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The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

New C ycle Track Opens On a beautiful sunny morning in Balquhidder a plethora of bicycles appeared at Mhor 84 and their owners disappeared to indulge in scrummy scones and coffee and listen to speeches marking the official opening of the cycle track between Strathyre and Balquhidder. Linda McKay, Convenor of Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, welcomed everyone to celebrate the completion of the new 3.5km route linking Strathyre and Balquidder. She acknowledged that the route was

something the local communities had long campaigned for and wanted to say a special thanks - to the communities, local landowners, Sustrans, the Forestry Commission and the National Park - for all working together to bring the project to fruition. She then handed over to John Lauder, the National Director for Sustrans Scotland. John explained that the aim of Sustrans is to allow people to choose to cycle for everyday journeys, for leisure and tourism and the simple fun of it. In Scotland they work with schools, communities and

The Queen’s Baton Relay stops in Strathyre! The Queen’s Baton Relay returned to Scotland on 14 June 2014, after a momentous 248-day global journey through the nations and territories of the Commonwealth. Travelling through 400 towns, villages and cities over 40 days, the relay offered people across the nation the chance to be part of the countdown to Scotland’s biggest ever sporting and cultural event – the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games – and show their support for Team Scotland. From the spires of Edinburgh to the peaks of the Highlands, from the Scottish Borders’ woodlands to island beaches, the baton visited all 32 Local Authorities of Scotland – carried by 4,000 baton bearers over 4,000 kilometers. The lucky ones in Strathyre knew the baton was coming through the village and went with the intention of waving it through, as it was not a scheduled stop. They were surprised when the coach stopped to show off the baton and even more excited when they were asked if they would like to hold it. Their photos reflect their pride (and their initiative in remembering to take pictures!) See more photos on page 6.

employers to help realise the vision that by 2020, 10% of everyday trips will by bike. In many cases, as today showed, there is the double benefit of the tracks enabling people to enjoy walking as well as cycling. He acknowledged that the link had been long sought and had only been achieved with the financial help of the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland and Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park, all playing their part in the fund raising. He also thanked the local landowners who had been involved, particularly Mr. (Continued on page 12) Halliday.

Editor’s Bit You’ll notice that this month we have a 24-page Villagers instead of the normal 28; not due to a lack of news, but more to do with many of us being away for holidays. September promises to yield a fatter issue, with regular contributors returning and weekly activities starting up again. Well, I finished last month reflecting on a period of calm - and then a couple of late items stirred things up again as I was driving south! It is certainly fascinating to see that articles are provoking comment and our ‘Soap Box’ item is getting to be a monthly regular (even without referring to the referendum yet). All debating points are always welcome. ‘On your bike’ seems to be the main theme of this month. It was great to be walking along the new cycle path and hear everyone enthusing about how beautiful the area was looking in the sunshine. These comments have also been echoed by several visitors to the area for the Commonwealth Games. They ask if this is always a fantastic a place to live; the answer being ‘of course!’ Let me take this opportunity to remind you about the annual Horticultural Show which this year is on Saturday 6th September at Strathyre Village Hall. Still time to get your entries in! Finally, I would like to add our condolences to the family of Frank Allen in St Fillans. Frank was always ready with a smile and a hand when I arrived at the Coffee Shop with their copies of The Villagers - especially when they were anticipating one of John’s more controversial articles! Such a sad loss. JJ



The following readings were taken at ‘Bramblings’, Auchtubh, Balquhidder for the month of JUNE 2014. Average max temp Actual max temp Average min temp Actual min temp

19.3 ºC 26.6 9.5 4.6

66.7 ºF 79.0 49.0 40.2

Rainfall 7.9cms 3.2ins Strongest wind gust: 25mph on 6 June 2


Mary McDiarmid has graduated from the Open University with a Bachelor degree in Health and Social Care, on 21st June 2014 after 10 long years of study. She accomplished all this whilst supporting her two daughters further their education and working full time as the Manager of The Four Seasons Hotel. We are so proud of you, Mum.  Lynne and Shauna McDiarmid (daughters).


to our son - Fraser Stewart LLB Hons. Fraser, a former pupil of Lochearnhead Primary School, graduated in Law at Aberdeen University on 8th July 2014.

The St Fillans Bit Rather more frequently than I’d like it befalls me to record the passing of a villager. In most cases, sad as any death is, the deceased has exceeded the allotted three score and ten and their time had simply come. Tragically this month that cannot be said of Frank Allen, co-owner with Liam of our Village Store. Frank died 2 weeks ago at just 43 in his home from a severe asthmatic attack – a terrible trauma for his wife, Claire. I first met Frank about 7 years ago when he and business partner Liam were operating a property maintenance business out of Lochearnhead and appeared one day to carry out remedial works to the access ramp and steps to the Sandison Hall next to my home. Being a gregarious (nosy) soul I went out to meet them. It really was a Laurel & Hardy moment – giant Frank and diminutive Liam; loud and vocal Frank, and Liam getting on with the work. All that was missing were the hats. Conversation flowed easily, retired builder with active builders. Friendship formed. At that time our village store had closed and we were realising just how much we all missed the convenience of the store. Frank & Liam decided to buy the shop and, to our great relief, opened up again with Liam as the visible front-of-house guy, and Frank in the background. I well remember mentioning the store in The Villagers and saying ‘Liam’s Shop’, which earned me a rebuke from Liam, who pointed out that although we didn’t see Frank every day, he was always there in support. The expression ‘larger than life’ is much overused, but in Frank’s case it could not be more apt. A big man physically with an impressive belly, big vocal chords, big on opinions and always ready to share them, big on humour (even if it was sometimes not completely politically correct) and very big on his love for his family. Frank had a lifelong love of guns and field sports so it was probably inevitable that he would branch out, as he did last year, and open a field sports shop in Crieff – Hunt, Shoot, Fish. When I interviewed him for The Villagers for a wee piece on the new shop I was simply amazed at his extensive knowledge of guns and the laws controlling them. I was even tempted to get myself a gun, so impressive was his spiel, until I remembered that years ago I shot a rabbit and it took me days to recover from having killed a tiny happy furry beast who never did me any harm. Guess I’m not a natural hunter. Frank’s daughter Lauren, who assisted in the village store, was never without

by John Murray


a smile; she has raised serious sums of money for charities- and was 17 on the 19th July. Frank had promised to teach her to drive, which was greatly anticipated - but not to be. Kay Naitby saw the chance to do something constructive to help the family in its grief and organised a village collection to pay for Lauren’s driving lessons. The collection, in just a few days, raised some £800. That’s what you call a village community. After Frank’s funeral service in Comrie, mourners gathered in the Sandison Hall where village ladies had provided baking on a grand scale. There were too many contributors to mention but I have to give thanks to Jean Milne who brought the

whole thing together and laboured many hours both in the set-up and clean-up. Frank leaves his wife Claire and five children to whom our sympathy goes. He also leaves business partner Liam who must have a deep void after losing his mate of many years. During the days after Frank’s death various lady volunteers worked in the shop to assist Liam in keeping it open. They were surprised at just how few villagers actually support the store. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating – if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. The convenience of being able to get a pint of milk or your Continued overleaf Saturday newspaper


