Lockdown2 Ride9 – There’s snow on them there hills on Breezy Braco Burl!

There’s snow on them there hills – which created a rather chilly breeze!

This shortish blog is the story of how my dynamic crew enjoyed a fun #Lockdown2 Ride9 #tandem adventure which featured There’s snow on them there hills on a breezy Braco burl!

The “old git” and “old gal” were champing at the bit to get back out in tandem taking advantage of some sunny conditions for their ninth fun #lockdown adventure – while adopting Cycling UK Scotland‘s #cyclingfromhome mantra in #tandem in rural Perthshire, mainly on Sustrans Scotland and The National Cycle Network routes.

You can check out the details of our route by clicking on the Strava map below.

Despite the wind – and the wind chill giving a “feels like” temperature of just 3C which meant that the new Tandem Club snoods were de rigueur – it was again a joy to be out in the bright sunshine on beautiful rolling Perthshire countryside. And again Team Matilda luckily managed to avoid the showers which were forecast for later in the day!

Beautiful clear visibility and stunning sunshine as we set off from our home base of Auchterarder, again cycling out of town past Gleneagles and on towards Braco – battling a really fierce headwind, which at times quite literally took the “old gal’s” breath away!

But we heroically pedalled on and at the junction with the A8222 we turned right – enjoying the break from the wind pummeling into our faces as we pedalled to the highest point in the ride for a breather and a few pictures.

Stopping for a breather and taking in the views over the stunning Perthshire countryside!

My dynamic crew were rewarded with stunning views across the valley towards the main A9 trunk road and the Ochil hills which had a new snow cap on them from the recent stormy weather here.

As the “old git” said: “There’s snow on them there hills” – which the “old gal” thought was pretty obvious and gave one of her less-than-impressed long-suffering looks. But the point he was trying to make was it was the reason behind the rather chilly breeze blasting into my dynamic crew!

Yes, that’s definitely a fresh fall of snow! No wonder it was a tad on the chilly side on our Braco Burl!

The bright sunshine created brilliant shadows and kept spirits high – including a fun selfie with both the “old git” and “old gal” once again requiring to wear the new Tandem Club snoods for warmth … rather than just as a fashion statement!

A fun selfie of Team Matilda in the bright sunshine – complete with Tandem Club snoods!

Re-breathed my dynamic crew tandemed on – this time ignoring the left turn for Mill of Drummond and headed on the route to Crieff – with the sun-kissed snow-topped mountains behind the town providing real brain food for my dynamic crew!

A right turn took us along a superb farm road to Machanay before another right turn onto the main Crieff to Auchterarder road and back towards Gleneagles.

Great joy as Team Matilda – with the wind behind them – enjoyed the downhill Orchil road stretch and hit a new record on the speed camera approaching the town of 27 mph! Oh the simple pleasures!

Great feelgood factor on returning to Matildas Rest from the exercise – which clocked another 16 miles onto the #Lockdown2 milometer taking the total to 197 miles from the 9 rides completed so far.

And the day got even better when the “old git” checked Strava to discover that my dynamic crew have been awarded yet another of the “Local Legend” accolades – this time for an uphill section just before the highest point, known as Muir of Orchil. This caused the “old git” and the “old gal” much amusement given the fact that they are so very far from “local legend” status cyclists!

But a “local legend” accolade is an accolade no matter what – and my dynamic crew were quietly chuffed!

Strava officially recorded the ride as being worthy of 8 gongs – four personal bests; two 2nd bests; one 3rd best; and the “local legend”! The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 16.5 miles with a moving time of 1 hour 15 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 13.1 mph despite the ever present wind! Elevation was 878 feet. The maximum speed was 34.0 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1,028 calories and produce an average power output of 203 W.

As always the route is brought to life in our Relive 3D mapping video – so click here to view or on the image below.

Once again there were hugely positive endorphins from #Lockdown2 Ride 9 for my dynamic crew – underlining what fun it is being out pedalling on a bicycle made for two in our rural Perth and Kinross Cycle CampaignPerth and Kinross Countryside TrustAuchterarder Community Cycling and Love Perthshire area.

