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The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans • December 2017 / January2018

e n o y r e v E s a m t s i r h C Merry ry happy New Year! and a ve

Hogmanay Party

Editor’s Bit

All I really want to do this month is to wish you all the joys of the Christmas period and to hope it is peaceful for all and then we can bring in 2018 in style, love and friendship. However, this will not fill up “my space” which Gill always insists on leaving for me, so I am going to cheat a little and include kind words (below) from reader Michael. I am always amazed and humbled when I discover that people really do read what we do and appreciate the time and thought that all our contributors put in (I have also been enjoying Russel’s musings, initially from our shared interest in Rock music). Michael’s praise of the professional appearance of the paper is entirely due to the skill and dedication of Gill and her apprentice David. This leads to my official reminder about our AGM on the 13th of February when you are all very welcome for drinks and a chat, particularly if you are from St Fillans where we still have a major vacancy to replace Isobel! JJ

Lochearnhead Latest Aftermath of a Christmas Fayre On Saturday the 18th November the hall at Lochearnhead was opened to a Christmas Fayre - and what a success! Despite my noticeable absence on the day my hugest thanks go out to every member of the community that came for a brew and supported small local traders. The unbelievable response in raffle prizes, baking donations and attendees has left me speechless - and for those who know me well, that is some achievement....


Lochearnhead Village Hall 31 December 2017 9pm-2am H

Live band Raband are back and guaranteed to have you on your H feet (so bring your dancing shoes!) Refreshments (bar and home-made stovies) will be available and there will be a chance for you to try your luck H H in the raffle.

Tickets will be on sale in the Lochearnhead village shop from Monday 4 December H at £10/adult and £5/child. But if you want to be sure of getting a ticket why not pre-reserve yours by calling 01567 830458 leaving your name, number of tickets and a contact telephone number. As always proceeds of the event will go towards the maintenance and upkeep of the village hall facility. H

Lochearnhead Christmas Fayre

Letter to the Editor I have just finished reading the latest edition of The Villagers which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m amazed how you put together such a professional looking paper each month when you are all volunteers and in such  a short space of time. One article that I especially found interesting was by Russel Moffat  it was a clever piece of writing that made the reader think about religion and as a non-church going person I re read the piece a few times as it was so engaging.   Thank you for printing the bit about Constable Inglis! I wonder if anyone knows anything about that case or is everybody that was around then either dead or a hundred years old.   I look forward to the bumper December issue as you may have found the culprits - and I just hope it’s not someone called Andrew Dow from Dalveich! Take care. Michael

Hattie, Christine, Dani, Laura and I agreed to try this community event out, just hoping to provide something that would join us mums with others in the village and surrounding areas. We raised over £400 that will continue to support primary and preschool events over the forthcoming years. We couldn’t be more thankful to all involved in this as it ensures that traditional parties such as Christmas and new events will be funded over 2018. We wish to extend an invitation to anyone who would like to pop into the Christmas Party and join us for a cup of tea - and see the fun had by our local children. It’s on Saturday 23rd December, 2pm to 4pm. Please note the change in time due to a last minute helping hand to another local village party. We still have a “Guess the Teddy Name” at 20p a go (currently situated in Owens shop).  Again, huge thanks to everyone who helped us or provided something or just enjoyed a cuppa on the day. Jamie Anderson, Vorlich Road  Balquhidder Village Hall

New Year’s Day Dance Monday 1st January 2018 9pm - 1am Dance to The Stuart McKeown Ceilidh Band Tickets £12.50 Available at door or to reserve contact Andrew or Fiona Leishman Tel 01877 384752 or 07745198854 or email

Raffle, whisky curling, tea and sandwiches.



St Fillans Bit

by Isobel Howell

This year’s village Hogmanay celebrations in the Sandison Hall are being organised by Dave Pryde and Harry Burnett, from whom tickets can be reserved. Please contact either of them as soon as possible to secure your place and avoid disappointment. For those of you who haven’t been to a St Fillans New Year’s Eve in the hall before, the format sees doors opening from about 10:30/11pm with dancing until we welcome the bells in. The partying usually disperses in the early hours. Please bring along your own drinks and nibbles – seating at tables is provided and all locals, friends and families are welcome. This year, apparently, there are a few surprises in store – Cecil Smylie hip hop dancing in his mobility scooter, perhaps? Please do come along as it’s a great way to meet other villagers, if you’re new to the place, and remember to reserve yourselves a place early. On Sunday 12th November I received a phone call from villager, John Wilkie, whose son, Martin, had the misfortune to find an injured buzzard whilst out in Glen Turret. It wasn’t certain whether the poor bird had been shot or had been harmed in other ways, but the SSPCA were called, nonetheless, and came out to help. Unfortunately, despite everyone’s very best efforts, the bird, sadly, didn’t survive. John wanted me to share his story and photo of the buzzard just after it had been found. It’s always heart warming to hear of wildlife rescue stories - it restores one’s faith in humanity, though this one had a sad ending, doubtless there are many success stories where rescued animals have been saved. Incidentally, our big ginger and white cat

Poor buzzard

who lets us live with him, was a rescue case – having turned up in our garden one day, about three years ago, he’d clearly been homeless for a while as he was very thin, though well looked after otherwise. A trip to our local vet’s and a scan confirmed he’d been microchipped and was in fact registered to an owner in Glasgow. Cutting a long story short (and my apologies to the countless number of people whom I’ve already bored with this tale) we were allowed to adopt him, having had no response to the microchip company’s letter to his former owner. Still a mystery as to how and why he ended up in St Fillans, some 65 miles away (if only animals could talk). As you can see from his photo above, he now leads a very stressful life as chief mouser of Foxknowe. Thanks to Hayley Rivers-Hambach and all the other organisers who put together this year’s children’s Hallowe’en Party in the Sandison Hall. By all accounts, the wee ones had a ball. I understand the not so wee ones in the village also had a great time as they were invited to have their own party in the hall afterwards, as the hall had been decorated so it seemed appropriate to make the most of it. I also think they needed help eating up the devilled eggs or whatever ghoulish party food was on offer. Judging from the photos (right) kindly provided by Caroline Strong, a lot of hard work had gone into creating some of the costumes and make up – and that was just the


adults! Thanks must go to Hayley, again, for organising a hamper raffle – proceeds of tickets which go towards the cost of the children’s party. (Continued overleaf)

Hallowe’en fun

White Christmas, anyone?


The St Fillans Bit... continued Another successful event in the village was the annual bonfire and fireworks night which were held on Friday 3rd November on the field behind the Arran Brewery hotel. The weather was kind to us and there was a reasonable turnout to the spectacle, made all the more accessible by the new railway path that now zigzags its way directly to the field. Thanks to Dave, Don and Hayley for manning (and womanning) the hot dog stall and to Jo and Richard Steventon for serving the mulled wine which helped to keep us warm whilst Bruce Montgomery and Russel Cunningham oversaw launching the fireworks. Thanks too to Ken for being in charge of music: Firestarter by Prodigy being an apt song choice, as a couple of unintended explosions could quite easily be heard and seen coming from the bonfire. The following morning it was plain to see what had caused the explosions – the remains of a couple of butane gas cans lay amongst the ashes. Thankfully, nobody came to any harm and no damage was caused because of the explosions, but whichever idiot was responsible for placing them there is very lucky not to be facing criminal charges. I certainly hope that it was not a member of our community. Despite this incident, the evening raised £450 from the generous support of folks who attended and donated to the bucket collection. Thanks to Andrea Hudspeth for collecting, and to anybody else I’ve forgotten to mention. The 3rd November was a busy day for the village – as well as the bonfire, we also had the official opening of phase three of the Loch Earn Railway Path. For anybody who hasn’t walked this stretch, it runs from Station Road, heading west and stops short just before the back of the SSE power station. It’s a lovely walk which takes in views of Loch Earn and takes you through the tunnel that had previously been closed for years. The opening ceremony (above right) and the cutting of the ribbon was performed by Cecil Smylie, Chairman of the St Fillans Community Trust. Afterwards attendees had the opportunity to walk the route which was finished off with refreshments kindly provided by Susan at the Four Seasons Hotel. If you haven’t yet walked the railway path, I strongly urge you to do so – it’s accessible to all, whether on foot, bicycle, pram, mobility scooter or pogo stick – and is already proving a very popular place, and has opened up a whole new area for visitors and the community which will, I’m sure, help to increase footfall and bring trade to our local shop and hotels. Good for everyone. We said goodbye to Mary from the 4

Loch Earn Railway Path - the opening!

