After all the excitement of my BLiSSful Strathyre savoir-faire sojourn it was back to the more mundane matter of a local ride near Matildas Rest to try and clock up some miles and keep fit during the colder winter weather. So Sunday morning dawned but as the “old git” pulled open the blinds it looked as though plans would be thwarted as it was lashing with rain. But my Captain is a great believer in the local weather forecast – which said the wind would die down and the rain would stop by lunchtime.
It would need to be said that the “old gal” was somewhat less optimistic at this point but – like me – she was keen to get out and get some much needed exercise. And there was an added attraction of another art trail to be followed!
You’ll know by now that Team Matilda regard themselves as culture vultures (as well as foodie vultures it would need to be said!) All three of us thoroughly enjoyed the unique outside art BLiSS trail set up by LETi, the Loch Earn Tourism Information group, deep in the heart of Rob Roy Country.
Today’s trail was not nearly on such a grand scale but the local Community School of Auchterarder had set up a mini Oor Wullie Trail – well the class of P1D to be exact. As part of a project to learn about the Scots language their teacher Mr Dowling used Oor Wullie as his inspiration.
You may remember how much my dynamic duo and me enjoyed our tandem tour in August of the lifesize Oor Wullie Bucket Trail which captured the imagination of people in Dundee so my crew were (almost) deliriously happy when the rain stopped and the wind died down and we were able to get out.
We started by heading to the school where (safely behind glass) was the star attraction for the kids – a full size replica of Oor Wullie’s pal Dennis the Menace! What happened was that the Scots language project took off and expanded into an initiative to involve the whole community.
With help from Oor Wullie publisher DC Thomson and the local Ruthven Gallery each child in the class was able to decorate a ceramic Oor Wullie figurine. These were then placed in shops throughout the town to make an Oor Wullie bucket trail – with the community dropping a few pennies into the buckets as they ticked off the different models.
The “old gal” had volunteered that her Number Fifty Seven Hair Salon take part in the trail and she was given a girl Oor Wullie called The Brave Quine – themed to Merida from the movie Brave – to put in the window. So naturally that was our next stop. Over the two weeks that the trail was running lots of people popped in to the salon to tick it off their list. And the creator of The Brave Quine, pupil Tamsin Tattersall, popped in to have her photo taken with her figurine. She and the school was delighted to learn that her model alone raised over £70 for the fund raising drive with the money being split between the school and the local ARCHIE Foundation.
On we tandemed up the street – Scotland’s longest high street – while spotting a fantastic variety of themed mini Oor Wullies. If you’re quick you can see them all gathered together in the Ruthven Gallery. The trail really caught the imagination and was a fabulous creative community idea from the school. We left the mini Oor Wullies in our wake and headed out of town past the landmark Gleneagles Hotel towards the roundabout with the giant golf club artwork to commemorate the Ryder Cup being held here in 2014.
It was bitterly cold so the selfie photo stop lasted barely a few seconds before we tandemed on down the Glendevon Road (A823) before turning sharp left and heading along narrow country roads with fabulous views across Perthshire’s rolling countryside. 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!
My dynamic duo were sharply reminded that their fitness levels had dropped when we hit a steep incline just after turning off the Glendevon road. Let’s just say it was a struggle until the road levelled off again! Mental note to my crew that more miles are required as a matter of urgency! The route took us along past the growing Duchally Country Estate resort before a welcome downhill stretch before climbing again – but less steeply to overlook Auchterarder.
Time for another quick selfie before we pedalled on cycling across the flyover across the A9 for the final run back to Matildas Rest for a reviving hot coffee and shortbread while checking out Strava which officially recorded the ride as covering a distance of 7.7 miles with a total moving time of 54 minutes, at an average speed of 8.5 mph – which was not too bad considering the rustiness of all members of Team Matilda!
The total elapsed time was just 1 hour 02 minutes due to not hanging about during the photos! Top speed was a not too shabby 30 mph and the elevation covered was 441 feet. Together we managed to burn up 540 calories, and produced an estimated average power output of 148 W.
But really energising to be out, and a bit of culture thrown in for good measure too! So all in all a great Mini Oor Wullie weather window workout!
And even more excitement was to come for this “old lady” when the first edition of the Lang Toon Times – the new monthly community newspaper for Auchterarder and district – was delivered to Matildas Rest.
Why the excitement? Well I am writing a cycling column for the paper – describing local routes for the non-lycra clad leisure cyclists. It’s called Matildas Meanderings – as an extension of my Musings blog! Clever eh? How cool is that?
The “old git” has also promised to set up my own Facebook page and Twitter feed in the same Matildas Musings brand as this blog! I better watch all this fame doesn’t go to my head … but I may soon be signing autographs in the local Coop!