Does Ullapool Have a Train Station?

May 21, 2024Club0

When planning a trip to the picturesque village of Ullapool, located on the west coast of Scotland, one of the first questions travellers often ask is, “Does Ullapool have a train station?” This query is not only common but also crucial for those looking to explore the beauty of the Scottish Highlands using public transportation. In this article, we will address this question in detail, provide alternative travel options, and offer insights into what makes Ullapool a must-visit destination.

Does Ullapool Have a Train Station?

To put it simply, Ullapool does not have a train station. This charming fishing village, known for its stunning landscapes and vibrant cultural scene, is not directly accessible by train. The absence of a train station, however, should not deter you from visiting, as there are convenient alternative routes and means of transportation to reach Ullapool.

How to Get to Ullapool

By Train and Bus

Although Ullapool itself lacks a train station, you can still incorporate rail travel into your journey. The nearest train station to Ullapool is in Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands. Inverness is well-connected to major cities across the UK, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, and London, making it an ideal starting point for your trip to Ullapool.

  1. Train to Inverness: Book a train ticket to Inverness from your departure city. The journey offers scenic views of the Scottish countryside, enhancing your travel experience.
  2. Bus from Inverness to Ullapool: From Inverness, take a bus to Ullapool. The bus ride, operated by companies like Citylink, takes approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. The route is renowned for its breathtaking views, as it winds through the dramatic landscapes of the Highlands.

By Car

For those who prefer the flexibility of driving, renting a car is a great option. The drive from Inverness to Ullapool takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes via the A835 road. This scenic route offers plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the majestic scenery, making the journey part of the adventure.

By Ferry

Ullapool is also a gateway to the Outer Hebrides, with regular ferry services to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. If you’re planning to visit the islands, you can take the ferry from Ullapool, which is operated by Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac). This adds another layer of exploration to your Highland adventure.

Historical Plans for a Train Link to Ullapool

The Early Vision

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, during the expansion of the railway network across the UK, there were proposals to extend train lines to more remote parts of Scotland, including Ullapool. These plans were motivated by the desire to boost economic development, improve accessibility, and promote tourism in the Highlands.

The Proposed Ullapool Railway

One of the notable proposals was the Ullapool and Garve Railway. The plan involved constructing a railway line from the village of Garve, which is on the Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh line, to Ullapool. This new branch line would have provided a direct rail link from Ullapool to Inverness, making the village much more accessible.

Economic and Technical Challenges

Despite the initial enthusiasm, the Ullapool railway project faced several significant obstacles:

  1. Economic Feasibility: The cost of constructing the railway through the rugged terrain of the Highlands was substantial. Funding was a major challenge, and securing sufficient investment proved difficult.
  2. Technical Difficulties: The geography of the region, characterized by mountainous landscapes and deep valleys, posed significant engineering challenges. Building a railway in such conditions would have required extensive tunnelling and bridging, further increasing the costs and complexity.
  3. World Wars and Economic Shifts: The two World Wars and subsequent economic shifts redirected priorities and resources. The focus on railway expansion waned as road transportation became more dominant and cost-effective.

Decline and Abandonment

By the mid-20th century, the increasing popularity of automobile travel and the development of better road networks led to a decline in the emphasis on railway expansion. The proposed Ullapool railway was eventually shelved, and no further serious attempts were made to revive the project.

Legacy and Modern Transport

While the Ullapool railway never came to be, the legacy of these early plans can still be felt in the region’s transportation infrastructure. The development of roads and bus services was partly influenced by the recognition of the need for better connectivity to remote areas like Ullapool.

Today, Ullapool remains accessible via well-maintained roads and reliable bus services, ensuring that travellers can still enjoy the beauty and culture of this unique Highland village.

Exploring Ullapool

Despite the absence of a train station, Ullapool offers a wealth of attractions and activities that make it well worth the visit. Here are some highlights:

Natural Beauty

Ullapool is surrounded by some of the most stunning natural landscapes in Scotland. From the towering peaks of the surrounding mountains to the tranquil shores of Loch Broom, outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to explore. Hiking, fishing, and wildlife spotting are popular activities in the area.

Cultural Experiences

Ullapool boasts a rich cultural scene, with several galleries, museums, and live music venues. The Ullapool Museum, housed in a former Telford church, offers insights into the village’s history and heritage.

Local Cuisine

No visit to Ullapool is complete without sampling the local cuisine. The village is famous for its seafood, with numerous restaurants and pubs offering fresh catches from the nearby waters. Don’t miss the chance to try traditional Scottish dishes prepared with a modern twist.


So, does Ullapool have a train station? While the answer is no, the village’s charm and the variety of travel options available make it an accessible and worthwhile destination. By taking a train to Inverness and then a bus or car to Ullapool, you can enjoy a seamless journey to this beautiful part of Scotland. Whether you’re drawn by the natural beauty, cultural experiences, or culinary delights, Ullapool promises an unforgettable visit.

Plan your trip today and discover why Ullapool is a hidden gem in the Scottish Highlands, waiting to be explored.

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