It was a treat to visit Cromarty on this beautiful spring day, whin flowers on the hillsides a splash of vivid yellow. Cromarty still retains a whiff of the 18th century even though the traditional houses are now home to computer programmers, web designers and to Calico UK, internet service provider for Scottish Clans and Castles.
I was with the first of our 2008 Outlander Tours. We wandered the narrow vennels, told stories of smugglers and pirates, and rope made here from hemp imported from St Petersburg. Most of all, though, we admired the 'Emigration Stone', above.
The words on it are from Cromarty's most famous son, Hugh Miller - Geologist, Writer and Naturalist, who watched ships sail off to the New World in the 1830s...
"The Cleopatra, as she swept past the town of Cromarty, was greeted with three cheers by crowds of the inhabitants and the emigrants returned the salute, but mingled with the dash of the waves and the murmurs of the breeze, their faint huzzas seemed rather sounds of wailing and lamentation than of a congratulatory farewell."
Hugh Miller also wrote. "Life itself is a school, and nature always a fresh study". Particularly true today.