Today was the day to be in Cromarty for those interested in local architecture and social history.
In the morning, David Alston and Caroline Vawdrey led two tours of the East Church to show restoration work that has been carried out in the past few months. Inside, the bones and archaeological finds that were visible during the last tour have now been removed or re-interred and a cement floor laid (with gaps around the edges to allow the floor to 'breathe'). Outside, the cement harling is gone and the process of pinning and ‘flushing out' (application of the lime mortar base coat) has begun. David also pointed out several grave stones in the kirkyard and related recent information that has been discovered about the deceased.
The official opening of the Cromarty Courthouse Museum took place in the afternoon. This summer visitors will find 'Sir Thomas Urquhart' at the door to greet them! (see photo at right)
Two new exhibits have been mounted this year illustrating life in Cromarty from the early 1900s to the present. In 'From the Fishertown' Cromarty printmaker John McNaught has created seven artworks highlighting the hard life of fisherfolk that led many to emigrate to America, Canada and Australia. A book of 50 photographs by Willie John Smith illustrates the harsh conditions of the fishermen who took to the sea in very small boats and the women who baited the hooks, sold the fish and carried their menfolk out to their boats (to keep their feet dry!). 'Living in Cromarty' relects on different aspects of life in Cromarty over the years.
The Courthouse is open from 11am to 4pm Sundays through Thursdays throughout the summer. Entry is FREE.
Further 'launches' today were the presentation of the new booklet The Cromarty Fisherfolk Dialect by Am Baile in the Old Brewery and the throwing of the first jack at the Cromarty Bowling Green to mark the start of the outdoor bowling season. All in all, a busy day!