Geo-Trips :: The Fishwives' Path

Banffshire

A walk from Newmill, Thu, 8 Oct 2020 by Anne Burgess

In days gone by fishwives from Buckie would regularly walk to Keith with baskets of fish to sell or barter for eggs, butter and other farm produce. The women walked 25 miles a day, carrying 40 lbs (18 kgs) of fish for half of that distance. Mary Jane Milne, the last fishwife to walk the route, started at the age of 13 or 14 and worked until the mid 1950s, retiring at the age of 73.

The path was restored and officially reopened in 2013, though it doesn't follow the direct route the fishwives took from Addie Hill straight down to Drodland, even though this is what is currently (2020) shown on the map on Moray Council's 'Moray Ways' web site. Instead it diverts west through Stony Slacks and Fernking, adding a short distance make the full route about 13 miles.

We left a car in Buckie and another in Newmill, omitting the first mile or so out of Keith, and followed the route back to Buckie. We made a short deviation to Craigmin Bridge, and our total distance walked, according to electronic toys, was 12½ miles, though we didn't continue all the way through Buckie to the official end of the path.

It's easy walking, almost all on roads or firm tracks, with only two short slightly muddy sections, one north of Fernking Smithy and the other on the top of Addie Hill. If you start at Newmill the total ascent is only about 140 metres to the highest point at 274 metres above sea level. The waymarking is excellent, though there are a couple of markers beginning to disappear in vegetation, and at one point the path all but disappeared because trees had been toppled during forest operations and were lying across it. All the gates are user-friendly, not like the horrible spring-apart ones on the Speyside Way, but the one at the top of Addie Hill has been padlocked and a stile is provided alongside it.

Click the blue circles to see a photograph taken from that spot and read further information about the location. The blue lines indicate the direction of view. There is also a slideshow of this trip. ( )

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NJ4352 : Newmill War Memorial by Anne Burgess
Newmill War Memorial
The clock tower was built in 1922-1923 as a memorial to the people of Newmill who... more

NJ4352 : Main Street by Anne Burgess
Main Street
Newmill is a planned village dating from about 1759, intended to rival New Keith,... more

NJ4352 : Newmill by Anne Burgess
Newmill
Newmill is a classic example of a planned village, with wide straight streets... more

NJ4352 : Former Newmill Parish Kirk by Anne Burgess
Former Newmill Parish Kirk
The kirk is now a private house. Built into it is said to be a datestone of 1663... more

NJ4352 : Overgrown Seat by Anne Burgess
Overgrown Seat
The plaque on the back of the seat reads, "Erected by Newmill Ratepayers'... more

NJ4452 : Near Newmill by Anne Burgess
Near Newmill
Newmill village is hidden by the trees on the right. There's a glimpse of Keith... more

NJ4453 : A Clump of Conifers by Anne Burgess
A Clump of Conifers
The clump is on the far side of the Cross Burn, which drains into the River Isla a... more

NJ4453 : Gateposts or Fence Posts by Anne Burgess
Gateposts or Fence Posts
Obviously it's not a gate now, but we wondered if it had originally been one.

NJ4453 : A Very Narrow Field by Anne Burgess
A Very Narrow Field
This field caught our attention because it is so narrow. I hadn't really noticed... more

NJ4453 : Burnside Farm by Anne Burgess
Burnside Farm
See from the minor road in Glen of Newmill.

NJ4453 : Fields near Foulford by Anne Burgess
Fields near Foulford
Foulford is by the trees on the right, where the road crosses the Cross Burn.... more

NJ4453 : Burnside Farm by Anne Burgess
Burnside Farm
A mixed arable and livestock farm.

NJ4354 : New House by Anne Burgess
New House
Here, as elsewhere in the district, new houses are popping up like mushrooms. It... more

NJ4453 : Burnside Farm by Anne Burgess
Burnside Farm
Comparing this with the first edition of the six-inch Ordnance Survey map the... more

NJ4454 : Reservoir by Anne Burgess
Reservoir
An easily recohnisable feature of the landscape.

