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THE

eagle

ÂŁ1 Ballater & Crathie Community Magazine no. 84 winter 2016


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Inside Your Winter Eagle:

And so we come full circle to the year’s end. It’s been a year to remember for many. As we celebrate we can take comfort in the fact the village has pulled together well and laid great foundations for moving forward. Bank up your logs, stoke the fire, grab yourself a glass or cup of something warming, and check out what the area has in store for you right through to March, when the seeds of spring will cheer us all again. Thank you to the super-talented Gillian Cassie for this issue’s cover photo

Contents Diary Editor’s Letter

Local Groups

4-5 7

Debt Help

18

Crathie News

28

Crathie School

31

Royal Station

32

QV’s Waiting Room

34

Reindeer Date

35

A Walk in the Park

36

National Park

38

Badger Business

43

Pottering About

44

Scottish Swordsman 51 Wishing Tree Gone

52

Keeping Council

56

Trapping Pests

54

Police Advice

55

Orienteering News

58

Advertising

Full page: £100; Half page: £50; Quarter page: £25; Eighth page: £12 Discounts on 4 issue series copy can be changed each issue contact Karen Garioch at karen.garioch@btinternet.com or Tel 42344

Ballater Films: 11 Ballater (RD) Ltd: 61 BCE Caravan Park: 8 Buttony Bear: 23 Cats Protection: 9 Churches News: 13 Community Council: 16 Crathie Opp Hols: 26 Flood Group: 21 Horticultural Society: 11 Library News: 15 Marie Curie Fundraising: 40 Parent Council: 42 Resilience Group: 20 Rotary: 19 St Kentigern’s Church: 12 SWI: 8 Upper Deeside Music: 25 V&A Halls Trust: 46 Victoria Week: 27

Handy to have

Advertisers’ Index: 62

Thank You

Our grateful thanks for generous donations from Mrs Helen S. Murray and Mrs. J Richard Donations are gratefully received, and acknowledged. You can also put money into our tins in the Library or Yules Newsagents.


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...so you know What’s Going On

Mon 5 Wed 7 Sat 10 Sun 11 Mon 12 Wed 14 Sun 18 Sat 24 Sun 25 Mon 26 Tue 27 Fri 30 Sat 31

Mon 2 Tue 3 Mon 9 Thu 12 Wed 18 Wed 25 Wed 1 Mon 6

The Eagle Diary

December BRHS Annual Quiz Night, Mike Sheridan Rm, 7.30pm Ballater SWI Christmas Afternoon Tea, Glen Lui Hotel, 3pm Shop Sale at Balmoral – 25% off items –10am-3pm Marie Curie Drop-In Event – Hut on the Green, 11am-4pm Ballater Boules Challenge – Monaltrie Park, 10.15am for 10.30am B&CCC Meeting Mike Sheridan Rm, 7pm Ballater Local History Group – Mike Sheridan Rm, 7.30pm Christingle Service at St Kentigern’s Church, 9.30am Joint Churches Carol Service, St Kentigern’s Church, 4pm Reindeer and Father Christmas on Church Green, 11am-1pm Carols Round the Crib at St. Kentigern’s Church, 6.30pm Watch Service Glenmuick Church, 11.30pm Christmas Communion at St. Kentigern’s Church, 10am Christmas Service at Glenmuick Church, 11am Ballater Surgery Closed Ballater Boules, The Golden Boules Trophy, Monaltrie Park, 10.15am Ballater Surgery Closed Ecumenical Service of Thanksgiving, Glenmuick Church, 4pm Coffee morning - Mike Sheridan Room, 10.30am-12.30pm Children’s Entertainment – Mike Sheridan Room, 2.30pm Hogmanay Dance with Totico in Victoria Hall, 8pm January 2017 Ballater Surgery Closed Ballater Surgery Closed Ballater Boules – The New Year Quaich – Monaltrie Park, 10.15am B&CCC Meeting Mike Sheridan Rm, 7pm BVW 2017 Brainstorm, Deeside Inn, 7.30pm, all welcome Ballater SWI – Talk by Maggie Patience – “Pretty Rubbish Mosaics” Mike Sheridan Rm at 7.30pm Ballater Local History Group – Mike Sheridan Rm, 7.30pm February 2017 Copy date for Spring Eagle BRHS Talk – Chris Wardle (Crathes), “Organic versus Inorganic”, Mike Sheridan Rm, 7.30pm


Are Your Dates Here?

For inclusion in this FREE section of the Eagle, please contact Faye Swan on 013397 55345 or info@swandesign.uk.com

Thu 9 Mon 13 Wed 15 Wed 22 Thu 9 Mon 13 Wed 15

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BVW 2017 Brainstorm, Deeside Inn, 7.30pm, all welcome B&CCC Meeting Mike Sheridan Rm, 7pm Ballater SWI Talk by Andrew Thain, “Charitable Chiels”, Mike Sheridan Rm, 7.30pm Ballater Local History Group – Mike Sheridan Rm, 7.30pm March 2017 BVW 2017 Brainstorm, Deeside Inn, 7.30pm, all welcome B&CCC Meeting Mike Sheridan Rm, 7.00pm Ballater SWI - Pat Fraser talk on “Genealogy” – Open Evening, Mike Sheridan Rm, 7.30pm

Braemar Panto dates ~ Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs:

Friday 16th December, 7.30pm... Saturday 17th December, 2.30pm and 7.30pm... Friday 23rd December, 7.30pm... Saturday 24th December, 2.00pm.... Monday 26th December, 2.30pm and 7.30pm... Tickets from Davidson’s The Chemist, Ballater

Eagle copy and advertising deadlines 2017 Issue Spring Summer Autumn Winter

Deadline Feb 1 May 1 Aug 1 Nov 1

Publication early March early June mid September early December

Ballater Library Opening Hours

Sun, Mon & Wed: Closed

Tuesday: 10am-1pm, 6.30-8pm

Thursday: 2-4pm, 6.30-8pm

Friday: 2-5pm

Saturday: 10am-12noon

Ballater Surgery Festive Opening Hours

Friday 23rd December 8am–6pm Monday 26th December CLOSED Tuesday 27th December CLOSED Friday 30th December 8am–6pm Monday 2nd January CLOSED Tuesday 3rd January CLOSED WHEN SURGERY CLOSED IN CASES OF EMERGENCY Tel: 111


Contact the Eagle

Hand in to the Library  Post to Ballater Eagle, c/o Ballater Library, Ballater, AB35 5QB

 email to: ballater.eagle@btopenworld.com

Contributions of any kind (ideally in Word format) always welcome.

Keep in Touch with an Eagle Subscription A subscription can be a very welcome gift to farflung friends and relatives. Simply provide the name and address to whom issues should be sent, with a cheque or postal order for ‘Ballater Eagle’ for the relevant amount and drop off your request to Ballater Library. Avril, our Subscriptions secretary, will do the rest. Easy! For the rates below, four issues will be posted. UK: £12.00 EU: £16.00 Overseas: £20.00

Contact Your Representatives

SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT Alexander Burnett MSP

 0131 3485642 email: Alexander.Burnett.msp@parliament.scot

WESTMINSTER Stuart Donaldson MP  01330 828171 email: stuart.donaldson.mp@parliament.uk

ABERDEENSHIRE COUNCIL Peter Argyle:  013398 82973 email: cllr.p.argyle@aberdeenshire.gov.uk Geva Blackett:  013397 41541 email: cllr.g.blackett@aberdeenshire.gov.uk Katrina Farquhar:  07876 475403 email: cllr.k.farquhar@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

CAIRNGORMS NATIONAL PARK Katrina Farquhar  07876 475403 email: katrina.farquhar@cnpaboard.co.uk Gordon Riddler  077116093513 email: gordon.riddler@cnpaboard.co.uk

Eagle Who’s Who & Where Editor: Ian Hay  55941 Treasurer: Elaine Adams  56149 Subscriptions Secretary: Avril Fyfe  56162 Advertising Manager: Karen Garioch 42344 Distribution: Andy and Julie Bloor Diary Secretary: Faye Swan  55345 Design: Cat Houston, Stella Potter, Ollie Francis email us at: ballater.eagle@btopenworld.com Eagle Online: http://www.ballatercommunity.com

If you would like a large print version of the Eagle, please contact Ballater Library on 55628.


Letter from the Editor With the passing of every week, Ballater takes another small step towards a return to normality. Empty shops are now being reopened, and work on the Old Station rebuilding project should be started by the time this issue of the Eagle is delivered through your letterbox. While some scars from the effects of Storm Frank will take longer to heal, (I promise this will be a last reference in these letters to that event), to all outward appearances, the village is recovering well, and hopefully 2017 will see a return to the days of coach loads of tourists disembarking in Church Square, and filling the shops, cafes and restaurants, rather than forlornly trudging around looking for something to do. Great work has been done by a small group of people, including the trustees of the Victoria & Albert Halls, to create a series of wonderful end of year events to help everyone of all ages, celebrate the coming of 2017, a year full of hope and enjoyment in a revitalised community. Have a look at the Eagle Diary and try to support as many of these events as you can, whatever your other individual arrangements are on Hogmanay. One aspect of that new year will be a celebration of 30 years since Ballater’s first Victoria Week, which is now as much an icon of Ballater as was the Old Royal Station. The hard work and dedication of the BVW Team during this past difficult year, has resulted in £5,500 being distributed to local organisations and charities. The community is extremely fortunate to have such wonderful and enthusiastic people, led by Ade and Cat, who are prepared to devote themselves to their community. I’m sure that BVW 2017 will be the best ever! I would like to record here my grateful thanks to all members of the Eagle Team who have worked so hard throughout the year to ensure that an interesting, useful community magazine is produced, and then delivered to your door every 3 months. Apart from the Team referred to on page 6, there are also several people who deliver to the outlying areas such as to Cambus O’May, Glen Muick, Crathie, Glen Gairn and South Deeside. I am very grateful to every one of them for their wonderful efforts and the support they have given to me as Editor. I trust that all our readers will have a peaceful, restful yet enjoyable Festive Season.

Ian Hay

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Local Group News

A round-up of news from our local groups

Ballater SWI

by Aileen Barbour President Margaret Finnie welcomed members to our first meeting after the summer break. Our speaker was Alan Taylor who gave us a talk, including some amusing stories, on his life as an auctioneer with Aberdeen & Northern Marts. We had two competitions;- “Photo of a Spider’s Web” 1) Margaret Finnie, 2) Jan Williams, 3) Margaret Cameron, 4) Thelma Cooper, and “Photo of Farm Animal” 1) Frances Johnstone, 2) Margaret Finnie, 3) Margaret Cameron, 4) Jan Williams. For members who had to leave their homes due to the flood and had recently returned to their homes, Margaret gave them a small gift of flowers. Our guest speaker in October was Karen Noble from Braemar who gave us an interesting talk on handbag making. She brought a large selection of bags with her and showed us how she made them. The competition as “Blue & Gold Centenary Card” – Margaret Finnie was the winner.

