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T he Vo i c e o f B a l q u h i d d e r, Loch earn h ead , S t rat h yre & S t F illans

Balquhidder Twinned with Hannover at the Wedding of Kathrin and Dominic Wichmann On Wednesday 7 July, a day which threatened rain, the bride and her female entourage were escorted to the Kirk by Balquhidder’s young piper, Kieran MacNicol, to meet the groom and his male companions who were already assembled there. The Reverend John Lincoln officiated and afterwards the newlyweds were piped back to Stronvar under the shelter of a green gazebo carried by their friends; the bride’s beautiful long dress and tartan sash complemented by ivory-coloured wellies! Celebrations went on until the wee small hours and Dominic told The Villagers, “We had a wonderful and lovely day - and plan to come to Balquhidder every few years!“ We wish the Wichmanns every happiness and look forward to meeting them again.

Kathrin Meichsner was married to Dominic Wichmann in a civil ceremony in Hannover, Germany on 12 May this year but because of their Scottish family connections they decided to hold their religious ceremony in Balquhidder Kirk on 7 July. Kathrin is a 31 year old teacher whose parents are Christa and Bernd Meichsner and some of their close relatives live in Lincoln, England. Dominic is a 35 year old police officer whose parents are Mary and Rolf Wichmann. Mary is a McLaren whose ancestors came from Balquhidder. She has eleven brothers and sisters, most of whom live in Dundee. Having planned this wedding for over a year the happy couple travelled to Balquhidder with twelve of their best friends and booked into Stronvar House for the week. ronvar

St Walking back to

The Girls r Piper

The Bride & he

The Boys Ae Fond Kiss

‘Mr & Mrs’

Return to Stronvar House

EDITOR’S NOTE Wir wϋnschen dem Brautpaar viel Glϋck! We all hope that the Wichmanns will have very happy memories of their wedding in rainy Balquhidder and visit here again before too long. Another issue packed with news and not enough space to report on all the village events. Deadline Day (always the 24th of the month) fell on a day when so much was going on that the reports and photos of the Highland Games and the Sheepdog Trials will have to wait until next month. During August we are also spoilt for choice with ScottsLand events competing with our own village festivities and all hoping for late summer weather to attract the crowds. Check the back page diary - there is something for everyone to enjoy. My thanks to a Lochearnhead couple who have stepped in to fill the Puzzler’s gap. Brigadier Duncan Francis has taken up his duties as military attaché in Beijing and we look forward to some interesting reports on life over there from his wife Tania, who has promised to send in reports to The Villagers from time to time. Best wishes to all the family. A reminder that I am looking for a new editor to take over after the next AGM in 2011 - what fun if we had to organise an election! Marguerite Kobs



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

19.6 ºC 24.2 9.2 0.9

67.3 ºF 75.5 48.5 33.6

Rainfall: 3.1 cms 1.3 ins Strongest wind gust: 26 mph on 17th June 2

The Gaelic Playgroup says “Come and Play!”

Pre-school Gaelic fun for your little ones...

Are you free on Thursdays 10-30am to 12.30pm?

Do you have energetic babies and toddlers who are just bursting to learn and have fun? Then read on… Come and join the new Gaelic Playgroup starting 9 September in Balquhidder Village Hall. It’s a great opportunity to have some fun, do something a little different and to prepare your child for routines and language learning at school. You yourself don’t need to be able to speak a word of Gaelic. Our aim is to give the children an understanding of some simple everyday Gaelic through structured arts and crafts activities, song and play. We also plan exciting trips out and visitors to the playgroup in order to enhance our learning experiences. Maybe you too will pick up some words and phrases over the course of the project! If you would like to come all you need to do is email abbeyarkotxa@googlemail. com so that your child’s name can be added to the list. We are charging a nominal fee of £1 per family per week to attend in order to gain commitment and so that the playleader can plan resources. The session will be structured and parents will be expected to support their children to get the most out of the activities. Funding for this project has been secured from Bòrd na Gàidhlig - the national Gaelic development agency based in Inverness through a local community organisation called Dualchas na Cloinne (DnaC - Children’s Heritage). This voluntary organisation is affiliated to West Highland Animation - a Gaelic cartoon company which is based in Balquhidder and run by Leslie Mackenzie We look forward to seeing you in the Autumn.

The St Fillans Bit

Jean looked deeply and unwaveringly into my eyes. I felt my resistance dissolving. Then she uttered the words a man dreads. “You will come to my Coffee Morning won’t you?” Thus it was that on 1st July I attended my first ever coffee morning, having prepped up for a week by reading the female section of the Daily Mail - and persuading Snapper Fraz to accompany me as my etiquette adviser (regular readers will know that Fraz is an experienced coffee morninger). The event was organised by Jean and daughter Lorna to raise funds

for ‘Facing Africa - Noma’. Noma is an acute and ravaging gangrenous infection of the face which mainly affects children under six and which, if detected early, can be treated, but if left untreated destroys the child’s face and leaves horrible disfigurement and an early mortality rate of 90%. Facing Africa provides funds for detection and treatment and also operates two hospitals in Africa. The morning was to have been an outside event but, as always, the weeks of fine weather changed to a colossal downpour that morning and it was a

Two AA Red Rosettes for Fine Dining Winner of Good for the Soul Award

Open Daily for Bar Lunch 12-2.30pm Two courses from £9.99 Supper 6-9pm in the Tarken Bistro Dinner 7-9pm in the Meall Reamhar Restaurant Friday Night is Fish Night in the Tarken Bistro ‘Make Sunday Special’ Traditional Sunday Roast lunch 12-2.30pm Monthly Theme Night in the Tarken Bar 6-9pm. This month: Norwegian Theme Night - 18 August

rapid move inside with the cakes and buns. Despite the weather there was a good turnout and over £500 was raised. Pictured here is Jean with one of the tables of homemade goodies - well done Jean and Lorna. When I departed Fraz was deeply engrossed in a discussion on cross stitching and I haven’t seen him since! Just after last month’s edition of The Villagers had gone to press I was contacted by a villager asking if I could bring to the attention of other readers a worrying couple of phone calls she had received; then my own wife received one a few days later. The caller (male) identifies himself as from ‘Crime Prevention’, which sounds very much like a branch of the Police Force. He then asks questions about Neighbourhood Watch in the area and, more worryingly, if the house has an intruder alarm fitted. When the other villager and my wife both declined to answer the questions the caller rang off. Needless to say dialing 1471 resulted in ‘number withheld’. I suspect that the caller is on a tele-sales team trying to drum up business for alarm systems, but it is worrying and disconcerting to receive such calls about home security and, I’d say, the best action if you get such a call is to put the phone down and say nothing. It’s a human instinct to blether and give information - but you have no idea who is on the other end of a phone line. On the weird event front, last week Geoff Hardman Carter encountered seven very young French teenage kids in St Fillans who were looking for shelter and food! It seems they were a part of a much larger group of French youngsters who were visiting Comrie and had been sent off in small groups to ‘live off the land’ for 48 hours. Geoff spoke with a (Continued overleaf) member of

The Four Seasons Hotel, St Fillans

01764 685 333


Continued from page 3

the Sandison Hall Committee and the hall was opened up for them to sleep in for a night. Liz and Russell provided food and wife Daisy made cakes for them (that’ll teach ‘em). Unfortunately they decided to stay for two nights (they obviously recognised a good thing) and managed to be spread about the hall when the volunteers and the Rev Graham turned up the following morning to run the Children’s Play Group. Ooops! Seems the Rev was very laid back about the clash as the French kids were dispatched ready for the St Fillans kids to use the hall. I gather he was impressed by the willingness of villagers to help wandering youngsters. It was a pity that no St Fillans children turned up to take advantage of the efforts of Graham and village ladies to provide music and games to help pass the time during the school holidays - despite door to door leaflets to homes with children. The exercise was abandoned when no kids showed up on day two either. Sad. Rumour squashing time again. The Achray is definitely not up for sale goodness knows where these village rumours start, but Alan and Jane are very committed to the business and have made dramatic changes to the hotel over the past

result is well worth a visit to witness, and to sample the new menu which, in July, was awarded an AA Rosette for “serving food prepared with care, understanding and skill, using good quality ingredients”. The couple are presently remodelling the kitchen and about to install a £10,000 state of the art induction cooking system - one of a very few in Scotland. As a previous owner of Achray I take an interest in its continual development and the efforts of Alan and Jane are real improvements. The hotel trade is suffering in St Fillans as are most trades in Scotland and I think that Mary from the Four Seasons sums it up for all three hotels - “Very, very good days - and very, very bad days”. Incidentally, on 18 August the Four Seasons hosts a Norwegian Theme Night. Fur hats and mittens optional. Glad to have Sophie back this month. Over to you:


few months. Gone is the residents’ lounge and its walls, replaced by a really light and airy breakfast room and reception area. Two lounges for residents and diners have been created where previously was the residents’ dining room, with the fireplace reopened, the floors taken back to the original Douglas Fir boards and new decoration and furnishings with leather Chesterfield settees and Persian rugs. The

