Coffee at the Kings – By Duncan Harley

We had a wee gander round the familiar hotspots at the weekend before ending up in far off Kemnay on the Sunday.
Keith, Buckie and Findochty were fine and we even managed a bit of seal spotting @ the Gollachy ice-house.

The weather wasn’t that great though and as dusk closed-in on Saturday, we ended up in Cullen intending to have a sit-in at the local chipper. It was still early however so we headed down to the Three Kings at the golf-course to take in the sea view.

The writer Doris Davidson based her romantic novel The Three Kings in the town with the lead character, the orphaned Katie Mair, renaming the rock stacks as 'The Three Wise Men' - her trusted friends and the only ones to whom she could tell her troubles.

Of course, ask any Scot what they associate with the Moray seaside town of Cullen and the conversation will invariably turn to Skink. Cullen Skink to be precise. A hearty chowder like soup whose main ingredients are smoked haddock, potatoes and milk with maybe a leek and some onion thrown in for good measure, the town is famous for it and rightly so. Even the road signs on the outskirts of town proclaim “Welcome to the Royal Burgh of Cullen. Home of Cullen Skink” and the local Cullen Bay Hotel proudly hosts the annual Cullen Skink World Championship.

The 2013 event was won by local chef Tracey Fuller using her very own recipe which included secret ingredients” leading the judging panel to award her the winners crown against stiff opposition from Portsoy, Mallaig and Aberdeen. In 2018, local cafe owner Lynne Watson was crowned Skink Queen.
The popular tourist destination is of course well known for its history and connections to Robert the Bruce and William the Lion.  

The Three Kings rock stack is reputed to mark the graves of three Norse pirate kings who died in battle at nearby Bauds in the year 962. Nowadays, one of the stacks is slightly overshadowed by the clubhouse and the carpark but the remaining two stacks rise majestically offshore and at low tide – especially when viewed from Seatown and in a low light look absolutely stunning.

Imagine our surprise when, while at the Three Kings, we chanced upon a US style Airstream Caravan-café serving splendid tea and coffee.  Titled Coffee at the Kings, the iconic Airstream sits below the abandoned viaducts and serves-out good java for just a few pounds.

The light was definitely on the wane by then and, although the big camera was in the car, I took a chance and snapped a quick Galaxy image. Not my best, but in better light I will return with better intentions and less frozen fingers.

Duncan Harley is author of The A-Z of Curious Aberdeenshire plus the forthcoming title: The Little History of Aberdeenshire - due out on1st  March 2019. Both titles can be ordered via Amazon.


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