BCE: Caravan Park by Allan Harrison

The caravan park has now closed for the 2016 season. This year has been reasonably successful despite the late opening of the park and most likely we have made a modest profit. This pleasing performance was entirely due to the generosity of a range of financial and gift donations together with a large amount of volunteer support. Feedback from our guests has been very supportive due in no small part to the efforts of our small team of wardens. Consideration is now being given to the next phase of refurbishment. There are still many hurdles to overcome before we decide on what will be provided in this next phase, not least being reaching agreement with the site owners, Aberdeenshire Council, and funding. There is still an opportunity for sponsorship of turf and this is available at £300 per pitch. If anyone is interested, they should contact Gillian Sinclair at Park House: email: ballaterdeeside@btinternet.com or telephone on 013397 55467. We wish to record our appreciation of the tremendous support provided by the Ballater businesses and community.


Got something to say about your group – get in touch ballater.eagle@btopenworld.com

Deeside Cats Protection by Janet Bailey

The Deeside Branch of Cats Protection would like to thank everyone in the Ballater area for their continued support in what has been a difficult year for many people. Donations of cash, food, bedding, toys and other cat paraphernalia are always very gratefully received and put to good use. Fundraising is an integral part of the work we do and in 2016 this was supplemented by a stall manned by volunteers during the BVW Vehicle Parade, although very strong winds on the day meant we, along with several others, sought refuge inside the Victoria Hall. Outside the new Cats Protection van, wrapped in its official motif, took part in the parade. By the following weekend the weather had improved and we were able to join everyone on the Church Green for the Car Boot Sale. To our delight one of the light blue ducks sold on behalf of Deeside Cats Protection won through and was placed third in the Duck Race. Ticket holder Nico Stad (aka Nico MacDuck) donated his prize of £50 back to the branch. Many thanks Nico; you are indeed a BVW Star! On top of that, the BVW committee donated £300 to our cause and we remain very grateful for their support over the years. 2017 will bring a continued need to fundraise to help as many unwanted cats and kittens as possible to find their forever homes. We are always looking for ways to do this and would warmly welcome anyone who wishes to join us.

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Telephone 07837 342660 Email Deeside.cats@gmail.com Website www.deeside.cats.org.uk Or follow us on Facebook

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The Eagle spreads its wings – internationally!

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This is a photo of Helen Sarno with a copy of The Eagle that she borrows from Faye Swan’s mother in Arizona. She says, “It’s my favourite magazine!”

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BRHS

by Elizabeth Wilson

The autumn days are a joy to behold with their vibrant colours; Bracken and Silver Birch complimenting each other, frosty mornings, a nip in the air, the smell of bonfires and the feeling of rushing home to the warmth in the late afternoon. The Society has had an amazing year all things considered. Do have a look at our website http://ballaterroyalhorticulturalsociety.weebly. com/ for photos and an account of the Plant Sale, Annual Outing and the Flower Show. The website also provides extensive information about the Society, the programme of speakers and events past and, present. Membership of the Society is still a bargain at £5 with an entrance fee of £2. Visitors are welcome to attend a meeting for £3. Please look in the Eagle “Diary”, on the posters displayed throughout the village prior to each meeting and of course on our website for updated details about forthcoming meetings. There was an admirable turnout for our AGM on Monday 7th November. Alex Copland, who has done so much for the Society and village over the years, has decided to step down as President. We are in his debt for his help and knowledge over the years and wish him well. We are grateful to Margaret Glennie from Cambus O’May, another stalwart of the Society, for kindly agreeing to become our new President. The other Office Bearers remain unchanged, viz., Chairman – Jim Clark, Vice Chairman – Michael Rattray, Secretary – Elizabeth Wilson, Treasurer – Neil Allan, Committee Members – Morag Hood, Julie Jarvis, Malcolm Jarvis, William Moir, Jane Oliver, Anne Richardson and Helene Thom. The AGM was followed by Herbologist, Colette Jones, a founding member of the NE Scotland Herb Group whose talk on , “Six Herbs: An Introduction to Herbal Traditions through Stories of Six Garden Plants”, was very well received and provided a fascinating insight into the use of herbs.

We hope there will be a good turnout at our fun-filled annual Quiz Night on 5th December. Our first meeting of 2017 is on Monday 6th February. Chris Wardle, from Crathes will give an illustrated presentation titled, “Organic Versus Inorganic”. It is hoped that meetings will not have to be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions; however we do our best to contact as many members as possible should this happen. All are welcome at our meetings; do bring a friend or neighbour and stay afterwards for some refreshments to catch up with other members, meet new ones and chat to the speaker.

Ballater Films by Ade Scripps

Autumn can be a quiet time for Ballater Films but we got stuck into the Etape event in September by screening Graeme Obree’s story Battle Mountain for a select band of peleton fans from both near and afar. During October we enjoyed laying on a spooky-themed quiz in The Deeside Inn and the kids’ Halloween Party in the Albert Hall. By the time you read this we will have hoped to have entertained a fair crowd at The BFG at Ballater’s Winter Festival at the end of November. With so much on in December, and so little coming out of the Hollywood factory at the moment, we are unlikely to find a slot to show a film before Christmas, but we hope to be back in the New Year with Bridget Jones’s Baby and a programme of fun events. Thank you for your support in 2016.

www.ballaterfilms.co.uk find us on Facebook


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St Kentigern’s Round-up by Vittoria Hancock

It’s difficult to imagine that the last edition of the Eagle had news in it about Ballater Victoria Week and the summer. The autumn leaves are carpeting the ground now, and winter is on its way. We celebrated with Tania and Mark on their wedding blessing at the end of August; and by the time this is printed we will have joined with Yvonne and Tom in celebrating their marriage. At St Kentigern’s we celebrated the harvest time with our Harvest on the 1st October. We had a wonderful celebratory service, followed by a bring and share harvest lunch in the church hall. We would like to say thank you to all those from the community who supported our harvest collection. The food collected was donated to the Aberdeenshire South Foodbank and to the Aberdeen Cyrenians. The Aberdeenshire South foodbank provides an emergency service

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for the people of this area at times of personal crisis. The Aberdeen Cyrenians run a soup kitchen, and work with those in need. We’re heading into winter now, preparing for Advent and Christmas. Advent is the countdown period for Christmas, a time to pause and reflect. In the church we light a different candle for each Sunday in Advent. It reminds us to slow down, not to wish our time away on the future, but to live in the present. To think about our journey through life so far. Feel free to join us at any of our events – you will be warmly welcomed.


Churches’ Letter

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As winter closes in, our thoughts in the church turn naturally to Advent and Christmas. Whether you love or hate this time of year, it’s almost impossible to avoid it. This Christmas and New Year will carry particularly hard memories for this community, after the events of last December. We are aware that many are not yet back in their own homes. Some may feel there is little to celebrate. And yet all around are people rushing around, seemingly oblivious to the stresses and strains that others may be experiencing. It’s a time when the ordinary seems to be ignored amongst all the hustle and bustle. It can become a focus of stress, of financial difficulty, of emotional strain. For those who don’t have family or friends around, it can be lonely and isolated. Yet despite all this, we can still celebrate. We can celebrate the community in which we live; the sense of being pulled together, not apart by the events of the last year. Don’t lose the joy of living in the process of living. Don’t lose that sense of celebration. For many, Christmas is about family and friends, about love, light and laughter at a dark time of year. This year, the Ballater Nativity will be back in Church Square. The focus of the Christmas story is that of a family celebrating a special moment in life – something we can all share. For Christians its something more than that – it reminds us that the time leading up to Christmas is not only about having fun and celebrating. It’s also about re-focusing our lives, preparing our hearts and minds for the

birth of Jesus. And Christmas day itself is the time when we celebrate the coming of Jesus as a baby to this earth, the ‘Christ’ in Christmas. One of the reasons we exchange gifts is as a sign of God’s greatest gift to us, his Son. One of the joys for us is being able to share that gift with those who join us. Whether you have faith or not, can we invite you to share with us the gifts of hope, peace, love and joy with those you meet. This Christmas time, as always, we wish you those gifts of hope, peace, love and joy. It would be wonderful to see you, your family and friends, at one of our services over the Christmas period. Please come and share our celebrations. With every blessing, Rev’d Vittoria Hancock, St Kentigern’s Episcopal Church; Rev David Barr, Church of Scotland; Father Chris Brannan, St Nathalan’s Catholic Church.

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Library News

by Sabine Muir

Star Reader Well done to Rosa Hutcheon, who is our 2016 Star Reader. She read the most books over the summer holidays. Here she is pictured with her chosen prize books. Knit and Natter Here are some photos of some of the wonderful toys our talented ladies have produced. Some will be for sale at the Glenmuick Church Sale. Stamps We are still collecting stamps for charity, so please pop your Christmas stamps into our box. Christmas Closing Times The library will be closed on the following dates: Tuesday 27th December Tuesday 3rd January

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Ballater & Crathie C.C.

On June 16th 2016 the Ballater and Crathie Community Council elections took place in the Victoria Hall. The members elected are: Jim Anderson – Chairman (Wee Jim) Francis Duguid – Vice Chairman Pat Downie – Treasurer Anne Reid – Secretary Jane Angus Iain Latta New Community Council members are: Bill Cruickshank, Fiona Presslie, Joanne Croll and Wendy Miller. I’m sure all the residents would join me in welcoming the new members as they get used to the various groups and committees. We have a new email address for queries, requests, suggestions, observations and even complaints (surely not). The address is: bcccsecretary@outlook.com For those of you who are not on or near a computer, please feel free to drop me a note/letter through my door at Morvada House, 28 Braemar Road, Ballater. Please come along to the meetings which are held on the 2nd Monday of every month (except August). Every month we have a report from Police Scotland, the Councillors, CNPA, BRD, the Flood Group and the Resilience Group. The agendas and minutes are posted on the notice board on the Church Green and also on the internet - Ballater Community website and also Facebook. Community News: We will be rolling out a dog waste scheme within the village soon as the dog warden attended the September meeting. We are awaiting a response from Royal Mail with regards to a follow up meeting. One of our

by Anne Reid

www.royal-deeside.org.uk councillors has raised concerns regarding the Post Office. Finally, we submitted our views on the ‘Big 9’ contained in the Cairngorm National Park Authority five-year development plan. A lot of the questions were geared at the Aviemore/A9 side of the hill but we put in our tuppence worth none the less.

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Debt Help on your Doorstep

When financial trouble hits, it is easy to feel alone. It can seem that no one can help or that no one wants to. Local debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP), really can help and hundreds of people call each week to begin their journey towards financial freedom. Experience has shown that there is always a way out and no debt is too big or too small to deal with. In fact, if you are experiencing debt problems then you can get free, expert advice without even leaving your house. CAP visits people in their own homes, negotiates with creditors and supports people right up until they are debt-free. On top of this, the whole service is free of charge and available to anyone regardless of age, faith, gender or background. In the UK, there are over 300 CAP Debt Centres. This means that local people can access the service, which is recommended by TV’s Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis.

by Pauline Rowett

£££££££

Every week CAP sees people who think that there is no way out of their money problems and every week we offer them a solution that really works. If you are struggling with debt, then there is hope. We can help you. The Banchory CAP Debt Centre was opened in December 2015. It covers the area included in the circle from Ballater to Tarland to Torphins to Drumoak to Finzean and back to Ballater. There is also an Aberdeen CAP Debt Centre. To find out more or book an appointment, call Christians Against Poverty’s free phone number 0800 328 0006 or visit www.capuk.org. Alternatively, speak to Pauline direct by phoning 07490 367162.


