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The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

2013 Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre

Highland Games

Bob Gibbons, one of our popular Patrons and a keen supporter of our Games at Lochearnhead over many years, has the charming habit of perambulating around the arena as the day goes on, asking simple questions that our foreign visitors can easily understand and to which responses come easily. Is this your first visit? Where have you come from? Bob and I chatted later and he reckons 75% of our spectators were from abroad or visiting Lochearnhead for the first time. That’s a great boost for our villages - and tourism in general; it makes all our volunteers’ efforts worthwhile. And I hardly need to add that everyone enjoyed the day immensely. Report continued on Page 14

Photography © Richard Harris

Editor’s Bit I hope you all enjoyed the summer that David and I seem to have missed - we appreciated all the texts and emails gleefully telling us about the soaring temperatures as we “shivered” in the Australian winter temperatures of 20+º. Reading all the various reports, it is encouraging to see that people have generally been enjoying the sunshine and scenery in a positive manner - and hopefully the minority, who continue to have little regard for how their actions can adversely affect others (see Wullie’s piece on lochside parking, page 6 and also Will’s column, page 25), will see the error of their ways and park their cars more safely. This month it seems Lochearnhead has been the busiest village with the Sheep Shearing and Highland Games being held very successfully - with the Hort Soc Show, a big anniversary party and the Fête still to come. Hopefully people will still have time and energy left to respond to the plea on page 7 for help with clearing areas, to create the new path linking the two villages together. Finally good luck to Marianne Hendry as she takes part in the final of School Cook of the Year, as uncovered by our super reporter, JJ Rusty (page 13).


Village Fête Sunday 18th August 2013 The annual Lochearnhead Village Fête will be held on Sunday 18th August 2013 from 1pm. As well as the usual stalls (plants, books/DVDs, tombola and bric-a brac, to name just a few), there will be a performance by the Callander pipe band, a dancing display, a tea tent and a licensed bar as well as the ever popular dog show! The afternoon promises to be a fun-filled outing for the whole family (including canine members) so come along and join in. All profits go towards the upkeep of the village hall. If you have any items of bric-a-brac, books, DVDs, plants or tombola prizes for the stalls or could provide some home baking for the tea tent, please contact Liz on 07841389394 or Ollie on 07732627311 and we will be happy to arrange to collect your donation.

Garden Opening

Glenbeich, Lochearnhead is open for the Scotland’s Gardens

from 22 July until 4 August inclusive 11am to 5pm each day

f 40% of proceeds to Falls of Dochart Retirement Home, Killin and 60% to Scotland Gardens charities. Entry charge - £4.00 per person Children - free!

Lochearnhead Village Hall

25th Anniversary Party Saturday 7th September 2013

Call for Entries...



The following readings were taken at ‘Bramblings’, Auchtubh, Balquhidder for the month of JUNE 2013.

Average max temp Actual max temp Average min temp Actual min temp

18.0 ºC 24.0 11.8 2.4

64.0 ºF 75.0 53.2 36.0

Rainfall 4.7cms 1.8ins Strongest wind gust 26mph on 23 June


Don’t forget - there is still time to get your entries ready for this year’s Horticultural Society Show, this year at Lochearnhead Village Hall. Send your completed entry forms to: Mrs Susan Crammon ‘Comraich’ Strathyre FK18 8NA Early entries would be appreciated - but entries will be accepted on the day. Classes include: Pot Plants • Cut Flowers Vegetables and Fruit • Floral Art Kindred Activities • Handicrafts • Art

Get Cracking!

On Saturday 7th September the Lochearnhead Village hall will celebrate its 25th Birthday! To mark the occasion there will be an exhibition of photographs and video footage showing Lochearnhead past and present. Why not come along and enjoy afternoon tea whilst indulging in some blatant nostalgia? Doors of the hall will be open from 2-5pm. From 7pm the same day, the Village Hall Committee are hosting a BBQ with a licensed bar and local band, The Buick 55’s will be providing the music for dancing from 9pm - 1am. Tickets will be on sale at the tombola stall at the Lochearnhead Village Fête on Sunday 18th August priced at £5 and afterwards by calling Liz on 01567 830458. Book early to avoid disappointment!

The St Fillans Bit Last month I mentioned Lauren Allen’s upcoming charity fund raiser which took place on 12th July at The Village Store. Lauren sat outside the shop in glorious sunshine for the public shaving of her head in front of an immense crowd – by chance about 40 youngsters and adults arrived by dinghy from the Sail Club for ice creams just as the shaving commenced – and various friends took turns in removing her locks with Dad Frank performing the final coup de grace. But the nub of the story is that Lauren’s efforts have raised an almost unbelievable £1400 plus! As well as donations from villagers, Lauren reports excellent support from casual shop visitors and tourists. An astonishing achievement for a 16 year old with all proceeds going to the Teenage Cancer Trust. Also trailed last month was the new your requirements. We booked a couple business venture being started by villager of flights on line for my good wife a few Dave Pryde (or Rab C if you prefer). months back, with a well-known budget Dave’s new role is as a Travel Counsellor airline, and it took about 2 hours and great which means that he operates in a similar frustration as we had to spot the hidden vein to a travel agent – except that Dave extras and constant upselling of the web will give you an entirely personal and site. And we had to phone the company bespoke service for all your travel needs, after all that! Dave can have that hassle business or pleasure. Dave has the support for us in the future. You can contact Dave of a leading independent travel company on 01764 784990 or via dave.pryde@ (Travel Counsellors) with access to award Give Dave a try winning technology allowing him to next time you plan a trip – what’s to lose? search through hundreds of suppliers Apologies to anyone who took my tip in minutes to find the best options for in the last issue and visited The Stags you – and with the peace of mind that Head (Korky’s) for refreshments. A few everything you book is 100% financially days after my tip the new couple running the bar disappeared on a Sunday night covered by the Company’s own Trust. As a believer in supporting local after service, never to be seen again. By businesses whenever I can I can’t see coincidence the bar takings and till float the point of trawling the internet and also vanished. There were strange lights getting more confused when Dave is right in the sky that night so alien abduction here and happy to speak with customers is a possibility. Happily Patricia and Ian outside normal business hours or visit are still there at the Golf Club and a good you at home to put together a package for crowd enjoyed a recent buffet night held

Go Lauren! Hair today, gone tomorrow...

to promote the catering side (which is very good). Whilst at The Golf Club, on 13th July around 40 golfers competed for prestigious Centenary Trophies for gents and ladies, with the Captain’s Putter being awarded to the overall winner Brian Spratt shown here being presented with the putter by Club Captain Sandy Muir.

Sandy and Brian

Brian also won the gents trophy and Joyce Burnett the Ladies. The evening was rounded off with Supper in the Shed, not to be confused with T in the Park, at which members and guests enjoyed a superb BBQ along with a number of fun competitions. Continued overleaf 3

(Continued from Page 3)

One of the joys of country village life is the relatively unchanging nature of said life and of our natural surroundings. Some things are just an accepted part of life – like the daily visit of Gus the Postie. I doubt if many town dwellers even know the name of their postman, or even his face, but in St Fillans the ever cheery Gus has long been a welcome visitor to our homes with a good line in patter and the surety that even if you are not in Gus will make sure your parcel gets to you, no daft postcards requiring you to do a 24 mile round trip to recover an ‘undeliverable’ parcel. Alas, as a result of changes made in routes to facilitate postal delivery staff getting more Saturdays off, Gus is now relocated to Crieff. He’ll be missed. Regular CC attenders will know that The National Park recently donated £1500 to the village which, with a wee top up from The Community Trust, has been used to purchase four benches for locating around the village. They are mighty impressive bits of furniture, weighing 75kg each (165 lbs.!) and made from recycled materials which will not need maintenance and should last for ages. The first was sited by the cairn at the top of the ‘zig zags’ with the aid of Richard Steventon and (I think) Mike McGregor’s Land Rover. I climbed up there on my ‘buggy’ and the photo (below)shows the dramatic view from the bench over the east of the village and golf course. Two more benches are sited by the surge shaft and on the Goat’s Path with the location of the final one to be decided. The plans for the construction of the new bridge over the ravine on the old railway are well advanced with erection of the structure intended in August. Further phases of the upgrading of the whole path to Lochearnhead are planned for 2014. I never thought I’d see it happen. A well-attended Community Council

Cheers, Gus - we’ll miss you!

meeting on 3rd July heard a presentation by Jim O’Donnell outlining one of the proposals being floated by a development group for the future of The Drummond Hotel involving the conversion of the building into quality apartments with the jetty, foreshore, car park and gardens upgraded. The exterior elevations front and side would be retained as is, obviously repaired and upgraded, and the horror ‘conservatory’ along the frontage removed. The plans look good and we can only hope that this developer, or another, can rescue the building and, with it, the heart of St Fillans. The current position is that the Clydesdale Bank have now recovered ownership of the building through the courts from the previous owners and are shouldering a debt of some £560K. The building is being marketed by DM Hall with offers invited, I understand, over £250K. I’m told that at least 10 people have indicated interest but it remains to be seen how many will actually bid for it. I’ve heard talk of ideas for a fast food carry out as part of a development – just what we need in St F!

A seat with a view... one of the lovely new benches, now in place thanks to a donation from the National Park

Meanwhile, definitely not on the market, Mary reports brisk business at The Four Seasons with folk being turned away for meals even mid-week. No doubt our current hot spell helps, but my own restaurant experience showed a downturn in hot weather as people BBQd rather than go out. Maybe it’s just the excellent fodder which Didier & Team produce? Afternoon teas have become very popular (check out the car park most afternoons) with a Cream Tea and a glass of bubbly an excellent way of whiling away the afternoon. You can now follow The Four Seasons on Facebook and Twitter – neither of which I can see the point of. But I am an ‘old git’ now. By the time you read this there will be just a few days left to get tickets for the 3 Day Festive Weekend (9-11 August). Usual proven format but with locally targeted satirical comedy entertainment added on the Friday evening – best be there in case you get a mention. A new Jazz band, The Rhythm Kings, on Sunday with a buffet lunch. No doubt you will have been visited by an enforcer from the organizing committee by now and will be clutching your tickets in eager anticipation. Delighted to report that landscaping around our new Frog’s Travel Lodge pond is complete – my mention last issue of the possible replacement of my Pond Builder & Estate Manageress seems to have had the desired result. Sadder is the demise of our big black cat George (known better as Jaws) who now resides under a new rose bush at the side of the pond. He will be missed, except by Russell and Liz and their cat CoCo whose meals Jaws regularly enjoyed by nipping in through their cat flap and then escaping before Russell could give him the well-deserved boot in the botty. Keep the input coming – it makes life much easier and is appreciated. John Murray

Dundurn’s Tearoom & Restaurant at St Fillans Golf Club. Open 7 days, from 9am to 5pm April to October inclusive

g You don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy lunch or afternoon tea in the delightful surroundings of Dundurn’s Tearoom and Restaurant at St Fillans Golf Club. g  Choose from a wide selection of hot and cold dishes - and our home-baked cakes, pastries and biscuits... followed by a choice of select teas or coffees. g  We are on the south Loch Earn Road, 300 metres past the road bridge in St Fillans.