Four Seasons Hotel on Sunday 5th November, as she left her post as Manager after 14 years. Susan and staff had organised a surprise leaving party for Mary which was attended by a group of well wishers including locals, colleagues and friends. Mary is looking forward to her new position working as Manager for the Cancer Research shop in Callander but says she won’t miss the long hours. We wish Mary all the very best in her new role. Susan brings us news from the Four Seasons and is delighted to announce that at an awards dinner last month, the hotel was recognised as Scotland’s “Best Loved” hotel. Best Loved Hotels is a membership organisation of some of the best independent hotels in the country and this is the third year the awards have been running. The Four Seasons, as the Scottish regional winner, was one of only three Scottish hotels to be recognised with The Peat Inn in Fife winning the best cellar and Dalhousie Castle winning the best wedding venue. The Four Seasons Hotel is into its winter trading hours and closes in January. Plans are to re-open 16th February, 7-days a week.  Congratulations to the hotel on their award. A reminder that the Achray House Hotel is closed between 4th to 20th December. They reopen on 21st December and are open for Christmas Day lunch bookings and remain open until 3rd January when they close until 14th February 2018. Whilst we were giving generously to the bonfire night collection, it appears that we weren’t being as generous to the Poppy Appeal. This year’s collection saw just £73 being collected from sales of poppies throughout the village. When compared to £174 two years ago, this is quite a significant drop. Perhaps people are making their own private donations or sales of enamel poppy pins has meant that the disposable kind are not as popular. Whatever the reasons, we must thank all those who did make a donation

Mary’s leaving party

this year and thank you to Richard Graham for organising the collection. The annual Christmas carol concert will be held on Sunday 17th December at 6:30 pm in the Sandison Hall. Everyone, young and old and in between are welcome to come along. It’s a very informal, fun affair – Don usually sticks a backing track on and we all try to sing along. Mince pies and mulled wine are served. Festive jumpers, whilst encouraged, are optional. Sadly, for me, this is my last ever St Fillans Bit. After nearly two years I’ve decided that, due to trying to fit in a job, a home life, a dog, cat and a husband, I don’t feel that I have the time that I think this space truly deserves. (Looking at what I’ve just written, interesting that dog and cat come before husband). Being optimistic, I was hoping that by now an enthusiastic volunteer might have stepped forward and offered to take up this opportunity, but alas, that hasn’t happened, and so I’m leaving feeling a little worried about what will happen without the two readers who suffer this epistle every month. I do hope that somebody will take over, otherwise I’m threatening to fill this space with my own personal recipe collection, and as I can only really make lasagne, there won’t be much material there. Any budding reporters, please contact myself at or Jill Johnston the Editor. Wishing you all safe and happy Christmas - and thanks for reading my blurb!

Strathyre News A Wee Dram

Here are some photos from the recent whisky tasting at Strathyre Village Hall. It was a great success! And there was excellent music from local band Balvaig.

Strathyre’s Christmas Market The Munro was the home for Strathyre’s Christmas Market this year as the crowds flocked in lured by the sound of Connor’s pipes and the promise of a welcoming glass of mulled wine. The rooms were full of colourful stalls with potential Christmas gifts of all sorts to entice us to start/finish our Christmas shopping and then enjoy a coffee and delicious cakes from the girls raising more money for their Belize trip (well done girls for being so bright eyed after dancing the night away in Balquhidder a few hours earlier).

BLS’s Choir Occasional entertained with a selection of familiar and more unusual songs, never missing a note despite being rather precariously, for some, perched on the stairs. A lovely afternoon and congratulations to all involved. Some of the beautiful stalls on display at the Market - and Choir Occasional on the stairs!



Righto, time for the Balquhidder Broadband update. This time, no whinging about the governments, I promise - we’re past all that. So, whilst we’ve had a couple of hiccups, very good progress is being made and is accelerating, thanks to a committed and ever-expanding (it’s the bacon butties!) volunteer dig team: The dig for the network from Stronvar Bridge is now past Muirlaggan and well on the way to Tuarach & Monachyle Mhor; a deal of preparation work has taken place on the north side, towards Tulloch, and Dhanakosa already has its ducting in place. We’ve taken ducting as far as the road by the Village Hall, and the contractor doing the road and bridge crossings, initially to get us to Gart and the village, is due to start in the next couple of weeks, everything having been agreed with the Council and Park. After Openreach breaching their contract to give us our link to the outside world in September (they told us it would be next March), we got a little aerated with them and that link is now in fact live. So the first fibre connections are due to be blown in around 6/7 December, which will let us test the network with the first properties, after which we can add new properties pretty much as soon as we can all get the network ducts in place. Thanks in some part to some intensive lobbying on our part (thanks, David!) it looks as though there will be a new business voucher scheme from the beginning of the year, through money provided to Stirling Council, which will give businesses up to £3,000 to connect to the network - we’ll obviously be publicising that as it happens. As ever, more up-to-date information can be found on our web site (, our Facebook page (https:// or via our Twitter feed (@gigabit_glen)

Emotions running high...Scenes from ‘Straight to DVD’ - the first of two one-act plays performed by The Thornhill Players at Balquhidder Hall, Friday 24th November. Left to right in the top picture: Brian McKay, Jackie Jones, Iain Campbell, Lynne Rickard, Peter Rickard.

Friday Night Theatre Congratulations to The Thornhill Players and directors David Moore and Charlotte Johnston, for a splendid evening’s entertainment at Balquhidder Village Hall, in the shape of two very different one-act plays: Straight to DVD and Failed Investments. We thought we were in for a couple of comedies, so it was quite a shock to the system when about two thirds of the way through Straight to DVD the story took a very tragic and emotional turn indeed. Credit to the cast for such an effective transition, from gentle light-heartedness to shock, sadness and disbelief. A definite lump in the throat there! Failed Investments, about a gathering of four women coming clean with their various life problems and going into more and more detail as the wine kept flowing, was a lovely piece of comedy and beautifully played by Marilyn Moore, Jean Kinloch, Janet Shimidzu and Sandie Luti (left to right, below, with Brian McKay). Well done everyone including the backstage crew - and thank you for a memorable night out! GW

Lampshade Making Course With Sula Furnishing at Venachar Lochside Sunday 10th December 1.30pm – 4.00pm £30 Cost includes 30cm drum lampshade kit plus yummy mince pies and mulled cider Enquiries & for more information email or phone 07824 446024


Lampshade Making Course

The Reverend Canon Paddy Allen and Wreath Layers Maureen Lipscomb, Fiona Martin and Owen McKee

Remembrance Sunday At the Lochearnhead War Memorial Owen McKee read John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields prior to the Remembrance Service being conducted by the Reverend Canon Paddy Allen and Rory Gilchrist. Tom Gibbon read out the names of the 31 who are commemorated on the War Memorials of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre prior to the Wreath laying. Wreaths were laid by Owen McKee on behalf of The Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, by Maureen Lipscomb on behalf of the Friends of Balquhidder Kirk, by Fiona Martin on behalf of St Angus’s Church, and by Alex Gargolinski and Angus Cameron on behalf of Stirling Council and the Community Council respectively before Piper Roger Sharp played a Lament. This was our first commemoration at the War Memorial since the Community Council bid successfully for grants to enable the cleaning and refurbishment of the Memorial and then arranged for the work to be carried out. Their efforts are much appreciated. A final thank you goes to PC Will Diamond and colleague for once again carrying out traffic control duty during our Service.

