Our first drive this morning was to the Black Isle and an eco-adventure on the Cromarty Firth. Our quest was to find the bottle nose dolphins for which the firth is renowned. We were not disappointed! There were several spotted and a few that came close enough to the boat that we could see their faces when they came out of the water. These dolphins are the largest bottle nosed dolphins in the world and can measure 4 meters long and a half ton in weight.
Our eco ride guide, Sarah, also took us along the side of the magnificent Sutors of Cromarty which mark the entrance to the firth. The North Sutor rises to 147 meters (486 feet) while the South Sutor reaches 140 meters (463 feet). Sutor means shoemaker and legend has it that there were two brothers who were shoemakers living on either side of the firth. They were so poor they had to throw their tools across the firth to each other so they could share. Hence the name The Sutors. The Sutors are magnificent – multi-colored rocks teeming with sea birds rising above the firth.
Both the North and South Sitor carry the remains of substantial military gun emplacements, coastal batteries built in the early 20th century to protect and defend the naval anchorage in the firth. These saw service during both WWI and WWII and were abandoned by the late 1950’s.