The Ullapool News sprang to life in a room in St. Valery Place, Ullapool, in 1973, the brainchild of Barry Todd, Donald Mason and Iain Campbell. The one-page information sheet was typed on an ancient portable typewriter and printed in the Royal Hotel on one of the old Gestetner stencil machines. Sale price 2 pence.
For years, pre computers, we largely worked in our own homes, carting the documents between each other’s houses apart from the printing, which had to be done in the office. In those days cutting and pasting literally meant just that, with a trusty Pritt stick and plenty of Tippex. Not to mention rubber thumbs, invaluable when collating pages by hand on the kitchen floors. Submissions had to be typed up, and sketching skills were invaluable before online pictures! Now submissions mainly come in by email, and the paper is produced in the office.
In 1998 the Ullapool News Team were delighted to receive a Civic Award from the Ross & Cromarty Committee of Highland Council for Services to the Community.
The paper has now grown to 40+ pages every week and instead of hand collating we have progressed to two electric collating machines to do the job. The stapling is done using electric staplers instead of the old hand-held ones of the past. Printing takes place on four separate printing machines.
We have a team of 7 who between them edit, type, composite, manage the advertisements, collate, staple, distribute, send out the postal subscriptions and deal with the accounts.
Work starts immediately after the previous week’s issue goes on sale. With editing beginning Saturday or Sunday, compositing then starts on Tuesdays, finalised for printing on Wednesdays. By Wednesday evening the paper is sufficiently dry to allow collating and stapling. Then on Thursday mornings the papers are boxed up and distributed to our outlets ready for sale first thing on Fridays.
This is why we have a 1pm deadline on Tuesdays!
The Ullapool News has been published continuously every week for 50 weeks of the year (we have two weeks holiday over Christmas and New Year) since 1973 and we had never missed an issue until Covid 19 arrived in March 2020 when publication was on hold for the month of April. However, we did manage to produce a free 2/4 page leaflet during May with the help of a grant which Ullapool Community Trust accessed from the North Highland Initiative Community Fund. This leaflet contained important up to date Covid-19 information compiled by UCT as well as some “feel-good” positive features. It was distributed through our usual outlets.
Over the years the Ullapool News team have compiled and printed a local telephone directory and we were also involved with the very popular Guide to Ullapool and Surrounding Area which sold over 15,000 copies and was re-printed three times, with all profit going to local groups and charities. It is now, sadly, out of print.
We are a community newspaper registered as such at the ©Post Office and a copy is held in the British Library – they write to us if the don’t receive their weekly copy..!
The Ullapool News office in Market Street, Ullapool, is part of our village hall, which was built as a Free Church school soon after the Disruption in 1843, remaining so until the present primary school building replaced it in 1929. Subsequently, the Education Committee “sold” the Hall for £150 to representatives of the village. Nowadays it is a much-loved improved venue for all sorts of events and is one of the focal points of the village.
We hope that the Ullapool News will continue to thrive and grow and serve the community without bias as it has done for nearly 50 years.