The Cromarty Firth is an arm of the North Sea in Scotland. It is the middle of the three sea lochs at the head of the Moray Firth: to the north lies the Dornoch Firth, and to the south the Beauly Firth.
Nothing special you would think because you find firths all around the Scottish coast. But what is special is that the deep waters of the Cromarty Firth provide a ‘parking lot’ for mothballed oil and gas rigs.
Over the years the Cromarty Firth has hosted a large number of ‘resting’ drilling rigs. The Queens Dock in Invergordon and the dry dock at Highlands Fabricators have both been used for repair and conversion of drillers.
In 1972 a facility for the construction and repair of North Sea oil rigs opened in Nigg Bay.
Elsewhere along the firth are facilities for cruise ships, oil processing, and other maritime activities.
The firth is also designated as a Special Protection Area for wildlife conservation purposes. More than 30,000 wildfowl and waders are present in the Cromarty Firth each year between October and March and a similar number in the Inner Moray Firth. The wintering species of particular significance in a European context are whooper swan, bar tailed godwit, greylag geese and redshank. The Firths also provide foraging grounds for breeding osprey that nest in nearby woodland, and a nationally important population of common tern.