Strathyre News

The B

Op e n

fo r B

ro c h

usi ne


Customers at the newly opened Broch enjoy dining al fresco

Susie and Arthur heave a sigh of relief!

What can we say... but there was a great big sigh of relief from both of us when we finally opened our new venture The Broch Café in Strathyre! It has been an uphill slog all the way - but we are told if you want something badly enough, it’s worth working for - and boy have we both worked! Arthur has been seen and heard on site at all hours of the day and night banging, sawing - and dare I say, screwing! And I have spent hours on the computer sourcing everything from bags of cement to disabled grab-rails and every size of screw you can think of. Many villagers have taken lots of interest in our project and we are grateful for their support and encouragement; it has spurred us on during the many problems and difficulties we have come up against during the build. We also received support from Forth Valley and Loch Lomond Leader. There is still lots to do both inside and outside the building - and over the next year we hope to make the whole area much more attractive for visitors as they enter our lovely village; hopefully they will stop off at The Broch for a snack and a drink - and decide to stay a while in the village. We plan to display local craft/art items or sell local produce once we are more organised, so if you are interested in displaying something please come along and have a chat. We opened last Friday at 5pm and were delighted that a lot of villagers attended, together with the odd passer-by, as can be seen by the photos taken very kindly by Wullie Dalziel. A great time was had by all. Hope to see you all very soon! Arthur and Susie

It is nice to be back after a welcome break. A lot has been happening in Strathyre during our rest period - and I will try to capture as much as possible, but my first port of call must be the fantastic Music Festival which took place on the first weekend in June (see the report on page 24). I know many local people were involved and took part on what turned out to be a beautiful weekend of weather as well as one of song and dance. It would be impossible to thank everyone who was involved as there are so many, but a special thanks must go to Kenny and his committee for the hard work and massive organisation that went into this first festival - which turned out to be the biggest of its kind in Scotland, so how’s that for a first! I have never seen the village looking so good with the floral displays, flags, bunting, the streets cleaned, and smiling faces in abundance - and to finish it all the ceilidh in the village hall was the icing on the cake. I know, as a member of the committee, that plans are already under way for 2014 - BRING IT ON!!!!! Wullie D

Welcome to the World...

While the country is celebrating the royal birth there is a new baby in Strathyre that is over shadowing it at the moment and I have been asked to pass on this report. He comes in the shape and title of Seamus Brydie, new son to Mel and Ian and brother to Steven, Libby and Keely. He made his appearance in Larbert Hospital on Saturday 13th July at 14.15 and weighed in at a healthy 8lbs 3 ozs (for those who remember what that is). Ian and Mel, especially Mel, would like to thank all the Nurses, Doctors and midwife for the excellent service they provided before, during and after the delivery of this wonderful baby boy. The whole family would also like to thank all their friends and relatives in Strathyre and beyond for all the congratulations, presents and lovely cards they have received, it means a great deal to them at this time. I believe a “wetting of the baby’s head” is on the cards and I can only hope Seamus WD can swim!!! Looking forward to it.

My new neighbours, Janette & Jim Greer, have started their own Holistic Health and Wellbeing clinic - operating in the village, but with home visits too! Pick up a leaflet - it explains the many therapies on offer, which include: Treat your Feet Acupressure Massage Aromatherapy Massage Mini Facial Indian Head Reflexology Hot stone massage On site massage On site shiatsu (I have had this and it is amazing!) Pamper Evening Holiday packages etc

The list is endless and all very reasonably priced. There is a treatment room available in The Inn&Bistro. For more information please contact Jim or Janette! 5

The Cheery Bunch

Strathyre Swing Bridge

Basket of Goodies for Jacs

The closure of the swing bridge came at very short notice to many of the villagers and there were “stories” of its closure lasting till September, but I am delighted to say this was not the case and the reconstruction was done very quickly and efficiently by a very cheery bunch of lads. I had the pleasure of speaking with them a few days before completion and they said how much they had enjoyed working on the bridge and staying in the area, even the dreaded midges did not dampen their enthusiasm and they have left us with a wonderful bridge that they can be very proud of and I’m sure will serve the village for many years to come, so well done lads! Just a point to ponder on, these lads travelled from South Wales and surrounding district, could the powers that be not have employed some home grown construction crew!

Jacquie Hill won a prize at our fund raising race night recently, which was a 30 second basket run donated by The Village Shop and she decided it was time to collect, so with basket in hand and under the scrutiny of David and Janet, off she went at breakneck speed and 30 seconds later was back at the counter with her booty! When tallied up she had over £62 pounds worth of goods in her basket mostly consisting of various types of dog food, which this very generous lady contributed to the PDSA, so you could not begrudge her the wee bit of ‘non- fattening’ chocolate she awarded herself! Well done, Jacs. PS as all men will know, a lady spending over £62 quid in 30 seconds is nothing new!

Signs of Improvement?

The Loch Side I am sure we are all aware of the situation on the loch side just now with cars parked anywhere and everywhere they can on the roadside verges while the car parks are closed. Unfortunately the legality of this is that they can do so as long as they are not causing an obstruction. I did have the occasion when I called the police with regards to the congestion at the at the car park at the south side of the loch (nearest to Anie Straight) which was duly attended to by PC Will Diamond and some cars were moved on but he was called away to a more serious incident. He did comment that all drivers who were approached left without any fuss. The reality of the situation is that even when the car parks open, if they are full, until this section of the A84 becomes a CLEARWAY then they can still park on the roadside, and it looks like that will not happen till next year. I believe it is now in the hands of the Community Council to push to have this put in place. My concern is that this is a tragedy waiting to happen. 6

These vehicles are so close to passing traffic that it is only a matter of time before someone opens a door and steps out into on coming traffic and God forbid, that it could be a child! These drivers do not seem to have considered the danger they are subjecting themselves and their families to by parking here just to save a few quid. My other concern is: will anyone be interested in taking over the running of these car parks (given that wild camping can go on over the fence for free - and is legal - as things stand at the moment)? I still think that the improvements were

During the Strathyre Music Festival I took note of the fact that the police put up signs warning incoming traffic to the Village of the dangers of pedestrians on the road, which made me think that this danger was ever present and not just for one weekend. So, after a bit of investigating I contacted the people concerned in the hope that these signs might be erected as a permanent warning to drivers. The proposal is very much in its infancy but I will keep all informed of any progress. Wullie D

worthwhile. As readers will know I was very much behind the transformation of these areas and they have done a wonderful job but the powers that be must act to protect this huge investment by introducing legislation which spreads through the whole area, including Strathyre. If you see any vehicles causing an obstruction PLEASE call 101 and report it. The more complaints, the more chance of legislation taking place. WD

Annual Football match and Charity Raffle played at Lochearnhead Games Park 21st July 2013 Every year on the day after the Highland Games we unwind with a fun football Game and a raffle for local causes and for Charity donation. Last year we helped Cancer Research, Help for Heroes, Strathcarron Hospice as well as our schools and playgroups. Last year’s result in the Single v Married men of the villages was reversed and the Singles prevailed by several goals. The married men had plenty of chances, missed a penalty too! In the ladies match the mums were a bit too strong for the girls and won by a few. Lizzy Rushton scored another hat trick and Kara McAlister kept up her record of scoring in every match. Except it was past her own goalie at the wrong end. Still, a goal‘s a goal... This event has an important purpose and we are very grateful to all of the kind individuals and local firms who donated to our raffle. 70 prizes on display and many wonderful gifts there were. Thank you for your kindness. We know you have many calls on your generosity and we are indebted to you all. Tired, happy and sunburned we all trooped home, hoping to see you all again next year. Alex Gargolinski

Lochearnhead- Volunteers Wanted! As most of you will be aware, plans are very much on-going for developing the old railway line between St Fillans and Lochearnhead into a cycle/footpath. The really good news is that the Footpath Group have recently agreed to go ahead with a proposal which will allow a bridge to be constructed over the ‘Tarken Burn’, which is roughly speaking immediately behind the Sailing Club. Funds are sorted and this should all take place later this year which in effect means that people will now be able to walk – with a little difficulty – all the way between the two villages. Great news I think you’ll all agree. But... We need some help - and this is where we’re looking for volunteers. Some parts of the railway line are in a very bad way, and overgrown - all sorts of trees have grown up over the years, indeed some have fallen across the old line. Drainage is a major problem too, but we obviously have to leave that to the professionals. What we need are a group of people willing to get their hands dirty, pulling out small saplings and shrubs, so that the general access can be improved. At the St Fillans end, they’ve already

Trackbed of the old St Fillans to Lochearnhead railway

successfully cleared quite large areas of undergrowth, making it a comparative pleasure to walk at least parts of the old track bed. But we’ve the same problem at the Lochearnhead end, and so I’m asking you – have you got a few spare hours you could donate to helping clear some of this stuff out? Think of the satisfaction you’ll get when finally we’ve a decent footpath with a good surface that everyone can use to either cycle or walk on – just like Route 7 up and over Glen Ogle.

Help is very much needed, so please get in touch and we’ll work things out so that we’ve a good gang of locals together and we can all have a good laugh whilst working away. Contact me please on 01567 830453, and if you’re from one of the other villages and you’d fancy mucking in, then you too can make contact. Thanks again, and let’s hope we can keep things moving along! Alistair Barclay 7

A Note from

St Angus’s Church...

What a summer! Although the heat has been overpowering at times when it comes to winter we will look back and wonder why we didn’t appreciate it more.  Thank God for sunshine, it really lifts the spirits. At the time of writing Paddy, our Bishop, is on a sabbatical and we are looking forward to welcoming a Rector from the Episcopal Church of the USA in New York who will be filling her shoes over the next two weeks.  He will be staying in the Rectory in Crieff and we will be very interested to have him take our services.  The Episcopal Church of the USA has strong historical links with the Episcopal Church in Scotland. Following the American War of Independence, Bishop Seabury of Connecticut sought consecration in the Church of England but that was no longer possible because of the Oath of Allegiance to the King.  However, the “nonjuring” Bishops (Jacobite supporters) in the Scottish Episcopal Church had no such constraints and duly consecrated Bishop Seabury in Aberdeen Cathedral in 1784.  Nowadays of course it has a far greater following than our Church.  Like us it looks to the Archbishop of Canterbury as the spiritual head but, like us, is not an “English” Church which so many like to call us! I think I have mentioned before St Angus’s need to replace our very outdated and probably dangerous central heating system.  To that end we need to raise a considerable amount of money and the first of those fund-raising ventures will be a TREASURE HUNT on FRIDAY 23rd AUGUST.  Cars should gather in the car park behind the Lochearnhead Village Hall and prices will be Adults £7.50 and Children under 16 FREE.  The price includes wine and cheese after the Treasure Hunt and, of course, a RAFFLE!  Start time 6.30pm.  PLEASE support us, it should be an evening of fun and prizes will be presented to the occupants of the first car to return with all the correct answers in the correct order.