The St Fillans Bit

(Continued from p3)

or an ice cream on a hot day is taken for granted but your odd purchase like that cannot sustain a shop. Obviously we can’t do our weekly shop in The Store - and basic essentials like bread, milk, eggs, sugar, bacon, baking products etc. might cost a few pence more than Asda, but by buying in the village you help keep the store alive. If the shop is not supported it will close – then when you run out of eggs or sugar or whatever, you have a 12 mile round trip to Comrie. Food for thought? (Pun intended). Despite 2 years ago having sworn never to do it again (as recorded in these pages) Bob Livermore held a Plant Sale along with a Coffee Morning in The Sandison on 28th June to raise money for ongoing Hall maintenance. It was astonishing to see the plethora of plants which Bob had cultivated for the sale and hard to imagine that they might all get sold – but as Bob said, “I’m not taking them home again!” The event was well attended and the impressive sum of £608 was raised. The usual village ladies produced the cakes and nibbles. As new Hall Secretary I now have a closer insight into just what it costs to run and maintain the Hall and it is quite scary. Last month the external paintwork was redone, a new (and safer) loft ladder was installed and various other bits. This month the roof space has been floored out (thanks, Jim) and has created a vast and illuminated storage area. It all costs many hundreds of pounds, hence the need for fund raisers and the appreciation of folk like Bob who labour long to help out. I mentioned briefly last month the arrival at The Four Seasons of a new head chef. I’m obliged to Mary for the following contribution: We are pleased to introduce our ‘new’ Head Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel. David Errington has worked with Andrew on various occasions as a temp chef, and eventually took up the post of Head Chef in 2003 and worked for two seasons. Since then, he has gained experience in various establishments in Exmoor, Somerset, Ireland and eventually back to sunny Scotland where he worked for three years in Kenmore, before returning again to the Four Seasons Hotel in June. Here are some questions put to David on his return:Why did you come back to the Four Seasons? It is a great hotel in a great location and I am really happy to be staying in the Breadalbane area, where I have made so many friends over the past few years. I am lucky to be able to do what I love in such a fantastic area. What inspires you / your cooking style? I am influenced by nature, the abundance of fresh, natural produce available locally, and 4

Most will have seen the excellent job done by David Wallace in the new landscaping of the garden of Dundurn Parish Church, pictured here. The work has made the Church more accessible from the main road and provided more paved area to incorporate the benches donated in memory of loved ones. New planted areas mean more plants, scented ones and plants that feel nice to the touch. The new arch perfectly frames the church façade looking inwards and, looking outwards, provides a superb vista to, as Frances Brown puts it: “our own Sea of Galilee – Loch Earn.” our outstanding landscape. My cooking style is inspired by French Provincial produce, people who love producing, harvesting and cooking good quality ingredients, whether in this area or further afield... Where would you like to dine locally and why? I would like to eat at one (or all) of the Mhor Restaurants. Incredibly, I have not eaten at any, although I have bought from Mhor Bread and Mhor Fish. Clearly, the Mhor brand is a great success story locally! So what am I waiting for? What would be your choice for your ‘last meal’ and who would you invite to dine with you? My ‘last meal’ would be Steak Tartare ‘Baveus’ Omelette Arnold Bennet Isles Flotante I would invite Marco Pierre White and Edwina Curry to dine with me! Finally. This month I have had to accept that due to the steady deterioration of my lower limbs my 2 wheel days are over and my last motor cycle & electric bike have been sold.

Chef David

But, fear ye not, I have arriving next week from Holland a superb electrically assisted tricycle. My dear wife simply shrugs her shoulders and vows that never will she be seen out with 20 stone of geriatric male on a tricycle. One of the few benefits of advancing years is that you can look like a complete numpty and not care. Happy days. JM

View from the Park by Owen McKee What a contrast! Loch Lubnaig is splendid in the summer sun, families are paddling in the loch and picnicking by the water. Meanwhile a journey along Loch Earn presents an entirely different picture. Caravans everywhere, laybys full, rubbish and litter everywhere and some “resident campers” filling some areas with an air of intimidation. Not exactly what we should be offering to either locals or visitors. And so, not unnaturally, the question is being asked as to when can we expect to see the mess that exists along Loch Earn cleaned up and a more family friendly situation in place there. Unfortunately there is not a quick solution to the problem but I can assure you that the Park Authority is working hard to try and find solutions. If you take a read of the minutes for last month’s BLS Community Council Meeting you will see that the Park Authority facilitated a discussion on the introduction of a bye-law to restrict the drinking of alcohol in public places and I’m pleased to say that the CC is keen to see this is progressed. Meetings are being arranged with St Fillans CC so that all of Loch Earn can be covered by any proposal. And discussions are taking place to see how the misnamed “wild camping” can be controlled. It has been made clear to us that a restriction to “wild camping” under any bye-law will only be entertained when provision is made to cover the demand that exists for

camping at lochsides. Unfortunately there is no public land along Loch Earn and so the Park Authority is not in a position to make the necessary provision without the help of others. And that is why it may take some time before we have the necessary infrastructure in place.  There is no doubt that an alcohol ban will help.  It was a delight to see so many people turn up for the official opening of the stretch of the national cycle track route 7 from Strathyre to Kinghouse. And that is not the end of it. Just this week BLS Community Trust sent out invitations  to consultants to tender on the feasibly of providing a  path from Immervoulin Caravan and Camping site to Strathyre linking into route 7.  Fingers crossed that a suitable path is a possibility. I hope you some of you have managed to take in a trip to at least one of the concerts provided on the Feis Fhoirt Trossachs Ceilidh Trail. We are fortunate in this area to have so many talented traditional musicians and The Park Authority is hosting one their concerts at Balloch . Last week I attended a meeting on a Stirling Council initiative to see what can be done about rural poverty. All too often initiatives are taken in isolation will little thought about what other organisations can help but Stirling Council are bucking the trend and are involving a variety to community organisations to investigate what can be done to help. At this early stage both

‘Wild’ camping

the National Park Authority and Rural Stirling Housing Association have been invited. And finally may I say a big thank you to all who voted in the elections for membership of the National Park Board. It was particularly heartening that so many people put themselves forward for election and that the communities of the Park voted in such large numbers.  Owen McKee As always I can be contacted at Taigh Na Bhuth Lochearnhead 01567 830214 owen@thevillageshop.fs


Strathyre Village Hall

The Queen’s Baton Relay Here are some more pictures of those lucky enough to hold the Baton!

12 September 8pm

Come and enjoy an evening of music Supported by

Tickets £7.50 including Buffet Supper Bring Your Own Booze (Tea and Coffee available) Whisky Curling and Raffle during interval

Real Ale - Real Music


Rangers’ Review By Gareth Kett

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Loch Earn has already had its fair share of problems linked to anti-social behavior this year. In an attempt to improve our chances of effectively combating this issue, NP Rangers and the Police will be carrying out a number of combined boat patrols through the remainder of the summer season. Boat patrols allow a clearer view of situations along the loch shore with the ability to land almost anywhere around Loch Earn sites where there appear to be issues. The weekend before last I was out on the loch with Will (Lochearnhead based PC), Graeme Archibald (NP Visitor Management Advisor and Police Special Constable) and Seasonal Ranger Peter Smith. While the weather wasn’t very conducive to boat patrols or camping we were able to address a number of issues concerning littering and damage to trees. Deer are animals familiar to us all. Whether the iconic red or the more elusive roe they are a very much a part of our natural and cultural heritage. Yet in the absence of natural predators (we finished wiping out wolves around 300 years ago, drove lynxes to extinction around AD600 (1) and vanquished bears around 1,300 years before that (2) and with limited control by humans, deer numbers have risen dramatically over the past 40 years (3). Depending on your perspective this may or may not be a good thing, but undoubtedly deer are a hazard on the roads. Roadsides are kept cut back to allow good lines of

visibility, but this creates good grazing along trunk roads and the woodland edge or clearing effect of roadside vegetation creates good browsing, attracting both roe and red deer to roadsides. Red deer in particular also enjoy grazing in fields, which often involves crossing roads for access purposes. According to a recent BBC article, “Within the UK, between 42,500 and 74,000 deer-related collisions occur every year.” Up to 700 of these accidents result in human injury or death (4). Please be careful on the roads and keep an eye on

