A HISTORIC 13 mile path, once used by Buckie fishwives to sell their wares in the Speyside town of Keith, was today officially reopened by Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond.
The “Fishwives’ Path” between the harbour at Buckie on the Moray Firth coast and the distillery town of Keith has been completely restored in a scheme spearheaded by the Buckie Regeneration Project.
The path was used for decades by fish wives at Buckie who made a round trip of up to 26 miles a day carrying fully laden creels of fish, weighing up to 40lb, to Keith to sell before returning to the coast
bearing churns of milk. Mary Milne, the last Buckie fishwife, walked the route until the mid 1950s when she finally retired at the age of 73.
Mr Salmond said: “Scotland is renowned worldwide for its beautiful scenery and its breath-taking walking routes and I’m certain that this walk, which celebrates Banffshire’s fishing heritage, will become another popular choice amongst touring walkers.
“This historic route between Buckie and Keith tells an incredible tale of the local areas fishing history and the remarkable strength and endurance of the women who walked up to 26 miles a day along an arduous path, with their fully laden baskets, doing all they could to support their families and communities.”
He added: ““I am delighted to officially open the fishwives path and I hope that visitors to the area will take this path and experience some of the fascinating beauty and history of the North east.”
Councillor Gordon McDonald, chairman of the Buckie Regeneration Group, said: “The Fishwives’ Walk is an incredible story when you consider the women who used to do this day, in, day out carrying 40lbs of fish to Newmill and Keith. It’s something we find hard to comprehend in today’s world; the strength these women must have had, both mental and physical, to cope with such back-breaking drudgery while no doubt raising families as well is really beyond our frame of reference”
But he stressed: “The Fishwives’ Walk is as much about the future than days gone by. By resurrecting the route, we hope to increase the footfall into Buckie and thus the money going through the tills of local businesses.The Fishwives’ Walk will raise Buckie’s profile both at home and abroad.”