Now it is the summer holidays. My family and I have been on a holiday for two weeks. We were in France for one week and then went to Italy. It was so fun! Every morning in France we went to a swimming pool to cool ourselves down as it was 30 degrees. I learned how to swim in France two years ago. Now I am even better at it. When we got to Italy my brother Daniel went to a Juventus summer soccer school and he had a great time there. On the first day we got to watch him play football. We left Daniel in Turin for the week and the rest of us went to Bardonecchia in the mountains as it was beautiful like Perthshire. We had an amazing time there. My Dad and I got to go on this huge big rope walk

The Village Store St Fillans

under new management Newsagent • Off-licence • Top-ups Tobacco • Groceries • Gifts Hot Pies to take away Hardware • Oil • Fishing Tackle & Permits Café • Dunfillan Coffee Soup • Toasties • Baking • Packed Lunches OPENING HOURS:

7.00am - 5.30pm every day Late opening (Fri/Sat/Sun) till 7.00pm

01764 685309

Sophie’s Bit way through the trees. It was really scary because we were 20 metres up walking on a small rope wire. We drove through lots of tunnels and bridges with many of the tunnels including Mont Blanc going on for miles, Mummy was scared.* My birthday is soon! It is on 23rd of July and I will update you next month about the party in St Fillans. Hope you have a lovely holiday!!!

Sophie Jardine * ...but not as scared as Dad Craig on the rope walk! Craig tells me he took a fit of vertigo halfway across it and crawled back to safety while Sophie went on. John M. Remember the Nigel Ogden organ concert evening in Dundurn on 15 August, trailed last month. An evening not to be missed. I think it was referred to as a ‘recital’ last month which sounds very formal and I’ve been asked to clarify that it will be a fun concert with many varied and well known tunes to enjoy. Since the Allandar Jazz Band are playing at lunch time that day as part of the Festive weekend activities it’s a day of music for all tastes in St Fillans (except for lovers of Jimmy Shand, if such still survive). John Murray



Northern Lights Wind Quintet

Sunday 1st August 7pm Balquhidder Parish Church Tickets £8 Concessions £6 Under 15s Free

More concert details can be found at

Changes at Earnknowe

As many of you know already we are converting three of our cottages into a house for us to live in - the stepping stone to the retirement cottage that we don’t feel ready for yet!!!!! We will then continue with the remaining two holiday lets - Kintyre Cottage that sleeps two and Mull Lodge that sleeps four. We will sell our house and already have a new road access that follows the route of the old railway line, passing under a wonderful bridge. How nice it would be if we could get on our bikes and cycle all the way to St Fillans. At the end of October we will be emptying the three cottages and have prepared a list of everything for sale at very modest prices!! If you would like an up to date list please either phone or email and we will get one to you. Any viewing needs to be between 10am and 3pm on Saturdays when we are doing changeovers. Building starts in November - all very exciting! Pamela and Lawrence Hopkins 01567 830238 Email:

‘Let’s Party!’ Kathrin and Dominic from our front page story are pictured here getting into party mode for their reception at Stronvar House. Slàinte mhòr!

20% DISCOUNT ON YOUR NEXT CRUISE Present this voucher at Loch Katrine to receive 20% discount on all standard cruise fares. Choose from sailings on the steamship Sir Walter Scott or the cruiser Lady of the Lake. VALID UNTIL 31st OCTOBER 2010 NOT VALID IN CONJUNCTION WITH ANY OTHER OFFER Family Cycle Hire Snacks and meals in The Anchor’s Rest Shopping in Katrine Gifts Information and Reservations

01877 332000

Speaking of parties.....who was the Cinderella who left her lovely bright red leather sandals, size 6, at the recent farewell party for the Francis family? They can be claimed from the editor with whom they are in safekeeping because Tania, Duncan, Richard and Amber are now in Beijing. Phone 01877 384215 for a fitting - Prince Charming cannot guarantee to be present!

HELP WANTED Some personal care together with cooking and housework 4 days a week (days are negotiable) 9.00am -12.30pm £95.33 per week Please phone 01877 384 715 5


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 has a wee story very close to home!

You don’t have to be mad - but it helps!

About 7.00pm on 6 July you may have seen two very wet riders on fell ponies coming through the Glen; nothing unusual about that you may think, but these were on their way from Skye, going right down to Smithfield Market in London. “What on earth for?” you may ask. Well the story is this: Vyv Wood-Gee, who lives at Hoddem near Lockerbie, was following in the footsteps of the old cattle drovers and travelling, as near as possible, along their old routes, hence the visit to Balquhidder to spend the night at Tigh-na-Fhaidreach, the ‘House of the Fair’. There the ponies had a well deserved rest and feed in the field which was probably once the site of the cattle fairs of long ago, where the four old Glen roads meet (no doubt some of the ghosts would approve). Vyv was doing this marathon Skye to London trek to raise money for Cancer Research and news of the journey is posted on her website, On this leg of the trip she was accompanied by a riding friend called Maggi, from Aberdeen, who was helping along as far as Thornhill, the next stopover. Then Vyv would continue, still following the drover’s road to Falkirk and so on down through the Lothians to the borders and York on the way South.The The trek continued after sleep, food arrival in Balquhidder was a great relief and grooming all round; oh! and two full for them all, for as they were crossing sets of new horse shoes, as the farrier just Rannoch Moor from Kingshouse the happened to be at a nearby farm. great storm of 4/5 July came in from the So if you have a moment to spare North West. Rivers and burns after the sometime, have a peep at that website to long dry spell became impassable, so that see how they finally made it to London. the programmed rendezvous could not be kept and the night had to be spent in sleeping bags under the shelter of a sheep fank wall, somewhere out on Rannoch Moor, and of course the promised good grazing for the ponies was not available either. Eventually, they made it to Crianlarich and on down to Balquhidder, but still not without some difficulty, as on the cycle route from Lix Toll each small gate meant unsaddling both ponies. They could only just squeeze through minus saddles and packs and this took half an hour each time; not much fun for the wet and tired pair. Vyv said that as they entered Balquhidder, not knowing what lay ahead for them all after the last two days of toil and discomfort, “We nearly gave up - but it felt like a very special place, a slice of Heaven!” Well, we know about that, don’t we! 6

CATS Awards 2009-2010 In May this year Suzie Ferguson was one of four women actors shortlisted for Best Female Performance by CATS (Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland). She performed solo at Theatre Modo and the following is the crit of her show.


Spend an hour with a clown doctor and find your troubles washed away! Perhaps the main difference between “performance” and “theatre” is that noticing the skill of a performer is a distraction in a script, but often the focus of other forms. For SICK, the understated brilliance of clown Suzie Ferguson takes director Martin Danziger’s dark inspiration - a spell in hospital diagnosed with cancer - and charmingly pokes at the hidden life of the patient. The match of clown to illness is a perfect synthesis of form and content. Ferguson’s red nose and precise movement become an illuminating filter for the absurdity and boredom of a day in bed, surrounded by medical apparatus. Struggling against illhealth and tedium, she dances with her drip stand, gets lost in fantasies of love and death, rages against the deadening routine of check-

The ‘Saddlebags’

up, meal and waiting, before confronting her own mortality. Ferguson finds meaning in the slightest nuance of gesture. Never over-playing the physical comedy, even her imagined death and annunciation are hilarious. The deeper observations of the alienation inherent in hospitalisation, and the inevitable paranoia caused by illness, retain the humour. As Danziger hoped, the clown becomes an eloquent mediator between the patient and the audience, embodying the frailty of the sick. In just under an hour, SICK leads the audience through a variety of moods, smiling wryly at human fears and hopes, never losing compassion. Apart from representing physical discomfort, this almost wordless play rehabilitates the clown as an important presence in Scottish theatre, rescuing her from the twilight world of big top terrors and children’s party bullies. Gareth K Vile

Suzie Ferguson

Congratulations to Suzie and to her Mum, Ali Ferguson, our co-editor and Lochearnhead reporter.

Sign on door at the Vet Surgery: BACK IN 5 MINUTES. SIT. STAY.

THANK YOU The Saddlebags have tallied up the generous sponsorship which was given for their coast to coast cycle ride across Scotland in June and are pleased to announce the amount raised to be a fantastic £3,474. This is to be split between The Lilias Graham Trust and Callander Youth Project. Huge thanks to all who sponsored or helped us in any way.

