Page 1



Price 50p

The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

Lochearnhead Highland Games 2016

Read the report on pages 8/9

Editor’s Bit Perhaps this column could be retitled Mystic Mutterings - as my prediction about a spell of good weather for around the middle of the month did in fact materialise! What I failed to predict, though, was a coup happening on the Friday night in Turkey, where we were heading as part of our holiday... Our absence did, however, ensure great weather for the Highland Games, which, according to various sources, was another great success. So Alex and Gus can decide for next year if they want David and me to help in the bar - or whether they would prefer a sunny, dry day! Lots still to do over the next few weeks of summer - including getting the bike legs in peak condition if you are intending to take part in the Bike Fest in Balquhidder, or visit all the sculptures still on show in our area - or, if paintings are more your thing, visiting the new Riverside Art Gallery near Comrie where I believe very local artists’ work can be seen and hopefully purchased. In a previous edition our Minister, June, had written about the joy of the weddings in Balquhidder Church. We would love to include happy photos from such occasions. Are you a proud parent of a graduate, for example? Thanks Catriona for your photo of Joe for this month. Thanks to Rory Gilchrist for his lovely photo of the deer trying to go to church; a particularly fortunate photo as it gave our regular correspondent a well-deserved month off. It would be great to have a few more people willing to write even a oneoff article: a moan or rant, a photo, a book review, recipe or route for a favourite walk... please give it some thought and make it your middle of the year resolution to submit something before the end of 2016. The weather will probably be turning wet soon - particularly around the middle of the month, when we have the grandchildren to entertain for a week! JJ

Child-minder wanted, Balquhidder To look after 1 year old in my own home, two nights per week (Monday & Thursday) 4.30pm - 9.30pm.

Must have experience with young children and a full clean driving licence.

For more info call Joanne: 07887503577


Rory and Ollie wait patiently for donations of books about dogs.

Makeover for Callbox Next time you’re passing the Village Hall in Balquhidder, take a closer look at the telephone box!

It’s been given a complete overhaul with a lovely new red paint job - but it’s also been given a new lease of life. Inside you’ll find shelves containing a small but eclectic selection of books, which anyone is welcome to peruse and make an ‘exchange’. Thanks to Rod Blain for the fit-out, and David Johnson for the very smart decor. So if you’re out for a walk, take with you an unwanted book (good condition is best!) and exchange it for another. It’s a great way to share a good read. And there’s a donation box at the hall door if you feel moved to make a contribution!

Congratulations to Joe Howells on his First Class Honours degree in Journalism from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. Joe is a former pupil at Strathyre Primary School and McLaren High School. A big well done from all of the Catriona MacGeoch family!

The St Fillans Bit

by Isobel Howell

Kay Naitby

Katy Light (standing on the left) with villagers. Photo courtesy of Andrea Hudspeth

There has been a flurry of fund raising in the village, with one such activity having been prompted by the sad and tragic death of the MP, Jo Cox, a few months ago. Whilst Jo lived and worked in West Yorkshire, her life became recognised, posthumously, all over the country. On 22nd June St Fillans’ resident, Katy Light, held a coffee morning in honour of Jo, who’s birthday it would have been on that day. It was also Katy’s daughter, Jenny’s birthday the same day (Jenny being exactly the same age as Jo would have been) and Katy thought it would be a poignant occasion to remember Jo and raise money for Oxfam, for whom both Jo and Jenny worked. Thanks to Katy and everyone who went along and donated - a total of £130 was raised. On a lighter note, and continuing with the fund raising theme, on Saturday 28th May a coffee morning was held on behalf of the Church for Christian Aid week. Held in the Sandison Hall, the event was well attended and £390 was raised, which when added to the door to door collection of £202.13, makes a combined total of £592.13 (just to prove I can do sums). Elma Brierley wishes to give a huge thank you to everyone who collected and donated. Last month I promised that this month’s ‘Bit’ would include a feature article on a local villager, so this month I decided to turn the spotlight on Kay Naitby. Kay works alongside her husband, Dave, in their boat manufacturing/selling business, Arran Boats. When Kay is not helping in the business, in her spare time she enjoys painting and drawing, as well as photography. It is Kay’s artwork and

artistic skills that made me want to find out more about the person behind the paintings. Growing up in Middlesbrough, Kay had always enjoyed drawing and after leaving school she attended Cleveland College where she studied art and design. However, after eighteen months, she became fed up of being a hard-up student and decided to leave college to pursue a career that would provide her with an income. Her love of art always prevailed, though, and she always found time to paint and draw, even whilst raising two sons. Fast forward several years and it is only recently that we have seen her skills in the public domain; Kay is responsible for creating and painting the decorative signage to the windows and artwork

additions inside the Village Store. Here, you will also find her detailed, lifelike drawings of birds framed on the walls and her pictures of scenes of the area which she took with her camera. The one piece that Kay is most proud of is her latest project, a painting of St Fillans from west to east. This depicts the houses and buildings along the main road from The Four Seasons Hotel to Glenalbyn Cottage on the corner of Station Road. Kay’s abilities are not limited to wildlife and buildings, though, and she often draws and paints portraits of people, infact she is often asked to undertake commissions of people’s loved ones (both human and four-legged). I wanted to know what is the most unusual thing that she’s been asked to draw or paint. In Kay’s own words: ““I don’t think I’ve been asked to paint anything out of the ordinary really. Lots of people ask for portraits of people who have passed away. This is an unusual task as sometimes the pictures are old and tiny and they would like the picture to be very large. By the end of the process you have invested hours Continued overleaf


The St Fillans Bit

Continued from previous page

and hours in work before you are happy. It’s a real honour to have a commission like this as you know every freckle, scar, dimple, blotch; you really do feel like you know the person once you hand the piece over. The reaction of the person who has asked for the portrait is usually in tears then you know you have captured them”. As one who has not been gifted with the artistic gene myself, I asked Kay how much does she think is down to natural talent and how much is through practising and learning? Kay’s answer; “Being artistic is both nature and nurture - I’d say fifty/fifty. You can be ok at drawing but practice does produce objects which are more pleasing to the eye. Anyone can draw, everyone should draw - for me I find it extremely relaxing”. (So there’s hope for me yet). I wondered what style of art does Kay prefer (classical, modern, etc.). Kay thinks “Art is such an individual choice. Personally I like pieces which move me, whether old or new, classical or modern. I like art that shows a real understanding of form, colour, medium etc. Oh I hate cubism!” I guess there are no Picasso’s hanging on Kay’s walls in that case. So what is Kay’s favourite piece of artwork (by another artist)? Well, it’s a sculpture by Degas called Little Dancer, which Kay saw in a gallery in London which she says is lifesize and “stunning”. Kay undertakes commissions (under the name Perthshire Portraits) and her portfolio includes portraits of people (from babies to the not so young), pets, ponies, wildlife and still life drawing. If you are interested in Kay’s artwork or photography, please contact her through her Facebook page, Perthshire Portraits, or through email at A limited number of prints of her painting St Fillans West to East are also available to buy. The Achray House Hotel played host to a wedding at the beginning of July, which saw the happy couple being married on the hotel’s foreshore. Villager Richard Graham skippered the hotel’s boat and brought the bride and her brother to the ceremony, and decorated the boat with ribbons and flowers to make the experience more memorable. Brad is pleased to report that their Sunday lunches are going very well – they had anticipated a slow start but they’ve been well supported and had eighteen guests on 17th July. Meanwhile, at the Four Seasons Hotel, chef, Ben Mailer, is celebrating the changing seasons and his theme is Focus on Food which is highlighting excellent Scottish produce (so Mary tells me). A sample menu could include: home cured (with Hendricks gin) salmon with tonic and lime jelly, loin of wild boar and 4

“St Fillans West to East” painting and photo by Kay Naitby

Richard Graham with the bride and her brother. Photo courtesy of Bradley Sol

summer berry stack. Their “excellent value” Sunday roast lunches and cream teas, (the latter of which are served daily), are also available. Finally, don’t forget that this month

sees the return of the

St Fillans Festive Weekend

on 13th and 14th August. Tickets can be purchased from any one of The Festive Committee members, who are Don Forrester, Richard Graham, Jo Steventon, Bruce Montgomery, Dave Pryde and Steve Howell.

