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The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

istmas r h C y r r e M nd a a ew Year, y Happ eN ev ryone!


Balquhidder’s Pantomime Spectacular 29/30 November - 1 December 2012

See Page 6 and Back Page for more!


Apologies for being a little later than normal due to a variety of reasons, one being the Balquhidder Panto, but hopefully the splendid pictures are worth the wait. Having a very minor part (how difficult can three lines be to learn!) did allow me to see from the inside what a truly community show it was with an age range from 3 to 80 and so many people involved in all the backstage roles as well as a very large number in the actual cast. How Gill Allan managed to put the paper together as well as having half her house being totally renovated is quite amazing, so thanks a million Gill. Hopefully we have included all the dates for the many festive gatherings due to take place in all four villages over Christmas, New Year and also Burns Night. We all hope you have a wonderful time - with some snow to look scenic - but not enough to prevent us all getting out and about! In February we have our AGM at the Lochearnhead Hotel on Wednesday 20th of February. Please come along and give your views on the past year’s papers - what you have enjoyed, need more of, think we should include etc. We have a new page in this month “Soapbox” which we would like to be a regular feature for people to express their views, start discussions or just get it off their chests! There are serious issues to be addressed for the future of The Villagers so I do hope you will come along to discuss the way forward. Have a lovely Christmas! Jill REMEMBER... Advertising must be paid up before publication. This also applies to adverts on a 6 month discount which are coming up for renewal. We are sending out invoices a month ahead to give people plenty of time to pay - but if no payment is received by Deadline Day (21st) then the advert will have to be removed. Sorry!



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

8.0 ºC 46.4 ºF 12.2 53.9 1.6 34.8 -4.5 23.9

Rainfall: 18.5 cms 7.4 ins Strongest wind gust 34 mph on 13 November



by Old Nyati

It was hard to tell just what the Editor was thinking when I asked if I could write about SEX. The reply came that she was blushing but thought it might increase The Villagers circulation figures. So permission was granted. You will by now have looked at some of the photos. Pheasants? What has this got to do with SEX? Well, read on... Any gamekeeper or shooting man will tell you that very occasionally a rather strange pheasant will appear in the bag and cause a bit of a puzzle. Is it a cock or a hen? In fact it is what is known as an hermaphrodite, having characteristics of both sexes. Perhaps it would be best to look at the photographs one by one. The editor saved this article for the colour edition so as to show the contrasts in plumage. It has been possible over the summer months to record the gradual change in this particular bird as it and the others have been visiting the bird feeders each morning throughout the year. The first picture shows a group of three hens in early spring. But look closely! The one on the left is beginning to show faint changes to head and neck feathers. The second shows the half way stage. The breast feathers are now showing quite a change from the original. Then in the third, now in mid-October, we see almost a complete change to a cock bird. No complete wattles around the eyes (and no spurs on the legs too). Apart from that it would be hard to tell cock from hen. Having “swotted up” via the internet it seems that this change sometimes happens with an elderly hen bird when one set of hormones declines and is to some extent replaced by the other. It should be remembered that these birds are all only one or two generations removed from hand reared stock from neighbouring estates. It is nice to see them around but without gamekeepers’ efforts they would go the same way as the grouse and blackgame and disappear. After all, only approximately 40% of reared birds will survive the shooting season to be seen around the glen all summer. Until a fox or mink gets most of them, hopefully a few will survive to rear chicks next year. 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).

The Village Store St Fillans

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:

7.30am - 5.30pm Mon-Sat Sunday 8.00am till 4.00pm

01764 685309

The St Fillans Bit

by John Murray

With winter now firmly entrenched and with my constant desire to explore the very boundaries of technology as applied to our homes – I bought myself a Soup Maker last week. Seduced by a TV advert during the cricket I realized that our lives would be so much simpler if we owned an electric soup maker. ‘Twas ordered there and then and by the miracle that is Amazon, and we had the thing the next day. And mighty impressive it looked. Now, I have no need for another gadget as I have a perfectly serviceable soup maker already – who also washes dishes and clothes, cleans the house and looks after me well. But the joy of being able to put a pile of ingredients into a machine, go away then return 30 minutes later to a vat of soup ready to eat is obviously essential to modern living. So, with a cursory glance at the instructions, I set about my first batch of veggie soup. Alas, the device is not as clever as I thought – you still have to stand over it whilst it sweats (badly) your veg, then fill it with pre-made stock, then tell it to boil, then tell it to simmer, then extend the simmer time because the veg is nowhere near cooked, then operate the built-in blender. Then clean it. The self-cleaning cycle is leading a sponsored 12 km walk starting where the fun starts. Not having read the at 12 noon that day from Dundurn book I lashed a pint of hot water into it, Church – all funds raised going towards gave a good squeeze of Fairy and turned the provision of fresh water for villages the blender up to level 4. Within seconds in Africa. All are welcome to join in the the device produced untold quantities walk, which I am told is relatively flat of soapy foam which blew the lid off it, and not too difficult. Why not go along, coated me, itself and everything within 5 or even just make a donation via Linda feet with soapy foam and only complete Bennett? disaster was avoided by my yanking the The following evening, Thursday 13th plug out of the wall. December sees Carols By Candlelight After a long cleaning up process we in Dundurn – truly tradition and sampled our soup. As my regular soup atmospheric carol singing with a glass maker put it “why do we need a £120 of punch provided half way through to machine to produce partially cooked soup lubricate the throat. All welcome. when I make it with no bother in one pan”. The Festive Committee organized yet So well put. If you buy one please read the another excellent bonfire and fireworks self-cleaning instructions or cook your display on 3rd November and despite the soup in the nude and get a nice foam bath flooded field (par for the course this year) thrown in. there was a good turnout of villagers. It will not have escaped you that the Numbers were slightly down on last year, date 12/12/12 approaches fast. To mark no doubt due to the weather, but the that date the Rev Graham McWilliams is bucket collection was up at £230, with

Penny for the Guy?

the balance of the cost of the fireworks funded by The Community Trust. The picture above shows the superb guy which was burned atop the fire and Rebecca and Sam Hardman-Carter who made him. The committee were pleased to see a new ‘helper’ on board, namely Richard Graham from Lochearnside (and before that the Metropolitan Police so mind how you go) and I would repeat their plea sent out by open letter to all homes in the village for new blood to assist in village events. It really is, in the main, the same old faces involved in organizing these things and eventually they will tire of it (I speak from experience) and be looking for new input and assistance. Quite a few folk have asked me to try to find out what the future holds for The Drummond Hotel and report in these pages. Sadly I have discovered nothing. My email to the hotel was returned as ‘undeliverable’, (Continued overleaf) my telephone 3

Continued from page 3

message was not responded to and the hotel website seems to be no longer active. Obviously my previous reports here of the intention to start work this autumn on conversion to self-catering accommodation has not come to pass and it is a real pity to see the building which was for so long the focal point of village activity now closed and with a boarded up front window. If such a large and once majestic building right in the centre of our village slowly decays it will soon become an eyesore, but the costs of renovating it must be colossal. It is important to remember that social habits change over the years and whereas in the nineties a goodly proportion of us villagers gathered in the Drummond frequently for a blether and a laugh or to organise village events nowadays there is far less of a pub culture generally. In the nineties there was also a constant flow of coach party business which covered the overheads. With the best will in the world It is difficult to even cover the costs of keeping a bar open for a few punters a week, particularly with the dramatic reduction of demand for pub lunches across the country. However, all is not lost if you fancy a bit of conviviality now and then, since a group in the village are operating a ‘pop up pub’ venture where they take turns in hosting a Thursday evening in their home where you take your own libations and the host provides the nibbles. Contact Johnston Brown if you are interested. On the subject of hotels, Mary at The Four Seasons reports that Christmas Lunch is now fully booked and that the hotel is closed from 9th to 21st December then reopens on 22nd December for the 2 week Festive Period. The Tarken Bar might not be open every night during that period, depending on demand, but Bistro meals will be available in the restaurant. Best to phone and reserve a table since the hotel has been fully booked several times recently and they hate turning folk way. Andrew and Mary and all the staff ask me to wish all customers a ‘Fun Filled and Happy Christmas and New Year’ and look forward to seeing you all in 2013. In turn I would like to thank Mary for her monthly input to my column. It is heartening (sorry) to hear that good progress is being made on the siting of a defibrillator in the village. The location is now agreed as the Church Annex and an application to The British Heart Foundation looks likely to source some 50% of the required funding, with the rest, I think, coming from the Community Trust. Credit to Don for persevering with this life saving initiative – literally minutes can mean the difference between life and death and who knows who will be first to need the machine? 4

The annual Village Carols Around The Tree will be relocated from The Drummond to The Field Of Hope (corner of Station Road) this year on Thursday evening 20th December. A new permanent site for the village tree, donated every year by Drummond Estates, is being sought with a permanent power supply but this year the electrickery will be courtesy of the Birkmyers. There will be mulled wine and sausage rolls afterwards and all are very welcome. Worth mentioning a couple of milestones this month – Eric Kennelly’s achieving 70 and Les Cunningham (father of Russell, the greatest First Minister we never had) who easily beat Eric at Eric 90 years old. Eric’s occasion was marked by an excellent party in The Sandison, masterminded with no little skill, by wife Lorna. The first part of the evening comprised a superb “This Is Your Life” with Dave Pryde doing his Eammon Andrews really well, the red book, faces from Eric’s past appearing from ‘off stage’ – some of whom he had not seen for years and a fascinating story of a very full and interesting life. Eric genuinely had no idea what was coming next, he thought it was just a wee party, and was visibly moved. Good time for Lorna to ask for a new washing machine. Bob Livermore has asked me to thank villagers who contributed to the Remembrance Poppy collection which raised close to £150 with the box in the Village Store doing particularly well. Lastly, if the picture on this page looks a bit like Frances Brown dangling from the Forth Rail Bridge that is because that’s

exactly what it is – the photo being taken in October when Frances abseiled from the bridge as part of a charity fund raiser. For a man who trembles going up a step ladder and has to look away when scenes of people near roof edges appear on TV programmes I applaud her achievement. I do not imagine that there are many of us who could do it. My final energy cost tip of 2012 – buy yourself one of those clever devices that clamp to your incoming main electricity cable and send a radio signal to a wee display anywhere in the house which tells you in real time how much electricity you are using and how much it is costing. You will not believe the screen. Even when you think that everything is turned off you are using 3p of power an hour (£21 a month!) just from TVs on standby, fridges/freezers ticking over etc. We fitted one 2 years ago, about £30 and five minutes to install, and it must have saved its cost four fold. Our wee screen is in the kitchen and a constant reminder of money burning away because we have left something on in another room. Did you know that one 50 watt bulb burning for 12 hours a day costs some £28 a year. Pretty scary. You soon get in the habit of turning things off. To those of you who suffer my drivel each month, and to any newcomers who missed my journalistic peak by about 8 years, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a great 2013.