Rotary Club by Mike Powell

As we’re approaching the end of the year, it’s my pleasure, on behalf of the Rotary Club of Aboyne and Upper Deeside (your local Rotary Club) to wish all Eagle readers a Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Happy 2017. Who could have known this time last year that Ballater would suffer the traumas that came following Storm Frank and the effects of the flooding that caused such devastation on 30th December last year? Our thoughts and best wishes particularly go out to those of you who have yet to return to your homes. The resilience shown by those affected and the community spirit of all those who have given help throughout the year has been truly humbling. It has been wonderful to see Ballater “bounce back” and a privilege to be able to support the initial recovery of the village. We have been able to support individual households as well as donating to regeneration and resilience projects in the area. We have made contributions to the charity, Crathie Opportunity Holidays, bought equipment for the Scout Hut in Aboyne to enable it to be a distribution and rest centre if required, and have made a substantial donation to the running costs of One-To-One Counselling Deeside. This is a free counselling service run by Mental Health Aberdeen and people can contact them direct or be referred by their GP. Contact details for OneTo-One can be obtained at your local Community Health Centre. We also supported the Ballater “Muckle Fest” by contributing towards the costs of the event. In addition to these projects, we have committed some of our Flood Fund to be used to purchase and install an emergency power source to the Victoria and Albert Hall in Ballater. The full details of this scheme are still under discussion by the Hall Trustees. We have had a busy summer fundraising, not only for our Flood Relief Fund, but also for other groups and charities both here and abroad. As well as appearances at all the local Highland Games, we assisted with the parking of visitors’

19 cars at the Royal Deeside Speed Festival at Kincardine Castle, ran a BBQ at the opening day of the Aboyne Green Playground and ran a stall at the Etape Royale event in Ballater. In October, we had a couple of very sociable days in the CoOps in both Ballater and Aboyne, selling raffle tickets in aid of Clan Cancer Charity. As you can see, it has been another busy but very enjoyable summer for our Rotary Club! Through all this fundraising we have been able to supply ShelterBox tents and equipment for disaster zones in Italy, Haiti and Syria. We have also supported an education project in India and the Charity, Mary’s Meals, in both drought and flood areas in Malawi. People often ask “Why join Rotary?” Well, it’s not all hard work! We have a lot of fun while helping others and being a Rotarian combines service with opportunities for leadership, inspiration, teamwork, mentoring, community involvement and challenges. New members are always welcome, so if you would like to know more about what we do, and how to join, or if you would just like to come along to one of our meetings as a guest, please contact Mike Powell on 013398 86369 or mikepowell.obe@gmail.com.


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Ballater Resilience Group

Well, we have had a good autumn so far, here’s hoping this winter is kind and gives us some respite. I have seen large numbers of Geese and Fieldfares over recent weeks, which may be an indication that the Met Office’s announcement that they are predicting a cold and drier winter than last year’s is right – amen to that! By the time you read this article our resilience plan will have been fully approved by the Council, Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue and will be available on our website currently being built by Faye Swan. Furthermore, we shall have undertaken our first table-top exercise with the emergency services. The exercise is scheduled for November the third and will be based on events similar to those of December 30th 2016’s unforgettable flooding. Results of the exercise will be presented to Community Council and be available on our website. A specific annex to the plan has been written for the caravan park, which deals with those risks it could face, specifically flooding. The Resilience Group will work closely with the site’s Warden and will assist with the alert and evacuation process. By December a webcam will be in place to provide 24/7 viewing of the river at the Royal

by John Boulton

Bridge. More information on this will be available on our website soon. The Crathie Resilience Group has unfortunately floundered. The Ballater Group will offer any assistance it can to Crathie during any crisis. Our group now has 23 volunteers, comprising 10 coordinators and 13 helpers. I would like to take this opportunity of thanking Mike Forbes, whose company Response Consultants UK Ltd has given invaluable help with the Resilience Plan, our structure, organisation, procedures and protocol which will ensure that we will cope with any event in a professional manner. I would also give grateful thanks to both Foundation Scotland and Scottish and Southern Electricity who have jointly given grants totalling £4,500 to help with training, equipping our coordination centre and radio communication. Finally, on behalf of the Resilience Group may I wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful 2017. Be safe and vigilant and if you haven’t already done so, please sign up to the SEPA Floodline Service, which will provide you with flood alerts, warnings and severe warnings. To do so, sign up at www.sepa.org.uk/ floodingsignup or call Floodline 0845 988 1188


Ballater Flood Group by Tony Cox

The Flood Group was set up during January 2016 to work on behalf of Ballater Community to understand the causes and characteristics of the December flood event and to explore the options for protection as first phase local activity pending the outcomes of a longer term study at a regional level. The group has been successful in engaging with Aberdeenshire Council Flood Team and SEPA, and we have achieved a sound understanding and agreement of the problem that Ballater experienced and the actions which could offer limited flood protection. At a political level we have attempted to achieve a priority status for Ballater based upon the level of damage suffered. Our efforts have now attracted a response from the Minister and a meeting with our MP will take place soon. We believe that the best way of presenting our conclusions to the community is via a public presentation which will be organised to take place during the first week of December – we will ensure that the community is kept advised of timing. We hope that you will be able to attend.

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Time served plumber

ROY MITCHELL JOINER TELEPHONE:

07792 117963

Can’t get anyone to do those small jobs? Tap washers, cleaning and repairing gutters, drains etc. Have those gutters checked before winter sets in

John Whyte 013398 83698 07497 819551


Jewellery & Gifts

We offer professional repairs to all your precious items: Re-size rings - larger or smaller Re-tip worn or broken claws Re-string beads and pearls. Create new settings and replace stones. Complete range of gems supplied. We offer a design and re-modelling service including engagement and wedding rings. Watch batteries supplied and fitted. Call us to discuss your requirements.

“We understand how important your jewellery is to you� Helen & Martin Graysmith, Moorfield House Hotel, 19 Chapel Brae, Braemar. Telephone 07714295326.

WEE JIM Landscapes

All aspects of landscaping Mini digger and small tipper hire Firewood also available James Anderson, Bridgefoot, Glenmuick, Ballater 013397 55997 / 07821 746756 weejim03@live.co.uk www.weejim.com


Buttony Bear Raises the Barr by Jenny Gow

Buttony is a bear that we have adapted to have a stoma and pouch, and the bears are donated to children undergoing bowel surgery throughout the UK. Buttony gives the child a ‘friend like them’. The bears are donated direct to families through our Buttony Bears Facebook page and a network of paediatric stoma nurses. In 18 months over 800 bears have been dispatched throughout the UK with some bears travelling further afield. The project was initially funded from the proceeds of the Ballater Ball and since then many generous bear sponsors have supported the cause. More recently fundraising events by the families of bear recipients have been organised which is wonderful as it helps us raise more awareness. The cost per bear is £30 which includes the costs for adapting and postage. Our bears are beautiful handmade Canterbury Bears, a friend made to last! Primarily, we use Facebook to promote the work of the project. Through the project we have also funded anatomical aprons to be used for educational purposes and we have a weekly Facebook post with someone wearing the apron and talking about what they think of the project. We thought Eagle readers might appreciate this photo and comment from our local minister, Rev David Barr: “Thank you very much for the invitation to don the Anatomical Apron and be pictured with one of your fantastic Buttony Bears. It is extremely important for children, family and friends to be able to talk about bowel disease. When I was a chaplain visiting children in hospital, I wish all the children who had ostomys had one of your Buttony Bears, I am certain they would bring both comfort and a means to start conversations about their thoughts and worries. Sadly we are reluctant

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to openly talk about our guts and this puts a barrier around those who suffer. We need to be more open to discuss these types of conditions. Your Buttony Bears go out on a mission to bring comfort to children and raise awareness... Go Team Buttony Bears!!!!!” If you would like to find out more about Buttony please give Jenny a call on 07813 720963 or email buttony@ breakawayfoundation.org.uk


ROARING STAG COFFEE ROASTERS Family run craft coffee roasters in Ballater. We take the best green beans from around the world and expertly blend and roast.

Royal Deeside Coffee Roasters Unit 1, Ballater Business Park, Ballater, AB35 5PN www.roaringstagcoffee.com Tel: 013397 56200


Upper Deeside Music by Jane Angus

This has been a busy two months for the Upper Deeside Music, with some interesting groups playing fairly up-to-date selections of music in rather different styles, and we greatly enjoyed Pistons and Pipes. This is an organ, trumpet and clarinet duo of young players from Glasgow and Edinburgh combining new and 17th-18th century music over a range from Church to films. They seemed to cope well with the difficult travelling conditions and seeing deer on the way south in the dark. We await the promised discs of largely Advent material. The organ at St Kentigern’s is such a fine instrument and Calum Robertson and Andrew Connell-Smith with his trumpets made exhilarating music for us. In April, Dick Lee will return with his bass clarinet and other instruments in their ‘Swinglet’ form. But, his and our, first concert, was ‘From the Edinburgh Fringe’ and had an interesting form as ‘The Magicians of Scotland’ – a discursive trio

C.S.M. Handyman J.Lanigan All the little jobs you can’t get any1 to do

general maintenance inside and out, gutter cleaning, garden tidying, chimney sweep, etc. Strathgirnoc Farmhouse South Deeside Road Ballater Tel. 013397 56227 Mobile 07506951506 Email: C-S-M_Aerials@hotmail.co.uk Web: csmhandyman.co.uk

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covering most of the south-west part of Scotland and changing years. In October, John Burgess brought a Trio to play Rag-Time with the verve and width of styles we well remembered from a previous visit in Jubilee Year. There are now at least 14 different groups promoting and enjoying music of different types on Deeside and into the Don Strath, so we are trying to avoid clashes or confusion between these encouraging events. We hope for some constructive discussion to reduce strain on the artists as well as traffic on dark and difficult roads and to encourage, especially for youngsters, both playing and listening.


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Crathie Opportunity Holidays

ALEXANDRA HOTEL

by Allan Harrison

We have had another successful season in 2016 although visitor numbers were down on previous years due to the current economic climate and the reduction in disability benefits. The tranquil setting, the attentive staff and the many disability aids available make it a special holiday experience for guests who may not otherwise have been able to have a holiday with their family. The riverside path between the cottages and Balmoral Bridge was washed away during the December 2015 flood. However, Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust, with assistance from volunteers from the 2016 Royal Guard, has reinstated the path and it can be now be used again by our wheelchair guests who enjoy the tranquil views of the river afforded by the path. There are still some copies our book, “Essays on Life” by Thomas Mitchell, Farmer. These would make ideal Christmas presents and are available from COH; please contact Maggie MacKay on 013397 42100. Our annual Golf Day took place at Balmoral in October with 19 teams taking part. All participants enjoyed the competition which was won by a team from Aberdeen, “The Mulligans”, led by Gordon Hutcheon. We are hoping to be able to offer supplementary holiday care to disabled people, some of whom are not able to have a holiday without additional support. We held a drop-in introductory event on Tuesday 27th September which a number of people attended. We are still keen to speak to anyone who might be interested in getting involved. If you are interested or know of anyone who may be interested please get in touch with Maggie MacKay (Tel: 42100 or email info@ crathieholidays.org.uk) Finally, thank you to all our local friends and supporters.