Glenorchy Farm

Free range rare breed pork for sale

We sell fresh pork as 1/2 pigs (20kg) and 1/4 pigs (10kg) every 3 months. Next available - August 2016. We also sell frozen sausage and bacon packs - £25. We can arrange drop off points in the local area.

Contact: Fiona MacLennan t: 07783116399 e: facebook: Glenorchy Farm

Broadband Update 2017

Ronnie tells The Telegraph about the broadband problem in the Glen In a world where uncertainty and idiocy seem to be the new normal, we know we can rely on one thing: the slow-moving nature of British (and Scottish) bureaucracy. We are though, however belatedly, now in the 30-day State Aid Public Consultation window during which commercial operators can rock up and say if they’re planning to do anything in the area. Given that our repeated representations to BT over the years have come to naught and that other commercial operators have refused to consider us – not least for fear of BT deliberately running a ‘spoiler’ project – it seems fairly unlikely that anything will interrupt progress. Once that’s over, after 5 August, we should be in a position to agree final funding packages from Community Broadband Scotland, Stirling Council and LEADER and then go ahead with a series of procurements under PCS (sorry, more acronyms, this one being Public Contracts Scotland). That will give us the contract for Balquhidder glen’s connection to the wider internet, access to the materials we need to lay a network in the glen, the funding for costs and expenses in doing so and access to the training and specialist services we need to make it happen. We’ve had repeated assurances from CBS and their retained consultants that this will be able to happen this year, but experience suggests that we not hold our collective breath. A Small Piece of the Big Picture That doesn’t however mean that nothing’s happening: far from it. We now have our near-final network design, subject to final tweaking and refinement, so we know how much fibre we’ll need, where it’s going to go and how much it will cost. We’ve been in discussion with the funding bodies to see how best to structure things and we’ve been looking for commercial sponsorship to keep us going: this project really requires a full-time team and trying to cope with the massive delays is costing us dearly in terms of volunteer time. Moving on, those people who’ve indicated that they’re in a position to help out will be contacted shortly as we continue planning what happens and when, and those of you whose land will be crossed by the fibre will be contacted individually to discuss route and permissions.

Now that the dust has settled following this year’s Strathyre Music Festival, it is time to do some serious fund raising; no yawning or moaning! Although most of our revenue comes from The Balvaig Bar and ticketing, there is always a deficit to be made up so that we can meet the full financial cost of our Festival for the following year. In order to address this deficit, we will be organising two fund raising events this side of Christmas. The first one is on Friday 5th August in the Village Hall. This is being organised and run by Wullie Dalziel; a man who seems to need no prompting when money has to be raised. The evening will begin with a quiz; the first prize being two free tickets to hear Balvaig playing in The Inn at Strathyre. This will be followed by whisky curling and maybe an auction providing we are in the position of having something to auction. The evening will be rounded off with a good old sing song, courtesy of top local band Balvaig; please don’t let this put you off coming. Normal licensing rules apply, BYOB. The second event is a bottle stall. This will be held in Ancaster Square, Callander, on 10th September, from 10.00am to 4.00pm. Music will be provided in the afternoon by Balvaig; you can’t get away from them. With this in mind, can you drop of any bottles you have gathering dust in the back of the sideboard, wardrobe or other cupboards. The Village Shop is ready and waiting to accept your kind donations. I realise we are only one of a number of organisations who continually beg your generosity but I’m sure of those of you who come to The Festival and enjoy it, you may say it is a small price to pay.

Mike Keeney Chairman, Strathyre Music Festival Committee

Digging Holes for Publicity We’ve also had a fair bit of media interest: Following our recent appearances on BBC Radio 4, a journalist from the Daily Telegraph spent a couple of days here recently, doing a piece for their weekend supplement on both our being a community with dreadful broadband and one that’s actively doing something about it. That should appear sometime soon. And Bill Jamieson has just written a piece on us in August’s Scottish Field magazine. The latter appears to have been edited rather heavily but still gets the gist across.


Kirkton Quarry Big Bang!

If you heard a rather loud explosion during July in the vicinity of Balquhidder, don’t worry - it was just quarry work taking place up at Kirkton. No need to build an Anderson shelter!

Volunteers Wanted

The Balquhidder Bike Fest -

is a fun event for all ages. If you can help in any way or simply wish to know more please contact David Johnston or Iain Ramsay-Clapham. David Johnston 01877 384227 Iain Ramsay-Clapham 01877 384648

Real Ale - Real Music




Our Highland Games Saturday 23rd July 2016

A classic Highland Games took place at Ben Ouhr field in Lochearnhead, which has become our home. Fine weather gave locals and particularly tourists all the incentive needed for a day out. In they came and Liz Kelly and her gate team worked so hard meeting all our customers with a smile as they emptied their purses. Behind them our hard working car park volunteers hadn’t a quiet moment. Spectators arrived from noon to find the ring surrounded by trade stands, hospitality tents and lots of activity in the arena. The ‘heavies’ turned up in good numbers and large crowds enjoyed their competition from the outset. Jean Swanston, always


so organised, had a great number of dance entrants for that essential element of our programme. Our Scottish atmosphere was completed by our solo piping competitors playing at each corner of the ground. We were up and running. Every show must have a star of course. We were honoured when Anne Cameron agreed to be chieftain of our Games this year. Anne has attended more than sixty years of Games in Lochearnhead maintaining the tradition established when her late husband Ewan resurrected the event in 1947, just after the war. Has any other Games had a lady chieftain? I know of none. Anne led the March into the field to formally open the gathering, accompanied by Clan Chiefs of

MacGregor, MacLaren, Stewart of Ardvorlich and MacNab with family and friends from around the world. This year, and for the first time in my memory, the Provost of Stirling attended the day. Thank you Mike Robbins and your wife Jayne, for staying on to mix with our friends from all over the world. One heavy event games record was broken in the 48lb weight for distance, where Sinclair Patience threw 50ft 3 inches - that’s five feet further than the old record! Shuggie Atkinson and his team of jumps judges reported two new records at their pit too. Fun was had around the track with our spectators joining in the races, and kids dashing for sweets and their mementoes of the day. The bar was run so efficiently and

happily by Keri and Michelle who put in a great shift. I mentioned the presence of the Provost. Stirling Council through their amenities committee granted us funding towards repairing the flood damage from last winter and contractor Andy Beattie was generous with his time and equipment to help put things right. Thank you. May I also say well done and thank you to all of you volunteers who worked cheerfully and for long hours to make this year such a fine occasion. Many Games do suffer from lack of support but we have a hard working and committed group who I know are well pleased with the results of their input. Remember, if you want to be a helper, just get in touch. Alex Gargolinski