NJ4454 : Glen of Newmill Schoolhouse by Anne Burgess
Glen of Newmill Schoolhouse
It's not clear when the school was built, though it is shown on the first edition... more

NJ4554 : New House by Anne Burgess
New House
Another of the many new houses, with fashionable glazed gables, that are appearing... more

NJ4554 : New House by Anne Burgess
New House
Since rules were relaxed to allow building on greenfield sites, numerous new... more

NJ4554 : Garral View by Anne Burgess
Garral View
The map suggests that this is Garral View Bungalow, but it obviously isn't a... more

NJ4554 : Garralburn by Anne Burgess
Garralburn
Garralburn is among the trees, and the Garral Burn is at the far side of the... more

NJ4554 : Garral Burn by Anne Burgess
Garral Burn
Looking upstream from the bridge where the public road cross the Garral Burn.

NJ4555 : Cattle Control by Anne Burgess
Cattle Control
This railing is used for controlling cattle. They are induced to put their heads... more

NJ4555 : Solar Panels by Anne Burgess
Solar Panels
A bank of solar panels has been installed at Garralhill.

NJ4555 : River Banks by Anne Burgess
River Banks
I'm a little puzzled by the steep banks on the far side of the Burn of Aultmore,... more

NJ4555 : Burn of Aultmore Croft Bothy by Anne Burgess
Burn of Aultmore Croft Bothy
The bothy has been refurbished and, like the main house nearby, is available for... more

NJ4556 : Burn of Aultmore by Anne Burgess
Burn of Aultmore
A ford and footbridge give access to the farms on the east side of the Burn of Aultmore.

NJ4556 : Field Drains by Anne Burgess
Field Drains
Keeping the fields drained is one of the greatest challenges facing farmers in... more

NJ4556 : Waymarker at Drodland by Anne Burgess
Waymarker at Drodland
The original route of the Fishwives' Path, and indeed that shown on the map of the... more

NJ4456 : Ruin without a Name by Anne Burgess
Ruin without a Name
The buildings here are shown on all the historic Ordnance Survey maps, but not... more

NJ4456 : Nameless Ruin by Anne Burgess
Nameless Ruin
The buildings here are shown on all the historic Ordnance Survey maps, but not... more

NJ4457 : Fishwives' Path by Anne Burgess
Fishwives' Path
The path is very well marked, not just with signposts but with these little discs... more

NJ4457 : Track at Fernking by Anne Burgess
Track at Fernking
The Fishwives' Path diversion follows this track towards Fernking.

NJ4457 : Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) by Anne Burgess
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
The seedheads of Foxglove are every bit as interesting as the flowers.

NJ4457 : Broom (Cytisus scoparius) by Anne Burgess
Broom (Cytisus scoparius)
Seed pods of Broom beside the path to Fernking.

NJ4457 : Track at Fernking by Anne Burgess
Track at Fernking
The track approaching the forested land at Fernking.

NJ4457 : Side Track by Anne Burgess
Side Track
This is a side track off the road to Fernking, leading to a ford across the Burn... more

NJ4457 : Fishwives' Path Signpost by Anne Burgess
Fishwives' Path Signpost
One of the waymarkers that ensure that walkers don't get lost on the diversion of... more

NJ4457 : Peterkin Hillock by Anne Burgess
Peterkin Hillock
Peterkin Hillock is the unremarkable skyline on the far side of the Burn of Fernking.

NJ4457 : Wood Piles by Anne Burgess
Wood Piles
Wood stored beside the old smiddy at Fernking.

NJ4457 : Fernking by Anne Burgess
Fernking
This row of cottages is shown on the second editions of the six-inch and 25-inch... more

NJ4457 : Ruin at Fernking by Anne Burgess
Ruin at Fernking
The ruin doesn't have enough windows to have been a house. There were a mill dam... more

NJ4457 : Path through the Woods by Anne Burgess
Path through the Woods
The Fishwives' Path here follows the line of the track that was originally the... more

NJ4457 : Dead Tree by the Path by Anne Burgess
Dead Tree by the Path
To an over-active imagination the dead tree on the left looks almost threatening.... more

NJ4458 : Woodland Track by Anne Burgess
Woodland Track
The Fishwives' Path diversion here follows the original track to and from the... more

NJ4458 : Forest Road by Anne Burgess
Forest Road
Looking east on one of the forest roads in Aultmore Forest.

