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Ullapool Hill and Flowerdale Waterfall paths benefit from Highland Council improvements in Wester Ross

By Hector MacKenzie

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OUTDOORS’ lovers itching to get outside in the better weather have some appealing options in Wester Ross thanks to some hard graft on local paths.

Two very popular paths in the area have benefited from improvement works.

The paths to Ullapool Hill and Flowerdale Waterfall near Gairloch were in need of some attention after sections had become very boggy or had eroded away due to very heavy rainfall this winter.

Highland Council’s outdoor access manager, Phil Waite, tendered the work then appointed contractors, Alex Grant (Gairloch) Ltd. As they are specialist path contractors they utilised ‘as dug’ material for new surfacing. This is found in the subsoil and its use minimises disturbance to the site and reduces the cost.


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Councillor Liz Kraft.
Councillor Liz Kraft.

This material, when appropriate, is often much more in keeping with the landscape and surroundings. However care must be taken that it is of the right consistency and not waterlogged.

The path work has made a huge difference. Picture: Highland Council
The path work has made a huge difference. Picture: Highland Council

One small area had to be replaced with imported material when waterlogging from a hidden source did occur. Drainage on all these improved sections was key and so lengths of new ditches were dug and associated culverts, cross drains and waterbars placed where necessary along the path.

The improvement works carried out on the Ullapool Hill route included a section at the start of the path at Broom Park and along a section of the link path at Braes. This section had suffered badly due to water damage ‘gullying’ down the centre of the path after a bad winter storm.

The work needed was clear after a hard winter. Picture: Highland Council
The work needed was clear after a hard winter. Picture: Highland Council

At Flowerdale, the work focussed on the section on the higher southern side of the glen on the return route from above the waterfall.

This area was particularly difficult to get machines into, and was very boggy, but now with extra ditches, cross drains cleared out and with the new ‘as dug’ surface material in place, a firm, relatively comfortable path to walk on has been provided. However, you still have to make the effort to get there as the full path is a climb of 130 metres (430 feet) over 3.5 kilometres.

Completed section on the Braes path on Ullapool Hill.
Completed section on the Braes path on Ullapool Hill.

The funding for these projects came from the Place-based recovery funds of almost £20,000 and the Highland Council was pleased to have the support and co-operation of both landowners, at Rhidorrach Estate and The Estate of Gairloch.

Cllr Liz Kraft, chair of the Wester Ross, Lochalsh and Strathpeffer Area Committee said: “It’s fantastic to have these paths upgraded to make them into a more enjoyable walk. Both are very popular all year round with locals and the many visitors that come to our area. At this time of year everyone is itching to be outdoors and make the most of the long daylight hours. I’d like to thank the Access team for their hard work in achieving such a good result.”

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