the verges in front of you as you drive. If one deer crosses in front of you there is a good chance that another will follow, so don’t allow your eyes to follow the first. A much less serious hazard is presented to us at this time of year by wasps, yet the fear of being stung, or of our pets or children being stung drives many of us to seek the destruction of wasps and wasp nests around our houses or in our gardens. But before beginning the offensive against wasps it is worth considering the ecology of wasps and the benefits they provide to your garden. The common wasp (Vespula vulgaris) is the species that causes us most concern. They are social insects, making intricate nests that house up to 20,000 workers (4) from chewed wood. The queen builds the initial stage of the nest then lays eggs in cells. The resulting larvae become workers and take on the role of caring for subsequent larvae. Workers feed caterpillars, greenfly and other invertebrates, (many of which can be harmful to garden plants), to the larvae in return for a sugary substance secreted by the larvae (5). It is not until the final eggs laid develop into queens (10001500 per nest) (6) and drones in the late summer that wasps can become aggressive and are a pest to humans. With no larvae to provide sustenance, workers seek sugary food elsewhere such as fruit and sugary drinks. They can become drunk on fermenting fruit making them more likely to sting, and lethargic as they near the end of their lives. The emergence of the queens and drones is synchronized across nests so that there are enough drones to fertilize the new queens. There is thought to be no mating between drones and queens from the same nest. The new queens that make it into autumn hibernate. They are able survive very cold conditions, tucking their legs and antennae under their bodies to avoid frost–bite, but most are predated by other insects and spiders. The cycle begins again when the surviving queens emerge the following spring. Wasps are part of a balanced ecosystem within gardens, with gardens containing wasp nests being generally healthier than those without. There are of course legitimate reasons for wanting wasps removed from your garden, but it is worth considering the pros and cons of wasps in the garden before making a decision. Around the country school children are enjoying their summer holidays. Hopefully children taking part would agree that across the National Park the Ranger

Vespula vulgaris can be rather anti social!

Service has been adding to this enjoyment through some summer club education activities. The Breadalbane and Trossachs team has recently delivered a wildlife and geology event on Inchcailloch and I’m looking forward to taking a look at wildlife and bush-craft with the Saplings group in Tyndrum Community Woodlands early in August. For adults and older children we’ve got the Three Glens Walk coming up on August 13th. We’ll start at the church in Balquhidder at 1000, climb through Kirkton Glen, (with a detour to The Rock of the Boar - a great viewpoint) pass Rob Roy’s Putting Stone and descend to the finish at near Ledharrie Farm in Glen Dochart. As we go we’ll be looking at some of the natural and cultural heritage of the area. A minibus will return us to the start. If you would like to join us please book through my e-mail or phone number in the paragraph below. You’ll need to bring your own lunch and refreshments. We should be back by 1700. As always if there’s anything you would like to discuss or any wildlife sightings you would like to share feel free to call in at the Breadalbane area office in Lochearnhead or call or e-mail me. It would be great to hear about any active otter holts any as the Tigress Productions wildlife film crew who have been filming in our area over the past six months are struggling to get good footage of otters. I can be contacted on the Lochearnhead office number - 01389 722040 and my email address is: References Hetherington, D. et al. (2006) New evidence for the occurrence of Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in medieval Britain. Journal of Quarterly Science, 21, 3-8. Burleigh, R. et al. (1976) British Museum natural radiocarbon measurements VIII. Radiocarbon, 18, 16-42. Harris, S. & Yalden D.W. (2008) Mammals of the British Isles: Handbook, 4th edition, Impress Print, Corby, UK. News, Highlands and Islands, 3 January 2013, Deer Costs: The economics of Scotland’s deer, uk-scotland-highlands-islands-20875307 Bradbury, K. (2013) The Wildlife Gardener, Toppan Printing Co. Ltd. Wasp Removal UK, www.wasp-removal. com/wasp-lifecycle.php 7

Church News BalquhiĐĐer Reg. Charity No. SC012316

A Note from

St Angus’s

‘Breathes there a man with soul so dead Who never to himself hath said “This is my own my native land.” ’ This quote from Sir Walter Scott may well make you fear that I’m about to go off on one about independence. Not so.  It is a quote which came to mind this morning when looking out on the reflections of the loch and the mountains and thinking how privileged I am to live in such a beautiful place.  Those of us with faith in God find it very easy to turn to Him in gratitude when something special moves us.  This morning I crossed the little wooden bridge over the Ogle Burn and sat for a while by the pond and was thrilled to see what I took to be a couple of dragonflies, one a brilliant blue with shimmering wings, the other a stripy yellow and iridescent.  As I looked around I saw more and more of them hovering in the grass along with various moths and butterflies.  My instinct was to thank God there and then for his beautiful creation and then I wondered how do atheists respond?  Do they say “what an amazing piece of evolution?”  There seems a coldness about that... but I’m sure someone will put me right!  I know, I know - evolution appears on the surface to rubbish the idea of “creation” but I would urge you to look again at the creation stories in the book of Genesis remembering that it was written  before the days of real scientific knowledge and research and look at just how accurate was the order in which everything evolved out of “chaos.”  To me it’s pretty compelling to believe in a Creator’s mind behind it all. The assimilation (if that’s the word) of Killin into the Strathearn parishes appears to have happened fairly seamlessly.  Those of us who feared we would see less of Paddy have, in fact, been blest by the variety of talents in those who have taken our services.  Sundays have become a bit of an adventure wondering who will be there and what they will talk about, we’ve had some great services and we are very grateful to those who are  assisting.  Remember there’s a seat for YOU any time! Please note the change in service times for St Angus’s.  Holy Communion every Sunday at 11.15am and Evensong on the 2nd and 5th Sundays. 8

St Angus Day falls on the 13th August this year, and we plan to have the short service at 6.30pm as usual. It will not be followed by the Friends of Balquhidder Church AGM because that is being held on 6th August this year. For confirmation of the timing of the service please be sure to check notices on the Church boards at the Church itself and the village shops. No Gaelic this year! We shall miss John Lincoln for that, but the purpose of the service is to celebrate the coming of Christianity to the area over 1,000 years ago. Let’s hope we can keep it going for another 1,000 years. The processes of the vacancy are advancing rather slowly but Bob Johnston has started taking Sunday services here. Bob will be with us until 7th September. Having lived in Argyll for 15 years Bob is based in Glasgow but stays partly in Killin so as to be on hand for his duties in the linked charge from Saturday to Monday. He is a mature theological student in his 2nd year, previously having had a career in banking. He is keen to help and it is a pleasure to hear what he has to say. There is a possibility that when he leaves, we may not be completely dependent on the diversity of pulpit supply because a locum is under consideration. This would provide continuity and he/she would be based in Killin. A locum would do pastoral care and take services similar to a student but would be a fully qualified minister. More on all this later. As most of us know, the Church of Scotland takes its time on these matters. Best to get it right from the beginning. Jean Edwards

Scottish Wildlife Trust Callander Members’ Diary 2014 17 August

Balsam Bashing 10:30 – 13:00

Meet at Callander Medical Centre, Geisha Road. Easy pulling of Himalayan Balsam by the River Teith. Wellies/boots & gloves needed. Please let me know if you plan to join us. Lesley Hawkins 01877 339080 or

SCISSOR SISTER HAIR & BEAUTY SALON Full range of hair and beauty services

T. 07595 356 369 9am to 6pm Mon-Sat 86 Main Street, Callander L’oreal & Paul Mitchell stockist

Wedding packages available

Pin-Feathers* by

Old Nyati

*Once in demand by Victorian miniaturists, the tiny pin-feather comes from the leading edge of a woodcock’s wing and only two such feathers occur on each bird (one on each wing). This month Old Nyati appeals for help!

