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Banffshire Coast News

Date of 4th Cullen Skink World Championships Announced
May 4th 2015

4th Cullen Skink World Championships - Sunday 22nd November 2015

The Cullen Voluntary Tourist Initiative and Cullen Bay Hotel are delighted to announce the date for the 4th Cullen Skink World Championships - Sunday 22nd November 2015 - in the Cullen Bay Hotel.

Following a very successful inaugural Cullen Skink with a Twist competition in 2014, there will again this year be two world titles up for grabs, with a closing date for entries of 31st October 2015.

Traditional Cullen Skink:  this title will be awarded to the competitor creating the best Traditional Cullen Skink made from fresh, local produce.   The Traditional Cullen Skink must be made with smoked haddock, and no other fish, smoked or otherwise, may be used.   Every competitor is required to submit a recipe for at least 1.5 pints or 750 ml. of Cullen Skink and their method of cooking this special dish.  From this, the judges will choose 6 finalists, to take part in the cook off, on Sunday 22nd November 2015 commencing at 11 a.m. Judging of the Cullen Skink will be made on the texture, flavour, colour and appearance of the soup. 

For a Traditional Cullen Skink entry form, please click here.  For the full entry rules, please click here.

Cullen Skink with a Twist:  this title will be awarded to the competitor creating the best Cullen Skink with a Twist made from fresh, local produce.   The basic ingredients for Cullen Skink with a Twist must include fish, potato, milk and onion; any other ingredients and/or recipe variations are down to the contestants.  Every competitor is required to submit a recipe for at least 1.5 pints or 750 ml. of Cullen Skink and their method of cooking this special dish.  From this, the judges will choose 6 finalists, to take part in the cook off, on Sunday 22nd November 2015 at 1.30 p.m. 

For a Cullen Skink with a Twist entry form, please click here.  For the full entry rules, please click here.

There is a registration fee of £5 per competitor in each competition - which should be sent, with each entry form, to:-

World Cullen Skink Competition, Cullen Voluntary Tourist Initiative, c/o Cullen Bay Hotel, Cullen, Moray, AB56 4XA.

3rd Cullen Skink World Championships - date announced
Aug 31st 2014

Following the success of the championships in 2012 and 2013, the Cullen Voluntary Tourist Initiative has now announced the date for the 2014 championship - Sunday 23rd November 2014.  

The two previous competitions have resulted in wins for a Cullen loon, Nigel Ross, in the inaugural event, followed by Tracey Fuller, a Cullen business woman, in the 2nd Championship.  So, the championship cup has remained firmly on home soil.  This year, the Initiative is introducing a variation to the competition – in that there will be two World Championships up for grabs – for the best Traditional Cullen Skink – and for the best Cullen Skink with a Twist.  

Those entering the Traditional Cullen Skink Championships will have a broadly free hand when it comes to their recipes; however, one stipulation rigorously adhered to is the requirement to use smoked haddock, milk, potato and onion.  Those entering the Cullen Skink with a Twist will enjoy even greater latitude.  The basic ingredients must include fish, potato, milk and onion; any other ingredients and/or recipe variations are down to the contestants.  

The finalists in each cook-off will have one hour to produce three 250ml portions of the soup for the judges; they will be allowed to prepare raw ingredients in advance, but all cooking has to be conducted at the event itself under competition conditions.  

The judging panel will once again be the cream of local culinary expertise – including the Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire, Lady Clare Russell, and Louie Paterson from Cluny Fish at Buckie.

The Cullen Skink World Championships have now become a key event in the Cullen calendar.  Moving the event to the quieter winter months will hopefully enable many more competitors to enter.

The rules of the competition and an entry form are available on www.discovercullen.com, on request by e-mail to visit@discovercullen.com, or by phoning 01542 840314.  The closing date for entries is 31st October 2014. 

Global window on beach views
Feb 18th 2014

Explorers of beaches in Banffshire can now let the world know what they mean to them as part of an innovative online project.