The refurbished War Memorial after the laying of the Wreaths

Angus Cameron having just lain the Wreath on behalf of the Community Council

Rory Gilchrist

A very well behaved dog who attended

Piper Roger Sharp plays the Lament



*Once in demand by Victorian miniaturists, the tiny pin-feather comes from the leading edge of a woodcock’s wing and only two such feathers occur on each bird (one on each wing). This month, Old Nyati describes (hilariously) how Health & Safety can go utterly (c)bonkers... It was early November and they came from all over Great Britain. Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Durham, Newcastle, London, and Dumfries and Galloway. This was the annual family Conker Championship.   There had been speculation as to whether, with the present trend from the powers that be to restrict personal freedom and with more legislation intended to protect people from their own stupidity, it would still be allowed to go ahead.   An in-depth risk assessment had been carried out and it was only at the eleventh hour that it was decided that the event was indeed extremely dangerous.  The contestants were required to sign a sworn indemnity as to third party damage or injury.  The environmental department  had been made fully aware that the conkers had only been obtained from fully sustainable sources and as naturally fallen from the trees.  There had been no climbing of trees or damage to branches and only sufficient  conkers were collected. High visibility protective body armour and thick gloves would be worn, with hard headgear and eye protection up to industrial specification.  There must  be no riotous behaviour and spectators along with any militant protestors should stand at a safe distance away from the contestants.  It was therefore decided by the joint agreement of the eight family members  that the age-old tradition should still discreetly carry on. It can now be disclosed that a secret location as far away as possible was chosen, overlooking the Menai Straights on the Isle of Anglesey.  Any flying debris of conker fragments would fly safely out to sea.    All the contestants were

Christmas Greetings from

St Angus’s

consenting adults and it must be stressed that the site was completely out of sight of any public place so as to not cause any disturbing images to prying eyes or Peeping Toms. There would be no flash photography and no physical contact between contestants, other than the conker string, that could possible raise any suspicion of harassment of a sinister nature. This arrangement precluded any accusations from the media Gestapo should they have received a tip off as to the location.   The event was blessed with fine weather and good healthy sport was had by all.  After an exciting and prolonged final konk by the two finalists  the coveted trophy went to Scotland. There is no doubt that the kinetic energy of the striking conker does more damage to itself than to the passive one, and so it proved.   The gentle rural art of Conkers lives on, despite them!!! Old Nyati

Hope is a word that has many meanings. Often nowadays, it comes with a with a wistful sigh. ‘When are you going to get your hip done?’ ‘I h-o-o-o-pe in about three months...’ ‘How are the prices for lamb this year?’ ‘’I h-o-o-o-pe they will cover the costs...’ ‘How’s your child doing with that job application? ‘’I h-o-oo-pe the interview went OK...’ ‘When will politicians work together and tell the truth?’ ‘ I h-o-o-o-pe....’ Somehow that isn’t actually hope at all but it is a wish that we don’t altogether believe will be fulfilled. In technical terms hope has a much fuller meaning, as there is in it the idea of anticipation of something to come, based on knowledge and experience of what is past. In Christian terms, God contains past, present and future and our hope is based on the reality of God’s love for us within the provision of all eternity. So, our hope of the good being victorious, our hope of peace in the end, our hope in the primacy of love is based on the reality of those qualities already being present in God, an ideal for us to work towards. So at Christmas we remember the past when a child was born, and a man did die out of an inextinguishable love for us, and we look to the future when that love will become real in all our hearts. May we already be experiencing a foretaste of it, and may you Christmas celebrations be blessed. I end with wishes from Paul to the Romans: ‘May God, who is the ground of hope, fill you with all joy and peace as you lead the life of faith, until, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you overflow with hope’ (Romans 15: 13) All the very best



Church News


Balquhidder BLS

The Christmas we get, we deserve? Well, the Christmas countdown is now fully underway, especially with TV commercials. It is good to know that “Morrisons makes Christmas” and that “True Christmas is Casillero Del Diablo – wine from the Devil’s cellar”. I must get a bottle of that (or two or three!). On a more serious note, I recently heard on the car radio the song I Believe In Father Christmas by the late Greg Lake (formerly of King Crimson and ELP). No doubt it will be played a few more times over the festive season. This was the song that was kept off the number 1 spot in the charts by Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody in 1975. What a brilliant, evocative, provocative and challenging song it is. Many people believe it is the best Christmas “protest” song ever written. No arguments from me on that score. Some have claimed that it is an anti-religious song although Greg Lake denied that, maintaining it was a criticism of the over-commercialisation of Christmas. Others have claimed it is about the loss of childhood innocence. I think there is a bit of all three in the song and that Greg Lake was a little disingenuous and perhaps unnecessarily defensive about it. For me it is not only theologically profound but also theologically subversive in the spirit of Monty Python’s Life of Brian. I might also add, a bit like Jesus himself! Let’s remind ourselves of some of the lines from the song:

Balquhidder Hogmanay Party

Sun 31st Dec 2017 9.00pm-1.00am

They said there’d be snow at Christmas They said there’d be peace on earth But instead it just kept on raining A veil of tears for the virgin birth...

Christmas Eve Service


Everyone W

They sold me a dream of Christmas They sold me a silent night And they told me a fairy story ‘Till I believed in the Israelite...

Hallelujah, Noel be it heaven or hell The Christmas we get, we deserve It has been said that the trouble with Christmas is that the bills come in January and the baby grows up! It is an astonishing fact that in recent years the statistics for crime, domestic abuse, hospital admissions, suicides, prescriptions for anti-depressants, and increased personal and family debt, show a marked increase over the so called “festive” season. As the line from a song used in yet another TV advert states, “who took the ‘merry’ out of Christmas?” Who indeed! But then again who takes the ‘Christ’ out of Christmas? Regardless of what we believe or don’t believe, and regardless of the fact Jesus wasn’t born on the 25th December, Western Europe has traditionally set aside this time, religiously and culturally, to remember and reflect on the Biblical story. So unless we change the name to “Festival of Light”, as some secularists would be happy to do, we will still have some resonance, however faint and lightly held, between this time of year and the Christian story. The Birth narratives of Jesus can be interpreted on several levels. First though, it must be said that there is nothing sentimental, romantic or even cheesy about these narratives. Unfortunately, it is Christmas card pictures and “nativity plays” acted out by young children that have created the public perception of Christmas. Reading the Biblical texts in “context” and also reading between the lines reveals something much more serious and dramatic. They are “protest literature”; and the language used makes it very clear this is subversive material both religiously and politically. The Jewish and Roman authorities would not have been amused


Balquhidder Church

8pm Sunday 24th December reading them. I may come back to that another time. However, for this posting I want to concentrate on a general point. The life of Jesus was a bright light shining in a dark place. He was born in “occupied territory”, in a troubled land, during troubled times (what’s changed!). Yet, he gave hope to many and started a revolution that is still ongoing in a variety of forms and in a variety of ways within our world. Greg Lake was right to raise the question about “peace on earth” but the message of Jesus needs to be embraced and embodied in our world for that to happen. This principle was epitomised in the lives of Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King and the impact they had in their respective situations. Both were inspired by the life and teachings of Jesus. Father Christmas may be a “fairy story” and it is right that we lose our childhood innocence. But Jesus was flesh and blood and his message and meaning still have relevance and importance today; well, that is, if we let it! So how will we celebrate Christmas? Can we get beyond the hype, the tinsel and glitter and the over-indulgence and perhaps shine a small light in a dark place for others? What Christmas means for us, our families, our communities and our nation is up to us. Maybe Greg lake was right: “The Christmas we get, we deserve.” Russel

Balquhidder’s Hogmanay extravaganza is to be rekindled for 2017, with a veritable cocktail of music, humour, dancing, wine, ​spirit and song.

2017 sees the rebirth of the Pipes and Drums of Balquhidder, The Elastic Band, The Rev IM Jolly, various other humorous songs and sketches, and a few musical solos and ensembles...all interspersed with plenty of craic and some Ceilidh dances. BYO drink glasses and nibbles. ​ Advance table bookings only. Priority given to local families and households.


McLaren High School Mock Interviews S6 pupils had a great day taking part in their Mock Interviews last Thursday. Pupils turned up at their appointed time at Callander Kirk, dressed smartly and ready to be interviewed. We are extremely grateful to our 10 volunteer interviewers who made the pupils feel comfortable and gave them a very valuable interview experience. Comments from them included ‘it was an interesting, thoroughly enjoyable, and often an inspiring experience for me and my co-interviewer’ and ‘Every one of the pupils embraced the mock interviews and gave their best’. Comments from pupils ranged from ‘that was much better than I expected’ to ‘that was amazing!’ Dutch Visit On Wednesday morning we hosted a visit from ‘t Vechtstede College, Weesp, a town and municipality in the Netherlands in the province of North Holland. The college focuses on culture and want their students to experience all means of culture. They often organise a study tour abroad and the purpose of this visit was to showcase to the Dutch students a variety of Scottish culture Dutch Visit and to give them an insight into secondary school life in Scotland as part of a 5 day visit. 40 Pupils and 4 staff attended a welcome meeting in the Assembly Hall which began with the visitors being entertained by the McLaren Trad Band who played a set of reels. This was followed by a slide show highlighting life in the National Park. Prefects collected pupils from the social area after break and took them to take part in period 3 classes. The visit finished around 12 noon and the visitors commented that they had really enjoyed their visit and had been made to feel very welcome by both students and staff at McLaren.