Is this nuthatch a rare visitor to these parts? I have only ever seen one other several years ago.    The distribution charts show that it is hardly ever recorded this far north. It has been ferrying peanuts, presumable to young, though they have not been seen for the last two days - or is it storing them somewhere, like a squirrel?   Perhaps some of our readers could give us some feedback regarding any other sightings in the area. Old Nyati

Do you need a new home in Lochearnhead, Strathyre, Killin or Callander? If so, Rural Stirling Housing Association may be able to help The Association’s aim is to support rural communities by providing affordable good quality homes for people in housing need. We currently have 450 rented homes and around 30 of these become available for re-let each year. We also build some new homes each year. For more details and a housing application form contact us at:

Rural Stirling Housing Association Stirling Road, Doune FK16 6AA Telephone 01786 841101 Email Registered as a Scottish Charity No. SCO37849 Please note that we encourage all applicants to also apply to Stirling Council’s housing list (Tel 0845 277 7000) Being on both lists is the best way to maximise your chances of being re-housed.


BLS - Where Business Does the Talking Natural gardener Erica Mackenzie, from Balquhidder, has recently started her own plant-potting business, this is in addition to the professional gardening services she provides to local landowners, residents and holiday letting companies, and she finds quirky and interesting containers to hold combinations of different plants and flowers which she then sells on to happy customers. Here, she talks about the inspiration for her business, both the creative and practical sides of it, as well as her plans for its future. When did you start your plant-potting business? I started it just before Easter this year. That was the deadline I had set for myself, to get everything going in time for the Easter market. Where did you get the idea from for this type of business? I got it from a friend who had asked me to do a couple of winter pots for her. After I had done them she suggested that it might be something that other people would be interested in having done for them too. What different kinds of flower pots do you use? I started quite simply. However, I did go to Gardening Scotland this year and I’ve sourced a variety of different suppliers who can do things ranging from vintage to shabby chic, to very modern ceramic. I also go to reclamation yards to find more quirky things. For example, chimney pots, watering cans, buckets, wine boxes. Outside my own house I have children’s wellies; I’ve even got an old breadbin! Basically anything that’s a container is something that I would consider using to fill using plants with interesting colours and structure, to give the pot that unique style. What does the process involve? I suppose the idea comes from the container. That will then inspire me to the style of the plants and flowers that I put into it. What kinds of plants or flowers do you use? It depends on the season. I’ve discovered some very interesting grasses which are good structurally and colour-wise. A great one is the spiral grass and then there’s a black grass which contrasts nicely with rather more traditional flowers. I am also quite traditional and always love a bit of lavender. So all sorts really, it depends on people’s style, but you can always find something. There are so many different plants out there, even some that I won’t have encountered before, but I’ll find them, and if I think they will be suitable, I’ll use them. 10

What’s the most interesting or unusual plant pot you’ve ever created? I do like my wine boxes. I took a lot of wine boxes filled with colourful plants down to the Deanston Distillery Festival. I really liked those. I’ve also done galvanised buckets. I would say that I haven’t done anything nearly as exciting as I want to just yet. I’m still just in the early stages of discovering what’s possible. I also create containers ‘tweeded’ containers, by wrapping cans in Harris tweed and filling them with herbs and bulbs. These are very popular as gifts and table centres. Can people ask you to make something unique especially for them? Absolutely! That’s definitely the way I’d like to go. For people to come to me and say “this is the style of my house (or holiday cottage), and I would like something to sit outside of it to complement it”. That’s the way I’d rather go - to make it a bespoke service. What is the story behind the name ‘Gone Potty’? It was just a fun, quirky name that friends, my mum and I came up with, which seemed quite apt to me! Where do you sell your pots? I have sold them down at Sula Furnishings and the Achray Farm shop in Callander. Also, people do come to me and ask for some as well. Recently my professional gardening has taken priority, it’s a busy time in the garden at the moment, particularly with this weather. Who are your target customers? Anyone and everyone who would appreciate something interesting either inside or outside of their houses. How do you advertise? So far it has been through word-of-mouth. Friends have asked me to do things for them and have asked me to make presents for other people. I’ve been quite lucky in that respect. Do you collaborate with any other businesses in the area? As well as Sula Furnishings and the Achray Farm shop I’ve done the plants in the

garden and the hanging baskets of the Crags Hotel in Callander. I’m in the middle of converting the back of it. Another part of my business is the gardening which I’m currently very involved in. I’ve got a number of gardens that I look after. This largely involves redesigning some of them while maintaining others. I’ve also been asked to do hanging baskets. Do you have plans to expand further in the area, maybe even online? I think I’m just going to see how the business goes. But because of life as it stands, with children, at the moment I’m quite happy to do everything quite simply, and keep things local. And I am enjoying doing just that! So I think that for the time being I’m just going to see how it goes. How does living in Balquhidder influence your kind of business? If I didn’t live in Balquhidder I wouldn’t be doing this. I think that’s what I find very interesting, that through family circumstances I needed to go out and find work, and I literally stumbled into gardening, found I loved it, and it went from there to somebody asking me to do some pots! That wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t live in Balquhidder, because it’s not easy to find regular work here, particularly as a mother, so I think it’s been absolutely instrumental. Interview by Iona Mchedliani For more information on ‘Gone Potty’ please refer to the Facebook or contact Erica directly at:

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of Meeting held at Lochearnhead Village Hall on 2 July 2014

