Looking out from Arabella Holdings towards the South East, it is difficult to miss the Hill rising above the fertile landscape. Views from the Hill of Nigg are unsurpassed and extend over three Firths and six counties. On a clear day, you can see Ben Rinnes to the south and Dunrobin Castle to the north
Viewed from inland, the Hill gives an impression of being pastoral fields and meadow land but behind that peaceful scene lies the force of The Moray Firth with dramatically sheer cliffs dropping straight down into the sea, protecting the Hill on the landward side. To the north, the Hill gently descends to sea level but to the south it ends in the North Sutor which forms, with the South Sutor, above Cromarty,
‘The Sutors of Cromarty’ are rightly considered to be one of the great sights of the Highlands. They are the oldest geological features of a landscape, teeming with fossils, perpetually providing an impressive natural gateway to the safe and deep harbour of the Cromarty Firth, clearly visible from the Nairn side of the Moray Firth. The Sutors stand guard over the Firth and many stories were told about them.
‘Sutor’ is the Scots word for shoemaker, and one story goes that two giant shoemakers, the sutors, used the two cliffs as their workbenches, tossing tools one to the other as necessary. In folklore, the Hill has always been regarded as a suitable terrain for the activities of a race of giants. In historic times men, too, have exploited the North Sutor for defensive purposes. Scotland’s great twelfth-century king, William the Lion, built a formidable royal stronghold overlooking the entrance to the Firth – Dunskaith Castle, the remains of the curtain walls of which can still be traced among grass and bracken as you go up the Hill from the Ferry to Castlecraig. The cultural continuity of the North Sutor is dramatically demonstrated by the presence of twentieth-century military installations in amongst the castle remains. In both World Wars this was a vital focus for Britain’s defence.