Ullapool is a small town situated at the mouth of Loch Broom on the far North-Western coast of Scotland, and on our first visit there we were very surprised to discover that it had a Pulteney Street.

There seemed no obvious connection with Bath and as no one could give me any explanation for it, I went to the Ullapool Public Library during our stay in 1983, and with the Librarian amicably produced a book entitled “The History of the British Fisheries Society”.

This Society was formed in 1786 under the chairmanship of the then Duke of Argyll, and it purchased 1,500 acres of land known as Ullapool Farm, in order to build a planned fishing settlement with the aim of improving the local herring fishing industry. Up till then this had been based on the island of Tanera, the largest of the group called the Summer Isles situated in the bay which forms the entrance to Loch Broom. Tanera incidentally becoming many years later the setting for Dr Fraser Darling’s book “Island Years”.

After Thomas Telford had been called in to make a survey a Robert Melville was commissioned to undertake the settlement project, and by 1789 a break-water and pier had been built, boat building and coopers’ sheds were erected, and the streets of the new settlement were marked out with a plough on a grid system.

Plots of land were then leased to approved settlers who built their own houses, most of which were of the typical double-fronted crofting type cottages with sufficient land to grow some vegetables keep a few chickens and a pig.

Following the Duke of Argyll the second chairman of the Society was a Sir William Pulteney, and it became obvious that the street must have been named after him.

On our return to Bath a visit to the Reference Library produced the information that in 1764 a Scotsman called William Johnstone (hence Johnstone Street, off Laura Place), the younger son of a Scottish baronet married Frances Pulteney, a daughter of one of the younger sons of the Pulteney family. On his marriage to Frances, William Johnstone assumed the name of Pulteney, and when he eventually inherited the Johnstone baronetcy became known as Sir William Pulteney.

Amazingly, both of the senior branches of the Pulteney family died out, and in 1767 Frances became the life-tenant of the entailed Bathwick Estate. Through his wife Sir William began administering the estate, and drew up a proposal to build a second bridge over the River Avon, which, after a number of alterations to the original design became the Pulteney Bridge as we know it today.

The City gaol stood where Bridge Street is now, and in order to make an approach road to the new bridge the gaol was demolished and rebuilt on a site given to the City by Sir William in what became Grove Street. Sir William Pulteney died in 1805.

But to return to Ullapool - alas the herring fishing was banned for some years because of dwindling stocks of herring in the North Sea, but Ullapool managed to survive on summer visitors, and today the old pier, now vastly enlarged, is used by the M.V. “Suilven” which provides a regular ferry service to and from Stornoway and the Outer Hebrides.

The town makes a very good centre for seeing some of the interest- ing and varied geology of the area, and is within easy reach of the mountains of Stac Polly, Quinag, Suilven and Canisp, and not to be missed is the 60-mile drive South-Westward to Inverewe.

Inverewe is famous for the National Trust Garden beside Loch Ewe where, in spite of being so far North, semi-tropical shrubs and trees are grown owing to the Gulf Stream just clipping this part of the coast. In a corner of the restaurant in the garden there is a small display of local rocks.

In 1972 the original part of Ullapool was made a conservation area.