Meet smugglers, heroes, poets and ghosts on new walking trail

Peterhead Academy pupils Paige Donald and Rhys Colllis study the Peterhead Town Trail map with (left to right): Buchan area committee vice-chair Cllr Anne Allan, area committee chair, Cllr Stuart Pratt and Provost Hamish Vernal.
Peterhead Academy pupils Paige Donald and Rhys Colllis study the Peterhead Town Trail map with (left to right): Buchan area committee vice-chair Cllr Anne Allan, area committee chair, Cllr Stuart Pratt and Provost Hamish Vernal.

A walking trail which leads visitors around the historic town of Peterhead has been developed to highlight some of the town’s best history – and darkest secrets.

As part of regeneration efforts taking place locally, the Peterhead Town Trail links and highlights some of the most interesting parts of the area’s largest town.

Smugglers, secret passages, heroes, poets, influential ladies, ghosts, war, witchcraft, murder, rebellion and piracy – all easily taken in on a day out in Peterhead.

Walkers on the trail can meet Fisher Jessie, see the gift William 1st of Prussia sent to the people of Peterhead and find out how a loving aunt’s legacy caused terror and wiped out over 300 people.

The trail has two loops – one long and one short - featuring 21 story boards located at points of interest around the town. Both trails start at Kirk Street and end on St. Peter Street, at the Arbuthnot Museum.

The boards feature interesting history from the immediate vicinity, showing images and telling tales from the past.

A leaflet to accompany the town trail and guide visitors is being made available and further information can be seen on a dedicated website: www.peterheadtowntrail.co.uk

Town Centre Project Officer, Heather Barclay, said: “The new Peterhead Town Trail invites you to put your walking shoes on and explore Peterhead’s past.

“As part of regeneration efforts in the town, we hope this will be interesting for any visitors and that it may even inspire some locals to learn more.

“A lot of time, research and love has gone into developing this and we have to thank our partners in the local community, who have approached this with real enthusiasm.

“Huge thanks have to go to local historians Kenny Bruce and Anne Allan, and

Museums Service Education Officer Flick Ibbotson, all key members of the team who

created the trail.

“Local residents Stephen Calder, Alex Geddes and Sandy Baird also provided information and verified facts.

“There has also been incredible support from local businesses and organisations, including Peterhead Port Authority, John A. Smith and Son, Buchanhaven Heritage Society and NHS Grampian, who all allowed panels to be put up on their properties.

“I’m also really pleased to welcome pupils from Peterhead Academy’s History Club, who have come along to the launch to sample the trail and give their feedback.”

Provost of Aberdeenshire, Hamish Vernal, said: “It’s great that the exicting and varied past of Peterhead can be highlighted in such a simple, direct way.

“Not only does it provide a fascinating walk around the area for visitors, it should help increase local footfall and have a knock on effect for businesses. We’re very grateful for the support shown by the community and local businesses for this trail and we hope it’s a useful addition to what Peterhead has to offer.”

Buchan Area Committee vice chair, Anne Allan, who has offered important input into the project, said: “Many locals already know about and value the rich history and tradition of Peterhead, as evidenced by the involvement of some of them in this project for their expert advice.

“We already get lots of visitors from further afield, but we want to welcome more, and offering more attractions and things to do around the town can play a big part in that.

“Local people can also enjoy the trail and I can imagine it will be popular with families who want to learn more about the colourful history of our fascinating town.”

The council’s Museums Service acted as one of the main project advisors, offering historical information and checking accuracy, as well as supplying photography.”