Photographs by Richard Harris & Gill Waugh


Church News

BalquhiĐĐer •bls Reg. Charity No. SC012316

We were sad to hear that two friends of our Church had passed away, both on the same weekend of 9th/10th July. Mrs Margaret Bennett died on her birthday, aged 97. She had moved to Glasgow to live with her daughter who cared for until her death. Margaret was well known in the parish and is remembered with great affection here. Some years ago, she tried to teach several of us Gaelic, but to no avail. We were hopeless despite her patience! We also mourn the passing of Mrs Pat Barber who died that same weekend. She had been ill for some while and we miss her very much indeed. She and her husband Neil looked after the Village Hall for many years, but also, very quietly, helped us to care for the Church here. Before

Local lass Shauna McDiarmid recently did a very brave thing - she took part in the current fundraiser Brave to Shave which raises money for MacMillan Cancer. This charity, like most, is in desperate need of donations. I know most people (myself included) give to Cancer Research charities - as there are very few of us who don’t know someone affected by this dreadful illness, and it is all to easy to forget those who go through the treatments and need the help to get back to normal afterwards. This is where the MacMillan nurses come in – they do an Absolutely Fabulous job both supporting the patients and their families. It was a daunting thought (for her mum, Mary!) as Shauna’s hair was lovely, long and curly; but she was happy to do it and we all think the end result is great. To date, she has raised about £300 but donations can still be made. Well done, Shauna - a wonderful effort!

After 10

One good piece of news to report is that the woodworm treatment within the church has now been completed. I am told the effects should last for 3 years, so it seems this will have to become a regular event to keep the little pests away! We are grateful to the Clan MacLaren Society of North America for helping us with the cost of this work this year. By the time The Villagers is printed, we hope that the roof repairs will have been done and that we can then look forward to repairing the interior of the church. Perhaps, if all goes well, it will be done before the winter sets in. Fingers crossed! Last but not least, a reminder that we shall be celebrating St Angus day on 10th August with a short service at 6.30 pm. This is the traditional service to remember the bringing of Christianity to the glen in the 7th or 8th century when St Angus is said to have been sent to the glen by St Blane of Dunblane. In the church today, you can see the stone (Clach Aonghais) which once covered his grave. NB The Friends of Balquhidder Church usually have their AGM after this service at 7.30 pm. Jean Edwards

A Photo from

St Angus’s

... which apparently shows we have someone new coming to church!

Loch Earn Sailing Club Open Day Raises Funds for Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance

Callander Rambling Club Sponsored by Caledonian Country Wear

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 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 2016 • Wed 3rd 09:30 Ramble: Three Ochil Ridges (10 miles) contact 01786 825877 • Sat 6th 08:30 LDP: RRW(4) Ardeonaig to Glen Ogle (10 miles) contact 01877 330032 • Wed 10th 09:30 Ramble: Corstorphine Hill & Cramond Island ( 11 miles) contact 01786 850209 • Sat 20th 08:30 Hill: Ben Cruachan (1126m) contact 01877 3390880 • Wed 24th Stroll: Banknock to the Wheel (6.5 miles) contact 01786 825249 • Sat 27th 08:30 LDP: RRW(5) Glen Ogle to Strathyre (10miles) contact 01877 330032

The Loch Earn Sailing Club Open Day at Sandy Point, St Fillans on Saturday 28 May 2016 in support of Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance was a huge success. There were crafts, books, bric-a-brac, tombola, raffle, duck race sales, facepainting, ceramic painting, basketball hoops, a chance to win a giant cupcake, candy floss, and ‘soak the commodore with a wet sponge’ stalls. There was a team of sailing instructors busy in the sunshine taking ‘newbie’ sailors out in boats. There was tea, coffee and cakes, Arbonne beauty products and original arts and jewellery designs by Prodger. And there were lots and lots of visitors too. The ‘duck race’ ducks sold out in less than two hours, and after a nail biting 45-minute bob down the Tarken Burn, the race officer announced ‘Louis Duck’ as the winner. Thank you to everyone who came along to Loch Earn Sailing Club on the day. Huge thanks also to local businesses who donated very generously including Hobbs Cleaning, Crieff Hydro, Gordon & Durward Scottish Sweets, Jazz of Crieff, The Famous Grouse Experience, Hansen’s Kitchen Comrie, Kelvin Top Set Comrie, Arbonne (S.Halcrow) and The Hamilton Baker. A great day was had by all and all for a great cause. Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance relies 100% on donations, and the total amount raised at the open day was £1,709.25.

For further information contact: Barbara Murray 07881570195

September 2016 • Sat 10th 08:30 LDP: RRW(6) Strathyre to Callander (9 miles) contact 01877 330032 • Wed 14th 09:30 Stroll: The Lots (5 miles) contact 01877 330446 • Wed 21st 09:30 Ramble: Coire Grogain, Arrochar (10 miles) contact 01877 339080 • Sat 24th 08:30 Hill: Ben Venue (727m) contact 01877 382924 October 2016 • Sat 1st 09:30 Stroll: Carron Glen, Denny (5 miles) contact 01786 825682

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. Thanks! 11

Run Mhor 2016

Running fever hit Balquhidder with the recent Run Mhor 10K, Half Marathon and Fun Run taking place on the 25th June. Nearly 200 runners contested the 3 events in great weather conditions. Based at Mhor 84, the event took in the scenic roads through Balquhidder Glen and Route 7 cycle path and linked the villages of Balquhidder, Strathyre and Lochearnhead. Mhor 84 hosted a fantastic food festival and all runners were treated to a complimentary pint of Mhor 84 lager, sponsored by Belhaven Brewery. The men’s half marathon was won by Craig Harvey (1:21:55) and the women’s race by Sally Gallagher (1:46:09). The men’s 10K was won by Mark Crawford (38:57) and the women’s race by Emily Swain (51:54). The fun run was also a great success with lots of young runners getting involved and some running with their parents or grandparents over the 840m course. Huge thanks must go to the event sponsors Mhor and in particular Tom, Lisa, Dick, Mhairi, Mel Tamblyn, Dugald McGarry and Kim Crooks along with the fantastic team of chefs and staff. Special thanks also to Belhaven Brewery who kept all the runners refreshed at the finish and Wheels Cycles in Callander who sponsored the range of Craft Sportswear Prizes. Furthermore, the day would not have been such a success without the help in the weeks and months before of John Morris and Iona Waugh and the numerous local volunteers who joined and worked very hard on the day. £200 was raised from participant donations and this will be given to a local charity in due course, many thanks to all who contributed. Congratulations to everyone who took part this year. It was great that the first year of the event was so popular. The feedback has all been very positive and plans are already afoot for 2017, keep an eye on for details. Pete Waugh Run Mhor Event Organiser

Ripple Retreat Fund Raising

Amanda and Tracey raised over £500.00 for this great cause when they took part in the Mhor race. They would like to thank all who sponsored and supported them.

Pretty... Muddy! On 18th June over 4000 young ladies took part in the Pretty Muddy in Dundee. This is part of the Race for Life Cancer Research Race. We all walked, ran and laughed over a 5km course that had lots of muddy obstacles in the way. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and all monies went to Cancer Research. Balquhidder, Strathyre and Doune were represented by (from left to right) Grace Malloch, Tara Leishman, Lottie Hesp, Eva Donaldson, Fiona Leishman, Tracey Cartwright and Marianne Hendry. Also a big thanks to Marianne’s work friends who also competed and are as nutty as the rest of us! We have all decided to do it all again next year so please feel free to join in. Look out for the Pretty Muddy website or contact Tracey Cartwright. The more the merrier. 12

SEEING STARS by Keith Wilson 

AUGUST 2016 With the return of dark skies you have the opportunity this month to add a meteor shower to your list of observed celestial wonders. The Perseids are the most anticipated meteor shower of the year due to their brightness and speed and with the chance of seeing fireballs. The best way to observe this meteor shower is with your eyes - no need for binoculars. Meteor showers take place when our planet crosses a stream of comet dust as it orbits the Sun. The Perseids come from dust left behind from Comet Swift-Tuttle. The dust particles hit our atmosphere where they burn up creating a streak of light at a height of around 80-100km above us. The steam of dust which creates the Perseids is unusual in that it orbits the Sun in the opposite direction to Earth. This means our planet runs into the dust creating very bright and fast shooting stars that leave glowing trails across the sky. If you are lucky you might even see a fireball which will be very bright indeed. The Perseids are active throughout most of August so if you have clear night go out and have a look as you could see as many as twenty per hour. However if you have clear skies on the evening of 12/13 August then you could see meteors at the rate of eighty meteors an hour as this is the night when they peak.

