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Invergordon, Scotland, Europe Cruise

    The northern part of Scotland, known as the Highlands, ranks as one of the world’s most magnificent scenic spots. Among the main attractions is a landscape of dramatic mountains and forested hills. This region is noted for its historic importance; its legends include the fabled Loch Ness monster, tales of which can be traced as far back as the 7th century.
    A naval base in the early 20th century, evidence of which remains in the tank farm lying behind the town centre, which used to contain fuel oil and water for admiralty ships, and the Admiralty Pier, where once warships docked and which is now used for cruise ships in the summer and oil field support vessels through the year. One German bomb hit one of the tanks during World War II when a large flying boat base occupied much of the northerly coast of the Cromarty Firth, the result of this being that the fuel oil flowed onto the railway tracks. According to town history the bomb did not explode. It is well known for the Invergordon Mutiny of 1931. It is currently best known for the repair of oil rigs which used to be lined up in the Cromarty Firth on which the town is situated. All the parked oil rigs have now been sold to overseas operators and for the first time in many years the Cromarty Firth lies virtually empty. The last one departed for India to be used by Essar Oil in March 2007. In the 1970s and 1980s nearby Nigg was known for the construction of these rigs. The yard used for this is now attempting to re-establish itself as a fabricator of large offshore wind turbines. For a number of years Invergordon boasted an aluminium smelter, and still has a grain whisky distillery - the output of which contributes to many blended whiskies. At present the port is visited by many large cruise liners each year, as the deep water port allows disembarkation for coach tours in the northern Highlands. Since the 1970s some would perceive the town as a 'Glasgow colony', since many workers were imported from southern Scotland to work in the oil rig fabrication and aluminium smelting industries. As a result, the residents' accents often show more influence from Glasgow, than the surrounding Easter Ross dialect of Highland English. However with the grandchildren of 1970s migrant workers now in school after intermarriage with 'locals', this phase is likely to be moving towards its close. Today the town is the communications and administrative center for the north of Scotland. Many of the traditional Scottish events take place here each summer, including the Highland Games and the Sheep Dog Trials. The surrounding countryside offers such famous attractions as the Battlefield of Culloden, Loch Ness, the villages of Tain and Cromarty, numerous historic castles and old established whisky distilleries. The local economy relies heavily on tourism, in addition to fishing and agriculture. Enjoy the picture-perfect scenery and perhaps an opportunity to chat with a Highlander eager to introduce you to his fabled land and its rich heritage.

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