The Highlands: A haven for the lover of the great outdoors

Scotland is growing in popularity as a holiday destination; in 2016, visitor numbers at Scotlands key attractions rose by almost 6% on 2015. Upon a visit to the Ullapool area, you will realise why the Highlands are privy to that trend; the area is without a doubt one of the most beautiful spots in the United Kingdom. Its dramatically rugged hills, along with its wild coastlines and unspoilt landscapes, make this area in the north of Scotland a perfect place to relax, unwind and enjoy the beauty of nature. In fact, northern Scotland is the perfect place for a staycation in 2017; why not book a holiday at a romantic self-catering chalet for an invigorating start to your year?

There are things to do in abundance in the local area, but activities centre around the great outdoors. Lovers of nature can enjoy numerous walking and biking routes in the local area, as well as outdoor favourites such as fishing and mountain sports. Below is a summary of the area’s top three outdoor activities.

1. Cycling

Cycling is a fantastic way to get around the local area and the best way to enjoy the breathtaking natural beauty of the Highlands. Scotland has a National Cycle Network, which was designed to encourage people to get on their bikes, and contains more than 2,000 miles of routes spanning some 500 miles. Due to its mountainous terrain, the Ullapool area is famous for its challenging cycle and mountain biking routes. A popular choice is the Achiltibuie circular cycle route, a 70 mile journey on mainly A roads and single track roads. The route is famous for its stunning coastal scenery – but is not for the faint-hearted! For a beginner, or more relaxed cycler, there are many alternative routes in and around Ullapool that have been carved out to let you see the best of the local area, as well as stopping by some interesting towns and public houses.

2. Hiking and walking

As the main town in the Scottish Highlands, Ullapool is a great base for the avid hiker and the relaxed walker alike. Placed on the edge of Loch Broom, the town is in a stunning and fascinating part of the Highlands, surrounded by contrasting scenery and terrain ideal for exploring and appreciating by foot. Many visitors like to start with a hike around Loch Broom itself. There are various routes around the Fannichs, a range of Munros along a ridge, and around the Beinn Dearg range, a craggy and steep set of peaks that, when climbed, reward the hiker with amazing views around the Loch and surrounding area. Ullapool Hill and the Braes also provide a popular walk that can be done in a morning; it’s a short and steep uphill climb that again reveals fantastic views over the Loch and town. There are many good paths around the Loch, but many muddy and off-road sections mean that some areas can be challenging and are therefore suited towards more experienced walkers.

For walkers that prefer routes that are a little more relaxed, the local area has plenty to offer. There are several shorter and easier routes that are built around discovering delights such as the Cairngorms National Park for example. Another popular example of an easier route is the Rhue Lighthouse walk, a short 20 minute trip that is just over one kilometre long. Rhue Lighthouse is a must-see for visitors, and its location also rewards with a view out to the Summer Isles at sea. Corrieshalloch Gorge is a slightly longer, but still manageable, walk; clear paths lead to treats such as a bridge and a new viewing platform over the dramatic gorge. This is one of the area’s most popular walks as many people marvel at the experience of standing at the top of the gorge with the water crashing many metres beneath them. Walkers will also experience spectacular views of nearby waterfalls and the stretching countryside around the Loch.

3. Fishing

Whether you are a beginner or experienced fisher, there are many different types of fishing you can try in the local area, such as bait fishing, bank or boat, fly-fishing and salmon and trout fishing. Ullapool River is one of Scotland’s most popular locations for trout fishing and the town itself is the main fishing port in the Wester Ross area. Keen fishers will find Ullapool an ideal place as a base for an angling holiday, and will find many small lochs dotted around the area. Alternatively, for sea angling, you can fish on Loch Broom Shore, or along Ullapool Pier. As a result of the popularity of fishing in the local area, you will also find an abundance of angling shops in the town, as well as a number of excursions for those that wish to embark on an accompanied activity.

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