(129) Cromarty-Gallow Hill-South Sutor Circuit (Highland)

Route Summary
This route takes in both town and country environments, with many historic associations and fine views. The Black Isle promontory offers a special mix of rolling fertile farmland, with cliffs on the south side, and a large fjord-like sheltered sea-water inlet on the north side.

Duration: 3.5 hours.

Route Overview
Duration: 3.5 hours.
Transport/Parking: Stagecoach bus service between Inverness and Cromarty. See timetable. Small free public car-park at the walk start/end point.
Length: 8.750 km / 5.47 mi
Height Gain: 240 meter.
Height Loss: 240 meter.
Max Height: 122 meter.
Min Height: 0 meter.
Surface: Moderate. A mix of minor roads, field and woodland paths.
Difficulty: Medium.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but on lead in Cromarty and in farmland with livestock between Waypoints 4 and 8.
Refreshments: Options in Cromarty.

Description
This is a varied and enjoyable circular walk from the historic and picturesque little town of Cromarty in the Black Isle area of northern Scotland to the high headland known as the South Sutor. The town nestles on the shore of the sheltered waters of the Cromarty Firth, a haven to British battle fleets in both World Wars, and now to the North Sea oil industry. The initial ascent reaches Mains of Cromarty Farm before crossing the watershed of the Black Isle promontory and beginning a gentle descent to the cliffs on its southern shore where there are fine views over the Moray Firth across a wide panorama from Burghead to Inverness. The route then takes a turn to the north-east, crossing rough pasture on the shoulder of Gallow Hill to reach a high point at the South Sutor (125 m). The two headlands at the entrance to the Firth, in the supposed shape of massive shoemaker’s lasts, are associated with two mythical giant sutors (cobblers) who tossed tools to each other across the opening to the open sea. The return leg on the route then descends quite steeply through woodland on an old path known as “The 100 Steps” before exploring the interesting architectural features in the mostly 18thC centre of the town. The town of Cromarty dates back at least 700 years, with a history linked both to the fertile soil of the Black Isle and mercantile trade with Scandinavia, the Low Countries, Portugal and the Mediterranean. George Ross of Cromarty acquired the Cromarty estate in the 1760s building a brewery, the harbour, the fishing station and ice house, the fine courthouse, the Gaelic Chapel, and Cromarty House. However, Cromarty’s most celebrated figure is undoubtedly Hugh Miller (1802-1856) who grew up in poverty, becoming a largely self-taught polymath, rising from artisan stonemason to ground-breaking world-renown geologist, colourful local author, radical newspaper editor in Edinburgh, and passionate promoter of the democratic Christian values that underpinned the breakaway Free Church of Scotland. For more information, see:
https://tinyurl.com/yyvfepku and https://tinyurl.com/y6netmrf.

Links:
Photos from walk
Download Route Guide  (PDF with illustrated Waypoints)
Download GPX file  (GPS Exchange Format)
Access Walk on Viewranger
Access Walk on Wikiloc

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