Cromarty Scottish Gaelic: Cromba
Cromarty shown within the Highland council area
Population 719  (2001 census)
est. 720 (2006)
OS grid reference Council area Highland Lieutenancy area Ross and Cromarty Country Scotland Sovereign state United Kingdom Post town CROMARTY Postcode district IV11 Dialling code 01381 Police Northern Fire Highlands and Islands Ambulance Scottish EU Parliament Scotland UK Parliament Ross, Skye and Lochaber Scottish Parliament Ross, Skye and Inverness West List of places: UK • Scotland •
It was previously the county town of the former county of Cromartyshire. The burgh is a seaport on the southern shore of the mouth of Cromarty Firth, 5 miles from Invergordon on the opposite coast.
The name Cromarty variously derives from the Gaelic crom (crooked), and from bati (bay), or from àrd (height), meaning either the "crooked bay", or the "bend between the heights" (referring to the high rocks, or Sutors, which guard the entrance to the Firth), and gave the title to the earldom of Cromarty. Its name in 1264 was Crumbathyn.
The town grew around its port, formerly used by ferries, to export locally-grown hemp fibre, and by trawlers trawling for herrings. The port was a British naval base during the First World War and HMS Natal blew up close by on 30 December 1915 with heavy loss of life.
The port was home to the UK's smallest vehicle ferry, running across the Firth to Nigg (home to a large facility formerly used for the manufacture and maintenance of oil platforms and an oil terminal connected to the Beatrice oilfield). It runs from June to October, from roughly 8.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. The vessel was called the Cromarty Rose, it was sold in 2009 and replaced for the 2011 season by a new 4 car ferry called the Cromarty Queen.
Cromarty is architecturally important for its Georgian merchant houses that stand within a townscape of Georgian and Victorian fisherman's cottages in the local vernacular style. It is an outstanding example of a 18th/19th century burgh 'the jewel in the crown of Scottish Vernacular Architecture'. The thatched house with crow-stepped gables in Church Street, in which the geologist Hugh Miller was born (in 1801), still stands, and a statue has been erected to his memory. To the east of the burgh is Cromarty House, occupying the site of the old castle of the earls of Ross. It was the birthplace of Sir Thomas Urquhart, the translator of Rabelais.
The burgh is also noted as a base for viewing the local offshore sea life. These include one of the most northerly groups of bottlenose dolphins. Cromarty along with Chanonry Point just round the coast is one of the best places in Europe to see these animals close to the shore. The University of Aberdeen Department of Zoology Lighthouse Field Station is based in Cromarty.
Cromarty gives its name to one of the sea areas of the British Shipping Forecast.
The small community is also known for being a hub of creative activity including a promoting group, several arts venues and hosts its own Film Festival each December. The Cromarty "Favourite" Film Festival is small but perfectly formed and has won the hearts of many over the years. Guests of the 2008 festival included Kirsty Wark & Alan Clements, Donald Shaw and Karen Matheson, Janice Forsyth, David Mackenzie and Michael Caton-Jones. Each guest selected five of their favourite films, one of which was shown during the weekend. In addition to the Favourite Films, there is an outdoor screening on a Gable End, Gaelic Short films, Animation workshop, photographic exhibition and late night Pizza and Film screenings. All crammed into one weekend in a small town in the Highlands.
From 1832 to 1918 Cromarty was a parliamentary burgh, combined with Dingwall, Dornoch, Kirkwall, Tain and Wick in the Wick Burghs constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Known also as Northern Burghs, the constituency was a district of burghs. It was represented by one Member of Parliament. In 1918 the constituency was abolished and the Cromarty component was merged into the county constituency of Ross and Cromarty.
- ^ "Comparative Population Profile: Cromarty Locality". Scotland's Census Results Online. 2001-04-29. http://www.scrol.gov.uk/scrol/browser/profile.jsp?profile=Population&mainArea=cromarty&mainLevel=Locality. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
- ^ http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/statistics/publications-and-data
- ^ From 1889 to 1975 Cromartyshire was merged with Ross-shire under the Ross and Cromarty county council. Ross and Cromarty has later usage as the name of a district of the Highland region (1975 to 1996), and is today an area committee of the modern Highland unitary authority.
- ^ AD Mills (1991). The Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names. Oxford University Press. pp. 140.
- ^ Highland Council (2006). "The Cromarty Conservation Area". http://www.highland.gov.uk/yourenvironment/conservation/historicbuildings/listedbuildings/cromartyconservationarea.htm.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
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