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Updated 04/26/2013


Cullen Bay
Pipe Major Ian Duncan

Cullen, located on the Moray Firth Coast in the North East of Scotland, is a town originally built around the mouth of the Burn of Deskford. The town is in two parts. Sandwiched between the sea wall on one side, and the curve of the main road on the other is the fishing village, Seatown. The "inland" side of Cullen stretches up an imposing main street that continues from Seatown under the most easterly of the three railway viaducts.

Cullen has a long history. It was established by 1189 and a church was built in 1236. Its wealth in the 1700s was built on textiles, and thread making in particular. However the main period of growth came with the herring boom in the 1800s. Seatown was built in the 1820s, close to the pier built by Thomas Telford in 1819.  This fishing heritage lies behind Cullen's main claim to fame: a form of smoked haddock, potato and onion soup named after the town: Cullen Skink. The slightly odd name comes from the Gaelic word for "essence".

Cullen became a royal burgh as early as 1455, when it was known as Inverculan, a settlement near to the sea. Old Cullen was moved to higher ground sometime in the middle ages and in 1811 the Earl of Seafield commissioned a new plan for the town. The first house was built in 1820 and gradually the whole of Cullen was removed to the new site, Cullen as we know it today.

The Old Kirk of Cullen is said to have the heart of Robert the Bruce buried there and folklore states that Bonnie Prince Charlie sought shelter in the Kirk with his horses.

Ian Duncan (above) of Perth, Scotland, is the Pipe-Major of the Lothian & Borders Police Pipe Band of Edinburgh.  Duncan was the Pipe-Major of the Grade 1 Vale of Atholl Pipe Band of Pitlochry, Scotland, for 26 years, taking it from a mainly Juvenile organization to the top grade, winning several major championships along the way as well as the Pipe-Major of the Drambuie-Kirkliston Pipe Band.  Duncan studied under Bob Brown and Bob Nicol at Balmoral in the early 1970s. Solo prizes include the Highland Society of London Gold Medal competitions at Oban and Inverness.