Manonabeach visited the area in 2013, taking in Cullen Bay, Banff and Cullykhan beaches, and asked people on each of them "What does the beach mean to you?"  The videos of the people who gave their thoughts were then uploaded to the project's website.

Now the online resource can allow people to submit their own recorded answers to the question - by text, audio and video - while enjoying responses from other people in the UK or further afield.

Manonabeach.com hosts narrative interviews with beach-goers and has been running for more than two years.  The website is seen in 119 countries.

Bathing Beaches Sparkle
May 27th 2013

Beaches in the north and north-east are among the cleanest in Europe. 

5 beaches in Aberdeenshire received the top rating - Philorth and Tiger Hill in Fraserburgh, Inverboyndie at Banff, Peterhead Lido and Rosehearty. 

The excellent rating went to Achmelvich, Dornoch, Dunnet and Rosemarkie in Highland, Cullen Bay on the Banffshire Coast, and Ganavan in Argyll and Bute.

Top-class beaches retain coveted top rankings
Apr 2nd 2013

Two of Banffshire's most popular beaches, Banff Links at Inverboyndie and Cullen Bay, have retained their coveted top rankings in the Marine Conservation Society's latest "Good Beach Guide".  Everyone connected with the tourist industry is delighted that the two beaches have maintained their position amongst the UK's cleanest, safest and best beaches.

These two beaches, combined with a string of high-quality beaches right along the Banffshire coast, underline the high praise this coast received recently when it was named by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.

Along with Cullen and Inverboyndie, Rosehearty and Fraserburgh beaches both won the top "recommended" rating for 2013.

Cullen & Deskford Calendar Photo Competition Launched
Feb 21st 2013

Residents, visitors and fans of Cullen and Deskford are invited to send in their personal photographs of the local area for the chance to be included in the 2014 calendar.  As previously, an eminent national photographic adjudicator will be judging the entries within three categories:  Primary School age, Secondary School age and Adults.  Each month will feature a winning photograph.  In addition, local businesses, clubs and groups can also have their own little bit of immortality by sponsoring a month.
 
The photo competitions over the last two years have seen some fantastic photographs - with some entries from as far afield as New Zealand and America.  Sales of the calendars have gone extremely well, contributing almost £2,000 to community projects; the calendar offers a fantastic opportunity to promote and show off our fantastic coastline and rural scenery, as well as raise funds for local community projects.

Click here for an entry form and rules. 

Entry forms are also available from the Cullen Paper Shop and Cullen Corner Shop, or by e-mail to community@discovercullen.com

2nd Cullen Skink World Championship Date Announced
Feb 20th 2013

Following the success of the inaugural championship in 2012, the Cullen Voluntary Tourist Initiative has now announced the date for the 2013 championship - Sunday 4th August 2013.

After many years of discussion, the inaugural World Championship took place in Cullen in 2012.  And it was very fitting that a Cullen loon won it !  The aim is to make the Championship an annual event, and that, in time, it may become as big and renowned as the World Porridge Making Championship in Carrbridge.

The first ever Cullen Skink World Championship was held in Cullen on Sunday 22nd July 2012.  Seven finalists were chosen from more than 20 entries to compete in the finals at the Cullen Bay Hotel.  The seven hopefuls had an hour to produce three 250ml portions of the soup for the judges.  They had a broadly free hand when it came to their recipes; however, one stipulation rigorously adhered to was the requirement to use smoked haddock.  The finalists were allowed to prepare raw ingredients in advance, but all cooking had to be conducted at the event itself under competition conditions.

The judging panel was the cream of local culinary expertise - made up of the Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire, Lady Clare Russell, cookery writer Diana Baxter of the famous soup-making family, and Louie Paterson from Cluny Fish at Buckie.

Nigel Ross, originally from Cullen but now living in Aberdeen, used an old family recipe to beat off the competition.  His recipe came from his grandmother; the family reckon that the recipe is at least 100 years old.  In addition, Nigel smokes his own fish - which was one of the keys to his success.