But as the chittering “old gal” quipped: “Hopefully the next ride will be less windy – and a tad warmer!”

Lockdown2 Ride3 – First ride in Tandem Club snoods after long snow lay-off and enjoying Sustrans publicity focus on Team Matilda!

Bringing out our inner Audrey Hepburn in the new Tandem Club anniversary snoods!

This blog is the story of how my dynamic crew finally got back on my saddles after a long months enforced lay-off due to heavy snow and ice with the “old git” and “old gal” having their first outing wearing their new Tandem Club UK snoods. It also features Team Matilda enjoying being the subject of a publicity focus from Sustrans, who look after The National Cycle Network.

A whole 34 days after the second ride of #Lockdown2 the weather decided to warm up a bit and finally thawed the heavy snow and thick ice which had turned our home area in Auchterarder in south Perthshire into a permafrost winter wonderland.

The snow lay to a depth of around a foot at Team Matilda’s Auchterarder base.

Now as tandemers and cyclists know, snow and icy conditions are not remotely conducive to pedalling so my dynamic crew were stuck in doors – looking out at the snow which lay to a depth of about a foot.

The “old gal” and the “old git” did make good use of their time by embarking on a major DIY “Changing Rooms”-style project at Matildas Rest – decorating every room in the house over a four week period!

The “old gal” in “Changing Rooms” mode – wallpapering the bedroom with a zebra mural!

But despite their dedication to the DIY – and becoming “experts” at painting and wallpapering! – my dynamic crew were desperate to continue their second #lockdown adventures – while adopting Cycling UK Scotland‘s #cyclingfromhome mantra in #tandem in rural Perthshire, mainly on Sustrans Scotland and The National Cycle Network routes.

There had been a glimmer of of hope that we would be able to get out on a romantic St Valentine’s Day pedal on our bicycle made for two – but the weather sadly decided not to play Cupid.

The “old git” and “old gal” did however have some heart-warming loved-up tandeming publicity to keep them occupied over their hot #lockdownlurve Valentine date night as Sustrans timeously decided to feature my Matildas Musings blog in a question and answer feature in a bid to give romantic inspiration to other cyclists! Naturally it focused on my dynamic crew’s story of how they met – with the headline: “Love on the National Cycle Network: how a tandem-biking blind date brought a couple together.” Click on the image to read the article!

The Sustrans feature.

The amusing feature also focused on the on-going success of my status as the UK’s only blogging tandem bike, and how our fun adventures in tandem help Team Matilda to survive lockdowns – as well as why tandeming is growing in popularity, and our favourite recommended route on The National Cycle Network of Rt 7 from Callander to Killin.

It is actually the second time in recent months that my dynamic crew have been featured by Sustrans as they made a “starring” appearance in a promotional video made to mark the 25th anniversary of The National Cycle Network #NCN25th.

Click on the video below and see if you can spot the “old git” and the “old gal” in their fleeting appearances at 36 seconds; 56 seconds; and at 1 minute 46 seconds! Blink and you will miss them!

All this publicity has been going to my head a bit – as a quiet demure and reserved “old lady” tandem!! – so back to the pedalling! My dynamic crew decided on a simple route to get their legs free from enforced inaction – a Braco loop with (whisper it!) another DIY coffee stop! You can check out the details of our route by clicking on the Strava map below.

The ride gave my dynamic crew their first opportunity to wear their new Tandem Club UK neck scarves – known as snoods or buffs – which was a welcome free gift to all members to commemorate the Club’s 50th anniversary this year in 2021.

As you can see from the picture at the top of this post the “old gal” decided on a pose that brought out my dynamic crew’s inner Audrey Hepburn – the “old git” played along although he was a tad disappointed that they had to make do with “Breakfast at Auchterarder”!

Then “the old gal” promised to take the “old git” on a fun mystery tour after pulling the snood right up over his face so he couldn’t see! At least his sunglasses matched!

The “old gal” promising to take the “old git” on a fun mystery tour!

That nutty picture session continued as that pose was reversed which left the “old gal” looking like she had been kidnapped and forced out on a ride – but she went willingly! … honestly!

The “old gal” looks like she was kidnapped and forced out on a ride! She went willingly … honestly!