Karen, Ollie, Fiona and Laura


Church News Balquhidder The Strawberry Cream Teas on Sunday 18 July were a success. Balquhidder Village Hall and the Church raised just over £100 each. The sun shone, Reg. Charity No. SCO12316 the strawberries and scones were delicious and Pat Barber with her helpers worked very hard to make the event so enjoyable. Many thanks to all who took part and of course to all our customers. A reminder now: St Angus Day falls on 11 August, when we celebrate the coming of Christianity to the glen over 1000 years ago. There will be a short bi-lingual service in Gaelic and English at 6.00pm, followed at about 7.00pm by the AGM of The Friends of Balquhidder Church. Refreshments will be available. This service is always enjoyable, not least because of the Minister’s fluency in Gaelic and our own efforts to keep up! Jean Edwards

Bobby Mitchell

28.02.1920 - 29.06.2010

Bobby and Joan Mitchell

Our dear Dad passed away at home on 29 June, only three months after Mum. He was 90 and his cheerful, witty self to the last. Mum and Dad were together for sixty years and now they are together again, in peace. We were very lucky to have them for so long. The family would like to thank everyone for their cards and kind words; it’s so much appreciated and helps get us through such a sad time. The collection at the funeral service raised the sum of £70 and this has been donated to the IVF Clinic at Ninewells Hospital. Thanks to IVF treatment Ian and Karen had a little boy and Ronin made Mum and Dad’s last years very special.

Robert Leishman 16.09.1930 – 10.06.2010

Sadly, after a long illness, Robert died on 10 June aged 79 years. He was born on 16 September 1930, first son to Helen and Robert. It was at the tender age of 15, when he cycled from Falkirk to fish in Loch Lubnaig and other local lochs, that his love affair with Balquhidder began. Here, he enjoyed the outdoors and his love of wild life was to stay with him for the rest of his life. He went on to have a very full and interesting life, joining the RAF at 20, and on finishing his national service meeting Sheena, the love of his life, and whom he married in 1955. They settled down and he set up in business for himself. Three children followed. In 1965, after tragically losing his second daughter, he moved the family firstly to Strathyre for two years and then on to Balquhidder. Later the family moved to Islay and then finally back to Balquhidder. During these years Robert had gone back to college and gained several different qualifications and through this he then went on to work in the Middle East and latterly, West Africa. After retiring, fate struck another hard blow and ill health followed. This eventually led him to suffer a heart attack and ensuing problems from which he never recovered and, almost five years later, he lost the fight. Though heartbroken at his passing, we take comfort in the knowledge that he is now at peace. He was our rock and we will miss him greatly and love him forever. Sheena, Gaylor, Callum and our families 8

Bob and Sheena Leishman

Noretta, Mairi and Ian

Enjoying wonderful views over Loch Earn and the surrounding countryside

The hotel is family run with ten en-suite bedrooms, lounge bar, restaurant and residents’ lounge. Relax in our bar, soak in the stunning views from our terrace and enjoy your drink or bar meal. For something that little bit more special, try our menu in the Lochview Restaurant.

The hotel will be closed from Thursday 5 August re-opening on Sunday 8 August at 2.00pm. Reservations - Tel: 01567 830229 Fax: 01567 830364


The CEDAR Project has been running in Forth Valley for the past 1½ years. CEDAR means Children Experiencing Domestic Abuse Recovery. We run a 12 week groupwork programme to help children talk about hurting and fighting in their families. Women also have the opportunity to go to a mothers’ group where they can talk about their experiences and learn how to support their children overcome some of the difficulties they have had. Susan runs the children’s groups and Joyce runs the mothers’ groups. Some key things we talk about are: how to keep safe, feelings (in particular how to deal with anger), and we support women and children to understand that they are not to blame for what has happened in their families. We have lots of fun, games and great snacks as well as dealing with some very serious things that have happened. Coming to the groups helps children and mothers gain confidence and self-esteem. We take referrals from any agency working with children and families i.e. Health Services, Education, Social Work, Police, Housing, Women’s Aid, voluntary groups... and also self-referrals from mothers.

Joyce and Susan at the Cedar Project

Children who come to CEDAR are aged between 4 and 16 years. We always ensure that children are in a similar age group. Once we have received a referral we then meet with the children and their mums to find out what has happened and whether coming to the groups will be helpful. If you think that CEDAR can help you and your children, or if you want more information, please contact us on 07717544537 (Joyce) or 07717544502 (Susan).


By the way - Nef & Sanch’s conversation on page 2 ran thus: Nef: Do you speak Gaelic? Sanch: One language is never enough... Nef: True...

Active Scotland Outdoor Activities We provide instruction for water skiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding as well as towable rides and speed boat blasts. On land we provide bike hire and a quad bike trek experience. Visit us next to the Clachan Cottage Hotel on Crieff Road , Lochearnhead. WakeScot 14th August 2010 WakeScot and The Jamie MacGregor Cup will be up for grabs again on August 14. WakeScot is recognised by both governing bodies as Loch Earn’s only official wakeboarding event. New line up and great prizes on the day! Active Scotland Crieff Road, Lochearnhead 01567 830321 9

‘We Did It!’

The successful group at the top of Ben Ledi on Saturday 5th June. From left Martin StewartEarl, Jamie Sharp-Hunter, Duncan Hendry, Jamie Nixon, Jill Nixon, Gregor Nixon, Andrew Nixon, Cameron Hendry, Charlie Hunter and Alex Stewart-Earl.

Following an early-ish start, the intrepid explorers set out to tackle Ben Ledi, with the younger members of the party making strong headway, only to be caught up at the prospect of the steep rise. A beautiful day made for a warm climb and hazy views from the top. Well done to all - the walk was completed in four hours and we raised over £200 with proceeds going to Callander Round Table and Strathyre Primary School.


Loch Earn’s Official Wakeboarding Event Organisers of the event, which is now in its 3rd year and is the longest running wakeboarding event in Scotland, are delighted with the response they have been getting from people wanting to know more about it as they prepare for their largest event to date. Barry McGrandles, Outdoor Activities Director for Active Scotland, explained, “It’s always hard to start up an event and keep it going so I think people can see what we are trying to do and that we have a genuine interest in developing the sport. It’s made even clearer by the fact that we are seen by governing body Waterski Scotland as an event that can be used as a platform for all levels of rider who wish to compete in competition in Scotland.” The event though is also suppported by local and national companies who share the McGrandles’ drive to develop grass roots sports in the area. Matt, Barry’s brother, who deals with organising the event and securing support says, “It takes time to get the message across that our event is all about the riders and gaining support is not easy especially in this current climate. We dedicate a lot of time and finance to making this event happen but it takes more than just our business to make it work. Just speak to anyone who organises events and they will appreciate what kind of dynamics it takes to actually get something like this off the ground.” Indeed Matt has been organising events for many years with one of his first having been the International Festival of Youth Rugby in 1997 when he managed the 6000 players, staff and games throughout Scotland. WakeScot is certainly not at this level but the brothers have a long term view and believe that with the correct people supporting it their event will become the leading wakeboarding festival in Scotland. WakeScot kicks off on Saturday 14 August with the coaching clinic starting at 9.00am. So if you are looking for a day away with friends and family then why not check out this event as it promises to be as spectacular as last year’s. Further details can be found at

Lochearnhead Watersports Café Under new management • Licensed

Open every day from 9.00am - 6.00pm Open later for dinners Fri/Sat/Sun Take away and phone orders possible Parties and group bookings catered for

07979 902810

Home baking, home made PIZZAS And much more… 10

BLS Community Council

Callander Rambling Club

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. AUGUST • Wed 11th 9:30am Stroll - Bochastle 4 miles Carol Cruickshank 07970 509911 • Sat 14th 8:30am Hill - Ben Challum 1025m Mike Hawkins 01877 339080 • Sat 21st 8:30am LDP SWSW (8) Watch Water to Abbey St Bathans, 9 miles Paul Prescott 01877 330032 • Sat 28th 8:30am Ramble Around Glen Finglas Reservoir, 8 miles Keith Niven 01877 376200 SEPTEMBER • Wed 1st 9:30am Stroll - Culross to New Mills, 5 miles Evelyn Dick • Sat 11th 8:30am Hill - Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’ Chroin, 986m Richard Cooper 01877 331067 • Sat 18th 8:30am LDP SWSW (9) - Abbey St Bathans to Cockburnspath, 10 miles Paul Prescott 01877 330032 • Wed 29th 9:30am Ramble - Across Rannoch Moor (inc train), 12 miles Rob Smallman 01786 825877