The other six finalists who made it such a great competition were Mary Addison, Fiona Forrest, Stuart Bonar, Paul Buxton, Gary Brown and Jamie Dawson.

To commemorate the day, Moray Distillery Glenglassaugh teamed up with the Cullen Bay's head chef Paul Buxton and Louie Paterson of Cluny Fish to create the most expensive bowl of the famous soup - Cullen Skink featuring haddock fillets marinated in Glenglassaugh's Revival Malt.  South Lissens Pottery handcrafted the soup bowls used in the competition.  And to round off the local theme, engraver Steve Thornton ensured that Nigel Ross' name appeared on the trophy for the presentation.

The Championship title will be awarded to the competitor producing the best traditional Cullen Skink, made from fresh, local produce.  The traditional Cullen Skink must be made with smoked haddock; each entrant will be asked to submit a recipe and their method of cooking this special dish.  From this, the judges will choose 6 finalists to take part in the cook-off which will take place on Sunday 4th August 2013.

The rules of the competition and an entry form are available on www.discovercullen.com or on request by e-mail to community@discovercullen.com.

Cullen and Banff Beaches on the official list of Scotland's best beaches
Sep 26th 2012

Banff's Inverboyndie Sands and Cullen's picturesque shoreline have retained their billing on the official list of Scotland's best beaches.

Both passed stringent Scottish Environmental Protection Agency water quality tests which showed that they displayed low pollution levels.  Both were awarded top marks under the current European Union Bathing Waters Directive.

Cullen Loon Becomes First Ever Cullen Skink World Champion !!
Jul 30th 2012

The first ever Cullen Skink World Championship was held in Cullen on Sunday 22nd July 2012.  Seven finalists had been chosen from more than 20 entries to compete in the finals at the Cullen Bay Hotel.  The seven hopefuls had an hour to produce three 250ml portions of the soup for the judges.  They had a broadly free hand when it came to their recipes; however, one stipulation rigorously adhered to was the requirement to use smoked haddock.  The finalists were allowed to prepare raw ingredients in advance, but all cooking had to be conducted at the event itself under competition conditions.

The judging panel was the cream of local culinary expertise - made up of the Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire, Lady Clare Russell, cookery writer Diana Baxter of the famous soup-making family, and Louie Paterson from Cluny Fish at Buckie.

Nigel Ross, originally from Cullen but now living in Aberdeen, used an old family recipe to beat off the competition.  His recipe came from his grandmother; the family reckon that the recipe is at least 100 years old.  In addition, Nigel smokes his own fish - which is one of the keys to his success.

To commemorate the day, Moray Distillery Glenglassaugh had teamed up with the Cullen Bay's head chef Paul Buxton and Louie Paterson of Cluny Fish to create the most expensive bowl of the famous soup - Cullen Skink featuring haddock fillets marinated in Glenglassaugh's Revival Malt.  Louie Paterson marinated the haddock in Revival before smoking it in the 100-year-old kilns in his smokehouse at Cluny Fish, Buckie.  Cullen Bay chef, Paul Buxton, then had the challenging task of finding just the right measure of whisky to complement his own recipe.

Also in line for praise was local firm, South Lissens Pottery, who handcrafted the soup bowls used in the competition.

Thanks must also go to local engraver Steve Thornton who whisked the trophy away and returned it bearing Nigel's name at the top of what is hoped to be a long list. 

Watch out for next year's competition when Nigel will return to defend his title !

Cullen Hosts World Championship
Jun 2nd 2012

Cullen will see the first ever Cullen Skink World Championship this year in July on the same weekend as the Cullen Summer Festival.  Cooks from all over are being urged to enter this inaugural competition.

The Cullen Voluntary Tourist Initiative have organised the event - and are ambitious in their plans to achieve the same scale and prestige as the World Porridge Championship in Carrbridge.  The championship title will be awarded to the competitor producing the best traditional Cullen Skink, made from fresh, local produce.  Each entrant will be asked to submit a recipe and their method of cooking this special dish.  From this, the judges will choose 6 finalists to take part in the cook-off which will take place on Sunday 22nd July 2012.

