Just last week I went yachting and picked up a boat in Ullapool and my crew being stout of heart but not of cloth went in search of some warming knitwear. They fell upon this shop and thinking serendipity had smiled in their direction, entered in search of some woollen cockle warmers. As we all know wool has the beautiful property of keeping its wearer warm as well as dispersing water droplets, much like the pelagic puffins pelt that are found in abundance up and down the Minch.
After my crew made liberal purchases of libellous wool, we retired to cheer our good fortune at the local Champaign bar.
Much to the crew’s disappointment, nigh, outrage, our emperors wool crumbled to acrylic before our eyes. Ullapool Woollen Mill you may be, a purveyor of wool you are not.
Captain Pistol Pete.
The shop was a small local craft shop specialising in textiles and hand knits. I did try to take a picture of their lovely sea scape window display but captured the Caledonian Hotel reading backwards! The girl serving in the shop was very friendly and chatty as she tried to persuade us to buy more items than we actually wanted. This wasn't pushy - she was just delighted to point things out to us.
What to buy: The hand knitted garments were tempting in lovely shades of heather, blues and greens but I had already bought a jumper in Gairloch so didn't need one. I was eventually persuaded to buy a cosy woolen travel rug in shades of blue brown and purple. I have no doubt as the girl told me this will prove a very versatile item with lots of uses.
What to pay: The hand knits were expensive from £50 to £70 The travel rug was a bit cheaper with a price tag of £35.00 good value really
Ceol na Mara translated into English as 'Music of the Sea' and this was this shops speciality. We had gone in to buy some gifts for the Elgin Clan before leaving Ullapool to travel home. The shop is large and roomy with many gifts to chose from. Service is a family affair from an older couple and their Son. The man recommended and played a CD by The Red Hot Chilli Pipers called 'Badrock to the masses' and no it is not a spelling mistake these are bagpipes with attitude and drums with a Scottish accent.
What to buy: After listening to 'We will rock you' we did buy the CD £16.99 and some gifts for the kids
What to pay: Prices are reasonable and compare well with bigger towns.
The only reason i'm writing about a Tesco's is because its about the only place in town to get whatever you may need.
What to buy: you can buy pretty much all your essentials here, and some not so essentials (disposable BBQ's for one...). they also sell alcohol, which is useful.
What to pay: Anything from £5 - £50, depending on what you need.
There is a small minimarket in Gairloch but it has tourist prices. A better option is to walk to the top of the Strath and visit the two local shops. I have included them together as one sells great value barbecue packs which include venison sausages and burgers along with a mixed selection of beef and pork items for the grill. The newsagent across the road sells instant barbecues and coals. We didn't need a barbecue or meat pack but it is a good option for a summer visitor.
What to buy: We did buy a daily newspaper and some postcards from the newsagent. I also bought some homemade sandwiches and some satsumas from the butchers. All were much cheaper than the minimarket.
The Captain's Cabin is really a collection of three seperate shops which are housed in the same building. Lochbroom Hardware and the Captain's Cabin are fairly sizeable but the Ullapool Bookshop is tiny but it does have internet access which I didn't use.
What to buy: We only visited the bookshop to buy some postcards which cost 75p each if you bought five the price was only £2.50 I love collecting postcards from places I visit so I bought five.
What to pay: Prices are higher at the Captain's Cabin which is aimed at the tourist market while Lochbroom Hardware is more a local shop with lower prices.
This shop is so crammed full of almost everything a visitor could need. They have an excellent book corner with lots of travel related books on the surrounding area. Here you can browse around for as long as you like, no one will bother you or push you to buy, but the staff are very helpful should you need it. Maybe because of the frequent snow showers the shop was also packed with tourists - a good sign of thriving trade.
What to buy: They have a very good selection of outdoor walking and hiking gear also a big section for campers. I bought a book "Walking Wester Ross"(£6.99) which should be useful for future trips. As I already mentioned the weather was wintery so I also bought a 'Pashamama' fleece lined woolen hand knit jumper (£59.00) to beat the winter chill.