The latest meeting of the Community Council took place in Lochearnhead on 30 June and, as usual, covered quite a range of subjects. We talked rubbish for a long while but this is nothing unusual! Living in such a beautiful area, the whole question of how best to deal with litter is very close to our hearts. Another perennial problem is the state of our roads, both their physical condition and the amount of traffic passing over them, often at excessive speed. At the same time, there are some promising initiatives taking place so it’s not all bad news. The residents of Balquhidder Station reported a very encouraging visit by Bruce Crawford, MSP, on 24 May. He is taking a close interest in the problem of traffic on the A84 at the double bend at that location and intends to take it up with the Transport Minister. Mr Crawford is also keen to pursue the question of providing access to GPs in this area. Previous efforts to run occasional surgeries in our area have foundered but he intends to have another go at floating this proposal with the health authorities. The BLS Community Trust (which is a separate body from the Council) is hoping to obtain funding for a renovation of the tennis courts at Strathyre. It would help them enormously if local people who support this proposal were to write in and say so. (Letters should be addressed to the Secretary, Alan Clarke, at Balquhidder.) We then got down to talking serious rubbish. The main problem we saw is that the various different authorities that cover this area all have different policies when it comes to dealing with litter. We are talking about two local authorities, two police forces and the national park authority. In fact, some of them are doing their best to tackle the problem of indiscriminate littering head-on. PC Ward is pursuing a strong, proactive approach as part of the ongoing Operation Ironworks and this is meeting with significant success. Equally, Perth & Kinross Council does a great

deal to ensure that rubbish, secured and left in bin liners at the side of the road, is cleared away regularly. But there are still too many people simply discarding their litter without a second thought as to its effect on wildlife and the environment. We decided to play our part in this by encouraging local landowners to post some signs at the obvious trouble spots, reminding people of the need to safeguard the natural beauty and appeal of this part of the world for everyone’s benefit. The national park authority is also planning its own campaign of signs and notices to supplement this initiative. We are also going to encourage the Underwater Search Unit from Central Scotland Police to visit Loch Earn more often. The prime focus of such visits would be water-based training but their presence invariably makes a positive impression and helps to discourage visitors with anti-social tendencies. Although access to broadband facilities is something of a sore point for many residents in our area, you may be interested to learn that the minutes from meetings of the Community Council are now being published on a national website as well as the Stirling Council website. Just type the words “Scottish Democracy” into an internet search engine such as Google and look for “”. Under “Local CC Section” you will see recent minutes from our meetings and, if you register on the site, you can post any ideas or suggestions you may have for local initiatives. Paul Hicks Minutes Secretary Lochearnhead


Historical Discovery Inspires A New Renaissance Dance




Not only am I turning into my Mum (not an altogether bad thing, although I swore I never would), but I also seem to be turning into a ‘Grumpy Old Woman’. Having read and giggled my way through the book (if you have not had a chance to read it, you really should), I now find that much of what annoyed them, irritates me. So I thought it might be good to have a Grumpy Column, where anyone could write in and give their moan of the month.

Children in costume perform the dance

It’s one of the newest dances around - but harks back to the elegance of the Renaissance royal court at Stirling Castle. It was created by early music experts involved in last year’s remarkable discovery that carvings on one of the 16th Century Stirling Heads may be the earliest musical notation in Scotland. Barnaby Brown of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama together with expert harpist Bill Taylor used the notation to recreate the sort of dance that courtiers might once have performed when the music of the head was played. The project to create a replica set of Stirling Heads brought a potentially remarkable discovery. Craftsman John Donaldson noticed a sequence of the marks O, I and II round the border of one of the metre-wide wooden medallions which experts now believe could be the oldest surviving ‘written’ Scottish instrumental music. The music could have been played on harps, viols, fiddles and lutes but evidence from Wales later in the century suggests it may have been part of the home-grown harp tradition. Historic Scotland teamed up with specialist musicians to carry out an experiment to recreate the music for what

might have been the first time in centuries. The task was challenging as the markings are not an exact musical score but guidance to players, who then improvised in the same way as modern jazz and blues musicians. The experiment was highly successful with harpist Bill Taylor creating music based on the sequence. There are earlier examples of written music in Scotland but these are all for choir rather than for an instrumental group. The sequence shown on the head is substantially grander in length than similar ‘measures’ recorded in a Welsh manuscript of about 1480. The head may also be the earliest example to use the numerals I and O, first recorded in Wales in the 1570s, in sources which connect this harmonic notation to a council of master musicians held in Ireland in the twelfth century. Renaissance harps were played with the fingernails all across Europe, but this technique remained popular in Scotland, Wales and Ireland long after its disappearance elsewhere.

This is what has annoyed me this month: I have no problem with fishermen, in fact find most of them very friendly and (like our shopkeepers) I appreciate that they bring much needed income to the villages. BUT, it really annoys me the way some of them park their cars/vans at the side of the road. There are more than enough parking spaces in laybys and also on verges for them to park safely, so WHY do some of them persist in parking half on the verge and half on the road - an accident waiting to happen - aaargh! The continuing saga of the lack of pavement and lack of street lights along the main road towards the Clachan Cottage Hotel in Lochearnhead. Very dark at night when walking and considering that the pavement which is there from the hall to the phone box, is so lumpy and bumpy with tree roots, it is a health risk just walking along there. WHEN IS THIS GOING TO BE DONE? After all, when the speed limit was reduced I understood that the pavement would follow shortly after. No such luck! From a Grumpy Old Woman (Name and address supplied to the editor)

Sign on a plumber’s van: DON’T SLEEP WITH A DRIP. CALL YOUR PLUMBER. Bill Taylor 12

A Gold For Robyn

We are delighted to report that Robyn Dougall (aged 12), a member of the Loch Earn Sailing Club, won Gold representing the Royal Forth Yacht Club at the Scottish Regional heat of the Royal Yachting Association’s Honda Rib Challenge 2010. This makes Robyn the RYA Honda Scottish Junior Rib Champion. She competed at a specially devised course at Port Edgar on 26 June against kids from across Scotland i.e. Largs, Ayr, Oban, Cramond, Elie, Strathclyde, to mention only a few. Robyn, of Vorlich Road, Lochearnhead, was competing in new 40mph 5 metre powerboats with 60hp engines which the RYA are using around the country. The RYA Honda Rib Challenge is now in its 8th 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 in which the competitors slalom between buoys, perform 180° speed turns, emergency stops to lift a lifebelt off a pole, 360° turns reversing around a buoy and then a sprint to the finish. The only girl in the junior section of the challenge Robyn was one of only two competitors to break the 2 minute time limit to complete the course. There were nine or ten competitors in both age groups (8-12 and 13-16 years). The senior age group was won by a boy from Largs, Kyle Maxwell Cox. Robyn normally sails her Topper from the Royal Forth Yacht Club or the Loch Earn Sailing Club. She only had 2 practice sessions prior to the challenge day, but the years of sailing and driving powerboats on Loch Earn gave her the invaluable experience that enabled her to take Gold. Robyn will now go forward to the British final in Southampton on 12 September (at the Southampton Boat Show), to represent the Royal Forth

Poets flock to Callander Callander Poetry Weekend, 3-5 September at Kings Bookshop Callander, and also at Callander Kirk Hall on Saturday 4 Sept, is now in its tenth year. It is still absolutely free and welcomes everybody to drop in and hear poets from all over the country giving short readings, or simply pop in and have a peep at the bookshop gardens. Among those reading in both English and Scots will be Eileen Carney Hulme from Nairn, Colin Will from Dunbar and Charlie Gracie from Thornhill, whose first book, ‘Good Morning’, is to be launched at the Poetry Weekend. Another book will also be launched by Sheena Blackhall, Makar for Aberdeenshire, who will be here on the Saturday afternoon and evening to read and sing in Scots.

Poetry in the garden

Robyn with her Gold award. She was one of only two competitors to break the time limit a fantastic achievement.

Yacht Club and the Scottish region. There she will face fierce competition from the youth of Ireland, Wales and nine English regions. The winner of the challenge in the British final receives a 4metre Honwave inflatable plus 20hp engine for the club which is represented.