The rules of the competition and an entry form are available on www.discovercullen.com or on request to community@discovercullen.com.  They are also available from the Cullen Paper Shop, the Cullen Tourist Office and the Cullen Bay Hotel.

Cullen Exhibition set for Summer Fun
May 29th 2012

The Cullen, Deskford and Portknockie Heritage Group will be throwing open the doors to their Summer Exhibition on Saturday 2nd June at 2 p.m.  This is the third summer-long exhibition of local artefacts and memorabilia at the village's Memorial Hall.  The Exhibition will be open every week from Wednesday to Sunday during the months of June, July and August, with the doors open from 10.00 to 16.00.  Appropriately enough the exhibition will open on a theme celebrating Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee.  The photo exhibition is set to feature images of both her August 1961 and July 1982 tours of Moray and district.  As well as these photos, there will also be a range of interesting artefacts that have been donated by locals over the years.  In particular, these items will recall the halcyon by-gone days of sail and steam and life on a farm in or around the area of Cullen, Deskford and Portknockie.  There will also be audio-visual displays and volunteers will be on hand with more information about the objects.  Family history and genealogy is an increasingly popular subject, and the Heritage Group will have their own experts in this field available, complete with a comprehensive set of records.

Cullen Beach Gets Top Award
May 12th 2012

The Marine Conservation Society has just issued its Good Beach Guide for 2012.  Cullen Beach has achieved the MCS Recommended standard - the gold and top standard for excellent water quality.

Funding Delivers First Major Results
Feb 16th 2012

The first elements of ground-breaking marketing initiatives for the Banffshire Coast area have now been launched.  The website now contains a new section focusing on one of the area's key attractions, Dolphins and Marine Life, as well as ideas for Great Days Out along our coastline.  These features will make it easy for visitors to find useful information not only about the wildlife, but also about the best viewing points and the range of marine attractions to visit.  The three Marine and Wildlife Itineraries provide ideas for great days out along the coastline, giving visitors lots of reasons to spend time here, whether one day, a few days or longer.  In March, the new Area Guide will be launched.

Cullen on TV - Antiques Road Trip
Feb 8th 2012

 ** Cullen features on BBC's Antiques Road Trip **

Cullen is fast becoming a television favourite!  In December 2009, the extremely successful Reindeer Parade was featured on STV News.  In January 2011, Cullen featured in Episode 11, Series 2 of the Antiques Road Trip (James Lewis and Kate Bliss were the experts - and they came 1st and 2nd respectively in the competition!).  
 
With three antiques and collectables shops in the town, Cullen is obviously a favourite location for this successful BBC programme as yet again two experts visited here in the summer of 2011.  Their exploits will be featured on the new series starting on 13th February (the Cullen programme may not be screened until March).  The experts this time were Charlie Ross and James Braxton; they once again visited all the shops in Cullen, and there was some great drama at the Buckie auction - so it will be good viewing. 
 

Cullen - One of the Best Places to see the Northern Lights
Jan 26th 2012

The Aurora Borealis - or Northern Lights - is entering the liveliest stage of its 11-year cycle. And that means eerie hues of green and purple could be dancing over us several times a month. Our chances of seeing a display are increasing; solar activity goes in cycles of roughly 11 years, and the current cycle is set to peak next winter. It is possible to predict when an aurora will occur - to an extent. Sunspots indicate activity on the sun and there are websites which allow anyone to follow the "kp index". It measures solar flares. If it exceeds five, there may well be activity in mid or northern Scotland.

It is possible to see the very brightest of displays from towns, but it's best to be out in the country where it's darker. People do travel to Northern Norway and Iceland, but you can see them well from the north of Scotland which has the same latitude as Stavanger in Norway and Moscow. It's best to have a low horizon, so Cullen in the north east is a great spot.

