I’ve never been sure what to make of Perth. It is a pleasant enough place, for sure, convenient to get to, culturally blessed and generally quite perjink, prim and proper, for the most part. Perth might not be as vibrant as Edinburgh, Glasgow or even Dundee but it is not bad. It strikes me like it would be an all right place to live, even if supporting St. Johnstone would be a step too far.
The train arrived and I headed straight along the South Inch. The sun was out and everything, a pleasantly mild January afternoon, and I was bound for the riverside. I associate Perth with that stretch by the Tay between the Fergusson Gallery and Perth Bridge, a contrast of civic buildings and a real, no-fooling-about river with wildlife and everything. As I came round by the Fergusson Gallery, a train was going across the bridge, one of the Scotrail Intercity trains, no less, and there was a man across the road just looking up at it. I looked for a moment then headed over the street to begin.
Two people were stood at the other side, deep in conversation as the river water lapped up. The river was strong, the result perhaps of snow earlier in the week. A bird – I’m never sure of my ornithology – sat up and took flight, skipping across the water and up into the air. I walked along and stopped by the little creature sculptures which sit on the wall. I knew they related to a poem by local poet William Soutar and I’ve always liked them. The figures looked like ones I used to collect out of chocolate eggs when I was a kid but none the worse for that. The riverside had lots of art, sculptures of birds, a bench with leaping salmon shapes cut-out, plus all the poems and history carved into the wall.
This was quite unlike any walk I had been on in this series so far. It was urban but with clear hints of the country beyond, away from the human and the cares of our busy world. Walking along the riverside took me away from the traffic and I thought a bit about the history too. Perth Bridge dominated the skyline, a fine, historic structure amidst the modernity. The red stone looked particularly fine in the lazy January sunshine and it tempted me to go across, even to write about it. I had no great plans for my time in Perth, a turn around the Fergusson Gallery the only real goal, and I just wandered for the rest, over the bridge and around a graveyard too, a neat little ramble in the Fair City.
Thanks for reading. Intercity returns next Sunday. Loose Ends continues on Wednesday.