Cromarty and the Black Isle



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Well friends, our new home base has been chosen: Cromarty village on the Black Isle. It seems that by fate we are relocating there.

Let me explain.

As I hustled to quickly find us the perfect location and affordable house, things kept falling through.There was a lovely house in Lochaber that was rented ( or at least we assume it was rented as we never heard back). There was a big and affordable old post office that had been converted into a home near Aviemore…and that was rented as well. Another place that seemed perfect is still available, but the letting agent informed us it was on a main road, which was why it hadn’t been rented. House after house, we couldn’t find what we wanted, so I placed an add on Gumtree stating what we were looking for and when we were moving. I had a few landlords respond but nothing met our criteria. Until finally, a friendly woman told us about her 3 bedroom home for rent in the center of Cromarty. I had looked at several places over the past 6 months that were on the Black Isle, so I was familiar with the area, but hadn’t yet heard of Cromarty. After some communication with the landlord and lots of googling, we found out a little more about the quaint historic town.

First of all, Cromarty is gorgeous. Considered by many to be the most preserved historic town in the Highlands, it has a vivid history of trade with Norway and other countries and attracts tourists from around the world. In fact it at one point rivaled Inverness as the hub of the Highlands. According to Cromarty Live,

‘Cromarty first appears in historical records in the 1200s, as a royal burgh protected by a castle. Only royal burghs were permitted to trade and Cromarty appears to have flourished in its early years.

There were later periods of prosperity – in the early 1700s, when exports of salt fish grew; and from the late 1700s, when improved agriculture brought greater income to landowners, local farmers and merchants.

In the 1790s there was a view that it could overtake Inverness as the principal commercial centre of the north. The town’s hemp factory, fish processing, pork curing, ship-building, brewing and sea-borne trade were a model of what could be achieved in a small Scottish town.

Cromarty grew to reach a peak population of just over 2200 in 1831, when a disastrous decline set in — but it remained the biggest settlement in the Black Isle until a century later, when it was overtaken by Fortrose.

Cromarty’s later history could be described as a lesson in the art of survival. The town had to live with decline and find new sources of employment. In the end, this is a success story — but there is a sting in the tail.

As you can see, it has a very intriguing history. In recent years it has adopted an arts trust and is home to the Cromarty Film Festival which, as it happens, will be happening right when we arrive.

Now this last detail was really intriguing to us in our decision making, as when we moved to Cortona, we arrived during the Tuscan Sun Festival coincidentally. I haven’t gone into too much detail about our time in Italy, but to sum it up we were not too happy in that town. As our close friend said, small towns are small towns and that one in particular liked to gossip. It was also pretty darn morose during the winter and jammed with tourists during the summer. Quite a contrast! This is one of the reasons we hesitated on moving yet again to a small town, but our landlord filled us in on the ups and downs in the area and we felt Cromarty was different. It’s close to Inverness making it an easy commute to the city. And, unlike Cortona and its neverending maze of hills, Cromarty is perfect for walking.

And the best part is that the house is right on the waterfront!

Everything fell into place and we sealed the deal. Check out our new abode:


No, we don’t live in the entire building (lol) but the house with the red door on the left is our new place. There is a small private area in the back for us and the communal garden you see in the front.


The geek in me wants to point out that the Black Isle is a location in the best video game ever, Beyond Good And Evil. This just makes it even more exciting!!

Wish us luck with the packing….

5 thoughts on “Cromarty and the Black Isle

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