Located on the northern tip of the Black Isle, on the southern shore of the Cromarty Firth, Cromarty sits 15 miles (24 km) northeast of Inverness. The town is the seat of the Urquhart family whose castle stands on a hill overlooking it. The town was an important trade port and as such was granted royal burgh status but as the port declined, the costs of retaining this status became too expensive.
In 1772, George Ross of Pitkerie bought the town and began a programme of spending to redevelop it. He built a new harbour to encourage the fishing trade, developed many new factories, including cloth, nail and spade, lace and a brewery. He also built many of the towns buildings including the Gaelic Church and Cromarty House (1772) which still exist today. With the development of better road and rail links through the Highlands, Cromarty again faced a drop in fortunes as new routes bypassed the Black Isle. This led to a downturn in the fishing industry and a subsequent drop in the town's population.
Town and County councils, the Civic Trust and the National Trust for Scotland are all working together to develop Cromarty in a similar way to Culross and create a conservation village. The town is regarded as the best preserved 18th Century town in the Highlands.
Cromarty is the birthplace of Hugh Miller, the eminent geologist, stonemason and journalist. His cottage, which dates back to 1711, is now a museum run by the National Trust for Scotland. Next door is the George Ross Court House, which houses an award winning museum that highlights life, past and present, within the town. Adjacent to that is a library donated by the Scottish philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.