Mock Interviews

Kwik Fit Sessions Thanks to Kwik Fit staff who came out to the school on Wednesday and covered basic car maintenance with all our S6 pupils. A very worthwhile event - despite the weather! Duke of Edinburgh Ceilidh The annual McLaren High School Duke of Edinburgh Group fundraising ceilidh took place on Friday 3 November. Thanks to the committee for organising, to Ian Milligan and his band for the ceilidh music and to senior pupils for providing alternative music for entertainment during the interval. A great night was had by everyone and the sum of £922.80 was raised for the group! UNICEF Sponsored Cycle Pupils studying Higher Geography took part in a 10 mile Sponsored Cycle for UNICEF and have raised £470. This charity gift provides everything a health worker needs on his immunisation rounds! The “Equip a health worker” gift provides a bicycle, vaccine carrier and 100 doses each of measles and polio vaccines and will help protect and save children’s lives. 32% of the world’s population do not have access to a hygienic place to go to the toilet. This money will also provide a kit to build a toilet to help prevent the spread of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A and typhoid and will also offer women and girls in particular, dignity and privacy. Toilets provided in schools also improve attendance. These toilets are durable and sturdily designed, able to withstand heat, dust, rain and strong winds. This was to tie in with the learning they have been doing in their Higher classes about Primary Healthcare Strategies. 10

Kwik Fit Duke of Edinburgh Ceilidh

UNICEF Sponsored Cycle

Children in Need

Children in Need Congratulations to all our pupils and staff who raised the total of £753.67 last week. We held a PA Auction on Thursday, and S6/staff Fancy Dress plus a mufti day for all other pupils and staff on Friday. Winners of the fancy dress were: S6 Group: ‘Shrek’ S6 Individual: ‘Edward Scissorhands’ Staff – Humanities Faculty: ‘Gnomes’ Well done to everyone involved.

Mock Trial On Friday the 3 November a group of S5 and S6 pupils along with Mrs Drysdale went along to Stirling Sheriff Court to take part in a Mock Trial. Senior pupils with an interest in studying law/police/justice system at university were invited to take part to give us a taste of what these kind of jobs would involve. McLaren High School along with Balfron and St Modans were involved in the Mock Trial. McLaren played the part of prosecution, Balfron played the defence and St Modans played the different agencies involved such as Social Work, Jury, G4S, witness service and media reporters. It was very interesting - it helped us all understand how a trial works and what each different member involved in the trial has to do. Our case was knife crime. A McLaren High student played the accuser; the accused was played by someone from St Modans. Everyone played their roles very well, as our school had been rehearsing for a while and we all wanted to include every detail of the case. After a twenty five minute talk, the jury, of which I was a member, decided the verdict was ‘not proven’. I learnt a lot from this experience and personally found the questioning by the prosecution and defence very interesting as it was very real and intense. We all enjoyed the experience and we all learnt more about the Justice System in Scotland. We would all like to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to the organisers and everyone involved. Katherine Stewart-Earl S6

Mock Trial Girls Rugby

Girls Rugby at McLaren High Girls’ rugby has been continually growing at McLaren for the past few years. However, this year we have seen an amazing number of girls participating in the sport. The U15 girls now train three times a week – Monday (lunch), Tuesday (after school) and Thursday (lunch). The girls are being coached by Dylan our SRU Modern Apprentice, Connor Clark (Club volunteer), S3 Sports Leader Innes McLellan and S5 volunteers Bethia Trotter, Eva Donaldson and Lottie Hesp. It has been great to see over 20 girls training at each session and to observe the development of the girls from the start of the school year. On Thursday 9 November the girls took part in a Central Conference Girls Festival at The Peak in Stirling. The girls had a great night of rugby, playing their first competitive game of the season and in a number of cases their first ever game of rugby. The girls who were making their rugby debut had a great first experience and can’t wait for the next match or festival. The girls who have been playing for a year now really impressed with their increased ability, knowledge and leadership around the field. Well done to all the girls involved.   It is an exciting time for girls’ rugby at the school, and the girls are already ‘buzzing’ for the next festival before Christmas and then potential fixtures after that. Clan MacLaren Donation On Wednesday 15 November, representatives of the McLaren High School STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) group welcomed Donald MacLaren of MacLaren, the Chief of the Clan MacLaren, to the School. The school’s original benefactor and founder 125 years ago was Donald MacLaren, a Callander banker.  In recent times the School has forged close links with the Clan MacLaren Society and has also hosted visits by its overseas societies in North America, Australia and Germany.   The Chief was visiting the school to present a cheque for £1000 from the Scottish Society to support the STEM project. “The Clan MacLaren are proud of our historical association with such an outstanding school as the McLaren High School” he told staff and pupils. “The STEM project is a strong example of how you are leading the way in providing

Clan MacLaren

opportunity for the next generation. And I am delighted to present our own contribution from the Clan MacLaren Society towards such an important and inspiring project.” The STEM project aims to: - provide 50 pupils with the opportunity to develop a STEM project working with industry representatives - host a STEM festival in 2018 showcasing these projects - provide 40 pupils with the opportunity to visit the San Francisco area in 2019 The donation from the Clan MacLaren will be used to purchase equipment and to showcase projects at the STEM Festival in 2018.

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Trossachs Trio Wins Big in 2017 Awards Trossachs organisations have won three of the UK’s most prestigious business and community awards: Best Visitor Attraction, Forth Valley Awards 2017 Central FM listeners voted to give this award to Loch Katrine’s Steamship Sir Walter Scott. Diamond Award 2017: Hoseasons customers from across the UK voted to recognise Forest Holidays Strathyre for outstanding customer service. Not for Profit Organisation of the Year, UK Heart Safe Awards This award went to the already multiaward-winning Trossachs Search and Rescue. All three organisations met on the Steamship Sir Walter Scott to show off their awards and capture the event for some photos. Stuart Brain, operations manager of the Steamship Sir Walter Scott, said “We are delighted to have won Best Visitor Attraction, especially as it was voted for by local people who enjoy coming to Loch Katrine. We want to thank all those people who voted for us. It is also fantastic to be joined by Forest Holidays Strathyre and Trossachs Search and Rescue Team today on the Steamer to share their experiences and also promote the Trossachs area as a whole.” Tom Sherry, People Development Manager at Strathyre Cabins, was equally happy at the Trossachs winning triple, saying “The Trossachs was the birthplace of tourism in Scotland back in the early 1800s and it is fantastic news that different companies and organisations working in the Trossachs today are being recognised for their excellence in providing our customers a wonderful holiday experience whilst helping our local economy.” Completing the triple win was Trossachs Search and Rescue; a charity in its 20th year whose volunteers brave the elements to support local communities and emergency services across the rural expanses of Stirling. Nikola Thomson and Joanne Reid attended the award ceremony at the Hilton Deansgate in Manchester. As well as winning the ‘Not for Profit Organisation of the Year Award’, the charity was also runner up in the ‘Community Responder Scheme of the Year Award’. The UK Heart Safe Awards which celebrates outstanding organisations who have created Heart Safe environments for their workplace and local communities. Stuart Ballantyne, Chairman of Trossachs Search & Rescue said: “We were delighted to receive this award in recognition of the successful partnership between 12

Haul away! A grand haul indeed for the three award winning organisations, with representatives here showing off their trophies.

our members, local businesses and community groups that has saved the lives of 7 people through our training of over 1,000 people a year in CPR and installed over 110 public access defibrillators across the area.” Stuart Brain, Operations Manager Steamship Sir Walter Scott +44 (0) 1877 332009

In the past few weeks, you will have noticed that winter is truly upon us, with snow and ice on the roads. The winter conditions are always a test for us, and we work tirelessly alongside the roads authorities to ensure that the roads are kept open in the area. My only advice is to drive according to the road and weather conditions. When there is ice and snow on the ground, remember that braking distances can be up to 10 times longer. The average stopping distance when travelling at 60mph in a car is 73 metres. I will leave you to do the math on that one for icy conditions! As normal at this time of year, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of vehicles being found with minor defects. Most of the defects that we find will be dealt with by means of a 21-day rectification slip; however, there is every chance that depending on what is defective and whether you have been caught before, there could be a fine and penalty points issued. Considering that the minimum fine amount for a fixed penalty is now £100, it could be rather costly if you are found with defective lights or tyres.   It can also be rather costly if you were to find yourself involved in a collision. If we were to find that your vehicle was suffering a defect, you could be put to blame for the collision which would have an impact on your insurance.   Whilst mentioning insurance, it may be prudent to ensure that your documentation is in order. Insurance and MOT details are now held electronically by the DVLA allowing police to check very quickly. If found to be driving with no insurance, then along with a fine and points, your vehicle will also be seized.

