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Sutors Of Cromarty

(Redirected from Coastal Battery South Sutor)

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The Sutors of Cromarty are two opposing headlands which mark the entrance to the Cromarty Firth. The North Sutor rises to 147 metres (486 ft), while the South Sutor reaches 140 metres (463 ft).

The Sutors stand guard over the firth, and many stories have been told about them. Sutor is the Scots word for shoemaker, and one story tells of two giant shoemakers, the sutors, who used the two cliffs as their workbenches, and tossed their tools to and fro between one another.

Both North Sutor and South Sutor carry the remains of substantial military gun emplacements, coastal batteries built in the early 20th century to protect and defend the naval anchorage in the firth, which saw service during both World War I and, to a lesser degree, World War II, but was abandoned by the 1950s. Built before the outbreak of World War I, this protection included elaborate defences to protect the firth from U-Boats, including not only the batteries, but a Boom Defence and Minefield, together with Lookout and Observation Posts, and Searchlight Batteries.

Norwegian Battery

Records show that both training and operation of the Sutor batteries were carried out by Norwegian personnel.[1]

North South East West?

There appears to potential for confusion with regard to the naming of the Sutors, depending on exactly what is being referred to, and even today, when collecting information for this page, references in documentation, and names on maps are at odds. It seems that all the names are correct, provided the reader takes into consideration the context within which they are used. It may come as no surprise to learn the everything was fine until the military, specifically the Admiralty, added their input.

From the map, it is clear that there exists between the Sutors of Cromarty a firth, and the Firth of Cromarty has one Sutor to the north, North Sutor, and one to the south, South Sutor. Relatively intuitive and straightforward. Equally simple appears to the be the establishment of a large coastal defence on the North Sutor, together with a corresponding installation on the South Sutor, giving is the North Sutor Battery, and the South Sutor Battery.

Well... perhaps not quite that simple, at least not after 1913.

It seems that the headlands at the mouth of the firth were originally known as the East and West Sutors – but the Admiralty appears to have been unable to adapt to the local sense of direction, and changed this to the North and South Sutors in 1913, when the firth became a naval base.

The explanation would certainly seem to be in accord with a number of the photographic records of the batteries, which were found to be very confusing. The photographs would typically show a section of cliff which featured a number of buildings related to a coastal battery, but would then refer to some parts belong to the North Sutor Battery, and others as being in the South Sutor Battery.

This would clearly not be correct of referring to the two sutors separated by the firth, but could indeed be correct if the North Sutor and South Sutor being referred to were in fact the East Sutor and West Sutor battery areas that can be found on the headland of the South Sutor.

This is only our interpretation of the available information, in a way that makes to the data we have, and we would be more than happy to have this confirmed or corrected if there is an alternate explanation.

North Sutor radar station

The North Sutor Battery has been recorded as having a centimetric coast artillery fire control radar set situated to the north east. The radar would have been used to give accurate ranges and bearings to targets, and the splash of shells as they entered the water, enabling corrections to be made to their trajectory.

South Sutor radar station

The South Sutor Battery has been recorded as having a centimetric coast artillery fire control radar set situated to the north east. The radar would have been used to give accurate ranges and bearings to targets, and the splash of shells as they entered the water, enabling corrections to be made to their trajectory.

Cromarty boom

The Cromarty Firth was protected by an anti-submarine boom, located in the area between Cromarty and Nigg. Precise locations of the end-points of the boom do not appear to be recorded.

Cromarty minefield

The Cromarty Firth was protected by a minefield, and the related XDO observation post and mining station have been identified from records.


1 Reference to Norwegian artillery

External links

Because there are so many features on the Sutors, the information has been tabulated.