Church News BalquhiĐĐer Reg. Charity No. SC012316

We were delighted to have the belfry repaired and the Church bell reinstalled back in May. Since my last report, we have been very fortunate to receive individual donations totalling well over £2,000 towards the cost of these repairs, as well as £6,000 from the Friends of Balquhidder Church Association. As readers may imagine, this has been a tremendous help. It means that our regular annual maintenance expenses on the roof and heating will be met without having to dip into our remaining savings. Our heartfelt thanks go to all those friends who contributed so generously. How the year is flying by! In August, we shall be celebrating St Angus Day again. The date does not vary much but this year it falls on 14th August. The service will be at 6pm followed by the Friends of Balquhidder Church AGM at approximately 6.45pm. As always the St Angus Day service has a distinctive Celtic theme and harks back to the days when Gaelic was used generally in this area. All are welcome, especially visitors who may like to experience the Gaelic language. The Minister does kindly give us English subtitles, which make it easy to follow and the hymns are well known. Jean Edwards

Callander & West Perthshire


Enrolment Fees set to tumble! At a recent committee meeting it was agreed that having completed our first year with a healthy membership of 167 we could offer a reduction in next year’s fees. A proposal will be put to the AGM: to set the fee at £12 for the year 2013/14 and to offer members of any other U3A a reduced fee of £7 (on proof of such membership). AGM & ENROLMENT DAY Friday 30th August at Callander Youth Project AGM at 2.00pm ENROLMENT at 3.00pm There is no obligation for members to attend the AGM but we hope that a large number will come in order to elect a new committee and to ratify the decision on fees for the next year. As this has been our first year we have only had a steering committee and all posts are available viz: Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Interest Group Coordinator and Membership Secretary, together with committee members responsible for Publicity, Social Events, the Newsletter, the Website and a Members’ Contact who acts as a hub for collecting and passing on information via the members’ e-mail list. Anyone wishing to stand for election at the AGM must send in their details, together with names of a proposer and seconder to the Secretary by 16th August. Nomination forms are obtainable from any member of the steering committee.

The 20th Scottish Blackface Shearing Championships 2013 The 20th Anniversary Shears brought a certain European twist by hosting the inaugural Unofficial European Championships. Up and coming shearers from Norway, France, Germany, Spain and Estonia travelled over especially for the event, some of the shearing methods used in these countries differ quite considerably from ours. With a good Junior turnout (for many this being their first ever competition), kicking off the Saturday afternoon – 30 competitors carefully sheared their way round the blackface hoggs. Estonia Adam Kaivo, despite not being used to our native horned blackface sheep, was top qualified. The final saw Adam compete against Adam Mitchell from Doune, Jonathan Malloy who was over representing the Republic of Ireland, and lady shearer Brya Harrison from New Zealand. With a clean board and pen score the Estonian secured the red ribbon with Adam Mitchell close behind, followed by Brya and Jonathan filling the other two places. Adam Mitchell and James Shennan represented Scotland in The Stirling Council, Scotland v Republic of Ireland Junior Test, an annual event with a Scottish Team crossing the Irish Sea every May to the All Ireland Competition. The visitors, Rodney Bryan and Jonathan Malloy proved they have mastered shearing blackfaces by pipping the Scottish team at the post and winning the test. The Open heats, held on Sunday morning the main day for the competition, saw a smaller field of competitors than previously due to fewer New Zealanders in the country, and two other main competitions being held in Ireland on the same day – a line up of our own World Champion Gavin Mutch returning to the Scottish circuit this year after a year off for a shoulder operation, Golden Shears champion Rowland Smith, his brother Matt, fellow NZ team mate Tony Coster, past winner Hamish Mitchell, four times finalist Simon Bedwell and many others vying for a place in the final. Rowland Smith top qualified on his six sheep. Three Scotsmen, all in last year’s final, and a Welsh man qualified for the Blade Shearing Final, Gordon Stewart and Mark Armstrong from North and South Lochtayside, Willie Shaw from Saline in Fife and Gareth Owen from Wales. With a slightly cleaner pen Mark Armstrong took the red ribbon, with Gordon Stewart, although faster and better board score, having to settle for reserve place. Gareth Owen and Willie Shaw collected third and fourth respectively. International Team Relay was next up; fifteen sheep to be shorn by teams of three, places in the team are taken from the top qualifiers from each country in the Open Heats. Scotland represented by Gavin Mutch, Calum Shaw and John Little, showed their knowledge of shearing the native breed of sheep and proved to be victors of this exciting crowd favourite. Lochearnhead Shears, thought to be the only competition in the UK to run the Wool Handling event alongside the Intermediate heats and semifinals - shows a more realistic approach to what happens in shearing sheds in the Northern Hemisphere. Last year’s fourth placed Intermediate finalist Alister Shaw from Saline, along with David Gibson from Gartocharn, Brian Mundell from Fintry and Lewis Harkness from Dumfries made up this year’s final. Alister’s time of 7 minutes and 39 secs and board score of 2.40 gave him the edge over David Gibson, Brian Mundell and Lewis Harkness respectively. The Wool Handling finalists - Rosie Keenan, Stacey Mundell, Dawn MacKinnon and Kirsty Donald, wrapped 12 fleeces, Edzell’s Kirsty Donald scored 61 on the table and 13 on the board to take first place, closely followed by Stacey Mundell from Fintry, then Dawn MacKinnon from Bathgate and Rosie Keenan from Strathyre. The skirl of the bagpipes welcomed the Scotland v New Zealand test onto the boards. Simon Bedwell, Hamish Mitchell and team manager Andrew Dodds for Scotland against New Zealand’s Rowland Smith, Tony Coster and manager Dean Te Huia. Hamish defleecing his 15 sheep in 9 minutes and 59 secs and only 1.73 on the board and 8.00 in the pen along with Simon’s similar scorings – show that the New Zealand team, perhaps on this occasion do need to think again! Final amalgamated scores were Scotland 83.25 – New Zealand 94.92. Finalists for the Senior, none of them being strangers to the Lochearnhead finals over the years - Welshman Dafydd Jones, Scotsmen Perthshire’s Stewart Kennedy and Sandy McKellar along with Scott Wilson from Broughton filled the four stands. Dafydd showing that quality counts and also following in

Lochearnhead Shears, from top: Crook Champ; S Bedwell, H Mitchell, T Coster, R Smith; Best local Sandy McKellar; Scottish Blackface Shearing Champ Simon Bedwell; New Zealand Team.

his two brother’s footsteps to take the silverware back to Corwen in Wales, former Junior and Intermediate Scott Wilson having to take the blue ribbon, several time senior finalist Stewart Kennedy from Aberfeldy taking third place, and also winning a new handpiece and the Colin MacGregor up for the best pen score in any final, with young Sandy McKellar following close behind in fourth position. The highlight of the Evening, the Open Final saw World Champion Gavin Mutch from Huntly, Simon Bedwell from Garve in Rosshire, with brothers Matt & Rowland Smith from North Island New Zealand fill the four stand final. 20 blackface hoggs to be shorn, Simon set the pace, finishing his 20 sheep in 12 minutes 59 seconds, with an amazing pen score of 1.20 and pen score of 7.20 for him to be crowned the Scottish Blackface Shearing Champion having reached the final several times, but never just quite making top spot. Gavin only 1.30 points behind having to settle for second place, Matt Smith having to take the third spot with sibling Rowland in fourth. 9

Scottish Wildlife Trust Is this the summer that you get more involved with wildlife: watching it, going to events or helping to conserve it? BBC has a Summer of Nature website that continues some of the themes of Springwatch and collates a lot of information: links to organisations, a handbook, events over the summer and how to get involved with wildlife. Many events will be free and a great way to get children and adults engaged with their surroundings. The Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) website also lists many events celebrating the Year of Natural Scotland. RSPB and Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) reserves can be visited or may offer events: SWT’s Loch of the Lowes has a busy programme as does the Jupiter Wildlife Centre at Grangemouth, offering many (cheap) events for children

David Marshall Lodge, near Aberfoyle

over the school holidays. Even closer to home the David Marshall Lodge is still operating from the ‘mini-lodge’ while the main building is being refurbished; walks are open and live CCTV images of local wildlife, including ospreys. If you have an interest in specific species than there are many organisations such as RSPB, BTO, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Plantlife, Froglife, Buglife, The Bat Conservation Trust, Scottish Badgers to name but a few. All have websites, many run events and all will welcome volunteers to help with their conservation activities. Finally, don’t forget iSpot – a site where you can post a photo of an unknown

species and an expert will identify it for you. Of course if you have the time and interest in helping your local SWT group we’d love to hear from you - contact Lesley Hawkins Fund-raising has allowed us to donate £100’s to wildlife projects over the last few years. On 3 August we will have a stall in Ancaster Square - can you help? Manpower on the day, donations to the bottle stall and sellers of quizzes are all needed. Our season of talks starts again in September (second Tuesday of the month, 7:30pm in the Waverley Hotel) and includes Bats, Badgers, Bumblebees and Raptor Tracking – see you there? ERRATUM: in the last edition I included an incorrect e-mail for reporting of mink sightings. This should have been katy. Lesley Hawkins Red kites at Argaty, fed daily at 2:30pm, provide incredible aerobatic displays and photo opportunities. The red kite population in Stirlingshire and Perthshire continues to grow with maybe as many as 80 pairs or more attempting to breed in 2013. A sad exception to this increase is in the Callander area where two established adult pairs have disappeared. Adult kites do not normally shift territory and they have also have a very high survival rate where not persecuted. So it is a mystery what has happened to these birds. If anyone sees kites around Callander it would be appreciated if they pass their sightings on to the local SWT group, the local raptor study group, FCS (dave. or RSPB. Or, if anyone suspects that something illegal may have happened to these birds please report it to Central Scotland Police on 01786 456000 and ask to be put through to the local Wildlife Crime Officer. Kevin Duffy

Scottish Wildlife Trust Diary July & August 2013 Over the summer we have several outdoor events organised with Stirling SWT Members’ Centre. If you want to join in please let the contact know.

Walk Stall 3 August 10am- 4pm Fund-raising stall, Ancaster Square : bottle stall, plant sales and SWT information Talk 10 September ‘Bats in Central Scotland’

by John Haddow and Ann Youngman

7:30pm at Waverley Hotel, followed by local Bat Walk. Admission £2 members, £2.50 non-members, free to full-time students, including tea/coffee & biscuits.


