The present obelisk dates from 1921, built by the then Countess of Cromartie after the original was demolished in 1920. The original was a thinner and taller version, erupting from level ground with no trace of ornamentation surrounding it. This 65ft version was affected by the earthquake in 1800 and subsequently developed a pronounced lean which eventually led to its demolition.
Governor Andro attended to the amenities of the Castle grounds as well as to the defensive strength of the structure. One of the three remaining ruin-relics of the Castle is what is still known as the “doo’ cot.” This originally was one of the corner towers of the old Castle, but was transformed by the Bishop into a dove cot after the type of the Norman towers, with low domed vaulted roof, having nest holes built into the wall on the inside.
Sir Hector MacDonald Memorial
But the most significant monument to MacDonald is the national memorial in Dingwall. This was constructed between 1904 and 1907 (architect James Sandford Kay), its hundred foot high tower dominating the hillside above the town. Its main features are slender whinstone tower projecting from the rubbly sandstone base and the balistered parapet around the corbelled top platform. This in turn is surmounted by a castellated cap-house. Panoramic views may be obtained from the top of the monument on a clear day, giving a true impression of the northern Highlands, as well as the ancient burgh of Dingwall in the hollow below. Settlement was confined to the south side of the river Peffrey and when the monument was erected development did not extend north of the Peffrey until after the War. During this period, the population rose from 2800 to the present 5000.
St Clement's Pictish Stone
Across the road from the Cromartie car park, the stone now stands in the churchyard to the south of the church and just within the gateway. During renovations to the church in 1878 Mr William Jones discovered the stone being used as a lintel over one of the doors. Its original provenance is unknown. The rectangular slab of mica schist has the double disc and Z-rod and two crescent and V-rods on one side. The other side of the slab has three circles, a crescent and V-rod, and six cup marks. All of the symbols are incised and the stone is therefore a class 1 symbol stone dating from the 5th – 7th centuries A.D.
[Text and photographs provided by Dr. Tony Woodham.]
Ref.: “St Clements looks back” D. D. MacDonald, 1976, p. 35.
Town House Clock
The clock on the tower of Dingwall Town House has proved to be of great benefit to the townsfolk over many years, with its east- and west-facing dials and chimes. Over the years weather had affected the structure, leading to the tower requiring masonry and wood repairs and the clock, refurbishment..
In the summer of 2014 scaffolding was erected round the stone and timber tower in order that the project, commissioned by Highland Council, might commence. The overall cost, £197,000, was met by the Council, Highland Leader programme and Historic Scotland.
The work in question included an analysis of eight layers of paintwork, the final revealing a pale grey which is thought to be the shade favoured as a means of mimicking expensive leadwork. All the wood of the tower was stripped back and reinstated in this, historic, colour. Traditional lime harling was used to protect eroded masonry. The clock’s faces and machinery were stripped back and restored.