Incidentally, if you are a tandem rider, and not a member of the Tandem Club UK – what are you waiting for? Membership is great value at just £15 a couple. For more details of how to join click here!

After a more sensible shot with the snoods as neck warmers it was time for the serious pedalling – with all three members of Team Matilda feeling a bit rusty. It was good to see it wasn’t just me – as an “old lady” #tandem – who was feeling the pain after our enforced lay-off!

But we almost didn’t get to ride as just before we headed off the “old git” decided to test my gears and found my chain was completely clogged up with mud and grit from our last ride – and my pedals wouldn’t turn. Seems the “old gal” had “forgotten” to give me a spruce up after my return to the garage! While the “old git” did his usual panicking routine, the “old gal” took control and in her role as Team Matilda’s chief (and only!) engineer got to work with a hearty doze of chain cleaner and a toothbrush which soon had me back in action!

We headed up thru the high street of our home base town of Auchterarder (the longest high street in Scotland by reputation!) continuing up past the back entrance to the luxury Gleneagles Resort and out towards Braco. We then turned right towards Crieff where we had a rapid (standing!) DIY coffee stop! This “not a picnic” was much required by the “old git” and “old gal” to keep warm!

A welcome cup of coffee for my dynamic crew – but obviously NOT a picnic!

The weather had promised an almost Mediterranean 11C – but there was a fairly fierce wind which meant the temperature never hit those balmy double digit high spots!

We then pedalling back towards Auchterarder – riding thru the plush grounds of the all shut up luxury five star Gleneagles resort, which sadly meant no posh afternoon tea for my dynamic crew! It was however quite sad to see the playground of the rich all closed.

The luxury five star Gleneagles Resort all closed up – so couldn’t get posh afternoon tea!

A quick photo at a flyover over the A9 revealed the trunk road linking the central belt with the Highlands was virtually deserted due to #Lockdown2.

Very quiet during #Lockdown2 on the A9 trunk road linking central belt to the Highlands.

On the final couple of miles back to Matildas Rest there was great joy for my dynamic crew with a new Team Matilda record being flashed up on a speed camera sign coming back into town – at 25 mph! Simple pleasures!

Back indoors – and after finding that my crew’s legs did in fact remember how to pedal! – the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as as being worthy of 5 gongs – including one personal best and two 2nd bests! And amazingly the other 2 gongs were for being awarded “local legend” status on two separate sectors! So I guess the legs were not that rusty! This was definitely the cause for celebration and a screen grab of Strava had to be taken to be recorded for posterity!

“Local Legend” status on Strava!

The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 19.6 miles with a moving time of 1 hour 44 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 11.3mph despite the fresh headwind! Elevation was 974 feet. The maximum speed was 32.0 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1,241 calories and produce an average power output of 177 W.

As always the route is brought to life in our Relive 3D mapping video – so take a look below.

The feel good factor from #Lockdown2 Ride 3 was a welcome feeling – reminding my dynamic crew that despite the vital Covid-19 restrictions, it’s great fun being out pedalling on a bicycle made for two in our rural Perth and Kinross Cycle CampaignPerth and Kinross Countryside TrustAuchterarder Community Cycling and Love Perthshire area.

Team Matilda is hoping the Arctic weather has now gone for the winter so they can clock up more #lockdown miles on more fun spirit-lifting adventures!

The Tandem Club neck warmers are a welcome addition to my dynamic crew’s kit!

Lockdown2 Ride2 – Avoiding snow patches on Braco loop with DIY coffee stop (which wasn’t a picnic, officer!)

Wintry skies, and even a patch of winter sunshine, with wonderful views over the A9 valley.

This blog is the slightly delayed story of my dynamic crew identifying a much needed weather window and escaped for a local #Lockdown2 ride – dodging the patches of snow pedalling on a Braco loop with (whisper it!) a DIY coffee stop.

A week after the first ride of the new #lockdown the weather suddenly turned significantly more wintry, resulting in a heavy snow fall. Now as tandemers and cyclists know, snow is not conducive to pedalling so my crew were stuck in doors. The “old git” was so bored he was forced to take a photo showing the only true measure of the depth of snow – the depth it comes up to on a prosecco bottle!