NJ4458 : Fishwives' Path Signpost by Anne Burgess
Fishwives' Path Signpost
This is roughly half way on the Fishwives' Path between Buckie and Keith, even... more

NJ4458 : Alarmist Notices by Anne Burgess
Alarmist Notices
Just the sort of thing you want to see when you are following a waymarked official... more

NJ4358 : Side Track by Anne Burgess
Side Track
We were glad of the arrows to keep us on the right route, because it would have... more

NJ4358 : Red Admiral Butterfly (Vanessa atalanta) by Anne Burgess
Red Admiral Butterfly (Vanessa atalanta)
We saw several of these, and one Small Tortoiseshell, but only this one was... more

NJ4358 : Entering the Larch Woods by Anne Burgess
Entering the Larch Woods
I wonder why we talk of 'pine forest' but 'larch wood'? The path here enters a... more

NJ4358 : Inside the Wood by Anne Burgess
Inside the Wood
At a bend in the path the trees thin out enough to allow the sunshine in.

NJ4358 : Forest Path by Anne Burgess
Forest Path
Noting the state of the path, we began to wonder how many people use it. We didn't... more

NJ4358 : Fungus by Anne Burgess
Fungus
As usual I do not know what species this is, and I would be grateful for any help... more

NJ4358 : Fungus by Anne Burgess
Fungus
I wondered if this might be a False Chanterelle, but will be happy to be corrected.

NJ4358 : Felled Forest by Anne Burgess
Felled Forest
We were glad to come across a section that had been clear felled, because in such... more

NJ4358 : Toadstools by Anne Burgess
Toadstools
More fungi that I am unable to identify. Any help will be welcomed.

NJ4358 : Fishwives' Path Signpost by Anne Burgess
Fishwives' Path Signpost
Another of the well-placed set of signposts making the diversion on the Fishwives'... more

NJ4358 : Where's the Path? by Anne Burgess
Where's the Path?
This was the only point at which we hesitated, because the waymarker was pointing... more

NJ4358 : Black Bourock by Anne Burgess
Black Bourock
The map labels the far side of this scene Black Bourock, which seems very... more

NJ4358 : Fungi by Anne Burgess
Fungi
Yet more fungi that I am unable to name.

NJ4358 : Ailing Pines by Anne Burgess
Ailing Pines
I think these are Lodgepole Pines, and they are definitely not happy. The... more

NJ4458 : Path at Stony Slacks by Anne Burgess
Path at Stony Slacks
The Lodgepole Pines are encroaching well across the path here, but fortunately not... more

NJ4458 : Path at Stony Slacks by Anne Burgess
Path at Stony Slacks
Looking back the way we have just come, between the young Lodgepole Pines.

NJ4458 : Forest Moss by Anne Burgess
Forest Moss
Oblique autumn sunshine is picking out the shape of mossy hummocks beneath the trees.

NJ4458 : Forest Track by Anne Burgess
Forest Track
This was one of the pleasantest sections of the Fishwives' Path diversion, with... more

NJ4458 : A Bend in the Track by Anne Burgess
A Bend in the Track
The path here is slightly more overgrown, but atill easy to find and follow.

NJ4458 : Timber Stacks by Anne Burgess
Timber Stacks
Harvested tree trunks, stripped of bark and twigs and stacked ready to be taken on... more

NJ4458 : Path Crossroads by Anne Burgess
Path Crossroads
The forest road runs roughly east and west, and it crosses a clear strip where no... more

NJ4458 : King's Cairn by Anne Burgess
King's Cairn
Kingscairn was a croft near here, and King's Cairn, from which it took its name,... more

NJ4459 : Path to Addie Hill by Anne Burgess
Path to Addie Hill
The path ascends to the skyline, which is Addie Hill, the highest point on the... more

NJ4459 : Fishwives' Path Signpost by Anne Burgess
Fishwives' Path Signpost
One of the pentiful waymarkers on the Fishwives' Path between Buckie and Keith.