Please note that these minutes have not yet received formal approval and should be considered as a draft version only. Present: Malcolm McNaughton (MM), Alastair Barclay (AB), Paul Hicks (PH), Ruth McLusky (RMC), David Johnston (DJ), Loraine Telfer (LT), Angus Cameron (AC), Karen Methven (KM), Susie Crammon (SC), Adrian Squires (AS) and Roseanne McWilliams (RM). Apologies: Richard Eastland, Suzanne Player, Stirling Council (S-C). In attendance: Cllr Alycia Hayes (AH), S-C. PC Will Diamond (WD), Police Scotland, Owen McKee (OM) and Graeme Archibald (GA), National Park (N-P). 1) Approval of Minutes It was proposed by LT and seconded by AB, that the minutes of the meeting on 21st May 2014 should be accepted, and this was approved unanimously. 2) Declarations of Interest No declarations were made. 3) Police Report Between 21 May and 1 July 2014, there were forty-one (41) offence reports raised. These comprised four crimes of dishonesty, none of which thus far had been detected. Between 8th and 11th June, a garage in Balquhidder was entered and a chainsaw and two bicycles stolen. Some time in June, there was also an attempt to force open a garage door at Balquhidder Station. Later, on 15th June, a cement mixer was stolen from a Sustrans site in Strathyre and, during the following night, a male was seen trying the door handles of machines. Finally, between 27th and 29th June, an attempt was made to force entry to a van parked at The Munro in Strathyre. During this period, thirty-seven (37) traffic offences were detected. Most of them related to speeding but there were also four offences of drunk driving. No offences relating to drugs were detected. Operation Ironworks continued with patrols every weekend, resulting in no incidents of anti-social behaviour being reported to the police. PC Diamond spent much of his time in and around the area, sometimes on foot, sometimes cycling, and also on vehicle patrols. Furthermore, he had recently undertaken boat training and will now participate in boat patrols - to be focused on Loch Earn. He attended at the Mhor Bank Holiday Festival and the Strathyre Music Festival, provided inputs to Strathyre Primary School regarding cycle safety, gave a talk on internet safety to a group of parents, and spent a day of road safety carrying out speed checks with the children. Finally, he was around for the Lochearnhead Shears event, and even had a minor part in the Strathyre Summer Show - at the specific request of the children! 4) Matters Arising 4a) Queens Baton Relay. PH reported having contacted acting head teacher, Bernadette McDonald, who was aware of this event but pointed out that the school term would finish on 27 June so no organized attendance could take place. In any event, the relay was only going to be passing through Strathyre and Lochearnhead by vehicle, en route to Crianlarich. 4b) War memorial, Strathyre. RMC reported that the memorial appears to be in good condition and not in urgent need of renovation or repair, although it is rather out of the way and not well sign-posted. Routine maintenance and cleaning should not present any complications as no war memorials in our area are listed as historic monuments. 4c) Stroneslaney Road - Passing Places. PH reported that he had written to Stirling Council but, to date, although receipt of his query had been acknowledged, he had not received a reply. 4d) Advertising sign - Retties. PH reported that he had written to Retties and it appears that the removal of this sign at Balquhidder was not authorized and may have been a theft. MM stated that he had asked Rod Blain to look at the site with a view to tidying things up. I can offer help with your: 5) Alcohol Bye-law MM thanked GA for coming along to offer advice and guidance during discussions of this subject. GA then produced some maps for the areas regarded as most at risk from anti-social behaviour VAT returns • Tax returns caused by over-indulgence in alcohol. Essentially, these comprise the waterfront areas of Loch Earn, Loch Book keeping • Credit control Lubnaig and Loch Voil, where people bring their own alcohol to consume in the open air. He also had Payroll • General office/paperwork a copy of the existing bye-law that applies to East Loch Lomond Side (ELLS), and a copy of the Scottish Government guidance to local authorities on the contents and use of bye-laws. GA explained that the legislation would refer to specific areas designated on a map, and emphasized that the boundaries marked on each map would have to be detailed - in terms of clear fence lines, tree lines or other visible features that left no room for ambiguity. MM suggested that the members for each area should consult the map for 07971 648743 01567 830459 their area and discuss together where lines should be drawn. The meeting then separated into three distinct groups, with GA and WD answering questions regarding how similar legislation had been implemented at ELLS. MM then re-convened the full meeting and it was decided that the best way of proceeding would be for one person from each area to take their map away and draw lines on it for each designated area, in line with the discussions that had just been held. He also proposed that we should invite representatives from the Community Councils at St Fillans and Callander to attend our next meeting on 13th August, in order to liaise regarding designated areas that crossed local authority and ward boundaries. This was agreed. MM then suggested that we should invite a law officer from Stirling Council to our meeting in September in order to draw together a formal proposal to S-C for a bye-law to be drawn up. Action: PH to liaise with CCs at St Fillans and Callander. 6) Correspondence 6a) Letter from visitors. AB reported that a letter had been sent to The Villagers magazine from a couple who regularly visit the area on holiday. It drew attention to the amount of litter they had noticed, and the number of people who were ‘wild camping’ at beauty spots. AB had written to the couple, apologising for the bad experience they had suffered, and explaining some of the difficulties that we face ñ particularly regarding the policy on litter in rural areas that is followed by Stirling Council. There was little more to be done in this case, but it served as a clear example of the ongoing problem of litter in our area. 7) Planning Matters 7a) Hydro-electric Scheme - Tulloch Burn, Balquhidder. AS reported that this was a minor scheme that was unlikely to cause any major impact, and was acceptable to neighbouring residents. It was agreed that no objection would be raised by the CC. 7b) Licensing Application - Golden Larches Restaurant. AH declared an interest as a member of the Licensing Committee of S-C and temporarily left the meeting. PH reported that no variation in licensed hours was being sought, but the application was to cover additional accommodation, the ability to host live performances, receptions and club meetings, and the provision of recorded music. No objections were raised. AH then returned to the meeting. 8) Matters From Local Councillors AH stated that there was nothing of significance to report. 9) Any Other Competent Business 9a) Lochearnhead Watersports Centre. AB commented that the unsightly ruins of the building after its destruction by fire were not a great advertisement for the village or the tourist industry locally, and asked if anything could be done to improve things. AC replied that relations with the tenant were strained at the moment and, in any event, the scene was still being investigated by the police and fire service authorities.

Are you a sole trader... a partnership... a small limited company a or charity? a a a Helen Clark a a

There was no other business and, at 9 p.m., MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting is due to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 13th August 2014 at Strathyre Village Hall.


New C ycle Track Opens ( Continued from front page)

John Lauder then asked all present to go for the official opening and ribbon cutting by Bruce Crawford. Bruce acknowledged the strong community drive and working in partnership that had enabled this project to be successful and thought it would prove to be a great asset for locals and tourists alike. Looking around, he noted how breathtaking the area is, particularly in the sunshine! He pointed out the potential for growth for companies such as Wheels Cycling Centre who will donate bikes for use on the path - and had brought one of their special bikes along for the occasion. The ribbon was then cut and cyclists and walkers set off to enjoy the new route in the sunshine.

Front page picture: people of all ages flock to use the new Cycle Path. Top of this page: Photo stop for guests and users in the bright sunshine; above: the Final Cut - John Lauder cuts the ribbon to officially open the path with the help of Richard Eastland and The Villagers’ own Jill Johnson; left: Linda McKay welcomes everyone to the event and introduces Bruce Crawford


Top left: Mobility MSP! Top right: the new signpost and information panel; above the panel shows the route of the path and surrounding points of interest; above right: Bruce, Linda and John relaxing after the formalities; below: Bruce does a trial run!




With Sustrans officially opening their super smooth new Mhor 84 to Strathyre cycle link on 18th July it’s “On Your Marks” everyone... because in just under 6 weeks time, on Sat 6th September, it will be “Get Set” and “Go” for Balquhidder’s bicycle funday when we host the first ever Balquhidder BIKE


Fun for the whole family, from tots on their first bikes right through to keen mountain and road cyclists, the day promises races, treasure hunts, a big bike parade and much more, taking advantage of the new National 7 cycle loop and and some of the tracks in Kirkton Glen. Here is a summary of the timetable for the day but for full details and information please visit

Go on! With such great weather on offer why not get out on your bikes, folks? You’ve plenty of time to get back into pedalling in the next five weeks before the big day, and when it does come round, why not come and join the mass start family “ride-out”... OR if you’re keen enough, why not even register for one of the races and give yourselves something a bit more challenging to aim for. 14

Opening Times

Exhibitions and Creative in Callander pop-up shop: Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays 10am to 5pm and at other times for specific events and workshops.


Drop in to St Kessog’s, call 07583 634036 or email


@ St Kessog’s A big thank you to all the groups and people in and around Callander who are giving

Friday 1st August 1pm -7pm Fly Tying workshop with Brian Thomson £5 7.30pm A Light on the Mountain – Killin Mountain Rescue (talk) £3 adults/£2 concession Saturday 2nd August 2pm Handbells & Harps – Callander Chimes, Dunkeld Handbell Ringers and young harpists from Conservatoire of Scotland. £4 adult/ £3 concessions Sunday 3rd August 7.30pm Ben Lawers and its Alpine Flowers – National Trust for Scotland (talk) £3 adults/£2 concession Wednesday 6th August 7.30pm The Grand Tour (of the Trossachs), talk by Arthur Jones. £3 adults/£2 concessions Friday 8th August 1pm -7pm Fly Tying workshop with Brian Thomson £5 8pm Jenne McClure Jazz Band £4 adult/ £3 concessions Sunday 10th August 7.30pm History of Deanston Distillery (talk) £3 adults/£2 concession Monday 11th August 10am-12noon Craft2Distract, paper craft workshop with Lilian Moir £8 per session Tuesday 12th August 7pm – 9pm Introduction to Lace Knitting workshop with Margaret Milligan Free of charge but please book your place. Wednesday 13th August 2pm No More Cages & Young Folks – traditional/ contemporary young musicians. £4 adult/ £3 concessions 8pm Moodswing- jazz. £4 adult/ £3 concessions Friday 15th August 1pm -7pm Fly Tying workshop with Brian Thomson £5 7.30pm Not Just Wordsworth and Scott: Poetry in the Trossachs (talk) £3 adults/£2 concession Saturday 16th August 4pm to 5.30pm Saving Scotland’s red squirrels (talk) £3 adults/£2 concession 8pm Ae Fond Kiss (film) £4 adult / £3 concessions

Most of our courses are taking a summer break but the committee is busy planning for the start of our third year. We welcome new and continuing members of U3A to our AGM and Enrolment Day on 26th August at Callander Kirk Hall from 2.00 - 4.00pm with refreshments Group Leaders will be present to answer questions about the courses on offer and to take names of those interested in attending. A full timetable will also be available on the day and afterwards on our website – just type in Callander and West Perthshire U3A.

this project their time and talents! This is a project by Callander Community Development Trust and Creative in Callander, supported by Callander Community Council and Callander Enterprise. Funded by Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, Stirling Council, Creative in Callander, Friends of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs and generous private donations.

