About a a mile and half – all on pavements, one short rise
The starting point for this walk is Greyfriars Burial Ground. There are entrances to this either on Tay Street or Canal Street. There is a car park at the Canal Street entrance. The Burial Ground may be closed because of Covid restrictions but you can see it through the gate.
The Greyfriars were of the Fransiscan order, created in the 13th Century by St Francis of Assisi. Their formation was in some ways an antecedant of the later Protestant Reformation in that it was a reaction to the wealth of the church. Like other fundamentalists, they soon split – within the lifetime of St Francis – into those who sought to follow the dogma conscientiously and those who were more relaxed about the vows of poverty. The Greyfriars were of the latter persuasion.
They were a Europe wide organisation, broadly meant to good works with the poor and sick, although if you read The Summoners Tale from the Canterbury Tales you might be a little sceptical.
From the Burial Ground head briefly up Canal Street and turn right onto Princes Street. At the far end is ‘Cardos’, a restaurant run by a Portugese/French couple. At one stage they had four restaurants in Perth bringing brilliant European cooking to the city. They could do this because there was freedom of movement within the EU which sadly ended on 31st January 2020.
Cross South Street and pass through St Anns Close to get to St John’s Kirk. This was initially built in the 13th Century, rebuilt in the 15th Century, divided into 3 churches after the Scottish Reformation and finally put into its current form in the late 19th century.
Beyond the kirk you can see Cafe Tabou which was started by the people now running Cardos and still providing excellent French cuisine. Pass along the vennel beside Cafe Tabou to get to the High Street. Turn right to pass the Balkan Food Shop and before turning left into George Street you can see Breizh, the third restaurant started by the Cardo’s couple. A little way along George Street is Casella and Polgato, a brilliant Italian bakery.
Just beyond Casella and Polgato is an alleyway to the left. Take this which leads you to a little bridge over the Lade. The Lade was constructed in medieval times to divert water from the River Almond to the north into Perth centre to power watermills and other activities.
Across the aptly named Mill Street is Perth Concert Hall. Musicians were easily able to perform here and then in Paris, Madrid, Berlin or wherever in Europe but must now go through a complicated and expensive bureaucracy if they want to perform in Europe.
Walk up Mill Street. At the crossroads with Kinnoul Street you can see, on your left, the Sandeman pub. This used to be the Sandeman Public Library, donated by the Sandeman family who made their money from selling Port with its longstanding connection with Portugal.
Carry on along Mill Street and then on to West Mill Street, where the Lade emerges from its below street banishment. You can see the City Mills – part of which is now the eponymous hotel.
Beyond this point the walk becomes a little, er, utilitarian. Carry on beyond the hotel and across the Thimblerow car park, cross Caledonian Road, and continue along Long Causeway. Perhaps the only things of interest are that these names hint of older things.
Carry on over the railway bridge. On your left is a business park known as Whitefriars referring at a long gone monastery.
At the next junction, with Feus Road, are the impressive gates to Wellshill cemetary. You can go in here but there is much renovation work in hand which makes the going a little difficult. Instead carry on along (and up) Jeanfield Road. Another entrance to the cemetery is about 500 metres along this road.
Go down the slope and the first thing you come to are the Polish War Graves. They are in the standard Commonwealth War Graves style. Polish forces played an important part in the defeat of Nazism, including as pilots in the Battle of Britain.