John Murray

(PS – regarding The Drummond, after writing this I had a call from Russell who had met Rebecca – part owner of the hotel – who confirmed that the previous self-catering plans for the hotel were now scrapped).

Frances Brown having a wee dangle

Strathyre News

From Our Strathyre Correspondent!

Nothing much to report this month as we have been on holiday for part of it but I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all the readers who have taken the time to read my column and the wonderful feedback and kind comments I have been given with regards to some issues that I have highlighted over the year. I hope to continue in this vein in 2013. Jan and I would like to wish all our friends a very merry Christmas and a prosperous and happy new year and may all your wishes and dreams come true. Wullie D

Golf Outing

Once again Strathyre A F Golfing Society made their November trip to Royal Dornoch. This year we stayed in Strathpeffer,so it meant a bit of travelling. Seventeen members were involved - they came from all over, including Strathyre, Killin, Potters Bar, Hertford, Gatwick, and Balquhidder. The winners were: Day 1 - Ian Fleming Day 2 - Rod Blain Day 3 -Ron Milne Longest drive - Art Crammon Nearest to the pin - Fred Fordham (76 years old) and it was a hole in one. The first ever on our trips! Graham Courtney was the overall winner and Champion. The weather was fantastic - no rain! Once again members from Brookmans Park G C flew up to take part this year five of them, including two new recruits Rex Jones and Mike Dobson, and my son Sean Milne who also made it for the first time ... and all will be back. I am sure all the lads will join me in thanking Joe La Piazza for organising a great trip once again. Pictures show all the lads, and Fred Fordham and Graham getting their prizes from Joe. Ron Milne

All Welcome!

Come along and join in - Thursday 20th December - Carols around the Christmas Tree. Victorian Gardens. Strathyre 8pm. With Callander Brass and Choir Occassional. Followed by mince pies and mulled wine at The Inn and Bistro. If the weather’s dire, we’ll have it in the Village Hall!

Strathyre Christmas Party Special thanks to Tony and Theresa from the Munro Hotel for letting us hold The Ann Summers Party there in aid of the Strathyre Christmas Party and thanks to everyone who came! We raised £177. Also special thanks to Jill and Steve from The Inn for letting us hold the Pampered Chef Party there also in aid of the Strathyre Christmas Party and thanks to everyone who attended - we raised £250. Also thanks to Kirsty-Ann for organising the Halloween Party and raising £31 for the playgroup. And also a huge thanks to the village as a whole for their on-going support of our continuing fund raising.


Get your Christmas turkeys and all the trimmings here. Unusual gifts on sale too. Closing at lunchtime on Christmas Eve Re-opening Easter 2013

New Year’s Dance 1st January 2013 Balquhidder Hall

Starting at 9pm till 1pm

Celidh Band Stewart McKeown Cost £10 per person Tickets available from Dunwhinney’s in Callander orContact John McNaughton to reserve.

01877 384232

Aladdin Balquhidder! The tickets were like gold dust and we had given up on ever getting any when a late call from the Box Office had us on our way down to the village hall to watch the spectacle which was The Balquhidder Panto, and what a spectacular show it was. As soon as we entered the hall we knew we were in China, well... Balquhidder, ‘China’ (remember Francie and Josie?). In the best panto style, Widow Twankee was larger than life and flirting outrageously with the audience as well as giving and getting lots of cheek in equal measure. Her long lost sisters, Ina and Charlene were a picture of loveliness with their mini skirts and ample bosoms and very tottery platform heels. But panto isn’t panto without the baddies - and the audience was right in there with the booing and hissing whenever the Empress in her scarily fluorescent pink wig, made her haughty entrance or Abanazar was up to his wicked, manipulating and evil ways (being played by someone who seemed destined for such a menacing role)! There were three genies of the lamp. Genies One and Two dressed from head to toe in silver shimmer, feather boas and big hair, camped it up “absolutely” brilliantly whilst ‘Wee’ Genie (very cute) charmed us with her basket of wishes and then her magic to send us all back to Balquhidder. The Genie of the Ring was a vision in sparkling gold. There was a very generous scattering

of ‘young’ in the cast, which was good to see. Aladdin himself played it pretty cool throughout and the magic carpet scene was very cleverly done. The homesick duet sung by pandas Ping and Pong was lovely, but their scene in the launderette with Wishee Washee had the audience in stitches, especially when Pong, or was it Ping, fell into the washing machine and was seen to be going round and round! The colourful circus scene showed off some tricky moves whilst the tight rope walk of several bears, monkeys, squirrels and a lion was genius. To include the so very young in a performance with so much going on was very brave. We have always known that there is a lot of thespian talent in the glen - Ina, Charlene and Widow Twankee (never shrinking violets) to name a few, but a whole new crowd came out of hiding on Friday night. Much credit must go to Clare Hunter who wrote and directed the production. There were many local references and jokes, all for the best laughs. However it was the ‘cast of thousands’ that made it so great. I didn’t know so many talented folk stayed in the glen who could pull it off to such great effect. We went home feeling thoroughly entertained. The goodies won through and the baddies got their come-uppance...hooray... boooo... hissssss! Ali Ferguson

A Note of Thanks and Farewell I’m leaving Balquhidder Glen with more than 15 years’ worth of happy memories – of dogs and pigs and hens, of stormy skies over Loch Occasional, mists around the house vanishing in the early sun, buzzards mewing on a Spring afternoon, sunsets on Loch Voil – and best of all, time spent with friends and neighbours at all the varied gatherings. Thank you. I wish everyone a Happy Christmas and all that’s good for the New Year.

Marguerite 6

Remembrance Services

Scottish Water is inviting our customers to have their say on the future of water and waste water services in Scotland.

Sunday 11th November 2012 Lochearnhead

The service at Lochearnhead took place at 11:00am at the Memorial Cross, with 30 villagers attending together with 40 Scouts from the Forth Region also representing Carluke Scouts. The service was conducted by the Reverend Mrs Paddy Allan, St Angus Episcopal Church and Malcolm White, Balquhidder Elder. Wreath layers were Brian Hughes late of the Household Cavalry, The Lifeguards, Matt Duncan for Balquhidder Church, Councillor Owen McKee, Chair of the National Park Planning Committee, Major (Retd.) Lennox Jamieson, late Corps of Royal Engineers for Stirling Council and two from Forth Region Scouts. Our piper was Kieran MacNicol from Balquhidder, giving an excellent rendition of ‘The Flowers of the Forest’ on a good Pipe. Police Constable Donald, Central Scotland Police, Callander stopped the traffic from three directions during our short Remembrance, much appreciated by our villagers, whilst Prayer, Readings, 2 minute Silence, Wreath laying and Piping were observed. Grateful appreciation to all who were in attendance to remember our 31 who were killed in action during 1914 – 1918 and 1939-1945 from Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre, whose names were read out by Councillor Owen McKee ensuring that we do not forget their sacrifice.


Balquhidder Church Remembrance Service took place at midday at the Memorial Cross, conducted by the Reverend John Lincoln, Minister of Balquhidder Church of Scotland. Wreaths were laid by Mrs Vera Stewart, Church pianist on behalf of the Congregation and SNP Councillor Alycia Hayes on behalf of Stirling Council. Piper Kieran MacNicol once again played an excellent ‘Flowers of the Forest’. Strathyre service took place at 3:00pm at the Memorial Cairn, conducted by the Reverend John Lincoln. Thank you to all those who attended each service on a cold but dry day. Malcolm White Lochearnhead

Burns Night in Balquhidder Tom and Lisa are going to have a Burns Night (with a twist!) in Balquhidder Hall - appropriately on the 25th January. We hope as many of the talented singers, musicians and actors from the village will be involved along with those who simply want to come and be entertained and enjoy the haggis and other fine foods. The wonderful Session A9 will return from the festival for the ceilidh. Free entrance for children. Please let us know if you would like to take part and entertain the village! Further details will be on our web site or contact us at Monachyle.

Helen and Brian Hughes have now moved to Comrie but still wish to keep in touch with all our friends in the three villages and we send all of you our Very Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year. We are now living at 9 Almond Place Comrie.

Customers are benefiting from significant investment and improvements made to water infrastructure since our formation in 2002, with drinking water quality and environmental compliance now at its highest ever level. We need to think now about how we build on this and the steps we might need to take to ensure water services and supplies are reliable, resilient and able to stand the test of time. Everyone living and working in Scotland will continue to depend on water and waste water services. That’s why, in planning for the future and wanting to meet customers’ expectations, Scottish Water has launched a consultation giving customers the chance to tell us whether we have identified the right challenges, opportunities and priorities between now and 2040. The consultation identifies potential opportunities and challenges such as climate change, population movement and developments in science and technology as well as possible measures that could be taken to provide high quality drinking water to all customers, protect and enhance the environment and support the economy well into the future. This is a terrific opportunity for people to give their views on these issues – specifically to what extent we should prioritise action to protect water supplies from service interruptions, improve the look and taste of water and reduce flooding. We’re also seeking views on future charge levels and the extent to which customers would like to see service improvements in return. The consultation runs until February 12, 2013 and I would encourage everyone to take part and be a part in shaping the future of water services in Scotland. You can get in touch through our website – by writing to Freepost RTBT-EEXBEJRT, Scottish Water, Daldowie Office, Uddingston, Glasgow G71 7RX. Douglas Millican Interim Chief Executive, Scottish Water


A Note from

St Angus’s Church...

