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The

VILLAGERS

FEBRUARY 2011

Price

40p

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

, Snow Fun..!


EDITOR’S NOTE Welcome to the new year with The Villagers. All our regular contributors are back in harness and we also begin a brand new monthly series of interviews called “5 minutes with….” in which we find out about villagers and their pets. See p.13 for the first one. Last December we said Farewell to one of our long established residents in Strathyre, who left to set up a new home in Drumnadrochit. Mrs Jean Watt was a loyal supporter of The Villagers and was featured many times; as a winner of competitions in the WRI and Series Whist and as an amazingly successful fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis charity. She ran countless Christmas coffee mornings over the years and opened her house each summer to provide refreshments for the participants of the annual long distance Cystic Fibrosis Cycle Run. She is missed at Church and at the Lunch Club and at all our social gatherings. We wish her well and hope that her new home is keeping her warm and comfortable through this long winter.

Now for the long awaited news about the next editor of The Villagers. I’m happy to say that she is waiting in the wings! Jill Johnston is a newly retired teacher and she lives in Gardeners Cottage in Balquhidder with her husband David. Refurbishment of the cottage is not yet complete and until then, when we hope that the computer and internet connection will also be in place, Jill will work in tandem with me. We aim to complete the takeover later in the year after Jill and David have been ‘down under’ to welcome a new grandchild. Meantime my thanks to her for her enthusiasm in volunteering and I am sure she will find the job as rewarding as I still do. Marguerite Kobs

The 18th Annual

AGM of the

BLS Newspaper Association will be held on

Wednesday 16th February 2011 at 7.30pm

Sandison Hall St Fillans H

H

H

All Welcome! Come and meet the future editor and enjoy the wine and cheese buffet after the business meeting.

Bramblings v Chaffinches! 3 Bramblings in a row and 1 Chaffinch

BRAMBLING

Weather

Report

4 Bramblings being watched by 2 Chaffinches

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.

5.9 ºC 10.5 -0.95 -9.5

42.6 ºF 50.9 30.3 14.9

Rainfall: 25.0 cms 9.9 ins Strongest wind gust: 36mph on 9th Nov CHAFFINCH

...and here are the readings for the month of December. Average max. temp. Actual max. temp. Average min. temp. Actual min. temp.

1.1 ºC 33.7 ºF 7.6 45.0 -7.3 18.9 -14.8 5.36

Rainfall: 4.1 cms 1.6 ins Strongest wind gust: 37mph on 14th Dec Total Annual Rainfall for 2010 153.24.cms 61.3 ins 2

The Brambling is a winter visitor which resembles the Chaffinch - except that:

• The Brambling has a white rump whereas that of the Chaffinch is grey-green; • the breast is orange, contrasting with a white belly on the Brambling, whereas on the Chaffinch the underparts are more uniformly coloured (pink or buff); • the Brambling’s scapulars are orange, whereas the Chaffinch’s are grey or grey-brown; • the flanks are dark-spotted on a Brambling, plain on a Chaffinch; • Bramblings lack the white outer tail feathers of Chaffinches. Gregarious in winter, Bramblings may form large flocks and often join with Chaffinches. Numbers can vary between winters depending on food supplies. Several visited the garden of the house Bramblings during the recent cold spell.


The St Fillans Bit As January is supposed to be the most depressing month of the year (and I’m writing this in January) I might as well start off on a downbeat. Some years ago St Fillans experienced a fairly long period of petty theft from houses – a culprit was never identified; and then the thefts suddenly ceased. As far as I know there have been very few thefts ever since. Now, sadly, it seems that the problem has arisen again. Over the past few weeks there have been several thefts locally, which include meat removed from a domestic freezer, two First Aid boxes lifted from the Sandison Hall and, most recently, a theft from an elderly villager who answered the door to a person she described as ‘a workman’ asking for hot water. Whilst she went off to get him hot water he rifled her handbag in the hall and made off with her cash. These thefts are very paltry and clearly not the result of a visit from professional thieves, nor can I imagine that any of the residents of our village would find it necessary (or worth the risk) to steal meat from a freezer or two First Aid boxes, and certainly not the cash from an old lady’s handbag. Which begs the question – who? If any readers experience similar minor thefts please do let me know and I’ll be happy to publicise them and maybe find a trend. When discussing the handbag theft

with the wife I wondered if any ladies actually left their handbags in the hall. The response was ‘most of us – makes them easy to find’ – and right enough Daisy’s handbag was sitting on the hall table! In a village like ours we simply don’t consider theft as a regular risk – our own home was left unlocked almost permanently if we were in the village until I found crow bar marks on the front door one day last year after a trip to Perth. Now we lock up all the time – and Daisy’s handbag is not on the hall table. Getting all of the downbeat bits out of the way, most of you will know that Snapper Fraz (Ballantyne) suffered a heart attack in January (and no, it wasn’t the pressure of his wallet on his chest). Fraz now has bits of plastic inside his tubes and is recovering well, he tells me he feels better than he has for ages. Excellent news – keep going Fraz – we need your pics and Golf Club input. It’s the time of AGMs and if you want a really fun filled week then in February you can pick from (or better still attend both) The Villagers AGM on 16 February in The Sandison at 7.30pm or the Sandison Hall AGM in the same place at 7.00 pm on 18 February.

REOPENING

3 MARCH

Thursday evening till Monday lunch inclusive until 24 March, then open all week.

Wine Tasting Evening on 11 March

good food with wines chosen to complement and information about how each wine was chosen.

The Four Seasons Hotel, St Fillans

01764 685 333 www.thefourseasonshotel.co.uk

Refreshments are served at both so you can save a bit on the housekeeping that week. This year is the first Villagers AGM in St Fillans for a good while and I really hope that St F villagers who read our newspaper each month will come along and support the committee. Last year readers might remember that Kay and Dave Naitby experienced a house fire which was caused by a washing machine self-igniting (caught in time to save the house but still extensive damage and months of turmoil). Last month the holiday

Treetops

home Treetops suffered a similar fate (due again, I understand, to a kitchen appliance) but as the house was empty the picture above from Fraz tells its own story. A real reminder of the devastation fire can cause. I think we all know that modern electrical goods are built with a design life of about 5 years (just replaced my computer after 4 years as it was becoming erratic). Might be a good idea to either replace or get checked out any kitchen appliance which isn’t working as it used to. Last year I was asked by a villager to raise the question in The Villagers of right of access over the track/lane which goes up past the power station, which I forgot to do. I regularly use the lane to drive my dogs up, park under the bridge and walk the old railway (my dodgy knee doesn’t like the climb up from the road). Last week, after 6 weeks confined to barracks as my replacement knee runs itself in I ventured up there with the dogs, only to be confronted when coming back down the lane by a rather irate lady who, I gather, lives abroad but keeps a house up that lane as a holiday home. She advised me that the road was privately maintained and that I should not be using it. With a remarkable (Continued overleaf) display of cool 3


(Continued from page 3) from a retired builder, who has 20 years of residency in our village and who has always tried to help ensure the maintenance of said village both physically and community wise and is not impressed by a lecture from a part time resident, I put the lady right as best I could – both verbally and followed up in writing. My understanding is that the section of track, which is an extension of the track next to which my home stands, is the old drove road with very long standing rights of public vehicular access. It has never been ‘adopted’ by the Local Authority, so not maintained by them, but it remains a public road. This situation was explained to me in 1997 by the local Polis when I managed to lose my driving licence for a year and wanted to use the lane by motorbike for access to the hills – not on! So, the situation as I see it is that we all have a right to use the lane. Unfortunately it befalls the folk who live on the lane to maintain it – just as I and my neighbours maintain the lane and car park adjacent to our properties. It is common decency to try to avoid damaging the lane by driving slowly and appreciating that the cost of damage is borne by the residents. If I’m wrong I welcome feedback through these pages.

