"...he soon felt averse mixing in society, and was most happy when alone. For days his relations never saw his face from dawn until late in the evening, when he returned to bed. It was his custom to go out early in the morning, carrying with him provisions for the day; then he would wander and meditate alone through the secluded and solitary valley of Keil's Den. The romantic beauties of the place, and above all the stillness that reigned there reminded him of his beloved island."
The article went on to later describe how his "wanderings up the burn-side of Keil's Den to the ruins of Balcruvie Castle" (now known as Pitcruvie Castle) led him to encounter a young girl, named Sophia Bruce, who was tending her parents cow and picking wild flowers. Over time they talked, spent time together and eventually eloped to London and were married.
The Fife Herald of 10 August 1865 reported on the third annual floral fete held in Keil's Den. By the next year, the Largo and Newburn Horticultural Society was formed and again a show was held in Keil's Den, with a marquee tent to house the produce on one bank of the burn while a band performed on the other side. It sounds charming - I'd love to travel back in time to be there! In 1874 the event moved to the front of Largo House for a spell. In later years the same event was held in various fields in the locality until a decision was made in 1933 to alternate between the Simpson Institute and the Montrave Hall. However, 1939 saw the last show until 1979 when a group of local people restarted the annual event.
Once a popular venue for many 'pleasure trips', society annual excursions, Sunday school outings and the like, Keil's Den may not see the same volume of visitors as it once enjoyed but nevertheless it remains popular with locals and visiting ramblers alike. There are many more anecdotes in the newspaper archives, so the history of Keils' Den is definitely a topic to return to another day.