It seems incredible that we are already thinking about Christmas services where has the year gone? At the time of writing this I can’t report on our Silent Auction but, so far, tickets seem to be selling well and I would like to take the opportunity of thanking Andrew Lowe very much for his great generosity to our wee church. As a congregation we are extremely grateful to him. Dates for your Diary: December 9th - Our Carol Service will take place in the Village Hall in Lochearnhead at 6pm. We shall be joined by some members of the Killin Community Choir if they have any voices left - they are already singing in Killin Parish Church that morning and twice at the Green Welly in the afternoon! This will be followed by mince pies and mulled wine. Someone asked me why is the service in the hall when we have such a lovely little church? Well, it is really just to save folk the long dark walk along the main road but if it is the Church you prefer then please note: On Sunday 23rd December at 4pm there is to be a CRIB SERVICE specially for families with young children (and also for the young at heart!) We have chosen 4pm to give little ones the chance to be home for tea and bed at a sensible time. There will be enough excitement and, no doubt, a late night the next day! Everyone will be welcome but especially children. The Service on Christmas Day will be at 9.45am (please note the change of time from our usual 11.15 Service). All will be very welcome at these services. It just remains for all of us at St Angus’s to wish you all in the wider community A VERY HAPPY AND BLESSED CHRISTMAS.

Church News BalquhiĐĐer Reg. Charity No. SC012316

This year has flown by (they all do - the older you get!) with Advent drawing near and it’s time to look forward to Christmas itself. This year our Christmas Eve service of carols and readings will be at 8.00 pm. Let`s hope the weather will be kind and everyone will have a good time. The Church will have a stall at the Balquhidder Christmas Market on 9th December. This will be our last burst of fund raising in 2012. Then, on 18th January 2013 we hope to have another concert/ceilidh with local artists and friends, many of them, no doubt, fresh from their triumphs in the pantomime. Unfortunately, I have to report once again that we shall be without the Church bell ringing out for services. It sounds as though there is something amiss in the steeple, and we are waiting for an expert to examine the structure to make it sure it is safe and to make any necessary repairs. You may remember that earlier this year, Presbytery undertook a survey to find out how best to save the cost of about 3 Ministry posts by linking or uniting some parishes. The report duly arrived and we were relieved to see that “no change” was proposed for Balquhidder and Killin. However, not all the affected parishes (mostly in Stirling) were happy with the proposals, so there will be more discussions before the final decisions are made early next year. As we leave 2012 behind us, we send good wishes and sincere thanks to all who help to maintain the Church and enhance worship here. Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year to everyone. Jean Edwards The Scottish Ambulance Service has various volunteers to represent the voice of the public with regard to their service. I am your local Patient Representative and as such would very much like to hear from all ambulance users about the service they receive - good or bad. Good service needs to be noted and appreciated and anything which causes problems and stress needs to be reported so that the service can improve. Please be good enough to contact me with any feed-back you may have and I will report it at the next meeting which is on December 5th. If this publication is not available by then there will be other meetings to come in the New Year. Fiona Martin 01567 830233

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve worked out the origin of the word ‘ogle’. You may have noticed the tups in the field opposite the village hall in Lochearnhead. The show field is full of ewes - and what lies between the two groups but the Ogle Burn - ‘nuff said! Two of the most ardent ‘oglers’ crossed the burn for a better view - and got stuck when the water rose. Honestly - BOYS! 8

Callander and West Perthshire U3A As we come to the end of our first session we can report that our total number of members has reached the amazing total of 149 which is made up of folk from Callander, Deanston, Dunblane, Thornhill, Kippen, Buchlyvie, Port of Menteith, Gartmore, Kinlochard, Aberfoyle, Brig o’Turk, Strathyre, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Killin. We are particularly grateful to the small but enthusiastic group from Killin who travel down to their chosen groups in Callander, sharing the journey by car and who are currently engaged on a recruitment campaign via their community newspaper, the Killin News, to offer other interested third-agers the opportunity to attend groups locally, where there is a wonderful venue in the upper room of The Old Mill, eminently suitable for workshops, exhibitions and discussion groups. 65 members attended the open meeting held in Callander on 20th November and enjoyed Paul Prescott’s talk describing his long distance walk along the107 miles of The Mary Queen of Scots Way. The route from Arrochar to St Andrews was illustrated by beautiful photography of the varied scenery at different times of the year and copies of Paul’s guide to the walk were on sale afterwards when refreshments were served. Our current newsletter is out and there you will find next year’s timetable of courses which includes several new groups. Details of how to enrol are also there and please don’t forget to look at our website which you can access simply by typing in ‘Callander and West Perthshire U3A’. A New Year lunch for members and their partners is being organised. We will meet at 12.30 for 1.00pm on Thursday 10th January at the newly refurbished Dreadnought Hotel in Callander where there is ample space for a large number – don’t miss out – check the newsletter for details for booking your place. You can e-mail committee members direct from the website if you have any queries or comments. We welcome your feedback on any aspect of our U3A. Having recently attended my first U3A Scotland committee meeting I can report that we are the 41st Scottish U3A group to be formed and our membership contributes to the total of 6,500 members in Scotland as a whole. It was good to hear how many events are being organised all over the country and all groups are encouraged to visit and take part. One big event taking place next June will be a study day at Edinburgh Zoo. The AGM of U3A Scotland will also be held in June – in Stirling – so keep up to date by checking our website where there is also a link to that of U3A Scotland. I would like to quote from the chairman, Graham Clark, who said, “The raison d’être of U3A in Scotland is to share best practice and promote opportunites for learning across the Scottish U3As”. With very best wishes to all our members for an entertaining Christmas and a Guid New Year when it comes. See you in 2013. Marguerite Kobs, Secretary C&WP

Callander Medical Centre


BRACKLINN PRACTICE Dr Strang and Dr Scott received medals to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, in recognition for their involvement in the Killin Mountain Rescue Team and BASICS Scotland. BASICS (British Association of Immediate Care Scotland) is a charity that trains community doctors and nurses to deal with serious life-threatening injuries and incidents. It recognises that often a local doctor or nurse can be first on the scene to a major multi-casualty incident. This is especially true in a rural setting. Training is given in advanced trauma life support and care of medical emergencies. All participating doctors and nurses are volunteers for their local area, and are recognised as part of the “emergency services”. Bracklinn Practice would like to thank all our patients for your co-operation on the day of the flu clinic. Nearly 400 patients were vaccinated, and we raised a massive amount of £118.34 for Breast Cancer Care and £118.34 for Jeans for Genes, a total of £236.68. We would also like to thank patients who brought in home baking and chocolates etc. This certainly helped keep the staff’s spirits up during the day. We would like to inform patients that the practice will be closed from lunchtime Monday 24th December to Thursday 27th December, and lunchtime Monday 31st December to Thursday 3rd January, and to take this opportunity to wish all our patients a Happy Christmas and Joyous New Year from all the staff working for Bracklinn Practice. Please make sure you order your prescriptions early, and if you require medical assistance during the closures, please contact NHS24 - 08454 242424


Scottish Wildlife Trust The Great Trossachs Forest project, as Sue Morris told our November meeting, does not aim to replace the forest that once covered this area but will generate a network of woodland habitats amongst open areas of shrub, moor and grassland. Launched in 2009 this is a partnership between Scotland’s RSPB, FCS, Woodland Trust and BP under the umbrella of the Scottish Forest Alliance with a commitment for 200 years! Sue writes regular articles for several local publications so I won’t duplicate them here. However, the statistics are impressive: TGTF covers 9% of the NP, from Inversnaid RSPB reserve on the east of Loch Lomond, across the 9,500 hectare FCS estate at Loch Katrine, to the ancient hunting forests at Glen Finglas (WTS) and beyond. Over 670 hectares have been planted with almost three-quarters of a million native trees including Scots pine, oak, juniper and alder. A mosaic of habitats will maximise biodiversity and eventually connect to wood pastures at Glen Finglas and Inversnaid, creating a native woodland corridor from Kilmahog to Loch Lomond. This impressive project won top prize in the New Native Woodlands category of 2012’s Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards. For more information see http://www. Looking back over 2012, the weather has had a mixed impact. A warm March followed by a very cold April reduced numbers of many insects, including butterflies and moths, but midges were undaunted. Late frosts and a wet summer reduced yields of many fruit crops, including blackberries while rowan and holly have flourished. Water voles introduced 3 years ago have spread from release sites to cover approximately 24 square miles – not bad for a mammal that was extinct here five years ago! However mink remain a serious threat to them and ground-nesting birds. Many birds raised fewer chicks due to poor weather and lack of food, including barn owls that also suffered from the cyclic crash in field vole numbers. However there is good news; at Argaty 101 young red kites were tagged this season and habitat restoration across



Pink Footed Geese

the Trossachs has seen a healthy increase in black grouse numbers. October saw a definite shift into autumnal leaf colours with roaring red deer stags and salmon impressively negotiating tumbling rivers. Those on our bat walk in October saw and listened to pipistrelle and Daubenton’s bats catching insects along the river – many thanks to our leader Beverley Clarke. Redwings and fieldfares from Scandinavia quickly stripped rowan berries while large skeins of over-wintering pink-footed geese could be seen and heard overhead. An influx of bramblings and waxwings is forecast due to poor food supplies in Scandinavia. Feeding birds in your garden provides daily entertainment: do not forget to remove nets from fat balls to prevent feet getting entangled. Squirrels are busy catching food -


they do not actually hibernate but, like us, spend a lot more time indoors. Encouragingly, regular visits by red squirrels (and pine martens) to feeder boxes in local woods are being recorded but protection measures must continue to safeguard that population. Please help by reporting squirrel sightings, greys and reds, alive or dead on the SWT website, More volunteers are needed for surveys between Doune and Callander – if interested please contact Lewis Pate, tel 07825 972434. Hours of daylight may be shorter but no need to go into hibernation - join us for a walk, a cosy indoor talk or even a Xmas buffet - see separate diary. Lesley Hawkins

Scottish Wildlife Trust

Callander Member’s Centre Diary Tuesday 11th December Short Talks by Members including Sea Eagles, Barn Owls, Red Squirrels & Birds of India/Pakistan + (optional) Christmas buffet, tickets £12, buy in advance at Nov talk or from Lesley Hawkins 01877 339080 or Tues 15 Jan 2013 Madagascar: Conservation projects of the Fauna & Flora Group by Gareth Kett, LLTNP Ranger ALL WELCOME!