• • • • • •

Lunch served 12–2pm Evening meals 5–8.30pm En-suite accommodation Children welcome Local real ales In the Good Beer Guide 2016 Bridge Square, Ballater 013397 55376 enquiries@ alexandrahotelballater.co.uk www.alexandrahotelballater.co.uk

Phoenix Chip Shop Take-away

Renowned for our excellent food and friendly family atmosphere Extensive menu available at affordable prices

Winter Hours

Tuesday – Sunday 4.30 – 9pm

2 Viewfield Road, Ballater (opposite Station Square)

Tel: 013397 55119


BVW

by Ade Scripps

Over £5,000 was dished out to worthy causes at the Ballater Victoria Week AGM in November, with the beneficiaries listed below. Next year BVW celebrates 30 years so we hope to make it a bit special. Brainstorming starts in the New Year with meetings at The Deeside Inn on Thursdays January 12th, February 9th and March 9th at 7.30pm. All welcome. For more details head to our website at www. ballatervictoriaweek.co.uk or find us on Facebook. Be Amused. V and A Halls £1,000 Ballater Winter Festival £750 Firefighters’ Charity £200 Electricity for the Green £500 Fire Crew community fund £300 Cats Protection £300 Buttony Bear £300 Cones for festivals use £300 Ballater Toddlers £250 Ballater Pipe Band £250 Aboyne Canoe Club £200 Ballater History Group £200 Ballater Films £200 Ballater Juvenile FC £200 Upper Deeside Music £150 Brandie School of Dance £150 Old People’s Association £150 Library Craft Club £100 Total amount donated £5,500 Chris Redmond of Aboyne Canoe Club receives a cheque from BVW’s Lizzie Scripps

EDWARD J E MSLIE

House Furnishers and Floor Covering Specialists

We Wish You A Merry Christmas! from all at Edward J Emslie

Station Square, Ballater, AB35 5RB www.edwardjemsliecarpets.co.uk 013397 55005 info@tedemslie.com

The Oven Valet

Oven Cleaners Doing the jobs you hate!

Bringing the Sparkle back to your oven. Using Non Toxic, Non Caustic Products in Your Home

T: 01330 823079 M: 07920483233 www.theovenvalet.com info@theovenvalet.com


28 The church is now closed to visitors for the winter and we would like to thank them all for their support and look forward to seeing more visitors next year. We normally hold a service every Sunday at 11.30am and one in Braemar at 09.45am with the exception of: 24 December – Crathie & Braemar 11.30pm Midnight Service 25 December – Braemar 10am & Crathie 11.30am Christmas Day Service 1 January 2017 – Crathie 11.30am (joint service) More information on our churches of Crathie and Braemar can be found on our website braemarandcrathieparish.org.uk Church Guild 7 December - The Guild will be holding their Christmas lunch at The Bothy in Braemar 12.30 for 1pm, with a talk from Brian Wood, to which all are welcome. 25 January 2017 – 7pm in Crathie Kirk hall there will be a Burn’s Supper with Reverend Ken MacKenzie and John Young. 22 February 2017 – At Braemar Church at 2pm there will be a talk on Nepal. New members of the Guild are always welcome – including men! For more information please contact Pat Thomson on 013397 41214.

Crathie News

by Karen Garioch Monday Coffee Morning Another successful year has been had at our Monday coffee mornings held in Crathie Kirk hall, which would not have been possible without our hard working, dedicated volunteers to which we are eternally grateful. We would also like to thank all who have supported them in so many ways and hope to meet you all again next year. We will be holding our Christmas coffee morning on Monday 5 December from 10am to 12.30 in the hall, the proceeds of which, as always, will go to the Children’s Hospice (CHAS). Please come along to join us and we in the meantime we would like to wish you all a merry Christmas and happy new year. Crathie Hogmanay Ceilidh The Hogmanay Ceilidh will be held in the hall at Easter Balmoral on Saturday 31 December from 9pm until the wee small hours. Tickets are available at the door on the night for £5. There will be a ceilidh band and raffle, please bring your own refreshments. For tickets of further information, please contact Jean 013397 42415. Hope to see you there!

“Within these walls, let no one remain a stranger”


● ●


SRC Plumbing & Heating Engineer Ltd

07885 299717 info@src.sky.com www.src-plumbing.co.uk

The

McEWAN GALLERY

Golf Club seeks good causes...

Ballater Golf Club held a fundraising tournament on 1st October and have funds available to be distributed to local groups and charities. If your group would like to be considered please supply brief details in writing to Colin Smith, Managing Secretary, Ballater Golf Club, Victoria Road, Ballater, AB35 5QX or by email to sec@ballatergolfclub.co.uk

William Macduff (c1846-79) Christmas Morning (detail) Ballater, AB35 5UB (300 yards off A93 on A939) 013397 55429 www.mcewangallery.com


Crathie School Cream of the crop

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On Wednesday 26th October pupils at Crathie School harvested the crop of potatoes from the School garden. They were helped by parent volunteer Kate. Friday 28th October became Tattie Day, with a whole menu being planned around the tattie crop. Choices included leek and potato soup, potato crusted pizza and baked potatoes with a choice of fillings including tuna and sweetcorn, chilli, baked beans and cheese. Children in Primary One learned new skills to make the soup and pizza with the older pupils making chilli and the tuna and sweetcorn filling. This was possible with the help of parent volunteers Kate, Heather and Jacquie. PSA Mrs Skene also had her apron on and her sleeves rolled up. They were using the brand new cooker that the Parent Council has donated to the School. Mrs McCulloch and the older children made menus and set the classroom up as the Crathie CafĂŠ. Parents and other members of the community were welcomed to have lunch and taste the delicious cooking. The children would like to make the CafĂŠ a regular event and hope to invite more people next time. They would also like to say a huge thank you to everyone who taught them new skills and came along to eat their work!


Royal Station: Project Update by Lizzy Shepherd

The following report is a brief update on the progress of the Ballater Station project prepared by Aberdeenshire Council Property Officers. Statutory Consents The planning application and listed building applications were determined by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA). Extensive consultation was carried out with Aberdeenshire Council, CNPA planning officers and Historic Environment Scotland in advance of the applications being submitted, as well as on-going stakeholder meetings with community groups directly involved in the project. There have also been open public events to obtain comment from the wider community. The project received both planning approval and Listed Building Consent at the Cairngorms National Park Planning Committee on 16 September 2016. Conservation/Royal Waiting Room The focus of conservation and repair work is centred around the Royal Waiting Room. Detailed specifications have been prepared under the guidance of a Conservation Architect. Specialists have been consulted on the repair / replacement of the internal timber panelling, stained glass and also the ornate plasterwork

ceiling. The methodology of the approach has been welcomed by Historic Environment Scotland and dialogue with them will continue throughout the construction period until completion. Internal Environment Time has been spent working with the users of the building to fully understand how the spaces will operate. The building will essentially have four uses which are: • VisitScotland Visitor Information Centre (VIC) • Aberdeenshire Council Library • Exhibition Space • Restaurant A key element in the design of the spaces is to ensure the overall look of the internal environment is consistent, co-ordinated and respects the Victorian railway station heritage. Display consultants have been appointed to assist in the design of the VIC/library and exhibition spaces. VisitScotland & Library The original dining space of the old restaurant will become the new entrance and reception space with exposed timber trusses naturally lit by a large roof-light - a key aspect. This space is divided into 3 zones: a central reception / retail


area (leading to the exhibition); book / activity areas relating to the library function; and quieter, smaller, shared informal seating / display area. Although the zoning of the area has been agreed, there is still much work to do on the visual aspects of the interior and how items of furniture / display fit within the historic setting. Exhibition An exhibition group is being been set up and led by Aberdeenshire Council Cultural Services. The focus of this group is to agree the content of the exhibition space and the way in which it is displayed. Consultation has been on-going with local groups, including the local history group, to agree a schedule of items to be displayed. The focal point of the display will be the fully restored Royal Waiting Room and the replica Royal Carriage. VisitScotland, as owners, are arranging for the carriage to be removed for restoration while construction work is on-going. An option being considered is having the carriage on display at Grampian Transport Museum during the 2017 season. In tandem with the display contents, the Historic Asset Management Project are carrying out an options appraisal on the future location of Tullich Stones. At present there are two options being considered for the display of the stones: either within the Royal Station exhibition space or at Tullich Kirk. Restaurant The restaurant space is being considered in relation to the whole building, to ensure all internal finishes are considered and consistent. The restaurant will benefit from a series of different types of dining spaces and these are summarised below: • Dining room with restored fireplace a key feature, with internal linings fully replaced / renovated • Platform dining within a large open space which will provide a visual connection with the exhibition

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• External south facing dining opening onto the newly formed Station Square. Station Square The project also includes a proposal to create a beautiful new civic space, a Station Square which will form a link between the Victoria and Albert Halls complex and the Royal Station. This will involve installation of new surface materials such as paving, lighting, landscaping and street furniture, interpretation panels and signage. Seating will be available for visitors and residents to relax in a beautiful environment. Although the number of official parking spaces will remain the same, the emphasis of the area will change to become more cycling and pedestrian friendly and will act as a central hub from which people can explore the area. Consultation On 2nd April and 1st October 2016 at two public open days in Ballater, the community was able to see displays showing the progress made on the design of the Royal Station and the public square. Feedback on the proposals was provided by the community which has helped to fine tune the designs. Construction The project has been put out to tender to the six contractors on Aberdeenshire Council’s Main Contractor Works Framework and four submissions have been received. The submissions are currently being appraised with the aim of taking a recommendation to appoint a contractor at Marr Area Committee on 22 November 2016. On receiving committee approval a formal acceptance will be issued to the successful contractor with construction work programmed to start shortly after. The focus of the main contract will be on the fabric re-instatement and infrastructure works. There will be a subsequent contract for the internal display and exhibition work. The project is due to be complete by the 2017 Winter Festival which is held at the end of November.


34 Queen Victoria’s Waiting Room

by Ian Hepburn

After the closure of the railway to Ballater in 1966, Ballater railway station building and Queen Victoria’s waiting room had survived, although the waiting room was unused. The owners of the “Station Refresh” – a public bar – wished to extend its premises to include the waiting room, and to fit a new toilet. In the 1970s my business was instructed to form this new room, which involved removing three wall panels and a door, and to dispose of them. As a carpenter, I appreciated the quality of these items – the ornate panelling was Oregon Pine stained to a dark brown, and the door had beautiful stained glass. I therefore decided to store them. During the development and upgrading of the Station around the year 2000 to build the museum etc., we phoned the Council to advise them that we had the original panels and door

The Glenaden Hotel Function Room Ballater

Wednesdays 17:30 and 19:30

“It’s not a diet it’s a change in lifestyle!” Call Lesley on 07724 113884 for more info

which they could see. No return phone call was received. After the devastating fire in May 2015, we did the same again, but this time phoning the Inverurie office and the response could not have been more different. So far, we have had 4 different parties visiting to photograph, measure and catalogue the pieces. Finally, the quality of the build and design of the panels and door is being appreciated, with great interest being shown in the panelling construction, carving and glass design. I take great pleasure and satisfaction in knowing that, after keeping these items safe for nearly 43 years, we have helped the new Ballater Station Project in some small way.


Xmas Reindeer are on their way...

By the time you read this Ballater’s Winter Festival will be over for another year and 2016 saw some radical changes with the ice rink moved to the Victoria Hall. It is hoped that the new Station Square developments will be complete in time for 2017’s Winter Festival, and that the square and halls can be used in a similar fashion to celebrate. Watch this space! More festive action is planned in the village for Christmas Eve, however, when the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd come to visit the green. Make time in your festive schedule to get to the village’s Church Green between 11am and 1pm on Saturday December 24th and you will be delighted by the sight of several real-life reindeer. Santa will be on hand with sweetie gift bags for the children and festive refreshments will also be available. This annual event, a firm favourite in the Ballater calendar, is brought to you by Ballater Business Association.

