A mountainous shire of high tops, breath-taking glens, windswept bealachs and two contrasting coasts, Ross-shire is a Highland county without compromise.
For practicalities Ross-shire and Cromartyshire are often treated as one geographical area, however they remain separate counties. Enclaves of Cromartyshire lie scattered across Ross-shire.
Ross-shire stretches from the North Sea coast to the Atlantic coast, standing between Inverness-shire and Sutherland. It is a severe, mountainous shire dominated by the Northwest Highlands. Physically it is divided into Easter Ross and Wester Ross. The coast of Wester Ross is deeply indented with craggy sealochs and with scattered islands. Easter Ross has a gentler coast with fertile land, notably on the Black Isle between the Cromarty Firth and the Beauly Firth.
The county town is Dingwall at the head of the Cromarty Firth. Its name is Norse, a memory of the extent of Norwegian power in the north.
Ross-shire also includes the Isle of Lewis (treated as a separate island but in fact divided from Inverness-shire’s Isle of Harris by Loch Seaforth, Loch Resort and a hilly land border between them). Lewis is largely low-lying, the whole middle covered in peat, its only town being Stornoway on the east coast, and this is the only true town in the Outer Hebrides.
County Town: Dingwall
Main Towns: Dingwall, Gairloch, Kyle of Lochalsh, Fortrose, Port of Ness, Tain, Stornoway, Strathpeffer.
Main Rivers: Oykel, Carron.
Highlights: Abbey of Fearn; Glenmorangie distillery, Tain; Isle of Lewis; Shandwick Stone..
Highest Point: Carn Eige, 3,877 feet.
Area: 3,089 square miles
County Flower: Bog Asphodel