Cromarty is home to Hugh Miller’s Cottage. He collected several superb fossil fish in nodules from this location, but these are now very rare, due to their high value and the slow pace of erosion here.
♦ Head towards Cromarty and park along the seafront.
♦ Walk east along the public footpath, which runs beside the beach until it reaches the cliff. Here, there is a signpost about Hugh Miller, which explains about the fossils he collected.
♦ Ref: 57.67975°N, 4.02746°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦ – The fossil fish from Cromarty are very rare. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will find anything.
CHILDREN: ♦♦ – This location is not suitable for a family day out, because of the rocky foreshore. The low find frequency also makes this location one for more serious, hard-core collectors.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦ – Cromarty is fairly easy to access, You can park along the sea front and walk along a public footpath, which follows the foreshore until you reach the cliff.
TYPE: – The cliffs at Cromarty are Devonian. Fossils are found within or at the base of them.
This is an SSSI, so hammers and hammering the bedrock and cliffs are strictly prohibited. The area is famous for its fish beds. The path is marked by a board explaining about Hugh Miller. His house is also open to the public, as he lived in Cromarty and the local museum also has specimens from his collection and information about him. Cromarty is mentioned a lot in his novels, with many complete fish specimens being found within their pages. The fish are found in limestone nodules, which are elongated and round, but can also be flat. Because erosion in the area is generally slow, due to both the land rising relative to sea level and also the presence of very hard rocks, nodules rarely become exposed and with so many collectors around, there is little chance of finding any fish.
The rocks at Cromarty are of the Raddery Sandstone Formation. This sandstone is very pebbly, and was formed 370 to 391 million years ago in the Mid-Devonian epoch.
The rocks comprise red sandstones, largely of fluvial origin with lensing conglomerate members and muddy lacustrine members, with fish fragments. The lower boundary makes conformable contact on the Kilmuir Conglomerate Formation.
Common sense when collecting at all locations should always be used and prior knowledge of tide times is essential. The tides can reach quite high up the beach at Cromarty. Therefore, ensure you return well before high tide. The foreshore can also be very slippery and rocky. Wear suitable footwear.
This is an SSSI. Therefore, hammering and hammers are strictly prohibited.
This site is an SSSI. This Special Site of Scientific Interest, means you can visit the site, but hammering the bedrock is not permitted.
Scotland’s fossil resource is at risk of abuse and damage, and so we must all safeguard and managed fossil collecting to ensure its survival for future generations. For this reason it is VITAL you read and adhere to the Scottish Fossil Code for ALL sites in Scotland.