TWEEDIE BEASTIES BORN AND BRED IN BALLATER We’re in a warm and toasty cabin at Ballater Business Park next to Royal Deeside Coffee Roasters. Pop in and see us.

Unit 1, Ballater Business Park, Ballater, AB35 5PN www.tweediebeasties.com Tel: 013397 56200

By appointment to HM the Queen Purveyor of Meat and Poultry

BUTCHER

By appointment to HRH the Prince of Wales Purveyor of Meat and Poultry

• POULTERER • GAME DEALER

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our customers don’t forget our

online shop

Orders being taken for Xmas! 11 Bridge Street, Ballater Tel: 013397 55218 Fax: 56042 info@hmsheridan.co.uk www.hmsheridan.co.uk


A Walk in the Park: by Katrina A Farquhar In October, I attended Europarc conference 2016 in Switzerland which was an amazing experience. A quote by Victor Hugo that struck me is “It’s a sad matter to think that nature speaks and the human race does not listen” I have chosen a relatively sheltered walk for this issue so its easy to do whatever the weather and you can alter the time it takes, as there are lots of paths criss-crossing as you will soon read by my directions! Park either at Crathie Car Park and walk down over the white bridge up the Distillery Brae then over the small bridge into Balmoral. There is a small layby on the left at the junction coming up Distillery Brae but only room for a couple of cars. Once over the bridge, immediately turn left up the brae past a few houses, and you will see the rear entrance to Craigowan House with granite pillars and a fountain on the right hand side of the road. However if you look to the left hand side, you will see a path heading into the woods climbing up the hill, - it is quite steep but a good path and you will soon arrive at the first Cairn of the day. This is Princess Beatrice’s Cairn - the fifth daughter and youngest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. We then carry on up the hill following the lovely little path where in parts you can still pick out original features such as the stones at the edge and granite set drainage, all very impressive considering they are over 100 years old. At the top of this hill we see Prince Albert’s Cairn. The inscription reads, ‘To the beloved memory of Albert the great and good, Prince Consort. Erected by his broken hearted widow Victoria R. 21st August 1862’. This is the largest and most beautifully constructed cairn and quite a feature. Leave this cairn still following the path which now takes you down the hill and you come onto another track, take the right hand route. When you arrive at a staggered junction, follow the path through the deer gate, carry

on and you will pass a shed below on the left and then you will see a track going to the left and a smaller less noticeable one going right. Follow the right hand one for a short spurt and it joins onto another path. Take the left hand route then very shortly follow a path to the right going uphill through the trees where you then come to cairn three which is Princess Alice’s - the third child and second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Leaving this cairn you follow quite a cute wee path into the woods until it joins yet another and take a right then first left when we meet another path. Walk a short distance - but watch carefully for a small narrow path disappearing into the wood. Follow this path and you find Prince Arthur’s Cairn - erected to mark his marriage in 1870. This small narrow path leads off into the woods, reminding me of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Keep following this path and you rejoin the original pathway which is more distinctive. Keep left here, even though you may see a cairn to the right - we will return to it! Down the hill and you will arrive at Prince Leopold’s Cairn - commemorating the marriage of Prince Leopold of Albany to Princess Helen of Waldeck, 1882. The view from this cairn is directly down onto Balmoral Castle and is truly an amazing view, well worth any walk. At this point you can continue down the hill and round in a loop back to the car or as I did, go back up the hill and keep left this time. Once you are back up, you can see the Purchase Cairn – to commemorate the purchase of Balmoral in 1852. It is a very unique style and well worth the walk back up the hill! Continuing on when you leave this cairn take the left route into the wood, follow this along and then you come to Princess Louise’s Cairn – sixth child and fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert commemorating her marriage to The Marquis of Lorne in


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1871. Carrying on this little track, it is so easy to start thinking about the past and imagining all the people who have travelled along here over time. If you look carefully you will see a little path to the right which will take you to the final cairn of the day - Princess Helena’s, third daughter and fifth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert celebrating her marriage in 1866. It can be pretty thought provoking all this history. Arriving at a small junction, the larger track goes right but if you follow the smaller one to the left you go down into a ravine with a lovely old Victorian Bridge. Cross the bridge and follow the path. When you see a dyke, a path leads up to the right alongside Rhebreck House. This path will take you onto the tar road, go through the deer gate and follow the tar road back down the brae over the bridge and back to your car if at the Distillery Brae or back over to Crathie Car Park. This takes about two hours, is well worth it and with lots of history all the way round.

LAURIE & COMPANY SOLICITORS . NOTARIES . ESTATE AGENTS

Your First Choice For Property and Legal Services In Deeside

We would like to wish all our clients a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Opening Hours Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm 4 Bridge Street, Ballater Tel: 01339 755535 ballater@laurieandco.co.uk www.laurieandco.co.uk


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Cairngorms National Park by Grant Moir

Alpine Tree Care Contractors and Consultants

Tree Surgeons

Covering the whole of Upper Deeside for the past 25 years We offer a complete professional tree care service to all tree owners, including the public, private and commercial sectors We aim to solve tree problems in a safe and efficient manner, promoting industry-leading practice while protecting the environment Call us for advice and guidance on any tree-related issue See our website for a tour of all services we provide and to view our extensive client list

Mark Wright HND East Braehead of Coynach Tarland AB34 4XL

013398 80100 alpinetreecare@gmail.com www.alpinetreecare.com

Christmas is my favourite time of year. Lots of meeting up with friends and family and enjoying the festivities and the odd libation. I have two young kids, so Christmas Day is mainly about putting Lego together (which I have to admit to actually enjoying). Of course, we can’t stay inside and play Lego for the whole of the Christmas and New Year break, we need to get out, go on a few wee walks and get some fresh air – and try to work off the mince pies! This September we held the inaugural Cairngorms National Park Wee Walks Week and it was a BIG success with a massive 1,199 miles clocked up between 455 participants. The distance covered is equivalent to walking around the Cairngorms National Park boundary over four times. Wee Walks Week celebrated short local walks and encouraged residents to get outdoors and enjoy a walk with friends, colleagues or neighbours, join a Ranger-guided walk or try out one of the Park’s health walks. We now have over 30 Health Walks Groups, led by a team


of volunteers, in and around the Cairngorms National Park – and working with four GP practices, we’re now testing a health walks referral system. This is helping those who would benefit from increased physical activity to get active for the good of their health in a safe and welcoming environment. Early results show that this project is showing really positive results. Talking of volunteers, the Park Authority has also recently appointed a Volunteer Coordinator and we will be developing the Volunteer Ranger programme and other volunteering opportunities in the Park over the coming year. These again will provide great opportunities for residents to get involved with the National Park and feel that they are making a valuable contribution to conserving and enhancing the Park for future generations and adding to peoples’ enjoyment of it. Christmas is usually a time for slightly overindulging and sitting in front of the fire. However, if it is a cracking day why don’t you download the paths leaflet for your area and get out on a wee walk this Christmas. They are all available at http://cairngorms.co.uk/authority/ publication/306/. With 679 miles of designated Core Paths and 200 miles of signed community paths networks, we really are spoilt for choice in the Cairngorms National Park for wee walks and big walks! By the way, if you use social media, why not follow Active Cairngorms on Facebook and Twitter (@CNPactive) for other tips and information on being active. Looking forward to 2017, we’re hoping that we can get 1,000 people and 2,500 miles for our next Wee Walks Week. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all when it comes.

Opening Hours: Monday 2pm - 6pm Tuesday Closed Wednesday 10am - 5pm Thursday Closed Friday 10am - 3pm

Tel. 013397 - 55134 24 Golf Rd Ballater AB35 5RS

J.Lanigan Engineer

C.S.M. Aerial Satellite Deeside and Donside sky approved installers

Strathgirnoc Farmhouse South Deeside Road Ballater Tel. 013397 56227 Mobile: 07506951506 Email: C-S-M_Aerials@hotmail.co.uk Web: csmaerials.co.uk


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Marie Curie Upper Deeside Fundraising Group by Sabine Muir

We are back after having had a break due to the flood. It didn’t feel right to be fundraising for anything other than the people affected by the flood. Now that things are slowly but surely getting back to normal, we are raising our heads above the parapet again to see if we can get some small events off the ground. The first event was a Christmas Cards stall at the Winter Festival on Saturday November 26th. We will be having a Mince Pies and Mulled Wine Drop-In Event on Saturday December 10th in the Hut on the Green from 11am until 4pm. There will be a tombola and some fun attractions for the children, too. Gingerbread biscuits and juice will also be available. People can find out more information about Marie Curie and what we do. There will be a Marie Curie nurse present to answer any questions, and also some of our Head Office representatives. This event is free, but donations are welcome.

Celicall Crafts

L’Auberge Vert

3 Braemar Road, Ballater Telephone: 013397 55699

Discover new flavours and textures of two great cuisines within one special retreat

G. Cowie, Workshop,

By Appointment to H.R.H.The Prince Of Wales The Duke Of Rothesay Picture Framer Celicall Crafts, Ballater

Bespoke Picture Framer

@ India On the Green

Chris O’Halloran gained huge recognition whilst head chef at The Green Inn Now ITV’s Britain’s Best Dish Winner Chris has put together a French menu with Scottish influences, which can be enjoyed alongside Raj’s Indian cuisine Available Wednesday-Saturday 5pm-9pm

established over 25 Years. Tapestry & Needlework framed. Supplier of framed Fishing Flies, framed River Maps and local Pen and Ink Sketches.

9 Victoria Road Ballater AB35 5QQ Tel 013397 55701 to book


Festive Menu . Three Courses . ÂŁ25pp Open Christmas Day 2pm-7pm Three Courses . ÂŁ40pp

Call to book your table for an evening that sets the standard in unrivalled cuisine and attention to detail

013397 55701 9 Victoria Rd Ballater AB35 5QQ www.indiaonthegreen.co.uk


Ballater School Parent Council Anyone is welcome to join the 200 Club run by the school’s parent council; you don’t have to have a child at the school. Tickets cost just £10 and the monies raised help the parent council to support the school by providing equipment, transport costs and other assistance that might not always be covered by the budget. Across the year the parent council also funds trips and treats for the pupils. You can request particular numbers by emailing the contacts below and, if available, the numbers will be allocated on a first come first served basis: 1-100 - lor.wildblood@gmail.com 101-200 - aiken.jane@sky.com Or you can just use the same contacts to receive a random number. There are prize draws every month from January 2017 with prizes from £10 to £50 and a £250 top prize in June.

McKay & Innes Funeral Directors Let us Help, Guide and Support you through a Difficult Time.