Meetings are held in The Waverley Hotel, Main Street, Callander at 7:30pm. Cost £2 for members, £2.50 non-members and free for full-time students. Our full programme and more details on SWT can be found at

WALKS Sunday 2 December 10am Loch Venacher and Glen Finglas (5 miles). Please book via Lesley Hawkins 01877 339080 Sunday 27 January 10 am Walk round Stirling University’s Loch, Woodland and Arboretum (2 miles). Please book via Sue Sexton 01786 833409


air your views...

Most of the readers of this fine newspaper will be aware of the above establishment. Opened over a year ago, it offers the residents and visitors to Forth Valley a modern, clean and well equipped purpose built facility where specialist core services have now been centralised. My wife Mary and I have come to know it very well over the last couple of months! More so, we’ve come to know the road system between Lochearnhead and Larbert even better! Let me explain. My father-in-law, a very ‘with it’ 98-year-old was taken ill whilst staying with us. Following a quick visit to our GP in Callander we were told to take him straight to Larbert where he was admitted and for a couple of weeks it was rather touch-and-go as to whether he’d pull through. Fortunately he has now recovered, although it took us a further three weeks to finally get him into a home in Callander and thereby hangs another story. Prior to this he looked after himself and until a couple of years ago his wife, in their flat in Clevedon. Because of the various aspects associated with free care for the elderly here in Scotland and the fact that he had previously lived outside Bristol, Social Services need to be sure that ‘everything is in order’. All very understandable, although the fact that he will be self-funding is neither here nor there in their eyes, so for a three week period we went backwards and forwards between the Stirling and North Somerset getting no-where. Meanwhile a 98-year old man was practicing his ‘wall climbing’ in Forth Valley Hospital! Eventually, however, a place was found in Callander and he has now settled in pretty well. You have to ask though about the delays. Here was a man – though aged, fit and well, and able to leave Larbert for some respite care - but had to block a bed because we could not get any agreement from the Social Services that we could take him into a home. What is the sense in that? The nursing staff at Larbert have their hands tied because without the okay from the social department they cannot release a patient! Very much a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing! But this has set me thinking about ‘the system’. I’d be the first to agree that to have a superb facility such as Larbert is a necessary evil of this modern era. When this was first mooted discussions took place with local Community Groups about the difficulties that having this facility, placed where it now is, would present to those of us who live in this part of rural ‘Forth Valley’. We are fortunate in that we can share the workload

Forth Valley Royal Hospital, Larbert

of getting to and from Larbert – a round trip of some 90 miles. The access, however, is dreadful and we were promised better access off the motorway. Not so far! We both drive and we have family in Thornhill who will sometimes drive Mary to Larbert. I dread to think what we have paid out in additional fuel over this period, and as for our carbon footprint – well we have ruined that for the rest of our time in this world. But what of others who perhaps do not drive and have to call on friends, or indeed try and use public transport. And what of the ‘Social Services’ issue? Has anyone else been left climbing the wall trying to get things moving? Since writing the above, we have had a further incident over the last week. My father-in-law suffered a fall and upon investigation by one of the local GPs it was suggested that his hip should be x-rayed to ensure there was no break. On Monday afternoon he was collected by ambulance at around 2pm and taken to Larbert – the nearest x-ray facility! By 5.30pm he’d been x-rayed and given the all clear to return to the home in Callander. He was finally collected by an ambulance at 10.50pm that evening from the A&E department, arriving back in Callander at around 11.40pm. Is that anyway to treat anyone, let alone a 98-year old man? As a family we are appalled at the way he has been treated and complaints have been made to the Ambulance Service. To be blunt this is just not on. So I have a question for everyone who reads The Villagers. Have you or a family member had dealings with the Royal Forth Valley Hospital? Have you had problems either getting to and from, or have you had delays with ambulances? If you have, I’d like to hear from you in order that I can summarise the information and pass it on to our MSP Bruce Crawford who in turn can relay it to Nicola Sturgeon who looks after health issues here in Scotland. We read so much about sheep and cattle having to be released from the carrying vehicles after a number of hours of travelling. Do we have to put up with this as far as our own kith and kin are concerned? Certainly not! The purpose of this article is not to highlight the difficulties we have had but to create an element of awareness. So, if you’ve anything you’d like to refer to in relation to either getting to Out-Patient

appointments, visiting family or friends... whatever, good or bad, I’d be pleased to hear from you. Perhaps the editor will allow me to then present my summary for everyone to read, having of course already sent it to our local MPs, MSPs, etc. Everything will be treated in the strictest confidence and you can contact me at a.barclay@btinternet. com or on 01567 830453. I’ll now vacate AB my soapbox!




Ash dying back? Pour me another dram. For what kills one creates the other. Our modern world is surrounded by this strange group of plants called Fungi which have existed for approximately two billion years and are the cause of horrific problems for plants and humans alike. But there is an upside for both. In this world you are a plant, animal, bacteria, algae or fungi. Our scientific harnessing of the fungi kingdom in relatively recent times has brought some fascinating uses. Penicillium is a group of fungi whose members of the genus produce penicillin, a molecule that is used as an antibiotic, which kills or stops the growth of certain kinds of bacteria inside the body. Bet you had forgotten it was a mushroom! And serendipitously, it was our own Scottish Nobel laureate from 1928, Alexander Fleming, who made the groundbreaking discovery on which many rely. Early production used a rotten cantaloupe found in a market which produced good quality, but use of corn syrup allowed mass production - just in time for war, and the subsequent saving of many lives. Like Fleming, other great scientific minds can be found in our brewing and distilling houses. Here the tweed stillman’s cap was swapped for a lab coat to produce and manufacture the Saccharomyces fungi. This group, widely used in the whisky industry and in other brewing processes, can be described as just one complex part of the much larger extremely complicated process. Strains are selected carefully for uniformity of spore count and their breeding characteristics; how they float or sink in the still, which can influence the taste. And where would we be without Saccharomyces cerevisiae? (No more bread or dumplings!) This ancient and most practical fungus can be seen in your kitchen now as the thin white film on the skins of your plums and grapes. Chinese food would be much the blander for no fermented soya sauce and veggies would miss out on important mycoprotein Quorn which, ironically, utilises Fusarium species, itself a massive destroyer of commercially grown vegetables. It was bred by ICI to overcome predicted world food shortages. We inject Penicillium roqueforti into our stiltons and the French do the same into Roquefort and Camembert. We swallow by the lorry load mushroom soup, pies, and risottos which use the larger fruiting bodies of the kingdom. So why, of the estimated five million species of which we only have formally 12

The Ash - tree and leaf

by Jonathan MacDonald

identified 100,000, should we now have a nasty little thing called Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus that wishes to destroy all our ash trees? If we go by the stats we can probably expect more headlines in the coming years. Hymenoscyphus albidus (careful, this is different to the big word above!) is virtually identical morphologically to its relative, and actually is a friend of the forest. It dines on the leaf litter of ash trees and helps in its own way to compost and further feed our woodland along with many other species. Many fungi are essential in this process. Now the Hymenoscyphus albidus is a saprotrophic fungus which in Hollywood terminology means a “good guy”. The “bad guy” who has hit the headlines is his ‘pseudo’ relative, a mutation, which is identical under the microscope and has been around for years. It behaves slightly differently in its life cycle and is said to be an anamorph: a mould whose fruiting bodies are easily windblown and are therefore highly pathogenic and easily spread. It has been around a while and some resistance has been noted in ash stands. The problem is that it may take many years for the survivors to re-colonise a plantation. So at this point I reach for

another oatcake with cheese, top up my large glass of red, and put my feet up (no athlete’s foot by the way) whilst thinking to myself, there is no escaping this ‘die back’ as I busily consume its ‘relatives’. St Fillans Ladies Lunch club, to whom I dedicate this next paragraph, prompted me to think on festive plants. The mistletoe is a much loved parasitic plant and if you are lucky to get hold of some ‘real’ plants then you have done well - as they tend to only grow on apple, poplars and high up in oaks. I knew someone who tried to grow them, but it is a tricky job, and best left to the birds, who plant them expertly into the bark fissure to attach and symbiotically develop. Remember to remove a berry each time you are kissed (underneath a sprig) and when all berries are removed its charm has worn off and you should remove the plant. This is often overlooked. Another common Christmas plant is the poinsettia and the one thing that will have the lovely red bracts and green leaves dropping on our floor are draughts. So keep it in a sheltered corner away from doors and cold open windows. They grow huge in the wild in Mexico and are like our rhodies. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Christmas Trees

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On the main road A85 going East just before Comrie Tel: 01764 670800 Open 7 days a week: 9.30am -5pm

Village Shop at Strathyre

Chri s Call u tmas Men s for d etails! u

COME IN AND HAVE A LOOK AROUND! LOTS OF GIFTS FOR CHRISTMAS, STOCKING FILLERS, ADVENT CALENDARS, SELECTION BOXES, CHRISTMAS CARDS ETC. CHRISTMAS GREETING CARDS FROM STRATHYRE A SPECIALITY. TURKEY, MEATS, VEG AND ALL THE TRIMMINGS. Christmas & New Year opening times 22nd, 23rd Dec 8am – 5pm 24th Dec 8am – 3 pm 25th Dec CLOSED ALL DAY 26th Dec 10am – 1pm 27th, 28th, 29th Dec 8am – 5pm 30th, 31st Dec 8am – 3pm 1st Jan CLOSED ALL DAY 2nd Jan 10am – 1pm


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 http://www.incallander. in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diary:

Why was Santa’s little helper depressed? Because he had low elf esteem. What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus? Claustrophobic... What do snowmen eat for breakfast? Snowflakes. What did Adam say on the day before Christmas? It’s Christmas, Eve... What do you call a snowman party? A Snowball. What do you call a cat on the beach at Christmastime? Sandy Claws!

