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Cromarty Image Library

Fire Command Post, South Sutor.
The Cromarty Archive
Fire Command Post, South Sutor.

Part of the fortifications as seen from the air on picture #920 & picture #921. What a great shame that these buildings are not being preserved or turned into some sort of museum. When built these stood guard over the worlds largest and most powerful Navy which was then largely based in the Cromarty Firth.

If not preserved soon I fear there will be little left to preserve by their centenary. Once gone there will be no tangible evidence of this significant chapter in the areas history.
Picture added on 29 August 2004 at 17:19
Comments:
I couldn't agree more with you Andrew ....a great part of Cromarty's History ....and to think that the great fleet was sheltered in the Cromarty Firth all those years back ....and these buildings are the only record left of that period of History ..surely there has to be a Historical Society that are interested enough to take on the project ...lets hope so anyway for ..at least for Cromarty's sake !!
Added by John Macdonald on 31 August 2004
I agree. The Sutor Forts are the reason my Father came to Cromarty. West's Piling the family civil engineering firm were awarded a WWII refurbishment and expansion contract in 1938. Father was assigned to the project as a junior engineer. He met my Mother, Jessie Reid, who worked in the Post Office at the time. He went off to war in 1940 and returned to Cromarty in 1946 he married Mother in May 1947. The rest is histor. I arrived in 1952 and so began the family's continued association with Cromarty.
Added by Arthur Bird on 01 September 2004
I too owe my existence as a result of the naval base, my grandfather being in the RN and marrying a local girl.

You would think that the significance of the site would be of national importance and attract support from the likes of the National Trust for Scotland. The site is arguably of more significance than Hugh Millerís birth place and for many of far greater interest.

Added by Andrew Bathie on 03 September 2004
I too thought first of the National Trust Andrew ...but being away from Scotland for that long ..I wasn't quite sure if these building would fit into there ideals ...As I thought they were actually into old Historic Houses ...one idea would be ..as they have done in France etc ..and turn the building into part Historical building with old photos displays of the the building a, maps etc etc ..where people could make the trip up there as part of a Tour ..and relax in a small cofee shop .postcards etc where it would help to contribute to saving and mantaining the building..just a thought !! ( By the way Andrew ..I remember Bill Bathie ..what relation are you to Bill ? )
Cheers
John
Added by John Macdonald on 04 September 2004
John, I'd agree. There must be plenty of maritime history to fill a site of that size. I'm not altogether sure whether the National Trust for Scotland would view these buildings as being worthy of preserving they have preserved lighthouses and industrial buildings.

Bill Bathie is my uncle, his elder brother Daniel being my father.
Added by Andrew Bathie on 04 September 2004
I hadn't realised there were still any of these buildings left. As a youngster Adam Law, Ian (Charlie) Lamont and myself freed up the steel door and shutters on one of the pill boxes up there and camped in it several nights. I am in total agreement with both of you as with some of the building on the North Sutor. I would be only too happy to get involved myself even although I am on the other side of the water.
Added by Pat Swanson on 04 September 2004
suggestion.. write to your Scottish Member of Parliament with concerns and ask for advice as to how to proceed. A 'google' search will bring up relevant information of institutions and people to contact.
Added by Margaret Tong on 07 September 2004
Or you could write to John Nightingale, the current owner (care of Cromarty House), and suggest he donate them to the National Trust?
Added by Colin on 07 September 2004
Another option may be the Imperial War Museum.
Added by Andrew Bathie on 07 September 2004
Patrick... you say you are on the "other side of the water." Is that the Atlantic Ocean? I live in California.
I used to work in the Churchill College Archives in Cambridge. I will contact someone I know there and ask if they can help.
Added by Margaret Tong on 07 September 2004
Afraid not Margaret! Just across the firth in Invergordon. "the other side of the water" locally although I did spend some time working in Alabama a few years ago.
Added by Pat Swanson on 11 September 2004
I used to have a gang hut in this building in those days all the window panes were intact but unfortunatly not for to long as some young vandals decided to smash them so bang went our fabulous play area. As a youngster the FORTS were a fabulous play ground I can also remember the Coastguard Lookout tower up there has anybody got any photos of this?
Added by Paul Shepherd on 25 September 2004
Have we put this one on the back burner folks? I Had an Email from Mr Nightingalewhich I received some time ago on a day I was departing to join a vessel and only had time to scan over it. I must look it up. and must admit it has gone on the back burner with myuself also.
Added by Pat Swanson on 09 April 2006
Is it safe to go inside and have a look around the fortifications like someone did on the website at the bottom of this page?
Added by Anon on 23 June 2007
Get in touch with Orkney Islands Council who may be able to get you information about the Rerwick fortifications which are I believe preserved to some degree and the landowner gets some compensation. This may be the case already on the Souters?
Added by Dennis Manson on 24 June 2007
My Father, Vic Taylor served with the Charlie Leat Battery of the Royal Marine Light Infantry on the South Suter in The Great War(WW1), he married a local girl in 1917, so really I owe my existence to there being a Naval Base in the Cromarty Firth all those years ago.
It would be interesting to know if the idea of preserving the historical importance of the whole of the Military Site on the Sutors has moved forward as you were discussing in 2004. Time moves on and the site futher deteriorates which is pitiful as it makes it less likely that any organisation or trust would consider taking on the project, don't put this project on the back burner move it on, there are many organisations out there who would consider funding if approached to preserve such an important part of the history of Cromarty, has anyone considered the National Lottery?
Added by Jean Bell (nee Taylor) on 04 September 2007
There is an interesting picture of a six inch gun at Newhaven, in England, on what looks to me like an exact copy of the WW2 six inch gun mounts on the Sutor.

see - www.flickr.com/photos/doverpast/2355073937/

The only differnce I can see is the Cromarty Guns were covered, and this one is in the open.
Added by Calum Davidson on 28 May 2008
My father was stationed in Cromarty while in the Army that's how he met my mum at a dance I think.
Added by Alice A Kidd on 08 June 2014
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Buildings

The Fisher Town, CromartyMcBeath's old shop - rebuild underwayRenovations to the McBeaths of shopSouth Sutor Chicken FarmHighland cows at South Sutor chicken farmSouth Sutor poultry farmhouseNew wall railings at Bob and Marion Tonkins houseRev. Walter Scott in front of Forsyth HouseRev. Walter Scott and his wife Peddieston House