13 November 2012
David McVey explores the attractions to be found east of the River Tay. ...
David McVey explores the attractions to be found east of the River Tay.
Perth’s major attractions, along with the railway station and most car parks, are all firmly on the west bank of Perth’s defining river, the Tay. The east bank is leafier and hillier, but it’s well worth stepping off the beaten track to explore.
Of course, Scone Palace, with its park and popular racecourse, are on the east bank but so too is Kinnoull Hill, a wooded piece of high ground that means Perth can be classed alongside Edinburgh as a city with its own mini-mountain.
Kinnoull is an outlier of the Sidlaw Hills, and perhaps its most remarkable feature is the view of the lower Tay from the summit crags; even the horrible M90 road systems can’t spoil the grandeur, enhanced by the folly tower that was added to give the prospect a bit of Rhineland romanticism.
The National Trust for Scotland’s Branklyn Garden is another east bank must-see. Branklyn House was built in the 1920s by the Rentons, who wanted to create an impressive garden. They had contacts with some of the leading plant collectors – Indiana Jones types who mounted expeditions to discover new species – and so their collection became of national importance. The Rentons died in the 1960s and the garden was taken over by the NTS. Go in early summer when most of the remarkable Himalayan Blue Poppies are in flower. You’re never far from the sound of Dundee-bound trains and traffic, yet it’s another, very calming world.
The Geddes Way is a path that leads from the city centre to the east bank and the lower slopes of Kinnoull. It’s named after Sir Patrick Geddes, sociologist, geographer, planner and all-round clever-clogs. The Way goes past Tabor Cottage, where Geddes grew up.
Like me, you might have suspected that ‘Think global, act local’ was coined by a grey-haired, pony-tailed Californian eco-warrior in the 1990s. It wasn’t; it’s Geddes’ phrase, and he died as long ago as 1932. The inscription on Kinnoull’s summit seat drives the point home.