Seen along the shore, Cromarty harbour presents a timeless picture. A wooden skiff is drawn up on the shingle beach, a traditional boat belonging to the Cromarty Community Rowing Club. Just out of the picture, a couple of small fishing boats are tied up at the old stone quay. Look out along the pier and the picture is rather different.
A procession of towering steel structures marches along the firth towards the sea.
Just across the water at Invergordon, the Port of Cromarty Firth is at the centre of a massive new development. Already equipped for building, overhauling and decommissioning oil rigs, the port has recently expanded into the new specialism of servicing offshore wind farms. The port is currently the base for pre-assembly and storage of wind turbines destined for the 950mW Moray East wind farm, under construction in the outer Moray Firth.
The massive ship moored just across the firth from the old Cromarty quay is the Pacific Orca Wind Farm Installation Vessel, an extraordinary ship which can jack itself up on six legs, planted on the sea bed, while positioning wind turbine towers with its built-in crane. The fishing boat in the picture looks like a toy beside it.
(Click on any photo for a closer view)