154 North Deeside Road Peterculter AB14 0UD

01224 730233

• Available 24 Hours • Pre Paid Funeral Plans Available

mckayandinnes@outlook.com Cameron McKay & Callum Innes


Badger Business is Booming! by Lizzie Scripps

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Badger is my new business. I am 12. I crowdfunded my business online by asking people in this lovely community and beyond to pledge money to buy the equipment. I did this by putting an appeal on Facebook and asking if anyone would be nice and give me £10 so I could put them all together and buy the machine and all the bits, which was £300. I managed to reach my goal in about 3 hours. I was chuffed! Every funder got a special thank you badge when the machine arrived! Now I make badges, magnets and mirrors. I take orders for special commissions and also produce my own designs. I give a 10% discount on orders over 50 items. Local groups also receive a 10% discount, because Badger was funded by the community. I had a stall at the Ballater Winter Festival and hope to go to more fairs and events like this. I’m also booked to give a demo on how to make badges etc to Ballater Library’s Craft Club. I can do personalised stuff that can make cute stocking fillers. I can put anything you want on them. I can also let you colour in your own badge and I’ll stamp it out for you. I hope my business will grow in the new year and I’ll have lots of fun with it. Here are my prices. Thank you, Ballater!: Badges ~ 50p Magnet ~ £1 Big Badges ~ £1 Mirrors ~ £1.50

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Pottering About... by Stella Potter

Well that was a lovely autumn, seemingly seamlessly merging from summer. It’s a time of year for nostalgia. Not just for the long days of daylight, the sun’s warmth and no need for boots, coats, gloves and hats, but I’ve been pondering the enormous changes in technology over the years. This began with a random comment about “The Archers” I made on facebook, which delightfully elicited yet another Archers addict in Ballater. I have been listening to this radio series for more than four decades. Now the way I listen has been revolutionised by listen on demand on the internet. Before such delights I always listened to the Omnibus edition on Sunday mornings. BC -before children- the radio alarm would be set for 10am however late I’d been out on the Saturday. AD -after daughters- it was a magnificent 75 minutes of

“me time” as Tom would always care for them whilst I lazed about in bed with a cuppa losing myself in tales of Ambridge. The advent of listen on demand and downloadable podcasts has now morphed my omnibus listening into creating my own. Such luxury! I can save a few days’ episodes and enjoy an Archers fest any time to suit me. This was particularly useful when a recent slow-burning storyline reached a denouement. The storyline was about coercive control and had been hard listening. I’m sure I wasn’t the only Archers listener to shout at the radio/ laptop pleading with the abused wife to wake up and leave. The actor who plays the baddie is magnificent. He exudes such dark menace in his voice sending chills down the spine. I had to be in a good frame of mind to listen. So it was great to be able to do so when I wanted

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rather than have my appetite disappear as the beautifully created fear gripped my stomach. Although I haven’t had a TV for many years I’m aware that technology has changed for TV watchers too. Unlike the old black and white days, where a couple of channels could only be watched live and the huge set with tiny screen warmed up first, by the time I gave up TV (and the licence!) we did have the luxury of colour and VHS tapes. Not that I could work the video recorder though. From the little TV I see in other’s homes, it seems today that the number of channels has increased in inverse proportion to the quality of many of the programmes. And is it just me who finds morning news programmes disturbing? Those shiny, tailored presenters on a sofa whilst the population reflect this, on their sofa in their jammies. Surely it’s patronising? Social inequality in a breakfast snapshot. I’m sure you’re getting bombarded with Christmas ads now too… Indeed, when I did have a TV when my eldest was wee, she could watch CBBC but I never told her about CITV as I object to children being sold to. It creates that appalling consumerist pressure to eat the right branded rubbish, play with the right branded plastic and wear the right branded clothes. One day she went to a friend’s home. When she returned she demanded to know why I didn’t tell her about commercial TV. Ooops! Welcome to the capitalist machine and a lifetime of being sold to and told that things make the person - not their thoughts, actions, words or deeds. I think I must have been rather a challenging Mum! Anyway, that little TV rant – thank you for your indulgence dear readers – was to justify my nearly a lifetime’s addiction to “The Archers”. It is the only soap that I indulge in. Of course, I am still acutely aware that far too many people are STILL not in their own homes, on their own sofas, watching their own TVs, sleeping in their own beds, cooking in their own kitchens, bathing in their own

bathrooms and pottering in their own gardens. Yes, there’s still a goodly trickle of returnees but also still an army of white vans. With all the attendant business of power tools, delivery of supplies and the ability to be able to hear the same song on the various workfolk’s radios whilst walking down the street. Is there a special workies radio station? Here we are now: nights closing in and it’s getting colder, wetter and windier. I know many become anxious when it’s blowing a hoolie and lashing it down. It’s a perfectly understandable human response after what we’ve been through. If it’s any help, I’ve found the Polhollick river data a great comfort. http://apps.sepa.org.uk/ waterlevels/default.aspx?sd=t&lc=234294 When the river seemed really high a few months ago it was actually in the very low side of normal. It’s sleeting as I type so I’m still hoping for a long good old-fashioned cold snowy winter, followed by a very gentle thaw in the spring. So as you prepare your festivities, please remember those who will still not be back in their homes for theirs. Recognise the pain of last year’s devastation is still living with them. I raise my glass to their patience, their fortitude, reassuring them they still have their community’s care and support. Please join me: Cheers!

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by Bell Macaulay Our village has experienced so many highs and lows over the last 12 months that we all approach the year end with a confusion of feelings. So much still has to be done, a walk through the village quickly shows the disparity between those areas which have had the resources to rebuild, strengthen and protect, and those where much still has to be done, leaving residents vulnerable and fearful. We should not, however forget just how far we have come. Day by day the work goes on to rebuild and repair, and it is the human care and compassion which has demonstrated the closeness of our community. Throughout it all, The Victoria and Albert Halls have provided a safe haven, a meeting place for planning and discussion on the future, and a gathering place for friends, neighbours and the wider community. All the planning and discussion has produced a Community Resilience Plan, and the Victoria and Albert Halls are the designated Emergency Rest Centre for the village and surrounding area. Volunteers are still sought to cover many roles in the event of an emergency, and if you are able to help, information can be obtained from John at Johnboltonesq@me.com Maintenance and refurbishment: Tr ustees have embarked on an ongoing programme of maintenance – some planned, and some unforeseen and costly. Ian Hay is forging ahead with refurbishment plans, but we have also had to contend with the major issue of blocked, collapsed drains at the front of the building

requiring extensive work. We are fortunate to have a wonderful band of local workmen who stepped in to diagnose and resolve the problem. We have also removed the stained glass window on the Victoria hall staircase so it can be repaired over the winter before it suffers any further damage. Victoria Week funding has helped up remove it, but there will need to be some serious community support for fundraising for all these maintenance issues especially if the community wishes to see the next phase of refurbishment commence. Donations Board: We are very grateful to all who have been unstinting in their support of the Halls from the outset. We now have a donor board recognising the importance of all these people and organisations – where would we be without them, and long may such generosity continue! Halls Charges: The new Halls charges will come into effect from 1st January 2017. Most community groups will see only a modest increase, but it lays out a fair pattern of charging for commercial use, and recognises the different timings available. Copies of the new charges have been circulated round user groups, and are displayed on each notice-board. Celebrate!: Understandably, it has been very difficult to encourage attendance at events in the Halls whether musical or otherwise – many folks have other things on their minds. HOWEVER , Hogmanay is special! We must welcome in 2017, a New Year looking forward to better times for our community. We are planning events for youngsters, an afternoon tea dance, and a giant evening knees-up with our favourite band Totico! Tickets are available from Yule’s newsagents, get in quickly before they are sold out! Website, Information and Bookings: Please don’t forget to complete a booking form if you wish to use the halls. Check what is available on www.victoriaandalberthalls.co.uk and look in the calendar. We are certainly getting busier! Membership: We need your support – it costs nothing, but demonstrates that the Halls play an important part in community life. For further information or to obtain Membership


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Halloween Disco – October Registration Forms call/leave message for Janet Riddler at 013397 55308 or email: membership@victoriaandalberthalls.co.uk Keeping the Halls in good order: Karen Forsyth continues to do an excellent job, and the Halls look and smell clean and shining! Please help by leaving rooms as you find them. Trustee Dr Doug Glass has responsibility for maintenance issues, and we now have a new helper, Frank Masson willing to help with repairs and maintenance. Don’t forget we rely on users to tell us when problems arise – please record in the diary which is kept on the windowsill in the Mike Sheridan Room store. You can also email Doug on douglas.glass@nhs.net. FINALLY! Merry Christmas and a very happy and peaceful New Year to one and all from the Halls Trust – we hope you continue to enjoy using the Halls, and give some consideration to giving us a helping hand! HANDY NUMBERS Bell Macaulay – 013397 55745 Gordon Riddler – 013397 55308 Karen Forsyth – 07921 460368 Douglas Glass – 07778 466817

As part of the on-going efforts to raise funds for the maintenance and improvement of our own beautiful Victorian community halls, the Halls Trustees are seeking offers for this wonderful wooden dollhouse. This elegant and beautiful building constructed to a scale of 1” to 1ft – was gifted to the trustees with a view to raising funds, and was assembled over many hours by a local DIY enthusiast. The superb lines of the house are enhanced by a curved Mansard roof and gracefully arched windows, and the attention to detail is astonishing. The dollhouse is 32” wide, 41” high and 18” deep, and would make a wonderful decorative ornament in a home, or be an eye-catching window display in any business premises. Offers are invited for this wonderful example of American Victorian grandeur in miniature which is currently displayed in the window of the premises of Ian Rodger, architect, in Bridge Street. Please help support a vital community asset! Contact Ian Hay on 013397 55941 to make an offer for the dollhouse or obtain more information.


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The Royal British Legion Scotland – by Bill Houston

Many people have asked what is the purpose of the Legion and why does it exist. The answer is a complex one where conflicts around the world, current events in recent years in Europe and the needs of ex-Service men and women, have served to blur the role that the Legion plays in society. Recently, a survey around the United Kingdom identified over 300 charitable institutions allegedly serving the needs of ex-Service men and women. It is, therefore, small wonder that confusion reigns amongst, for example, a recently discharged Service person looking for support and advice in the challenges ahead. The confusion doesn’t end there. Members of the public throughout a typical year are continually invited to contribute to a plethora of well-meaning charities, all dedicated to the improvement and the well-being of deserving people recently discharged from the armed services. The Royal British Legion Scotland has a long and distinguished record of providing comradeship, guidance and support where needed, especially on a local basis. Ballater and District Branch is no exception, with around 35 exService members and 25 associates. Sadly this number is declining due to an ageing population, but more recently to the effect on the community at large of the devastating flood damage the village sustained during the dark winter months. So what do we actually do in the Branch? Firstly, the Branch Committee meets about six times in the year with a representative attending four Meetings, in various locations, of the Banff and Kincardine Area and the National Conference of the Royal British Legion Scotland in Perth. If the Royal British Legion Scotland is to have a sustained future through volunteer charitable work, it has to reverse the age-related decline in membership by encouraging younger ex-service men and women to join - but also with a renewed

emphasis on youngsters of school age. A great start to this was the National War Memorial Competition where, out of some 75 entries, Ballater Primary School finished in the top four. The production was a tribute to the enthusiasm of the teaching staff, but more importantly, to the boys and girls who made a video, performed brilliantly and learned a little history and what the symbol to the memory of the fallen means. Ballater and District Branch is a Scottish Registered Charity and, as such, we are duty bound to donate any money raised through Branch activities and the annual Poppy Collection to Service Charities throughout Scotland. We also play our part in assisting Poppy Scotland each year with volunteers calling on households with collection cans together with those located in shops, businesses and restaurants. Thanks to the generosity of the local populace the Branch has annually exceeded all expectations in contributing to this worthy appeal by raising around £2,500. This leads on to the annual Remembrance Parade when Members, led by the Ballater and District Pipe Band, march to Glen Muick Church for the Drumhead Service. There follows a short service in front of the Memorial with wreath laying by various Ballater Associations. The salute at the final march-past is taken by the Lord Lieutenant’s Representative. Whilst on the subject, the Branch raised funds to update and refurbish the Ballater War Memorial so that it could maintain its position as one of the best-kept memorials in Scotland. This was confirmed when it was entered for the National War Memorial Competition and in its particular category was pipped at the post by just half-apoint to the eventual winner from Inverary. In September, Legion member Hugh Inkster had the opportunity of meeting Her Majesty the Queen during Her visit to Ballater –a fitting tribute to the care and attention he has devoted throughout


the years to helping the Memorial achieve its prize-winning status. On the social front the Branch hosted the Area Golf Tournament which proves to be a continued annual favourite and enjoyed by all those Legionnaires attending from around Aberdeen and Kincardine Area. Let us not forget too the Rifle Club whose membership continues to flourish with some 16 members taking active participation in local target shooting competitions. Ballater and District Branch also sends a representative group to the Aberdeen City Council sponsored Veterans Parade, where all sections of the armed services both young and old take part in a spectacular march and salute followed by light refreshments. Finally, it is the hope and intention of the Royal British Legion Scotland’s Ballater Branch to continue to work to maintain comradeship and support to its existing members and associates, but also to encourage the young to participate in the Legion’s activities and learn a bit about the proud history of the armed services.


