Perambulations in Perth

Somehow our usual autumn holiday downgraded itself in 2016 to a couple of nights in Perth in early December! I’m not complaining, Perth is a beautiful city and the weather, though cold, was wonderfully bright. We spent most of our day there, Sunday, following the River Tay Public Art Trail.

Sunbank House Hotel
Sunbank House Hotel
Our hotel (Sunbank House – highly recommended) was on the east bank of the river so we started there and followed the trail through a series of parks and gardens before crossing the river and returning along Tay Street. Here are some highlights.

East bank

This was my favourite part of the trail with the tall spire of St Matthew’s Church an ever-present landmark.

Perth Bridge

We crossed the river by the Perth Bridge which is equally attractive by day and night. It was built in 1766 and widened in 1869. On the other side are the Museum and Art Gallery and the Concert Hall – we didn’t go in this time, but enjoyed visits to both earlier in the year.

Returning to the river, some of the art serves a very practical purpose as flood gates.

We passed the war memorial and regimental monument and admired the beautiful houses on the side of the river we’d just come from.

Then we crossed under the bridge to walk up Tay Street.

West bank and city centre

On the section of Tay Street between Perth Bridge and Queen’s Bridge there are ten wall carvings and several other sculptures, of which my favourite is Shona Kinloch’s chubby eagle standing proudly atop its fish.

The trail now took us away from the river into the city centre – lunch! But also more to see. The Salutation Hotel is another historic landmark, dating from 1699.

St John Street has decorative lampposts and gratings – I’m not sure if they’re meant to remind me of Munch’s The Scream, but they do. Round the corner, Walter Scott’s Fair Maid of Perth sits forlornly on her bench.

Nearby, Nae Day Sae Dark is another literary sculpture, inspired by Perth poet William Soutar. The two figures represent happiness and misery. It wasn’t possible to get a picture of the full circle because a (tuneless) busker had plonked himself right in the way.

After lunch, we continued along the riverbank, passing another sculpture inspired by Soutar, Soutar’s Menagerie, until we reached the Fergusson Gallery. Housed in an old water tower, this is dedicated to the work of Scottish Colourist JD Fergusson (1874-1961). It’s not open on Sundays, but we’ve been before and it is well worth a visit. It also has information about Fergusson’s partner, the dancer Margaret Morris, and their life together.

Craigie walk

From the Fergusson Gallery we set off to follow another trail – there was life in the old legs yet – which focussed on the life of the aforementioned poet, William Soutar. We set off across South Inch (large grassy area) – Soutar was born in one of its bordering terraces.

We then walked uphill to areas Soutar would have played in as a child, passing Craigie Waterfall and climbing Craigie Knowes, a little patch of wilderness in suburbia. In Soutar’s day, the waterfall was surrounded by malt barns, a laundry and a flock mill. Now it’s all houses, though some of the windy roads probably had their origins as farm tracks. Higher still is Craigie Hill, where you can see John striding along below. This looks like the country, but to the left of the picture is a golf course and out of sight on the right traffic thunders along the motorway to Dundee.

Descending again, we passed 27 Wilson Street where Soutar lived in the last years of his life. Here he spent 13 years bedridden with an incurable arthritis of the spine, all the time writing his poetry and receiving a constant stream of friends, neighbours and literary admirers. He died of tuberculosis aged just 45.

Finally, we returned to South Inch and amused ourselves watching the birds on the frozen pond.

Linking to Jo’s Monday Walks where you’ll find her on trail in the Algarve and her friends – well they’re cyber-walking all over the globe.


68 thoughts on “Perambulations in Perth

  1. Donna January 23, 2017 / 15:12

    What a fantastic trek, Anabel. Thanks for taking me along. (I have now added River Tay Public Art Trail to my ever-expanding travel bucket list)!


    • Anabel Marsh January 23, 2017 / 15:34

      That’s the trouble with blogs! Always somewhere new to discover. It’s also the advantage of blogs…..

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Heyjude January 23, 2017 / 15:20

    I’m sorry we didn’t find the time to actually visit Perth. Is the sculpture trail permanent? Some interesting pieces. I like the fishes and the menagerie. And what are those stones on the South Inch? Another sculpture or something much older?


