First Minister to open historic Buckie heritage path

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond is to visit Moray this week to officially reopen a historic local path.

The 13-mile long  ‘Fishwives Path’ was used until the mid-1950’s by the wives of Buckie fishermen to carry their catches between the port and their main market in Keith.  The route was used for many years until its last recorded used by Mary Milne before she finally retired at 73-years-old.

Forrestation in the 1960’s saw fencing erected that effectively blocked the route, but recently the Buckie Regeneration Group teamed up with the Strathisla Regeneration Partnership on a project to regenerate the pathway.

The start location for the route, which is expected to be widely used by walkers, is at the Inchgower Distillery with the route coming to an end at Newmill, just north of Keith.

A description of the route on Heritage Paths says: “The right of way over Addie Hill has evidently been in use for very many years by the general public in a two-way traffic between Keith or Newmill and Buckie, and the places intermediate.

“Indeed the very name of the route commemorates the fishwives of Buckie who travelled this way to Keith, carrying baskets of fish.  The women could be travelling over 20 miles per day and fully loaded their baskets would weigh 40lb. Mary Jane Milne, the last creel woman, starting at the age of 13 or 14 worked until the mid 1950s, retiring at the age of 73.

“In the 1960s, the route was blocked by fencing preparatory for the afforestation of the hill, and ScotWays’ files of the time contain letters which include people’s memories of the route. In 1962, a pensioner who was born and bred on Kingscairn Croft – and whose father was born, lived and died on the same croft – reported that the right of way was used by horse and cart regularly during his father’s lifetime and his own.

“This use continued until the War Office took over the area as a Shooting Range in 1940 and the croft was demolished.  However, the right of way had been recognised by the War Office who would put up red warning flags when the range was in use.

“In 1998, someone living in Drybridge said that his father was the smith at the smithy, and remembers horses coming over from Drodland and Fernking (near Drodland) for shoeing etc.”

Parts of the route has now been marked by yellow signs bearing a fishwives basket.

The route will be officially reopened on Tuesday by Alex Salmond in a ceremony at the Heritage Centre in Buckie followed by an afternoon of celebrations.


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