Inspiring Ullapool’s Future Scientists and Sailors


This autumn for the first time ever, HWDT ran a youth trip out of Ullapool, free of charge to any young person aged 15 to 17 living in and around the remote and rural Coigach and Assynt landscape.

This unique trip was funded thanks to players of the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Scottish Natural Heritage as part of the Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership Scheme, working in conjunction with the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas project.

Five adventurous young people joined the Silurian crew on board for the three day trip, along with Ruth Thompson, a teacher from Ullapool High School.

Over the three days the young people gained a glimpse into life on board a sailing boat and scientific research vessel, and they’ve been kind enough to let us know about the best bits in their own words below:

My favourite part of the trip was sailing to Isle Martin.
I enjoyed surveying with the rapid wind and waves in my face!
I found it really inspiring learning about the marine life and the biology.
It was good fun learning knots and other sailing and navigation skills.
This experience has taught me how to survey and identify different animals.
The crew are very supportive, fun and helpful – they make you feel very welcome and safe on board.
Playing games on board at night was really good, it was great to socialise with everyone.
I can’t praise this trip highly enough. The young people were engaged with every aspect. Not only did they learn a vast amount about the marine animals living on their shores, different pollutants, and the scientific methods of counting and recording them, but also the vital skills of working together in a small space, encouraging each other, and resilience.

I think one of the most heartening things about the trip was that the young people could see, and spoke about, careers in science and sailing after they finish school, and the word they all used to describe the work of HWDT was “important”.
— Ruth Thompson - Ullapool High School Teacher

The crew would like to extend a huge thank you to all the young people who came on board and approached the trip with a positive attitude. You all took it in your stride, happy to get stuck in and work as a team and as a result the rewards have been enormous.

We would also like to thank Noel Hawkins, Living Seas Community Officer who was instrumental in the planning and organisation of the trip, as well as Ruth for all her help before and during the trip.

Finally, HWDT would like to thank players of People’s Postcode Lottery through Postcode Local Trust, and the Robertson Trust for funding our education programme, which includes initiatives to break down barriers to success and inspire careers on the water, as this youth trip has so successfully done.