Stirling Castle named among

‘40 amazing experiences in Europe’

by world’s leading travel guide publisher

A visit to Stirling Castle has been included on a list of some of the top experiences in Europe in a new Lonely Planet guide. Europe: 40 Amazing Experiences names Stirling Castle alongside iconic sights and cities including the Coliseum in Rome, the Alhambra in Andalucía, Crete, Barcelona and Paris.   The eBook comes from Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide book publisher in the world, and is being published to mark the company’s 40th anniversary.   It suggests that visitors “Lay siege to Stirling Castle”, describing its atmosphere and superb views.   Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial & Tourism at Historic Scotland said: “Stirling Castle is a world-class attraction which draws visitors from across the globe, so I am delighted to see it recognised as one of the 40 best experiences in Europe.”   “From the stunning views from the ramparts to the recentlyrefurbished Royal Palace, the Great Hall and the Stirling Heads Gallery, a visit to Stirling Castle is indeed an unforgettable experience. It has played a key role in our history and was the centre of art, culture and celebrity in Scotland in the 16th century - and oday, our costumed performers help to bring that history to life for visitors.”   Europe: 40 Amazing Experiences is a free eBook from Lonely Planet and is available to download now from Amazon, the iBookstore and all good e-retailers.   For more information on Stirling Castle, visit  

Gardening AUGUST by Jonathan MacDonald

Sheridan asked in his poem To a Young Lady: “Won’t you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you.” This is from the pen of a young man who fought a duel twice over a young lady, winning both times and subsequently eloping. Then, as now, roses never cease to charge emotions like no other plant in the long summer days. The rose family Rosaceae is gardening royalty. Its spread is worldwide with an enormous variety of species in the family. Pauls scarlet hawthorn itself a rose produces the most exquisite tiny roses Only a rose... in numerous clusters and for a few weeks you could present your young lady (or Lighter soils will benefit greatly from old) with three dozen each night with this. Rugosa roses grow in pure sand but no expense to the tree or your pocket. for most other types they prefer it heavy, The work horse cotoneaster is a rose warm, reeking and rich. The full beauty that adorns every supermarket car park, of a rose is usually only apparent when it the apple, plum, peach and bramble and is allowed to grow freely and to develop curiously the delicious weed lady’s mantle naturally with little or no pruning. If you all belong. The list is huge but Sheridan buy cut roses from a florist the chances focused on the Rosa genus from which are they will have been picked from huge has sprung thousands of types. They are sprawling plants that crawl along the for sure our most ‘costumed’ of garden floor. You could, if you were completely plants and, although fairly demanding bonkers, buy a climbing rose, remove the of space especially shrubs and climbers, canes and throw it in a sunny corner. By the reward can be staggering. Any growing horizontally, a climbing rose traps commentary on roses must start with the and slows down a hormone called Auxin roots as here good culture will provide which is instrumental in converting leaf a satisfactory outcome. A rose arbour buds into flower buds hence many more is as much a delight as the full highland roses. To this end it is wise to refrain from dress and with good fragrance it can pruning climbers and simply tie them into tug the heart strings as if a mournful the structure. Think of an arch with a rose sweet scented lament was being played. planted on one side, by the end of the third Olfactory acupuncture I call it. I planted year you should have tied it in with wire a recent rose garden whose owner insisted all the way over and down the other side on all varieties being highly scented. with pruning in spring limited to snipping They were duly carefully selected with off the odd loose branch that could catch many of the best David Austin’s and keen your hair or tights. Pruning of shrub and to show off my choices I was somewhat tea roses have also been found to produce shocked by the owners complete lack of more flowers if simply chopped down with smell. “Why it’s not for me it’s for our shears instead of leaving a neat fork of 4 visitors” I was told. This is the altruism I open, pencil sized stems. Most modern admire in keen gardeners and the keenest hybrids flower nearly all year and in a mild will ensure that a good amount of well winter you will have some scabby wee decayed manure or good compost is well dug in at planting to at least 2ft. I quite like the partnership of rose and poop.

ones on in December with only the first frosts putting a stop to them. For “value for flowering” they are hard to beat. One thing to guard against is the huge number of diseases and pests you might encounter. Good strong growth and water is the best prevention but ‘roseclear’ administered early to the stems is a must to prevent rust and black spot. I use SB plant invigorator which is an organic foliar feed which really works wonders and is a secret brew of foliar lattice, Linear Sulphanate, Iron Chelate and Nitrogen. No secret then. The leaves are good and clean and polish up to a lovely dark green. One question often asked is what to plant with roses? Being the best of friends, a border of English lavender around your rose bed is a tradition. Roses are gross feeders so plenty of food before, during and after planting will be much appreciated; lastly, always remember to plant them an inch below the budding point which is marked by a small bulge above soil level and firm in well. By planting deep they will be less prone to suckering from the rootstock and may even develop new roots from the scion which is the desirable top part you pay for. It may be a sign of old age but the older I get the more I seem to enjoy roses - and who knows? You may find they look at you in a completely different way.

Open 7 days a week: 9.30am -5pm New 9 in 1 petrol multi tool:

Rotavator, strimmer, brush cutter, pump, leaf blower, chainsaw, brush, edger, hedge cutter. UK’s only stockist of these amazing new machines. Tullybannocher, Comrie Contact: Jonathan MacDonald

Tel: 01764 670800


Callander Rambling Club

View from the Park

Sponsored by Caledonian Country Wear

by Owen McKee With a forecast of wall to wall sunshine for the main Glasgow holiday I confess I was more than a little apprehensive. The area would be inundated with wild campers, replete with trays of booze and a total disregard of others. Yes, they came and certainly they found ways of cramming themselves into every conceivable spot but considering the numbers involved there were relatively few anti-social incidents reported. Hopefully that was in part due to the preparatory action taken by Police Scotland with a stream of warnings on both radio and Facebook. Operation Ironworks was also beefed up with extra patrols throughout the area. The Loch Lubnaig project was originally scheduled to open in July but, as always seems to be the case with time sensitive developments, a few hitches have meant that the opening has slipped to August. Fingers crossed that no further delay occurs. Some have expressed concern as to why the southern car park, which has been ready for some weeks, was not being utilised. The simple answer is that it is part of an overall lease tying the two sites into one operation, and will not be ready for handover until both sites are completed. The Scandinavian delegation to which I referred in the last issue duly arrived. Their prime concern was to see how we balanced development and conservation within the Park. They had a particular interest in both the Tyndrum Gold Mine and the Hotel and Marina development at the Old Torpedo Range at Arrochar. Since neither development had actually started we were able only to give them details as to how we put in place conditions,  in particular landscape management plans, which sought to protect or enhance the relevant landscapes. We gave them a tour

of the facilities at East Loch Lomond. Unfortunately the weather was inclement and consequently very few visitors were around. The campsites and car parks were empty and very clean and tidy. To my surprise they indicated that they too had problems just like those that had existed at East Loch Lomond prior to the Management Plan. In that respect we are not, it seems,the worst in Europe. While with Europe who has heard of the LEADER programme? It is a source of EU funding which is handed down to Local Action Groups (LAGs) to help innovative projects in rural communities. It was with the help of LEADER funding and support from others such as Rural Stirling Housing Association  that the National Park apprenticeship scheme was able, over the past four year, to place some 19 construction trades apprentices within the Park.  Due to the success of that scheme it was proposed that a similar scheme be set up to place apprentices in countryside trades and the tourist/ hospitality industry. Some difficulties have occurred in that the scheme  proposed covers the whole Park Area but there are two LAGs in the Park. One covers the Stirling Council area and the other is  in Argyll and Bute and each  operates under different rules. We are working with both LAGS and the Councils to see if we can establish a working arrangement that would enable  Park-wide projects to be dealt with by a single administrative body. Fingers crossed that the new apprenticeship scheme can go ahead. Owen McKee Taigh Na Bhuth, Lochearnhead Phone:  01567 830214

The Club consists of a group of enthusiasts who meet regularly throughout the year to participate in a programme of strolls, rambles, hill walks and a Long Distance Path. Details are published on http://www. a m b l e r s . h t m in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diary: AUGUST • Sat 3rd 8:30am Hill: Tarmachan Ridge (1044m) contact 01786 823265 • Sat 10th 8:30am Hill: The Stob (753m) contact 01877 339080 • Wed 14th 9:30am Stroll: Gartmorn Dam & Devon Way (6 miles) contact 01877 376236 • Sat 17th 8:30am Ramble: Duncolm & the Slacks (10miles) contact 01786 841240 • Sat 24th 8:30am CtoC(16) Glenfarg to Falkland (10 miles) contact 01877 330032 • Wed 28th 9:30am Ramble: Tillicoultry to Blackford (10miles) contact 01786 825877 SEPTEMBER • Sat 7th 8:30am CtoC(17) Falkland to Ceres (121/2 miles) contact 01877 330032

We meet in Ancaster Square, unless otherwise indicated. Please bring wet weather clothing, appropriate footwear and a packed lunch. And please let the walk leader know if you plan to join the walk via the contact number given!

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.


Rusty McD, reporter for furry, feathered or scaly friends in our community, is back again! Here’s another 5-minute interview...

5 minutes with...

Marianne Hendry and her hen, Geraldine!