The only true measure of snow depth – where it comes up to on a prosecco bottle!

But of course under the new Scottish Government lockdown rules, my dynamic crew are not currently allowed to have one of their signature prosecco picnics anyway! So obviously it just had to be opened inside!

But the “old git” and the “old gal” were desperate for their second fun #lockdown adventure – while adopting Cycling UK Scotland‘s #cyclingfromhome mantra in #tandem in rural Perthshire, mainly on Sustrans Scotland and The National Cycle Network routes.

Fortunately there was a bit of a thaw over the weekend which removed most of the ice, and the “old git” poured over the weather forecast and identified a weather window for Monday where the temperatures were predicted to hit a balmy 6C over midday. (As you can probably imagine – and much to the “old gal’s” chagrin, the actual temperature was nowhere near 6C!)

The “old git” did a recce by car of their planned route in the morning to check that road conditions were safe – adopting his new role as Team Matilda Health and Safety Officer! – and reported back that the roads were mainly clear of snow with none of the nasty and dangerous black ice.

You can check out the details of our route by clicking on the Strava map below.

The route was a loop up thru the high street of our Perthshire home base town of Auchterarder (the longest high street in Scotland by reputation!) continuing up past the back entrance to the luxury Gleneagles Resort and out towards Braco.

My dynamic crew had to avoid some fairly serious snow patches en route!

All was going well as we dodged the remaining snow patches – with the weather as forecast and even the added benefit of some winter sun – till about 4 miles into the ride when the sky suddenly darkened and my dynamic crew were hit by a squall.

Fortunately the rain only lasted a few minutes and the “old git” tried to make bright of the situation by pointing out the dramatic rainbows – tho I am not sure the “old gal” was equally as impressed!

A right turn on to the A822 and a pedal towards Crieff brought glorious views over the valley before an “essential” halt in an ice clad lay-by for a much needed DIY coffee and caramel cake stop – which was obviously not a picnic (officer!) as we didn’t sit down!! (It was far too chilly!!)

Essential DIY coffee stop which obviously wasn’t a picnic (officer!) – as it was too cold to sit down!

Again the views over towards the sun-kissed snow-capped hills behind Crieff were real lockdown brain food! And the coffee was essential for thawing out with the temperature on the handlebar mounted computer barely rising above freezing at 0C!

View from the icy (non picnic!) lay-by looking over to the sun-kissed snow-covered hills at Crieff.

Pedalling on before my dynamic crew turned to ice, there was a sharp right turn along a farm road to Machanay and then right again heading along the Crieff – Auchterarder road towards Gleneagles and back to Matilda’s Rest.

Great joy for my dynamic crew with new Team Matilda record being flashed up on the speed camera signs coming back into town – at 24 mph and 23 mph respectively.

Back indoors while de-icing at Matildas Rest the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as as being worthy of 5 gongs – one personal best and four 2nd bests – which was a bonus given the somewhat “iffy” road conditions!

The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 16.6 miles with a moving time of 1 hour 27 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 11.4mph despite the chill factor! Elevation was 876 feet. The maximum speed was 30.4 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1,077 calories and produce an average power output of 184 W.

As always the route is brought to life in our Relive 3D mapping video – so take a look below.

The feel good factor from #Lockdown2 Ride 2 was fabulous – and most definitely helped by a reviving bowl of steaming home made ham and lentil soup!

It just continues to prove that, despite the restrictions, it’s great fun being out pedalling on a bicycle made for two in our rural Perth and Kinross Cycle Campaign, Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust, Auchterarder Community Cycling and Love Perthshire area.

If only the temperature would rise a bit! Brrrr!

Lockdown2 Ride1 – First 2021 outing for Team Matilda minus 4 stones with new orange jerseys!

My dynamic crew starting 2021 fitter and healthier having lost 4 stones on Keto diet plan.

So here we go again! The start of 2021 and back exactly where we were at the end of March last year – in #lockdown!

My dynamic crew felt very fortunate and blessed to have survived the first 3-month Covid-19 lockdown period thanks to their exercise regime of regular fun adventures while adopting Cycling UK Scotland‘s #cyclingfromhome mantra in #tandem in rural Perthshire, mainly on Sustrans Scotland and The National Cycle Network routes.

