I am so snowed under with stuff to do right now, unfortunately blogging is taking a bit of a back seat. Summer finally arrived in the Highlands, and that means when not working, its all hands on deck in the garden. As we have incredibly long days – currently daylight at around 4am, sunset after 10pm, and not truly dark even at midnight – that doesn’t leave much time for writing of any sort.
I DID take a day off last weekend and allowed myself to be persuaded to go out on the sea round our coastline in a RIB – why did I need persuading, you might ask? Because I can get very seasick, so small boats make me nervous.
I’m happy to report I found some tablets that worked, although they made me very drowsy and in need of a nap after our trip, they did their job, so I’m prepared to work around that.
Here’s where we are located in the UK – despite its name, the Black Isle is not an island but a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the sea – the Cromarty Firth to the north, the Beauly Firth to the south, and the Moray Firth to the east.
My home is above FORTROSE, and the trip we took left from the harbour at CROMARTY
Ostensibly this was to be a dolphin viewing trip, though we didn’t find any this time. Never mind, the coastline and the seabird colony were worth it alone, as was getting up really close and personal with the oil rigs moored in the Cromarty Firth – about 8 miles from home.
The Firth opens into the North Sea, so is an ideal place for rigs to be brought in for servicing and decommissioning. When ready to go back into service, they may be towed as far as places such as the Gulf of Mexico, or the China Sea.
From Wikipedia: “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.
First stop on our little voyage was at the buoy that marks the site where the HMS Natal sank on 30 December 1915 with the loss of at least 390 crewmen and civilians, victim of an internal explosion. Most of the wreckage has been removed, but what remains sits below the buoy and is protected as a war grave.
Then after a real close up with one of the soon-to-be decommissioned rigs, it was on out to search for the elusive dolphins.
We had a brief pause to allow the tiny ferry to depart – this takes up to 2 cars, and runs during the summer months only, cutting off the huge chunk of time it takes to go inland as far as the bridge.
Keeping the picturesque little village of Cromarty on our right,
we headed out along the opposite coastline. On our right, the very tip of the Black Isle with gun emplacements from World War 1 still in place, perched on the rocks
And to our left, the gorse-covered rocky hillside, also with the remains of wartime buildings visible along its length
Caves pock the waterline
And then the seabird colony comes into view
Birds found in this colony include: Shag, Razorbill, Guillemot, Black Guillemot, Kittiwake, Fulmar, and Cormorant.
And then caves, WW 1 buildings, and seabirds combined!
Fancy this walkway between the buildings?
Having not yet spotted any dolphins, we then headed off along the Moray Firth coastline. These buildings used to be fishing huts, but are now bijou holiday lets. Not quite sure how you get down to them!
Still no dolphins (story of the day), so heading back we travelled along the middle of the Firth
And back around the tip of the Black Isle for a closer look at the WW1 emplacements on this side – must have been quite tricky getting up there!
And so, back to Cromarty. I’m sure the dolphins will be there next time we go out, but still a lovely trip.
And one final, unexpected sighting while walking back down the jetty – masses of baby jellyfish!