Alcohol Minimum Pricing With the recent decision of the Supreme Court to allow alcohol minimum pricing in Scotland it reminded me of a poem I first met in the Far East in the 1970s. I regret I do not know the name of the poet.

I would encourage everyone to have a check over their vehicles regularly and ensure that all lights are working correctly. Given the conditions of the road, dirt and salt from the roads can leave lights and number plates dirty. Remember to clean them, especially number plates as it is an offence if they cannot be read clearly.   Ensure that your tyres have sufficient tread depth and are free from bulges or tears. It is worth considering fitting winter tyres to vehicles, as they can assist slightly in adverse weather conditions. They can also help when driving on wet roads.   Ensure you have plenty of screen wash in your car, and ensure that it is a winter mix being used to reduce the chances of it freezing. It is also worth having a look at your window wipers and windscreen itself. Any chips could easily crack with the cold weather, and most insurance companies will provide free windscreen repairs as part of your cover. Windscreens should also be completely ice/ frost free and not simply cleared as a “port hole”, where only a small circle is cleared.   As part of the annual road safety week, I spent a couple of days with the children at Strathyre Primary School looking at road safety issues at the end of November. We spent some time looking at speeding vehicles and allowing the kids to have a shot of the radar. Unfortunately due to technical issues, we didn’t get to spend as long as we wanted doing the speed checks. My colleague and I then took the kids down into Callander and explained basic road safety principles to them, and showed them how to safely cross the road, both with and without the use of crossings. It was a beneficial day, and the kids didn’t let the weather dampen their enthusiasm.   We will be out and about over the festive period as always and will be checking vehicles to ensure that they are roadworthy. We will also be taking the opportunity to breathalyze drivers so don’t be tempted to risk it. If caught driving under the influence you will face a hefty fine and there is a mandatory disqualification to go with it. Arrange a lift or taxi as part of your plans.   As always, I can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be



Festive Soirée Sat 16th Dec 2017 7.30pm-9.30pm

‘Tis the season to be jolly... H​ A very warm welcome is in store for anyone who would like to come along to Balquhidder village hall on the evening of Sat 16th December for a chance to finally catch up with (or even meet for the first time) friends, neighbours and families from Balquhidder glen and beyond. H​​ A glass of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts will greet you on arrival and bowls of stovies (£4) and a bar will be on offer throughout the evening.

contacted directly at william.diamond@     Finally, as this will be the last issue before the festive period, I would like to thank you all for your continued support and assistance over the past few years. It has been invaluable, and it does make my job that little bit easier. I hope you all have time to enjoy the festive period with family and friends and I wish you all the best for a happy and prosperous 2018. Stay safe!   Regards, PC Will Diamond

THE PRESERVATION OF MAN The horse and mule live thirty years, And nothing know of wine and beers. The goat and sheep at twenty die With never a taste of scotch or rye. The cow drinks water by the ton And at 18 is mostly done. The dog at sixteen cashes in Without the aid of rum or gin. The cat in milk and water soaks And then in 12 short years it croaks. The modest, sober, bone dry hen Lays eggs for nogs, then dies at ten. All animals are strictly dry They sinless live and swiftly die. But sinful, ginful, rum-soaked men Survive for three score years and ten And some of us, the might few, Stay pickled until we’re 92.

Rory Gilchrist 13

Scottish Wildlife Trust

The Eurasian otter is classed as vulnerable on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red list and, as a protected species, it is illegal to kill them or disturb their habitat. However, while they can live up to 15 years in Czechoslovakia and Germany, in the UK 90% of dead otters analysed are less than 4 years old. Road deaths are the major cause. In early 2017 our Callander group of the Scottish Wildlife Trust was contacted by an individual from Killin to ask whether we had any experience of preventing otter road deaths as they have found two by the side of the A827 between Lix Toll and Killin and had observed otters crossing this road over many years. Luckily, our talk in October 2015 was from the International Otter Survival Trust (IOSF) based in Broadford, Skye who we contacted for advice. IOSF recommended wildlife roadside reflectors that they had demonstrated on Skye. These reflect light from car headlights sideways out into the surrounding area, alerting wildlife to prevent them crossing the road in front of a vehicle. Local conservation group, Environment


Rosie Third

Otter Conservation in Killin Dead otter by the side of the A827

Action Killin (EAK) has pursued the installation of roadside reflectors along the stretch where otters cross the road and their work has been recognised in the UK conservation section of the IOSF e-Newsletter, adminPDFs/178.pdf. On 10 November 20 roadside posts with wildlife reflectors were installed along the relevant stretch of the A821. This is the culmination of a complex liaison managed by EAK to bring together several partners who gave their support for free: - Robertsons Construction liaised with Stirling Council and  HBS Traffic Management, arranged the road permit  and put in all stakes, posts and reflectors free of charge. - HBS (Highway Barrier Solutions)  provided the traffic management system for the works to take place, free of charge - Stirling Council waived the road permit fee and is  considering  any future road engineering work to include culverts with ledges.

- SWT (Callander Branch) purchased 20 Swareflex Wildlife Reflectors. - KAT (Killin and Ardeonaig Community Trust)  loaned funding to EAK towards payment of 20  stakes and bollards for mounting the reflectors. - IOSF  provided technical support and information for the project and for public events to raise awareness about otters and otter conservation. Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park (LLTNP)  provided information and support for the project and arranged a talk in the local Primary School about Otter Conservation. EAK are holding a mulled wine & mince pie fund-raising event on 2 December from 11am at Lynedoch, The National Trust building on the Main Street, Killin. Information on the project and a display by the local Primary School will be included, as well as a guided walk to look for otter and beaver signs. Please support this valiant effort by a small number of individuals to save one of our iconic mammals. Lesley Hawkins


SEEING STARS by Keith Wilson 

DECEMBER December 13/14 might just be the best celestial firework show of 2017 when the Geminid meteor shower arrives. The best way of observing the meteors is with your naked eye but don’t forget to wrap up warm or even use a sleeping bag on a sun lounger which gives you a good view of the sky without hurting your neck! You need to be outside for one to two hours to give yourself the best chance of seeing these shooting stars The meteors will appear to come from from the direction of the constellation Gemini in the south east sky and if your are in a dark location you may be able to spot around 100 meteors per hour. Sometimes Geminid meteors appear as beautiful, brilliant slowmoving shooting stars. The best time to see them is after midnight when our planet comes face-on to the meteors. These meteors are debris from an asteroid called Phaethon which is likely a dead comet whose original ices have boiled away after lots of close encounters with the Sun. Happy sky gazing - and Happy Christmas!

BRACKLINN PRACTICE A huge thank you to everyone who came along to our flu open day, we administered a record 444 vaccines on the day. We also raised £397.00 for the Ripples Retreat. Flu vaccines are still available. If you have not had one and are entitled to it, please contact the surgery and you will be given an appointment. BRACKLINN & LENY PRACTICE - CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR CLOSURE The surgery will be closed on Monday 25 and Tuesday 26th December. Also, Monday 1st and Tuesday 2nd January. If you require urgent medical assistance during this time please contact NHS24 on 111. Make sure you order your medicines early to avoid running out when the surgery is closed. We would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and thank you all for your co-operation throughout the year. PATIENT FOCUS GROUP Thank you to everyone who came to our first meeting of the joint practice focus group in October. Our next meeting is planned for the end of January (no date has been set yet). If you would like to be involved or would like more information please contact either Karen or Margaret at the practices.

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Tickets are now on sale for the 2018 Killin Music Festival which will take place on the 15th, 16th and 17th of June. This will be the third annual event in the Perthshire village with headline acts Blazin’ Fiddles, Peatbog Faeries and Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham. The weekend is centred round the McLaren Hall, with free events in our Session Tent, Kids Crafts, A Pipe Band Parade and an Open Stage where you can catch the best emerging talent with fantastic host Liz Clark. The event is quickly gaining a reputation for itself and is nominated for Event of the Year at the 2017 MG Alba Trad Awards. We would like to thank all our wonderful artists, sponsors, volunteers and of course festival goers for making it such a great weekend. If you would like to vote for us then just head we have links on our website and social media or you can go to www. To get a flavour of what we do, why not check out our 2017 review video at our website where you will find a link to tickets and

more information. We would love to see you there in June! Killin Music Festival is a three day annual event which takes place the third weekend in June each year featuring the best in traditional and folk music alongside emerging artists. The volunteer run festival was established in 2015 and brings together this vibrant community while welcoming visitors from across the country. MG Alba Trad Awards Ceremony is an annual event which celebrates the best in traditional music acts, projects and festivals throughout Scotland. The location of the

awards changes annually and they will be taking place in Paisley on 2nd December 2017 to aid their nomination as City of Culture 2021. killinmusicfest?lang=en killinmusicfest/ Contact Siobhan Anderson- Secretary 07919923595

Introducing The Mountains and The People, a five year project specifically to preserve, improve and restore access to the unique upland habitats in our National Parks.