It’s a stunningly hot day as I head down to Immeroin Farm where I am to meet Marianne Hendry – mother of two, pantomine genie, fantastic school cook, mass producer of New Year soup and incredibly smiley farmer’s wife. We sit at her kitchen table and try to determine which of her menagerie she is going to tell us about. She has photos of various beloved pets around the room – some Right: Marianne and Geraldine, of which have been incredibly long lived – Maid the sheepdog (21), and above: one of four Indian Runner ducks, with two pals! a Welsh cob (32) and Rover the cat (21). Having determined that she currently the cottage at Immeroin sorted out for us to live in – has a cat, 7 working sheep dogs, 2 horses which his parents previously had let out as a holiday (one of which is a coloured cob but thinks cottage. When we finally burst out of the cottage he’s a thoroughbred in a cow costume), 4 due to Duncan being born and an escalating pile of Indian runner ducks (home incubated), farm paperwork and an “office” on the landing, we 1 Muscovy drake, 2 geese, 30 hens, 2 swapped houses with David’s parents which is why Orpingtons, 2 Polish bantams (pretty, but we now live in the farm house. for me. I find it very therapeutic to make dim!) we settle on Marianne’s favourite pet bread and like making the dough into plaits You are originally from Holland - do hen, Geraldine. or hedgehogs to make it more fun for the you miss it? children. All my previous jobs have been Not at all – I just seem to go back for So... tell me about Geraldine! office based so I really enjoy the difference. Well she’s a fat hen who is the end result of weddings and funerals now. I could I don’t take any work home with me and get a long experiment with incubating. Last never live there again. There are too to sing along with the children whilst I’m year I bought 12 Jersey Giant eggs on the many people in too small a space. When preparing the lunch. I love being my own internet and incubated them. 9 hatched and you get used to space it’s difficult to go boss in the kitchen and since the children one was a magnificent cockerel. The breed back.. Also, being married to a farmer it’s are so lovely and the School is so fantastic is very docile though and all were taken by hard to go away from home. Scotland is it’s a wonderful place to work. the fox last November. Next time around definitely my home and I am really happy I have just come back from ‘School Cook we went for a flightier breed – Leghorns here. of the Year’ competition and was completely from Ireland. I got 6 eggs and put two of our stunned that I have been shortlisted for the own hybrids in the incubator as well. The What do you like about living in final. We had to make a main and pudding only survivor from that batch was Geraldine Balquhidder? of our own choice. I made venison burgers from one of our own eggs and as it turns out There’s a huge variety of people with different backgrounds. I have always with Inverlochlarig venison on a homemade her father was the Jersey Giant cockerel. roll with a rainbow salad. Pudding was a We called her Geraldine because she just felt very welcome – everyone is so easy going. I like that I know most people strawberry cupcake in a teacup. It was a very is a ‘Geraldine.’ and they say “Hello” – you just don’t get scary process – a bit like Masterchef – full of that in a big town. It’s a very supportive professional cooks. I am not a cook, I am a What’s special about Geraldine? Mother so I felt like a fraud. There were only She’s a very switched on hen who knows community but not oppressive – a great 3 ovens for all 8 of us so it got a bit tense! I how to get what she wants. One of her tricks balance. Lots of people think it’s really am off to the final in Glasgow on 19th August is to sit on the kitchen windowsill and peck remote living here but actually it isn’t – and will be up against 6 other finalists so it’s the glass until I open it up to pass her some there’s a lot going on. all a bit unbelievable and exciting. food. On the rare occasion I can get on the garden bench to read my book Geraldine What have you enjoyed about raising Tell me something unusual that people will come and sit next to me and stare your family on the farm? might not know about you! intently until it becomes uncomfortable Oh, everything! The boys have a blast and have great freedom and there’s so I have a singing habit. My boys will say a and I go and fetch her some food. much they can do outside. There’s just 15 sentence and I will start a song about it. months between Duncan and Cameron This is very annoying for the children. How long have you lived at Immeroin? Oh – and we only have phone reception I arrived in Scotland from Holland in and I remember when they were little between 2 fence posts on the farm. 1993. To begin with I lived near Dunblane. taking one in a sling in front and one in a Within 2 years of living there I met my backpack to go out and feed the animals Where do you see yourself 10 years from husband, David. I was on a girls night out every day. Cameron had his first quad now? in O’Neils in Stirling when the Fire alarm bike ride at 3 months old – I had to feed Probably still here. But when we are retired went off. David appeared from the crowd animals and with no-one else around David and I are going to live at Liannach and fixed it and we got talking. I told him there was no option. I strapped his car House - it’s a house you go to and get a where I lived and said he should come for seat onto the front of the quad bike and happy feeling. tea one night. My friends were furious with set off to collect a bale of hay. me as I lived alone in rural location but I Thank you, Marianne, it has been a real felt confident he was a good sort. He did How did you come to be Strathyre School pleasure talking to you. Best of luck with come one evening for some dinner, then Cook? the final on the 19th. came again and again until he more or less I applied to do some maternity cover 2 Tune in next month and find out who moved in. When we were expecting our years ago and have been there ever since. Marianne suggested for Rusty’s column! first son, Cameron (now 15) , David got It’s a happy job, and a bit of escapism 13

Lochearnhead Highland Games

Continued from front page

Spectacular scenery, colourful competition... then to crown it all, a dazzling air display gifted by another generous patron (amongst whose hobbies is stunt flying). Arlene from Twirlie Tatties had a great time. She says it was the most animated crowd at any Games she has attended, and spectator participation made it such fun. They willed on the heavies and smiled as the Pipe Band from Badenoch & Strathspey strutted their stuff. Mike Holliday’s Bar tent was a busy place. He ran out of lager at one point - but extra supplies were found. Pure Malt were in fine voice and our tourists were joining in many of their anthems. Chieftain of the Games this year was Sandy Stewart of Ardvorlich and he sends his congratulations to all the helpers. On the track, Angus Leishman and Craig Robertson helped keep Perthshire to the fore and in the ‘Heavies’ our own Stuart Anderson strove mightily against Lorne Colthart and Lucasz Wenta in the strength events. Lorne won overall in the league competition and Stuart won the ‘local’. The Highland Dancing in this setting was a pleasure to watch. Kirstin Mitchelson of Monifieth won the Fisher Bowl, Lucy Rice of Stirling the Watson Cup, and Angela Ramsay of Aberdeen the Cuthbertson, in their respective age groups. Allan Russell won the MacGregor Quaich and the Bronze Star for Open Solo Piping, and Harry McLachlan won the McCarthur Quaich in the Juniors. Our famous Hill Race attracted over 30 athletes and Craig Harvey of Callander won for the second year, in baking heat. Thanks to Angus Cameron for the use of the field - and I add my gratitude to all who manned gates, all those who helped with car parking, preparing the field and were so willing to give up their time so that we could all have a wonderful day out. Food for thought for Stirling Council and their attempts to attract visitors in the area to Homecoming Scotland in 2014: you don’t have to spend millions. But look out for VisitScotland’s autumn commercials. A film crew worked all day in the background to add our wee bit to their story! Alex Gargolinski, Secretary

Strathyre Primary School News Have A Giggle... What lights up a football stadium? (A football match!) Two silk worms were in a race. Who won? (It was a tie!) What do you do when you see an elephant with a cricket bat? (Get out of the way!)

Sports Day The school’s Sports Day finally went ahead on the 10th June after a cancellation because of poor weather - but conditions weren’t anywhere near perfect, as competitors, organisers and spectators alike had to put up with another natural hazard - those pesky midges! Luckily they didn’t interfere too much with the proceedings and there was much fun - and laughter too, especially during the Dads’ Sack Race, where Kenny Thomson could be seen flying sideways over the finishing line! (Sorry - no picture - I was laughing too much)... Snow White - The Musical! On 20th June Strathyre Primary School staged their end-of-term show for a capacity audience at Balquhidder Hall: Snow White and the Seven-a-Side 14

Why didn’t Cinderella get into the football team? (She ran away from the ball!) Which cats like to go bowling? (Alley cats!)

Taking a bow!

Football Team. And what an amazing and colourful production it was! A beautiful stage set, imaginative bright costumes, a sparkling script and tuneful melodies came together to transport us all into a fairytale world for an hour. There were some excellent performances too - and the ‘dwarves’ football team was hilarious, with a very interesting selection of hats and beards on view. Well done everyone! It was a total pleasure to be there. GA

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of Meeting held at Balquhidder Village Hall on 3 July 2013