DECEMBER • Wed 12th 9:30am Stroll: Whisky Bombs & Bridges (3½ miles) contact 01786 825249 JANUARY 2013 • Wed 2nd 11:00am Stroll: Town Walk (4miles) contact 01877 331621 • Sat 5th 6:30pm AGM & Dinner • Wed 16th 9:30am Stroll: Thornhill Village Walk (3 miles) contact 01786 850626 • Sat 26th 8:30am Hill: Crappich Hill & Craig Liath (499m) contact 01786 823265 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!


View from the Park by Owen McKee Hibernation has been given the big heave ho. As you will see elsewhere in this issue Bruce Crawford MSP, ably assisted by Alister Barclay, formally launched the Five Lochs Project at Loch Lubnaig and it is all systems go to get things moving over the winter months. The various proposals will come before a special meeting of the Planning Committee on 10th December and, if permission is granted, work will start very early in the new year. The wonderful way in which government funding works means we have to spend the capital funds in the year to which they are allocated. Anticipating that not everything would go smoothly we have put in place provisions so that if something happens to frustrate work on one part of the project we will be able to switch to another at very short notice. The Loch Lubnaig sites remain the top priority. Fingers crossed. It is barely a year since we adopted the first National Park Local Plan (the document which controls development) and we find ourselves starting on the long process of preparing the new Local Development Plan - new name, same function. Under the new rules planning authorities have to ensure that their Local Development Plan is kept under constant review to ensure that it is fit for purpose at all times and is renewed at least every five years. For any Local Development Plan to be fit for purpose it has to take into account the needs of the communities it serves and consequently those communities must be consulted throughout the process of preparing the Plan. We will be kicking off the process at our next planning committee meeting. So watch this space for future developments. You doubtless will have seen many references in the national media that economic recovery is being hampered by delays in the planning system and the Scottish Government is keen to remove any such hindrances. To speed up any system it is essential that the resources, manpower and facilities, are available. To help fund the resources a review of the fee system is ongoing. At present there is a maximum cap on the fees chargeable and these, in very many cases, fall a long way short of the cost of processing the application. One such was the gold mine at Tyndrum. However Scottish Government has made it clear that increased fees will only be tolerated where planning authorities provide an efficient and speedy service. 14

The drive for renewable energy continues and the Park Authority is playing its part by encouraging the use of the ample supply of hill water to drive Run of The River Hydro Schemes. Although not without their challenges these tend to have the least impact both visually and environmentally. With planning permission in place for two largish biomass plants (one at Killin and one just outside the Park in Cowal) it is unlikely that there will be scope for any more electricity producing biomass plants in the Park. However wind farms still occupy our attention. Where a neighbouring planning authority receives an application which is likely to have an impact on the Park we are invited to comment. Needless to say our consultation response in such cases reflects the policies for applications within the Park. Before I leave the renewables scene may I just mention that the Forest Estate has been surveyed to identify Hydro potential The first stage was to identify schemes which could be developed by commercial concerns in partnership with Forestry Commission. Where a commercial scheme takes place the relevant local community can register to receive benefit payments from the developer. The survey is designed so that the commercial partnerships have first choice of sites. There is also the potential for local communities to lease land from the Forestry Commission to develop their own schemes. A few communities have already done so. May I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. Owen McKee As always I can be contacted as follows: Taigh Na Bhuth, Lochearnhead. 01567830214

From our Beijing Correspondent... Our travels have been somewhat curtailed... limited by a continuous flow of lovely visitors. The last one this year was my mother, who loved the warm, sunny Beijing weather and enjoyed sitting on our balcony and watching the crazy world go by below - most entertaining. We did get to Cambodia, with Duncan’s parents. We spent an amazing five days in Siem Reap, visiting the beautiful ancient architecture around Angkor Wat. We travelled around in a tuk tuk, driven initially by a delightful one-eyed Cambodian, then with a driver wearing a gillet (in 25ºC+) with ‘Lovely Jubbly’ and ‘Okey Doky” embroidered across the back... he said he had had a lot of British tourists. Aaaah! We would happily have spent two weeks just visiting the relics of the Temples of Angkor – just how many temples are there? - with the abundance of ancient intricate carvings. Angkor Wat, visited at sunrise of course, has been fairly well preserved, though many of the other structures were equally beautiful in their dilapidated states. Even the gateways leading into the area demanded our time and a walk around: massive carved stone heads, coloured with centuries of moss growth, look out from above the road. Our favourite Temple had to be Preah Khan, stunning in its dilapidated state, with massive tree roots growing over and through the ancient structures. We met a local artist there, just doing some

ink and water colour drawings and were so stuck by his work that we purchased a few – now a lovely framed memory on our apartment wall. In this peaceful Buddhist area, we were ‘blessed’ by the most adorable elderly woman who was sitting hunched and quiet down one of the ruined corridors. Initially we were not sure if it was male or female, as she was in simple robes, nearly bald and virtually toothless – but then she gave us a blessing, tying a simple colourful piece of wool around our wrists as she whisked away any badness and produced a smile to melt any heart. We were smitten – and on our last day, we took Duncan’s parents back to see it, and to be ‘blessed’. The Cambodians themselves are delightful - very friendly and welcoming. We had fun with the children who persistently try to sell their little basketsful of bags and bangles -“one dollar” - or a table at their family ‘restaurant’, but who enjoyed a break just playing in the water or having a joke with the tourists. We visited a stilted village on the Tonle Sap, SE Asia’s largest freshwater lake, where the children rowed themselves to school and the houses share their floating gardens. It was so peaceful and pretty. Our last few days were in Phnom Penh, a wonderfully relaxed, friendly capital city. Unannounced, we visited one of the numerous charity schools for orphaned and street kids, delighted to

see the children being children, chatting, laughing and happy. By the time this goes to print, I guess our wonderful neighbourhood will have again shown its talents. We are sorry to have missed Aladdin, with the Chinese influence ... no doubt it will have been a brilliant sellTania Francis out. Tai bang le.

Susan Stewart

Mobile Local Hairdresser

07712 047149

I would like to wish you all a lovely Christmas and New Year! I am pleased to announce that from December I will be adding the qualification of nail technician in biosculpture gel to my portfolio. Special offers available December and January: • 50% off first appointment for nail gel overlay - normally £30 • Full manicure £10 Treat yourself, a friend or loved one with a frstive gift voucher available for hair or nails. Susan Stewart Hair & Nail Technician 07712 047149 or 01877 385647

Do you need a new home in Lochearnhead, Strathyre, Killin or Callander? If so,

Rural Stirling Housing Association may be able to help

Merry Christmas to All and a great New Year! Treat yourself to a Takeaway Pizza

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.


McLaren High School News by Yvonne King

Rugby Finals News On a bright autumn day, both the U16 and U18 rugby squads travelled to Falkirk RFC to compete in the final of the Central and West Lothian stage of the Brewin Dolphin bowl competition. The under 16s overcame a strong West Lothian school’s combined squad and won the game 41-15. Try scores were Kieran Rennie (2), Andrew Nixon (2), Angus McIntosh, Alexander Allison and Connor Clark. Kieran successfully converted three of the team’s tries.   The under 18 team put in an excellent performance against Balfron High, and won the match 41-0. Try scores were Cameron Reid (2), Andrew Howells (2), Fraser Kerr, Angus Leishman and Oliver Wesley. Harry Milligan converted three of the tries.   Both teams now await the draw for the national round of fixtures.   Well done to all involved! S1/2 Football Match v Greenfaulds High School On 11 October our S1/2 Football Team played a Scottish Schools Cup match against Greenfaulds High School in Cumbernauld. The team set off from the school in high spirits in anticipation of the first match since coming back after the summer. We were kitted out in our new school strip which was received through the Sainsbury’s Active Kids voucher scheme – thanks to all parents and friends who handed vouchers in to the school for this! It is all white – particularly tricky given the state of the pitch! Despite losing 2-0 we were pleased with our performance. We all put in 100% effort and we look forward to improving in our next match. We will be practising hard every Wednesday in preparation! Callum Hall S2 Rugby – Scotland v New Zealand On 11 November almost 100 pupils took advantage of discounted tickets to watch Scotland take on New Zealand in the first of the Scottish Rugby Union Autumn Tests. There is a swathe of enthusiasm for rugby in the School and this volume of interest comes on the back of more than a modicum of success for the School teams. Currently rugby is the most popular activity in the School with almost 80 participants each week. As well as input from Mr Robertson and Mr Imrie, credit for this has to be accorded to the very valuable work done in the McLaren ‘mini’ section every weekend as well as the enthusiasm and energy of interested parents in helping with transport and coaching during the week, Chris Rennie and Iain Ramsay Clapham both making massive contributions regularly. It was great to note the presence of one of the mini players as a pre match mascot when James Whyte came on with the Scotland team, again a reflection by the SRU of the mini’s contribution. An additional highlight for the day was the introduction of Sir Chris Hoy who delivered the game ball. Sir Chris even took time at half-time to talk to some of the McLaren group and sign autographs. At the end of the day Scotland lost by 51 points to 24 but despite the scoreline and the cold the day was a great success and many are already planning a return for the RBS Six Nations games in the New Year. Right: the enthusiastic McLaren support


Under 18s

Under 16s S1/2 Football team

Team Ski Slalom Connor ripping through the gates

Green Flag Award On Monday 12 November Dugald MacGilp, Secondary Schools Assessment and Development Officer from Eco-Schools Scotland, visited McLaren High School. This was an important visit as he was here to assess us for our first Green Flag Award. A large group of pupils from throughout the school thoroughly demonstrated to Mr MacGilp why we should be awarded a Green Flag. The areas that were highlighted to Mr MacGilp were the efforts of various groups including Rural Skills, Charities, Duke of Edinburgh, Pupil Council and Curriculum for Excellence Challenge Groups of 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. Mr MacGilp was very impressed with their enthusiastic and thorough demonstration of their part in the Eco activities and had no hesitation in awarding us our first Green Flag. The new Pupil Council met on Monday (12 November) and they will look at what new topics we will study for our Green Flag status renewal in 2013.

