. Finnie haddie
There is only one place on Earth where you should really enjoy this glorious creamy fish-based soup - Cullen.
Every now and then I have to visit a customer somewhere or other - usually a simple drive there, go in and drive back day visit. When I can, I bolt on a visit to somewhere en route or nearby for a spot of birding (like the north Norfolk coast if I'm in Wisbech in the spring/summer, or Eldernell on the way back in winter etc). Yesterday though I had to get to a fantastic area that I would really like to make more of but with business constraints that meant there was no way I could capitalise. Arse.
Anyway, I flew up to Aberdeen yesterday afternoon, arriving in superb bright sunshine. One hire car later and I'm on my way to the Moray/Banffshire coast. The customer (Baxters - soups, jam, beetroot, tourism etc) is actually based between Fochabers and Mosstodloch immediately next to the glorious Spey. However by choice I stayed at the coastal town of Cullen overnight.
I had a couple of hours in the evening to enjoy the town and harbour, and to grab a couple of pints of decent beer before returning to The Seafield Arms Hotel for dinner.
The harbour had the unforgettable enigmatic smell of seaweed and seafront - as an inlander it's something I enjoy. Flying over were screaming Swifts, and a few Swallows, House Martins and even a couple of Sand Martins. The beach held a few Oystercatchers, and Gannets were fishing just offshore. Great stuff.
After enjoying the sea front and fresh air for a while, I headed to The Three Kings Inn which is a great old traditional pub serving guest ales. I enjoyed a pint of Three Monkeys from the Caledonian Brewery and a Red MacGregor form The Orkney Brewery - both great beers which set me up nicely for dinner including the aforementioned Skink. A couple of pints of draught Belhaven Best in the hotel also went down well, but I opted to avoid sampling any of the 150+ malts on this occasion (in previous visits with more time I've tried a fair few!).
This morning the weather was shite - cold and rainy. Nothing better to do than get the business done and get back to the airport for the afternoon flight back. More time and better weather and maybe I could've driven down to Abernethy or across to the huge Culbin Forest. Nevermind.
Here's a few shots from around Cullen.