Curious carvings in Perth

While strolling along the River Tay in Perth a few days ago, I came across some stone carvings I hadn’t noticed before. Along the west bank of the river, set into the flood prevention wall, was a curious array of artworks apparently relating in some way to the city of Perth.

Perth flood defence wall
Wall along the west bank of the River Tay at Perth. The carvings, invisible in this picture, were on the sides of the pillars dotted along the wall.

The first one I saw depicted bees and the name ‘Gibralter’.


Other carvings represented cities twinned with Perth, such as Perth, Ontario and Bydgoszcz in Poland, while a few of them were a little more esoteric.

Bydgoszczthe earthEcce tiber

Despite the dreichness of the day, I wasn’t the only one wandering along the riverside trying to make sense of it all.

A puzzled visitor to the River Tay inspecting the wall with wonderment.

Beneath the bridge, the locals were getting on with their business, unperturbed by goings on above.


Across the river, surrounded by trees on the east bank, sat the attractive Kinnoull Parish Church, a building I’ve never been inside but often admired from outside.

Kinnoull Parish Church
Kinnoull Parish Church on the east bank of the River Tay.

Perth is not one of the UK’s better known cities, indeed it only gained city status in 2012. With a population of around 45,000, it’s about a tenth of the size of Edinburgh and its size and layout make it a pleasant place to explore on foot.

On another topic entirely, as the sole entrant for last week’s competition, I’m delighted to announce that Darlene will be receiving a copy of “The Servant Queen”. Well done, Darlene, and thank you for your interest.



  1. Would you be able to find out about the carvings online? They are very elegant. Then, sometimes, a bit of mystery is nice.


  2. These carvings are very exquisite and a nice way to decorate an otherwise plain, utilitarian wall. I am so happy to be the winner of the charming book about the Queen. Thanks so much!!


  3. I am intrigued by those carvings, Lorna. Especially since they seem to have a theme of an alcove, like those you see in a church, or a niche for a statue which has an artistic interpretation. ‘Gibralter’ is puzzling – wonder even if it’s an anagram!! And why the wasps/bees? Sorry to have missed your post about the book! It looks lovely and I’m sure the winner will enjoy it. What a shining example the Queen is, and what stamina she has, always radiant and happy to be doing whatever she’s doing. Remarkable.


    1. You’re absolutely right, Jo, they are like the alcoves and niches you see inside and outside some buildings. I was most puzzled about the spelling of ‘Gibralter’, and I have no idea what the insects have to do with it. The whole thing is quite mysterious. I was remembering the other day how public opinion turned against the Queen after Diana died, when she came down to Buckingham Palace from Balmoral, apparently under pressure. That was a low ebb for her but I think she really listens to people and pays attention to public feeling, and she’s probably now as popular as she ever was. She is, as you say, a remarkable woman.

      Liked by 1 person

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