Snowsport Scotland Autumn Schools Dual Slalom Series Finals Having won first place at a schools qualifying event in October, our S2/S3 ski team qualified to enter the Snowsport Scotland Autumn Schools Dual Slalom Series FINALS at Xscape on Monday 12 November. We had done well in the qualifier but I knew this final was going to be hard as we would be competing against the best teams from across Scotland. The race format was a team relay, head to head against other teams. It was a very exciting atmosphere with about 120 competitors warming up on the practice slope. Moments later we found ourselves at the top of the course ready to race with our opponents from Dunblane High School on our left. 3,2,1 Go! Our hearts were pounding! We skied as fast and as well as we could through the gates and crossed the line. All four skiers, James Ronald (S3), Craig Fingland (S3), Regan Dingwall (S3) and myself, Connor Ramsay-Clapham (S2) skied 10 races in total and won nine out of ten, so we weren’t sure how we’d done until the prize giving. The announcements came, 3rd, 2nd and then the winners were…us!! We are so proud to have won gold and the schools trophy and are grateful to the school for letting us compete. Connor Ramsay-Clapham S2

The work on display at the exhibition was stunning!

Art and Design Exhibition Along with two other Advanced Higher Art and Design students I attended an event that was hosted by SQA markers who are based at Williamwood High School in Glasgow. One hundred and twenty Advanced Higher folios were selected from this year’s exam work and were displayed within their huge atrium area and within the Art and Design studios. Much of the work was breathtaking and some of it was on an enormous scale. The school itself was impressive and the art area was more like studios in an art school that a normal secondary school so the whole event was stunning. The whole event was very helpful to us because it showed us the standard and the volume of work that we need to aim for this year. The work on display was a bit scary because it was generally that of top grade A projects and within them was the work of one of our own students: Cara Fraser. Her project was a design unit and it stood out because it was a very free and evocative ‘Batik’ costume idea that she had developed for a ballet. She was in attendance and Cara very kindly explained her wonderful project to us personally. Rebecca McAlpine S6

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National Park to offer new Travel Grant Scheme for schools Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park has launched a new pilot scheme to help schools and outreach groups experience the great outdoors in the Park by offering an Educational Travel Grant. With forests to explore, landscapes to walk and climb, lochs and rivers to sail on and rich wildlife and history to discover, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park provides the perfect outdoor classroom for schools and groups. The National Park Authority is aware that the luxury of travelling out of school can be difficult for parents and schools to afford. Funds will be provided for up to 75% of total transport costs. This includes transport to and from schools or a group’s meeting place to the National Park and the costs of accessing Inchcailloch island for outdoor learning activities. Speaking about the new travel grant, Alison Cush, National Park Education Adviser said: “Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is such a fantastic place for everyone to enjoy and explore. Iconic landscapes, important biodiversity and rich cultural heritage provide inspiring opportunities for outdoor learning. Addressing barriers such as transport costs will help young people and those experiencing some form of disadvantage to access and participate in the Park through our Outdoor Learning and Outreach Engagement programmes. National Park rangers can provide free educational activities to both schools and groups that are designed to promote an increased understanding of the importance of this special place. Please get in touch as we might be able to help with your costs. ” A few simple criteria will need to be met in order for funding to be awarded including raising awareness and understanding of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Trips should involve the National Park Ranger Service where possible, and where relevant it should help deliver Curriculum for Excellence through outdoor learning experiences. All Scottish schools and groups who support and work with people experiencing some form of disadvantage are eligible to apply for the travel grant. Visits must take place prior to 31 March 2013. If you would like more information or would like to apply for a grant visit the National Park or contact Alison Cush on 01389 722125 18

Yosemite visitor model for Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority today launched plans to transform some of the most popular sites in the Park into world class visitor destinations. The 5 Lochs Visitor Management Plan identifies current issues that have an impact on the visitor experience including litter, parking and damage to sites and addresses how these issues will be tackled over the next five years. During this period popular sites around Loch Venachar, Loch Lubnaig, Loch Earn, Loch Achray and Loch Voil will see substantial investment and new facilities including small-scale campsites, new toilets, parking bays, barbecue stands, picnic benches, commercial kiosks, motorhome facilities and recycling points. The National Park Authority will invest £850K in the first stage of development and is working closely with local communities and public and private sectors for the next stages of investment. Launching the Plan on the banks of Loch Lubnaig, Bruce Crawford MSP for Stirling said, “With over 7 million visitor days spent in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park generating over £205M to the local economy, the National Park is a huge asset to Scotland and our rural communities. I am proud that we have some of the finest scenery in the world right on our doorstep and welcome the investment being made by the National Park Authority. By providing visitors with a rounded experience and enhancing popular sites with new facilities, our National Parks can rival some of the world’s top visitor destinations.” Linda McKay, Chair of the National Park Authority said, “National Park status across the globe stands as a quality benchmark, representing the best that countries have to offer. We are fortunate to have some of the most beautiful loch shore sites in Scotland and some of the most impressive landscapes in the world. The quality of what we offer our visitors needs to reflect the natural significance of this Park. The 5 Lochs Visitor Management Plan will help raise the standard of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park to be on a par with our US counterparts such as Yosemite where visitor needs are catered for and the tourism industry has a huge impact on the national economy. By investing in high quality facilities and infrastructure, we hope to offer visitors a rounded experience in the National Park and help stimulate the rural and Scottish economy. ” Alistair Barclay, a member of the Visitor Management Group and local resident said, “The investment in the 5 Lochs area is welcomed by the residents of the area. The Visitor Management Plan tackles issues, such as litter and anti-social behaviour that have caused real problems in the area over the past few years. Working together we can tackle the issues and make the area a great place for people to live in, a place for tourists to visit and spend time in and an environment that reflects its National Park status. I look forward to seeing the transformation over the next few years.’ The National Park Authority has submitted planning proposals to start the 5 year plan at Loch Lubnaig in February 2013. The development of the 5 Lochs Visitor Management Plan has been steered by a Visitor Management Group comprising four Community Councils, the National Park Authority, Stirling Council, Central Scotland Police, Sport Scotland and Forestry Commission Scotland. Local landowners have also been consulted during the development of the Plan.

Farm Forum: A Voice for Scotland? Just heard on the news that the first round of the EU budgetary talks in Brussels have ended without agreement. This is not a surprise and it is difficult not to have some sympathy with David Cameron’s views and the stance he is taking. However I believe it is vital that we remain in the EEC (The European Economic Union) but equally vital that Britain is not run by political bureaucrats from Brussels. The likely outcome appears to be that there will be a freeze in the overall figure for the next seven years, probably with inflationary increases but it would be good to see at least a reduction in EU administration costs. From the agricultural point of view the problem is that the Common Agricultural Policy negotiations cannot be concluded until the overall budget is agreed. A freeze would not be particularly good news for agriculture but what is far more important is how the agricultural element is split up. As Richard Lochhead is reported to have said, “The future of the CAP should matter to every farmer in Scotland – and everyone with even a passing interest in our rural communities, the

countryside or the food on our plate. It is all very well to call for budgetary restraint but it is simply not right that, for example, Scotland has the lowest direct payment rate in the UK and the fourth lowest direct payment rate in Europe. Only Latvia, Romania and Estonia languish beneath us.Why should Scottish farmers receive less than half the average rate in Europe? If farmers are to compete successfully, we need a level playing field.” In Scotland 85% of the land is Less Favoured against 16% in England and the Scottish proportion of breeding cows of a beef breed, as opposed to a dairy breed, is 72%. In England it is 40%. Our needs are completely different from those of England. Agriculture is only partially devolved and we are represented by a Westminster minister at the Brussels negotiating table. With the best will in the world you cannot expect him or her to have adequate knowledge of the Scottish industry and it would seem to me only fair and sensible to have a Scottish minister at the table. Surely this could be arranged without Independence! Agricola

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our customers past, present and future for supporting Highland Glen Travel, private hire and DRT in our first year of business.

Helen Cunningham (formally Weir) would like to say big THANK YOU to everyone for their tremendous support during the past few years whilst caring for Mum. Sadly mum passed away peacefully in Strathcarron in August. I couldn’t have managed without the carers from Stirling Council and ILS, the whole team from Killin medical practice, the team at Strathcarron and our wonderful Crossroads visitor for giving me respite. I can’t forget the moral support from George, Andrew and my close friends who always understood. Thank you. On a happy note George and I got married on September 21st. We would like to say thank you to everyone who helped us to celebrate on Friday and Saturday. The weather was very kind to us. We have raised £130 for cancer research thanks to your generosity. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our customers past, present and future for supporting Highland Glen Travel, private hire and DRT in our first year of business. 19