    • Anabel Marsh January 30, 2017 / 14:46

      Hi Jude, just visiting WP on my PC for the first time in a week and discovering some genuine comments in spam, including this one! What are they thinking of? So sorry for the delay. The sculpture trail appears to be permanent and as for the stones on South Inch, I don’t know. They are definitely not old but we couldn’t find any plaque or any reference to them in the sculpture trail. (Of course, you will have totally forgotten your questions by now…..)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Heyjude January 30, 2017 / 14:55

        Thanks for rescuing me Anabel! I was getting a little hungry in there… 😉


        • Anabel Marsh January 30, 2017 / 14:58

          You had Peta and Corinne for company, both regular commenters too. I’m sure the chat would be flowing and you could ignore the weirdos trying to sell Facebook likes and fake watches!


  3. Suzanne et Pierre January 23, 2017 / 15:23

    Sometimes the closer destination makes for wonderful outings. Perth does look like a lovely city. Thanks for the virtual visit. (Suzanne)


    • Anabel Marsh January 23, 2017 / 15:35

      It is! If I didn’t live in Glasgow it would be the Scottish city I would choose as home.


  4. susan@onesmallwalk January 23, 2017 / 16:26

    Amazing visit, especially as it seems the cold winter weather added to the beauty. Loved the mirrored waters. (Hope you had good gloves!)


    • Anabel Marsh January 23, 2017 / 17:05

      Thanks Susan – I always have good gloves! And, I think, a wooly hat in this case.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. TanGental January 23, 2017 / 17:28

    Now I want to go to both Perths and esp Follow this trail. Thanks for taking us with you both


  6. Pit January 23, 2017 / 17:30

    Thanks for taking me to Perth, Anabel! 🙂


  7. restlessjo January 23, 2017 / 17:32

    So many lovely public sculptures, Anabel! And I really like those gratings. I like the idea of bringing a sense of humour to the drains 🙂 Thanks so much for the link! It’s much appreciated.


    • Anabel Marsh January 23, 2017 / 17:58

      I was surprised how many there were – we’ve noticed some on other visits but not all. And of course, the blue skies helped set them off this time!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. hilarymb January 23, 2017 / 17:41

    Hi Anabel – what a glorious area … and as it was cold, the various sculptures and architecture kept you warm and perambulating happily. Love the herring on the lamppost, and yes the gratings do look like a Munch don’t they … I love the iron flood gates too …

    Thanks for sharing these photos with us … another Scottish place to visit and poem to remember … cheers Hilary


    • Anabel Marsh January 23, 2017 / 17:59

      Thanks Hilary. Perth is a lovely little city to visit if you’re ever up this way.


  9. ms6282 January 23, 2017 / 17:50

    I’ve driven past on the way to a friend’s wedding in Montrose, but never been there. Looks more interesting than I thought! Will need to look up William Soutar now!


  10. the eternal traveller January 23, 2017 / 20:00

    We nearly went to Perth by accident in 1999 when Mr ET took the wrong exit off a roundabout! Next time we come to Scotland we will have to go there and stay a few days.


      • the eternal traveller January 23, 2017 / 20:26

        We might have considered going there if we weren’t supposed to be back in Drymen that night. We’d driven from Nairn and had to be back that day. Next time…


  11. Eunice January 23, 2017 / 20:02

    Great photos Anabel, and I agree with you about the gratings looking like The Scream. I love the snail sculpture with the two ‘creatures’ underneath, they look rather cute 🙂


  12. Birgit January 23, 2017 / 23:48

    This is a great walking Trek you did and I love these art pieces ….so unique. I like screaming grate:) There is a lot to see here. What a wonderful time you had and good weather


    • Anabel Marsh January 24, 2017 / 07:35

      Yes, I could happily imaging living there if I ever get fed up with Glasgow (as if!)


  13. Kathleen Jennette January 24, 2017 / 01:12

    The art would have me there in a moment. The hiking trails don’t look so bad either. Actually, the whole place looks beautiful! You are a lucky girl indeed.