‘Scotland’s playground’ gets a serious facelift With over four million visitors a year it’s no wonder Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is often referred to as ‘Scotland’s playground’. From its breath-taking mountains and glens to the vast tranquil beauty of its lochs – and with extensive outdoor recreation opportunities on offer throughout the park - it’s an accolade that is well deserved and one that is fiercely protected. But these vast numbers of visitors, coupled with the Scottish weather, come at an expensive cost with many of our mountain paths being eroded and left scarred and damaged. Led by the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland and supported by both of Scotland’s National Park Authorities, Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland and Heritage Lottery Fund, The Mountains and The People project is well on the way to making a huge difference to everyone who uses Scotland’s playground. Over the past two years, work has been carried out on a large number of paths, upgrading the trails on some of the best loved mountains in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs, including Ben Ledi, Ben A’an, Ben Venue and Scotland’s most southerly Munro, Ben Lomond. “With over 30,000 visitors per year, Ben Lomond is one of the most popular Munros in Scotland, rewarding those who make it to the top with fantastic views of Loch Lomond and beyond. With such large numbers of people walking the 12km to its 3,000ft summit, the trail had suffered over the years.    NTS had worked extensively over the years on the path on their land, and so one of the first priorities was to upgrade the lower route from the Car Park on Forestry Commission Scotland land.  Now described as a ‘well defined path’, if you fancy experiencing the Ben Lomond experience head to Rowardennan car park half way up the eastern shore of Loch Lomond, don your responsible hiking gear and enjoy your unhindered walk to the summit” Simon Jones, Director of Conservation and Visitor Operations at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, said: “The iconic mountains of the National Park attract people from all over the world as well as many walkers from closer to home. With their stunning views and opportunity to get out and enjoy nature, its easy to see why. But the volume of people walking these paths does have an impact on their condition. The Mountains and The People is a fantastic project and the improvements made to these popular routes will mean that people can enjoy them for many years to come.”

A section of restored upland path on Ben Lomond

The Mountains and the People project aims to preserve and improve the unique upland habitats of our national parks, recognising that the lure of the mountains as a recreational, social and, at times, spiritual retreat brings not only great benefit to those visiting, but also has a physical impact on the landscape itself. The project will deliver against all four National Park aims: - To conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area; - To promote sustainable use of the area’s natural resources; - To promote understanding and enjoyment – including enjoyment in the form of recreation - of the special qualities of the area; - To promote sustainable economic and social development of the area’s communities

- The National Park covers 720sq miles - 50% of Scotland’s population live within one hour’s drive of the National Park - Visitor spend in the National Park annually is £153.4million - Responsibility for refuse collection in the Park, is shared across the four local authorities. For more information visit or see or

For more information about the project and the partners involved, see: About Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park: - Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park was established in 2002 - The National Park attracts 4 million visitors each year (equating to 7 million visitor days)


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

National Park Paths feature on Google Maps Five picturesque paths within Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park are now live on Google Maps for members of the public to view. Staff and volunteers from the National Park used high-tech equipment from Google and headed out into the Park to film some of the most popular paths with the aim of showcasing this beautiful area to a wider audience and enhancing visitors’ experience. The paths which feature on the site are: Balloch Country Park Inchcailloch island - woodland & summit Puck’s Glen Bracklinn Falls Aberfoyle Forest Lodge paths. The project was part of the Google Street View Camera Loan program which allows organisations to borrow Street View Trekker backpacks at no cost. Over a two week period the team worked together to capture a 360 degree experience of a selection of paths within the National Park. The footage is now live on Google Maps and will allow people to see the terrain before visiting so they can plan ahead. Simon Jones, Director of Conservation and Visitor Operations at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park said: “Having these paths available to view on Google Maps will allow millions of people across the world to experience the amazing landscapes and scenery the Park has to offer. Filming in spring time meant the team were able to capture footage of the paths in the best of the Scottish weather including the stunning bluebells at Inchcailloch.” 18

The Communications team at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park coordinated the project with the support of colleagues from the Park’s Access team. Digital Communications Intern, Vlad Turculet who was part of the group who filmed the paths said: “The equipment we used was quite complex so the team took part in training before going out to film. This involved watching videos and taking quizzes to make sure we knew how to work everything. The backpack was also quite heavy, weighing around 20kg but we worked in pairs whilst filming, taking turns to carry the camera. It was really exciting and fun to be involved in this project and it’s great to finally see the footage on Google Maps.” A spokesperson from Google said: ““Google Maps gives people access to some of the most beautiful places in the world. The impressive images taken by the Google Trekker camera of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park will allow people to make the most of their trip by planning their route in advance so they’re able to spend more time outdoors.” The National Park Authority plan to borrow the equipment again in the future to film more paths and showcase the incredible natural beauty of the Park and everything it has to offer. To view the footage filmed visit Google Maps and enter the path name in the search bar.

December 2017 • Wed 6 Dec 09:30 Ramble: Scenic Plean (6miles) Contact 01786 473768 • Wed 13 Dec 09:30 Dunblane Dander (4miles) Contact 01786 825249 January 2018 • Tues 2 Jan 11:00 Stroll: Town Walk (4miles) Contact 01877 330444 • Sat 13 Jan 18:30 AGM & Dinner • Wed 17 Jan 09:30 Stroll: Arivurichardich (4miles) Contact 01877 339323 • Sat 27 Jan 08:30 Ramble: Craigower & Linn of Tummel (6miles) Contact 01796 472461 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! Visitors and non-members welcome.