RCAHMS entries Coastal Battery North Sutor Map marker
9.0 NH8195668924 -> Photographs Coastal Battery NH8195668924 Map jump
9.1 NH82886982 Castlecraigs Radar Site NH82886982 Map jump
9.2 NH81956891 -> RCAHMS Photographs World War II Coastal Battery, Gun Emplacement NH81946891 Map jump
9.3 NH8214668966 World War I Observation Post NH8214668966 Map jump
9.4 NH8123068695 World War I Q-F Battery, Coastal Battery, Engine House, Gun Emplacement, Magazine NH8123068695 Map jump
9.5 NH82106872 -> RCAHMS Photographs Searchlight Battery NH82106872 Map jump
9.6 NH81946891 -> RCAHMS Photographs World War II Gun Emplacement NH81956891 Map jump
9.7 NH8215868965 World War II Observation Post NH8215868965 Map jump
9.8 NH8256469519 World War II Observation Post NH8256469519 Map jump
9.9 NH8184469195 Hut, Water Tank NH8184469195 Map jump
9.10 NH81886898 Pillbox NH81886898 Map jump
9.11 NH8212969008 Operations Block NH8212969008 Map jump
9.12 NH8198468986 Building NH8198468986 Map jump
9.13 NH8184468946 Engine House NH8184468946 Map jump
9.14 NH8196469003 Pillbox NH8196469003 Map jump
9.15 NH82406877 Gun Emplacement NH82406877 Map jump
10.0 NH8052069020 to NH8049569037 -> RCAHMS Photographs Nigg Battery, Dunskeath Castle, Norwegian Battery, World War II Coastal Battery NH8052069020 to NH8049569037 Map jump
10.1 NH80316897 Nigg Battery, Dunskeath Castle, Military Camp NH80316897 Map jump
17.0 NH80206883 Nigg-Cromarty World War II Anti-Submarine Boom NH80206883 Map jump
45.0 NH80307232 World War II Observation Post NH80307232 Map jump
45.1 NH79606869 Nigg Pier, Military Installation, Torpedo Tubes NH79606869 Map jump
291.0 NH7963968894 Nigg Pier, Submarine Mining Station NH7963968894 Map jump
292.0 NH79656875 Nigg Ferry World War II Pillbox NH79656875 Map jump
RCAHMS entries Coastal Battery South Sutor Map marker
11.0 NH81036695 -> RCAHMS Photographs Coastal Battery NH81036695 Map jump
11.1 NH80876705 Centimetric Radar Site NH80876705 Map jump
11.2 NH80056707 Military Camp NH80056707 Map jump
11.3 NH81056697 World War I Gun Emplacement NH81056697 Map jump
11.4 NH81016699 World War I Observation Post NH81016699 Map jump
11.5 NH81036690 World War II Gun Emplacement NH81036690 Map jump
11.6 H81016692 World War II Battery Observation Post NH81016692 Map jump
11.7 NH81206702 World War II Searchlight Battery NH81206702 Map jump
11.8 NH80856727 World War I Gun Emplacement NH80856727 Map jump
11.9 NH81006702 Engine House NH81006702 Map jump
11.10 NH81016689 Magazine NH81016689 Map jump
11.11 NH80996699 Water Tank NH80996699 Map jump
11.12 NH80976700 Huts NH80976700 Map jump
13.0 NH80636697 Chain Home Low radar station NH80636697 Map jump
13.1 NH80606693 -> RCAHMS Photographs R O C Postwar Observation Post NH80606693 Map jump
14.0 NH80166625 Gallow Hill R O C World War II Observation Post NH80166625 Map jump
15.0 NH80876701 -> RCAHMS Photographs World War I and World War II Port War Signal Station NH80876701 Map jump
16.0 NH80706722 X D O Post Submarine Minefield Control Room NH80706722 Map jump
16.1 NH80916705 Mine Watching Observation Post NH80916705 Map jump
18.1 NH802673 Iron Target Holder NH802673 Map jump
19.0 NH80006727 Rifle Range Iron Target HolderNH80006727 Map jump
294.0 NH79646724 World War I Rifle Range NH79646724 Map jump
297.0 NH79606615 World War I Practice Trench NH79606615 Map jump

Aerial views



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