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Plans to expand Ullapool harbour to attract more visitors lands £1 million boost

Ullapool could soon welcome more pleasure crafts as plans to expand its inner harbour progress.
Ullapool could soon welcome more pleasure crafts as plans to expand its inner harbour progress.

A Wester Ross port has received a more than £1 million to attract more cruise passengers and other marine users.

A £4.3 million project to significantly improve the inner harbour at Ullapool has secured up to £1.086m investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The scheme is being taken forward by the Ullapool Harbour Trust (UHT) and will benefit visiting leisure craft, local businesses, fishing boat operators and the cruise ship sector.

The harbour currently has 40m of tidally restricted pontoons and no overnight berthing, which restricts access for yachts. Tenders for visiting cruise ships share access to the existing pontoons with fishing boats.

On completion of the improvements, there will be 400m of available berthing providing space for yachts, local small boats, marine tourism operators and inshore fishing vessels. There will also be a dedicated area for cruise ship tenders.

Ullapool harbour is seen as a ‘valuable’ community asset. Picture: Sandy McCook, DC Thomson

Funding will enhance ‘valuable community asset’

Alastair Nicolson, HIE area manager for Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross, said: “This project will enable Ullapool Harbour Trust to significantly enhance a valuable community asset, greatly improving economic and community resilience in the area.

“It will support marine tourism by making the town a more attractive visitor destination for those arriving by sea. It will also improve local business operations, help retain existing jobs and create new ones.

“I am very pleased we are able to support the project and look forward to seeing it take shape.”

Kevin Peach, UHT chief executive and harbourmaster, said: “The project has been six years in the making and with the generous backing of HIE has finally become a reality, for which we are all extremely grateful.

“The extended and enhanced pontoon facilities will benefit both local and visiting leisure and fishing vessels plus massively enhance the visitor experience for our growing cruise ship market.”

The inner harbour development is linked to a larger project to widen Ullapool’s Shore Street, or the A893 as it is also known, which is the shortest trunk road in Scotland at 1,912ft.

Since 2014, this has seen a 37% growth in traffic, linked to the introduction of road equivalent tariff (RET) for ferries, the larger Loch Seaforth ferry, and the North Coast 500.

Business Minister Ivan McKee said: “Ullapool Harbour Trust provides a positive economic impact at a local, regional and national level and plays a vital role in creating and maintaining prosperity by supporting movement of goods and people, along with facilitating key industries including fishing and marine tourism.

“It is great that Highlands and Islands Enterprise have been able to support the development to extend and enhance the pontoon facilities at Ullapool Harbour.”

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