Those who wish to find out when the Northern Lights will be visible can sign up for e-mail updates from AuroraWatch (click on http://aurorawatch.lancs.ac.uk to sign up).

Get snapping for Cullen calendar
Nov 15th 2011

Visitors and locals alike to the beautiful town of Cullen are invited to submit photos for the town's calendar.

The local community council are opening the photo contest for the 2013 calendar, so it will be ready in the shops next May.

The organisers are looking for photos taken of the area. The competition is in three categories; primary age, secondary schoolo, and adults.

The calendar has been a great success in recent years and the community council want the 2013 calendar to be in the shops as early as May next year, so that visitors can purchase them; hence the launch now.

Full information is available on the www.discovercullen.com website, by e-mailing community@discovercullen.com; or by phone to 01542 840314. Entry forms are also available at the Cullen Paper Shop, and Cullen Corner Shop. Closing date for entries is April 14, 2012.

 

New! Mobile website for the Banffshire Coast
Nov 3rd 2011

Great news for the Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership. Our new mobile website is now live on-line, and available to all who use their mobile phones to access the internet.

This is the future! It means that folk in their cars, or in the street can find out where to go, where to shop, where to eat, where to stay etc in our area, just with a few clicks on their mobiles.

The Banffshire Coast mobile website includes some minor mods to make it easier to use and to read on small  phone screens.

Thanks go to our IT gurus at blue square for creating it.

If you don’t have an internet enabled  phone, you can get a look at the mobile website on:  http://m.banffshirecoast.com/  To see how it actually  looks on a phone screen, make your viewing window much narrower. (Of course, it is much smaller on a phone too.)

Banffshire Coast Tourist Group Awarded Promotional Boost
Sep 30th 2011

Banffshire Coast Tourist Partnership were recently awarded £35,000 funding from a combination of the Rural Tourism Business Support project, the VisitScotland Growth Fund and Aberdeenshire Council.

Over the next 18 months, tourism businesses along the Banffshire Coast will have the opportunity to participate in several significant marketing initiatives, thanks to a recent funding award of £35,000.

The funding, from a combination of the Rural Tourism Business Support project, the VisitScotland Growth Fund and Aberdeenshire Council, will enable the Banffshire Coast Tourism Group to further develop and market the Banffshire Coast as a highly attractive visitor destination.

Roger Goodyear, Chair of the Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership, commented: "This award is a fantastic opportunity to promote our area to both first time and returning visitors, and follows on from a very successful short marketing campaign run at the beginning of this year which resulted in visits to our website (www.banffshirecoast.com) rising by more than 1500%."

The four marketing initiatives fall under two themes - Outdoor and Ancestral.  A full-colour 48-page pocket Area Guide, to be distributed throughout Scotland and the Banffshire area, will contain high-quality imagery and editorial content to encourage both visits to and wider exploration of the area.  The other three initiatives will focus on the area's strengths of Marine Life, Walking and Birdwatching, and Ancestral.  They will all involve a combination of activities, including the creation of new sections for the website, e-flyer campaigns to targeted market segments, PR trips and familiarisation visits, as well as social media campaigns.  All four initiatives will provide tourism businesses in the area excellent opportunities to advertise their own individual offering.

Roger Goodyear commented further:  "The Banffshire Coast has a wide range of tourism attractions and services, but these have never been brought together in a way which is 'visitor friendly'.  The planned campaigns will draw all of these elements together in one place and promote comprehensive packages and itineraries to those with these specific interests - for the very first time.  We will be showing visitors just how they can spend their time in our area - whether one day, a few days or longer.  By focussing on the web and social media, we will be able to achieve more significant results than the traditional advertising routes which are out of the reach of our budget, as well as utilising the most up-to-date promotional tools.  We are very grateful to our 3 funding partners - without whom we would not be in a position to make this step change in tourism on the Banffshire Coast."

For more information, please contact:  Zillah Jamieson, Director, Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership Limited; 01542 840314; zillahj@btinternet.com

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