The struggle to find a home in a picture-postcard village

BBC News 

Sitting on the shores of Loch Broom, Ullapool is one of the most popular tourist spots in the Highlands.


The fishing village and surrounding area, which is set among picture-postcard hills, lochs and coastline, has a population of just 2,200.


But for people who want to live and work in the community, it is a huge challenge to find somewhere affordable to call home.


High costs, a booming tourism industry and issues affecting the building industry have been blamed for the problem.


Lochbroom and Ullapool Community Trust, which has been examining the housing challenges, describes the lack of homes as a “very real and present crisis”.

Some families have spent years trying to find a suitable property.

Marine scientist and mum-of-two Ailsa McLellan said it felt like she had been living on property websites for the past five years.


Ailsa has been trying to find a home after her marriage broke down, but has so far been unable to find somewhere to buy or rent due to a lack of long-term lets.


She has been living at a friend’s house while she searches for a home.


“Even the very few houses that come up in the area that I can almost afford are just terrible,” she said.


“The energy rates are really low. Most of them are oil-fired so I would be moving into a property I could not afford to heat.


“There is no good housing stock.”