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of a meeting held at The White Stag, Strathyre on 25th October 2017. Please note that these minutes have not yet received formal approval and should be considered as a draft version only. Present: Malcolm McNaughton (MM), David Johnston (DJ), Paul Hicks (PH) and Ruth McLusky (RM). Apologies: Adrian Squires, Angus Cameron, Loraine Telfer, Margaret Alexander, Karen Methven, Richard Eastland. In attendance: Cllr Jeremy McDonald (JM), Theresa Elliot (TE), Stirling Council; PC Will Diamond (WD), Police Scotland; Mr Kenny Higgins (KH), Strathyre. 1) Approval of Minutes It was proposed by RM, and seconded by DJ, that the minutes of the meeting on 20th September 2017 should be accepted, and this was approved unanimously. 2) Declarations of Interest No declarations were made. 3) Police Report During the period from 19th September to 23rd October, there were no thefts or burglaries reported but, on 13th October, an assault was reported at an address in Balquhidder. Enquiries are continuing with positive lines of enquiry being followed. During this period, local police resource have been heavily committed to the ongoing search for a missing person: Anthony Parsons. Anthony (‘Tony’) was last seen on the 29th September at around 11:45 p.m. at The Bridge of Orchy Hotel. Tony is described as being 5ft 9ins tall, of stocky build, with short greying hair and a moustache. He usually wears glasses and has a tattoo of an anchor on his right upper arm, and a tattoo of an eagle on his left arm. When last seen, he was wearing a distinctive, red, waterproof jacket, a blue, long-sleeved, cycling top, a high-visibility vest, fingerless gloves, beige combat trousers and walking boots. He was also wearing a silver and grey cycling helmet, carrying a silver and blue rucksack, and riding a yellow-framed bike with black handlebars. If anyone has any information about this person, please get in touch with the police. Also during this period, two incidents of careless driving took place. The first was in Balquhidder on 13th October, whilst the second occurred in the main street of Strathyre on 21st October. Several fixed penalty tickets were issued during this period for various offences including speeding, no insurance and no MOT. High visibility patrols and static road checks also continued. 4) Matters arising 4a) Professional Indemnity Insurance. PH reported that the community council was still awaiting clarification from Stirling Council on the question of individual liability. MM commented that the issue was taking far too long to resolve. TE offered to follow it up with Michelle Flynn. MM suggested that it would be helpful if someone with expert knowledge of the subject could come and explain it to the whole community council. 4b) Various matters in Lochearnhead. PH reported that he had spoken further with the resident who had proposed marking some long-standing community service in a particular way. The reservations expressed at a previous meeting of the community council were noted, and it was agreed that a more appropriate means of marking this service would be sought in future. The complaints of anti-social behaviour had been referred to Stirling Council for further consideration. WD had also spoken to the person concerned regarding the parking of vehicles. It was decided that clarification was needed on what regulations - if any - covered the use of a property for paying guests. JM suggested that arrangements with companies such as AirBnB might not be covered by any regulations. 4c) Balquhidder. The concerns about grass trimming in Balquhidder had been investigated further and it was apparent that the work had been carried out by someone locally, rather than by Council staff. DJ commented that the area had now been flailed and cleared, and the problem had been resolved. 5) Bye-laws and clear-ways. PH reported having received a report from the National Park on the first season of the new Camping Management Scheme and bye-laws. Overall, it was considered to have gone well. The total number of bookings at the new camping permit areas from March to the end of September was 6,294 with the total number of actual nights booked coming to 8,428. Feedback had been very positive, both from online surveys and from first-hand conversations with rangers, who also noted fewer instances of abandoned campsites and damage caused by irresponsible fire lighting. The National Park is developing a survey to capture community feedback, and will be circulating this in the coming weeks. WD added that the signs demarcating the area covered by the new alcohol bye-law would be erected over the coming winter time. 6) Correspondence Access to land in Lochearnhead. PH reported having received a further query about access to the land on which the remains of the burned out water sports centre are located. Over the weekend of 6-8th October, a group of model aeroplane enthusiasts had been allowed access to this site, but the area was still not open to the general public. PH commented that there would be nothing to prevent the landowner (or leaseholder) from granting permission to a designated group to use the land, possibly for a fee, on a strict understanding that there were specific risks involved. There were rumours that a dispute between the landowner and the leaseholder for this land had now been settled. If so, it seemed likely that things could now move forward, resulting in the land being opened up again for more widespread use. It was noted that the ‘Land Access’ legislation still allowed for people to use the land, but it would boost the popularity of the area if visitors (and locals) had easier access to this particular area. PH will make further enquiries with the landowner regarding the current state of affairs. Action: PH to make enquiries with landowner. 7) Community Engagement PH reported that all local community councils had been invited to a further ‘conversation’ with Stirling Council, this time on the subject of ‘environment and sustainability in communities’. It would take place between 2-4p.m. on Tuesday 14th November at ‘Old Viewforth’ in Stirling. Interested members were invited to notify the organisers if they wished to attend. 8) Planning Matters Telecommunications mast, Strathyre. Adrian Squires was unable to attend the meeting but had offered to submit a report to the National Park Planning Authority regarding an application by WFS Telecom Ltd to erect a telecommunications mast in the centre of Strathyre. PH explained that the company had submitted details of its intentions previously to the community council, and these had been circulated to various interested parties in the community in March 2017. Their comments had been collated and passed on to the company. They included significant concerns about the proposed siting of the mast, its intrusive appearance, and the possible impact on peoples’ health. The matter was then discussed at length. It was noted that the proposed site of the mast had been moved slightly - a couple of metres away from the main road and amongst a line of trees - but the mast itself would need to be higher. DJ commented that if we were to raise any objection, it would have to be on strong grounds. KH said that a lot of opinion in the village was against the mast. All those living close to where the mast will be sited are objecting to its size and appearance. RM agreed. Most residents are in favour of the mobile network being upgraded, but already get a reasonable signal from the EE mast to the South of the village. Many have asked why that site cannot be upgraded, with O2 sharing the facility with EE. KH also mentioned a sewerage plant as a potential site where the mast could be better hidden. He acknowledged the technical objections raised by WFS to sites such as the water treatment plant, but believed that some of these sites had been rejected mainly for non-technical reasons. For example, it appeared that many sites had been rejected because the presence of nearby trees would reduce the coverage overall. KH maintained that it would be relatively easy to remove some of these trees as Strathyre had plenty already. RM pointed out that some of the alternative sites surveyed by WFS (such as a plot of land behind the Village Shop) appeared to have been rejected because the land is owned by the Council, which has a moratorium on development of such land. She asked whether the Council land could be prevailed upon to make some exceptions to this policy. DJ reminded members that the planning authorities would need to take account of the scientific evidence provided by WFS. For example, there was now a significant body of scientific evidence that suggested there was little or no impact on human health from such installations. Consequently, it might be more helpful to concentrate on the question of the mast’s height and appearance. Members took up this point and agreed that the company should be asked to do more to disguise the mast itself and, so far as possible, make it less intrusive and ugly in the landscape. JM concurred and emphasised that the planners would need to give primary consideration to the actual application that had been made, rather than to the possibiity of alternative sites elsewhere.KH then raised a significant point. The annual Strathyre Music Festival uses the field adjacent to the proposed site of the mast. In order to facilitate this, the organisers have paid for an electrical distribution point to be sited nearby, and the actual location is very close to the proposed siting of the mast. Furthermore, the cable that supplies the distribution board runs underneath the very trees amongst which the mast is to be placed. This would need to be taken into consideration. In conclusion, MM stated that the community council would support the prevailing view of local residents. It appeared that, whilst people would undoubtedly welcome an upgraded mobile telephone service, it was obvious that many in the village did not want it placed at the proposed site. Also, there was serious concern about the overall height of the mast, and its ugly appearance in the very heart of the village, which depended heavily on the attractions of its natural, unspoiled views to encourage tourists and visitors to spend time and money there, contributing significantly to the local economy. Action: AS to submit a contribution from the community council in support of these objections. 9) Matters From Councillors 9a) Speeding. JM referred to a recent meeting in Lochearnhead about the problem of speeding on the main roads in our area. Various measures had been proposed and agreed by BEAR Scotland, but nothing seemed yet to have happened. WD agreed, and offered to chase this up from the police perspective. 9b) Economic development in Doune. JM had held a meeting recently with archeologists in Doune regarding potential tourist attractions. They were investigating whether there might be additional sites of historical interest that could be developed for tourists and visitors. JM is willing to arrange further such meetings in our area if anyone has any suitable suggestions to put forward. 9c) Broadband. JM is now chair of a sub-committee at Stirling Council that is considering how broadband delivery can best be further developed, espeically in the rural areas. As an example, discussions have been held recently with BT regarding a list of postcodes where there is potential for a better service to be provided. Our area is included in these discussions. If anyone has any helpful comments or suggestions, please contact JM directly. 9d) Requests. JM asked if there were any particular matters of concern in our area. MM returned to the unresolved question of indemnity insurance, and emphasised that this needed to be addressed with some urgency. Total clarification is required. It was agreed that PH would forward to JM a copy of the letter that he had sent to Stirling Council previously, detailing the specific questions that had been raised. Action: PH to send letter with detailed concerns to JM. 10) Any Other Competent Business 10a) Resignation. PH reported that, shortly before the meeting, he had received a letter of resignation from Margaret Alexander, a co-opted member of the community council. For personal reasons, she was moving away from the area and now had her house up for sale. She thanked members for their support and encouragement during her time on the council, and sent her best wishes for the future. It was agreed that PH would make arrangements for a suitable gift to be delivered to Margaret in recognition of her contribution and commitment to community life. Action: PH to arrange for suitable gift for MA. 10b) Flood warning system. KH mentioned that the Strathyre Emergency Response Team now had access to two river level monitoring stations locally for the River Balvaig. He offered to provide online access to these facilities for local community councillors. This was gratefully accepted as it would provide detailed information during periods of heavy rainfall, and give advanced warning of potential problems for local residents in Balquhidder and Strathyre. There was no other business and, at 9:05 p.m., MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting will take place on Wednesday 6th December 2017 at The Broch, Strathyre.


Kasia’s Cookin’. . .

Book Review

Lie with Me

Sabine Durante

Do you need an affordable home?