Alan and Jane at The Achray have been busy over the closed weeks redecorating the Victorian section of the hotel but will reopen on 11 February when, until Easter, they will be serving bar lunches, evening bar meals and fixed price Conservatory Restaurant meals on Wednesdays to Sundays, then open daily until October. The Four Seasons reopens on 3 March, operating Thursday evening till Monday lunch until the 24 March, then it’s open all week. Might be worth noting their Wine Tasting evening on 11 March – good food with wines chosen to complement and informative chat about how each wine was chosen. Ring Mary for details. I’m told by Bob at The Drummond that new owners will be taking over very soon – watch this space. By the time you read this there will be only three weeks left to obtain your tickets for the next Fundraising Extravaganza The Gardeners Arms produced by The Garden Group in The Sandison Hall on Friday 25 February.

Japanese Knotweed

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:

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

01764 685309

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As most are aware, the village has been forced, by lack of local government funds, to finance a four year programme of Knotweed eradication – at an annual cost of some £1500. Japanese Knotweed is a scary blight and a danger to all of our properties so the efforts of the Garden Group will help dramatically (pun intended) to raise the necessary funds. Tickets from Eric, Lorna or me at £12.50 a head including a hot ‘Pub Grub’ meal. You’ll be helping the village and having a fun night out. Last year the Garden Group was involved in the general riverside clearance and quantities of decent quality logs are available, for a donation, if you contact Eric on 685263 – all proceeds again to the knotweed eradication fund. Finally, my usual reminder. I always need input from villagers to keep this column going – you know where I am. John Murray

Letter to the Editor As a resident of Strathyre I wish to say a huge thank you to Mel, Sarah, Lindsay and Julia, the organisers of the village Christmas Party. Once again they put in a great amount of time and effort to make this annual event a success. It is just very disappointing that more people do not support them or attend the actual party. In fact you could have counted on the fingers of one hand just how many ‘OAPs’ were there and surprisingly how many children did not turn up to receive their present from Santa. Throughout the year the girls work hard to raise the funds to stage the party and to buy wonderful presents for the children and the older residents of the village. It is much appreciated. This time the village hall could not be used and the party was held at the Munro Hotel. This is also a big Thank You to Tony for allowing them to use his premises. And of course, last but not least, a thank you to Santa. Well done girls! No doubt you will shortly be starting your fundraising for the 2011 party. Come on residents of Strathyre – old and young! Let’s all support them this year. Yours sincerely Grateful from Strathyre

Strathyre Village Association Strathyre Village Association would like to thank Jason Campbell for rescuing the Village Hall when it sprang a leak due to frozen pipes. There had been a few leaks due to the sudden thaw and they were dealt with but there was one that could not be stopped even after all the ‘stopcocks’ had been turned off. Jason was called and quickly found that it was an old hill supply without a stopcock. He remedied the situation and very kindly refused to be paid, so a big THANK YOU to Jason. Though Jason lives and runs his plumbing business from Killin he hasn’t forgotten his roots in Strathyre!


Lochearnhead Hogmanay Dance 2010 Lochearnhead Hall Committee would like to say a huge ‘THANK YOU’ to everyone who supported us and helped to make this event a resounding success. Never before have we had a sell-out before the event. We have managed to raise a massive ÂŁ925 towards our hall funds. The band The Session were really good as usual and said they hope to see us again next year. I am sure in naming our supporters I will miss someone out (sorry if it is you). We would like to thank Kim and Fraser for organising the raffle and all the local businesses for donating prizes: The Four Seasons, Lochearnhead Hotel, Clachan Cottage, Kings House Hotel, ‘The Wee Mindin’, Lix Toll, Killin and St Fillan’s Golf Clubs and everyone who contributed to The Hamper (especially Andy for pulling it together). Grateful thanks also to The Four Seasons for their contribution to the bar and to Fraser for sponsoring the stovies and to everyone from the committee who gave their time before, during and after the event. It was a great night and we hope to see you all again in 2011. Watch this space for this year’s advertising – don’t miss out and leave it too late. George Weir Lochearnhead Village Hall Chairperson

Enjoying wonderful views over Loch Earn and the surrounding countryside

Hotel reopens on

Friday 11th February and don’t forget our

Dominoes Night on Saturday 19th February

Reservations - Tel: 01567 830229 Fax: 01567 830364

email: info@lochearnhead-hotel.com www.lochearnhead-hotel.com

   



 





   

   

      

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Thank You... I would like to say a big thank you for the bag of goodies delivered to me as a senior lady of Strathyre. I am really appreciative of the effort put into obtaining the funding and the necessary organisation by all those involved in the shopping, packing and delivering. Sincerely Pat Houghton Strathyre

Pun Stuff...

Once you’ve seen one shopping centre, you’ve seen a mall... A lot of money is tainted - taint yours and taint mine... A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion... 5


U3A Open Meeting Forth Valley U3A (University of the Third Age) will hold an Open Meeting on Thursday 10 February at 2.00pm, in St Andrews Church Hall, Callander. Peter Ireland, a well-known and very popular local speaker, will speak about “Mosques, Madrasas and Mountains”. This meeting is open to all U3A members and to anyone else who is interested in finding out about Forth Valley U3A, perhaps with a view to joining. Come along on Thursday 10 February at 2.00pm, find out about interest groups and enjoy meeting us socially over tea and coffee after this interesting talk. You will be made most welcome. For further information, please contact the Membership Secretary on 01786-842564, or the Interest Groups Coordinator on 01786475554, or visit our website: www.forthvalleyu3a.org.uk

If You Go Down To The Woods Today...

Stirling Area Access Panel (SAAP)

Access needs in Stirling and its rural areas Access for All Questionnaire SAAP is committed to improving access for all people through the Stirling Council area with reference to buildings, countryside, open space, the environment, services and access approaches in general. Part of this work is identifying the access barriers and priorities for those living in the city of Stirling and its rural areas. Working on behalf of SAAP, Red & Black Community Interest Company, based in Dunblane, will be launching an online ‘Access for All’ questionnaire during the last two weeks in January 2011. This questionnaire will help SAAP identify the access priorities for the people of Stirling. Can You Help? We want to ensure that this questionnaire has as wide a distribution as possible and would like to invite Community Planning Forums to help. Your local knowledge and expertise could greatly assist us in some of the following ways: • advertising a link to our online questionnaire on your website, if you have one, or in any electronic bulletins; • advertising the link on any local newsletters. If you can help please let us know by email or phone and we will forward the appropriate link over the coming few days: E-mail: maggie.gardiner@redandblack.org.uk or david.thom@redandblack.org.uk

... you’re sure of a big surprise...

