Walk: Cromarty, coast & caves

[Cromarty from the coast path to the east]

Once an important port with a vital ferry link across the Cromarty Firth to all points north, the bypassing of almost the entire Black Isle region by the A9 has turned Cromarty into a backwater you have to make a little effort to get to. Recent issues with the ferry's village dock have threatened to make visitor numbers plunge further. Does the future promise certain doom? Fortunately, Cromarty has several other strings to its bow: both in the village itself, and around the steep headland to the east. And the ferry was resurrected for 2016 too - hurrah! Allow the best part of a day to take it all in, including the museums listed below.

[The coastline east of Cromarty has plenty of impressive rock architecture]

Name: Walk: Cromarty, coast & caves ☆☆☆
Length: 8 km / 5 miles
Ascent: 250 metres
Points of interest: Cromarty; Cromarty coastline including McFarquhar's Bed & Cave
Start / finish: Cromarty, G.R.: NH 789676 / nature grading gloom

Route:
Cromarty (and various attractions) - coast path to minor road end and viewpoint at Sutors of Cromarty - path junction at NH 799655 - descend to McFarquhar's Bed & Cave - return to path junction - Cromarty Mains Farm - start.
Terrain: Coastal section mainly on fairly rough paths and tracks with some steep sections and some mud. Minor road return.
Wildlife today: Just a few seabirds, but this is a good area to spot dolphins out in the firth.
Weather today: Warm and often sunny, little wind.

Name: Cromarty ☆☆☆
Description: Coastal village at the far eastern tip of the Black Isle.
Location: G.R.: NH 787676 / tram plunge muffin

Name: Cromarty Courthouse Museum ☆☆☆
Description: Cromarty's former, err, courthouse, dating to 1776 and full of exhibits relating to both the courthouse and the surrounding village.
Location: Church Street, Cromarty, G.R.: NH 789674 / surprises date captive
Open (2017): Daily, Easter to mid-October
Cost: Free

Name: Cromarty Ferry ★☆☆
Description: Tiny car ferry crossing seaward end of the firth - back in operation since 2016 (with a new ferry) after a year's hiatus. Good dolphin-spotting opportunities.
Location (southern dock): G.R. NH 787678 / deck winning adapt
Carries: Vehicles, passengers
Open (2017): Daily, June to September
Cost (2017): £9.50 (car + driver) for single ticket

Name: Hugh Miller's Birthplace Cottage & Museum ☆☆☆
Description: Thatched former home of the 19th century geologist and writer Hugh Miller, and adjacent museum about his life and interests.
Location: Church Street, Cromarty, G.R: NH 790674 / hides nursery uproot
Open (2017): Daily, mid-April to September; Tuesday, Thursdsay & Friday, early October
Cost (2017): £6.50 (adults), £5 (children), free for National Trust for Scotland members

[View across to Nigg from the Cromarty Ferry departure point (July 2013)]

Route credit: Walkhighlands

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