Lochleven south of Perth is a large loch. It has several islands, one with a castle and another with a priory.
There is also a wildlife reserve, birrdwatching, walks along the banks, Also it is wel known for its trout fishing, and boats are available to hire
Lochleven Castle is forever asociated with taht of Mary Queen of Scots. After being defeated at the Battle of Carberry Hill in 1567, she was detained here for almost a year.
The castle sits on an island on the Lochleven Loch.
While at Lochleven, Mary was confined to bed for long periods of time, and it is believed that she miscarried twins. Mary's ghost is still said to haunt the castle in search of her offspring.
The castle was originally built in 1257 and has changed hands many times between the English and Scots.
The castle, still in good order is maintained by Historic Scotland
Admission charge is £3.50, including the 15 minute boat trip over to the island.
Elcho Castle lies some 8kms down the river tay from Perth. It gaurded the Tay and the rich lands thereabout.
For more than five centuries it has been held by the Wemyss family. They supported Robert the Bruce in the Wars of Independence nad in return received generous grants of land for their estates.
The present buildings were begun in around 1550.
The castle toadsy is still quite complete and is a fine example of a fortified mansion. It has three projecting towers.
Now in the care of Historic Scotland
Admission Charge - Adults £2.20
Huntingtower Castle, first known as Ruthven House, was built by the Ruthvens in the14thC. The castle was originally two towers, built just metres apart, the gap between between coming to be known as "maidens leap"
The Ruthvens were involved in two kidnap plots in later years, with quite a few getting the chop, and their castles and lands forfeited.
The castle now still comprises of two complete towers houses nad the hall of the eastern tower has a fine painted ceiling.
Now in the care of Historic Scotland
Admission charge. £3.00 Adults
Kincraig wildlife park is a must see. Very educational for kids and adults. Lots of history charting past & present native species.
The wild cats are simply beautiful.....but the ducks.stole the show!!
Huntingtower is one of Historic Scotland's castles - well worth looking at. Save money by buying membership of HS on your first visit to any of their sites. Its well worth having, I promise you!
Combine with a visit to nearby Elcho Castle (you'll need a car to see both) - also very small and unspoilt by tourists.
Last night I was walking around the centre of Perth, and I found a little known alley down which there was a tatty little sign, 6 inches square, marking the site of the Kings Arms - where "the king stayed and met" and I thought to myself, where else would such a beautiful and historical site be totally sidelined and passed by?
Perth is rich in history and archaeology - largely preserved by the waterlogged soil beside the river.
It is the centre for the Scottish Urban Archaeological Trust and Perth Heritage Trust, both busy researching and recording a vast wealth of finds and knowledge.
It is quite amazing - but unknown to tourists - even locals - who pass by, busy shopping or working or passing through!
The archaeologists have been busy in Perth - and though you cannot see much yourself - with the help of one of the local guides you can unearth a fantastic history - from Medieval times right back to the start of the nation and beyond!!!
Iron Age, Pictish and Roman evidence abounds. Also much from earlier, in the bronze age, being discovered now, all around Perth.
Sshhh .... don't tell everyone!
A real castle, fun and fascinating, small and little known but very enjoyable - in a beautiful setting - all the more special for NOT having coach parties and masses of tourists. This one is for connoissseurs!
My picture shows the Doocot outside the castle - by the beautiful, tranquil farm pond.
Elcho was designed as both as a stronghold and a private residence.The basic design is a 16th century Z-plan tower house, consisting of a long rectangular main block, with a square stair tower projecting from one corner and three other towers projecting on the opposite side.
The site of this castle is thought to have been in use since the 13th century, when William Wallace is supposed to have resided here, but nothing of his earthen castle remains.
The current building was most likely built by Sir John Wemyss, who died in 1572.
The castle was placed into State care in 1929 and is cared for by Historic Scotland.
- see my Tayside Tips for more info about the area.
This is a scene from above Blairgowrie - one of Perthshire's beautiful small towns.
You can spend a day or a week exploring just this tiny area of Perthshire, there is so much History, Archaeology, Crafts and tiny shops.
- see my Tayside Tips for more info.
The mighty River Tay at low flow in May. Just a couple of miles out of Perth centre - a beautiful footpath follows the bank and can be cycled from the North Inch park. A popular route for locals but rarely seen by any tourists as they rush by up the A9 motorway - see my Tayside Tips for more info.
Most people forget or neglect that a huge chunk of Perth County (Perthshire) is north of the Highland Boundary Fault (geology) and is wild Highland scenery, of rough mountain, heather moor and brooding lochs.
This is most obvious driving north up the A9 road towards Pitlochry and Inverness. Just 8 miles out of Perth the countryside changes, quite dramatically, giving you one of the most beautiful, thrilling and special areas in all Scotland - and very near to the cities. (Aim for Dunkeld - a lovely town amidst this scenery).
The hills around Highland Perthshire are covered with Iron Age Forts, such as Dunsinane Hill (of Macbeth fame) but it is the scenery north that excels - head for Aberfeldy and Pitlochry.
Lochs to aim for are Tummel, Rannoch and Earn - some of the best views in all the land.
Lateral thinking backpackers could take the post bus to Rannoch Station, via Loch Rannoch, then join a train north west to Fort William. Few do it, but thats no reason why you shouldn't.
Write to me for more details.
There is the "Calyx", Cherrybank Gardens and Branklyn gardens (NTS) but also many more beautiful gardens managed by the council - and in July / August the town is festooned with displays and hanging flower baskets.
Perth centre is between two parks, the North and South Inches, with sports fields, mature trees of all species, and public horticulture. It is very peaceful and best enjoyed by walking - one day can be enjoyed delighting in this, combined with heritage, architecture and ending in a nice cafe, bar or picnic beside the River Tay.
Allow a day - it need not cost anything and is most relaxing - quite unlike most rushed, frenetic tourism. Time to get back to being on holiday! (Of course, I live here, perpetually on holiday).
text to follow - see my Tayside Tips for more info.
The best place for a view of Perth and the River Tay.
Warning - Steep cliffs at top and no guard rail - this is Britain - just wee signs warning you - but that's all.
One of the oldest in Scotland. Amongst the boring stuff you'll find some amazing bits that bring Perthshire History and Archaeology to life.
Opens 10.00 - and well worth 2 hours.
A good option should it rain (hardly ever in Perth but sometimes)
Perth is home to the famous Black Watch Highland Regiment - and is dubbed "Big Tree Country" because it does have many - largely (no pun intended) due to the efforts of the botanist, Douglas, who came from Scone by Perth and introduced seeds from the Americas.
So, here is a picture of the entrance to the Black Watch Museum. it is in Balhousie Castle in Perth, formerly the home ofthe Earl of Kinnoull - who kindly bequethed Kinnoull Hill (fantastic woods & views) to the City People. Thanks.