Can you guess what this could be?

Who put the antifreeze in my pipes? Cartoon by Jim Hannah

6

Tel: 01786 824211 Red & Black CIC, 29 George Street, Dunblane, FK15 9HE


Drs Strang and Scott and Drs Mathewson and Gibson

Community Nurses

How is the Patient doing? A grandmother rang through to the City Hospital. She asked timidly, “Is it possible to speak to someone who can tell me how a patient is doing?” The operator said, “I’ll be glad to help, dear. What’s the name and room number of the patient?” The grandmother in her weak, tremulous voice said, “Catriona MacTavish, Room 302.” The operator replied, “Let me put you on hold while I check with the nurses’ station for that room.” After a few minutes, the operator returned to the phone and said, “I have good news. Her nurse just told me that Catriona is doing well. Her blood pressure is fine; her blood tests just came back normal and her physician has scheduled her to be discharged tomorrow.” The grandmother said, “Thank you. That’s wonderful. I was so worried. Bless you for the good news.” The operator replied,”You’re more than welcome. Is Catriona your daughter?” The grandmother said, “No, I’m Catriona MacTavish in Room 302. No one tells me anything.”

The surgeries and community nurses are taking part in a training programme. This is to meet the educational and training needs of all members of the practice and nursing team. The next training afternoons will be on: Tuesday 8th February 2011 and Wednesday 23rd March 2011 Both practices and community nurse clinic will close at 12 noon. Emergency cover will be provided by NHS24 for nursing and GPs. In the event of an emergency, please telephone 08454 242424. On that afternoon, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments. All staff working from Callander Medical Centre would like to thank Killin Mountain Rescue Team, Trossachs Search and Rescue, and all the patients who have very kindly helped out by delivering prescriptions to the housebound, clearing paths at the medical centre and offering to drive the GPs to emergency housecalls etc during the bad weather in December. THANK YOU from all the Doctors, Nurses, Receptionists and Pharmacy Staff.

Language Problems...

7


Church News Balquhidder Reg. Charity No. SC012316

The End of an Era for Ballinluig Residents Richie Peebles, who lived for 60 years at 3 Ballinluig, Balquhidder (now Molmeg Cottage) passed away peacefully on 28 December 2010 aged 87. Richie led a quiet life of careful routine. At home he kept a very neat garden with his pride and joy being his lawn, and for relaxation he liked nothing better than to go for long country drives in his car. In 2006, he moved from the glen to Aberlour to be nearer his niece Morag. He was content and well cared for in the Speyside Home there and enjoyed regular visits from Morag. Richie was laid to rest at the family plot at Denny on 11 January 2011. Alison Semeonoff

It may be a record of sorts, but for the first time ever we had to cancel all four Advent services because of snow and ice. Our thanks go to the Community Council Chairman, Mr Malcom McNaughton, for organising a supply of grit and the clearing of a path to the Church for the Christmas Eve service. We are also very grateful for two donations given specifically to cover the cost of the grit. £160 was raised at the service for Borderline, our regular Christmas charity which helps Scots down on their luck in London. In the New Year, one more service was cancelled, but we are now on track again, hoping that the snow stays away and spring comes early. The fundraising concert on 14 January is reported below and elsewhere, but to all who helped to make it a success, many thanks. Again, a path to the Church had to be cleared, this time by the Hunter family who kindly volunteered. The performers were great and we all enjoyed the evening very much indeed. The grand total raised so far is £550, which will go a good way towards the cost of the latest fuel delivery. Most of us know only too well how hard it is to meet the ever increasing cost of living, and it is no different for the Church.

Jean Edwards

New Year Concert An enjoyable evening was had by both audience and artists when about 90 folk turned out to the New Year Concert held in Balquhidder Kirk on 14 January. The evening was opened by Ruaridh Leishman playing Highland bagpipes, which set the mood very well. Roger Sharp led the audience in some community singing on his accordion, and there were few dry eyes when Matt Duncan, accompanied by Vera Stewart, gave a beautiful rendition of Annie’s Song. Husband and wife duo, Alan and Joan Clarke, played some lovely arrangements of Scottish and Irish melodies on piano and violin, followed by a change of mood with some Scott Joplin played on piano by Tara Leishman. John Lincoln captivated the audience with his playing of Scottish airs on the fiddle as well as singing a Gaelic song. Our feet were set a-tapping with a selection of jigs and reels by the Drambuskers and some awesome drumming by Callum Convoy and Allan Sneddon! Guest artist, Margaret Bennett, sang some Perthshire and Gaelic songs, as well as relating some of the stories from her latest book In Our Time. The book, which includes a CD and is about rural Perthshire in the last century, is on sale in the Lochearnhead Post Office. After weeks of snow and ice, everyone enjoyed an opportunity to socialise over some hot mulled drinks at the interval. The evening was ably hosted by Charlie Hunter. If you missed the concert, a Midsummer one is planned for Friday 24 June, when we look forward to an equally enjoyable evening. Joan Mann Joan is Margaret Bennett’s sister and Margaret explained that many years ago the two of them would harmonise these beautiful Gaelic songs and so, after a couple of Margaret’s solo pieces, Joan was persuaded to come on stage and hum the harmony. The effect was wonderful and this impromptu and completely unrehearsed addition to the concert was received by the audience with great enthusiasm and appreciation. Ed.

8


Pin-Feathers*

by Old Nyati

*Once in demand by Victorian miniaturists, the tiny pin-feather comes from the leading edge of a woodcock’s wing and only two such feathers occur on each bird (one on each wing). This month Old Nyati remembers a close encounter during an African adventure trip.

The man about to become airborne was checking the boundary fence, an electrified 9 ft high wire mesh which enclosed the 3,000 plus acre conservation area. His words upon being rescued via a radio call to base for help were, “The rock opened its eye and I went to heaven”. This was out in Zimbabwe, before Mad Bob Mugabe and his bad lads “acquired” the land between the town of Kwe Kwe and Lake Sebakwe back from the white people, (but that’s another story). The conservation project had a good population of game, including both black and white Rhino, the black species being notoriously more bad tempered than the white. As is the way of things that are semi protected, some became quite tame and cooperative whilst others, having no fear of humans, took advantage and wanted to play, which can be more than a little dangerous! There was one such male rhino in this area with a famous reputation of charging anyone and anything on sight. All the rhinos, having rolled, wallowed and dusted in the soil looked exactly the same colour as the rocks and mounds all around, a perfect camouflage in fact. It was very difficult to see a sleeping animal and to stumble across this cantankerous old chap and disturb his slumber was decidedly life-threatening. The man patrolling the fence did just this, mistaking said rhino for a rock, which indeed “opened its eye” and exploded into two tons of charging dynamite, but luckily, the victim being close to the fence, was tossed clear over to the other side and safety, sustaining a few broken ribs and bruises. Had he “flown” in a different direction it would have been much more serious. So what has this got to do with Old Nyati? Well, the Bwana and Memsahib were guests of the couple who were pioneering a project of having paying guests to do a little photography or restricted hunting. There being no large predators such as lions and leopards to control the surplus Impala, Kudu, Sable and Warthogs etc., a selected few could be taken for a fee, which would go towards the cost of the Rhino project and most of the meat to the local

