By Anne Thackray
Image provided by Anne Thackray
Invergordon is my nearest town. It is a port on the Cromarty Firth. It was a big naval base in the First World War and was used by the navy in the Second World War. It has a long association with the Royal Navy and there are large oil tanks in Invergordon and in the hills above for fueling ships during the wars.
Invergordon also has the Natal Gardens which commemorate the sinking of HMS Natal on 30 December 1915, in the Firth after an explosion in her munitions store. 421 sailors, women and children, including the captain were killed. The women and children were visiting the ship at the time. It was covered up by the government so as not to dent morale. The gardens are beautiful and enjoyed by locals and cruise passengers. They are maintained by local people.
The Cromarty Firth is used for the maintenance of oil rigs and now the establishment of off shore windfarms around the coast. There is a Heritage and Naval Museum in the town. There is also St. Ninians Episcopal Church which used to be the old naval church and has communion rails dedicated to those who fought and died at the Battle of Jutland. There is also the Mural Trail through the centre of town covering such wide topics as the Highland games, the lifeboat, local wildlife and penguins using balloons to fly.
Many thanks to Anne Thackray for sharing with us the story behind her journey stone, created as part of the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands.
WHAT IS A JOURNEY STONE?
Prior to the beginning of the stitching of each tapestry panel, each stitcher of the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands was tasked with telling their interpretation of the 'Spirit of the Highlands and Islands' within a blank outline of a stone. The possibilities were truly endless - is it represented in the land? The people? A historical site? A favourite memory?
In any case, each journey stone represents the connection between of each individual stitcher, their story, and their own sense, or 'spirit', of place. Discover more of the stories behind the journey stones of the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands here.