolomite rock.

It has a truly impressive 20-meter high waterfall inside one of the chambers; However, this is only active after rainfall when the upriver stream overflows.

Smoo cave can be accessed for free all year round, though one of the highlights of the Cave, a fun (though short) boat trip to one of the off-shoot minor caves past the waterfall, only operates in the Summer months. This little excursion is well worth doing though, and provides the small archaeological dig team its main source of funding.

Oldshoremore Beach

Oldshoremore beach is definitely an "off the beaten path" attraction, but that is one of the reasons it is actually worth seeing.

Almost no-one goes there, so if you're looking for a quiet beach, with plenty of white sand, rocky outcroppings and calm, clear (though cold!) waters, this is the place for you.

It's a 45 minute drive from Durness, down in Oldshoremore on the West coast. Well worth the effort though.

Cape Wrath

I haven't been to Cape Wrath myself (yet), but it's the North-Western most point of mainland United Kingdom, the very tip of a jagged, steep coastline.

Apart from the amazing sea views, there is a lighthouse and a Cafe at the point.

Here it is on Google Maps.



Stac Pollaidh


Ferry to Lewis



Not an attraction as such, I guess - more of a reason not to visit! Midges are endemic to Scotland, and particularly the Highlands and the West coast.

These little shits are everywhere, and unlike mosquitoes, they don't attack alone - they come in swarms of thousands, and they're liable to eat you alive if you're unprepared.

So, how do you best prepare for this? Well, Smidge is ok, Citronella candles help, but I think, at its heart, it's more of a mental thing;

You either accept you're going to get destroyed, and end up a blood-less husk of a human, or you cancel your holiday. hah.


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Lukasz K.
Travel with Anton is always adventurous. That man has a plan for everything. Sadly plans don't last long, plenty of updates, so if you're "stick with the plan" person you want to harm him sometimes. 🤓 Look forward to visit more places with you dude. You're the true heart of "Camping dads" team. 💯