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), Susie Crammon (SC), Rosanne McWilliams (RM). Apologies: Richard Eastland, Adrian Squires, Sara Hesp, Karen Methven, Angus Cameron, Owen McKee, National Park (N-P). In attendance: Cllr Fergus McKay (FM), Stirling Council (S-C); PC Will Diamond (WD), Police Scotland; Graham Archibald (GA), N-P; Liz Walker (LW), Forestry Commission (F-C); Suzanne Player (SP), Stirling Council (S-C). 1) Approval of Minutes It was proposed by SC and seconded by AB that the minutes of the meeting on 22nd May 2013 should be accepted, and this was approved unanimously. 2) Matters Arising 2.1) Killin Pharmacy (Walter Davidson & Sons Ltd) Allan Gordon, managing director of Davidsonís Chemists, had written asking for an opportunity give a presentation to the CC concerning the proposed new pharmacy service in Killin, and to answer any questions. Following discussion, it was noted that the BLS CC had discussed this previously and supported the CC at Killin in wanting to retain the dispensing service at the local medical practice. A formal objection had been lodged to the decision of the Forth Valley Pharmacy Practices Committee to approve the application by Davidson’s and the outcome was still pending. Members could see little point in hearing a presentation on a proposal that is still in serious doubt, and that is strongly opposed by the neighbouring community. Action: PH to decline the offer from Allan Gordon. 2.2) Local Transport Strategy Bruce Crawford, MSP, had raised with S-C the matter of subsidies to local bus services being withdrawn when the local communities had been given no opportunity to make representations. He had been advised that the urgency of the decision required had precluded any prior consultations with local communities, and that the Council had acted in accordance with its clearly stated priorities and in the context of severe financial restrictions. Difficult decisions had been taken but the Council was satisfied that the process used was reasonable and appropriate. SP suggested that this might be a matter that could be taken up by the Breadalbane Forum of CCs, so that careful research could be undertaken on the extent of the need in our local communities. If a good case could be made, it might be possible to re-instate some services at a future date. 3) Five Lochs Management SC explained that there had been numerous problems recently on the F-C car park and land at the Southern end of Strathyre. She mentioned flytipping, indiscriminate car parking, litter and fires in the car park. GA responded that the NP is looking at how to manage the public expectation that people have a right to access and ‘wild camping’. There is no simple solution. The management plan is five years old but itís likely to take ten or more years to tackle the problem owing to limited resources and the need for infrastructure improvements. FM asked whether any other complaints had been made to any of the authorities (police, N-P, or F-C). It was not clear whether or not this had been the case. He also commented on the fact that the N-P would be moving more resources into the area of the Five Lochs, once the situation at East Loch Lomond Side had improved. GA stated that more resources have been made available but they have reached their limit. Operation Ironworks can also be used but there are still large numbers of visitors to supervise. The N-P is looking at a different way of patrolling the area, spending less time with those campers and visitors who behave well, and concentrating on the rest. SC raised a concern about displacement of people, from the sites at Loch Lubnaig that are being refurbished, to Strathyre itself. GA responded that some research had been carried out and the figures of visitors to Strathyre showed very little deviation from those of last year. SC then made the point that those who caused the most problems tended only to arrive at dusk and were often gone by the following morning, but left substantial damage and litter in their wake. MM took up the point about litter, emphasising that this was the major problem in our communities, and that the authorities seemed unable to achieve any worthwhile solution. The question of using signs to advise people about the need to take litter home - and the penalties for not doing so - was discussed at length. The dangers of ìlittering the countryside with signsî and upsetting genuine visitors were noted. It was suggested that a subtle approach was generally more effective. FM suggested that it would be worth inviting David Hopper (S-C) to attend a future CC meeting to discuss the application of the Council’s litter policy. It would also be helpful to include someone from the N-P. FM then commented that the legislation concerning access and ìwild campingî needed to be reviewed. He suggested that the CC should write to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) which had drawn up the provisions originally. Other countries (such as Norway) had sensible restrictions on ìwild campingî such as not allowing it within one kilometre of a road. AB raised the question of ìclearwayî legislation. GA pointed out that some ìclearwaysî referred only to the carriageway itself, whereas others included the verges on each side, up to any boundary fence or marker. There are also differences between trunk roads (managed by Transport Scotland) and local roads (managed by Local Authorities). The question of a ban on alcohol in public places was then discussed. GA commented that this involves a lengthy process because the national government has an overview of all such bans, but, once in place, it is an extremely effective measure. FM suggested that any such application would carry more weight if several CCs could agree on the need for it, and were prepared to submit a joint application. In conclusion, it was decided that the CC should follow up the suggestions to make representations about clearways, revision of the access code and a ban on public consumption of alcohol. Finally, GA stated that the N-P anticipated handing over the newly renovated sites at Loch Lubnaig to local managers in August this year. He also reminded members of the new non-emergency contact number of ‘101’. Action: PH to invite S-C and N-P to next meeting. 4) Police Report WD reported that the police had dealt with 109 offences during the past month. There had been no disorder, but one theft of milk, an incident of vandalism, a drugs offence and numerous traffic violations. There had also been one serious road traffic collision and a number of minor ones. RM commented on a problem with the indiscriminate parking of motor-cycles in Strathyre. WD responded that road traffic officers had tackled this matter but met with the response that many other vehicles were parked on footpaths in the village. RM and SC pointed out that those on the same side of the road as the Inn & Bistro actually owned the frontage of their houses and so were parked on private land. It was acknowledged that this was not readily apparent to visitors. FM asked whether there had been any problems with abuse of air weapons. WD stated that he was not aware of any problems in this area recently, although there had been some issues in the vicinity of Loch Venacher. In conclusion, WD emphasised the need to contact the police about all problems that occurred. It is vital for the police to know the scale of what is happening, as this governs the number of resources that are made available to deal with them. PH mentioned a recent letter from the local police commander regarding a national review of the use of traffic wardens, and the opening hours of smaller police offices. WD stated that this was unlikely to affect the rural areas such as our own where officers regarded themselves as being more or less permanently ìon dutyî. 5) Lochearnhead Post Office PH mentioned having received a letter from Anne McGuire, MP, who was concerned at the impending loss of the post office in Lochearnhead. FM stated that the local councillors and MSP had also been in touch with the Post Office about the situation. However, it was clear that the main difficulty lay in finding a suitable person and premises to accommodate a post office. In large part, this was due to the fact that there was insufficient business to support a viable commercial venture. PH confirmed that a number of other businesses in the village had been approached with a view to incorporating the post office within their existing business - but all had declined to do so. The most likely outcome is that the Post Office will provide a regular van service to the village once the present premises have closed. 6) Killin Ambulance Station AB stated that he had rumours of the impending closure of the ambulance station at Killin. SP agreed, but said that staff usually operate now from Callander and that there had been talk of the ambulance and fire services sharing the same premises in Killin. Despite the fact that staff are not always based in Killin, recent events had shown that the service was working well. This was particularly true when the air ambulance was taken into consideration. This was being used to great effect, particularly in rural areas. AB expressed concern at the increasing centralisation of services but it was noted that, thus far, the ambulance service was sufficiently flexible to be able to meet a wide range of demand. 7) Correspondence 7.1) Monachyle Land Sale The F-C had asked for formal notification of any interest in the proposed sale of woodland at Monachyle (Balquhidder Glen). It was agreed that it would not be in the interests of the local community at present to acquire this land. Action: PH to write to F-C and decline this offer. 8) Planning Matters No notifications had been received. 9) Matters From Local Councillors 9.1) Road Closures. Two meetings with the Roads Team (S-C) about the recent closures at Killin and Callander had taken place. An agreement has been reached that where, in future, road closures are being considered, there will be a face-to-face meeting with the local CCs. 9.2) Angling Festival. Next year will see a national event taking place between 8-10th August. All three fishing disciplines will be represented and the central location for ‘Game Fishing’ will be United Auctions, Stirling. This will provide an excellent business opportunity for local providers of accommodation. 10) Any Other Competent Business 10.1) Community Council Elections These are due to take place in October this year and SP gave advance notice that S-C will provide a team of people to assist in the recruitment of people for CCs. There are currently two vacancies in the BLS CC (one in Strathyre and one in Balquhidder) and MM reported that KM would not be standing for re-election. 10.2) Catriona Oldham. Catriona had served for many years as treasurer to the CC and MM reported that she had recently passed away. This was noted with regret and several members commented on her long and dedicated service to the community in many different ways, not least as a community councillor. Condolences were expressed to her family and a debt of gratitude for all her contributions to community life was recorded. 10.3) Financial Grant. AB noted that a financial grant for the forthcoming year of the CC had been approved by S-C. There was no other business and, at 9:15 p.m., MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting is due to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 14th August 2013 in Balquhidder Village Hall.


McLaren High School News by Yvonne King

Sponsored Walk On Friday 24 May, in lovely sunshine with only a hint of a breeze, all of our S1 – S3 pupils were involved in the annual Sponsored Walk. The route took pupils across from the school into Coilhallan Wood. The footpath led the pupils through the forested area before joining Invertrossachs Road. The course was well stewarded by members of staff, with help from PC Steven Scott, Community Police Officer for Callander, PC Campbell Dunn and Community Warden Jonny McCulloch. The purpose of the walk was to raise funds to support the School’s wide range of additional pupil activities. Many thanks to all parents, family and neighbours who sponsored participants.

Total Wipeout!

John Gardner practising his camera

Sponsored Walk

Activities Week – Total Wipe-out For Activities Week we chose to take part in Total Wipeout. It was amazing! We did gorge walking, cliff jumping and played in the inflatable water park. On the first day we walked through a gorge, jumped into the Devil’s Pulpit and climbed and slid down waterfalls. On day 2 we went cliff jumping and had a picnic on the island. It was scary but we bravely jumped off a 19 foot cliff after having canoed our way there. The last day at the water park was our favourite day, we all had such a laugh and loads of fun. Back on dry land we had a BBQ, hot chocolate  and toasted marshmallows. A big thank you to all the staff who helped to organise the activity - Mrs Hamilton, Dr Fraser, Ms Marshall, Mr Mackie and everyone at Go Country. Jordan Anderson, Eirinn Blair, Noora Farah, Luke Davies and Stephen Roxburgh S3


Activities Week – Lights! Camera! Action!!! During Activities Week we were all shown how to script, story-board, shoot and edit a movie. The first day mainly consisted of going over camera concepts such as zooms, all the other camera motions, the use of long shots and close ups, and so on. It also included doing some film work to get used to the equipment we had. On the second day we worked on our story-boards and scripts for the movies we were going to be producing, and then we started to shoot scenes for our film. The last day was all about getting the film made. We had to finish shooting and start editing. As a followup we will held a mini Oscars in Mr Allan’s room to reveal our work. Gregor Flynn S3 16

In a League of Their Own - L to R Andrew Murphy, Alasdair Murphy, Connor Ramsay-Clapham, Curtis McGuire, Ewan MacLennan and Andrew King

Activities Week – In a League of Their Own During Activities Week I took part in ‘A League of Their Own’ which was a range of sports based at the school. On the Wednesday our teacher Mr Carrol took us on a bike ride round a circuit via Deanston and Thornhill. Then we played several games such as basketball and badminton in the afternoon. On the second day we completed another bike ride via Thornhill and Cock Hill and in the afternoon we ran/walked up the Craggs behind Callander. Finally on the Friday we made some healthy smoothies and played some more games. It was all great fun and we had brilliant weather! Connor Ramsay-Clapham S2

WW1 Battlefieds: L to R Carys McLean, Leah Graham, Jamie Sharp-Hunter and Callum Hall (piper) laying a wreath at Menin Gate, Ypres

Activities Week World War One Battlefields During activities week 43 pupils from S2 and S3 went to France and Belgium on the World War One Battlefields Trip. Below are excerpts from two reports from pupils who took part: On the way to Vimy Ridge I got the chance to visit my great-great-grandpa Corporal Norman Henry Petty’s grave. He was killed by a piece of flying shrapnel that went straight into his leg. He was rushed to the field hospital but they could not save him because they could not give him a blood transfusion and he died of his injuries on the 28th of September 1918 at just 26 years old. He was a member of the 52nd Canadian Battalion. His wife was not told of his death till the 17th of April 1919. It was very emotional time for me because I knew a lot about him and his family. Skye Campbell S3 McLaren High School PTA Bookstall On Saturday 1 June the sun shone for most of the day for the McLaren High School PTA bookstall. After much running around setting up tables and gazebos we were ready for a day of selling, chit chat and laughter. Both tourists and locals stopped to browse our fantastic range of books and have a chat and we managed to raise £231. We would like to extend thanks to Callander Primary School for the loan of the tables and gazebos and especially to those who supported us by donating books and coming along on the day to spend their hard earned pennies. Bracklinn House Captain - Stephanie Boyd. Vice captains - Will Cartwright and Jack

Fun on the Bookstall

Scottish Athletics Talent Identification Programme On 11 June 3 boys and 3 girls from S3 travelled to Grangemouth Stadium to take part in an Early Talent Identification Programme being promoted by Scottish Athletics. The purpose of the event was to try and identify pupils who may be suited to taking up a particular athletic event. Following registration and an introductory talk, the group was taken around a series of physical tests to identify potential strengths. Overall a great experience for the McLaren pupils, with the results reflecting that in terms of natural abilities - both Andrew King and Connor Clark were ranked in the top 30 in Scotland! Well done! Diving Duncan!

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Robyn Gets Gold! Robyn Dougall (aged 15) from Vorlich Road, Lochearnhead won gold at the Scottish Regional heat of the Royal Yachting Association Honda Rib Challenge 2013. This makes Robyn the RYA Honda Scottish Rib Champion. She competed at a specially laid course at Strathclyde Park on Sunday 9th June against kids from across Scotland i.e. Findhorn, St Andrews, and Strathclyde, to mention a few. Robyn will now go to the British finals in Southampton on 15th September (at the Southampton Boat Show) to represent the Royal Forth Yacht Club and the Scottish region. She will face tough competition from 9 English regions and youths from Ireland, Guernsey and Wales. The winner of the challenge in the British final gets a 4.8 metre Ribcraft with a Honda 60 hp engine for the club she is representing. She was competing in one of the forty miles an hour powerboats which the RYA are touring the country with. Â The RYA Honda Rib Challenge is now in its 11th year and is designed to get youngsters onto the water and encourages safe and controlled handling of the powerboat. The challenge is a timed event that gets the competitors slaloming between buoys, 180 degree speed turns, emergency stops to lift a lifebelt off a pole, 360 degree reversing around a buoy and a sprint to the finish. Robyn blasted home a full 20 seconds faster than her nearest rival with a time of 1 min 23 seconds. This time included a 5 second penalty for shipping water over the back of the boat in her fast reverse. The senior group in which Robyn competed were all aged between 13 and 16 years and the junior group were 8-12 years. Second place went to 16 year old Kirsty Whyte making the top two places going to girls this year. Robyn is no stranger to this event having won the Scottish Regional heat in 2010


Congratulations, Robyn!

becoming the Scottish Junior Rib Champion aged just 12. She went on to the British final where she came 7th out of 14 due to the kill cord coming out in the middle of the race stopping the boat for a few second. She is looking forward to heading south again to meet the challenge once more with her eyes set firmly on going for gold. Â Robyn is experienced in sailing both dinghies and yachts and sails her Topper from both Loch Earn and the Royal Forth Yacht Club on the Forth.

