Cullen is a fascinating village with stunning geography, a famous soup and an awesome viaduct! It is a village of two halves with the original fishing village down on the shore, where The Royal Oak is situated, then the ‘new town’ (1820’s) built away from the fishing harbour half a mile up the escarpment.
The Royal Oak has beautifully appointed bedrooms and a charming restaurant serving lunches, afternoon teas and evening meals, featuring freshly caught seafood, Aberdeenshire beef plus free range pork, lamb and venison from their own property in the Great Glen. Vegans, vegetarians and gluten free are well catered for and there is also a cosy bar for trying out the fine range of Malt Whiskies, craft gins and real ales!
Caroline Ronald took over The Royal Oak Hotel in Cullen a year ago. The move from her Argyll livestock farm was a natural progression for Caroline whose childhood was spent in her parent’s hotel in rural Perthshire. Her passion for local produce has always been at the forefront of her business.
For Foraging Fortnight her menu featured Wild Venison Loin with Beetroot and Blackcurrant Sauce, Venison Cottage Pie on the side with Wild Garlic Mash served with Buttered Spinach, Chanterelles and Heritage Carrots. Vegetarian option also available.
Cullen was a thriving fishing port and is home to Cullen Skink (also on her menu), a fish soup particular to Scotland, the main ingredients being finnan haddie, potatoes, onions and cream. Nowadays Cullen is more leisure activities than fishing fleets, although still retaining its very Scots character.
Cullen is steeped in the most incredible history, well documented as far back as the Danes. The organs of Robert the Bruce’s wife, Elizabeth de Burgh were buried at the old kirk (for temporary safe keeping it seems) after her death at Cullen Castle. She was later buried according to his wishes and he made an annual payment to the village in gratitude for the respect they gave her. This stipend continues to this day and a prayer is said for her in church.