Potato Salad The potato salad is a very important traditional dish on the Christmas table in many European countries including Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary. There are different variations of this salad. For example, in my home we would always add an apple which gives this salad a very pleasant sweet and fresh taste. Some people avoid fresh onion, and some add some sweetcorn, ham, pineapple, chicken or fish. It is very common in Poland to add some herring to this salad and probably there are no two identical potato salads, as every family makes it slightly differently. Ingredients: Spices for the stock: 4 carrots 5 pepper corns 4 parsnips 1 tbsp sugar 5 pickled cucumbers 3 all spice corns 1 celery root Salt 2 kg potatoes 1 bay leaf 3 eggs 1 tbsp vinegar 2 onions 0.5 tsp mustard (optional) 1 apple Fresh parsley to garnish 1 cup of frozen peas 250ml mayonnaise 100ml natural yoghurt

Cook potatoes with the skin on until tender and eggs until hard boiled. Cook all the remaining vegetables with the spices for the stock until tender. Leave to cool, cut all ingredients into 1 cm cubes. Add finely diced cucumbers, apple and onion. Mix everything together with mayonnaise and yoghurt. Season with salt, pepper and a bit of mustard (optional). Add 2 tbsp of stock left after cooking the vegetables. Gently mix and leave in the fridge for couple of hours. Enjoy!


Rural Stirling Housing Association aims to support local communities by providing quality homes at affordable rents for families, couples and single people in housing need. We currently have over 550 rented houses and flats. Around 50 of these become available for rent each year. We hope to have new properties in Strathblane and Balmaha soon and currently have properties in the following communities

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

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

in renting when they contact us:

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

Registered as a Scottish Charity No. SC037849

We have celebrated 5 years of C&WP U3A during which we have seen a steady rise in membership covering a very wide area. Although based in Callander we have always made an effort to include villages from Balfron to Gargunnock in the South; Doune and Dunblane in the East; Aberfoyle and Brig o’Turk in the West; away up to Lochearnhead and even Killin in the North. In Killin we now have four of our 32 groups taking place locally and perhaps in the future a new U3A may evolve in that enterprising village. Many of our groups finish their autumn sessions in December with Christmas lunches or outings before a short break over the New Year. Reports of these activities will be found in our regular newsletter which is sent out to all members and also appears on our website ‘Callander and West Perthshire U3A’ where all details of our groups and how to join are also available. Anyone interested can also contact our secretary directly and we welcome new members at any time of the year, with reduced fees in January. Happy Christmas and a guid New Year when it comes.

This is a psychological thriller full of people you will love to hate. The main character is a particularly nasty piece of work, a liar who wheedles and manipulates his way into other peoples’ lives with no thought for how his actions impact on them. His only published novel, written while at university, was a one hit wonder, his second has been rejected by the publishers and now without an income he freeloads off a friend, staying in his flat while he is abroad, whilst pretending to all and sundry that the upmarket flat is his own. The imminent return of this friend forces him to find alternative accommodation and as luck would have it, he falls in with an old friend from University and wheedles his way in to joining him and his family and some close friends on a holiday in a villa in Greece owned by Alice, one of the friends. He fancies Alice and believes arrogantly that she reciprocates this feeling. So he heads off happily into the sun. Being utterly selfish, everything he does is for his own feckless ends, managing this with his well honed skills at flattery. However once in Greece we realise that maybe the friends also have an agenda in inviting him to the island. Alice is closely involved in trying to get to the bottom of a mystery involving the disappearance of a young girl in the village many years before. She succeeds in persuading the reluctant police to reopen the case just as her villa is about to be demolished for redevelopment. As a consequence the police become interested in these English residents in the villa on the hill. This is where the real world enters the piece and it hits our hateful ‘hero” full on as we see him unable to maintain a grip on his fantasy world. This is a great psychological thriller with really horrible people which means great characterisation throughout. Worth reading if only to shout out loud in disgust at the ghastly acts of misogyny of the main protagonist.

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

Gill Waugh Production Manager Stronvar Farm Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384203

David Johnston Production Gardeners Cottage Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384227

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

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

Please help us to get The Villagers to you as soon as possible! •

Lochearnhead Contact: Ali Ferguson 01567 830 405 St Fillans Contact: Isobel Howell 07876 031768 Strathyre Contact: Wullie Dalziel 01877 384 384 Mobile 07768 221661 Mail Order Distribution: Andrea Poulter 01877 384784


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

Lunch Club - The Scout Station, Lochearnhead - 12.30pm - 2.30pm


Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 to11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am to 12.30pm St Fillans Music Circle - Sandison Hall - 12.30pm to 3.30pm. Light lunch included. Contact John Light (01764 685307) / Malcolm Gregory (01764 670493). Country Dancing - St Fillans

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

Darts League - The Inn & Bistro - 7.00pm Choir Occasional - Balquhidder Village Hall - 7.30-9pm (contact Gill Waugh 01877 384203)


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



Strathyre Christmas Party - see page 5


Candlelit Soirée - Balquhidder Village Hall - see page 13


Hogmanay Parties - all villages!



Balquhidder New Year’s Dance - see page 2

Stephen Kerr MP 49 Borestone Cres, Stirling FK7 9BQ 01786 475034 Councillor Martin Earl Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07881 310 922 Councillor Evelyn Tweed Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling, FK8 2ET 01786 233101 Councillor Jeremy McDonald Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling, FK8 2ET 01786 233117

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

Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316

Sundays 11.30am All welcome to our Christmas Eve Service at 8pm on 24th December Minister: Rev Dr Russel Moffat The Manse, Main Street, Killin FK21 8TN Dundurn Church, St Fillans Sundays 11.30am Minister: Rev Graham McWilliams Tel: 01764 671 045

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

SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH St Angus’s Church, Lochearnhead 1st Sunday each month: 11.30am Communion 2nd Sunday 5.30pm Evensong 3rd Sunday 11.30am Communion 4th Sunday 5.30pm Evensong 5th Sunday (if applicable) 5.30pm FOOD FOR THOUGHT

A reflective time to discuss contemporary issues in a spiritual context

(Check with Rector for venue: 01764 655389)

Vestry Secretary - Maureen Lipscomb Tel: 01567 830234



Complete stove solutions, fireside accessories, pet needs and feeds and now dog grooming.

Premium Christmas Trees and Homemade Wreaths. Kiln dried hardwood and softwood logs, and kindling also available all year round.

WE ALSO OFFER: • Kiln dried hardwood • Kindling, coal & firelighters • Chimney Sweeping • Fireside Accessories • Wide Range of Animal Feeds • Animal Supplements • Pet Toys and Gifts Shop opening hours: Monday - Saturday 10am-5pm 21 Main Street, Callander FK17 8DU 01877 330 643 • 07795 966 514

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Remember - copy deadline for ads is the 21st of each month! Cheques for advertising and mail order subscriptions should be made out to: The BLS Newspaper Association



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


LETi and MhorFest bring home the trophies Congratulations to LETi for winning their second Scottish Regional Thistle Awards trophy, this time for Innovation In Tourism, recognising BLiSS trail 2017 as a permanent attraction. LETi Members Tom and Lisa Lewis also picked up the

winners crystal globe for Mhor Festival 2017 in the best cultural event or festival category and Meghan Haste picked up a trophy for Best Informal Eating at Venachar Lochside. Congratulations to Strathyre Forest Cabins for making it to the finals. Kim Proven received a regional Tourism Ambassador Finalist certificate for making it to the last three within Cental, Fife and Tayside. LETi chair Kim Proven said “I was extremely proud to pick up the trophy for LETi! However - it represents many people: LETi members for their input and social media work; lovely locals in our four villages for their support and encouragement to secure the trail as a permanent attraction; Strathyre Primary School for the official photo shoot and Melanie Lewis for taking the photos; Perth College UHI art department for The Three Sisters collaboration; national cycle route charity Sustrans Scotland who enabled us to buy Drover’s Bho with the first evert ArtRoots grant and ArtFe blacksmiths artist Kev Paxton. A big shout out for the LETi support table at the awards too. It would not have been the same without the fun and cheering from Graham, Sue, Fraser, Alex, Jane, Liz, Martin and my sister Gill.” Clockwise from top: Kim - with Lisa Lewis ( MhorFest won for best small festival); Kim with Meghan Haste (winner for Venacher Lochside best informal eating); the LETi support team; Thistle Awards certificate Regional winners “Innovation In Tourism” for BLiSS trail 2017; Kim and Fraser; The trophy sponsored by Geotourist (travel app); Kim with Martin Breslin - Regional partnership executive Visit Scotland.

The Villagers December January 2017 2018  

Lochearnhead Christmas Fayre Strathyre, New Year 2018 and Christmas events 2017 for Strathyre, Lochearnhead, Balquhidder and Strathyre, Stra...

The Villagers December January 2017 2018  

Lochearnhead Christmas Fayre Strathyre, New Year 2018 and Christmas events 2017 for Strathyre, Lochearnhead, Balquhidder and Strathyre, Stra...