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Dornoch 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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Dornoch, Firth of, the estuary of the river Oikel. Commencing at Bonar-Bridge, at the SE end of the Kyle of Sutherland, it extends 9¼ miles east-south-eastward to Meikle Ferry, and thence 13 miles east-north-eastward till it merges with the North Sea at a line between Tarbat Ness and Brora. It has a varying width of 7½ furlongs above W ester Fearn Point, 2¾ furlongs at the Point itself, 1¼ mile below Easter Fearn, 3½ furlongs at Ardmore Point, 2¼ miles at Edderton, 51/8 furlongs at Meikle Ferry, 3¾ miles at Tain, 1¾ mile at the SE corner of Dornoch parish, and 10½ miles from Brora to Tarbat Ness. A shoal across it 3 miles below Tain, called Geyzen Briggs from occasioning a tumultuous roar of breakers, forms a great obstruction to navigation, yet is not so continuous as to hinder vessels, under direction of a pilot, from safely passing. The N side of the firth, between that bar and Meikle Ferry, offers some harbourage for small vessels in calm weather; and Cambuscurrie Bay, immediately above Meikle Ferry, forms an excellent roadstead, where vessels of considerable burden can lie at anchor, and where good harbour accommodation could easily be provided. The Great North Road, with nexus at Meikle Ferry, was formerly the main line of communication between the southern and the northern shores, but always was subject to delay at the ferry, so that the road round by Bonar-Bridge, though very circuitous, came to be generally preferred; and now the railway, consisting of the Highland line on the S side and the Sutherland line on the N side, takes the same round about route. The waters of the firth abound in shellfish, cod, and haddocks, but never have been vigorously fished.—Ord. Sur., shs. 102,93,94,1881-78.

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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