people; a sound and viable arrangement. Horseback riding was enjoyed by the Memsahib together with our lady host and they had an encounter with the old long horned black fellow. (I called him ‘Chuff and Rumble’ because, upon seeing anything around he would emit a loud ‘Chuff ’ like a steam train, only much louder, and the ‘Rumble’ of his charge – well, there was no mistaking it!) They had instructions to dismount, quickly unbridle the horses and let them go in the hope that old C and R would chase them and not the riders but this time the old fellow did not bother, so all was well. Old Nyati claims to be one of the very few people in Scotland who have been chased up a tree by a rhinoceros. It would be fun to compare notes with anyone else out there who has had the same experience; maybe we could start a club! So what happened? The plan was to try and pot a Kudu or Impala to make biltong for the village folk who all help to run the enterprise. We were on foot through the bush, head tracker in front, Old Nyati and our host close behind, both armed, Memsahib and bearers in single file following, slowly and very quietly forward. A sudden stop and hand signal from the leader, a finger to his lips to indicate absolute silence and not to move a muscle. About 100 yards ahead in fairly open bush was a large rhino, slowly feeding along. Now they all look the same to me but it was obvious from the expressions on faces that this was old Chuff and Rumble in person. Hand signals indicated an immediate tree climb and the body language displayed by the focus of our attention showed that he was very much intent on a charge in our direction. Most of us were well occupied with a rapid ascent when we heard the distinctive sound of an intended high speed visit. The speed of these large animals is amazing and the advice is that if you run, you cannot run faster than the animal, but must try to run faster than the other person !!! Now my nearest tree was neither large nor tall but I managed to get about ten feet from the ground, rifle over the shoulder and - no, to shoot this chap would only be permissable in

an absolute and extreme life or death situation. He covered the intervening distance at alarming speed. Now there are certain things in life that you never forget and this charge of a prehistoric monster was one of those as he passed just under my feet and crashed away into the bush behind. All went quiet until someone fidgeting about in their tree snapped off a branch, whereupon, with a mighty chuff and more rumble, back came our rhino at full speed, past us all again and away into the distance, not to be seen again that day. So we did not get anything for biltong, but a wonderful story to relate for many years to come. It is sad to tell that a few years later Mad Bob gave our friends 24 hours notice to leave, or else! So they fled to South Africa, leaving most of their things behind and all the rhino were killed for their horns by the new “Conservationists”. Victorian rhino ornaments, doorstops etc, are making over £100,000 at auction in the U.K. at the moment, and the same item, when it reaches China, will fetch in the region of one million. At the moment it is still legal to sell Rhino horn provided there is proof of its antiquity. I greatly fear for the future of Rhino in the wild. 9


McLaren High School News Geography Field Trip For our Higher Urban Geography unit we have been studying Edinburgh, so it seemed only right to see living examples of what we have been learning. We started our observations on the outskirts of Edinburgh, or the ‘green belt’, where we saw evidence of new developments away from the city centre, for example the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters. We then drove through the inner city and saw old 19th century housing and noted the narrow streets which reflected a time when horse and cart was the main mode of transport. We then parked in central Edinburgh and walked along Princes Street while noting the vacant shops, pedestrianised streets and other changes which have happened in the Central Business District. We enjoyed hot chocolate, compliments of Mr Martin, at Costa Coffee. Morvyn Menzies S5

Geography students in Edinburgh

‘Number Day’

Debating Congratulations to William Vernon and Angus Waite (both S6, above) for an exhilarating performance in the first round of The National Law Society Debate. The McLaren team were opposing the motion “The internet does more harm than good”. McLaren High will now progress to the next round.

Musical Achievement Congratulations to Harry Milligan (4L, above) who has been invited to join the Junior Academy at the RSAMD. 10

Number Day On 17 December, all pupils and staff participated in Number Day, joining thousands of other schools to raise money for the NSPCC whose aim is to protect vulnerable children. The National Day was 3 December, but due to adverse weather conditions this had to be postponed and activities amended. The fun continued regardless with all pupils in S1 taking part in an Inter-House Competition, won by Bracklinn. Every pupil and member of staff was also given the opportunity to participate in Teacher Sums. This involved answering maths questions linked to teachers who were wearing numbers for the day. After some serious competition, the first prize of a £15 i-tunes voucher went to Robert Fraser and 2nd prize of a £10 Game voucher went to Greg Cuthbert. In the staff draw, Mr Robertson won a bottle of something sparkling for his success. Congratulations to all our winners and thank you to everyone involved who helped to raise funds for such a good cause.

visit our website: www.mclarenhigh.co.uk

S1 Panto Excursion On 20 December there was an outing to the pantomime Snow White and the Seven De’Wharffs at the MacRobert Theatre. The pantomime was about a young girl who had a wicked stepmother who wanted to kill her. It was amazing! There were lots of flashing lights and loads of interaction with the audience. The show had a slight twist to the normal story of Snow White but it entertained us all the same and was a show that would suit all ages whether you are as young as five or as old as seventy. It was a great laugh and a pleasure to watch. There were goodies to cheer, baddies to boo and just really funny jokes to make you laugh. It was a lot of fun and everybody who went enjoyed themselves, and people were sad to leave. Amber MacLean and Sophie Conroy S1 Curling On the 21 and 22 of December 2010 McLaren High School put forward a team for the Hay Curling Trophy at Perth Ice Rink. The team (pictured right) of Jack Brisbane (Skip), John Graham (Third), James Graham (Second), Hannah Brisbane (Lead) and Graham Donald drew their first game against Perth High School, who later won the competition overall. In their second game against Kinross High School the team also drew and in the final game against Dunblane High School they won 6 – 4. James Graham said “It was a great day and we hope to go back next year”. Well done to the team for coming seventh out of thirteen in their first curling competition.


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

Rural Stirling Housing Association may be able to help

The Association’s aim is to support rural communities by providing affordable good quality homes for people in housing need. We currently have 450 rented homes and around 30 of these become available for re-let each year. We also build some new homes each year. For more details and a housing application form contact us at: Rural Stirling Housing Association Stirling Road, Doune FK16 6AA Telephone 01786 841101 Email enquiries@rsha.demon.co.uk www.rsha.org.uk 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.

Pun Stuff... Celebrating their Success!

S3 Celebrating Success Assembly On 15 December we held the S3 Celebrating Success Assembly when awards were handed out. These included the Crichton Cup, Loch Eil Outward Bound Certificates, Dynamic Youth Awards from Stirling Council, together with awards for full attendance and high levels of ‘well done’.

Acupuncture is a jab well done... A hangover is the wrath of grapes... Does the name Pavlov ring a bell..?