Regular readers will know that as the UK’s only blogging tandem I decided to put together a photo timeline of Team Matilda’s life during #lockdown1 – which you can see here – with a photo from each of their 40 lockdown rides as we clocked up 1000 miles on a bicycle made for two.

The simple aim was to detail our madcap adventures which kept my dynamic crew healthy, both mentally and physically. Amazingly this blog caught the attention of the local Perthshire Advertiser and Team Matilda were featured – in colour and on page 3 no less! You can read the article by clicking on the photo below of the framed cutting which has pride of place in the “old git’s” office or here.

The Perthshire Advertiser article on Team Matilda in Lockdown 1.

So as we embark on our second period of lockdown the “old git” and “old gal” – like everyone else – have no idea how long this one will last, although the signs are that it will be months not weeks.

My dynamic crew have therefore vowed to try to make each ride different or memorable by living up to Team Matilda’s twin mottos that “its the smiles not the miles that count!” and “it’s always better when we are tandeming together!” We hope you enjoy our #lockdown 2 journey in #tandem with us!

But before detailing our first ride of 2021 I have some big news to reveal! I am delighted to say that my dynamic crew are starting the new year much healthier and fitter, having lost a total of 4 stones between them!

For the last few months they have been following the Keto diet plan to lose some excess weight. The basis of the Keto eating plan is that it limits your net carb intake so that your body metabolizes fat creating energy and ketones. And my ageing tandem frame is delighted to report that Team Matilda have found it easy to follow, with spectacular results!

The “old git” and the “old gal” are feeling good after losing exactly 2 stones each!

The “old gal” and the “old git” have each lost 2 stones, or 12.5 kg – which is the equivalent weight of 12 x 1 litre bottles of water! The joint weight loss of my dynamic crew is 4 stones, or 25 kg. Quite an achievement – and worthy of a little bit of self congratulations I think! This “old lady” tandem is certainly looking forward to feeling the effects of a lighter, fitter and healthier crew as we pedal along! Naturally the “old git” had to stage a few fun photos to show just the extent of the weight loss!

Emphasising the weight loss! 2 stone is 12.5kg which is 12 x 1 litre bottles of water!

The “old gal” certainly doesn’t fancy carrying 12 litres of water around all day!

There had been some pretty severe wintry weather around our Matildas Rest base – of snow and hard ice – which meant it was unsafe to get out pedalling over the festive period and restricted any exercise to a scenic walk on a local snow covered golf course.

The winter wonderland view from Matildas Rest – very scenic but not safe for tandeming!

Lockdown exercise was restricted to a walk over the snow covered local golf course.

Not surprisingly the “old git” had been climbing the walls to get back on my saddles for the first outing of 2021 and to get my milometer rolling. A bit of a thaw produced a short window of opportunity – accompanied by some bright winter sunshine.

The “old git” did a recce by car of their planned route out towards Braco and back on the Crieff road – but there was still big patches of black ice on the quieter rural farm roads. My dynamic crew therefore decided to stay safe and stick to roads which had been gritted.

You can check out the details of our route by clicking on the Strava map below.

Regular blog readers will know the “old gal” and “old git” like their bright colours and have a preference for orange – as per their helmets and shoes! So what could be better than the jersey of the CCC pro-cycling team – whose team colours just happen to be bright orange!

New orange cycling jerseys to match the helmets! The CCC pro-cycling team colours!

They certainly won’t go unnoticed in those! And the “old git” was particularly pleased as his real name is Colin and has changed the meaning of the CCC initials emblazed on the front to advertise their Polish shoe chain sponsors, to be Colin’s Cycling Club! Naturally he immediately invited the “old gal” to be the only other member of his club!

The “old git” – aka Colin – has changed the CCC initials on the front to mean Colin’s Cycling Club!

When my dynamic crew did get pedalling after the fun photo session, they enjoyed some wonderful clear blue skies, great visibility and some much needed winter sunshine which produced some lovely long shadow effects!

Clear blue skies, bright sunshine and long shadows! But it was bitterly cold!

