Duration: 3.5 hours.
This is an enjoyable rural walk in the valley of the River Isla to the south-west of Keith. Much of the route is on the flanks of the low hills that surround the Strath so there are often wide-open countryside views to appreciate. The walk starts and ends at Regent Square in Fife-Keith, to the west of the main centre of modern-day Keith (“New Keith”, itself established as a “new town” in 1750). The Earl of Fife, developed Fife-Keith in 1817 as a planned settlement to support a growing agricultural and textiles local economy. It was set out in a formal arrangement around a central point at Regent Square. It was originally going to be named Waterloo (after the battle)! This patriotic flourish in nomenclature was not sustained, although street names such as Regent Street, Wellington and Nelson Terraces, Victoria Place and Alexandria Road make reference to jingoistic glories. Initially, the route descends to the Auld Brig over the River Isla, at the heart of the original “Old Keith”, established around 700 AD. Around this time the Monks of St. Maelrubha arrived from Applecross to build a chapel called Kethmal Ruf and today a latinised version of the name lives on in the Church of St Rufus. The River Isla could be forded by cattle at Old Keith and this gave rise to the “Great Simmareve Fair”, predecessor of today's Keith Show, when traders from Glasgow to Orkney congregated in Keith for the sale of black cattle and horses. The Auld Brig of Keith was built in 1609 and is one of the oldest bridges still in use in Scotland. Daniel Defoe crossed it in 1706 and declared it “a fine bridge”. Next stop on the route is the Strathmill Distillery, originally an 18thC corn-mill which, today, contributes its malt whisky output to the J&B Blend. Much of the remaining outward route follows the Old Toll Road to Dufftown before we turn back at Mill of Towie, a fully restored (but not operational) A-listed early-mid 19thC mill with an elegant pagoda-louvred cupola to the kiln.
Basic Equipment for Hiking
- Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
- Layered, moisture wicking clothing
- Hiking socks
- Rucksack (with rain cover)
- Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
- Hiking poles
- Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
- First aid kit
- Kit para bolhas
- Bivy / survival bag
- Survival blanket
- Pocket knife
- Cell phone
- Navigation equipment / map and compass
- Emergency contact details
- The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
- For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
- Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.