  14. Liesbet January 24, 2017 / 05:24

    Another long walk revealing lovely sights. And what a nice crisp day to do so. I totally recognize The Scream in those grates. You are not imagining it! Do you think Perth in Australia is named after “your” Perth?


    • Anabel Marsh January 24, 2017 / 07:47

      I’m sure it is! I’ve never been there but I assume it’s slightly different from the original….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Liesbet January 24, 2017 / 19:04

        Slightly warmer at the least. 🙂


  15. Green Global Trek January 24, 2017 / 06:42

    Thanks for taking me along on your gorgeous walk. I know nothing about Perth so this was most interesting and eye opening. The art is fabulous. What a fabulous trip!


    • Anabel Marsh January 30, 2017 / 14:47

      Thanks – glad you enjoyed it. Perth is beautiful.


  16. RuthsArc January 24, 2017 / 10:49

    Thanks for this fascinating walk. There is some interesting art on the trail.


  17. Lynne Rickards January 24, 2017 / 11:10

    The first time I saw the Perthshire countryside I was on a train going from Glasgow to Aberdeen. I don’t know if it’s my Ontario roots but I find the rolling hills and picturesque lakes and rivers far more compelling than any highland vista. I hear there’s a bit of a “weather window” in Perth as well, with less rainfall than elsewhere in Scotland. Sounds like Perth is hard to beat!


    • Anabel Marsh January 24, 2017 / 12:28

      I love Perthshire too. Lots of places to walk but more inhabited than the Highlands so more choice of other activities.


  18. corinnevail January 24, 2017 / 15:02

    I love all the sculptures in this post. I’m always photographing sculptures!


    • Anabel Marsh January 30, 2017 / 14:47

      Thanks – I love discovering sculpture on the street.


  19. Blue Sky Scotland January 24, 2017 / 17:24

    Great post. I’ve been wondering about a day bus trip to Perth myself and if there was enough to see there. Clearly there is plenty to do as I’ve passed through it dozens of times in various cars but still not explored the city properly. Town trail here I come.


    • Anabel Marsh January 24, 2017 / 17:59

      Definitely plenty to do. I found the sculpture trail map online so it’s easy to obtain.


  20. Susan at FindingNYC January 25, 2017 / 01:01

    What an incredible walk, Anabel. Such a variety of public art too. I really love those flood walls – there’s no reason something practical can’t serve as art as well.


  21. Jessica (Diverting Journeys) January 25, 2017 / 12:16

    More fish sculptures! Though I never would have guessed that puffy bird on top was an eagle, if you hadn’t said! I especially love that adorable little snail and his two smooshy (frog and hedgehog maybe?) friends.


    • Anabel Marsh January 25, 2017 / 13:39

      I only knew it was an eagle because the plaque said so. Yeah, the fish could get to be a theme…


  22. BeckyB January 26, 2017 / 10:58

    Another city in Scotland I have yet to visit . . looks glorious. MrB has just been telling me how he was abandoned by one his friends in Perth!!


    • Anabel Marsh January 26, 2017 / 13:13

      There are certainly worse places to be abandoned – but what an unfriendly friend!


      • BeckyB January 26, 2017 / 13:18

        That’s what Robert thought 🙂 His friend is a very mischievous Scot who I have learnt over the years never to go drinking with!!


  23. inesephoto January 28, 2017 / 18:07

    Such a wonderful walk, so much to see. I love the sculptures. They are so different, but very creative.


  24. rosemaylily2014 January 30, 2017 / 10:18

    Fascinating tour round a very different Perth from the one I’m used to Anabel! Looks a lovely spot despite the cold!


      • rosemaylily2014 January 30, 2017 / 13:00

        Last week it was 40 degrees on Australia Day – today max 18 and grey and rainy all day very strange weather patterns! So yes very different!!

        Liked by 1 person

  25. tots2travel February 1, 2017 / 15:52

    I do like a sculpture trail or sculpture garden.


    • Anabel Marsh February 1, 2017 / 16:35

      Me too! I love to see sculpture outside being enjoyed rather than stuck in a museum.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Anabel Marsh March 19, 2017 / 13:32

      This was a lovely one (though the weather helped. A lot.)


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