If asked to name the prettiest villages in
The obvious appeal of Cromarty is its narrow winding side streets lined with cute little fishermen’s cottages that often have colourful flower displays. It is generally regarded as the best preserved example of an 18th century town in
Wandering the streets of 21st century Cromarty, you would never realise that this community of ~700 inhabitants was once a thriving hub of industry and commerce. There are some clues to its more prosperous past and you can find some very grand townhouses amongst the more humble fishermen’s cottages. An interesting story links two of these houses, Bellevue and St Anns. These are both located on Church Street and belonged to two brothers who were wealthy merchants, possibly entrepreneurs in the town’s prosperous 19th century trade in Herring (we don’t know the details).
The first house that was built was the rather French looking Bellevue. This brother greatly annoyed his sibling by also marrying the girl that he had his heart set on. To get his own back, the other brother then built the surprisingly tall St Anns on the other side of
in a position that would block his brother’s views of the Sutors of Cromarty. The Sutors is the name given to the 2 high promontories that shelter the entrance to the Cromarty Firth.
is the very photogenic thatched house that was home to Hugh Miller. Now you probably aren’t familiar with the name of Hugh Miller, but he was one of the founding fathers of modern Geology. Like so many of
At the east end of
you find the
The graveyard of this church is also worth exploring as it has some interesting gravestones. Several of the tombstones have been displaced at jaunty angles and it looks like Michael Jackson might suddenly jump out with some funky zombies in support. However, this is not the best graveyard in Cromarty. If you have half an hour to spare, you should walk up the hill, past the bowling club, and then look on your left for the grassy path that leads up to the Pirates’ Graveyard. It isn’t signposted, but you’ll know when you are getting near as the path is just opposite the servants’ tunnel (now disused) that leads up to the secluded Cromarty House.
The Pirates’ Graveyard isn’t really a burial place for pirates, in fact the correct name is St Regulus’ Graveyard, but almost all the gravestones bear skull and cross bones hence the alternative name. On a sunny day, it is a lovely tranquil spot and the walk takes you past some very fine looking houses on
. At night, it probably feels a lot spookier, but we’re not the types to hang around graveyards at night. Another fact about the “Pirate’s graveyard” is that it contains one of the last headstones to be carved by Hugh Miller. Sorry, we didn’t figure out which one it was.
That’s just a wee glimpse at Cromarty. We haven’t even started to mention the Courthouse and Jail Museum, the tiny car ferry to Nigg or the Pirate’s hideout. And if you’re tracing ancestors, you might wish to see the Emigration Stone which commemorates the thousands of Highlanders who departed from Cromarty harbour for the