Annual Villages’ Football Matches 2016 The charity fundraising post-Highland Games football match between the married and single BLS men took place after clearing up on the Highland Games field in Lochearnhead on Sunday 24th July. In a hard fought match during which a spectacular number of goals were scored (mostly by the single men …….), for the second year running the final score was 9-1; so the single men retain the trophy. However, any account of the match has to include a mention of the amazing goal scored by the married men, now it may never appear on ‘Match of the Day’ but I’m sure that Gary Lineker will be proud to appear on the show in just his underpants for a second time when he finds out that the goal scorer was none other than Gus Cameron of Lochearnhead! Just as traditional as the charity match itself, the weather didn’t disappoint, so the ladies half-time match was played in the pouring rain. Once again the single ladies team came out the winners to retain the trophy, the final score of 5-2 masking the competitive nature of the game. Following the presentation of the trophies, the charity raffle and auction got underway hosted by Tom Gibbon, Martin Sanders and George Weir. As always the event was extremely well supported with donations of generous prizes from local businesses and individuals. The proceeds from the afternoon raised a significant sum of money which will be used to support local activities and provide a donation to the Ripple Retreat at Loch Venacher. The organisers particularly want to thank everyone who donated a prize to the raffle and auction (too many to mention individually) and local supporters Cathy Borland, Jimmy McSkimming and Moira and Janette Welsh for their help on the day, it wouldn’t be possible or fun without you all! Martin Sanders, Treasurer


Gardening by

Beverly-Claire Wainwright

Bees, Bears and Fungi “When you go after honey with a balloon, the great thing is not to let the bees know you are coming.” Winnie the Pooh

Bees do more than make honey. They pollinate around 30% of the food we eat and without them, not only would our supermarket shelves be rather bare but our entire ecosystem would be threatened, which is why their recent decline is such a concern. We may see some insects as a plague in our gardens and I’m sure every gardener has experienced infestations of pests from time to time. Pesticides seem like an easy solution but they are generally indiscriminate which means that they kill good bugs as well as bad ones. Unfortunately, insects that are beneficial to the garden mostly have slower life cycles than pests so if they get killed off then the pests bounce back more quickly into a nice predator free garden like something out of a horror movie. Bee “colony collapse” disorder has given rise to a lot of debate and research and it’s clear that pesticides are part of the problem, as is loss of foraging land, lack of genetic diversity and parasitic diseases carried by mites. New research has recently linked bee health problems to the decline in fungi. Bees are attracted to rotting wood in search of droplets of fluid produced by fungal mycelium. These droplets contain chemicals that control detoxification and immunity and are vital for bee health. So you might want to think again before removing that old tree stump or rotten log from your garden. Forests used to have enormous amounts of wood debris but current forest management practises are leaving behind as little as 10-15% which is leading to a decline in fungi. We need fungi to generate our soil and plants use this magical fungal network to help nutrient uptake and as a communication system. Thousands of nuclei travel through the fungal mycelium allowing chemical signals to pass from plant to plant. This can work as an early warning system to help plants to emit chemicals that protect them against pests and diseases. Nature when left to its own devices generally has a way of balancing out as we have often learned to our cost when we interfere. Bears may be partial to a drop of honey but they also scratch trees 14

Honey bee

in search of resin, these scratches act as entry points into the tree for fungal growth. The US forestry service in a bid to stop tree damage killed thousands of bears but then discovered that the trees did not develop as well. It turned out that the bears had also been eating salmon and brought phosphorus back into the forest which had been acting as a fertiliser. The polypore mushrooms that grew on the rotting wood as a result of the bear scratches were also found to have a very important role in the ecosystem, degrading pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Medicinal mushrooms with their antiviral and anti inflammatory properties have an established history of use and if the latest research is correct and we really can

Fungi growing in an old log

revive our bees by leaving more wood debris and encouraging fungi it would seem a simple answer to a complex issue. The more I learn the more it seems to me that everything is interconnected and interdependent including us humans and our communities and cultures all over this amazing planet of ours. Take it from Pooh Bear: “A day without a friend is like a jar of honey without a single drop inside.”

New Route on Loch Lomond Waterbus now open! A new route has started on the fantastic Loch Lomond Waterbus service, opening up new opportunities for visitors exploring the islands and surroundings of the world-famous loch – and to join up island visits with walking and cycling trips. The new Waterbus route will go between Loch Lomond Shores in Balloch to Inchmurrin and then on to Inchcailloch, giving people the opportunity to explore two of Loch Lomond’s most popular islands. Furthermore the Inchmurrin service includes a morning tea/coffee and scone, or soup and a sandwich at lunchtime, depending on what time you sail. This new route will be run by Clyde Cruises, who join Cruise Loch Lomond, Sweeney’s Cruises and SS Sir Walter Scott in offering Waterbus services across the National Park. Situated only 50 minutes by train from Glasgow, Balloch is the southern gateway to the National Park and the Waterbus not only provides an excellent way to see Loch Lomond, it is an excellent choice for those who are looking to visit the surrounding area. You can also travel from Glasgow directly to Arrochar/ Tarbet train station and after a short 10 minute walk to Tarbet pier, you will be able to explore the most northern parts of Loch Lomond by Waterbus. Both options are an excellent choice for walkers and cyclists. The service between Ardlui and Ardleish provides access to points along the West Highland Way making it a great option for those wishing to walk or cycle part of the long distance route. In addition, there’s increased frequency of the service between Luss and Balmaha providing more opportunities to explore Conic Hill and the Millennium Trail, which are popular trails.

For those wanting to explore beyond Loch Lomond you can take the Waterbus to Inversnaid and from there walk or cycle (on hilly terrain) to Stronachlachar. From there you can embark on a sail on beautiful Loch Katrine - made famous by Sir Walter Scott’s poem The Lady of the Lake – or cycle, on relatively flat terrain, around the north of the loch. Mairi Bell, head of tourism for Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park said: “We are thrilled to be opening this new Waterbus route today, giving people even more options for exploring the Loch and creating great days out in the National Park. This route from Balloch is just a few minutes’ walk from the train and makes it easier than ever for visitors to leave their car at home and visit Loch Lomond. We’ve seen a rise in people wanting to take in the spectacular scenery of the National Park by foot, by bike, by boat, or by a combination of the three. The new route will help visitors to join up their journeys and experience a wide range of activities that allow them to make the most of their visit.” For further information on attractions and activities in the National Park including walks, cycle routes and Waterbus services visit

Although all our groups have completed the summer session members are still meeting up at lunches and outings. The visit to Pitlochry Theatre was well attended and enjoyed by all. Our next bus trip will be to Kelvingrove Art Gallery on Wednesday 17 August and before that all members are invited to a Sunday Lunch at The Coffee Bothy in the Atrium in Callander on 7 August. Coffee mornings in French every Wednesday and English every Friday are once again being hosted by Alexandra Russell in The Old Bank Café, starting at 10.30am. The committee is already finalising arrangements for the next important date for your diary: C&WP Enrolment Day and AGM on Tuesday 23 August in Callander Kirk Hall at 3.00pm Homemade scones with cream and jam, together with teas and coffees, will sustain us all at an interval in the afternoon. Group leaders will be ready and waiting to answer any questions and have you sign up to your chosen courses. New members are particularly welcome so please bring any friends who might be interested and also encourage them to have a look at our website: Callander and West Perthshire U3A. Here’s to the start of an exciting fifth year in our U3A with new groups to look forward to.


