Setting the Scene
Ross & Cromarty – Setting the Scene
There is no single geographical definition of Ross & Cromarty, an area of the Northern Highlands of Scotland, lying about 3 hours drive from Edinburgh and Glasgow. Its extent has changed through time eg. formerly included the island of Lewis in the Western Isles. This website is confined to the mainland (plus small near shore islands such as the Summer Isles), an area, stretching between Scotland's east and west coasts (about 36 times the area of Glasgow, with less than 10% of that city's population).
Ross & Cromarty was formed in 1890 by the combination of Ross-shire and Cromartyshire. Until 1975, Ross & Cromarty was a free-standing administrative area, a county, of Scotland (see Map). Today, the County is part of Highland Council administered from Highland's capital city, Inverness. However, many services are provided from local centres, including Dingwall, the old 'county town'.
The County's landscape includes dramatic mountains and sea-lochs, 'empty' moors, wooded glens, fertile farmlands, sand dunes and mudflats, sheltered deep-water anchorages, and rugged coastlines,
Easter Ross and the Black Isle have good farmland, fringed by the firths of Inner Moray, Beauly, Cromarty and Dornoch, and by hills to the north and west, through which run fine glens, such as Glen Glass, Strath Rusdale, and Strathconon. Here are the County's main settlements of Tain, Invergordon, Alness, Dingwall and Muir of Ord, and numerous villages, each with its own character. The eastern part of the County is favoured by the main transport links to the rest of Scotland, and beyond.
In contrast, Wester Ross is more remote, less populated, and with little cultivable farmland. Its main settlements, such as Kyle of Lochalsh, Plockton, Lochcarron, Gairloch, Poolewe and Ullapool, are villages rather than towns. The area is famed for the scenery of its western seaboard……a range of sea lochs and headlands, backed by impressive mountain ranges and peaks.
This is a brief and general description. There are many relatively remote parts of Easter Ross. There are vibrant businesses in Wester Ross.
The short journey of about an hour, westward along the A835 road through the County from the Black Isle to Ullapool in Wester Ross, reveals some of its diverse character. Passing from the fertile fields and gentle slopes between the Beauly and Cromarty Firths, you gradually gain altitude below Ben Wyvis, Easter Ross's mountain, reach the highland setting of loch and mountain at Loch Glascarnoch, and, beyond Loch Droma, first see the impressive peaks of the west, before descending rapidly to sea level at Loch Broom with its narrow strips of farmland hemmed by steep hillsides.