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A Scottish Master Swordsman by Sheila Sedgwick

The Farquharsons were a colourful family and they had a great influence on Upper Deeside. Towards the end of Mary Queen of Scot’s reign Donald of Castleton (Braemar) exchanged some property with the Earl of Mar. He gained Monaltrie (at Crathie) and handed over Castleton, Braemar. He married Beatrice Gordon and they had five sons – Donald, James, Robert, Alexander and David. James, an Edinburgh lawyer, founded the Whitehouse branch of the Farquharsons. The eldest son Donald, usually known as Donald Og married Margaret, daughter of Abergeldie. He was the Marquis of Huntly’s representative and was responsible for law and order throughout Deeside. He made many visits to London, sailing there frequently in the company of Lord Ogilvie and the Laird of Pitfoddels. All three were noted gamblers. The year was 1640. London was buzzing with the news that an Italian, reputed to be a magician, had recently arrived in the capital. Apparently he was a brilliant swordsman who challenged men to meet him in combat and so far seemed to be living a charmed life, defeating all opponents. Rumour said he was in league with the Devil. He lived like a prince. When he strutted about the London streets behind a drummer, crowds gathered. The London city fathers offered gold to anyone who could beat him in a sword fight. The Queen, daughter of Henry of Navarre, tried to encourage the nobles to accept the challenge issued by the Italian. They all refused. However, word was circulating that the best swordsman in Europe was Donald Og who made frequent visits to London and that he was mad enough to accept the challenge. Donald was contacted and he accepted the challenge. Time and place were agreed for the next day. In the evening a disguised Donald went to the Italian’s hotel. Assisting the Italian’s

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servant to over-indulge in brandy, conversation turned to the Italian master. By now fairly drunk, the servant informed Donald that no-one born naturally could hurt his master, no one in leather shoes, no sword that had been touched by iron or sheathed in leather could hurt his master. He said that when fighting the master appeared to be three men. If wounded and the sword was withdrawn, the wound healed. That night a poor Spanish swordmaker made a sword on a stone anvil, using flint hammers. No iron was involved. When it was handed over, wrapped in a linen cloth, he had enough money to go back home and start his own business. Meanwhile a shoemaker made blue velvet slippers in a thistle shape and the soles were made of tree bark. He too was much richer. Then a poor woman spent the whole night knitting a scabbard of silk, beautifully embroidered. She too could improve her standard of living. Early in the morning Donald and some fellow Scots came to the appointed place. The fight began. Donald saw three figures but kept his eye on the middle one. He admitted to himself that he was up against a brilliant swordsman. After a fairly exhausting time he managed to slide his sword under the Italian’s and wound him in the side. The wounded man requested that the sword be withdrawn. Donald refused. Desperate, the Italian shouted that the Devil had not kept faith with him and no man naturally born should have beaten him. Donald replied that he had not been born normally but by what we later called a Caesarean operation. The Italian lay dead. There was great applause. The victor received the prize in gold. Envious folk cried out: “Look at that Scot pocketing our English gold!” Hearing this, and in a rage, Donald threw the gold on the ground, saying: “Look at the English picking up the gold that it took a Scot to win for them.”


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The Strange Case of the Vanishing Wishing Tree by Ian Cameron

The twin oak tree had been growing on a river terrace beneath Pannanich Hill for a very long time. This twin tree had seen the early activity when the mineral waters were first discovered above it on Pannanich Hill. In those days of natural cures, spas were where you could ‘take the waters’ or indeed bathe in the mineral waters. Prince Charlie and the Jacobites were a dimming memory by the second half of the eighteenth century, and the Highlands were open for business! Enterprising landowners throughout Scotland were improving their land, draining the wet ground, creating larger fields and dykes, building ferm touns and introducing new crops. In forestry, there was great felling of the old growth pines that had their origins in the fabled Caledonian Forest, but as the great trees grew scarce and inaccessible in the high ground of deep glens, the landowners sowed the seeds of new plantations, mainly pine and European Larch. The upper reaches of the River Dee were

not excluded from this trend and Francis Farquharson of Monaltrie set out to develop the mineral springs on Pannanich Hill. Initially, there was a footpath from the Old South Deeside Road that ran through the Pannanich Hamlet below to the mineral wells. As time went by, the fame of the Pannanich Wells grew and Francis Farquharson built Pannanich Lodge at the Dee ferry boat that predated the first Ballater Bridge. Our Wishing tree would have grown through this lively time, and would have seen the building of Pannanich Lodge across the Dalmuchie Burn, which, on its completion, led to the morning stream of boarding invalids passing by on their way to the mineral wells. About this time, the quite remarkable double tree started to gain its reputation as a Wishing Tree. We have to remember that throughout Scotland there are traditions originating in early Christian and earlier Pagan beliefs of magic wells, clootie wells, standing stones and the fairy people. It does not take a lot of imagination to find ill people wishing for a positive


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result of their visit to the mineral wells as they pass beneath the boughs of our Wishing Tree. Things speeded up, Francis Farquharson built the first Ballater Bridge over the river Dee and he opened a quarry at the foot of the rise up to the Wells. Next he built a hotel and bath house on the actual site of the mineral wells and linked them up with a new road to Ballater Bridge. This new road passed under the spreading branches of our wishing tree, so close was it built. The twin wishing tree then saw rapid change as the new bridge caused Ballater to grow, providing ever more accommodation for the visitors that crowded to Pannanich Wells. The original Pannanich Lodge at the ferry fell into disuse and today only foundations surrounded by tall trees remain. Lord Byron came to stay at Ballaterach with his mother, he too visited and took the waters at Pannanich, and all the while our Wishing tree shared in the fame. The stage was now set for most of the following nineteenth century. Half way through, in 1865, the railway reached Ballater and by that time Queen Victoria had been coming to Balmoral for almost twenty years with resultant local prosperity and development. The Pannanich road was coated with tar and a pavement provided a pleasant Sunday walk to Pannanich Hotel, no longer to take the waters, but to enjoy refreshment of an alcoholic nature. Our tree saw all those changes, and despite growing out of the pavement, just kept thriving and became part of our heritage and culture. The twentieth century dawned with its two world wars. Pannanich Hill and Craig Coillich were stripped of trees for the war effort. Canadian soldiers and Newfoundland civilians got to know the Wishing tree as they walked out with local girls. The hollow between the twin trunks of the tree was filled with little notes, animal toys and other endearments, very similar to the leaving of a cloth or handkerchief on

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fences beside ‘clootie wells’. We were told: ‘Never speak under the boughs of the Wishing well, just make your Wish, and tell no one what you wished for’. The story carried on until quite recently. I incorporated a short reference to the Wishing tree in my Minerals and Ancient Monuments book of 2013, but shortly after that, I noticed it had gone! The neatly cut stump was photographed on the 30th May 2014. I had noticed earlier that spring that a large bough had broken off the most eastern trunk, but nothing that made the tree unstable. You will also notice in my photo that the tree was growing on the pavement. This is Aberdeenshire Council ground. Not Glenmuick Estate, albeit this tree was well rooted many years before either entity was in existence. This leads me back to a topic that I have brought up before: Lost CNPA places! There is no doubt in my mind that the Pannanich Road Wishing tree was part and parcel of our heritage, and growing through Aberdeenshire Council’s pavement, should have been in their care, yet the stump has been left unattended and has been undoubtedly a traffic hazard these last two years. It seems to be policy - do nothing and it will go away. Perhaps in this instance, a little plaque could be set up on the site, to tell of what had stood there before being cut down in its prime.


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Trapping Pest Mammals

by PC Steve Lafferty: Wildlife Crime Officer

The trapping and killing of wild animals is an emotive subject for some and there were a number of issues locally which came to light over the summer. It should be noted however, that the trapping of certain ‘pest’ mammals is a legitimate and necessary area of land management in the local area. It is also worth pointing out that it is an offence for any person to destroy, damage or interfere with a legally set trap. The advice from Police Scotland is that if you happen upon any type of trap in the countryside and you feel there may be an issue with it, DO NOT TOUCH IT, but call the Police on 101. It would also be helpful if the trap could be photographed and a grid reference obtained for the location. There is a myriad of traps legally available for use and it is not possible to fully explain all types. They generally fall into two categories - a ‘live catch’ trap or a ‘spring trap’. Live catch traps can be in all shapes and sizes and are generally constructed of strong wire. They are designed to catch and hold the target species, until they can be properly despatched. Any non-target or protected species should be released. By their nature these traps can, and do on occasion, catch non-target species. Spring traps (which to the layman would resemble a large mouse trap) are designed to kill the target species. In order to prevent non-target species being caught they can only be legally set in a tunnel. Tunnels can be natural, or a box made of wood or mesh, with the size of the entrance being restricted to only allow entry to target species. Spring traps should be checked daily by the person responsible for them. This is a legal requirement. However, in relation to ‘live catch’ traps, the guidance is that they should be checked regularly. Whilst it is not necessarily an offence to fail to check this type of trap, the person responsible for the trap is also responsible for the welfare of any animal caught and as such could still potentially be liable to prosecution. If you wish to report a Wildlife Crime or any other matter, Police Scotland can be contacted via 101. A trained Wildlife Crime Officer will also generally be available to offer any advice or guidance required.


Tread Carefully

by PC Donald Macleod I would like to take the time in this edition to once again remind folks about basic security. Although we are lucky enough to reside in a relatively low crime area, we must always stay on our guard and not get too complacent. Unfortunately we do get travelling criminals passing through looking for easy targets and as such we continue to get reports in the area of insecure vehicles being broken into, sneak-in thefts from houses and outbuildings which are left unlocked overnight. Again I would like to remind people to secure your property and keep keys and items of value out of sight. If you see something suspicious please get in touch with us at the time. Now that the mornings are frosty, I would ask motorists to ensure that all lights on their vehicles are in good working order, tyres have adequate tread on them and you have a suitable implement handy to scrape any ice/ frost from your vehicle windows (not just the windscreen!). Please drive in accordance with the road conditions and if you feel your journey may take a bit longer, leave earlier! I would also ask those of you who have children with bikes to please ensure they are visible to vehicles, with lights to the front and rear, and ensure they have a suitable cycle helmet. Once again if you require any advice on home or vehicle security, please contact staff at the Ballater Office where we will be only too glad to assist.

