With only a week to go till Christmas Day the “old git” – who is something of a Christmas zealot – was encouraging everyone to get into full festive spirit mode! As the “old gal” quipped – it might have been more likely if there was some festive spirit flowing … but he was trying – very trying as the “old gal” said in that droll you-can’t-be-certain-if-she-is-joking-or-not way she has!
Now there is a tradition on the Sunday before Christmas near Matilda’s Rest when the local churches in Auchterarder come together to hold a carol service at Tullibardine Chapel – which dates back to the 15th century. My dynamic crew make a point of going – and it is all quite atmospheric as there is no power in the remote chapel and it is all done by candle light and torches.
This year the “old git” decided it would be a bit of a festive frolic if my crew arrived at the carols by tandem – complete with Santa hats, Christmas jumpers, and my twinkling festive lights!
Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your point of view!) the weather was kind and quite mild so there was much excitement when we woke on Sunday to get ready for our excursion. And to add to the anticipation, it was the first time – believe it or not – that this “old lady” had been to a carol service!
So after an early lunch I was pulled out of the garage to get a few photos at Matildas Rest before we headed off on the short 3 mile ride to Tullibardine. The “old gal” had done some sterling work transforming my duo’s crash helmets into huge Santa hats – courtesy of linking together a couple of Santa hats from the local pound shop!
As we all posed for photos the “old git” realised that a year ago – we had to abandon our planned tandem run on this same Sunday due to fairly heavy snow!
We headed off and it was fun tandeming up the high street which was busy with families out walking and doing some last minute shopping! It would need to be said we got more than a few funny looks from adults (but as the “old git” said that was the point of the exercise) while loads of children gave us excited waves and I tooted my horn back in appreciation!
We then headed out of town onto the rural Perthshire roads which took us to Tullibardine Chapel – and I must admit it was great fun to be back out in the fresh air. You can check out the details of our route on Strava below – and don’t forget to click on the map image to get the full data and statistics!
Team Matilda were in good spirits – so much so that I wasn’t sure if there was any actual spirits partaken before they departed! But the “old gal” and the “old git” are finely tuned athletes … so I am sure it was just my imagination!
In what seemed like no time we were approaching the chapel and the “old git” decided that we needed to arrive in style – singing jingle bells to ensure we got noticed! And guess what – we did! The “old git” and the “old gal” definetly lived up to their status as founding members of the Nutty Tandemers Club with their arrival – which as luck would have it was recorded on video which you can view here. (Remember if you are reading this on email, you need to click on the blog first – via the link at the bottom of the email – to view the video.)
So before the carols there was time to explore the history and my dynamic crew discovered that Tullibardine Chapel was founded in 1446 by Sir David Murray of Dumbarton, an ancestor of the Dukes of Atholl. The Murray family home was at Tullibardine Castle. This stood on a site a short distance to the north of the chapel, though nothing now remains of it.
The chapel stands almost unchanged since an extension in about 1500 – and is one of the few medieval churches to have survived the Reformation unaltered.
Just before the carol service proper started my dynamic duo warmed up their voices with a few verses outside, accompanied by one of the organisers Allan Perera – a well known local artist and member of the Our Lady of the Perpetual Succour host church – on his guitar.
So after a warm up – and after attracting lots of attention from interested people arriving – it was time for my duo to go inside the chapel for the carol service. They tell me they thoroughly enjoyed the whole event – a nice mix of Christmas carols and readings. And encouragingly, it was packed – with nearly 200 people crowding into the chapel.
After the carols my dynamic duo emerged to find that they had been somewhat upstaged by someone who had arrived on horseback – as you do in the middle of the Perthshire countryside! So naturally I had to have a photo taken with the horse!
My duo had got a bit chilled sitting inside the chapel as the temperature dropped, so after the service we quickly pedalled off in a bid to raise some heat! In fact they tandemed so quickly, Strava later confirmed that they recorded a personal best record time on the Easthill hill climb section back towards Auchterarder! Back into town and there was a stop at the “old gal’s” hair salon to get a few festive photos.
A short pedal and we were back at Matilda’s Rest with my dynamic crew immediately having a warming espresso to heat them up! But all three of us on Team Matilda had fun – and were feeling even more Christmassy than before!
Look out for my Matildas Musings Christmas wishes blog post just before the big day! In the meantime I need to go and warp a few presents and write my final cards!