It certainly helped lift the #lockdown spirits to be out – creating that feel-good factor, despite the bitter cold! We pedalled out of Auchterarder up towards Gleneagles and headed out the Crieff road, with stunning views of the hills.

Visibility was brilliant in the cloudless skies with this view towards Crieff.

With the object of the ride simply to get out and get my wheels turning, the “old git” and “old gal” turned round at the next main junction and cycled back – enjoying the feeling of it being considerably easier pedalling up any hills due to their lighter weight and new found fitness!

My dynamic crew pedalled past the closed Gleneagles resort to a flyover across the A9 trunk road to survey traffic levels on the normally very busy route which links central Scotland with the Highlands. It was relatively quiet – but lots more cars and not nearly as quiet as during #lockdown 1.

The “old git” surveying fairly quiet traffic levels on the A9 trunk road – but not as quiet as lockdown 1.

With the temperature plunging rapidly as the sun dropped in the sky my dynamic due quickly headed for Matildas Rest enjoying the gentle downhill pedal back to base – with the simple pleasures of recording 22 mph figures on two different speed camera signs!

Back in the warmth the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as being worthy of 3 gongs – all 2nd bests – which given the somewhat treacherous conditions was a bonus!

The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 14.1 miles with a moving time of 1 hour 12 minutes on their first outing of 2021. The average speed was a healthy 11.6 mph – showing the effects of my dynamic crew’s weight loss, despite the bitter cold! Elevation was 521 feet. The maximum speed was 23.7 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 720 calories and produce an average power output of 148 W.

As always the route is brought to life in our Relive 3D mapping video – so take a look below.

The tandem ride left my dynamic crew feeling extremely virtuous – with that great feel-good feeling that only comes after doing some exercise in the fabulous Perthshire countryside on a bitterly cold sunny day … but now being back safe and cosy indoors with a hot coffee!

All in all a great way to start the miles ticking over for 2021 – and indeed #Lockdown 2! Who knows when it will end?

Co(w)rraling the Cowches in C(ow)rieff!

The vibrant and eye-catching Crieff Cowches trail provided a fun sun-kissed trail for Team Matilda!

The imaginative Crieff Cowches art trail has come to an end – which reminded me to write a blog about my dynamic crew’s great great tandem trip round all 11 of the installations on a sun-kissed evening in August – where Team Matilda saw Crieff looking at its glorious best.

The cleverly decorated Cowches will be seen together for a final horn blowing hurrah on October 9, where they will be sold off at a charity auction.  So with the fundraiser fast approaching I decided it was time to post my blog – which recounts our attempts at Co(w)rralling the Cowches in C(ow)rieff!

Firstly a short bit of background. The Highland cow benches – or cowches for short – made up a unique art trail which succeeded in its aim of bringing huge numbers of visitors into Crieff during the summer. Each cowch had been individually decorated by local artists – who were given carte blanche to let their imagination run riot!

Why use Highland cows as the basis for this unique cultural trail? Well because Crieff occupies a key position between the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland, the town became the cattle-droving crossroads of Scotland in the 1700s – with up to 30,000 of the beasts arriving for market each year.

The Crieff Cowches trail was organised by Crieff Succeeds – the town’s Business Improvement District programme, which aims to promote Crieff as a vibrant, attractive and safe place to work, shop, visit and live. The trail has been actively promoted by the VisitCrieff tourism internet and social media sites.

So with deep blue skies and warm sunshine my dynamic crew decided to pedal round the art trail on a fun early evening ride – which would include a picnic tea at one of the Cowches! You can check out the details of our route by clicking on the Strava map below.

We pedalled away from Matildas Rest in Auchterarder and firstly tandemed along the quiet country roads to The Library of Innerpeffray – which is Scotland’s first ever free lending library dating back to 1680. The gardens of the historic building – including St Mary’s Chapel with its fascinating graveyard, offered an inspirational spot for the “old git” and “old gal” to tick off their first Cowch, and number 11 on the trail map. This one was simply known as Innerpeffray Cowch and was created by June McEwan.

