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Winding roads through fertile farmland and forests lead to Cromarty, considered one of the most attractive villages in Scotland.

Just ignore the oil rigs dominating the sea view.

White stone houses with leaded windows dating back from the 18th century line the peaceful flagstone pavements.

St Moluag founded a church here in the 6th century, but no trace of it remains as the site was reclaimed by the sea.

In 1685 the town became a royal burgh, but it was in the 18th century, that it really began to flourish and the large 18th century houses built for the merchants and traders sit comfortably next to the tiny little fishermen’s cottages.

The domed tower of Cromarty Courthouse, built in 1773, is home to the town’s museum. There are animated displays of a real trial held in the 18th century. Listen to the trial of the women found guilty of theft from Cromarty’s hemp factory and hear the life story of the eccentric Sir Thomas Urquhart - a brilliant scholar and a man obviously ahead of his time.

Also in Cromarty is Hugh Miller’s Cottage, owned by the National Trust for Scotland. Born in the 19th century, Hugh Miller was a stone mason who educated himself and became a respected geologist, writer and theologian. Students of geology still follow his footsteps examining the local red sandstone. His cottage was originally built by his grandfather in the 17th century and is an atmospheric, inspiring little place.

Look out for the East Kirk with its separate galleries for the laird and the poor folk, the quaint old harbour and the Gaelic Chapel dating from 1784.


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