The Ceilidh Place in Ullapool grew out of Broomview Cottage and was started in 1970 by the actor Robert Urquhart, who was born there in 1921. He started a small café in the boatshed with aspirations that it became a place for eating, meeting, talking and singing. A place to be. A place where not only postcards but life histories would be written.
A sign outside invited musicians to sing or play for their supper. If they were good, their supper could take some time. Few were served quickly. There were arguments with planners, builders and bank managers as the café expanded. Local staff were assisted by others from across the globe who miraculously found their way to Ullapool and gave of their skills and ideas. There were customers who became staff and staff who became customers.
And so The Ceilidh Place grew. It grew to include the house next door with rooms to let and a bookshop. It grew away from a summer place and into the place that was always open. There were no guarantees, no promises, but maybe life could change here; that was the hope. A place to be. That was something.
There were magical nights when musicians played and hearts were broken. There were magical days when the summer sun shone on ‘til midnight and the conversations drifted into the early morning light. There was, it seemed, all of life in one small Ceilidh Place. The Ceilidh Place in Ullapool, at the end of the A835 and the centre of the universe.
Come and be welcome.