The triumphant McLaren Curling Team 11


Strathyre Primary School News

Vorlich House fun

Parents hard at work

Snow - Oh What Fun! At the end of November - beginning of December Strathyre School had to close due to snow or rather the ‘in phrase’ that seems to be going around which is ‘adverse weather conditions’. Snow in November isn’t unheard of but not to the extend that we got it. 50cm of snow in the playground had to be moved before the children could get back to school so on Wednesday 1 December a group of parents and staff dug out paths and cleared the pavements at the school. The children eventually returned on Thursday 2 December only for school to close early on the Friday afternoon. On Monday 6 December the snow came on heavily once again so the children had another day off. They all thought this was great and were praying for more snow to get more days off school. Christmas Fair The school held their annual Christmas Fair on Friday 3 December. The children baked Christmas cakes, fudge, biscuit tree decorations and also made cards and felt purse kits to sell. There were stalls for homebaking, face painting, toys, tombola and books but one of the most popular was, of course, Santa’s Grotto. It was a very

Santa gets a visitor!

busy afternoon with parents and friends of the school attending. The children made just over £400 for the school fund which will be used to buy resources for the school. Winning House Last term’s winning house - VORLICH had a party in January to celebrate gaining the most points. They played games, danced and feasted on lots of goodies and each child also received a present. Well done to 12

the VORLICH house. The race is now on for this term’s winner. Keep up the good work everyone! Burns Celebrations The Burns Supper was held in Lochearnhead Hall on Wednesday 19 January. Connor Ramsay Clapham piped in the haggis brilliantly, it was the first time anyone at the school had heard him play the pipes and everyone was amazed at his talent which had been kept a well guarded secret. Well done Connor. Kim Sharp Hunter was Poosie Nancy and she followed Connor in with the Haggis. Charlie Hunter addressed the Haggis, Hector Nicholson, the Police Road Safety Officer, gave a

Connor piping in the haggis

very humourous Toast to the Lassies to which Gaylor McNicol gave a very good reply, speaking up for the lassies. Charlie Methven’s rendition of ‘Tam o’Shanter’ brought the poem to life for the senior pupils who are studying it this term. The senior girls had dance cards and they went around the children and adults filling in names for the dances so not many people were left out and the dance floor was full. The children also sang, recited poems and played musical instruments. Strathyre Primary School is fortunate to have such talented children. Rhoda Keenan

Dancing!

Good Food - and a warm welcome awaits all. Our exciting new kitchen team will be cooking the best locally sourced produce to ensure our winter menu has something for everyone. To make a reservation and enquire about our free transport service contact George at the Kings House. Reservations Tel: 01877 384 646 Fax: 01877 384716 email: hotel@kingshouse-scotland.co.uk www.kingshouse-scotland.co.uk


Welcome to our new contributor Rusty McD, who each month will be doing a 5-minute interview with someone in our community - and their chosen furry, feathered or scaly friends!

5 minutes with... David Hendry and ‘Maid’

Interview by Rusty McD.

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.co.uk/r a m b l e r s . h t m in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New Members and guests are always welcome. FEBRUARY • Wed 9th 9:30am Stroll - Keltie Bridge & Bracklinn Falls (4 miles) 01786 842081 • Sat 19th 9:30am Ramble - The Strathblane Pipeline (8 miles) 01877 382522 • Sat 26th 8:30am Stroll - Benarty Hill (356m) 01577 862799

David Hendry and ‘Maid’ set off to work

Q: How long have you lived in Balquhidder? D: Since November 1978 which makes it just 32 years past! Q: What made you come to Balquhidder and have you got an anecdote about the move? D: We farmed in East Lothian and needed somewhere bigger. Immeroin was on the market at the time and we bought it. It took us six weeks of daily journeys to move livestock, belongings, hay, machinery etc. to Balquhidder. All was transported in our old Leyland Boxer farm lorry. The last lorry load contained amongst other things the two milking cows, the working dogs and our beds! Q: What do you like best about living in our glen? D: Balquhidder is a great place to call home. Highland scenery in central Scotland - often four seasons in one day. Never a dull moment with a diverse population and a great community spirit. Q: Is there anything you find not so good or what could be improved?

MARCH • Wed 2nd 9:30am Stroll - Samson’s Putting Stone (4.5 miles) 01786 850626

D: Midges - and the state of our road! Q: Tell me who this is featuring with you on the photograph? D: This is Maid. We got her 16 years ago from a Drover at the Caledonian Marts in Stirling as an adult dog because he could not handle her. We think she was about two at the time which makes her a pretty remarkable 18+ year old collie today. She has always been the ultimate optimist - full of energy - always happy and worked both the sheep and the cattle with tremendous enthusiasm. She broke her front leg badly nearly three years ago but made a full recovery. She has taught our children how to gather sheep and has given many a “greenhorn” assistant gatherer, as well as the more experienced farm helper, the ‘feelgood factor’ of getting the job done. Q: It was a pleasure talking to you! My last question to you is: who would you like to nominate to be interviewed next for “5 minutes with…”? D: Eoin Campbell from Strathyre and his dog “Here”. (Yes, the dog IS called “Here”!)

Birth Announcement

Maureen and Ronie Hamilton are pleased to report the safe arrival on 20 December 2010 of their third grandchild, Archie Hamilton Cowe. Gaynor, Andy and Archie all well and very happy!

Christmas Crossword Answers ACROSS 7.Frankincense 8.Reindeer 9.Luck 10.Snowman 12.Craic 13.Staff 15.Prayers 17.Oven 18.Shepherd 21.Turkey Dinner

DOWN 1.Tree 2.Anon 3.Wiseman 4.Scarf 5.Antler 6.Melchior 11.Nativity 14.Finery 16.Asses 19.Hand 20.Reel 13


The

Gardeners Arms Performed by

The Garden Group of St Fillans

All proceeds to the 5 year Knotweed Eradication Programme

Friday 25 February It’s that time of year again! Callander Amateur Operatic Society’s annual musical is here. This year’s feast for the eyes and ears is Hello, Dolly with wonderful songs like Put On Your Sunday Clothes (recently featured in the animated film Wall-E), It Takes A Woman and and of course Hello Dolly. So come along and be transported to New York in the 1890s, for a fantastic piece of musical escapism! The show runs from Wednesday 9th through to Saturday 12th March at McLaren High School, Callander. Tickets are available from the Dreadnought Hotel, priced £9 and £7 concession.

