Interview with the harbourmaster of Ullapool: Kevin Peach
Wylde Swan has had a close connection with Ullapool and that is especially thanks to the enthusiasm of the harbourmaster of this coastal village in the northwest of Scotland.
How long have you been harbourmaster of Ullapool?
What characterizes the village of Ullapool, what is the harbour used for and what kind of ships come there?
Ullapool was built as a fishing port, 230 year ago and now has about 1400 inhabitants. There is still a lot of fishing going on with Scottish, Spanish, French and German vessels. We have a ferry that runs a service to Stornoway 3 times a day and about 30 cruise ships come to Ullapool each year . We have 200 to 300 yachts moored here and 2000 vessel arrivals in a year.
Ullapool is busy all year roud. There’s more fishing in the winter and summer is busier with all the ferries, yachts ans Tall ships. Ullapool is a tourist destination, so the population can double in the summertime.
How do you know the Wylde Swan?
I met Kathi and Jurgens at the Tall Ships conference in Istanbul in 2010 and we got on very well. The ship was being rebuilt at the time and I wanted them to come to Ullapool in 2011 as part of the Tall Ships Races 2011 Cruise in Company. There were ships sailing from Greenwich and Glasgow to the Shetlands and I knew they would pass by Ullapool. I’d heard about Wylde Swan and I was very keen on getting Jurgens to come to the harbour. I knew that if he came, a lot of other ships would come with him.
So I met him at the conference and I went to Greenwich and the ship’s company again. I placed 12 trainees on the ship for that voyage and since then we’ve worked with different people from the Wylde Swan and it’s always been great. We love it.
Why do you think people should join on a voyage on the Wylde Swan?
Because it is good for you. It’s enjoyable, exciting, relaxing, social, thrilling, and it is fun. It is everything rolled into one; the best kind of holiday. If you like being on a boat or ship, it’s the best holiday you could have. You meet lots of great people, you meet an amazing international crew, you get great food, great experiences; it’s just the best ever. I go every year and it’s just amazing: a real experience.
And what would you say to people who having doubts coming on board?
Just go! And if you go once, you’ll go again. It’s all those reasons I said before. You just have to come on board and experciene it! You can’t explain how good it is. I always say to just come and try it and if you don’t want to go out to sea straight away, just come to Ullapool, meet the people, look at the ship. The minute you do, you’ll just want to join. and why not?
What makes the Wylde Swan so unique?
It is an old ship with a rich history but at the same time it’s very modern with a beautiful sleek interior.
It’s got a fantastic history. Over 100 years old yet really modern because was been rebuilt in 2010. Without really realising it, you’re moving around on an incredibly old and beautiful lady. She’s been made so lovely and comfortable. And each year I think the crew is the best crew there is. Wylde Swan is good for a social experience.
What is your best story as harbourmaster of Ullapool?
Oh, I have lots of great stories. In 2011 when het CIC came to the harbour, we had 17 Tall Ships here over a single weekend. We had a great party and over 10.000 people visiting. There was music and dancing in the streets. It was amazing, it was fantastic.
Is there anything else you want to share with us?
Just get on board!