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Keeping Council Autumn always seems to be a busy time of year and 2016 has been no exception! There is still much to do in the village to get life ‘back to normal’ for folk, although so much has already been done both by residents, businesses and the council. Please, if you need some help, just ask! You may be aware of the work done in partnership with Ballater Business Association to develop a marketing strategy for Royal Deeside. A company from Inverness (System2) successfully tendered to put together a new communication approach to refresh our message to the wider world and shortly, a four-minute video encompassing “What you can do” in the area will be released. This will form the foundation of a wider strategy encompassing the latest technology, and both Michal Coletta and I are stretching our minds to think of new ways of approaching our tourism offer. This will eventually be fed into VisitAberdeenshire to encourage them to market this area as WE want, not as they think (and as they haven’t done anything since their inception in April, we are surely on a firm footing!?) Every year, Aberdeenshire Council pays tribute to members of the public who volunteer in their communities – in previous years I have nominated Bell Macaulay, the Ballater Chiels and the Braemar Mountain Rescue, all of whom continue to give their time and effort wholeheartedly to the community. This year Lizzie Scripps seemed the obvious choice – always bright and cheerful and always doing something for the community be it organizing the tea party to raise funds for children with diabetes or helping with Victoria Week. I said to Cat and Ade that I felt they should come to the event to watch their daughter being presented with her certificate by the Provost, Councillor Hamish Vernal – so they did. I’m afraid I had been a bit disingenuous with that request because unbeknown to them, both Cat and Ade were ALSO to receive acknowledg-

with Geva Blackett

ment of all they do. But I had no option really because had I told them I was nominating them, they would have claimed to not be deserving of recognition. There are so many people in Ballater and indeed in other communities that deserve recognition for what they do – I’m just sorry I haven’t got round to nominating you yet… (If you know someone who’s an unsung hero – please let me know!) Some of you may have noticed the Made in Marr ‘pop-up’ tent at the Deeside Cycling Festival in September? Many folk enjoy crafting – be that making jewellery, working with wood or glass or fabric, painting, pottery, sewing, knitting - the list is endless – but don’t have the time to start a full time business and yet selling their products is vital to their income. The feedback from that event was brilliant and I have been encouraged to continue to develop the concept. At this time of year many of us don’t have a clue what to buy family and friends for Christmas and yet on our doorstep we have people creating unique products. Tourists too want reasonably priced, locally made souvenirs. So I have organized four or five more “popups” in the run up to Christmas, two days in Banchory and probably three in Torphins – each will be supporting another business and will hopefully be beneficial to both, as well as enabling those stuck for a present to be suitably enthused. Where the concept goes from there is really up to those taking part – and of course the customers! Also close to my heart, as most will know, is low cost housing, and I was very pleased to have been included on the recruitment panel for the new Head of Housing. You may remember that Douglas Edwardson was tragically killed last year and the first recruitment drive just did not bring a suitable candidate. This time we interviewed three candidates, two of whom were really exceptional. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever been involved in but we


finally decided on Rob Simpson who joins us at the end of November from Aberdeen City. I was very lucky to have had a wonderful friendship and working relationship with Douglas, and also with Brian Watson who has been acting in the position over the past year. He too has been incredibly helpful and always kind. Big shoes to fill indeed! I will be inviting Rob out to the Ward at the earliest opportunity and impressing on him how vital it is that we have housing to offer local folk needing more - or less - rooms or wanting to return to raise families. Of course we also need to consider those who want to come and work here like teachers, nurses and other public sector employees. Otherwise we run the risk of becoming “Disneyland Cairngorms” where people can’t afford to live and have to travel in to work in the tourism and public sectors. I hope he will have some radical suggestions! Finally… I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hogmanay. As ever, if you need to contact me, please just pick up the phone to (013397) 41541, email me at cllr.g.blackett@aberdeenshire.gov.uk or you can contact me via my Facebook page https:// www.facebook.com/CllrGevaBlackett/

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Revellers of all ages enjoyed Mucklefest in September

...and Katrina A Farquhar

Muckle Fest was a huge success and a wee snippet – the committee has decided to host it next year and once we have a date and bands we will make a grand announcement. You may see some progress at the toilets in Monaltrie Park. We have at last funding in place and renovations will be carried out over the winter ready for a grand opening in the Spring. Keep up to date with Aberdeenshire Council on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AberdeenshireCouncil/ or Twitter @aberdeenshire Up to date information is available at all times. You can also now watch Full Council on live webcam.


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New Funding for Orienteering Deeside to host two major events

The Scottish Orienteering Association has been successful in winning a grant through Cairngorm LEADER to fund a new development project in Upper Deeside and Donside. During the next two years, Upper Deeside will host two major orienteering events; the “Scottish 6 Days – Royal Deeside 2017” and the 2018 British Orienteering Championships. Both events are expected to attract several thousand competitors with many overseas visitors competing in the 6-day event. In the lead up to these events, the “Community Orienteering and Protection of the Environment” project will provide an exciting opportunity for the local community to get involved. Project manager and Mar Orienteering Club coach, Sarah Dunn, will work with schools in Braemar, Crathie, Ballater and Strathdon as well as youth groups at the heart of the community to stage activities and also to help train leaders to sustain activities into the future. Orienteering is a sport that can be enjoyed at every level, from a recreational adventure through the woods to a high intensity, physically and mentally challenging race. At every level the sport has environmental appreciation at its heart and one of the big attractions is an opportunity to explore hidden and wild places, with different routes set at every event. The sport also offers an opportunity to learn valuable life skills, including independent thinking and self-reliance in a healthy outdoor setting. There are some fantastic locations in Deeside where orienteering can take place and it is hoped that the introductory sessions will encourage more of the local community to take up the opportunity to participate in the events to be staged on their doorstep during 2017 and 2018. For further information about the project, please e-mail sarah@scottish-orienteering.org Further information about the Royal Deeside 2017 6-day event can be found at http://www. scottish6days.com/2017 This project has been part-financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community (Cairngorms Local Action Group) LEADER 2014-2020 Programme


Our quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort

The

Lochnagar Indian brasserie Fully Licensed

WINNER! BEST ASIAN RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR (SCOTLAND) ASIAN CURRY AWARDS 2016

All major credit and debit cards accepted

Open Mon-Sun 12-2pm and 5-11pm 2 Church Square, Ballater, AB35 5NE

Booking Advised 01339 755611 tripadvisor 4.5

10% Discount on Takeaway

www.lochnagarindian.co.uk

Shanghai Takeaway Finest Chinese, Peking, Thai & Cantonese Cuisine

10 Golf Road, Ballater AB35 5RE

013397 55666 Telephone Orders Welcome Opening Hours: Open 7 days a week Sunday to Thursday : 4pm – 11pm Friday & Saturday : 4pm – 11.30pm We only accept cash

dp opticians wish

all of you a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year dp opticians

- who always care how you look 45 Bridge Street, Ballater 013397 562222


Brakeley Gift Room Whatever your budget you can find lots of great gifts and home furnishings at Brakeley Gift Room 14 Bridge Street, Ballater (open 7 days) Tel: 013397 55574 Wendy & David Cobban

Allan Milne Joiners

63 Golf Road, Ballater, AB35 5RU Tel: 013397 55861 Mob: 07811774942

E-mail: allanmilne@rocketmail.com Established 1984

All aspects of Joinery and Carpentry. New Builds, Extensions, Bathrooms, Kitchens, Windows, Doors. Stairs manufactured and installed. One-off items. All renovation works.

Brian Smith Funeral Services Ltd The only family run and owned funeral director in Aboyne, Banchory and Peterculter

Pre-Paid Funeral Plans Available 317 North Deeside Road, Peterculter Tel: 01224 732530 Huntly Road, Aboyne Tel: 013398 86625 85A High Street, Banchory Tel: 01330 825400

Contact Brian or Angela Smith (24hrs)


Ballater (Royal Deeside) Ltd by David Horne

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We have started planning for the Walking Festival in 2017, which will take place from Saturday 20th May 2017 until Friday 26th May 2017. This will be our 19th festival and as in previous years, we would hope to attract good numbers. BRD are investigating obtaining a power supply for the Church Green. Fund Raising has already started and money has been received or promised from various groups. We have had discussions with David Ritchie of Banchory Market as to how they approached obtaining a power supply for their market. The advice we were given was that we go for an aboveground installation and that the process will take months to install. John Burrows has had email discussions with Keith Melvin, the Street Lighting Engineer of Aberdeenshire Council, about the process required for Ballater. We hope to arrange an on-site visit from Keith Melvin in the coming weeks. The BRD AGM took place in Park House on the 24th November 2016.

riverside Cambus O’May Ballater AB35 5SD cottage 1/2

Tel: 01339 755126


Advertisers’ Index Alexandra Hotel

26 Allan Milne Joiner 60 Alpine Tree Care 38 Badger 43 Balmoral Castle 14 B.W. Book Keeping 50 Bill Yule 9 Brakeley Gift Room 60 Brian Smith Funeral Services Ltd 60 Brook Taverner 2 Carnelian 55 Celicall Crafts 40 C.S.M. Aerials 39 C.S.M. Handyman 25 Deeside Deli 44 D P Opticians 59 Davidsons Chemists 12 Deeside Tree Care 10 Drummond Enterprises 49 Edward J Emslie 27 Flame Boiler Services 12 Forbes Duguid 55 Fraser & Mulligan 16 Glen Lui Hotel 50 H M Sheridan Ltd 35 H.P.S. 18 Ian Rodger 21

India On The Green Julian Barclay Keiller Brasserie L’Auberge Vert Laurie & Company Lochnagar Brasserie Marie Chapman McCue and Porter McKay & Innes MH Jewellery Morven Veterinary Centre Myriad Pro Phoenix Chip Shop Riverside Cottage Cafe Roaring Stag Coffee Roy Mitchell Shanghai Takeaway Slimming World Speedwell Framing Stephen Clark (SRC) The Hair Loft The McEwan Gallery The Oven Valet The Silver Thistle Tornaveen Plumbing Tweedie Beasties Wee Jim Firewood/Landscapes

The Ballater & Crathie Eagle is made possible by:

Advertising, Donations, Sponsorship, Fundraising, “Awards for All” Lottery funding, and Cairngorms Leader + European Funding. Thank you to everyone who supports us. We deliver FREE from Crathie to Cambus O’May. Thanks to Friends of the Eagle for delivering to some outlying areas.

41 17 29 40 37 59 55 18 42 22 39 43 26 61 24 21 59 34 50 30 25 30 27 35 21 35 22


Bring in the Bells with the Ballater Community at our

HOGMANAY Hootenanny! Sa

st tur 1 3 Vic day December er t toria Hall, Balla

Stovies, Oatcakes + Trifle Buffet BYOB + dance the night away Music from fabulous 10-piece Totico Tickets

ÂŁ15

Available from Yules. Doors 8pm Families welcome (u15 ticket ÂŁ5) Other events planned during the day for a spectacular end to 2016! Updates and details on Facebook or by calling 013397 55745


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from The Eagle Team x


Ballater and Crathie Eagle, Winter 2016, Issue 84