Sandison Hall 7.30pm

Tickets £12.50 include Hot Pub Grub at half time Wine, soft drinks and beer available Contact

Eric and Lorna Kennelly John and Daisy Murray The Village Store

Party Nights

From 5 February - and every Saturday night in February Best value bar in the Highlands (see website)! Live bands with DJs • Garage! House! Rock! Karaoke! Lifts home to local area at closing (1.00am) FREE to Strathyre, Lochearnhead and up to the Library Tearoom, Balquhidder

Valentine’s Day Menu - Saturday 12 February Starters Valentine’s paté with side salad and redcurrant coulis Grilled goat’s cheese served with Valentine’s salad Home made carrot & coriander soup served with ciabatta roll Main courses Lamb noisettes en croute served in a red wine jus Smoked salmon and prawn parcels Munro Inn Meal Deals with deli mayonnaise sauce Spinach and 3-cheese lasagne Special Offer Chicken and asparagus parcels February only served with mushroom and mustard sauce 2 courses for £4.95 All the above served with baby new potatoes All home cooked and fresh vegetables available from 1.00-9.00pm Desserts No booking required! After-eight cheesecake See website or call Tony Hot black cherries soaked in brandy for further details. and served with ice cream A selection of mini desserts Sunday Roast Cheeseboard every Sunday in February Coffee or tea for only £5.95 £19.95 from 1.00-5.00pm

Phone for bookings

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6 Cross Street, Callander Tel: 01877 331417 www.beautysalonstirling.co.uk jasmine@beauty5808.wanadoo.co.uk Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Stone Therapy, Facials, Indian Head Massage, Spray Tan, Waxing, Nail Extensions, Manicures, Electrolysis, Tanning Booth, Make-up, Permalase. Monday-Saturday OAP Special on Wednesdays GIFT VOUCHERS

Pun Stuff... Those who jump off a bridge in Paris are in Seine...


The Library Tearoom and Keepers Cottage, Balquhidder, by Jim Hannah

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Rangers’ Review By Graeme Auty

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Saturday 22 January saw the beginning of a new era for the National Park Ranger Service. Twenty five new Volunteer Rangers were inducted adding significantly to the existing ranger team. The main focus of the new recruits will be in the delivery of visitor management as well as helping with events and providing visitors to the area with information about things to see and do in the park. Two of the new volunteer rangers, Tim Rosie and Colin Beaton, have been assigned to work with us (Gareth and me) at the Lochearnhead office. The remainder of the VRs will be deployed across the park covering Cowal, Loch Lomond, Callander and the Trossachs. As we move towards Spring I, along with other rangers and volunteers in the Breadalbane team will be turning our attention to planning this year’s black grouse surveys. Instead of monitoring known lek sites we will be concentrating our search efforts on several 5 x 5km grid squares which have been identified by the RSPB as potential breeding areas but have few, if any, data recorded to date. The areas we will be carrying out lek searches in will include Glen Ogle, Glen Kendrum, Kirkton Glen and Gleann Crotha. We are really interested to hear about your sightings too as this may help fill in some of the blanks and enable us to focus our lek searches to specific areas.

Black grouse continue to be one of our most endangered birds, so establishing how populations are distributed throughout the area continues to be important work. Our ongoing involvement in the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Bird Atlas survey has again resulted in some interesting sightings this year, including several great sightings of golden eagles. The golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos, is the UK’s second largest bird of prey and can have a wing span of up to 2 metres. Adults are predominantly dark brown with paler feathers around the back of the head, giving the species its name. Young ones are a paler brown with conspicuous white wing and tail patches. Typical food includes hares, rabbits, ptarmigan, grouse and carrion. They require large home ranges in which to hunt and breed and are highly territorial. They don’t breed until they are four to five years old, pairing up at this time of year. Some pairs can raise two young but many only raise one. There is a high overall failure rate with the latest national survey recording an average of just 0.36 chicks fledging per pair. There has been little change in the overall population over the past 20 years. However, there have been changes in population distribution

Scottish Wildlife Trust, Callander Member’s Centre

Talks Programme Winter 2010/11

All meetings are open to members and non-members and are held on the first Tuesday of each month in St Andrew’s Church Hall, Leny Road, Callander at 7:30pm. Cost £2 includes tea/coffee and biscuits.

Tuesday 1 February 2011 7:30pm Climate Consequences - Wildlife Winners and Losers Dave Warnock, Environmental Consultant

Do come along and join us in learning more about what is around us in this fabulous part of the world. More details on the organisation can be found at www.swt.org.uk

Tuesday 5 April 2011 7:30pm The uses and folklore of some local wild plants herbal remedies, fairies and witches Dr John Holland, SAC Hill & Mountain Research Centre, Kirkton

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Tuesday 1 March 2011 7:30pm The Katrine Fold Cattle and conservation in Harmony Donald Hendry, Forestry commission Scotland’s Livestock

Aquila chrysaetos

with a decline in the central and eastern Highlands. Whilst the UK supports around 5% of Europe’s golden eagle population, the actual population size remains relatively small and hence vulnerable to any losses. Threats to the golden eagle come from disturbance, loss of habitat and illegal persecution. The golden eagle is an iconic species of wild land in Scotland. You may be interested in the current Wild Land Campaign, being run by the John Muir Trust, with petitions for greater protection of these areas. For more information see http://www.jmt.org/ wildland-petition.asp. As usual, if we are around at the Lochearnhead Office, please feel free to drop in, or to call on Gareth or me if you have any queries, wildlife sightings or just for a catch up. Gareth is in most days but I am only part time and am on duty Thursdays and Fridays. You can call me on 01389 722115 or on my mobile 07764371700 or alternatively you can email me on graeme.auty@ lochlomond-trossachs.org or Gareth at gareth.kett@lochlomond-trossachs. org.


Electoral Register

Killin Community Choir The Killin Community Choir is continuing to go from strength to strength after some very successful concerts over the Christmas period where they sang a number of traditional - and not so traditional - Christmas songs. The choir is pictured along with leader Fran Allan during one of the concerts held for the benefit of visitors to the Green Welly in Tyndrum. Members come mainly from the Killin area, but include members from Lochearnhead and Strathyre and as far afield as Tummel Bridge. This year’s concerts will commence with a Burns Supper in the McLaren Hall, Killin and later in the year with a wider range of music at concerts and venues yet to be confirmed. Leader Fran Allan is a freelance singer who sings regularly with the Scottish Opera Chorus, took over the choir last Autumn. This is her first time in charge of a choir and whilst she’s been giving singing lessons on a one to one basis for a number of years is thoroughly enjoying this first time venture and certainly the choir have benefitted from her own singing experience. Further reports and pictures will be available as the year progresses. Alistair Barclay

The new Register of Electors published on 1 December 2010 shows an increase in the number of voters eligible to vote in future elections from that in the last register published 1 December 2009. Brian Byrne, Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) advised that the increase was welcome but may only be temporary as notices of deletion have still to be posted to electors in households who had not responded to the annual voter registration forms sent this year and last year. When no return is made and the ERO cannot verify who is eligible to remain registered to vote he is required to remove the names from his Register of Electors. An early estimate is that over 4000 electors in the Forth Valley Area may have to be removed for not returning their forms in 2010. Anyone who is not registered or who receives a deletion notice and is still eligible to register needs to apply as soon as possible as not being registered can cause credit difficulties in the future as well as preventing you from voting. Forms are available in all local libraries and can be downloaded from www.saa. gov.uk/central

