Rolling On the River

Share this with your friends

You may have seen that our intrepid reporter Gary has been lured over to St. Johnstone with promises of football for breakfast, lunch and tea! Joining us as a graduate, he was always clear that his dream job was football PR and we’re all bloody delighted for him.  The big question though, was how do we send off the man behind our sports column, Holly’s work husband, and our resident daredevil? A couple of pints just didn’t seem enough.

And then we had our genius moment – we’d charter a boat! Well, I say charter, I mean ‘book’ because of course this summer the River Tay is awash with boating trips all leaving from the purpose built pontoon at Fergusson Gallery.   From a chilled out one hour meander down to Elcho Castle, to a full on trip along our silvery water, past the new V&A at Dundee and onto Broughty Ferry, we’ve joined the cool gang of European cities offering a day on the river.You'll be surprised how much goes on in the river; from low flying birds to fishermen casting their lines and canoeists practicing their paddle technique down by Willow Gate

First things first – could we do it with just us and could we bring champagne? Yes and yes came the replies, as long as we were at least a six (or paid for six) and didn’t get so drunk we became a danger to ourselves.  Holly assured him that would be placed on hold until we hit the gin bar at the end of the night and we were all booked up for an evening sail on the Boat Badger – a 34 foot, nelson hulled, twin engine launch which had been refurbed after its life as an customs boat.

This summer’s weather didn’t let us down, and as #TeamSmallCity climbed aboard on Gary’s last day in the office, the sun danced across the water, sparkling like diamonds and creating a very Mediterranean vibe as the first of the champagne corks went POP. 

We opted to stay seated outside, eight of us fitting perfectly along either side of the boat, soaking up the warm night air and enjoying stories of the Tay’s boating past from one of the Bobs!  There are two Bobs – Bob Richmond and Bob Black and both are great hosts and steeped in knowledge about both the history of the river and its present day life.


You’d be surprised how much goes on in the river; from low flying birds to fishermen casting their lines - bobbing heads emerging as water skier’s boats roared into action – to canoeists practicing their paddle technique down by Willow Gate! There was certainly plenty of opportunity for people watching or wildlife spotting.

We sailed past the wonderful King James VI Business Centre which looks decidedly majestic from a front on view, under the Friarton Bridge early evening cars crossing over our heads and on to Elcho Castle – which we could just see through the lush green early summer surroundings. 

We were on bottle number two as the boat turned to retrace its steps back along the other side and our hour long trip seemed to be up far too soon.  We’d have been happy to pay again for another go, but for the fact that a queue of people were waiting at the pontoon as pulled in.  

BOATS Tapa ViFor us then, it was a wee 2 minute wander round to RocaBlu for cocktails before heading to Tapa Vi for a full on evening of tapas (Have you been yet?  It is FABULOUS!), wine and memories of that time we made Gary jump off the Garry Bridge / fly a plane / have his stride checked for accuracy! 

Of course, we finished in The Venue with gins which seemed only appropriate since that’s where we’d taken him for his first night out with us – Saints may have football, but we reckon a night in the Small City with boats, gin and the best chat will be a difficult combo to beat.   


You can book your trip on the Tay for individuals, couple or groups from May until October 2018. Find out more over on our events page, Boating On The Tay 2018!

Due to the tidal nature of the river, the trips will run at different times of day – why not get out a few times and explore our beautiful river first thing in the morning, during the day or into the early evening?

We also highly recommend making a day or night of it and heading for food, drinks and a great time in Perth City Centre! Check out our River Tay boating gallery on Small City, Big Personality >>>

See & Make Comments
Share this with your friends