Buckie Fishwives Path
Start location: A98(T), Inchgower distillery, south of Buckie (NJ 427 639)
End location: B9017, Newmill, north of Keith (NJ 440 527)
Geographical area: Moray
Path Type: Trade Route
Path distance: 13.4km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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The Buckie Regeneration Group worked in conjunction with the Keith and Strathisla Regeneration Partnership on a project to renovate this historic route between Buckie and Keith - it was officially relaunched by the then First Minister, Alex Salmond, on 9th July 2013. We don't yet have an up-to-date description for this historic route, but we are hopeful of receiving one very soon. However, a useful tip may be that the direct right of way line over the hill via Drodland gets very wet, so the Moray Council promotes a drier detour. The promoted line of the route is sign-posted with yellow waymarker discs showing a fishwife logo and an excellent leaflet is also available locally.
We are informed that the route is very accessible and can be walked using a bus service between Keith and Buckie.
OS Landranger 28 (Elgin, Dufftown & surrounding area)
This 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.
Additionally, local tradition says that a drove road of ancient date came up from Minduff and joined the right of way to head south towards Keith. Even while the rights of way were being disputed in the 1960s, a right of way for driven animals was admitted and provision made for them by leaving an unfenced strip.
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) indicates that a hollow-way or sunken track lies in the vicinity of the remains of the pre-improvement farmstead Kingscairn and the King's Cairn from whence it gets its name and which lies to the north. According to the OS Name Book (1867), the King's Cairn is traditionally said to mark the grave of King Indulphus; however this is not the only collection of stones to make that claim.
Another historic route similarly used for the trade in fish is the Herring Road across the Lammermuirs.