Cullen Skink and Scones: Adventures in Scotland, Part 2


The non-rocky part of the trail to Gardenstown.

We spent our first day at Crovie Cottage #13 on the Moray Coast exploring the small fishing village and hazarding the “Danger! Falling Rocks!” trail that leads along the sea to neighboring Gardenstown. Eventually, we stopped at a café for lunch.

The Tea Pot Cafe is the kind of place where everyone notices when somebody new walks in. Your table neighbors will advise you on menu choices, ask where you’re from, and if you’re lucky, will tell you the best places to visit.


The rocky part of the trail.

We were advised to visit Delgatie Castle for the best scones and Cullen skink in the land. Scones need no explanation. Cullen skink, however, is a chowder made from smoked haddock. It was invented in the nearby town of Cullen, and is apparently all the rage. Certain restaurants along the coast even boast chefs who have won Cullen skink soup honors. The “Cullen” part of the name of this dish sounded okay to us. The “skink” part, not so much, but we were game to try it.


Delgatie Castle

So, the next day, after a visit to a nearby gannet colony at the Troup Head Nature Reserve, we were off to the castle. Delgatie Castle is no longer inhabited, but is run by an organization. As we approached on the dirt road and the pink tower loomed through the trees, we were stuck by the feeling we were in a fairytale.

Hungry again, we opted to visit the Laird’s Kitchen first and tour the castle later. We were not disappointed by either the scones or the soup, although as you can see from the photo below, the meal was a bit, er . . . white. The bread was homemade and the scones were meltingly hot.

The castle is primitive compared to others I’ve been in but it was interesting to see how the rooms were arranged around the large central tower staircase. There’s also a creepy story in one of the rooms about a monk being buried behind a wall.

So that was our introduction to local fare and Delgatie Castle. Next, it’s on to whisky!


Cullen skink soup, homemade bread, and tea – of course.


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