For anyone at all interested in writing, this is an excellent chance to chat with some poets and peruse a few books, many of which are not easy to come by. Among the talks and discussions, Morelle Smith will talk on Byron in Albania and there will be demonstrations of how books are stitched and bound and put together for anyone who wishes to give it a try. And there will be music too, with the group Onya Wick already booked and the harpist Edwin Stockdale. Sally Evans tel UK 01877 339449

sallyevanz on twitter, facebook and skype


Celebrating our Church Records - Balquhidder Kirk! An exhibition of church records will be on display from 6-12 August at Balquhidder Kirk, which will be open from 10.00am5.00pm daily (except when weddings or funerals are taking place). Stirling Council Archives holds the records of Balquhidder Kirk Session from 1710-1973. There are gaps in the records - for example, there is scarcely a mention of the Jacobite uprisings and there are no records from 1843, the time of the ‘Great Disruption’. However, this still leaves a rich and wonderful series of records to explore, packed with amazing detail about Balquhidder Kirk and its parishioners. As well as being of informational value, many of the records are written in beautiful handwriting, often in Scots, which makes for fascinating reading. People can expect to see examples chosen from the following records: • Kirk Session Minutes - these mostly contain details of parishioners held up before the Session to answer for their misdemeanours. People thought to be guilty of immoral behaviour (everything from having illegitimate children to hanging out the washing on the Sabbath) were called to answer before the Session, which acted as a local court for the upkeep of the morals of the parish. People found guilty were usually fined and made to sit on the ‘Stool of Repentance’ for several Sundays, in full view of the congregation, before being ‘absolved from the scandal’. The minutes also record the purchase of new fittings and fixtures for the church; gifts; staffing; arrangements for the hire of mortcloths and purchase of lairs. • Cash and Account Books - these record the financial transactions of the church - everything from staff wages to donations, weekly collections and gifts to the poor. The church used the money it collected from donations and fines to distribute poor relief to the needy within the parish. These records show people’s


names, sometimes a description of their circumstances and how much money they received.

• Records from the Communion Roll and ‘Strathyre Mission’ will also be on show, along with seating plans and other Balquhidder material ranging from estate records to photographs of the local area. Thanks are due to the Rev. John and Mrs. Lincoln, as well as to the parishioners of Balquhidder - past and present! * * * * * * * * * * * *

Background to the exhibition

This exhibition is part of a series of nine created by Stirling Council Archives staff in partnership with the National Archives of Scotland to mark the 450th year since the Scottish Reformation. Working with local churches, staff have researched the range of church records held, exploring everything from 400 year old kirk session discipline books to accounts, marriage and baptism registers. The exhibitions aim to give church members and interested visitors the chance to explore these records, by choosing interesting highlights to show the diversity of information held. Whether you are interested in the history of your church or your own family history, the church records hold a wealth of fascinating detail. Everything from moral discipline, to poor relief, baptism, marriage and education all came under the Church’s remit so these records are a fantastic source of information not just about particular individuals, but about whole communities in towns and villages. Stirling Archives holds the Church of Scotland records courtesy of the Keeper of the Records of Scotland, through an agreement between the Church of Scotland and the Keeper. Everyone is welcome to visit the Archives to use the material held and there is no need to make an appointment.

Entrance to the Archives is FREE. Opening hours: Mon-Wed: 9.30-12.30 & 1.30-4.30. Groups may visit on Fridays by prior arrangement. For further information please contact: Stirling Council Archives 5 Borrowmeadow Road, Stirling FK7 7UW Tel: 01786 450745 or visit

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Lochearnhead Shears Crookmaking Competition 2010

Leg cleeks - standing to attention like soldiers on parade - and an array of fancy Ramshorn sticks HIS was the 9th competition that TI’ve been involved with. Thinking

John Galloway pla

cing rosettes

about previous years and reports I wondered how to make this year’s sound interesting. That was before it happened but as it transpired it turned out to be a bit more exciting than I had thought.

Everything began as normal with competitors arriving bearing their sticks and setting them up. The judge, Martin Hyslop, had travelled down from Avoch in Ross-shire and we were to have the presentation of prizes by our Stirling Provost, Fergus Wood. The judging was over, prizes set out ready, competitors had returned for the finale. The weather had turned pretty nasty when suddenly a huge gust of wind caught the tent and lifted it from its anchorage. The centre pole slewed, sticks and stands collapsed, trophies and bottles of whisky flew across the ground! So there I was hanging on to one of the guy ropes for dear life, calling for assistance. Thankfully all was restored to normal with the only damage being a few broken stands. Without all the help from

r one of the Casting a critical eye ove od class entries in the Plain Wo

the competitors to reinstate the tent it could all have been a lot worse and for that I was most grateful. We did have a winner though: Dane Love won the Championship, Reserve Championship and Most Points in Show. The Novice Champion was Julie Anderson.

Judge Mart

in Hyslop

So there we have it! What will next year have in store for me? Margaret Galloway

P.S. The tent collapsed later on in the evening and stayed down!

Saturday 28th August: Live music with Stevie McGill from 8.30pm 15

NOW IN NEW GROUND FLOOR PREMISES AT: 6 Cross Street, Callander Tel: 01877 331417 Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Stone Therapy, Facials, Indian Head Massage, Spray Tan, Waxing, Nail Extensions, Manicures, Electrolysis, Tanning Booth, Make-up, Permalase. Monday-Saturday OAP Special on Wednesdays GIFT VOUCHERS

Sign in the middle of nowhere: BEWARE - THIS SIGN HAS SHARP EDGES


The Three Villages

FineArts Society

Handicrafts Sale On Sunday 18 July The Three Villages Fine Arts Society held a small sale of handcrafted items in Balquhidder Hall. We joined the traditional Strawberry Cream Teas afternoon, held to raise funds for the Church and Hall, filling ‘our corner’ with small paintings, aprons, cupcakes, scarves, cushions, cards and more, all made by members of the group. Ardell, our tutor, raffled one of her paintings. Our net profit from the day came to £255.50 after our contribution to Hall/Church funds. £89 was raised from the raffle and £166.50 from sales. The raffle prize, a painting of Loch Voil in winter is now on its way to Duncan Francis. We hope that this healthy addition to our funds will help us to establish the oil painting class again in the Autumn. We suffered depletion in numbers attending when the class could no longer be held in our usual venue, Balquhidder Hall, because of the flooding in January which destroyed the floor and closed the hall for months. Now that the floor is beautifully restored we hope to get the class underway again on Tuesday 5 October from 10.00am and running till 1.00pm. New members are welcome and you do not need to spend lots of money on expensive materials before you have a go. Art materials are available for beginners. You can purchase your own once you are sure that oil painting is for you. Please contact Ardell Morton on 01877 384 356. Look out for our next event at Lochearnhead Watersports Centre on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 August.

EVENTS 25th August 7.00 - 9.00pm Balloch Pier Sweeney Cruises, Balloch

Literature on the Loch

Lennox Literary Society cruise with Glasgow poet and storyteller John Rice together with Scottish folk singer Moira Kerr Booking essential: 01389 604190 £10

H 4th - 26th September 2.00 - 3.00pm Trossachs Pier Loch Katrine

ScottsLand Cruise

Join the ScottsLand Cruise on our boat The Lady of The Lake and listen to Sir Walter Scott telling the story of his poem The Lady of the Lake. Booking recommended on 01877 332000 email visit £9.00 - £14.00

The Chase The Chase, taking place on 25 September 2010, will follow in King James V footsteps along a 40mile route, passing three lochs (Katrine, Venachar and Achray) in pursuit of the ‘elusive’ stag. Using a combination of cycling and running, participants will journey through the breathtaking landscape encountering several special challenges along the way. The course will be fused with elements of the poem bringing history to life in the modern age. There will also be a family orientated version of the event, called ‘The Wee Chase’, taking place on the same day, which is aimed at people of all ages, families, groups of friends or work colleagues looking to get involved in the festivities. This features a five mile bike route followed by an orienteering task inspired by the poem, ending with a cycle back to join the mediaeval celebration with the duathlon participants. Entries for The Chase and The Wee Chase are now open at For more information please call 01282 814738. The Chase is a partner programme supported by Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and EventScotland.

H 14th & 21st September 7:30pm The Roman Camp Country House Hotel, Callander

Spreading the Word

A Candlelit Evening with Scott and Friends A period candlelit evening of entertainment brought to you by the Friends of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs together with the celebrated Callander Amateur Operatic Society, both established 30 years ago. The society will perform recitals, poetry and songs of Sir Walter Scott and his times and include forgotten treasures and previously unpublished Scott’s writings from the Trossachs. A gem of an evening! Limited to 30 tickets per evening. Advance booking essential 01436 677733 or email Cost: By donation

Sign on delivery room door at maternity hospital: PUSH! PUSH! PUSH!