Pin-Feathers* *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 remembers that well known August sporting event, known as...

‘The Glorious Twelfth’.

What images does that bring to mind? Well, the picture on the right is of “Young” Nyati in action on the moors above Chatsworth in Derbyshire in the early eighties. It was whilst doing a promotional thing for the Eley Cartridge Company that this picture was featured in the glossy country magazines shortly before August 12th. The second picture shows the Head Gamekeeper loading for young Nyati, using a “Gannochy “quick loading aid the advantage being that it presents each cartridge the right way round for the fingers,instead of being all loose in a bag. There is no doubt that a well-managed Grouse moor creates habitat that is of great benefit to other ground nesting moorland birds, like lapwings,Snipe,Curlew,Skylarks and Golden Plover etc. The heather management gives us all that wonderful show of purple in August and September. It also creates a good deal of income to the countryside economy. There will be fresh Grouse on the menu in London on the 12th, rushed from the moors and flown down to London even for lunchtime. On a more local note ,how many know that the church at Lochearnhead was known as the “Grouse Church”? It was aptly named as the place of worship for the visiting shooting guests at local Estates - remember that the government holidays were long ago timed for the 12th. With regard to the conservation aspect, Stronvar Estate in Balquhidder boasted a 50 brace moor long ago. Now there are no Grouse and no Blackgame, just blocks of Sitka and very little heather. Perhaps we can call it ‘evolution’. There is a true story of a famous moor in England where Lord Walsingham made a record bag. He was apparently a bit of a tyrant to his family and it was the tradition on the 12th, out on the moor at lunchtime near to a stone that was erected to mark the spot, where he collapsed and died whilst shooting. The gentlemen had to wee upon the stone and even the dogs were encouraged to do the same. Long may such traditions continue. There is no doubt that Grouse are in no danger from Grouse Shooters. Old Nyati 16

Do you need an affordable home? Rural Stirling Housing Association aims to support local communities by providing quality homes at affordable rents for families, couples and single people in housing need.

Clan MacLaren Excursion

We currently have over 550 rented houses and flats. Around 50 of these become available for rent each year. We hope to have new properties in Strathblane and Balmaha soon and currently have properties in the following communities

Visiting Glentarken

On the morning of 22 July some 39 people assembled in the Lochearnhead carpark to join the Clan MacLaren excursion around sites of interest to the clan in the district. Kingshouse Travel provided a 28 seater bus but such was the interest in the event that it was necessary for other people to follow in their own cars. Overseas visitors who joined the excursion included 6 from Australia, 10 from the USA, 2 from Belgium, 1 from Germany and 1 from France. The excursion was open to local residents and it was pleasing that a small number decided to come along. The excursion was ably guided by Charlie Hunter from Balquhidder. Our first stop was to visit Briar Cottage, a short stop down the road from the carpark. Briar Cottage, formerly known as Easter Achraw, had been home to MacLarens from the 1790s until 1991. Kim and Fraser Proven welcomed us and guided us into their house where we saw the original cruck frame ceiling in the east gable of the original cottage. The next stop was the MacLaren burial ground at Leckine (Earnknowe) that lies below Leckine House. There is a picturesque tale about why the burial ground is situated here. The story goes that a corpse, possibly of a MacLaren Chief or Chieftain, was being taken to the burial ground at Killin during the winter, but due to a storm was left at Leckine and was later buried there. Today the oldest identifiable MacLaren memorial dates from 1773. It is likely that the burial ground was in use well before this date. The Clan MacLaren Society is grateful to the Alexander and Martyn families for their assistance with maintaining this ancient site. Further around Loch Earn we visited the old clachan or farm town of Glentarken which was inhabited by McLaren tenants from the 1600s until the 1850s. Many of us walked up the hill to see the remains of their houses. Many McLaren tenant farmers lived at farms along Loch Tay and there are several McLaren monuments in the Killin churchyard marking the spot where they were buried. Gordon McLaren is descended

from one of the Loch Tay families and we were fortunate to have him on the excursion and he provided us with more information about these families. Some people viewed McLaren Hall, the village hall, which was built from funds bequeathed to the village by Archibald McLaren who was a Loch Tay farmer. We all enjoyed a most welcome soup and sandwich lunch at the Killin Hotel. Then it was back in the buses (and cars) for the return trip to Balquhidder. The Braes of Balquhidder were farmed by the MacLarens since medieval times. The Clan MacLaren Society now owns and looks after the “old kirk” in the burial ground. This church was built in 1631. Near the Old Kirk is a burial stone that was erected by Daniel MacLaurin in 1868 and on its inscription gives a version of the history of the clan. The more able members of the Group took the short walk up the hill to Creag an Tuirc. This was the traditional rallying point of the clan in former times and it is now where the Clan MacLaren meets following the Lochearnhead Highland Games. From Creag an Tuirc we had a magnificent view of Loch Voil and we saw the field, near Kirkton, where Rob Roy was defeated in a duel in 1734 after a dispute with the MacLarens. For the final stop we drove up the valley along Lochs Voil and Doine to Monachyle Mhor where some of the participants took

Aberfoyle Deanston Gartmore Lochearnhead Balfron Doune Killin Strathyre Buchlyvie Drymen Kinlochard Stronachlachar Callander Gargunnock Kippen Tyndrum

We may be able to build in other communities in the future – please let us know to if you want to live in a village that is not listed above. Information on local housing need and demand helps us plan for the future. If you are interested one of our properties become available please

in renting when they contact us:

Rural Stirling Housing Association Stirling Road, Doune FK16 6AA Telephone: 01786 841101 Email:

Registered as a Scottish Charity No. SC037849

afternoon tea. A small hardy group walked across boggy ground to see the ruins of Invernenty Cottage built on a knoll on the southern side of the valley alongside Invernenty Burn. This was the former home to Donald McLaren drover, farmer and Captain in the Appin Regiment at the battle of Culloden. In 1803 Donald’s son, James, accompanied by his family and other emigrants went to Prince Edward Island in Canada and settled along the Brudenell River and helped to establish a new settlement from which there were many McLaren descendants.

