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The Royal Burgh of Cromarty (Cromba in Gaelic) is a burgh in Ross and Cromartymarker, Highlandmarker, Scotlandmarker.


It was previously the county town of the former county of Cromartyshiremarker. The burgh is a seaport on the southern shore of the mouth of Cromarty Firthmarker, 5 miles from Invergordonmarker 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 (from cannabis), and by trawler trawling for herrings. The port was a British naval base during WW1 and H.M.S.marker Natalmarker blew up close by on 30 December 1915 with heavy loss of life.

The port is home to the UKmarker's smallest vehicle ferry, running across the Firth to Niggmarker (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 is called the Cromarty Rose.

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 Pointmarker 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 British Sea Areas used to provide weather forecasts to shipping.

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.

Parliamentary burgh

From 1832 to 1918 Cromarty was a parliamentary burgh, combined with Dingwallmarker, Dornochmarker, Kirkwallmarker, Tainmarker and Wickmarker in the Wick Burghs constituency of the House of Commonsmarker of the Parliament of the United Kingdommarker. 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.


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