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Cullen

Cullen is an extremely attractive town originally built around the mouth of the Burn of Deskford. When seen from the sea it is framed from behind by higher ground carrying a disused railway line over a series of spectacular viaducts.

The town is in two parts. Sandwiched between the sea wall on one side, and the curve of the main road on the other is the fishing village, Seatown. This is a unique collection of a couple of a hundred small stone fishermen's cottages. At the seaward side they turn their ends to the sea, which on this north-facing coast can be much less placid than implied by the images on this page.

Wandering around Seatown is a slightly other-worldly experience. It was obviously a planned community; but the plans were interpreted in any number of slightly different ways as individual cottages were built. One fascinating feature is the brightly-coloured appearance of the render applied over the joins between the stones forming many of the cottages, but not over the faces of the stones themselves, producing an odd patch-work effect.

The "inland" side of Cullen stretches up an imposing main street that continues from Seatown under the most easterly of the three railway viaducts. Here you can find a collection of local services and attractive small shops that service the local community: but again no sign of the commercialisation that has elsewhere overwhelmed attractive coastal settlements of this sort.

At the eastern end of Seatown, just below where the main road emerges from its viaduct, is Cullen's harbour. Again, a relatively quiet place that marks the junction between the Seatown's sandy beach and the rockier seascape to the east. People enjoy this beach, but most prefer the much larger expanses of sand to be found immediately to the west of Cullen, and easily walkable from it.

A Fishing heritage lies behind Cullen's main claim to fame: a form of smoked haddock, potato and onion soup named after the town: Cullen Skink. The slightly odd name comes from the Gaelic word for "essence".