Why I wouldn’t mind living in front of these oil platforms

Cromarty is a small village on black isle in Scotland. I didn’t love it when we arrived, in fact, I thought that it was the ugliest place ever and I hated it. But my mind has been completely changed:

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The arrival

Cromarty was the 3rd destination on our road trip. After driving through amazing landscapes for hours, we saw huge oil platforms on the horizon. First, we made fun of it, said: “Oh look I bet that’s where our hotel is!”. As we came closer and the navigation system only showed 2 miles to drive, we realized with horror that this truly was our booked destination! As we arrived and got out of the car we told ourselves that we would not stay here, as the hotel was directly in front of these, at least 7, ugly oil platforms (of course we booked rooms with “seaview”). This ugly landscape has not been mentioned in a word on the website of the hotel. But ok, as we were already there and tired after the long drive, we decided to have a look at the hotel and stay at least one night of the three we booked. There was another suspicious thing going on: Despite the (in our eyes) website betrayal and ugly landscape, there were lots of people sitting in front of the hotel, laughing and chatting as if they were somewhere in the Caribbean and not staring at these huge iron monsters…

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Exploring

Despite seeing our long faces, the staff in the hotel was very friendly. The rooms were also very nice (despite the view). So, before dinner, I decided to take a walk with my mom to explore the village. After a few turns we were on the other side and realized that, without the view to the north, the village was quite nice. Really beautiful in fact. And so quiet! Not quiet in a bad way, as there were people chatting and normal village noises. But you instead of cars and planes you heard the birds and waves on the shore. The children playing. It’s hard to explain, but if you hear 100 planes starting per day at home and 1000 cars passing by, this here gives you a sensation of peace! Back in the hotel, we had the best dinner and watched an amazing sunset over the oil platforms. And slowly we started to smile again.

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The village

After exploring it a little bit more, I came to the conclusion that (if you block out the view to the north) Cromarty is one of the most beautiful villages I’ve ever been! It is full of art, very old houses, narrow streets and friendly locals who offer you whisky. You can even see the dolphins jumping out of the sea! You can take long walks, visit the cute little shops or drive to the next bigger city, Inverness, which is about a 40 minutes drive away. To have lunch or dinner in Cromarty you can go to the only restaurant (beside the hotel and the pub): The Sutor Creek. Be sure to make a reservation as places are very limited. They offer Scottish seafood, seasonal menus and wood-fired pizzas. Don’t miss this out, the food is amazing!!

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The art

This is the reason because of which I could stay here forever! There is art everywhere! It seemed to me that at least half of the residents were artists. We were lucky as there was a day of “open studios” during our stay when we could visit the workplaces of everyone which was very interesting. Artists explained their work, were showing their studios and would just chat with you about everything. There is one place called “the stables“, which is a community of different studios on the top of the hill over Cromarty. There’s a pottery in the village, where I learned that people from all over the world come to learn or see this art form here. A glass artist. Sculptors. Countless painters. Yet I haven’t seen a photography studio, maybe I could…? Fun aside, I just loved the people, the studios, the village, just everything!

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What did I learn?

I definitely learned not to judge a destination on the first day. I guess every place has more and less beautiful spots (ok, these platforms were really huge, but still). After 3 days, we didn’t even care about them and actually loved the sunsets as the iron reflected the colors so nicely. You have to see the beauty in everything, right? The platforms weren’t operating here, just stocked and waiting to go back to the sea to do their work. When we left, I really thought that this village is a paradise! Hopefully, I will return one day… 🙂

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