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 recalls stories from his schooldays...

If anyone has read Roald Dahl’s book Danny the Champion of the World it is a wee story about a small boy who finds out that his father is a bit of a poacher, though in this case an honourable one. It puts me in mind of a certain school report from the early fifties in which the English teacher had written “This boy will never be any good at this subject. All he ever writes about is bird nesting and catching rats.” An indication of my formative years perhaps. But in those days what else could a lone country schoolboy do? There was a bicycle (with solid tyres), a bow and arrow and an air gun. Sparrows in those days he  would not go near them again as he were a farm plague and had a bounty believed they had put a spell on him, of a penny a head; the farm cat was a because since then he had been a bit constant companion on each foray and ‘muggled’ (confused). would retrieve from a roof or gutter (self- Village schoolboys, during the interest, of course). summer holidays and at weekends when So here are a few ‘poacher’s tales’ of the not catching newts and tadpoles, would old days in the countryside... the contest sometimes have an ambition to catch between a gamekeeper and a poacher, and a rabbit. They were quite expert with the wrong sort of gypsy who would  not a ‘cattie’ ‘or ‘dobber’ (catapult) made be averse  to ‘snitching’ (stealing) a few from a forked hazel branch and strips things. of bicycle  tyre inner tube, and  which, if I remember we had a field of not confiscated by the village ‘Bobby’, potatoes alongside the road, and here and with a well-aimed stone could sometimes there would appear wilted potato tops. It ‘nab’ (kill) a rabbit as it crouched in its was always a few days after the caravan seat. Snaring was another way where the dwellers had snitched the spuds and rabbits had a well-worn ‘run’ from their carefully put the tops back in the soil so burrow to a feeding area. Remember in as not to make it obvious until later; by those days just after the war a rabbit was then they had moved on. worth ‘five bob’ (25p) and represented On one occasion our village policeman pocket money for a month or more. on his bicycle was asked to warn a family Another way I heard of, but of gypsies not to misbehave, but later never dared to try, was to thread a raisin

Right and below left: Dennis the Menace and friend demonstrate their ‘catties’; below: the ‘sweet science’ of boxing

on a length of strong thread and place this near the village pond which was the home of feral ducks. Being very fond of raisins a greedy duck would swallow the raisin and be captured on the thread. Sometimes, because ducks have a  sort of` ‘straight-through digestive system’ it would pass the raisin right through and another duck would greedily swallow it too so occasionally there could be two ducks with one raisin - a great bonus for naughty schoolboys! The local gamekeeper was always looking for ways to deter poachers from his pheasants. There was one who used to hang large fish hooks from low branches, at about head height along the approach route that he knew the poachers would take. He told us that sometimes there would be bits of skin on a hook - it must have been a great deterrent in the dark. Alarm guns loaded with a blank cartridge attached to trip wires were also used. Another story I heard of was about a famous local estate, where, if a poacher was caught, he would be taken up to the Hall and detained there until His Grace, who was at that time The Viceroy of India (and a renowned boxer), was informed and  ready. The unfortunate poacher would be taken down into a lower level of the hall known as ‘Caesars Palace’, which had huge marble columns and a marble floor with flaming torches on iron stands - and four gamekeepers to form the four corners of a ring. The captive was held there until the Viceroy appeared, stripped to the waist. Now if the poacher could go four rounds against his grace he was released. If not, then it was to be ‘up the steps’ in court. One can imagine the poacher’s fear of this test, with all the drama and the setting, rather like a film set - a terrifying punishment. Apparently this was how his grace obtained some of his practice for the ring! Rough justice indeed. I well recall the Viceroy presenting prizes at our speechday - and urging the headmaster to encourage boxing as character building for the boys! Old Nyati 19


Our Season for 2013 continues...

Sundays at 7pm at Balquhidder Church 4th August - Feargus Hetherington and Olga Gorelik (violin and piano) 11 August - Tim Kliphuis Trio (violin, guitar, double bass) 18 August - Joseph Fleetwood (piano) More details on the website: Singing is Good for You!

Choir Occasional will be starting up again this autumn - date to be confirmed. (Gill Allan 384203)

Exercise... with a Giggle and a Cuppa! Join the

Lochearnhead Ladies Keep Fit-ish class for all ages.

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Move at your own pace and ability to a variety of alternating aerobics, toning and Salsa videos by Rosemary Connelly. Line dancing classes are demonstrated by Rita every 3rd week. Enjoy tea, coffee and a chin wag as part of the warm down (biscuits too... shhhh!) Excellent value at just £2.50 per class. Funds pay for hall hire and residues buy Christmas and summer lunches for regular attendees.  Day trippers, holidaymakers and neighbouring villagers will be made very welcome. For more information email or simply turn up at Lochearnhead Village Hall on Tuesdays at 10.30.   Classes resume September 3rd, 2013. Hope to see you there! Kim Proven

Callander Photo Club Dates for 2013-14

Callander Photo Club has grown from our first meeting in May of 2012. We now have an active list of 25 members and are busily making plans for our second year of activities beginning in September. We are a relaxed friendly group with goals of learning more about our cameras and the art of photography. Please join us as we grow and develop! Meetings are in the back room of the Waverley Hotel on Callander Main Street at 7:30 pm on the second Wednesday of each month. Dates are as follows: 11 September 9 October 13 November 11 December Details of meeting plans will appear in the September issue of the Ben Ledi View and in other local publications. We look forward to seeing you in September.

Weddings in the Glen

Catherine and Lewis, with little Alexander

On a cold but sunny Saturday in midApril, Lewis Walker, whose parents have a house in Balquhidder, married his beautiful bride Catherine Bain in Balquhidder Parish Church. Lewis and Catherine live and work in Aberdeen with their 2 year old son Alexander Lewis as an anaesthetist and Catherine as a Public Health Nurse. They met when both were working in the Intensive Care Unit in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in 2006. The first time they visited the church in Balquhidder, on a very sunny day in April 2010, Catherine fell in love with it and dreamt that if ever she got married it would be there in springtime. Families and friends spent a wonderful wedding weekend celebrating with Lewis and Catherine at Monachyle Mhor.

On a glorious June day seven weeks after Lewis and Catherine’s wedding, Lewis’s younger sister Emily (on the left in the photo above) ‘tied the knot’ with her fiancée Alyson Calder in a civil partnership ceremony held down by the Calair in a meadow opposite her parents’ house. Emi and Aly met as medical students at Aberdeen University and both now work as anaesthetists in Glasgow. After the formality of the ceremony, the brides were delighted to welcome neighbours from Balquhidder to join them in a celebratory glass of bubbles and canapés provided by Mhor to Your Door before they headed off with family and friends to Altskeith House on Loch Ard for a reception and party.


From our Beijing Correspondent...

New York, London, Paris, Munich? No -Yangon, Pyongyang, Sanya, Ulaanbaatar... far more unusual! Since our last communique we have been topping up the passport entries... so much so that we have both had to get new ones as others are full... in just 3 years! In our last year in Asia, we had to make a shortlist - and Myanmar was at the top. Fortunately we had a great contact in Yangon (old Rangoon) who runs a Tour Agency - he’s the son of the previous Burmese Defence Attaché here. Even with the very recent upheavals in the country we decided to take the chance... and neither heard nor saw anything. We visited the Shwe Da Gon pagoda, coated in six tons of gold and bedecked with priceless diamonds; had dinner in the House of Memories, a beautiful old colonial building which was the office of hero-worshipped General Aung San; passed his famous daughter’s house: then flew in a twin-prop to Heho; drove to Kalaw... where we met a guide and began a 2 day trek. The deep-red terrain was virtually all farmed and devoid of trees. We walked from village to village, meeting the delightful, hard working locals (I wanted to adopt a grandmother who produced wonderful woven head scarfs, which they all wear... she was thrilled with a pair of earrings I offered her). We stayed at a monastery and woke to the novice Monks chanting at daybreak... 5am...(pity they weren’t in unison); stayed in a ‘home-stay’ (with the communal wash station and toilet outside) and woke to a scooter being started up... reaching our river destination as two redheaded, red-bodied, red-shoed dirtbags! On route to our luxury night on an island in Inle Lake, Duncan had to get out of our boat and assist Images from Tania & Duncan’s the two boys who had waded across to push us out of the mud due to low tide. We visited members of many and varied experiences during their last year in the Far East the Nam Hu Long-neck tribe (fortunately now very few) and watched the local leg-paddling fishermen. Sunset was glorious over the lake... we were at last clean-bodied (with a slight reddish tinge!) and cocktails in hand. Mandalay was delightful - Hindu temples, stupas and pagodas galore! I bought a chunk of teak, much to Duncan’s bemusement. And another Nat entered his life... only this one was made of wood. We were woken by the Muslim Muezzin. Another boat trip, this time for 9 hours, took us down the Irrawaddy River (didn’t catch sight of any dolphins), past thousands of stupas and temples, to Bagan. Although, unfortunately, an earthquake in the ‘70s toppled hundreds of old Bagan temples, most have been/are being sensitively refurbished. Standing on top of one all that can be seen, for miles, are others... with a few goat herders wandering through the scrubland below. We spent a few days trying to explore as many of the original ones as possible, containing carefully preserved ancient sculptures and drawings. Magical. More next month on our wanderings. But - stop press news...! We will not be returning to Balquhidder later this year as we thought. Duncan has got his next posting... but where? Read next month’s Villagers to find out! Tania Francis 22


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BLS Trust update

There have been lots of good things happening with the BLS Trust over the last few months. The Trust has been working with Iain Ramsay-Clapham of the Ramsay Group on the creation of a website that can be accessed now at www.blscommunity As part of the branding of the website, we held a competition to design a new logo for the Trust, that was open to all the children at Strathyre Primary School. The competition was judged by Robert Tindall from Strathyre – thank you for your time, Robert. He chose Lottie Hesp’s design which is now being incorporated into the new website. Congratulations to Lottie, who wins vouchers for two great outings – to the Wildlife Centre at Auchingarrich and the Toy Museum in Callander. The Directors of the Trust are continuing to work on various local projects, trying to put funding in place to get them off the ground. This is a tough job in the current climate. The Trust does not have any funds put by, but has to approach grant bodies and organise fundraisers to get the money together to make things happen. At the moment, we are: Putting in grant applications for the refurbishment of Strathyre Tennis Court in association with Strathyre Village Association... Working with Stirling Council to improve the play facilities in Strathyre... Working with Scottish Ambulance Service to start a First Responder Unit across all three villages to provide support to local people while they are waiting for the emergency services to arrive. We already have an anonymous donation of £1000 to enable us to purchase our piece of kit – a rucksack for the First Responder Team to carry. The first training course will be organised soon ... Aiming to obtain funds for the siting of a defibrillator in each village... ... and working with Choir Occasional to make sure they are properly equipped via a grant from Stirling Council.

