Cellardyke is a village in the East Neuk
East Neuk
The East Neuk or East Neuk of Fife is an area of the coast of Fife, Scotland, which is geographically ill-defined but nonetheless stirs local passions....

 of Fife
Fife is a council area and former county of Scotland. It is situated between the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth, with inland boundaries to Perth and Kinross and Clackmannanshire...

, Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

. The village is to the immediate east of Anstruther
Anstruther is a small town in Fife, Scotland. The two halves of Anstruther are divided by a small stream called Dreel Burn. Anstruther lies 9 miles south-southeast of St Andrews. It is the largest community on the stretch of north-shore coastline of the Firth of Forth known as the East Neuk,...

 (the two effectively being conjoined) and is to the south of Kilrenny
Kilrenny is a village in Fife, Scotland. Part of the East Neuk, it lies immediately to the north of Anstruther on the south Fife coast....



Cellardyke was formerly known as Nether Kilrenny (Scots
Scots language
Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster . It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language variety spoken in most of the western Highlands and in the Hebrides.Since there are no universally accepted...

 for Lower Kilrenny) or Sillerdyke, and the harbour as Skinfast Haven, a name which can still be found on maps today. The harbour was built in the 16th century and was rebuilt in 1829-31.

The modern name of the town is thought to have evolved from Sillerdykes (Eng
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

: silverwalls), a reference to the sun glinting off fish scales encrusted on fishing nets left to dry in the sun on the dykes around the harbour.

Cellardyke and Kilrenny were together a royal burgh
Royal burgh
A royal burgh was a type of Scottish burgh which had been founded by, or subsequently granted, a royal charter. Although abolished in 1975, the term is still used in many of the former burghs....

 from 1592, having been a burgh of regality
Burgh of regality
A burgh of regality is a type of Scottish town.They were distinct from royal burghs as they were granted to "lords of regality", leading noblemen....

 since 1578.

Cellardyke is officially part of Kilrenny parish
A parish is a territorial unit historically under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of one parish priest, who might be assisted in his pastoral duties by a curate or curates - also priests but not the parish priest - from a more or less central parish church with its associated organization...

, and also part of the Anstruther fishing district, its fortunes fluctuating with the fishing trade. The population grew fast in the 19th century and by the 1860s Cellardyke was a thriving town, with more than fifty boat owners and skippers year round, and one hundred other captains joining in for the annual herring
Herring is an oily fish of the genus Clupea, found in the shallow, temperate waters of the North Pacific and the North Atlantic oceans, including the Baltic Sea. Three species of Clupea are recognized. The main taxa, the Atlantic herring and the Pacific herring may each be divided into subspecies...

 fishing drive or Lammas drave which took place around the Lammas
In some English-speaking countries in the Northern Hemisphere, August 1 is Lammas Day , the festival of the wheat harvest, and is the first harvest festival of the year. On this day it was customary to bring to church a loaf made from the new crop...

 festival on August 1. There was also a February surge in fishing, when shoals of herring arrived in the Firth of Forth
Firth of Forth
The Firth of Forth is the estuary or firth of Scotland's River Forth, where it flows into the North Sea, between Fife to the north, and West Lothian, the City of Edinburgh and East Lothian to the south...

. The fish curer
Curing (food preservation)
Curing refers to various food preservation and flavoring processes, especially of meat or fish, by the addition of a combination of salt, nitrates, nitrite or sugar. Many curing processes also involve smoking, the process of flavoring, or cooking...

s of Cellardyke salted and smoked cod
Cod is the common name for genus Gadus, belonging to the family Gadidae, and is also used in the common name for various other fishes. Cod is a popular food with a mild flavor, low fat content and a dense, flaky white flesh. Cod livers are processed to make cod liver oil, an important source of...

 and herring from Anstruther as well as their own fish, sending some to London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, and some as far as the West Indies.

The harbour area

Like many harbours in Scotland, the fishing fleet that once occupied the harbour has been largely replaced by pleasure craft. Around 200 fishing boats were once based here but much of the fleet was destroyed by a storm in 1898, with most of those left intact relocating a short way down the coast to Anstruther. Cellardyke harbour is now home to a few small creel and pleasure boats.

Avian flu

Cellardyke was the first place in the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 that an instance of avian influenza, caused by the H5N1
Influenza A virus subtype H5N1, also known as "bird flu", A or simply H5N1, is a subtype of the influenza A virus which can cause illness in humans and many other animal species...

 subtype of the Influenza A
Influenzavirus A
Influenza A virus causes influenza in birds and some mammals and is the only species of Influenzavirus A. Influenzavirus A is a genus of the Orthomyxoviridae family of viruses. Strains of all subtypes of influenza A virus have been isolated from wild birds, although disease is uncommon...

 virus, was confirmed. A dead swan
Swans, genus Cygnus, are birds of the family Anatidae, which also includes geese and ducks. Swans are grouped with the closely related geese in the subfamily Anserinae where they form the tribe Cygnini. Sometimes, they are considered a distinct subfamily, Cygninae...

 was found floating in Cellardyke harbour on March 29, 2006, and was subsequently collected by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is the government department responsible for environmental protection, food production and standards, agriculture, fisheries and rural communities in the United Kingdom...

. The Veterinary Laboratories Agency
Veterinary Laboratories Agency
The Veterinary Laboratories Agency is an executive agency of the UK government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs . It carries out animal disease surveillance, diagnostic services and veterinary scientific research for government and commercial organisations...

 (VLA) began testing blood samples from the wild swan on April 3, 2006. The Scottish Executive
Scottish Executive
The Scottish Government is the executive arm of the devolved government of Scotland. It was established in 1999 as the Scottish Executive, from the extant Scottish Office, and the term Scottish Executive remains its legal name under the Scotland Act 1998...

 announced a positive test of the blood samples on April 5, 2006, and the strain was identified as the highly pathogenic H5N1
Influenza A virus subtype H5N1, also known as "bird flu", A or simply H5N1, is a subtype of the influenza A virus which can cause illness in humans and many other animal species...

 variant on April 6, 2006. The incident brought unprecedented attention to Cellardyke, with worldwide media coverage of the events being broadcast from the small harbour.

The bird was a Whooper Swan
Whooper Swan
The Whooper Swan , Cygnus cygnus, is a large Northern Hemisphere swan. It is the Eurasian counterpart of the North American Trumpeter Swan. An old name for the Whooper Swan is Elk; it is so called in Francis Willughby and John Ray's Ornithology of 1676.-Description:The Whooper Swan is similar in...

 of whom around 7,500 are thought to come to the UK during the winter. These are known to migrate from Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

 and northern Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. Some experts have suggested that the swan could have died in another country and been washed up on the coast.

External links

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