Participants crying “Creag an Tuirc” the war cry of the MacLarens at Creag an Tuic


HIGHLAND GLEN TRAVEL Private hire TAXI and Tours

07554 195 446 Airport transfers at competitive rates Distance no object Contact Stirling Council for DRT

08452 777 000

Himalayan Balsam Giant Hogweed

Scottish Wildlife Trust We may have passed the longest day but the good news is that brings us closer to the new season of Wildlife talks; the excellent programme is on our page of the SWT website http://scottishwildlifetrust. On 13 September we have Emma Sheehy, a Research Fellow at Aberdeen University talking on ‘Interactions between Pine Martens and Squirrels’. This includes setting up survey sites to record the number of visits to feeder boxes by squirrels and pine martens, using camera traps and sticky pads on feeder boxes. One of the tetrads is in Callander Woods where a very cute trio of young pine martens was filmed. The Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels Project also completed spring surveys in Callander and Coilhallan Woods, results available later in the year. Everyone can help by reporting sightings of any red or grey squirrels on uk/squirrel-sightings/. Between May 2008 and August 2009 1000+ water voles were re-introduced into Loch Ard Forest in a project involving FCS, RZSS and SNH. Annual surveys have shown good expansion outside the original introduction area and this season a new colony has been discovered just to the South of Loch Venachar, an impressive 8km away from

North American Mink


Japanese Knotweed

the nearest release site. The project aim was to counter a 90% reduction in water vole populations partly due to loss of habitat but principally due to predation by North American mink, misguidedly released from fur farms in the 1990’s. The female mink is the only predator that can follow the water voles into their burrows, leaving no escape route. Unfortunately, mink footprints are still seen in some of the voles’ areas, emphasising the need to maintain mink control efforts to enable water voles to reach new areas and create stable future populations. This project relies on the voluntary effort of individuals and local organisations. If you are interested in getting involved then please contact TWVP Project Officer Ryan Greenwood on uk  or 07909892460. Ryan would also be interested in hearing of any local mink sightings. Talking of invasive non-natives, this year’s first Balsam Bash on the River Teith was in July with another opportunity on 21 August, meet outside Callander Medical Centre at 10am. This is our fourth year and there is definitely much less than in the past but new patches still need attention. It is a pity to remove such an attractive flower, especially one enjoyed by bees and making good honey. However, it seeds prolifically, crowds


out our native plants and diverts the bees from pollinating them. This is one of the easy ones to remove with no nasty sideeffects but if you encounter giant hogweed do not handle it as the sap can lead to nasty burns in sunlight. Also if you come across Japanese Knotweed do not chop it down as any small pieces root and spread it further: it is best tackled by spraying with herbicide. It is actually illegal to allow any invasive non-native flora and fauna to escape into the wild. Please help to control them by reporting sightings of these and many other invasives on MyPublic.aspx?OrgID=RAFTS that includes identification guides.

Lesley Hawkins

We are delighted to announce that Pure Brass, one of the UK’s most established brass quintets, are coming to give a concert in St Mary’s on Sunday 21 August. We do hope you can come and hear these exciting young musicians as they perform their kaleidoscopic mix of a programme: from Handel to MacMillan via Mahler and Irving Berlin including a tuba solo along the way! Pure Brass are one of UK’s most established brass quintets. Formed in 2006, they quickly built a reputation for their musicianship and entertaining approach to the concert platform. Pure Brass’s energetic performances, presented in their own individual style, promote the diverse repertoire available to brass ensembles, making their concerts accessible to a wide range of audiences. Since 2013 some of their most rewarding and prestigious work has taken place including a live performance on BBC Radio Scotland’s Classics Unwrapped and a recital in the premier year of James MacMillan’s Cumnock Tryst. Tickets will be £10. Further details from Mark Seymour or book at

Pure Brass


This month’s article is blighted by thefts unfortunately. As many of you will have seen from my emails, we have had a number of thefts in the local area and work is currently ongoing to identify those responsible. Overnight on the 23rd June a twin axle Ifor Williams trailer was stolen from Strathyre Log Cabins. The vehicle responsible for the theft was a light coloured Renault Megane estate car. About 0350hrs on the 3rd July, a small White van entered the Strathyre Log Cabins and stole 2 mountain bikes which had been secured on a vehicle bike rack. Between the 2nd and 4th July, an Ifor Williams twin axle trailer with 1000 litre bowser attached was stolen from a site off the B822 near to Callander. About 0230hrs on the 5th July, two groups of persons entered Immervoulin Caravan Park in Strathyre and stole a number of garden tools and a ride on lawnmower. Thankfully we were able to recover the tractor for the occupants as this had been dumped further down the A84 towards Callander. There were at least 4 persons responsible for this theft and there were two vehicles used. One was a White coloured van, possibly a Vauxhall Combo, and the other was Red and possibly a Ford Connect. We have information suggesting that these vehicles were in the local area in the days before the theft so if these vehicles ring any bells, please let me know. There have also been a number of other thefts within the rural Stirlingshire area whereby outhouses and sheds have been targeted and garden machinery, and fishing tackle have also been stolen. From liaising with my colleagues at Crieff, they have advised that they have also had a number of thefts within their area, including St Fillans. The Loch Earn Holiday Park on South Loch Earn was targeted on the same night as Immervoulin. We have a number of lines of enquiry at present with regards to the thefts which will hopefully lead to identifying those responsible. I would like to thank some vigilant members of the community who have obtained registration numbers of vehicles that are of interest to us. Can I ask that everyone remain vigilant and report any suspicious vehicles to Police immediately? Also consider calling 999 to report if you believe a crime is in process or about to occur. Security Advice First, think about basic good housekeeping routines that aren’t expensive. Many thieves are actually opportunists who do not have to break in at all because 20

a door or window has been left open or unlocked. Keep your home securely locked at all times. Don’t leave keys on the inside of door locks, under mats or anywhere else an intruder may easily find them. Don’t keep house keys and car keys on the same key ring. Security mark your property with a UV marker pen. You can use this pen to place an invisible imprint of your postcode and house number on your possessions. Record details of your valuables, such as mobile phone, cameras, laptops and tablets on the national mobile property register at Don’t leave valuables in sight of windows! Outside your house, consider some preventative measures as follows: Consider nature’s own defences growing aggressive shrubbery which is harder for intruders to climb through. Also consider gravel pathways. Security lighting around your property will act as a deterrent. Dusk to dawn low voltage LED lighting is cost effective to both install and run. Make sure bins are located in an area which doesn’t allow them to be easily used as a step to climb over fences / walls or access windows. Lock away any garden implements, furniture or tools in a secure shed, garage or outside store, even when not being used. They may not only be an attractive target for theft, but also items such as ladders which are useful for breaking into your home. Do not leave doors open if

working in the garden as passersby can see what’s within! What can I do to protect property in my shed and garage? Photograph valuable items of garden furniture and / or garden tools. Note and keep a record of make, model, colour and serial numbers and use a UV pen or similar to security mark them with your house number and postcode. You may wish to use a chain or other device to lock garden tools and furniture together to the structure which will make them harder to remove. Fit a good quality hasp and padlock to the door, fitted with dome headed or nonreturnable screws to prevent tampering. Secure windows and don’t give intruders the opportunity to see inside. Depending on the type of window, you could consider fitting internal window grills, heavy wire mesh or reinforced glass. If you have an intruder alarm, consider extending it to cover sheds, garages and outbuildings and ensure that there is a visible external sounder box. If you do not have a secure shed then bring items inside – don’t leave them lying out. As always, I can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at william.diamond@ Regards,

PC Will Diamond

National Park visitors encouraged to ‘Respect Your Park’

The campaign focuses on litter and responsible camping, and also includes messages about noise, safe fires, going to the toilet in the wild, fishing, and safe driving on the often busy roads of the Park. Bag it, bin it or take it home Sadly litter is still an issue, even Scotland’s first National Park. The ‘Respect Your Park’ campaign aims to raise awareness of the impact of littering and offers straightforward advice about how everyone can do their bit to respect this stunning area. The challenges on littering in the National Park are echoed across Scotland. Findings published by Zero Waste Scotland show that over 250 million pieces of litter are cleared up each year and that 1 in 5 adults in Scotland admits to having littered in the last year. Yet, the vast majority of Scots (96%) agree that littering is not acceptable. National Park Rangers can now give out Fixed Penalty Notices of £80 for littering and £200 for fly-tipping, but these powers will only be used as a measure of last

