Cromarty Archive

Fire Command Post, South Sutor.

Fire Command Post, South Sutor.

Date Added: 29 August 2004 Contributor: Andrew Bathie Year: 2004 Picture No: 928

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.

Albums: Buildings, The Sea


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 least for Cromarty's sake !! Comment left on 31 August 2004 at 13:35 by John Macdonald
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. Comment left on 01 September 2004 at 10:01 by Arthur Bird
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 Miller’s birth place and for many of far greater interest.
Comment left on 03 September 2004 at 19:32 by Andrew Bathie
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 idea would be 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 ? )
Comment left on 04 September 2004 at 04:15 by John Macdonald
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.
Comment left on 04 September 2004 at 14:11 by Andrew Bathie
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. Comment left on 04 September 2004 at 20:47 by Pat Swanson
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. Comment left on 07 September 2004 at 06:04 by Margaret Tong
Or you could write to John Nightingale, the current owner (care of Cromarty House), and suggest he donate them to the National Trust? Comment left on 07 September 2004 at 15:44 by Colin
Another option may be the Imperial War Museum. Comment left on 07 September 2004 at 20:01 by Andrew Bathie
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.
Comment left on 07 September 2004 at 23:03 by Margaret Tong
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. Comment left on 11 September 2004 at 22:12 by Pat Swanson
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? Comment left on 25 September 2004 at 01:30 by Paul Shepherd
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. Comment left on 09 April 2006 at 09:28 by Pat Swanson
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? Comment left on 23 June 2007 at 15:32 by Anon
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? Comment left on 24 June 2007 at 17:26 by Dennis Manson
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?
Comment left on 04 September 2007 at 21:10 by Jean Bell (nee Taylor)
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 -

The only differnce I can see is the Cromarty Guns were covered, and this one is in the open.
Comment left on 28 May 2008 at 12:49 by Calum Davidson
My father was stationed in Cromarty while in the Army that's how he met my mum at a dance I think. Comment left on 08 June 2014 at 20:57 by Alice A Kidd
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