NJ4459 : A Flock of Sheep by Anne Burgess
A Flock of Sheep
It's a pleasant change to encounter a flock of sheep faces all looking towards the... more

NJ4459 : Kittoch Swiles by Anne Burgess
Kittoch Swiles
It looks as if the forest shown on the maps has been felled, opening up a view... more

NJ4459 : Inkerman by Anne Burgess
Inkerman
Inkerman is one of the 'Crimean Crofts', so called because they were given to... more

NJ4460 : Hillhead of Letterfourie by Anne Burgess
Hillhead of Letterfourie
Hillhead has moved! The first edition of the Ordnance Survey six-inch map,... more

NJ4459 : Phyllite by Anne Burgess
Phyllite
Phyllite is a rock similar to slate, but which has undergone slightly higher grade... more

NJ4460 : Hillhead of Letterfourie by Anne Burgess
Hillhead of Letterfourie
The large and busy yard at Hillhead is a little distance downhill from the farm itself.

NJ4460 : Vetch Pods by Anne Burgess
Vetch Pods
I think these are the seed pods of Bush Vetch (Vicia sepium) but they might be... more

NJ4460 : Drainage Ditch by Anne Burgess
Drainage Ditch
The ditch is well overgrown and no doubt full of botanical interest. The trees at... more

NJ4460 : Stoneybank by Anne Burgess
Stoneybank
A newish house just at the end of the public road. The trees beside it are in the... more

NJ4461 : Field with Bales by Anne Burgess
Field with Bales
The field lies on the lip of the tree-covered ravine carved by the Burn of Letterfourie.

NJ4461 : Corn Sow-thistle (Sonchus arvensis) by Anne Burgess
Corn Sow-thistle (Sonchus arvensis)
Fluffy dandelion-like seedheads on the roadside verge.

NJ4461 : Corn Sow-thistle (Sonchus arvensis) by Anne Burgess
Corn Sow-thistle (Sonchus arvensis)
The roadside verge is full of the white seedheads of Corn Sow-thistle.

NJ4361 : Greencraig Farm by Anne Burgess
Greencraig Farm
Extensive farm buildings at Greencraig.

NJ4361 : Steading at Greencraig Farm by Anne Burgess
Steading at Greencraig Farm
The row of gables is almost a complete history of styles of farm outbuildings,... more

NJ4361 : Greencraig Pods by Anne Burgess
Greencraig Pods
A good example of farm diversification. See https://greencraig-pods.business.site/

NJ4462 : Craigmin Bridge by Anne Burgess
Craigmin Bridge
It is difficult to get a good unobstructed view of Craigmin Bridge because of the... more

NJ4462 : Inside Craigmin Bridge by Anne Burgess
Inside Craigmin Bridge
You can get on to the lower deck of Craigmin Bridge from the south side at the... more

NJ4462 : Inside Craigmin Bridge by Anne Burgess
Inside Craigmin Bridge
This is the undesride of the western arch of the upper tier of the bridge, showing... more

NJ4462 : Craigmin Bridge by Anne Burgess
Craigmin Bridge
This is the top tier of Craigmin Bridge, with undulating parapets that are not too... more

NJ4462 : Craigmin Bridge by Anne Burgess
Craigmin Bridge
This is probably the least obstructed view of the bridge, from the east bank of the gorge.

NJ4362 : 'Fairy Walk' by Anne Burgess
'Fairy Walk'
The 'Fairy Walk' is the name given locally to the path from Craigmin Bridge to... more

NJ4362 : Fairy Windmill by Anne Burgess
Fairy Windmill
One of the many imaginative features on the 'Fairy Walk' between Craigmin Bridge... more

NJ4362 : 'Fairy Walk' by Anne Burgess
'Fairy Walk'
One of the many imaginative features on the 'Fairy Walk' between Drybridge and... more

NJ4362 : Fairy House by Anne Burgess
Fairy House

NJ4362 : Seat without a View by Anne Burgess
Seat without a View
Unless of course you like a view consisting of nothing but leaves. It is on the... more