© Andy Buchanan

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is marking National Parks Week (25 – 31 July 2016) by launching a new campaign encouraging visitors to help take care of this special place. ‘Respect Your Park’ is a joint initiative from Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, Forest Enterprise Scotland and Police Scotland. The campaign aims to ensure people understand how to show respect for the environment and for other people, so that everyone who comes to the National Park can make the most of the outdoors. resort. The initiative’s aim is to educate the public and encourage them to enjoy and look after the Park. Gordon Watson, chief executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park said: “National Parks Week is a perfect opportunity to encourage people to come and enjoy themselves and to ask for their help to keep this Park special. It is wonderful that 50% of Scotland’s population is just an hour’s drive from Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. With such easy access for so many people, it is important that everyone who comes here to knows how to do the right thing to help us take care of this special place.” Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is one of natural Scotland’s greatest assets and we must do everything we can to keep it clean and litter-free. We all benefit from visiting beautiful places, such as our National Parks, and from the economic boost of their world-wide appeal to tourists. “Dropping litter blights our communities and coastlines, tarnishes our beautiful landscapes and harms our wildlife and natural assets. It is easy to put your litter in the bin or take it home with you if you are out and about. There really is no excuse for littering.” Chief Superintendent Stevie McAllister, Divisional Commander for Forth Valley and Police Scotland Lead for the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park said: “For the best part of a decade, officers based within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs area have worked closely with the National Park to deter offences such as antisocial behaviour and identify those responsible.

“This has already proven extremely successful with crimes of this nature now significantly reduced, particularly within the East Loch Lomond and other lochshore areas and the vast majority of visitors behaving responsibly during their stay. However, we cannot become complacent. This launch of the ‘Respect Your Park’ allows us to build on the foundations of previous partnership operations within the Park.” Gordon Donaldson, Manager of Forest Enterprise Scotland’s Cowal & Trossachs Forest District commented: “Environmental protection is one of our biggest priorities. The more that we, and other organisations, can do to help promote messaging that encourages respectful, safe, sensible behaviour the better.” Park Rangers will also be meeting members of the public during National Parks Week both throughout the Park and in the Go Outdoors Clydebank store to share top tips and advice about how best to make the most of the National Park, responsibly. Chris Pine, store manager at Go Outdoors Clydebank said: “Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park has so much to offer... great walks, cycle routes, kayaking or just going for a picnic. We are delighted to be involved in this activity during National Parks Week; it’s everyone’s responsibility to do their bit to take care for the environment.” In an effort to reduce the amount of litter left in the Park and encourage greater responsibility amongst by users, National Park Rangers will be distributing the new ‘Respect Your Park’ leaflets and biodegradable litter bags to members of the public and asking them to take their litter home. 21

Rangers’ Review By Gareth Kett

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Thirty kilometers into our journey from Tamatave to Sambala, eastern Madagascar, we left the project HiLux and began the familiar descent to the dug-out canoe that would ferry us, ten delegates and three armed policemen, across the Ivoloina River. The broken, pitted track from Tamatave to the Ivoloina paled into insignificance on the other side of the river as the bush-taxi taking us on to Sambala revved, spun, lurched and slid the remaining 20km to the picturesque but remote village of Sambala, nestling next to the Ivoloina amongst lush secondary forest. It was June 5th, World Environment Day (a day which sadly passes virtually unnoticed in the UK), and as acting in-country Programme Manager for the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group (following the sudden departure of the previous Programme Manager), my wife Karen was one of delegates invited to take part in the celebrations in Sambala. Our son Tristan (at five years old a veteran of trips to Madagascar), daughter Erin (at 16 months making her Madagascar debut) and I were also guests of honour. Having extricated ourselves from the Nissan Patrol bush-taxi we were welcomed and led to our quarters. We were blown away – a tin merchant’s store had been cleared and converted into a room for us, fully provisioned with candles and mosquito nets. Yet white people don’t often visit such off-piste villages as Sambala, and Tristan and Erin were the first white children to visit in living memory, so out of curiosity a group of small children followed us into the room and watched us, intrigued. With kit stashed and followed by our entourage of small children, we were led along a dirt street through an assortment of buildings constructed from palm, tin and concrete to a crude football pitch near the river where the World Environment Day celebrations were to be held. Almost immediately the children took Tristan away to play. With Karen already engaged and Erin in hand, I did my best to keep an eye on Tristan as, amongst his giggling cohort, he disappeared and reappeared in a maze of trees and buildings. Sambala lies in the shadow of the tropical rainforest reserve of Betampona. Betampona is Madagascar’s first Strict Nature Reserve. It encompasses 2,200ha of largely intact primary rainforest and is home to at least 11 species of lemur, 87 bird species, 69 species of reptile and 80 frog species - 24 of which are found nowhere else in the world. Protected from deforestation by its topography of steep gorges Betampona is the region’s last functional remnant of a continuous swath of lowland primary forest that once enveloped lowland eastern Madagascar. 22

Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group (MFG) was established 28 years ago, at the invitation of the Malagasy Government, to rehabilitate and manage Parc Ivoloina, a 280ha patch of secondary forest encompassing a small zoo near Tamatave, following a severe cyclone. Since then the MFG has grown into a leading conservation NGO in the area. While the zoo remains a focal point, MFG has expanded its remit to include research, environmental education, sustainable land use, forest restoration, and socio-economic development. MFG also runs three Saturday schools to enhance education in impoverished rural areas. One of these is in Sambala. Between 1997 and 2001, working alongside the Malagasy Government, the MFG introduced a group of black and white ruffed lemurs to Betampona to supplement the dwindling gene-pool of the lemurs there. A team of local conservation rangers was employed to follow, monitor and protect the released lemurs. From this beginning the MFG conservation research programme has grown to encompass a wide range of flora and fauna projects centered around Betampona, that are carried out by Malagasy and foreign students. Together Karen and I managed the MFG programmes at Parc Ivoloina and Betampona from 2004 until 2008. While I joined the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park Ranger Service in 2008 Karen remained with MFG, but as Director of Research rather than Programme Manager. The Director of Research post requires Karen to make annual trips to Madagascar; naturally the rest of her family accompany her! So under the shadow of Betampona the World Environment Day celebrations took place. Poverty, the cost of living and the proximity of Betampona mean that there are no shortage of poachers and unsanctioned loggers in Sambala, but for two days the village celebrated Betampona, conservation and the environment. Schools marched and sang, delegates (including Karen) and community leaders gave rousing speeches, there was a hard fought football match, a film show and a party.