Rangers’ Review ...from Madagascar! By Gareth Kett, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Dances with Lemurs There was something pleasantly familiar about push starting the Toyota Hi-Lux as the tropical rain lashed down around us. Not much has changed since we left Madagascar four and a half years ago. The driver assured us that as it was still possible to start the vehicle there was no need to get it repaired. It was hard to fault his logic. Tristan, our nineteen month old son, watched as the swollen Ivoloina River threatened to flood the dirt road, but twenty five bone crunching kilometres upriver the deluge had abated enough for us to ferry the Ivoloina in a crammed dugout canoe and to pick up the bush taxi on the other side. The suspensionless Peugeot dragged itself about seven kilometres before the gears failed to engage and we drifted to a standstill. The driver got in under the bonnet next to the engine and began tinkering. Tristan, my wife Karen, myself and Trisha, a family friend, had come to Madagascar for five weeks. Karen is the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group (MFG) Director of Research, her job bringing her to Madagascar for a month or so most years. She spends much of this time at Betampona Strict Nature Reserve, the core research area for MFG and our destination. There are inherent risks associated with travel in Madagascar due to illness and political instability, but the stakes were higher this year as this was Tristan’s first trip to Madagascar. The driver emerged triumphantly after fifteen minutes or so and we made it to Fontsimavo where we met our porters and began the 4km walk through rice paddies, secondary forest and villages on the way to Rendrirendry, the village encompassing the MFG field station. Tristan remained unfazed in the carrier on my back as we waded across the meandering Fontsimavo River seven times, but insisted on walking the final kilometer, a slippery two hundred and fifty meter ascent to Rendrirendry, which was to be our home for the following three weeks. Rendrirendry is an attractive village, consisting of fifteen wood and palm huts built around a concrete building serving as a project office, kitchen and store. The MFG conservation rangers, guides, maintenance staff and their families live in Rendrirendry. Huts are also available for researchers, project managers and officials visiting the project. Rendrirendry nestles below the south west corner of Betampona, one of Madagascar’s last remaining lowland rainforest fragments 20

and the country’s first designated Strict Nature Reserve (established in 1927). A path leaves the village leading steeply through a kilometer of invasive guavadominated secondary forest, the site of a PhD guava control study, into lush rainforest characterized by huge trees adorned with palms, ferns, lianas and orchids. Betampona is 2,200ha in area. It has been saved from large scale logging by its inaccessibility and rugged topography. It is home to 87 species of bird, 69 reptile species and 11 species of lemur, but is internationally important for its amazing array of frogs. Research coordinated by Karen has shown that there are no less than seventy six species of frog in Betampona. Twenty four of these are endemic to Betampona - that is they have not been found anywhere else in the world and thirty six are new to science. Betampona is also famous for its plant life with a staggering 807species documented so far. The six MFG conservation rangers spend most of their time in the forest working on ecological research projects and patrolling for poachers and illegal loggers, but also work on environmental education programmes and a forest restoration project. Villagers from the areas near the reserve boundary taking part in the restoration project are given a mix of native and commercial trees from locally established project nurseries, to plant near the edge of the reserve, creating a barrier for the primary forest against cyclones and invasive plants. As an incentive, prizes such as materials for schools are awarded to villages with the best combination of good forest restoration work and low incidence of poaching or logging. As Karen got stuck into two years of ecological data with the conservation rangers and her PhD student, Tristan explored his new environs. Before long he was running around with village children, playing football, getting covered in Madagascar’s distinctive red soil, marveling at the lizards, bugs and spiders around the field station and playing in the concrete bath next to the stream below the village that served as a clothes washing, washing up and shower area for the village. Tristan was as much at home here in the forest with toys made from palm, bamboo and discarded tin cans as he is at home with his expensive plastic toys. What he enjoyed most though was talking to lemurs! Often we would wake to the grunting of foraging white fronted brown lemurs outside our hut or would see them in palms and

White fronted brown lemur

trees outside the field station in the evenings. Tristan would stand looking up to the trees grunting back at the lemurs. And they would grunt back at him. It is not often that lemurs come down to the village, but when the trees are in fruit they come out of the forest to feed, their wild acrobatics in the canopy amusing adults as well as children. The rainforest nocturnal life is as spectacular as its diurnal life, and Karen had grown weary of the office, so on her only two days off we set off for the heart of the forest. Bird, insect, reptile and amphibian life abounded all around us, although we couldn’t see much of it due to dense vegetation or brilliant camouflage. Occasionally however the canopy would open up to reveal the splendor of the primary forest, punctuated by sporadic drifting low cloud. Our camp was set up next to a beautiful tumbling stretch of river that would serve as a bathing

Crossing the Fontsimavo

Above: Tristan and his Malagasy friends; right: Karen and the teamrangers

area and water supply and was to be the focus of our survey that night, revealing rich nocturnal wildlife including poison dart frogs, net-casting spiders, night geckos and nocturnal lemurs. The enchanting wail of the Indri brought us from our sleep the next morning and shortly afterwards an Indri, the largest surviving lemur, looking slightly like a miniature panda, bounded through the canopy shrouding the camp and disappeared through the treetops over the river. Later that morning, after a short, sharp rain shower that ignited a chorus of frog calls from the leaf litter to the high canopy and brought the leeches out, we hit the jackpot. Out on a walk Karen heard, then spotted, a Diademed sifaka, a large, very rare lemur with a luxuriant white, golden yellow and black coat. As if this wasn’t enough the sifaka seemed to be in some kind of dispute with a group of vocal black and white ruffed lemurs. Perhaps their preoccupation with each other allowed us to approach more closely than could be expected? Each party went its own way without coming to blows, but the encounter had provided us with breathtaking views of these critically endangered lemurs. There were other days, of course, our domestic chores complete, that Trish and I took Tristan into the rain forest, where

amongst other things he would became acquainted with chameleons little bigger than a man’s thumbnail, giant millipedes and a Madagascar hog-nosed snake. He was enthralled by everything and fazed by nothing. Now back at home and 30˚C cooler, he still asks to see photos of lemurs and grunts to them as he wakes from his sleep. Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group is an international NGO, based in Toamasina, running conservation projects at two sites just inland from the central east coast of Madagascar. The project at Betampona focuses on conservation research, forest restoration, invasive species control and environmental education. The second project, not mentioned above, is at Parc

Ivoloina, which consists of a small zoo/ native animal collection (many rescued from the illegal animal trade) breeding rare lemurs, an environmental education centre, a supplementary school for underprivileged rural children, an agro-forestry model station, a conservation training centre and a 280ha forest station. The focus at Ivoloina is the same as at Betampona, but the presence of the training centre, encompassing a laboratory and the agro-forestry model station allows greater capacity for environmental education and training in sustainable agricultural practices. Ranger Review will return to its traditional format in the New Year. Merry Christmas from Graeme and myself!


Play Safe This Winter! Scottish Water is reminding customers of the importance of playing safe this winter. Last winter may have been relatively mild but in recent years we have witnessed some of the coldest winters for generations, so there’s no telling what the next few months may bring. Joanna Peebles, Scottish Water’s Regional Community Manager for the area, is advising customers that they should remain vigilant and should not take any risks around freezing cold watercourses. Joanna said: “We don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun, but we are reminding parents to keep their children safe, and asking adults to act responsibly around watercourses. Don’t wander too near the edge because you could slip and fall in. Dogs also need to be kept on a lead if they are being walked near reservoirs and other bodies of open water. “While it’s important that youngsters enjoy their school holidays and that people across Scotland take pleasure in the country’s beautiful lochs, rivers and reservoirs, it is also vital that they stay safe.” That’s a message which the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is keen to reiterate. Carlene McAvoy, Scotland’s community safety development officer for RoSPA with a remit for water safety, said: “Snow and ice are enchanting to most children, but RoSPA knows only too well that these wintry conditions can also be a real danger. “RoSPA wants youngsters to get out, have fun and play safely, and the best way for them to do that is if parents talk to their children about the hazards of playing on frozen water and what to do if they or their friends get into trouble. “Every year, people die from falling through ice into a frozen river or loch - something that is easily preventable.

Tragedy often strikes when they are trying to rescue someone else or a dog, which was the case in more than half of the 20 ice-related drownings in recent years. “RoSPA’s advice is to take care around the edges of lochs and rivers because snow can obscure them, and we recommend that dogs are kept on a lead so they do not run out on to the ice. Frozen water may look tempting, but there is no way of knowing whether the ice will hold your weight and it’s often too late by the time you find out that it won’t.” Be aware of hidden dangers Reservoirs are man-made features and because of their purpose, they have a number of unique hidden dangers. These relate mainly to built-structures such as dams, spillways (overflows) and water intakes (underwater pipe work that takes water out of the reservoir) and the effects of these. Other hidden dangers found at reservoirs include deep water – which will be very cold at this time of year, underwater plant life and steep banks. Each year, there are more accidental drowning deaths in inland waters than in any other type of water. Peter Farrer, Scottish Water’s Customer Service Delivery Director, said: “Natural hazards can also lurk beneath the surface, where children and adults can get entangled in vegetation or stuck in mud. The majority of reservoirs are remote so there is a lack of immediate assistance. Safety education is a priority – please play safe this winter.” Police back Play Safe call Deputy Chief Constable Andy Cowie, the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) lead on Search & Rescue, stressed the need for a common sense approach and for parents and carers to take time out to explain the dangers

to their children. He said: “All of the agencies want to see our countryside and our waterways being enjoyed at this time of year, but we need to stress the hidden dangers to everyone so that they can make sensible decisions. “Holiday periods are always a busy time for all the emergency services and for the volunteers who support us. With over 37,000 separate stretches of inland water in Scotland, many of which are remote, help will often be some considerable time away. “The best advice is to be aware of the dangers, think about the risks and plan to minimise them.” Protect your pets One of the biggest concerns with dog owners is when their pet experiences difficulties after diving in to water, chasing a ball or stick. The pet more often survives such incidents, but the owners, who have attempted to save them, may not. Dogs need to be kept on a lead if they are being walked near reservoirs and other bodies of open water. Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said: “Anyone who spots an animal in distress in water this winter, be that a domestic pet, livestock or wildlife, should call our Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999. “If it is an emergency situation, such as when a pet has fallen through ice, then the owner should call the fire and rescue service and wait for assistance. We always urge dog owners to keep their pets on the lead near frozen waterways and people must never go after their dog if it walks out onto the ice. Each year we hear of incidents where people have tried to rescue their pet from a frozen river or lake, often with tragic consequences. We’re keen to make sure both animals and owners stay safe this winter.” If customers would like more information they can contact our Customer Helpline on 0845 601 8855 or For further information please contact the press office on 01383 848 229. Scottish Water


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

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

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

Other Contacts... Helen Clark Business Manager 07971 648743

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

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

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


Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 -11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am - 12.30pm Contact Abbey Arkotxa 01877 384671 Badminton - Balquhidder Hall - 8.00pm


Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am-12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291)


Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00-9.00pm Choir Occasional - Balquhidder Hall - 7.30-9.00pm


Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon Ballroom Dancing - Lochearnhead Hall

DECEMBER 9 Christmas Market - Balquhidder Village Hall 11

Scottish Wildlife Trust Talks - 7.30pm - Waverley Hotel, Callander


Sponsored Walk (12km) - Dundurn Church - 12 noon


Carols Around the Tree - Strathyre Victorian Gardens - 8pm


Strathyre Village Christmas Party - Village Hall - 5pm-9pm


Crib Service - St Angus’s Church - 4pm


Christmas Eve Service - Balquhidder Church - 8pm


St Angus’s Christmas Day Service - 9.45am


Celtic White Rose, Scottish Folk Duo - Balquhidder Hall - 8.30pm - Tickets £10 at the door

