There are many great walks to enjoy with a dog (or without a dog!) while staying in Ullapool, on the west coast of Ross & Cromarty. Here are some of the walks I have enjoyed with Wispa the Wonder Whippet, plus others that will be suitable for dogs that are younger and hardier.
Ullapool is a top dog destination
Most people visit Ullapool to enjoy being at the heart of a fabulous outdoor playground. You are spoilt for choice with so many activities to enjoy on land and sea, including walking, running, cycling, wild swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and diving.
Walking is the obvious choice for people who own dogs. Your choice of walk will depend on the dog’s age and fitness levels. These days, I limit the distance of the walk for Wispa because she is now 12.
She is still an active dog but she ends up very tired if she is required to walk a long mountain route.
The list of walks I have chosen include mountain hikes, as well as some shorter walks to see some fantastic landmarks and places of historical interest.
Why not go #WoofHostelling ?
Brilliantly, Hostelling Scotland have 17 dog friendly “WoofHostels” spread across the country and the Ullapool Youth Hostel looked ideal.
#WoofHostelling allows you to take your dog on holiday with you and without the usual worries of where you can stay with your pet.
Wispa doesn’t like to be far from me, which means any accommodation needs to be dog-friendly. At the same time, I am not looking for an expensive place to stay – and I prefer budget friendly with clean and fresh facilities, rather than anything too fancy.
Wispa and I had our own twin-bedded room at Ullapool Youth Hostel. She was greeted with a very welcoming hello and lots of attention from the hostel staff – this always goes down well with a people-loving whippet – and we could make use of a “paws for water” station.
The Ullapool Youth Hostel also has a drying room – essential for an outdoor weekend – where we could dry out my boots and jacket, as well as Wispa’s coat.
There is even a small lounge where dogs are welcome and this meant there were very few times when Wispa had to be on her own. While I sat in the lounge after a day of being outdoors, Wispa slept curled up close by.
I did leave her in our room while I ate my pre-ordered breakfast (dogs aren’t allowed in the kitchen or dining room) but apart from this, she was beside me for the entire short break.
Great mountain walks with dogs near Ullapool
As I have said, Wispa is getting on a bit and so I chose a 12km return walk of Canisp for the #WoofHostelling trip. The total elevation gain is 700m because the route starts form above sea level to reach the summit at 847m. It’s a very rewarding walk because the views on a fine day are superb.
Read my report of walking the Corbett Canisp.
4 more mountain walks
The Corbett Cul Mor is a fairly straightforward 10km of walking.
Cul Beag offers another beautiful Corbett hike of around 10km.
One of the most famous Assynt mountains. (and a Graham), Suilven is a must-hike for anyone who is fit and experienced. (Make sure you have a fit dog for this walk)
Ben More Assynt and Conival
The only Munros in Assynt are Ben More Assynt and Convial. The walk is around 17km and rough underfoot so you need a fit and hardy dog.
Short walks near Ullapool
Stroll to Rhue Lighthouse walk
A return walk of around 1.5km heads from a car park at the end of the road at Rhue (drive/cycle a few miles north from Ullapool on the main road and look for signs to Rhue) to the small lighthouse.
The views from Rhue Lighthouse look out along Loch Broom and to the wider sea, where you can easily spot the Summer Isles. Note, there is an art gallery on the way to the lighthouse should you fancy a browse.
Wailing Widow Falls walk
Wailing Widow Falls is a spectacular waterfall and very easy to reach on foot. The falls spill over a cliff from Loch na Gainmhich and into a narrow gorge at the base.
There is a large layby on the side of the A894, some 9km north of Inchnadamph. From the car park, you walk east on a rough and often very muddy path. The return is the same way.
There is another path that takes you to the topi of the falls but the best view is from below.
Bone Caves walk
A walking route of 5km return heads through a delightful limestone glen to a series of large caves, known as the Bone Caves. The caves are located on a steep slope, which is easy to reach with a short climb on a narrow path, and at the foot of cliffs.
Historic excavations discovered the remains of species no longer found in Scotland, including a polar bear, lynx and reindeer. Their bones gave the caves their nickname. See route details on Walk Highlands.
UNESCO Global Geopark – and walk
Dotted along the side of the roads north of Ullapool, you’ll spot signs for the North-west Highlands UNESCO Global Geopark.
You can follow a guide on your mobile phone or access a leaflet, or simply stop where you see the signs and read information boards about the unique geology in the area.
A great example of a Geopark walk is to Knockan Crag, where you can see some of the world’s oldest rocks, dating back some three billion years, while all around is evidence of the upheavals, collisions and pressures that have shaped Scotland.
Climb the steep 2km Crag Top Trail for views across Coigach and Assynt.
Ardmair beach walk
Ardmair beach lies at the side of the main road north of Ullapool. There is a long roadside lay-by for parking.
It’s a stoney beach but a great place for a stroll, bird watching, skimming stones and perfect for families who like rock pooling or splashing about in the sea when it’s warm enough.
Ullapool has plenty more to offer
In between the outdoor activities, I visited two book shops, the Ullapool Book Shop and a small book store in the Ceilidh Place. There are many other independent outlets, such as Ullapool Outdoors, Made in Ullapool, Highland Stoneware and the Ullapool Emporium.
Eating out is easy, if you don’t want to cook for yourself in the youth hostel, but it’s recommended you book as far in advance as you can. Ullapool can be very busy because it’s a popular tourist destination and located on the North Coast 500 route.
Wispa showed her appreciation of the dog-friendly break by sleeping soundly all the way home – and then for two days afterwards.
For me, the pleasure of a #woofhostelling holiday was being able to relax in the knowledge that my much-loved pet was very welcome at the accommodation and that no-one was going to be fussed by the odd muddy footprint, a few stray hairs and an occasional bark.
I hope to plan another #woofhostelling trip next year and in the meantime if you are looking for dog-friendly self-catering accommodation over the winter, check out Hostelling Scotland’s ‘RentaHostel’ exclusive private hire.
- Note: Wispa and I were hosted by Hostelling Scotland.