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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Black Isle

"Attention all shipping, especially in sea areas Viking, Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne..."

Who has not heard words like these on countless shipping forecasts? Unlike many sea areas, Cromarty is actually a place, a village at the Eastern tip of the Black Isle, which is a peninsula of land sandwiched between the Cromarty Firth to the north and the Moray Firth to South (see map below).

One of the objectives of my camping trip to Scotland was to catch up with Graeme, an old university colleague and Maalie Courtier, and his partner Marianne who live in their converted cow shed near Cromarty.

My route to the Black Isle took me past Loch Ness, but I saw no monster this time

Haute cuisine en route...

The Black Isle (actually a peninsula) is reached by crossing the Moray Firth north of Inverness

Reunion with Graeme and Marianne


Looking across the mouth of the Cromarty Firth

Perhaps the most famous son of Cromarty is Hugh Miller (1802-1856) who name is honoured in the village's welcome sign (see photo above). His fossil collection of over 6,000 specimens became the founding core of what is today's Scottish national collection in the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh. His work stimulated ideas of evolution long before Darwin published his Origin of Species. Hugh Miller was an evangelical Christian. Some attribute his suicide to an inability to reconcile the growing evidence for evolution with his belief in the Book of Genesis.

The Black Isle: looking down towards Eathie Haven where Hugh Miller found many important fossils including Pterichthys milleri - a weird and wonderful ancient species of 'winged' fish.

Cromarty village at dusk

My route south passed through Arbroath where I spent the night camping near the harbour. I have already written a post about Arbroath.

Map of the Black Isle


Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

More photos to inspire my wanderlust!
I guess you'll be needing another wee break to help you recover from the stress of this one. Or maybe the oncoming winter will keep you at home for a while?

9:09 am  
Blogger Maalie said...

Yes, you are right Kiwi, I think I deserve a wee break. I'm off to Argentina at the end of the month.

9:14 am  
Blogger Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Oh my, Maalie, your photography is amazing, thank you so much for this post, I've found it facinating. My mother was born in Abroath, and I was born in Aberdeen. I left at age eight, and have never made it back (goodness knows why, I've been to Scotland many times since). My sister lived in Fort William for many years, so I tended to gravitate there more often than not. It brings a smile to my face to read this and your link to the Abroath post. I hope the weather was kind to you, it certainly seems as though you enjoyed your trip immensely - looking up old friends is always a guarenteed delight, no?

10:43 am  
Blogger simon said...

Absolutley Fantastic photos and post mate...
cannot wait to be there in about 8 weeks!!!

10:50 am  
Blogger Merisi said...

You make me want to go camping! :-)
Everything looks so beautiful and tempting. What on earth do you pack to be able to cook en route?
(Btw, I never ever eat sour grapes! *grin*)

3:03 pm  
Anonymous Ellee said...

Welcome back Maalie, and I shall think of you every time I hear that weather forecast. I loved your photos too, I can see you were lucky with the weather, which is always a bit hit and miss in Scotland.

We had one lovely holiday in Mallaig, stayed with some friends who run a b and b. At the back were some mountains and my sons could go and climb back and come back with crystals. He says that was the best holiday after Disney World, better than France and Italy.

So Simon is paying a visit too, that's great news, mate.

7:18 pm  
Blogger Ju's little sister said...

Hi Maalie, thanks for thinking of me, my squardron is associated with the nimrods as they perform the same function as the orions - sub hunting!!!

It looks like you had a lovely time, I like the picture of the, flying fish thingy. (even if I did have to leave the blog to see it!)

7:21 am  
Anonymous May said...

I agree with the previous comments: thanks for the account of the trip and for the beautiful photos.

I wish I could take a trip, anywhere, with departure set for tomorrow. I would even try the camping life.

10:02 am  
Blogger Magdalene said...

I especially like the mysterious dusk photo of Loch Ness; beautiful!

Poor old Hugh Miller eh? But we won't go there again so soon. Your blog readers need time to lick their wounds from the last round of Evangelical Christianity deconstruction. (And most entertaining it was too!)

And just look at all those dishes you didn't wash! Good for you:-) Any bird photos coming up?

11:36 am  
Anonymous Ellee said...

Maybe you will put your feet up this weekend...

Whatever you do, I hope you have a good time.

2:49 pm  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Hey there's a place called Jemimaville!!

10:04 pm  
Blogger simon said...

i agree with Magdalene

8:37 am  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Dogger, Fisher, German Bite ....

1:44 pm  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Faros, Fair Isle South East Iceland

1:49 pm  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Humber, Thames, Dover Sole ...

1:19 pm  
Blogger Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

C'mon Argentina!!! (Useless bloomin' side.) Half time, and we look doomed.

8:45 pm  
Blogger Maalie said...

Scream: At least I should have no conflicts when I arrive in Argentina in a couple of weeks!

Thanks to all for nice comments :-)

10:09 pm  
Anonymous Ellee said...

Argentina next, I am speechless. Is there any continent you have not visited in the last 12 months?

6:50 pm  
Anonymous Rhea said...

I would love to see the Loch Ness monster someday. I would also like to see Bigfoot.

4:49 pm  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

I've seen a yeti's footprint. There again, it might not have been.

9:54 am  
Anonymous Ellee said...

Rhea, I have also been on Loch Lomond, but never seen Nessie. I'd like to believe in her though.

Shame about England football team losing to Russia, who would have believed it...

6:24 pm  
Blogger Thesaurus Rex said...

Fishnet, Hurst, Moore, Stiles.
Glad you had a groovy time.I assume there would have been some migratory birdies about. Any cripplers blown off course, or has the weather been too good as yet?

8:01 pm  
Anonymous Ellee said...

Maalie, you must learn to dance the salsa before you go to South America,..

7:32 pm  
Blogger Magdalene said...

He's too busy with his lapdancer.

11:02 pm  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

He left his lapdancer to get up and make some welkins.

10:39 am  
Anonymous Ellee said...

Maalie, you are a runcible chap, lapdancers and all.

7:51 pm  
Anonymous Ellee said...

Maalie, are you in Argentina when this interesting seminar is held:

4:13 pm  

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