Cromarty Archive

Camps on the Links - c1914

Camps on the Links - c1914

Date Added: 20 July 2011 Contributor: Alla Macdonald Year: 1880 Picture No: 2968 view zoomified version

On the back of this photo it says:

"Channel Fleet leaving Cromarty - R S Ritson"

On the links is a naval camp which was there during the First World War. By WWII the navy had gone and the army camps were in place.

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This is a fascinating photograph and maybe a lot earlier than 1914.

I think the buildings are the smoking/curing sheds which once stood on the links. This is the best image of them I have seen and they look more substantial than I thought they would be.

There is a Robert Stevenson Ritson, died 1895, buried in the Gaelic Chapel kirkyard. He was the lighthouse keeper. In 1872 he is recorded as giving a 'magic lantern' show to the children at the Sunday School - so he seems to have had an early interest in photography.

This could be one of the earliest photos of Cromarty. Is 'R S Ritson' written or printed on the photo?
Comment left on 22 July 2011 at 14:42 by David Alston
It's hard to make out much detail on the ships but the uprights look like masts rather than funnels, which would mean it was probably one of the fleet visits in the 1870s or 80s. Comment left on 23 July 2011 at 14:10 by Estelle Quick
Hi David, Estelle,

I've now added a Zoomified version of the photo which does seem to show that the ships have masts, so I've changed the date. Also, if you click the Large Version link you'll see the back of the photo with the handwritten title and name.
Comment left on 25 July 2011 at 15:54 by Garve Scott-Lodge
The ship in the middle seems to have the 'cluttered' masts of early 20th century battleships. There's a picture of the Channel Fleet visiting the Mersey in 1907 (search 'channel fleet in the Mersey') which looks more modern than THIS photo - so maybe our photo is from a time of transition from sail to steam?

Re the buildings on the links, would smoking sheds not need tall smoke-rooms for the racks of fish on tenterhooks, with chimneys? Maybe we should ask Time Team to come up and do a dig? wonder how far back people's use of the Links goes - iron age? bronze age? stone age?
Comment left on 27 July 2011 at 12:33 by Sheila Currie
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