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POLICE REPORT

Central Scotland Police

There when you need us

A local resident’s call strikes gold Last month I was contacted by a local resident who had concerns about a suspicious incident which had taken place several days earlier. A male was seen to leave a car and approach the house of a neighbour known to be out at that time. When nobody came to the door at that address the male walked to another house, where he was challenged and then left. He was cold calling and his purpose was to encourage people to sell any old gold or jewellery. It was worrying that he only called at two houses and that these were occupied by vulnerable people. After thinking about the incident for a few days the neighbour contacted me but unfortunately had not noted the car’s registration number. I did however retrieve a flyer left behind and enquiries led to identification of a male who was from the Paisley area. Whilst I am not suggesting that it was his intention to commit a crime I find it very strange that when I traced him the following week, again near the same houses, he neglected to say what the purpose of his visit was other than that he was out for a run in the car and that this was the first weekend of the very bad snow. It is certainly not my place to tell people what to sell and to whom, however I would urge everybody to be very careful of any cold callers looking to do you a deal. The neighbour had not been sure whether to contact me as “nothing had happened” but my response to this is it’s never a waste of time, and in many instances with a bit of digging we only need a small piece of information to develop leads. School Parking In recent weeks I have received a number of complaints from local residents about the inappropriate parking and speed of motorists outside the primary school on Keip Road in Strathyre. The offenders appear to be either staff or adults dropping off and picking up children. I would remind everybody that the speed limit outside the school is 20mph and it is an offence to cause an obstruction even if it is only for 5 minutes. I will monitor the situation deal with any issues accordingly. 18

The Role of the Police Whilst there are many demands put on the police service in today’s society which were not there 20 or 30 years ago the fundamental principals a police officer adheres to have not changed. Our role is and always has been to guard, watch and patrol, preserve order, protect property and where necessary deter and detect crime. This is done in such a way as to be fair and equal to all and without favour. The public accepts that this is our job, in order to prevent vigilantes or lynch mobs from taking the law into their own hands. I would hope that we would never experience this and I will not tolerate any kind of vigilante behaviour, irrespective of the reasons. PACT Priorities I’m planning to re-assess my PACT Priorities and would like to know what your community concerns are and what issues you would like me to address in the coming months. I’ll be doing my best to tackle these along with other specific issues, so please don’t think that because it doesn’t appear instantly on the website, I’m not dealing with it. My priorities are what you would expect; tackling speeding, stopping vehicles, searching for drugs and weapons, gathering intelligence and targeting offenders. I am also looking at other areas of concern which have been brought to my attention including:- Speaking to the school children about personal safety. Ensuring that licensing laws are adhered to You can contact me through my web page, by phone or just by dropping a note through the office door. Alternatively pass on your suggestions through the Community Council or Strathyre Village Association. Ask the Police Website A new website has been launched in Scotland called Ask The Police. It is easy to use and covers a variety of frequently asked questions in areas such as crime, wildlife, traffic, racial incidents and many more. It is designed to help members of the public and reduce the need to telephone the various police service centres. Go to www.askthe.scottish.police.uk and follow the on-screen instructions. PC Andrew Ward 01786 456 000 www.centralscotland.police.co.uk

Internet Safety Seminar On Monday 7 March Central Scotland Police and other partners are holding a free of charge Internet Safety Seminar to promote safe use of the internet by children and young people by increasing the volume of quality of safety messages being delivered to them. There will be three events in the day. 9.30am – 12.30pm at the Vue Cinema, Stirling 1.30pm – 4.30pm at the Vue Cinema, Stirling 6.00pm – 9.00pm at Wallace High School, Stirling Presentations from experts in this filed will include Current Dangers, Illegal Downloading and File Sharing, Sexualised Behaviour – Coming of Age in a Porn Culture and How to Take Control and will aim to provide parents, professionals, voluntary workers and carers with a view of what young people do online, the risks involved and what they can do to take control. No persons under the age of 16 will be permitted entry. Tea and coffee will be provided free of charge to all participants. This event is open to all. To book your place please contactCentral Scotland police 01786 456993 or 456406 during office hours or e-mail your name, phone number and preferred session to Anton.Stephenson@ centralscotland.pnn.police.uk Places are limited - so please book early!


The

Grumpy

Column

Firstly, many thanks to those people on the Strathyre telephone exchange who responded to the recent plea to vote for improved broadband on BT’s “Race to Infinity” site. Unfortunately that still meant we ended up with only about 34% of households voting (the threshold for BT coming to talk to us being 75%), the great majority of those appearing to be from residents of Balquhidder Glen. The obvious message we’re taking from that is to henceforth focus our efforts on where they’re most needed and valued. Balquhidder’s broadband, even when working, gives us about 10% of the performance of metropolitan networks. Strathyre probably gets 30% of the current metropolitan figure. And, with more and more education, news, entertainment, commerce and government services being developed on the assumption of metropolitan levels of broadband, those people who just shrugged at us and said, “Why should we bother, we’re OK”, have got a bit of a shock coming.

Farm Forum: Gloomy Prospects for the New Year? It is interesting to note that when I wrote the December ‘Agricola’ it was about three days prior to the ‘Big Freeze’ commencing and as I write this article, about two months later, the same Big Freeze has not long ended. We do not know yet the effects it will have had on the agricultural industry and in our case the hill farming sector but I think the timing will mean it will be quite severe. Predictably the cost of feed has increased beyond reason. The main talking point in the agricultural community and indeed the whole rural community at the start of 2011 has to be the increased cost of fuel which is exacerbated by the increase in VAT. Businesses that are VAT registered can of course claim back that element but that is only part of it - the vast majority of us have to just grin and bear it – or at least bear it. There is no question that people living in the country are getting unfairly treated. To hear politicians speaking you would think there was hourly public transport universally available throughout the most remote rural areas. I can understand the reasoning behind increasing road tax on four wheel drives if it is simply a status symbol – and you meet plenty of them on the glen road, whose drivers are frightened to go off the road for fear of getting stuck. However there are many who live in rural areas that would simply be unable to carry on their daily business without these vehicles. There has to be some way of differentiating for taxation purposes. The whole road licence/fuel tax issue could cause severe political problems before long because while it obviously affects those in more remote areas most, it in fact affects everyone in the country through increased costs. This is often known as the silly season in the agricultural world because there is not much happening except conferences. However the annual Oxford Conference has just been held and it was notable in as much as it has been the opportunity for two important agricultural politicians to show their hand. Firstly the Rural Affairs Westminster Government spokeswoman Caroline Spelman, in her speech, expressed a wish to see the end of the Single Farm

Payment in the current Common Agricultural Policy negotiations. This drew a rapid critical response from most people associated with the industry including the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments. The problem is that Spelman represents the whole of Britain in EU negotiations and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland simply sit in as observers. If ever there was a case for more autonomy for Scotland that is it. Secondly the new EU Agricultural Commissioner, Dacian Ciolos, who has been severely criticised by many since the end of his honeymoon period for not making his personal views known regarding the renegotiation, spoke the day following Spelman. However it looks as though he may just have been keeping his powder dry until he had a complete grasp of the situation. He made complimentary mention of the Scottish stance on the EU negotiations and repeated his message of continued direct support. To quote he said: “Some of you will have read the Pack Report, examining the reform options from Scotland’s perspective; what I can tell you is that the importance of public support for so many Scottish farmers, underlined by this report, is shared in most of Europe.” He went on “Yes, direct payments can deliver more in terms of public good than they do today. But their income supporting function is a must. We have now the opportunity to reshape our policy so that taxpayers can understand better what this policy is doing for them.” There is a long way to go but in the meantime we must be thankful that the Commissioner seems to be on the right track and that Caroline Spelman is only one voice in twenty seven around the European table! Agricola

