Mr B and I have visited Cromarty before (I blogged about it here, just when we had moved to Inverness) and a few times since, but yesterday I took my friend Maari there to explore as it’s a lovely wee town with lots to look at and enjoy, and it’s only a 40 minute drive from Inverness. We did the Cromarty Explorer walk which is a good leg stretcher with a steep climb in the middle of the walk (the walk says it takes 2 hrs, but we did it in 90 minutes). While it was cloudy we still got some nice spring views on the way to the top viewpoint. We also spotted a WWII pill box snuggled into the woodland path.
You can see Ben Wyvis (on the left) still has snow on the caps – it’s been a very late spring here this year! The rigs provide the remnants of some kind of industry here.
As we wandered down there were a few things that caught our eyes: a unicorn (!), a creepy tunnel to a private house, victorian streetlamps and the entrance to Cromarty Bowling Club!
There’s a whole range of different architecture styles; from the pretty fishtown cottages right at the shore’s edge to grand Georgian houses.
There’s also a few places you can look inside:
The East Church (free, donations) which is over 700 years old and was restored after being featured on the BBC Series ‘Restoration’ (we couldn’t go in as there was a flower and art festival starting the following day).
Hugh Miller’s Cottage & Museum (entry fee) which is a National Trust property and is recognisable by being the only thatched cottage in Cromarty. Hugh Miller was a renowned geologist.
Cromarty Courthouse (free, suggested £2 donation) which we happily spent at least an hour wandering round. It’s a small museum held in the old Courthouse but with lots of displays about industry, religion and the use of the courthouse (including a scene in the courtroom that you can listen to), and there’s even a dressing up box and a real jail cell that the kids (and adults) can get a look in. There’s also a shop with lots of nice, reasonably priced gifts which is well worth a stop in.
By this point it was 3pm and time for a very late lunch so we stopped in at Coupers Creek. Coupers Creek is the new sister restaurant to Sutor Creek where we had excellent mussels and pizzas a couple of years ago. It’s a great place with a gift shop and ice-cream bar.
We both tucked into peri-peri chicken and swiss cheese sandwiches which came with a mixed greens and sesame salad. So tasty and hot (in flavour as well as temperature) and the bread came from around the corner – the Cromarty Bakery.
By the time we also had hot chocolates we were too full for cake (which you can see in the picture above – the staff there are fans of the tall layered cakes!) so we headed on for another quick wander. We didn’t go into every shop but I can give you some recommendations of things to visit/try:
The Cheese House – I’ve met Jon and Emmy a few times at various foodie events and tastings, they have a brilliant unique shop with the most delicious dutch cheesesa and other food products. I can’t resist the Maasdammer which is an alternative to Emmental.
Ingrid’s House – this is a new addition and there was some fab gifts and houseware available.
The Pantry Coffee shop – I haven’t been here myself (one to come back and try,especially as the Trip Advisor reviews are very good).
The Emporium – a great second hand bookshop which also stocks gifts made locally.
Cromarty Pottery – one of my favourites, there are some lovely pieces here (either for your own home or for others!)
Eco-Ventures Boat Tours – this is definitely on my bucket list – we saw the boat out and about whilst we were walking and their facebook page has shown some cracking photos of dolphins and other wildlife spotted.
Cromarty Bakery – their bread and oatcakes are must buys and they have some delicious pastries and cakes at this traditional village bakery.
Gardner & Gardner Antiques – I haven’t made it inside here yet as it was closed on our last visit, but the displays looked interesting and varied!
Cromarty Brewing Company – Mr B is a big fan of their ales especially the Happy Chappy pale ale!
The Egg Box Shop (we spotted this on the way into Cromarty but we forgot to stop in on the way back, so definitely one for our next trip) – take a look at this video!
Hopefully you get the idea that Cromarty is a really thriving town with new businesses and a real artistic and community spirit. It’s a great place to spend a whole day out.