Rangers’ Review By Graeme Auty

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Rangers Suzanne and Gareth have been out and about recently in our area with the Callander Quality Action Group, a group of adults with a cross section of learning disablities who live in and around the Callander area. Scott Ashworth and I helped the group complete the Discovery Level John Muir Award last year and they are now working towards the more advanced Explorer Award. This award is open to all and includes four elements, discovering a wild place, exploring it, working to conserve it and then sharing the experience with others. This group have been out and about discovering the Trossachs and Breadalbane areas of the National Park. During their ‘discovery’ of Balquhidder Glen the group found out about its fascinating history including the connections with the legend of Rob Roy Macgregor. They have been ‘exploring’ the wildlife of Callander Meadows and Aberfoyle Wildlife Site doing a ‘Biodiversity Blitz’ at each site. The group found 61 different species of plants and animals at Callander Meadows and over 70 at Aberfoyle Wildlife Site. Not bad in an hour! For part of the ‘conserve’ element of the award the Quality Action Group litter-picked on the shore of Loch Venachar and were saddened at the amount of broken glass they found. Another aspect of ‘conserving’ has been to produce a series of posters - some of which aim to raise awareness amongst campers in the park about the social and environmental harm which can be caused by leaving litter, lighting fires and damaging vegetation, together with another poster highlighting the variety of wildlife to be found and challenging the public to see what they can find… More on Muir Sometimes called the father of the modern conservation movement, John Muir was born in Dunbar in 1838 and emigrated to the USA at the age of eleven. He was instrumental in the founding of some of the world’s first National Parks; an inspirational writer and explorer. The John Muir Award is the education initiative of the John Muir Trust, a charity which conserves, campaigns and inspires people about wild land and wild places and brings his ideas forward to the present 18

Quality Action Group at Loch Katrine

day. For more information see their website: Happy Campers John Muir was one of the first to call for protection of wild places such as Yosemite and, as part of his campaigning, he wrote to President Theodore Roosevelt and famously camped there with him for three days. The area later became one of the world’s first National Parks. As always, if you have any queries or wildlife sightings to share, please call in to the office in Lochearnhead, or contact me on 01389 722115 or email Graeme.

John Muir (right)

The Stronvar Housing Development What’s happening?

Most Balquhidder residents are aware of the long history of the Stronvar Housing Development. The Development has received planning permission to build nine dwelling houses plus the redevelopment of the lodge at Stronvar. Work has started on the infrastructure of this development. Most of the community is divided about the project: few are in favour of it, some are against it but most accept that it is much better than the alternative proposals that were considered for the site. The project is probably the most significant development in Balquhidder Glen for at least one hundred years. Accepting that this is not the time to go over old ground The Villagers believes that the residents should be kept informed of progress since the development is likely to affect the lives of most of the community. The Villagers is simply asking “What’s happening on the Stronvar Development?” Work appears to be ‘on hold’ so we asked Mike Walker for an update. Mike confirms that the initial phase i.e. site clearance, drainage, essential services and infrastructure, is almost complete. However, because of the present uncertainty in the economic climate Mike claims he is advised to seek advice from commercial agents as to the best way to proceed. “The present economic situation has caused us to review our strategy,” said Mike. “Should we sell individual houses as planned, sell individual plots or seek an outside developer to complete the development? Whatever way we proceed, be reassured that the project will comply with the strict planning control already approved by the authorities. Anything less would be unacceptable.” Mike is emphatic that the management plan will be back on course by the end of September when the position of Factor will be filled. “In these uncertain economic times it makes sense to tread carefully on a project of this magnitude,” said Mike. “We will publish an update of our plans in two months.”

Artist’s Impression


View from the Park by Owen McKee It’s not all work and no play at the Park. Sometimes we get the opportunity to tour the Park and enjoy its pleasures. I had such an occasion recently when I joined the other locally elected members to familiarise the new boys with some of the Park’s problems and special qualities. (It is sad that there has not been a single female candidate in any of the three elections held so far.) First stop was Sallochy Bay on the East Side of Loch Lomond to see some of the devastation that the unruly have wrought on our Park and hear some of the complaints that fed into the Camping Byelaws situation. Most of the adverse publicity surrounding the byelaws carefully omits to detail the action being taken to benefit the well behaved visitors (I know you never highlight your opponent’s strengths), so we were able to show the newcomers where there would be provision for informal camping and fire cages and even a toilet block. In other words it is not about discouraging people from visiting. In fact it is all about making the visit a worthwhile experience and at

LOCHEARNHEAD POST OFFICE AND SHOP POST OFFICE AND PARCELFORCE SERVICES. CASH MACHINE (no fee) Lochearnhead Souvenirs ~ Children’s Toys Greetings Cards ~ Stationery Films and Batteries Hot & Cold Drinks ~ Confectionery ~ Ice Cream Signed books by Local Authors Fishing Tackle ~ Fishing Tackle Hire Live Bait ~ Permits

~ ~ ~

POST OFFICE & SHOP HOURS (March - October 2010)

Mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri Wednesday Saturday Sunday

0900 - 1730 0900 - 1300 0900 - 1600 1200 - 1600

St Fillans Service - Tuesdays 10am-12 noon Post Box Collection Times: Morning - 12 noon Afternoon - 1600 (Except Saturday) Sunday - No Collection Telephone: 01567 830 201 20

the same time protecting the environment and quiet enjoyment to which the locals are entitled. Next stop was Balmaha where the Park Authority has a visitor centre and the Council has a car park and toilets. The Council is contemplating closing the toilets and possibly charging for parking so the Park Authority has entered into discussions with the Council to see if they are prepared to make some financial contributions to the Park Authority to enable us to alter our building to open up the visitor centre toilets to the public and, of course, a little more to help with the running costs. Then to Callander and the Rob Roy Centre. There is not enough space to detail what is needed there. A wonderful iconic building with a correspondingly large maintenance bill. Discussions are ongoing there in the Callander Partnership - (a grouping of the local community interests, VisitScotland, Stirling Council, the Park Authority and Rural Stirling Housing Association.) North to Loch Lubnaig with similar problems to those of East Loch Lomond, with me detailing the problems at Balquhidder Glen and Loch Earn. A gentle stop at the Glenogle Snack Bar and onwards to Glen Dochart and Loch Iubhar where some Yorkshire visitors were singing the praises of the local fishing. Onwards to Arrochar to visit the new community hall which was opened with an official visit from Prince Charles in June. It is a magnificient facility and a tribute to efforts of the communities of Tarbet, Arrochar and Succoth. The hall lies next to the pier which has funding in place for its refurbishment as part of a bigger plan to re-introduce water-based transport which will see the Waverley return to trips up Loch Long. Our trip was all by road and ended with a stop at Luss where the visitor centre there is about to be rented to a private concern which makes candles. All in all a very

enjoyable day and the sun shone! I have been waiting anxiously for the Ministerial decision on the Local Review Body’s decision to grant on appeal the planning permission for the snack bar at Loch Iubhar, Crianlarich, not just because it was the first case we had dealt with but for the following more fundamental reason. One of the worries that people had expressed about the new planning system was that the Planning Authority would be dealing with an appeal against a decision by the Park Authority’s own Planning Department. Surely it was unlikely that the Review Body would be able to be an impartial judge. Lo and behold, not only were we able to do so but we were able to do so to the satisfaction of the Minister, who was entitled to call in our decision as the main objection on which the Planning Officer had based the refusal was from Transport Scotland. The Minister declined to call in the appeal and consequently planning permission has now been granted for the Snack Bar. Owen McKee As always I can be contacted as follows: Post: Taigh Na Bhuth, Lochearnhead. FK19 8PR Phone: 01567 830214 email:

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.

