Ullapool Harbour

Ullapool, Scotland

Famous for its picturesque fishing town nestled on the shores of Lochbroom, Ullapool Harbour has benefitted from a new wide promenade that links to a raft of new pontoons with various finger lengths catering to a mix of leisure and commercial marine craft, providing safe access to vessels from land, easy berthing and year-round usability in all weather conditions.

Client Ullapool Harbour Trust
Date October 2023
Where Ullapool Harbour, Scotland

We were approached by Ullapool Harbour Trust to provide a safe berthing facility for permanent and visiting leisure and commercial vessels. After key planning and design phases to ensure the harbour retained its iconic charm while keeping safety and usability the prime focus, the construction work was able to go ahead.

Once the ground works were underway, the excavation work for the new pontoons exposed serious natural erosion in the ageing Lochside wall at the Wester Ross port.

“One of the surprises was how thin the old sea wall was,” comments Topher Dawson, Lochbroom Community Council chairman and a lead player in the project. “It was basically tiles laid on an earth bank that was keeping the sea out.

“We’re now really happy to have a proper rock armour slope which, given the way the climate is getting more ferocious and with sea levels rising, is an important safeguard for us.”

The project consisted of building standard pontoons connected to a 24m x 1.5m access bridge on a mix of driven circular and bolted wall piles. Connected to these are 8, 10 and 12 metre fingers for both leisure and commercial craft, protected by a 60m x 5m chain-moored floating breakwater.

The chain mooring of the breakwaters was a challenge due to the slope of the seabed, and we also had to rely on the piling contractor driving the piles in the correct positions. Works on site were completed by Shearwater Marine Services whom ICMS subcontracted to carry out the works. RJ McLeod were contracted by the Harbour Trust to carry out the civil works, including the piles.

Kevin Peach, Ullapool Harbour Master comments: “Ullapool has never had decent facilities for the local and visiting leisure sector and now we have fifty high quality, durable and easily accessible pontoon berths for people to enjoy. Inland & Coastal have been an absolute pleasure to work with from the design stage right through to handover and I would highly recommend them.”

“Working in such a beautiful location is always a pleasure, and we’re really happy with the result,” says Calum MacDougall, Engineering Sales Manager at Inland & Coastal. “After a number of access challenges and some initial concern from locals about the works altering the town’s aesthetic appeal, the promenade and expanded pontoon facilities will prove a boon to the town’s leisure marine sector.”

Dominated by rugged mountains, Ullapool is a popular holiday destination and gateway to the Northern Highlands, so the new pontoons will offer a greater number of berthing options for both the leisure and commercial boat owners, providing them with safe and easy berthing access year-round.

Inland & Coastal have been an absolute pleasure to work with from the design stage right through to handover and I would highly recommend them.
— Kevin Peach, Ullapool Harbour Master