The 30 years I’ve lived in Cromarty, I guess I’ve seen three main “swings” in the oil price, and watched the ebb and flow of rigs filling and emptying the Firth. Somewhere on the hard drive I’ve a series of shots from February in 2003 or 2004, taken from Balbair point with seventeen rigs crammed everywhere and wherever from Evanton all the way past the Sutors. Just a few years later, I have a shot of a single rig sitting outside Invergordon, called somewhat unimaginatively “the very last oil rig”. Strangely enough it’s my best seller online – through Getty Images – but I suspect that its more to do with the image than the subject.
But June 2015 sees the Firth with at least half a dozen semi-subs, and three Jack Ups, parked. Some silent, dark and cold stacked, ready for the breakers yard. Others are noisy, bright and ready for the next contract. Together, though with a half decent telephoto lens, they make for a dramatic shot from Cromarty all the way down to the foothills of Ben Wyvis.