NJ4362 : Drybridge Smiddy by Anne Burgess
Drybridge Smiddy
This used to be an antique shop, but it is looking a bit ruinous, having lost part... more

NJ4362 : Ditch at Drybridge by Anne Burgess
Ditch at Drybridge
The ditch drains the grassy area into the Burn of Letterfourie, which runs behind... more

NJ4362 : Former Post Office by Anne Burgess
Former Post Office
This house was first a bakery, and later the post office, according to the... more

NJ4362 : Bridge Abutment by Anne Burgess
Bridge Abutment
This wall is the east support of the railway bridge that used to cross the burn... more

NJ4362 : Burn of Buckie by Anne Burgess
Burn of Buckie
Above Drybridge it's the Burn of Letterfourie, and below Drybridge it is the Burn... more

NJ4362 : Beech Avenue by Anne Burgess
Beech Avenue
I was surprised to see that this track is lined with mature beech trees until I... more

NJ4362 : Tree in Tree by Anne Burgess
Tree in Tree
A young tree is growing from a cleft in the bark of a mature tree. I think it is... more

NJ4362 : Beech Avenue by Anne Burgess
Beech Avenue
I was surprised to see that this track is lined with mature beech trees until I... more

NJ4362 : Bee on Cat's Ear (Hypochaeris radicata) by Anne Burgess
Bee on Cat's Ear (Hypochaeris radicata)
I don't know what sort of bee, and I am willing to be corrected as to the name of... more

NJ4363 : Threatening Clouds by Anne Burgess
Threatening Clouds
We had set off in bright sunshine, but for the last few miles the sky had been... more

NJ4263 : Was it a Garden? by Anne Burgess
Was it a Garden?
There are various fairly exotic plants growing in the long grass here, suggesting... more

NJ4263 : Burn of Buckie by Anne Burgess
Burn of Buckie
Looking upstream from a rough bridge that seems to give access to the field on the... more

NJ4263 : Burn of Buckie by Anne Burgess
Burn of Buckie
The large-scale map shows a 'sluice' here, but the story is more complicated than... more

NJ4263 : Spoil Heaps by Anne Burgess
Spoil Heaps
We didn't go to investigate these dark piles, as we were anxious to get back to... more

NJ4263 : Field with Bales by Anne Burgess
Field with Bales
Looking very gloomy under a threatening sky.

NJ4263 : Buckie TRS 163300 by Anne Burgess
Buckie TRS 163300
Part of the Scotland Gas network.

NJ4263 : Inchgower Distillery by Anne Burgess
Inchgower Distillery
Inchgower presents this grim and rather forbidding elevation to travellers on the... more

NJ4263 : Buckie Reservoir by Anne Burgess
Buckie Reservoir
Now disused, this barrel-vaulted building with decorative ball finial was the... more

NJ4263 : The Caravan Roadie by Anne Burgess
The Caravan Roadie
I've never heard it referred to by that name, but according to the Fishwives' Path... more

NJ4264 : Inchgower Distillery by Anne Burgess
Inchgower Distillery
The distillery is north of the long line of 20th century warehouses, and best seen... more

NJ4264 : Footbridge by Anne Burgess
Footbridge
The footbridge allows pedestrians to bypass a ford on the Burn of Buckie.

NJ4264 : Burn of Buckie by Anne Burgess
Burn of Buckie
Looking downstream from [[[6636343]]]. The ford is in the foreground.

NJ4264 : Converted Steading by Anne Burgess
Converted Steading
These buildings were originally the farm steadings of Mains of Buckie, and they... more

NJ4264 : Buckie Cricket Club Pavilion by Anne Burgess
Buckie Cricket Club Pavilion
The pavilion stands in the south-west corner of the Linzee Gordon Park. The... more

NJ4264 : Cricket Wicket by Anne Burgess
Cricket Wicket
The cricket pitch is carefully protected by netting. I think the actual wicket may... more

NJ4352 : Newmill Clock Tower by Anne Burgess
Newmill Clock Tower
This is the final photograph of the day we walked the Fishwives' Path. We had left... more

All images © Anne Burgess and available under a Creative Commons licence external link.

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