Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Live from Cromarty

In the midst of the all the not-blogging I've been doing lately, there's been a bit of travel, and I've had the great joy of spending today in Cromarty.  I'm staying in Ardyne House; from my bedroom window I can see the Sutors (headlands), which feature in Sir Thomas' encomium of Cromarty and its Firth:
I have, or at least had, before I was sequestred, a certain harbour or bay, in goodness equal to the best in the world ... promontaries on each side, vulgarly called Souters ...  ten thousand ships together may within it ride in the greatest tempest that is as in a calm; 
The Souters from Ardyne House
Sir Thomas wasn't exaggerating (well, not as much as usual): Cromarty Firth is very large. Over time it has held various Navy ships, and still holds several oil-rigs in various states of (dis)repair. Cromarty has had several booms (hemp, herring, oil), but never quite reached what Sir Thomas claimed he could do:
By which means, the foresaid town of Cromarty, for so it is called, in a very short space, would have easily become the richest of any within threescore miles thereof; 
Here are a few photos from around the village (a lovely spot in its own right); I'll eventually put together a definitive guide for the Sir Thomas pilgrimage.
Ekskybalauron engraving at the Stables

Sir Thomas in the Cromarty timeline

Sir Thomas in the Urquhart family tree,
displayed in the East Church
Common on graves in Cromarty; experts say they're symbols of death
and nothing to do with pirates, but I have my doubts...