Cowch 11 – Innerpeffray Cowch by June McEwan

A few more miles and my dynamic crew arrived in Crieff itself, crossing Crieff Bridge to find the cleverly named Emoojis Cowch by local schoolgirl Sinead O’Malley – which is a cow covered in emojis, the smiley faces used in electronic messages.

Cowch 6 – Emoojis by Sinead O’Malley

Next Team Matilda decided to tandem around the town to Glenturret Distillery – recognised as Scotland’s oldest working whisky distillery after being established in 1775. Here the “old git” was happy to pose beside the Cowch named On Watch by Chelsea Rodger.

Cowch 10 – On Watch by Chelsea Rodger

The next stop saw us tandem downhill from the distillery to Turretbank where the “old gal” took the opportunity for a quick rest on the Cowch called Polly, created by Donna Connelly.

Cowch 7 – Polly by Donna Connelly

Tandeming into Macrosty Park my dynamic crew found the bandstand – and were able to tick off seeing Bloomin Flora by Liz Paterson. The “old gal” decided that she would enjoy a few minutes basking in the bright sun on this Cowch!

Cowch 9 – Bloomin Flora by Liz Paterson

Into the town of Crieff itself and Team Matilda tandemed up the High Street, stopping at the town hall after spotting the Sweet Annie Cowch, created by mosaic artist Katy Galbraith.

Cowch 1 – Sweetie Annie by Katy Galbraith

My dynamic crew had now ticked off more than half of the Crieff Cowches, but nearly missed the next one as it was placed in the grounds of Old St Michael’s Churchyard which we found difficult to find for a moment or two. But it was worth the hunt to discover Midnight Meadow by Ceri White.

Cowch 4 – Midnight Meadow by Ceri White

With the warm sunshine, the “old gal” decided it was time for a much needed refreshment which was enjoyed at the welcoming Quaich Bar on Crieff’s High Street. Revitalised, the next stop was at the Crieff Highland Gathering Cowch in James Square, the second on the trail to be created by June McEwen.

Cowch 2 – Crieff Highland Gathering Cowch by June McEwan

Crieff’s central James Square was where Drovers Coo was to be found – created by Hamish Bigg to pay homage to the town’s historic links to the cattle drovers.

Cowch 3 – Drovers Coo by Hamish Bigg

Just a few yards away, Kings Street was the site for my dynamic crew to tick off A Heilan Cooch, created by Catherine Redgate. It was great to see so many families having fun walking round in the evening sunshine, ticking off the Cowches from the trail map, creating a real buzz in the town

Cowch 8 – A Heilan Cooch by Catherine Redgate

The 11th and final Crieff Cowch on Team Matildas art trail was the amusingly named Military Coo by artist Gail Robertson which was situated in the grassy gardens of the town’s medical centre.

Cowch 5 – A Military Coo by Gail Robertson

Now the “old gal” is a friend of Gail Robertson, and knows she has a sense of humour, so knew she would not be even slightly offended that my dynamic crew used Military Coo as a perfect bench on which to set up a picnic tea! Our alfresco meal attracted a bit of attention from locals in a nearby pub – who all agreed that it was a good way to use one of the Cowches!

The Military Coo installation made a perfect picnic for my dynamic crew’s picnic!

After a tasty picnic – and having seen all the installations on the art trail – it was time for Team Matilda to pedal back home to Matildas Rest. Check out the full data from the ride at the end of the blog.

Meanwhile the artworks are set to be sold off at the Crieff Cowches Auction – a ‘dress-to-impress’ gala dinner at Crieff Hydro on Wednesday October 9. My dynamic crew hope the auction raises lots of money to help support Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance.

For those that like to study the figures, this was certainly one of our Team Matilda’s fun and relaxed pedals and Strava officially recorded the ride as showing that my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 27.5 miles with a moving time (or should that be moooving time given the subject of this ride!) of 2 hours 45 minutes. The average speed was 10.0 mph and the overall elevation was 1296 feet. The maximum speed was 34.5 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1725 calories and produce an average power output of 156 W. Almost by accident my dynamic crew recorded 11 gongs along the route – with 3 personal bests; 4 second bests; and 3 third bests.

Altogether a very pleasant cultural tandem ride Co(w)rralling the Cowches in C(ow)rieff!