Scottish travel guide to Perthshire
The best way to begin exploring the wide and wondrous varieties of Perthshire is to visit the county town that gives this expanse in central Scotland its name and to find out why the soubriquet of The Fair City first arose to describe its celebrated precincts, even though it is not technically a city.
The visitor will find that the title was bequeathed by Sir Walter Scott through the publication of his popular 1828 historical romance The Fair Maid of Perth (later made into an opera and concert suite by Georges Bizet of Carmen fame) whose eponymous heroine was Catherine Glover, a much sought-after local beauty, though given more to piety than hedonism.
The location of her house can still be traced to the old Curfew Row near the shopping centre where a more solid, stone building was superimposed 300 years ago on the fourteenth-century site of Catherine’s abode. It is also near the historic North Inch, a green, natural amphitheatre which was the riverbank scene of a renowned, blood-stained clan battle that forms the climax of the novel.
Perth has been a royal burgh since the thirteenth century and a regal residence from long before that, chiefly because of its centrality.
It was also once known as the ancient capital of Scotland. It stretches out sedately over the flat banks of the winding and broadening River Tay just above the wider waters of the Firth, with grassy parks, tranquil terraces and numerous kirk towers retaining their serenity, blissfully unruffled by any industrial developments.
COUNTY OF CONTRASTS
Perthshire, stretching out at more than 1.5 million acres, is one of Scotland’s largest, most agriculturally productive and multi-faceted counties.
Lying at the centre of the nation’s landmass, it also retains and neatly encapsulates many of the features which make the country as a whole so vividly unique and such a magnet for tourists.
There are many places of interest to visit with vast panoramas, from the snow-capped peaks way down to the grassy lowland plains; and there are many atmospheric castles, both medieval and more modern, like Blair, Doune, Drummond, Huntingtower, Loch Earn, Menzies and Methven.
Read the full guide to Perthshire in the June 2015 issue of Scottish Memories - on sale 21 May.