04 November 2019The Hugh Miller Writing Competition — 2019-20

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51 Best Places to see Scotland’s Geology

The Hugh Miller Writing Competition 2019-20 invites entries inspired by one or more of the 51 Best Places to see Scotland’s Geology.

Prose and poetry entries from all ages are welcome. It’s free to enter. The competition launched on the 19th of October 2019. The closing date for entries is midnight on the 15th of March 2020.

For more details visit www.scottishgeology.com/hughmiller

03 November 2019Meeting Thursday 21st November 2019

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Thursday 21st November 2019:Cromarty Emigrants — and the ships that took them

In 1998, the Courthouse published a study by Janet (Jenny) Fyfe, a key member of the Society, on this same subject. It dealt with emigrations specifically between 1707 and 1850 and identified America, Canada and the West Indies as the primary destinations for Cromarty-born folk or erstwhile residents of the town, although India, New Zealand, China and Australia also took their share. Whilst there is a wealth of information in the historical record, she and others have found that definitive information regarding the sailings, the numbers and names of passengers, the destinations and even the fates of the voyages are sometimes incomplete. She also found that the usual patterns of both Highland and Lowland emigration didn’t accurately apply to Cromarty emigration and concluded that this ‘needs further study’.

Sandy Thomson retired from Strathclyde University and moved to Cromarty twenty years ago. While studying Scottish History on Dundee University’s distance learning programme he became a very active member of Cromarty History Society and was our Convener for many years. He has been a regular speaker at our meetings, focusing on topics of local interest. On this occasion he will be paying tribute to the late Professor Jenny Fyfe by updating some of her early researches into emigration from Cromarty.

Cromarty History Society meets in the West Church Hall, Cromarty at 7.30pm on the the third Thursday of each month, September - April

23 October 2019Groam House Meeting October 31st 2019

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We have been asked to advertise the Groam House Lecture on “Perceptions of the Picts — contemporary popular interpretation ” by Matt Ritchie on 31st. October.

16 October 2019Cancellation of meeting on 17th. October

We apologise. The talk on, “Healing Wells”, 17th. October is cancelled. Our speaker is not well and has apologised for not being able to perform.

09 October 2019Meeting Thursday 17th October 2019

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Healing wells —Their contemporary use, history and folklore

In 1571 the Scottish Parliament passed an act, forbidding people from making pilgrimages to Healing Wells (also known as Holy Wells and Clooty Wells). In 2005, it was estimated that there were in excess of 80 thousand votive offerings at three surviving wells in the Highlands of Scotland, and this in an area with the full range of health services and a deep respect for organized religion in the form of the Christian faith. In the first instance this talk will pay attention to what they have survived, this includes:

  • The Christianisation of Scotland,
  • The Protestant Reformation,
  • The Enlightenment project,
  • The ‘medicalisation’ of the Highlands of Scotland, and finally,
  • The wells have survived increasing urbanisation.
In addition this talk will give examples of the contemporary use with interpretation of these sites.


Roddy McKenzie retired in 2017 after 38 years as a mental health nurse. He moved to this area in 1990 living in Inverness before moving to Evanton in 1997 where he still lives. In 1991 he had his first encounter with a clooty well (at Munlochy) and that sparked an interest which, allied to a deep interest in spiritual care within health care, led to his PhD research which examined the relationship between the contemporary use of healing wells and nursing care.

Cromarty History Society meets in the West Church Hall, Cromarty at 7.30pm on the the third Thursday of each month, September - April.

12 September 2019Meeting Thursday 19th September 2019

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Archaeology and the historic environment — in Scotland’s National Forests

Forestry and Land Scotland archaeologist Matt Ritchie describes the various aspects of his role within Scotland’s newest agency. A range of illustrated case studies will explore the protection, conservation and presentation of the historic environment on Scotland’s national forests and land. From research and record, through conservation and protection, to learning and interpretation, the various case studies will include the terrestrial laser scanning and historic archival research at the 19th century farmstead of the Wee Bruach in Loch Ard Forest; landscape scale conservation management of the WWII coastal crust in Lossie Forest; creative archaeological visualisation at the Iron Age hillforts of Dun da Lamh in Strathspey and Castle Hill at Glentress; and exploring the Neolithic in Scotland’s native woodlands using The First Foresters learning resource. Illustrations will include laser scans, done-based photogrammetric terrain models, artistic reconstructions, abstract linocuts and even DIY Very Archaeological Cut-Outs.

Matt Ritchie is the archaeologist for Forestry and Land Scotland, one of a team of national environment advisors providing advice and guidance in relation to the protection, conservation and presentation of the environment on Scotland's national forests and land. His particular interests are the methodology and visualisation of archaeological measured survey; the potential for place-based archaeology within schools and outdoor learning; and the integration of archaeology and the historic environment within wider land management and the ecosystems approach. He describes his role as to ‘top and tail’ projects: assessing cultural significance and identifying opportunities; developing and commissioning work; and communicating the results to wider communities of interest.

Cromarty History Society meets in the West Church Hall, Cromarty at 7.30pm on the the third Thursday of each month, September - April

11 September 2019Groam House Meeting September 26th 2019

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We have been asked to advertise the Groam House Lecture on “Landscape Photography — The Black Isle and Beyond” by Karen Thornburn on 26th. September.

26 August 2019Groam House Meeting August 29th 2019

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We have been asked to advertise the Groam House Lecture on “No 42 Satellite Landing Ground, Fortrose — often referred to as RAF Blackstand ” by Bill Campbell on 29th. August.

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