ARTHUR Kinmond Bell played a key role in the history of Perth, and of Scotland as a whole.
His family name is one of the best known blended whisky brands to this day.
But AK, as he was known, was also a pretty keen philanthropist. His efforts to produce a national drink brought big profits and these were put to good use between 1924 and 1932 when he paid for the construction of the Gannochy Housing Estate for the workers of Perth.
At the same time he bought Scone Den, known as Quarrymill, which was developed into a woodland park. The Gannochy Trust was set up in 1937 to care for the estate and woodland, work that has continued through its 75th anniversary.
It makes for a perfect winter walk, especially before Christmas, when daylight is short and spare time can be even more scarce.
Woodlands are often shunned by walkers – you can’t see the views for the trees. But in winter, a time usually thought of as dark, the lack of leaves can open a wood up to daylight, low sun casting a beautiful pattern. With a burn to follow, a low-level walk at this time of year can also be seen as having a purpose. So, don’t huddle indoors, get out and enjoy what daylight there is.
As well as preserving the natural beauty of Quarrymill, the Gannochy Trust has also built some excellent wheelchair and pushchair-friendly paths. This walk follows some of them before ascending steep ground – to enjoy a good walk with wheels, stay close to the burn.
To find out more about the Gannochy Trust go to www.gannochytrust.org.uk
Distance: 1½ miles.
Height climbed: 200ft.
Time: 1 to 1½ hours.
Map: OS Landranger 58.
Park: Follow the A93 north out of Perth and about a mile from the city centre there is a car park for Quarrymill Woodland on the right. If you reach Scone Palace you have gone too far.
In summary: Go to the right-hand side of the visitor centre building and follow a track straight ahead, with the Annaty Burn to your left. Ignore turnings to the right and a bridge across the burn to continue to a pond. Go left here, on a red wooden bridge across the burn.
On the other side take a zig-zag path up to the right, following a green marker post signed ‘Ridge Wood’. Go through a small wooden gate at the top, cross a track and go through another gate which is slightly to the left. Once through the gate a path leads right, through widely spaced woodland high above the burn. At the end drop down some steps to reach a well-made path, where you go left to cross a bridge.
Go right on the other side of the bridge and follow the burn back downstream to the bridge crossed earlier, which you re-cross. Instead of going up the zig-zag path again, keep left to stay by the river. After climbing some steps, the path swings left, at which point you go right, up a short flight of steps. Continue high above the burn until you begin to descend just before the A93. The path then swings left to reach a bridge over the burn. Cross to return to the car park.
Refreshments: The coffee shop at the visitor centre doesn’t re-open until Easter but there is a wide choice of independent cafes in Perth.
While you are in the area: Perth is a lovely city next to the River Tay. One good visitor attraction is the Fergusson Gallery which celebrates the life and work of two great pioneers of modern art and dance, John Duncan Fergusson and Margaret Morris (www.pkc.gov.uk/Education+and+learning/Museums+and+galleries/Fergusson+Gallery)