Cromarty Firth

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Cromarty Firth, the estuary of the river Conan, in Ross and Cromarty, commencing between Maryburgh and Dingwall, 5½ miles N of the head of Beauly Firth, and thence extending 19 3/8 north-eastward and eastward to the Moray Firth, where its entrance, 7 furlongs broad, is guarded by the North and South Sutors, 400 and 463 feet high. Its width is 1¾ mile near Kinnaird House, 1 3/8 at Kiltearn manse, 1 at Balconie Point, 1 7/8 at Alness Bay, ¾ at Invergordon, and 7¾ miles from the head of Udale Bay north-eastward to the head of Nigg Bay; but that of its channel nowhere exceeds 9 furlongs above Invergordon. On its right lie the parishes of Urquhart, Resolis, and Cromarty, on its left of Dingwall, Kiltearn, Alness, Rosskeen, Kilmuir Easter, Logie Easter, and Nigg; and it receives the Peffery, Aultgrande, and Alness rivers on its left side, which is closely followed by the Highland railway. Again we must turn to Hugh Miller for a description of the broad and deep lowest reach, as viewed from the Moray Firth in a clear morning of summer:-' The foreground is occupied by a gigantic wall of brown precipices, beetling for many miles over the edge of the firth, and crested by dark thickets of furze and pine. A multitude of shapeless crags lie scattered along the base, and we hear the noise of the waves breaking against them, and see the reflected gleam of the foam flashing at intervals into the darker recesses of the rock. The waters find entrance, as described by Buchanan, through a natural postern scooped out of the middle of this immense wall. The huge projections of cliff on either hand, with their alternate masses of light and shadow, remind us of the out-jets and buttresses of an ancient fortress; and the two Sutors, towering over the opening, of turrets built to command a gateway. The scenery within is of a softer and more gentle character. We see hanging woods, sloping promontories, a little quiet town, and an undulating line of blue mountains, swelling as they retire into a bolder outline and a loftier altitude, until they terminate, some 20 miles away, in snow-streaked, cloud-capped Ben Wyvis. '-Ord. Sur., shs. 83, 93, 94, 1881-78.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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