Crossing the Ivoloina River

We all feasted and children from Madagascar and Scotland played together. The trip to Sambala emphasized to me the importance of establishing enduring relationships between conservation bodies such as MFG, and communities whose livelihoods depend on the land. The benefits of conservation to communities must be tangible. By supporting events such as the World Environment Day, running the Saturday School and employing staff from Sambala, MFG is building relationships with the community that benefit both parties. Education programmes run by MFG rangers encourage sustainability and highlight the benefits of ecosystem services (eg. flood prevention, water purification) to communities around Betampona, such as Sambala. In addition to education and research MFG’s conservation rangers patrol Betampona, discouraging poaching and illegal logging, and work with villagers around Betampona on forest restoration programmes around the edge of the reserve; a combination of noninvasive timber trees and native trees are planted in areas around the reserve border to protect the primary forest from cyclones and to provide timber for the villages. While there are practical and cultural differences, the value of strong working relationships between communities and conservation bodies is as high in Scotland as it is in Madagascar. Through our involvement with local communities and schools the National Park Ranger Service is working to create and maintain working relationships between the National Park Authority and those who live here, have an interest in the National Park and depend on the land for their livelihoods. Ranger’s Review will be back in its normal format in September. As usual If you have anything you wish to discuss or any wildlife sightings to report you are welcome to drop into the Lochearnhead Office, or you can contact me by e-mail at, or call me on 01389 722044. If I’m not in the office please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Shortlist for MHOR 84

Erin playing with village children by the river

Karen, Tristan and Erin with Sambala Saturday School teachers

A burger named Gareth and a twenty four hour bakery are just two of the reasons why Lochearnhead Motel Mhor 84 is celebrating after being shortlisted for a prestigious prize at The Scottish Bar and Pub Awards. From a total of 1600 entries this year Balquhidder’s Mhor 84 has made the final four in the Critics’ Choice Gastro Pub category before the glitzy awards bash on August 16 at Glasgow’s Hilton Hotel. Dugald McGarry, hotel manager, reckons quality food is the beating heart of any business. He said: “At Mhor 84 everyone is welcome and we are in a great location for tourists and locals as well as hill walkers, cyclists, dog walkers and family. Good quality food is the beating heart of any business and we use the same sourcing policy as our sister hotel Monachyle Mhor which has two AA rosettes. Dugald reckons the motel has an easy going attitude with slick service, though is not overly formal. He said: “We have a pool table with Xbox and a fully stocked bar with wines and cocktails. It’s a nice laid back place to come, not too far away from the central belt but far enough away to feel like you are on holiday.” “One of our most famous foods is our burger named after our head chef Gareth. We can sell a hundred to a hundred and fifty burgers a day and have lots of different toppings. We also have Mhor bakery in

Callander which does cakes and tray bake twenty four hours a day and we have a lovely hearty chunky seafood chowder and fresh fish from Mhor Fish. “We opened three years ago and are still a relatively young place and people are still discovering us which is part of the charm. It’s still a hidden gem.” Judges from DRAM Magazine, who host the awards, and sponsors Critics’ Choice are looking for quality, freshly prepared pub grub. It’s not the size of the menu that counts, but the quality of the food and the efficiency of the service. DRAM Magazine instigated the first ever licensed trade awards 21 years ago, and today the entry has never been stronger. Some of the biggest names in the drinks industry – including the BII, Caledonian Brewery, Diageo, Disaronno, Gordon & Macphail, Inverarity Morton, Isle of Arran Distillers, Kopparberg, Maxxium / Mixxit, Molson Coors and Tennents, as well as Glencairn Crystal, Bright Signals, Flow Training and the Sunday Mail – back the awards. This year’s awards have a Brazilian theme to celebrate Rio hosting the Olympic Games. Critics’ Choice Finalists for Gastro Pub of the Year The Drake, Glasgow Mhor 84, Callander Old Bridge Inn, Aviemore The Tower, Crieff

Black and white ruffed lemur


McLaren High School

Above: The cast. Right: Congratulations to those responsible for costumes and makeup - a huge achievement!

CATS on Parade After months of rehearsals, costume making and dance practice, 21, 22 and 23 June saw our pupils perform an amazing production of Cats. The standing ovation on the Thursday evening was a fitting end to three wonderful shows. Thanks to everyone involved both on stage and off who made this a memorable show for so many.

Sports Day We held our Inter House Sports Day on Tuesday 21 June. After a couple of showers of rain we were lucky and the afternoon stayed dry allowing for a competitive few hours of sports. At the end of the day the points were added up and Dochart were declared this year’s winners with 376 points, followed by Bracklinn with 270 and Leny with 250. Well done Dochart!


S6 Prom On 14 June the S6 leavers put on their glad rags and smartened themselves up to attend their Prom at Airth Castle. Everyone had a great time and thanks must go to the Events Committee for all their hard work organising the event, in particular Hannah Michael and Skye Campbell, without whom the evening would not have been the success it was.

visit our website:

Drs Strang & Scott and Drs Mathewson & Gibson Community Nurses The surgeries and community nurses take part in various training programmes throughout the year. This is to meet the educational and training needs of all members of the practice and nursing team. The next training afternoon will provisionally be on: Tuesday 13th September 2016 Wednesday 26th October 2016 On those afternoons, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments. Both practices and community nurse clinic will close at 12.30pm. We hope that emergency cover will be provided by NHS24 for nursing and GPs, however, this will not be confirmed to the practices until nearer the time. In the event of an emergency, please telephone 111. BRACKLINN PRACTICE APPOINTMENT CHANGES We are pleased to inform you that our Practice Nurse hours have been extended. Susan is now working for us 4 days a week, providing appointments for disease management, smears etc Monday – Thursday 8.30am – 2.30pm. Susan also has an extended clinic on Wednesdays until 4.30pm. Our Health Care Assistant has also had her hours extended, and from the end of July Sandra will provide clinics for blood tests, blood pressure readings and weight etc every Tuesday 9.30am – 12.30pm and Thursday 9.00 – 12.00pm. Further changes are to be made for the Practice Nurse and Health Care Assistant appointments later in the year. We will notify you as and when they occur. Thank you for your co-operation.



We’ll send you or your friends The


£15.00 for 11 monthly issues (£40.00 for Europe and £50.00 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



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 Waugh Production Manager Stronvar Farm Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384203

David Johnston Production Gardeners Cottage Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384227

Other Contacts...

Andrew Poulter Advertising Coire A Chroine Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384784

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!

Lochearnhead Contact: Ali Ferguson 01567 830 405 St Fillans Contact: Isobel Howell 07876 031768 Strathyre Contact: Wullie Dalziel 01877 384 384 Mobile 07768 221661 Mail Order Distribution: Hilda Astbury 01877 384 681

• DIARY DATES • We e k l y A c t i v i t i e s Monday

Bowling - St Fillans Lunch Club - The Scout Station, Lochearnhead - 12.30pm - 2.30pm


Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 to11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am to 12.30pm Country Dancing - St Fillans

Wednesday Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am to 12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00 to 9.00pm


Darts League - The Inn & Bistro - 7.00pm


Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon (Contact Mel Brydie 01877 384668)

AUGUST 5 10 13/14 21 23 27/28

2016 Quiz Night - Strathyre Village Hall - see p. 5 St Angus Service - Balquhidder Church - see p.10 St. Fillans Weekend - see p.4 Pure Brass St Mary’s Church - see p.19 U3A AGM - see p.15 Balquhidder Bike Fest - see p.7

The Villagers’ Photographer Jason Allardyce 01877 384295 / 07508 595211 Wedding, Portrait, Social, Pet Photography Councillor Martin Earl Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07881 310 922 Councillor Alycia Hayes Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07881 310 924 Councillor Fergus Wood Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07824 496 019

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

Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316

Sunday 11.30am Minister: Vacancy Enquiries to Interim Moderator: Revd Terry Ann Taylor 01877 382391 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 1st Sunday each month: 11.30am Communion 2nd Sunday 5.30pm Evensong 3rd Sunday 11.30am Communion 4th Sunday 5.30pm Evensong 5th Sunday (if applicable) 5.30pm FOOD FOR THOUGHT

A reflective time to discuss contemporary issues in a spiritual context

(Check with Rector for venue: 01764 655389)

Vestry Secretary - Maureen Lipscomb Tel: 01567 830234

The villagers aug 2016  

Village community news for Strathyre Lochearnhead, St Filland and Balquhidder. Includes, BLS Highland Games Lochearnhead, Book exchange in...

The villagers aug 2016  

Village community news for Strathyre Lochearnhead, St Filland and Balquhidder. Includes, BLS Highland Games Lochearnhead, Book exchange in...