Farm Forum: Making hay while the sun shines I don’t think I ever remember seeing so much hay and silage cut at the one time as in the last week or two! The Carse of Stirling – one of the foremost hay making areas – had hardly a blade of hay left standing. Incidentally the Carse used to be famous for producing very strong Timothy hay that supplied some of the racing stables in the South. It is very unusual in Scotland to cut hay on say a Monday and decide then to bale it on Friday – one usually has to cut a wee bit and spend the next few days watching the weather forecast with the tractor engine running! Since I last put finger to keyboard, quite a lot of water has passed under the bridge (metaphorically speaking!) One of the more important bits of agro political news in recent weeks was the announcement at the very end of June that agreement on the reform of Europe’s Common Agricultural policy was finally reached, as the Irish led EU Presidency made good on its promise to thrash out a deal before the end of its term in office. The final text of the agreement will not be released for some months yet and they will be what I would call “heads of agreement”. It is only after this document is digested that the real work will begin at a more local level. It does appear that more country by

We recently received a donation of £217 from a quiz night held by St Angus Church Lochearnhead at the Watersports Centre there, to put towards the siting of a defibrillator in the village which will be accessible to everyone, whether resident or tourist. This is a great start and so thank you to all who went along and contributed to the success of the Quiz Night. The picture above shows Fiona Martin, one of the Trust’s Directors, receiving the cheque from Mary Barclay, Vestry Secretary of St. Angus’s. The Community Action Plan has taken a huge amount of effort, both from Trust

country flexibility has been built in and whether or not this can all be delivered to schedule is still open to question. One unfortunate and obvious fact is that, in austerity Europe, no matter what new mechanisms emerge to deliver EU cash at farm level, the overall budget will be down. Now to a different story with a happy ending. Some climbers came off the hill about two weeks ago and reported that they had lost their dog – a small mongrel with a collar and a distinctive red harness. Despite searching for the dog nothing was heard or seen until Saturday, ‘JoJo’ a fortnight later, when a dog fitting the description was seen at Monachyle Tuarach. The owners were contacted and came from Glasgow and managed to find the dog. Not surprisingly it was very thin and also had a broken leg suggesting it had had a bad fall which probably explained its original disappearance. Incidentally the dog had travelled about seven miles from where it was last Agricola seen. Directors and from others in each of the three villages in recent months. Everyone in the three villages will have had the opportunity to contribute whether by voicing their opinion in questionnaires or by attending one of the events held in each village. This action plan will identify the projects that residents would like to see taken forward over the next few months. It is essential to keep this plan up-to date so that funders can see that the community has had its say in deciding what projects are the focus of the Trust and other local bodies. The action plan launch will take place at Mhor 84 on 29 August 2013. Please come along and get involved. Don’t wait to be asked! Also the BLS Community Trust AGM will take place at the Action Plan Launch at 8pm. If the projects above or any others spark your interest and you would like to get involved, please contact: Sarah Gibson 01877 384654 or Sara Hesp 01877 384799. Please also visit us on facebook and twitter - and check out our new website 23

1&2 JUNE 2013

Summer 2013 really got started over that first sunny weekend in June when Balvaig - a group of local musicians staged an astonishingly adventurous event in the shape of Strathyre Music Festival - a coming together of some 60 acts to play many types of music. From Members of Choir Occasional from folk to jazz, from rock to choral, from Big Balquhidder relax outside Festival H Band to the Pipes - they were all there venue Mhor 84 and with clowns, storytelling, crafts and H workshops, it really was a fantastic piece ‘Get A Grip’ piping duo: ... and Kieran McNicol Duncan McDonald... of organisation. Most of the action took place at The Inn at Strathyre, with other venues the Village Hall, Mhor 84, The Creagan, and several H tents! Jane Booth of Balvaig Musicians from far and wide Adriana Spina Callander Barbers took part - from the four corners of H Scotland, from England, Ireland, and of course we have a wealth of talent on our own doorstep. More than a dozen of the acts were from our four villages. Here are a few of the images from a really wonderful weekend. Here’s to Balvaig’s the next one - in 2014! Edinburgh band The Deadly Winters







Festival hosts, Balvaig!


Tommy Anderson


Magi McGlynn

H H Local band Caol Déan

Balvaig’s Stevie Black



Kenny Higgins, Balvaig









H 24


Jan & Beth

Dwight and Jo-Ann Pereira



Operation Ironworks The summer season is well and truly upon us - and thanks to the holidays and the glorious weather we are currently basking in, the number of incidents (reported to us) traditionally rises.   Most of the reports that we are receiving relates to campers and vehicles parked on verges. I have personally been contacted by  some of the  residents in the area, either by phone or email reporting concerns. We understand  some of the concerns raised regarding the impact of  camping and parking  issues however; the vast majority of the people we come across are committing no offences.   Regarding ‘wild campers’: at the last community council meeting we were given some very informative input by Graham Archibald from the National Park. He quite rightly pointed out that there is no definition of a wild camper and this is something that the National Park is hoping to address with the Scottish Government. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code does permit people to ‘wild camp’, and create a small fire for cooking and/or heating.   Along with the other local officers, I am dedicated to Operation Ironworks every weekend and I work alongside our partner agencies at the National Park and Forestry Commission. Anti-social behaviour of any kind will not be tolerated in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park area. To that end, there are extra police officers patrolling until the early hours of the morning, and we are working with our colleagues in other departments such as the Dog Section and the Roads Policing Unit to approach issues from several angles.   We are very fortunate to live in one of the most spectacular parts of the country and that is why the area is such a big attraction to so many people from all corners of the globe. The police are working to make people and their families feel safe in the area so that they can enjoy it as much as possible; those who arrive

intent on spoiling it for others or committing a crime will be dealt with robustly. We also have to bear in mind that the majority of the businesses in the area are reliant on the visitors to the National Park and that is something we need to continue by encouraging everyone to behave responsibly and enjoy the area.   The courts  take our reports of incidents from within the National Park very seriously and on the very few occasions where an individual has been arrested as a result of their antisocial behaviour, the  courts  have implemented bail conditions preventing people from entering the National Park, which is an incredibly effective message - and again sends a clear message that irresponsible or anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.   One of the biggest issues over the past few weekends has been the number of cars which have parked on the verges alongside Loch Lubnaig. Due to a combination of the Glasgow Fair, fantastic weather and the closure of the two Lubnaig sites, the area quickly became saturated with visitors who took to parking on the verges. In the main, the majority of the vehicles committed no offences by parking on the verge; however several drivers were spoken to regarding the manner of where they parked and were requested to move their vehicle - or face being charged and their vehicle being towed away!   The situation is being closely monitored by the police and regular patrols are carried out on the A84 throughout the day and any issues are dealt with. Looking ahead, we are currently exploring all engineering and legislative options to manage the stopping and parking of vehicles on the verges of this section of the A84 and will update residents in due course.    My colleagues and I are working tirelessly alongside our partner agencies, to make visitors to this area feel safe so that they will in turn recommend it to others, and in the process are working to reduce the levels of

Real Ale - Real Music

Loch Lubnaig

antisocial behaviour that was previously seen on our lochsides. We appreciate the assistance of the local residents and often rely on you to make us aware of potential issues. I would encourage you to call us as soon as possible on 101 if someone begins causing problems, and we will attend and deal with the matter. Matters of note Over the last month or so, there have been one or two incidents of note in Lochearnhead, and I would ask if you know of any information about them, to get in touch with me so that they can be nipped in the bud.   Firstly, persons forced entry to the Lochearnhead Scout Hall overnight and caused damage inside. This site is valuable to the groups that use it and there appears to be no reason for the damage other than malice. There is historical value in the site and the scout group does well to maintain it to its current standard. It provides a focal point and tourist attraction for the village.   In the last week, the iconic sea plane at Lochearnhead was also vandalized on the night of the Highland Games. It is incidents like this that bring bad reputations to events, and I would not like to see the reputation of the games affected by a group of mindless vandals. Thankfully, our investigations show so far that it was visitors that caused the damage and they will be dealt with in the near future.   On a more positive note, I was glad to have been involved in the Highland Games this year and look forward to being involved in the years to come. It was a really successful day from my point of view, and there were only 2 minor incidents that I had to get involved in. It’s amazing the effect it can have by having a quiet word in someone’s ear! No paperwork for me - and no day in court for them! Everyone that I spoke to was in fine spirits and they appeared to enjoy themselves. I would like to congratulate the committee on putting on a well-organized event. Long may it continue.   As always, I would invite you to get in touch to discuss any matters with me where I can provide any advice or assistance. I like to encourage feedback from my communities on what we are doing right, or where we can improve so feel free to get in touch.  I  can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at Regards, PC Will Diamond



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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................................

Cheques for advertising and mail order subscriptions should be made out to: The BLS Newspaper Association




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

Other Contacts...

Alistair Barclay Photographer & Advertising Coordinator Dalvaich, Glenbeich Lochearnhead FK19 8PZ 01567 830453

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 Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 -11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am - 12.30pm (Contact Abbey Arkotxa 01877 384671) Badminton - Balquhidder Hall - 8.00pm Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am-12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00-9.00pm Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon 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 14 18 23 30 31

St. Angus Service - Balquhidder Church - 6pm - see p.8 Lochearnhead Fête - 1pm - see p.2 Treasure Hunt - starting from Lochearnhead Hall car park - 6.30pm - see p.8 U3A Enrolment (2pm) and AGM (3pm) - Callander Youth Project - see p.8 Horticultural Society Annual Show - Lochearnhead Village Hall 2pm - 4pm - see p.2


Lochearnhead Keep Fit resumes - see p.20 Lochearnhead 25th Anniversary Party - 2 - 5pm - see p.2

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 Mobile 07824 496 019

01786 443497

CHURCH SERVICES Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St. Fillans CHURCH OF SCOTLAND Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316 Sunday 12 noon Minister: Rev John Lincoln The Manse, Killin Tel: 01567 820 247 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 First and third Sundays of the month: Holy Communion at 11.15am. Second and fourth Sundays of the month: Evensong at 6.00pm Fifth Sunday of the month: please see church noticeboard.

Monday Refuse Collections August 5th August: Brown bins 12th August: Grey

19th August: Brown

26th August: Grey

Vestry Secretary - Mary Barclay Tel: 01567 830453

The villagers aug2013 lo res  

The Voice of Balquhidder, Strathyre, Lochearnhead and St Fillans. This month- featuresThe BLS Highland Games Lochearnhead and The, Scottis...

The villagers aug2013 lo res  

The Voice of Balquhidder, Strathyre, Lochearnhead and St Fillans. This month- featuresThe BLS Highland Games Lochearnhead and The, Scottis...