Sunday 17th August 8pm Riverside Ceilidh Band £4 adult / £3 concessions Wednesday 20th August 2pm– 7pm Scrapbooking workshop. £10 Friday 22nd August 1pm -7pm Fly Tying workshop with Brian Thomson £5 7.30pm Moirlanich Longhouse (talk) £3 adults/£2 concession Saturday 23rd August 2pm Frozen – Disney film 8pm Jazz Mark Five. £4 adult/ £3 concessions Sunday 24th August 8pm 12 Years a Slave (film) £4 adult/ £3 concessions Monday 25th August 10am-12noon Craft2Distract, paper craft workshop with Lilian Moir £8 per session Wednesday 27th August 2pm Turtles around Scotland’s Shores (talk) £3 adults/£2 concession Friday 29th August 2pm Geology of Callander (talk followed by a walk) £3 adults/£2 concession


Wednesday 3rd September 7.30pm From the Land of Fire to the Driest Places on Earth – a journey through Patagonia, Chile and Easter Island (talk) £3 adults/£2 concession 5th – 7th September Nostalgia Weekend Friday 5th September 1pm -4pm Share your memories of Callander Free of charge Saturday 6th September 2pm Dr Finlay’s Casebook and Scottish Screen Archive short films of the Trossachs 8pm Geordie (1955) Film £4 adult / £3 concessions Sunday 7th September 2pm-4pm Patchwork Landscapes workshop by Clare Workman £20 2pm Dr Finlay’s Casebook and Scottish Screen Archive short films of the Trossachs £4 adult / £3 concession 5.15pm – 7.15pm Poetry Slam £3 adults/ £2 concessions 8pm Riverside Ceilidh Band £4 adult / £3 concessions Monday 8th September 10am-12noon Craft2Distract, paper craft workshop with Lilian Moir £8 per session Tuesday 9th September 7pm–9pm Introduction to Lace Knitting workshop with Margaret Milligan Free of charge but please book your place. Wednesday 10th September 2pm Fisheries Management in the River Teith (talk, followed by walk by the river) £3 adults/£2 concession 8pm The Jazz Pack. £4 adult/ £3 concessions Friday 12th September 7.30pm Argaty Red Kites (talk) £3 adults/£2 concession Wednesday 17th September 7.30pm Bat Walk & Talk (talk) £3 adults/£2 concession Friday 19th September 1pm -7pm Fly Tying workshop with Brian Thomson £5 7.30pm Scotland Discovered: Early Tourism (talk) £3 adults/£2 concession

Saturday 20th September 2pm-4pm Scrapbooking workshop. £10 8pm JenneMcClure Jazz Band £4 adult/ £3 concessions Sunday 21st September 2pm-4pm Paper Pieced Patchwork Workshop by Clare workman £20 7.30pm Conservation Projects in the Local Forest District (talk) £3 adults/£2 concession Monday 22nd September 10am-12noon Craft2Distract, paper craft workshop with Lilian Moir £8 per session Wednesday 24th September 7.30pm Doune Castle (talk) £3 adults/£2 concession Friday 26th September 1pm -7pm Fly Tying workshop with Brian Thomson £5 2pm Rusty Strings - wide range of string music: Scottish, folk, jazz, film themes, light classic… £4 adult/ £3 concessions Saturday 27th September 10am – 4.30pm Craft Fair, free entry


Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th October Callander Jazz & Blues Festival Monday 6th October 10am-12noon Craft2Distract, paper craft workshop with Lilian Moir £8 per session 10th -12th October Callander Film Festival £5 adult/£3 concessions or £10 for all films Friday 10th October 8pm For Those in Peril and The Balance (short) Saturday 11th October 1pm Brave 4pm Selection of Short Films Free of charge 8pm The Angels’ Share Sunday 12th October 2pm An Audience with Ian Rintoul, film-maker. Free of charge 5.30pm and 8pm Sunshine on Leith


12th July to 10th August Macro Photography by June Waley 12th July to 20th August My Journey to School – Primary School mural 12th July to 27th August - Standards of Scotland – felt panels depicting Scottish history & culture 12th July to 12th October WW1 Impact on Callander Callander Heritage Society Callander Photo Club 13th August to 27th August Woodland – mixed media 24th August to 12t h October Environmental Plight – local artists and guests 27th August to 24th September Quilting Exhibition – Thistle Threads, Creative Textile Arts and Crafts Studio 27th August to 24th September Kippen Quilters 30th August to 21st September Resonate Connections – art from Alloa 27th September to 12th October A Taste of the Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry 1st October to 12th October Famous Portraits by Thomas Lafferty – legends of music and film.


McLaren High School News Sports Day McLaren High’s annual Inter House Sports took place on Thursday 26 June. The sun shone and both pupils and staff alike had a great day.  There was a mix of track events, an obstacle race, the three legged race and a tug o’ war.    Pupils entered into all events with enormous enthusiasm, with the 3 houses competing to be not only winners of Sports Day  but House Champions for the year.  After the points were added up Bracklinn emerged as winners of Sports Day with Amy MacDougall, newly appointed House Captain, accepting the trophy from Mr. Thorburn.  Leny were crowned House Champions for the year with newly appointed House Captain Rebecca Millar accepting the trophy from Mr. Sinclair.  A fantastic day was had by all. Reunion Concert Monday evening, 23 June, saw another amazing performance by staff, pupils and 13 former pupils when McLaren High School held its Reunion Concert. The programme was a sample of what the Orchestra will be performing on tour in Spain next week and included such pieces as Skyfall, Slumdog Millionaire and Lord of the Dance. There was also a piece specially arranged by Mr Hall called Amazing Graces which featured combined forces of bagpipes and orchestra, and performances by the Mixed Voices and Ukelele Group. A fantastic musical end to the term and we wish the orchestra all the best on their tour!

Above and top of opposite page: amazing antics on Sports Day

Left, and above: the Reunion Concert in full sway!


Junior Awards Our annual Junior Award Ceremony took place on Friday 27 June. This event recognises special achievements by pupils in the junior stages of school with certificates such as Merit and Perfect Attendance being awarded. There are also sports and music trophies awarded. Well done to all pupils involved! Left: Students proudly display their Junior Awards

visit our website:

Fashion Show On 25 June the McLaren High School Student Council held a Fashion Show at lunchtime as an end of term fun fundraiser. They would like to thank everyone who attended with a special thank you to all our great S6 pupils who took part on and off stage. ÂŁ60 was raised and the winning House chose to support Water aid. Ms. Honeyford would like to say an extra special thanks to the Student Council for planning, organising and running the show and to Gregor Flynn and Darren Morris for their technical expertise. 17


Bracklinn Practice PUBLIC HOLIDAYS The next public holiday is Monday 13th October. Bracklinn Practice will open in the morning as usual, but will close at 12.30pm for staff training. If you require urgent attention when the surgery is closed, please contact NHS24 on 111. Thank you for your co-operation.   Margaret A Davis, Practice Manager Bracklinn Practice Callander Medical Centre Geisher Road, Callander FK17 8LX  T: 01877 331001 E:

Soap Box Alistair... can I borrow your soapbox for a moment please? I am aware that I am probably one of those to fall under your criticism with regard to not attending many village events but, and I’m not alone in this, if someone were to say “We’re going to such and such... would you like to come?” It would a) make it easier for us older folk to remember what’s on and b) make us feel less self- conscious of turning up on our own.  It should be remembered too that there are a lot of older people in the village who are not always at their brightest later in the day and turning out, especially in winter, is a daunting thought.  It may not always be apathy. On another tack completely.  The games field has been empty the last couple of weeks and I’ve taken full advantage of walking Rusty down the burn side where the rabbits lurk (and, by the way, knowing we’re getting ready for the games I HAVE cleaned up after him). It occurred to me the other day what a wonderful asset it would be to the community as a park/football pitch/cricket pitch/play area as well as a games field - rather like the Killin Park - with the added advantage of access to the loch and one of the few level bits of ground in the village.  Maybe if we all bought lottery tickets we could.....well, dream on....but wouldn’t it be great? Fiona Martin