JANUARY 2013 10 Callander & West Perthshire U3A - New Year Lunch Dreadnought Hotel, Callander - 12.30pm 15

Scottish Wildlife Trust - Talk: Madagascar - Waverley Hotel, Callander - 7.30pm


Church Fundraising Concert - Balquhidder Church - 7.30pm


Monachyle Burns Supper - Balquhidder Hall - see p.7

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

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

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

CHURCH SERVICES Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St. Fillans CHURCH OF SCOTLAND Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316 Sunday 12 noon Minister: Rev John Lincoln The Manse, Killin Tel: 01567 820 247 Dundurn Church, St Fillans Sunday11.30am Minister: Rev Graham McWilliams Tel: 01764 671 045

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

SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH St Angus’s Church, Lochearnhead First and third Sundays of the month: Holy Communion at 11.15am. Second and fourth Sundays of the month: Evensong at 6.00pm Fifth Sunday of the month: please see church noticeboard. Vestry Secretary - Mary Barclay Tel: 01567 830453



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£12.00 for 11 monthly issues (£37.00 for Europe and £47.00 for the rest of the world). We are sorry about the increased costs to our valued overseas readers, due to the new postal rates imposed by the Post Office! All you need to do is to post the completed form to: BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION, GARDENERS COTTAGE BALQUHIDDER FK19 8PB, SCOTLAND Cheques should be made payable to: THE BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION Remittance enclosed £ .........................(do not send cash) Please send copies of The Villagers starting on ................................. for 11 months To: NAME .......................................................................................................................... ADDRESS: ........................................................................................................................ ........................................................................................POSTCODE .............................. SENDER’S NAME & ADDRESS IF DIFFERENT FROM ABOVE Please send copies of The Villagers starting on ............................... for 11 months NAME ................................................................................................................................ ADDRESS .......................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................POSTCODE................................


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Strathyre Primary School News Grounds Day... an Autumn Clean

by Georgina Mattsson

On our Grounds Day, the 11th of October, the weather was kind to us – no heavy rain. We had a big job to get our grounds in good order after being away for the summer. Lottie, Jamie, Scott, Esme and Sadie planted spring bulbs. They worked hard at this so we should have a lovely display in the spring. Lauren, Euan Wilbert, Tegan and Stephanie weeded the front wall and that was not an easy task. Albert, Matthew, Skye, Hazel, Euan Harvey and Kay picked up the litter in the whole playground. Freja, Sean, Jake, Libby, Abigail and Eve swept the playground and made it spotless. Georgina, Lucy, Ben, Lisa, Adam, Rosie and Freya weeded the screed

garden and did a good job. Max, Ethan, Gabriel, Madeleine and her dad Kenny made a ditch just outside the school wall to help divert the water that runs through the playground. Kenny did a fantastic job with the children and he came back to finish the job. Thank you, Kenny, for doing this! Holly, Harry, Ellie, Josh, Patrick, Justus, Rebecca and Gillian Ramsay Clapham weeded the vegetable garden to clear it for the winter. We will put manure on this at some stage before the winter sets in. Every child had a job to do that day - and everyone worked hard to make our school look fantastic and all our hard work helps to gain another Green Flag as we are aiming to get a fourth one.

Cinema Visit by Freya Stewart Earl

On Friday the 2nd of November the whole school went to The Vue Cinema in Stirling to see Dr Seuss’s film called The Lorax. It was incredibly funny but there was a point to the movie and that was that we have to protect the trees in our world because they give us oxygen and without oxygen we wouldn’t be alive. Each class had to do a follow up after seeing the film; class 2 have written stories in the style of Dr Seuss and Class 1 is going talk about tree felling. I hope that we can all go back to the cinema again.

The 1960s by Harry Barker

Jewellery by


Bespoke or off the shelf... Handmade sterling silver jewellery - made on the premises of Sula Furnishings, The Tryst, Balquhidder (next to the Kings House Hotel). All with my own hallmark - and until October, any commissions made can also have the Jubilee hallmark - an ideal gift idea. Open every day from 10 until 5pm. New website with on-line shop: Tel : 07768 593 581


This term Class 2 have been studying the 1960s. It has been fun and exciting learning about life in the 60s, everyone has loved learning about it. We have learned about Andy Warhol and have been drawing soup cans like Andy Warhol. We were put in groups and chose a different aspect of the 60’s and we made carousel books with all of facts that we found out about the 60s. To end our topic we had an open day on Thursday the 8th November. We all dressed up in our 60s gear for the afternoon. Parents were invited to come along and see our work. We were in our groups for the afternoon and we had different activities for everyone to try. Some of the activities were jacks, building a radio or TV, colouring in a hippie van, dressing Mabel, playing twister and marbles and drawing in Andy Warhol’s style. We ate different food from the 60s which were iced gems, cheese balls, twiglets, celery with cream cheese, love hearts and we made hedgehogs and stuck cheese and pineapple and cheese and pickled onions in them. The food was delicious! We ended the day by showing our powerpoint presentations which our audience enjoyed. We had a groovy time learning about the 60s. Peace for everyone!

Nativity by Freya Stewart Earl

We have started practising our Nativity songs. Our Nativity is called, Nativity… It Takes A Village. We have all been given our parts and we have started rehearsing. The songs are very lively and are easy to learn. The date of the Nativity is Monday 17th December in Lochearnhead Hall at 1.30pm.

Children In Need

We held a talent show for Children in need. It was called Strathyre’s Got Talent. It was a great afternoon with dancing, magicians, singing, comedians and gymnasts all taking part. Rosie and Ben’s mum also took part as a clown juggler and she was brilliant. The judges’ panel were sometimes a bit harsh in a fun way though. We raised £100 for Children in need. Thank you to everyone for taking part. Well done to Madeline Thomson for organising this event.

Christmas Fayre... on Friday 14th December in the school from 1.30 to 4.30pm. Come along and buy your Christmas Goodies!

Rugby & Athletics: Learning to pass!

Hard at Work - Kenny helps out at Grounds Day

P4 and 5 Rugby and Athletics by Ethan Thomson

Guests at the Hallowe’en Party

We have been doing rugby and athletics every Thursday, for 3 weeks. Active Stirling came to teach us! We learned how to pass a rugby ball round in a circle. The person next to you had to pass it to you then you ran around in a circle twice, then you stopped at your place. After that we had to clap and catch the rugby ball - but if the man didn’t pass the ball to you and you clapped you had to sit down. At the end of the session we played tag. Every body enjoyed rugby and we all learned lots. The athletics were good as well! We learned how to hurdle, throw the javelin, long jump and hop, skip and jump. The P5s then went to a festival in Callander to compete with other schools. It was a fun day! 

Fairyland Day by Abigail Todd

Class 1 has been working on ‘Fairyland’. Every week they received a letter from the dragon. He set them tasks to do and these tasks were building things and turning the classroom into fairyland. The children have been taking turns to take the dragon home each day and the dragon wrote about what he did in a journal. Every Thursday we built things to put in our fairyland classroom. To end our topic we had a Fairyland day and we all dressed up. Parents came in to look at our classroom and watch us perform our puppet shows. It was a great day and we iced fairy cakes and got to eat them.

Scary stuff!

Halloween Party by Patrick Cook

On October 31st we had a Halloween party at the school where we had a fancy dress parade. We played corners, passed the severed hand, dooked for apples with the fork, best ghoulish dancer, lantern competition and last but not least more dancing, songs and jokes. Almost everyone in the school dressed up, even the teachers it was so much fun. When I first saw Mrs Keenan I thought she was a boy, that was how good her costume was and I wasn’t the only one who didn’t recognise her.

A creative session for ‘Fairyland Day’


Aladdin Aladdin!

(alias Connor Ramsay-Clapham)

From the 29th of November to the 1st of December the villagers of Balquhidder performed Aladdin. The story was written and directed by Clare Hunter, with lots of local jokes. It was very funny. In the spring, Clare asked everyone who wanted to be involved to choose their preferred two characters. She then chose the one she felt was right for them and I got the part of Aladdin. We all knew it was going to be a big commitment. The rehearsals started in July and went on to November, so by the time it was the performance we knew every word of the whole show. However, to be honest, every practice was needed! We had a lot of laughs along the way. If you were there on any of the nights you would have seen a short video of Aladdin on his flying carpet. This was filmed in Clydebank College, Glasgow where a friend of Clare’s filmed me on the carpet in front of a green backdrop. This was great fun as I could do all sorts of moves on it: push-ups and headstands - a great experience! At the end of the video, I then landed in amongst the audience on my flying carpet under a big spot light. I was really on top of a lunch trolley with wheels, being pushed by Duncan Hendry, who whizzed me across the room as I struck a Usain Bolt pose. Everyone cheered at that. Although out front everything perhaps seemed to run smoothly from the audience’s perspective, sometimes behind the scenes there were a few hairy moments! In one scene in particular Aladdin is in the cave, left alone, trapped and the mysterious “Spirit of the Ring” sings a song and tells him to “rub the lamp”. I looked down to pick up the lamp, but, oh no! It wasn’t there! “Oh sugar!” But... the show must go on... so I was going need to think fast... because Aladdin without his lamp doesn’t quite seem right. The funny thing was that in fact I was the only person that knew it was missing! So I pretended to rub it just out of sight of the audience (who saw my arm moving) and I got away with it! Magically it appeared again in the next scene – all very funny! It’s these little things that I will remember most. A big thank you is owed to Clare for all her hard work. It was definitely all worth it!

Left to right from top: Aladdin and Abanazar; Peking Palace; Ping and Pong the Pandas; Ben ‘Plate Fu’ and Lotus Lisa; Acrobats; Abanazar; Ying with Yang the Pantomime Horse; the Chinese Pirate Band - Jo, Gill and Gaylor; Stage Managers Laura and Erica; So-Shy with the Princess; and last but not least - Clare Hunter writer and director!

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