The 17th Scottish Blackface Shearing Championships

LO C H E A R N H E A D S H E A R S 2 0 1 0


NCE again the wet weather and consistent rain didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of the shearers on 3rd and 4th July. An international line up of competitors congregated to fight for the Scottish Blackface Shearing Champion title. Many new faces appeared, trying to get experience on the British sheep before the World Championships, to be held at the Royal Welsh later in the month. The Junior, Intermediate and Senior heats took place on Saturday afternoon with the WoolHandling competition taking place in conjunction with the senior heats, under shearing shed style conditions and rules – the girls then qualifying through to the final on the Sunday afternoon. Sheree Alabaster, member of the New Zealand team for the forthcoming World Champs, took top honours, furiously looking after eight fleeces, throwing them on a table, wrapping them up and sweeping up the boards – all this at break neck speed. Audrey Lamb from Lanark secured Runner-up spot, with Argyll girl Linda McWhirter taking 3rd and Gwenan Paewai from Wales settling for 4th. Sunday evening’s finals commenced with the traditional blade shearing, Scottish team members for the World Champs, David Ferguson and Willie Shaw, battled it out with local farmer Willie Taylor from Ardeonaig, Killin and past Scottish team member Donald McColl from Fort William. David Ferguson from Newton Stewart came out the victor, ahead of Willie Shaw from Saline, with Willie Taylor and Donald McColl taking 3rd and 4th places respectively. The Junior final where they shore four blackie hoggs in just over 5 minutes saw young Sandy McKellar from Auch Estate, Tyndrum, take home the silverwear. Taking Runner-up place was Brendan Graham from Gorey, Co Wexford with Ifan Prys, Conwy, Wales and Euan MacKinnon, Bathgate taking 3rd and 4th places respectively. The International relay was next; teams of three from New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales competing in what was a crowd-thrilling event with support from each of these nations cheering on their teams. The New Zealand Team of Johnny Kirkpatrick, Darin Forde and Kevin Hessell were triumphant, Wales were 1.5 points behind to put them in 2nd place with Scotland and Northern Ireland having to settle for 3rd and 4th place. A new invitation test - Scotland against the Republic of Ireland, with a Junior and Intermediate shearer from each country, saw young Scottish lads - Sandy McKellar and Alan Brady pull this off over the visitors, Brendan Graham and Robert Kells. Three Welshmen and a Scotsman lined up in the Intermediate final with Clwyd Jones from North Wales receiving the red ribbon ahead of his fellow countrymen Iwan Morris and Ifan Jones, with David Gibson from Gartocharn taking 4th place. The welcome return visit of the Northern Ireland Senior team test, consisting of Finn Butler and Trevor Clark with manager Gerard Kelly and Scottish representatives, Brian Simpson and Calum Shaw saw the Scottish team on their own kind of sheep prove winners in a very close fought and exciting event. The Scotland v New Zealand Test saw the four shearers who will be competing for their countries at the Royal Welsh shear their 12 sheep in just under 8 minutes – Gavin Mutch and Hamish Mitchell for Scotland showed that they know their way round the blackie hoggs, with longtime supporter to Lochearnhead David Fagan, and newcomer to the New Zealand team Cam Ferguson, taking reserve place. The line up in the senior final, saw three Scotsmen and a Welshman. With the pace moving up another gear, the finalists shore their 10 sheep in around 9 minutes; Matthew Evans from South Wales took top honours with From top: Stewart Kennedy from Aberfeldy taking Runner-up position, Calum Shaw from Saline taking G Mutch - 20th sheep in Open Final; Matthew 3rd and Brian Simpson from Blairgowrie taking 4th. Evans, Senior Champion; Provost Wood with The Open Finalists originally cut from the 44 open competitors down to 4, with some people Stewart Kennedy - Best Pen in Any Final; Sheree reckoning the Lochearnhead Open Final is amongst the toughest to make throughout the UK. Alabaster, Wool Handling Champion 2010. The quality of workmanship and speed was the order of the day. Once again, with the crowd Bottom left: Blade Finalists - (left to right) D McColl, W Taylor, D Ferguson off their seats in excitement, we saw four previous Blackface Shearing Champions take and W Shaw. the stage - breakneck speed saw Gavin Mutch from Huntly shear 20 hoggs in a new record of 12 minutes 11 seconds, with Hamish Mitchell just 2 seconds slower. Gavin’s slightly cleaner pen and board scores saw him take the title, Hamish had to settle for the blue ribbon, Kiwi Johnny Kirkpatrick took 3rd spot with Kieran McCullough, Northern Ireland in 4th.



Central Scotland Police

There when you need us

PC Andy Ward is on holiday this month. Gilbert & Sullivan wrote in The Pirates of Penzance that ‘A Policeman’s Lot Is Not A Happy One’. Having now spent two evenings observing the constabulary going about their duties I can assure you that locally at least nothing could be more true. The background to my time spent with PC Andy Ward and his colleagues all came about after I made contact with Andy following a visit by a party of youngsters to Loch Earn, following which the rubbish left behind on the shore side was disgusting, to say the least. As it happened they had already been ‘visited’ by PC Ward regarding another matter which is now making its way towards a conclusion in front of the sheriff, but knowing of my role as a member of the Community Council and as chairman of LETI (Loch Earn Tourism Initiative) he invited me to spend a couple of evenings on the back shift together with him and some of his colleagues, seeing at first hand just what does happen locally. I


have to say that I had my eyes opened as to the operational requirements on a local basis. I say local because in fact their ‘beat’ can and does stretch from the bottom end of Loch Lubnaig all the way to Tyndrum, and takes in places such as Ben Glas (north of Loch Lomond) and Ardeonaig, some 7 miles along the South Loch Tay road, not forgetting of course Balquhidder Glen and a good part of Loch Earn. A vast area, which as you will see below can have just one officer patrolling because of other factors taking place involving other colleagues being called away. Of course these distances mean that often being in ‘the wrong place at the wrong time’ can have a major effect on response times. In addition the requirements for dealing effectively with each incident means that officers can be away from their working area for long periods of time. A couple of examples of this involve first of all a motorist flagged down at 3.30pm on the Friday afternoon, for speeding through Lochearnhead at 47mph. Now most of us would simply apologise, accept the £60 fine and 3 points and be on our way. However this particular individual became progressively more agitated and aggressive, refusing to give his personal details so eventually he had to be arrested, which meant a trip for both officers escorting him down to

Stirling. By the time he was booked in, details checked and fingerprints taken it was after 9.30pm before these officers were back on patrol in the local area. It should also be noted that the police have a ‘duty of care’, which meant that when the man was released in the early hours of Saturday morning, two further officers acted as taxi drivers in order to return him to his vehicle parked in Lochearnhead, and it has to be said that they too were on the receiving end of a lot of verbal abuse during the trip back up the road. The comments made about this man were that he was probably the most obnoxious individual they’d ever had to deal with. Of course while all this was going on only one police officer was available to cover the whole area. On the Saturday evening a report came in of a ‘Sudden Death’ near the campsite at Ben Glas, north of Ardlui. The Killin officer on duty was instructed to attend along with an officer from Alloa. This may seem amazing but he was the nearest available officer, ensuring that all areas still had an element of cover. He was also about to go off duty, so it won’t be overtime he’ll benefit from but time off in lieu. Upon arrival these officers found that a 62-year old man had collapsed and died whilst walking off the hill with friends and family. No foul play obviously, but none the less a very tragic event. Any sudden death requires the police to attend and by definition these events can’t be planned for. In the ideal world, enough funding would be available to have 3 or 4 officers patrolling the area, but as with everything else these days, budgets are very tight and with a no-overtime policy to save costs, this means that time taken in lieu puts added pressure on other officers. With regards to the local area and visitors camping and fishing on the lochside, I must say I was pleasantly surprised at the feedback from the vast majority of the visitors to the arrival of the police. Most were more than happy to appreciate what was being said about littering, fires and noise levels, and whilst one or two were certainly the ‘worse for wear’ in the main their friends took control of the situation, where for example vehicles were causing an obstruction, which could have been disastrous in the event that emergency vehicles needed access. It’s very easy being a local to ‘tar people with the same brush’ but in the main most people were up here to get some peace and quiet and as one guy said - get a bit of peace from the wife!! Where I think the Community Council needs to get involved is in bringing

together the various councils, National Park, land owners and police to see if we can get a common policy set up with regard to the collection and clearance of litter. This can vary greatly according to where you are around the various loch sides which we have in the area. In summary I’m aware of the comments that they see the police doing little more than catching speeders, or drink drivers. Well, having spent this time - I think very productively - I have a better appreciation of what the police are up against. As with anything it’s always easy to be critical, but given the resources and the limitations financially I think they do an excellent job in the circumstances. Of course, things could be better. I think their ‘paper system’ is diabolical. When you pull over eight youngsters from Denny, you’d think you’d simply key into the computer the ‘case notes’ just the once, with the name and address details added for clarity. No, the system requires eight lots of details. This is ridiculous and very time wasting and chatting to a number of the police officers they actually give up their own free time when doing their paperwork. How many of us I wonder would have the same commitment? I’d like to go public and thank PC Ward for his invitation and for the exchanged pleasantries with all of his colleagues. A very worthwhile exercise which has opened my eyes and perhaps, through The Villagers will help all those other law abiding citizens to understand a little more about what does go on. A final thought! As Andy pointed out to me; if you - the general public - don’t make contact with the police about a particular problem then they can’t help you. It might well appear that because they don’t arrive within ten minutes that they are not interested but it is simply, as you’ll see from above, that they may well be some miles away already dealing with a serious issue. If anyone would like to comment to me about this article then I’d be more than happy to respond. Either come along to a Community Council meeting, or contact me as shown elsewhere in The Villagers. As you read at the start I am, probably like you, simply a concerned local resident, but now I have a better understanding of just what does go on. Alistair Barclay