Gardening Think - how many strangers’ gardens you have been round lately? (By this I mean private individual gardens.) Being recently approached by Sky TV who were asking for ‘young people’ to feature in an up-and-coming series on the idiot box, I politely told them I would call them back when I had time to consider. (I thought I was on to something, but it turned out the young person I had thought I was turned out to be over fifty - or so his mum told me.) So in my mind I flew around all the nearby villages in a Google-like earth journey, to try and jog a memory. Who around here is young and has created an inspirational landscape? Not easy to find in a village that has the highest average age in the country! The programme was to be (and I quote Mathew, the casting director), “warm and celebratory”. The problem, as I explained, was that most people only take to gardening upon retirement - or at least when they own their first house. Even then cash may be tight and other activities like families, holiday, hobbies can take up time and resources. The ‘DINKYs’ really fit the gardening/marketing mould (‘Double Income - No Kids’ if you’re not streetwise) and the average age at the garden centre is now pushing 60. Hooray. This is interesting, but not much help for the TV programmers who no doubt want to capture a younger market so that they can broaden out the advertising e.g. fewer Stenna stairlifts, SAGA holiday packages, Michael Parkinson and his free Parker pens, etc. While continuing to ponder the question, a visit to three gardens in St Fillans recently one summer night suggested that there was a far better format for a gardening programme - a gardening Come Dine With Me. Five gardens in five nights, and the winner gets a grand - with all the usual faces to camera, slagging off what weeds they find, and so on. All you have to do is sit about in the garden, play in it, eat in it or simply admire it, in fact all the silly things we do in gardens whatever they are. I propose to call the show Dishing the Dirt and for your immediate pleasure I will now dish the said dirt on those 3 gardens that lovely evening. In no particular order: Garden No. 1. Reclaimed hillside, many years work; massive trees removed, a conservatory with stunning rare and hard-to-grow specimens, designed to near perfection with superb balance between shrubs and gazebos, terraces. (You could imagine it in on a gardening magazine

AU G U S T by Jonathan MacDonald

‘Dishing the Dirt’, or ‘Come garden with me’ ... for playing in, eating in, living in... or simply admiring

cover on a coffee table.) Enthusiasm and knowledge of host exudes and is shown in planting. The attention given to detail is exemplary. Marks: 9/10. Garden No. 2. Established and maturing garden, wonderful outlook to loch, aspiring owners trying and planning their best, limited knowledge of planting and gardening skills evident in areas. (Some pruning work borders on vandalism to the trained eye.) Will be a stunning garden one day. (A Davidia involucrata that actually bears ‘handkerchiefs’ - wow!) Marks: 9/10 ... and finally... Garden No. 3. The most bizarre garden you will ever come across! To the tidyminded, a disgrace on a scale not big enough to house the entire universe. A patchwork quilt of ideas running wild, and all half finished. Disaster items collapsed and sitting for years like blown up tanks in the desert: a pile of genuine 2000 year old Roman marble pillars sitting on 12 year old broken pallet overgrown with grass; hanging baskets

with 4-inch layers of moss and weeds with small seedling rowans and birches germinating; chickens and dog poop; destruction of a hedge (pruning?) that would have looked neater had it been napalmed... some wonderfully rare and mature untouched specimens that are as good as they get. Great care to continue this theme by owner - with good success so far. A wonderful experience for the senses! Marks: 9/10. So as the credits roll you are thinking well he is just being kind to them all and scoring the same. I may differ from future contestants in that I appreciate the conundrum that a garden offers each new owner. It is an art and nature conundrum. What must we abandon to create one or the other? It was Sir Walter Scott who said “Nothing is more the child of art than a garden.” Sky may have to wait - but gardening does something in common with cooking - you learn by experiment.

A wee garden centre with a big heart!

Now stocking BBQ Charcoal etc.

Open 7 days a week: 9.30am - 4.30pm Huge selection of plants and stock

On the main road A85 going East just before Comrie Contact: Jonathan MacDonald and the Riverside Team

Tel: 01764 670800

Best wee garden centre we’ve ever been to!” Mabel MacKay, Perth


Another busy month has been and gone, and thankfully I’ve enjoyed one or two days off with nice weather! This is a busy month for Police Scotland in general, with officers the length and breadth of Scotland being called to assist with the Commonwealth Games. During the course of several weeks, I have had numerous shifts at various venues across the country which has led to several very lengthy shifts for me, but I keep reminding myself that it’s only for a few weeks! The day to day policing has still remained the same and we’ve had another few thefts in the area. We had an attempted break in to a garage at Balquhidder Station, and a garage broken into in Balquhidder, where bikes and garden tools were stolen. We also had a theft of plant from the Sustrans site at Strathyre, and an attempt was made to break into a parked van overnight. We have had another couple of drink drivers stopped, so it has certainly been a few busy weeks for us. With regards to the thefts, there are several vehicles that have been seen acting suspiciously in the local area. Can I ask that if you see a vehicle acting suspiciously then get in touch with the police? I will continue to pass details around via email, so if you’re not on the list and want to be, drop me a line and I’ll add you on. One vehicle we are particularly looking to stop is a Silvery Blue coloured VW Passat estate, with a partial registration of SO52. There have also been reports of both a Blue and a White coloured Ford Transit in the area. One area of policing that has been keeping us busy is “e-crime”, and a conversation with a local recently highlighted that some advice may be of use with regards to being safe on line. The first thing to consider is whether you truly trust what you see online, and when buying things, think how much the item would usually retail for and whether you think that the price is realistic or could it be a scam. Some online sites will provide feedback on the user and how reliable they are with regards to products and deliveries. That can be a good indication for a start. There are several large sites that can be relied upon and will provide an automatic degree of protection, such as Amazon and eBay. They can also provide parcel tracking facilities with their deliveries. Others do not so need to be used more wisely. Again when it comes to paying for items, consider how that is to be done. If you use services such as Amazon, or PayPal through eBay, then they will provide protection for users, as will using a credit 20

Keep it safe...

card. If a user requests payment directly into a bank account, or a cash payment then please consider it wisely. With regards to John’s article in last month’s issue, the caravans are well and truly on my radar along with other issues around the lochs. I was receiving regular complaints directly regarding the caravans and the littering issues, which is why I put in last month’s article about aiming the complaints to the right people. At present, unless the vehicles or caravans encroach onto the carriageway in a dangerous or obstructive manner, the police have no power. After last month’s article, I can only assume that residents began complaining to Stirling Council as I received a phone call to advise that they had received several complaints. They have provided a potential solution which requires the Community Council to liaise with Bear Scotland, and this has been underway since my last article.

The application for the alcohol bye-law is also progressing well, and the proposed boundaries are in the process of being marked up. St FIllans and Callander Community Councils have been made aware of the proposed bye-laws and I believe they are now looking into the matter also. Hopefully that, coupled with the proposed Clearway application by the National Park, will provide me with several “tools” to tackle the issues that we are experiencing. As always, I can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at william.diamond@scotland.pnn.police. uk Regards, PC Will Diamond

Farm Forum: Ministerial Merry-go-round Well, Agriculture has not escaped the Cabinet reshuffle! Although Scotland has a degree of devolution within Great Britain, we are still represented by the DEFRA Secretary in Brussels negotiations. Our agricultural secretary, Richard Lochhead, has to make the Scottish case through that person. The deadline for transmitting the British detail of the new CAP deal to Brussels is 1st August. This was to have been done by Owen Paterson who has been removed from that post having served just two years, to be replaced by Elizabeth Truss, former Education Minister. In the time Mr Lochhead has been in office he has had to deal with five different DEFRA Secretaries as indeed have some of our other Scottish representatives. Bearing in mind that some of the new secretaries have little knowledge of agriculture, this can be a time consuming exercise! Then whenever a degree of understanding and trust has been built up, he or she is unceremoniously removed from office - on second thoughts that is perhaps why! The more uncharitable reason is that agriculture is not very high on the Prime Minister’s agenda. If this is the case his views may well have to change. The current state of unrest in the world should be enough to set alarm bells ringing quite apart from changes in the weather pattern the world over. If that is not enough, at the beginning of July a powerful House of Commons committee raised concerns over the vulnerability of the UK to future trade swings with less home produced food being consumed. The UK is only 68%

self-sufficient in temperate foodstuffs i.e. food that can be produced at home. The worrying fact is that this has declined steadily over the past twenty years from 87% to the extent that selfsufficiency in food production is now as low as it has been since the start of the Second World War. The environment, food and rural affairs committee, chaired by Anne McIntosh, highlighted potential future problems that could arise with an increased demand for food from countries such as China. They emphasised that complacency over food supply was a genuine risk to food security. It will be some time before we can judge the new DEFRA Secretary but she is reported as saying that she recognises the importance of food security and the importance of food and agriculture as the UK’s biggest manufacturing industry - only time will tell. Now to change to another very important initiative that is being started regarding safety. This initiative has been launched by the National Farmers Union of Scotland, the Charity Air Ambulance and the Scottish Ambulance Service. The idea is to encourage farmers to carry around a pocket size card with grid references of key points on their farm. This is something that would be worthwhile for anyone living in a remote area now that there is more centralisation as it would help the emergency service identify the position of the caller far more quickly in a crisis when time is of the essence. Agricola

Stirling to have a Taste of the Tattoo Tuesday 22nd July, 2014

An exclusive taster performance of this summer’s 65th Edinburgh Tattoo (1–23 August) will take place in Stirling, Tattoo organisers have revealed. The free, hour-long ‘Taste of the Tattoo’ shows will take place at lunchtimes and have been created to celebrate the Year of Homecoming. They are expected to be witnessed by thousands of people across Scotland and will showcase some 600 performers, featuring performers from Canada, Australia, Singapore, Malta and the United Kingdom and will take place on Tuesday 12th August 12.30-1.30 at Port Street, Stirling.  The line-up will include audience favourites such as the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra, Highland Dancers from ‘Down Under’, Massed Military Bands, an Indian cultural troupe, along with the inimitable Massed Pipes and Drums.  Royal Edinburgh Tattoo Chief Executive & Producer, Brigadier David Allfrey, said: “We have a stunning Tattoo ready to go - and it’s only proper that we try and share these riches around in this special Homecoming year when Scotland Welcomes the World. We are looking forward very much to coming to Glasgow, Stirling and Dundee.”

LETTER TO THE EDITOR We are on holiday in our caravan at Drummond Fish Farm and have just picked up a copy of The Villagers from your excellent village shop. We would like to compliment everyone involved in its production. We particularly liked the article on the 112 emergency number. We are often in remote places with no mobile signal and thanks to The Villagers we are now registered for emergency help should we need it - wherever we are. So many thanks. And keep up the good work! Jan and Gareth Evans, Cumbria



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£14.00 for 11 monthly issues (£37.00 for Europe and £47.00 for the rest of the world). We are sorry about the increased costs to our valued overseas readers, due to the new postal rates imposed by the Post Office! All you need to do is to post the completed form to: BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION, GARDENERS COTTAGE BALQUHIDDER FK19 8PB, SCOTLAND Cheques should be made payable to: THE BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION Remittance enclosed £ .........................(do not send cash) Please send copies of The Villagers starting on ................................. for 11 months To: NAME .......................................................................................................................... ADDRESS: ........................................................................................................................ ........................................................................................POSTCODE .............................. SENDER’S NAME & ADDRESS IF DIFFERENT FROM ABOVE Please send copies of The Villagers starting on ............................... for 11 months NAME ................................................................................................................................ ADDRESS .......................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................POSTCODE................................

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All types of tree work undertaken Removal of dangerous trees Crown lifting, Crown reduction, High pruning,Removal of deadwood. All types of fencing erected Mole trapping References can be given. Free estimates

STRATHYRE. TEL 01877384248 07967143910


Laptop Repair Service All types of repairs carried out from physical damage to data recovery

Neil Law

laptop Technician

Tel 01567 830314 Facebook: NHL Laptop Repair

Printed by Graphics and Print Services, University of Stirling Tel: 01786 467209 email: Published by The BLS Newspaper Association


• The Villagers’ Contacts • Jill Johnston Editor Gardeners Cottage Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384227

Gill Allan Production Manager Stronvar Farm Balquhidder Lochearnhead FK19 8PB 01877 384203

David Johnston Advertising Coordinator Gardeners Cottage Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384227

Other Contacts...

Helen Clark Business Manager 07971 648743

Copy Deadline Day is the 21st of the month. Send your contributions to:

contac t@the Please help us to get The Villagers to you as soon as possible!

• DIARY DATES • We e k l y A c t i v i t i e s Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

Bowling - St Fillans Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 to11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am to 12.30pm Badminton - Balquhidder Hall - 8.00pm Country Dancing - St Fillans LEGS - Lochearnhead Hall - 6.30pm Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am to 12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00 to 9.00pm Metafit Classes - Strathyre Village Hall - 8.00pm Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon. Mel Brydie 01877 384668 Ballroom Dancing - Lochearnhead Hall

Lochearnhead Contact: Ali Ferguson 01567 830 405 Strathyre Contact: Wullie Dalziel 01877 384 384 Mobile 07768 221661 St Fillans Contact: John Murray 01764 685 487 Mail Order Distribution: Hilda Astbury 01877 384 681

The Villagers’ Photographer Alistair Barclay is available to attend village functions and take photos if contacted in plenty of time. CDs of photos are also for sale. Please phone him on 01567 830453

AUGUST 2014 6

Friends of Balquhidder Church AGM - Friendship Room at the church - 7.30pm. All very welcome to attend.

17 26

Balsam Bashing with SWT - 10.30 - 13.00pm - Meet at Medical Centre, Geisher Road, Callander Callander & West Perthshire U3A Enrolment Day - after AGM at 2pm Callander Kirk Hall


Bike Festival, Balquhidder. All Day event. Timings to be announced!


Music Night, Strathyre Village Hall - 8pm - see p.6

Councillor Martin Earl Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07881 310 922 Councillor Alycia Hayes Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07881 310 924 Councillor Fergus Wood Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07824 496 019

CHURCH SERVICES Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St. Fillans CHURCH OF SCOTLAND

Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316 Sunday 12 noon Minister: Vacancy Enquiries to Interim Moderator: Revd Stuart Fulton 01786 463060 Dundurn Church, St Fillans Sunday11.30am Minister: Rev Graham McWilliams Tel: 01764 671 045

ROMAN CATHOLIC Callander, St Joseph the Worker Sunday 11.30am Saturday Vigil Mass 5.30pm from May through to September Killin, in the Episcopal Church Sunday 2.30pm Father Jim McCruden 2 Ancaster Square, Callander Tel: 01877 330 702

SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH St Angus’s Church, Lochearnhead Every Sunday: Holy Communion at 11.15am. Second and fifth Sundays in the month: Evensong at 6.00pm Vestry Secretary - Mary Barclay Tel: 01567 830453


Aug 2014 the villagers  

New Cycle Track Sustrans Scotland route 7 near A84 Kingshouse Balquhidder to Strathyre opened by Bruce Crawford MSP. News, events and photo...

Aug 2014 the villagers  

New Cycle Track Sustrans Scotland route 7 near A84 Kingshouse Balquhidder to Strathyre opened by Bruce Crawford MSP. News, events and photo...