Letter To the Editor

I write in response to the letter in last month’s issue regarding the ‘verge parking’ of caravans, motorhomes, etc. around the various lochs in the area. Whilst having some understanding of the plight of all three of the local businesses, the short, simple answer is that the problems of gaining support from the local community are countrywide and especially as people at large are cooking a broader range of meals, inevitably these smaller outlets cannot stock the range of foodstuffs that the general public are looking for. That said, the problems associated with people bringing caravans and parking them on the lochsides is an altogether different issue. You only have to look at the way the verges have been ripped up with tyre marks to see the damage that is occurring. In addition it isn’t just the caravans or motorhomes, it’s the awnings that are strung up between trees that are the added eyesore. But perhaps even worse than this is the general atmosphere round about when ‘visitors’ pull into the lay-bys looking for a little rest and relaxation whilst enjoying the fantastic scenery that we are blessed with around the area. Intimidation does take place. I’ve seen it at first hand and I personally wouldn’t want to park up in these areas given the atmosphere that does sometimes exist. Of course you can’t, and I won’t, tar everyone with the same brush, but the natural beauty that is on offer is there for everyone, whether local, from the central belt or from abroad. It is quite wrong, in my opinion, that people bring their vans and park up - often for weeks at a time. The local community at large gain nothing from these people. Yes, they may well support the local retail outlets to some extent, but that begs the question - if more people were visiting the area on a pass-through basis, would they too support these businesses? The National Park is currently clamping down around East Loch Lomond. The likelihood is that this area will follow in a year or two and, as always, it’s the few who ruin it for the majority. Who, for example, walks their dog along the lochside; anywhere around the loch? I certainly wouldn’t for fear of cut paws on the broken bottles left behind. The Community Council is trying to put together a policy which will be of benefit to everyone - if some simple common sense rules are followed. Let’s hope that this will apply and benefit everyone, whoever they are.

Alistair Barclay ‘Local Resident’ Dalvaich Farmhouse, Glenbeich, Lochearnhead, Perthshire FK19 8PZ 01567 830453


Find the British city! Unscramble the birds and find the city from the first letter of each word.


Sign on a church: 7 DAYS WITHOUT GOD MAKES ONE WEAK 23

Charity Football Match Good weather generated an excellent turnout to the Lochearnhead games field on Sunday 25 July for the annual charity football matches: Married v Single Men and Married v Single Ladies. The bar run by Tommy MacGregor and Moira Welsh helped to slake the thirsts of players and spectators alike. The single men triumphed this year with a 6-2 win and the George Wright Memorial Shield was presented to Grant Sharp by Hugh Atkinson. The Man of the Match Champagne was won by Jamie Dryburgh. The Ladies’ teams drew 1-1 in a hardfought ‘Handbags at Dawn’ match. Single Men’s captain Grant Sharp received a second award – his 21st Birthday cake, presented by Mum Marjie. The usual massive raffle was held after the match thanks to the generosity of local businesses. Last year’s cash went to Cancer Research, Strathyre Youth Project, Lochearnhead Youth Club and Strathyre School. The match ball was sponsored by Amanda Kerr of Lochearnhead Hotel. Alex, Tom and Shuggie


FOR SALE 1 ozark bouzouki with padded case Excellent condition; only used a few times Good starter bouzouki £100 ono

‘Single Men’ - the victors!

Grant Sharp in his birthday hat

1 ozark bouzouki 2243 with hard case also in excellent condition Only for sale due to being replaced with gift £295 ono Both must be seen and heard! Tel: 0751 825 0035

Jazz up the Trossachs

Farm Forum: Well... whad’ya know! Some time ago I referred to the on-going EEC discussions regarding the reform of the CAP ( The Common Agricultural Policy). Implementation of the reformed legislation is due to commence in 2013 I say “commence” because there is talk about phasing in the more radical bits over quite a long period. I remarked at the time that the glimmer of hope on the horizon was the fact that George Lyon, a Scottish MEP who farmed in the west of Scotland, had been appointed to visit all the EU countries and sound out opinion and then come up with some broad brush guidelines as a basis for final legislation. Well George has done just that and indeed his broad proposals have been given massive backing by the European Parliament. This is good but is only a first step and we must wait and see what happens at all the other committees that will be involved. There is many a slip twixt cup and lip! I reported recently that despite British protestations the EEC proposals for EID (electronic identification) for sheep had been implemented. There was noticeable lack of support for the British view from other countries. Believe it or not there was a very stormy debate in the European Agricultural Committee the other day at a meeting held at the instigation of the Germans. Problems in the implementation of the legislation have suddenly become

apparent to them. A Scottish MEP Alyn Smith said “It is frustrating that other countries are now discovering precisely the problems we said they would”. On the plus side, the European consumer affairs and health commissioner is to visit the UK to see for himself the problems caused by the controversial legislation. It is crucial that he visits Scotland to ensure that he sees the specific problems in the hill areas. Let us hope something comes of his visit but the old phrase “too little too late” springs to mind.

Callander Jazz and Blues Festival 2010

is from 1-3 October this year. Further details next month and on their website

You may remember last month I mentioned the findings of researchers regarding ground nesting birds and predators. This month they have again excelled themselves and come up with the “ground breaking” discovery that many species of birds flourish far better on ground that is grazed by cattle (and presumably sheep) because the dung attracts many insects which the birds feed on!! I bet you didn’t know that birds lived on insects, grubs etc! Agricola

Good Food - and a warm welcome awaits all. Award winning local chef. Eddie McAnally will be cooking the best of local produce. To make a reservation and enquire about our free transport service contact George at the Kings House. Reservations Tel: 01877 384 646 Fax: 01877 384716 email: 25


We’ll send you or your friends ‘The Villagers’ £10.50 for 11 monthly issues (£19.50 for Europe and £25.00 for the rest of the world). All you need to do is to post the completed form to: BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION, Tom-Na-Dair 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................................ 26


Eco - Dry Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning Services Package Deals Now On For 2010 3 Carpets cleaned for the price of 2 3pce suite + carpet £120

Tel: 07827 014328




• DIARY DATES • Weekly & Monthly Activities Many of the start dates have not yet been finalised and will be listed next month.


Last Summer Music Concert - 7.00pm


Folk Night with ‘Tarneybackle’ and Supper at Tullybannocher Café - 7.30pm


Immervoulin Caravan Park Fun Day - 11.00am - 3.00pm


BLS Community Council Meeting



WakeScot – Lochearnhead watersports Centre - see p.10 St Fillans Festive Weekend


Lochearnhead Fete in the games field starting 1.00pm Nigel Ogden organ concert (fun tunes for all tastes) Dundurn Church 7.30pm Tickets from Comrie Church Office Tel: 01764 679 184


BLS Horticultural Society Annual Show - Lochearnhead Village Hall - 3.00pm

28/29 Three Villages Fine Arts Society - event in Watersports Centre, Lochearnhead


Callander Poetry weekend at Kings Bookshop - see p.13


New Gaelic playgroup starting in Balquhidder Hall 10.30am - 12.30pm see p.2


New session starting - Art Class - Balquhidder Hall 10.00am - 1.00pm

16/17 Stained glass techniques workshop - see p.16

The deadline date for copy each month this year is the

24th. Please help us to get The Villagers to you on time!

All cheques for advertising or mail order subscriptions must be made out to ‘The BLS Newspaper Association’

The Villagers’ Contacts BLS Newspaper Association Tom-na-Dhair, Balquhidder Lochearnhead FK19 8PB Email: Editorial Team Editor: Marguerite Kobs 01877 384 215 ‘Kalinka’, Auchtubh, Balquhidder Lochearnhead FK19 8NZ Business Manager: John Stewart 01877 384 664 Production Manager: Gill Allan 01877 384 203 Advertising Co-ordinator and Photographer: Alistair Barclay 01567 830 453 Co-editor and Lochearnhead Contact: Ali Ferguson 01567 830 405 Strathyre Contact: Susan Revie 01877 384 306 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

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, until September Killin, at the Episcopalian Church Sunday 2.30pm Father Jim McCruden 2 Ancaster Square, Callander Tel: 01877 330 702

SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH St Angus’s, 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. Vestry Secretary - Lawrie Hopkins Tel: 01567 830 238 28

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

The Villagers August 2010  

Village news. The voice of Strathyre, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and St Fillans Villagers in Perthshire and The Trossachs Scotland. Communit...

The Villagers August 2010  

Village news. The voice of Strathyre, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and St Fillans Villagers in Perthshire and The Trossachs Scotland. Communit...