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View from the Park by Owen McKee For a number of years now I have had the habit of chasing away the winter gloom with a visit to Celtic Connections at the Royal Concert Hall and this year I had the added pleasure of knowing that my visit there would be a little special in that theNational Park Authority had a hand in the concert I would be attending. As part of the ScottsLand festival commemorating the bicentenary of the publication of Sir Walter Scott’s epic poem, The Lady of the Lake, the Park Authority commissioned a composition by Phil Cunningham with the aim of promoting The Trossachs to a worldwide audience. He has named it The Trossachs Suite. Backed by a very talented array of musicians including the Trossachs Strings, Phil launched his work to a crowd of over 1600 enthralled listeners. With a backdrop screen of the Trossachs and a narration of sections of the poem by the actor Bill Paterson, introducing each piece of the suite, a magical evening ensued. In the second half of the concert

Phil and the band were joined by Eddi Reader and Karen Mathieson who performed brilliantly a number of songs inspired by Scott’s writings. It was a truly magnificent night and a wonderful ending for the Scottsland Festival. For some time now the Park Authority has been striving to get together some funding to tackle the Japanese Knotweed problem and at last some monies have come to hand. We are in the process of acquiring spraying equipment and training rangers on eradication procedures. An up to date survey to identify areas of infestation will be undertaken in the spring and we will then be looking for volunteers to help with the project. Training will of course be given. As most of you will know our Convener, Mike Cantley, has been appointed as Chair of VisitScotland and as a consequence he will be leaving the Park Authority. As we had already lost our Vice Convener Mike agreed to stay on until we had appointed a

new Convener and a special board meeting was arranged for 3 February to elect both a new Convener and Vice Convener. At the same meeting we will be arranging the composition of the various committees and appointing the committee chairs and deputies. As a new season beckons a meeting is planned to take place to discuss ways of tackling the antisocial behaviour which is all too common, particularly around our lochs. Invitations have gone to our community councils, major lochside landowners and our partners in Operation Ironworks to come along to the National Park Offices in Callander. We are determined to continue to improve not only the experience for visitors to the Park but also that of our communities. Owen McKee As always I can be contacted as follows: Post: Taigh na Bhuth, Lochearnhead Phone: 01567 830214 Email: owen@thevillageshop.fsbusiness.co.uk

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

~ ~ ~

POST OFFICE & SHOP HOURS Mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri Wednesday Saturday Sunday

0900 - 1730 0900 - 1300 0900 - 1230 Closed

Post Office Post Box Collection Times: Morning - 12 noon Afternoon - 1600 (Except Saturday) Sunday - No Collection Telephone: 01567 830 201 enquiries@lochearnheadpostoffice.co.uk 20


Let’s Have a Ceilidh... ... an informal gathering for music and story telling...

Or was it just a plain old concert? Whatever was appropriate, it happened on Friday 14 January in Balquhidder Kirk at 7.30pm, when our villages gathered to make music, recite poems, tell stories and all in aid of church funds. The audience, aged from ten to eighty, had a great evening. Charlie Hunter created the idea and compered a programme of local talent which included bagpipes, played by Ruaridh Leishman; violin and piano duo Joan and Alan Clarke; Tara Leishman on piano; Matt Duncan sang accompanied by Vera Stewart and Roger Sharp played the accordion. The Rev. John Lincoln delighted the audience with an accomplished performance of Gaelic music played on a violin he had made himself. The local amateur group, called ‘The Drambuskers’ (for the evening) was led by Jim Brown and were in sparkling form. However, I think they could achieve a more balanced sound by reducing the number of percussion instruments. They did achieve some interesting rhythms though. Guest artist Margaret Bennett, singer and folklorist, enchanted the audience with songs and tales from her new book In Our Day then closed the evening with a parody on the song The Road to the Isles. The event raised over £550.00 for church funds. Great fun, let’s have another Ceilidh! Jim Hannah

Stuc a’Chroin Hill Race The annual

Stuc a’Chroin Hill Race will be held this year on

Saturday 30 April

followed by the ceilidh in Strathyre village hall. If you are interested in helping or being a marshall please contact:

Catriona MacGeoch on 07824 446 024 or Graeme Courtney on 01877 384 788

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T H E V I L L A G E RS ’ TRADE DIRECTORY

We’ll send you or your friends ‘The Villagers’ £10.50 for 11 monthly issues (£19.50 for Europe and £25.00 for the rest of the world). All you need to do is to post the completed form to: BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION, Tom-Na-Dair BALQUHIDDER FK19 8PB, SCOTLAND Cheques should be made payable to: THE BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION Remittance enclosed £ .........................(do not send cash) Please send copies of ‘The Villagers’ starting on ................ for 11 months To: NAME .......................................................................................................................... ADDRESS: ........................................................................................................................ ........................................................................................POSTCODE .............................. SENDER’S NAME & ADDRESS IF DIFFERENT FROM ABOVE Please send copies of ‘The Villagers’ starting on ............................... for 11 months NAME ................................................................................................................................ ADDRESS .......................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................POSTCODE................................ 22


S U P P O RT Y O U R LOCAL S UP P LIERS !

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• DIARY DATES •

The Villagers’ Contacts

Weekly & Monthly Activities Monday Tuesday

BLS Lunch Club, Lochearnhead Scout Station - 12.30-2.00pm

Keep Fit, Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 - 11.30am Music Circle, Sandison Hall, St Fillans - 1.00pm - 4.00 pm Scottish Country Dancing, Strathyre Hall - 8.00pm

Wednesday Thursday Friday

Email: contact@the-villagers.org.uk

Carpet Bowls, Lochearnhead Hall - 7.30 for 8.00pm

Upholstery, Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am - 1.00pm Youth Club, Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00pm - 9.00pm

Playgroup, Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am - 12noon Ballroom Dancing, Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00pm - 9.00pm

FEBRUARY 5 10 16 25

Coffee Morning run by CAOS - Callander Kirk Hall - 10.00am-12 midday Tickets at the door priced £2 U3A Open Meeting - St Andrews Church Hall, Callander - 2.00pm - see p.6 The Villagers’ AGM - Sandison Hall, St Fillans - 7.30pm The Gardeners Arms - Sandison Hall, St Fillans - 7.30pm - see p.14

MARCH 9 - 12 Hello Dolly - Callander Amateur Operatic Society - McLaren High School, Callander. See p.14

The Villagers’ Photographer

Situations Vacant An opportunity to work with the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Community Partnership. There will be TWO NEW part time posts available soon. Details and application information will be posted on the website on 9 February. www.thecommunitypartnership.org.uk

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

Editorial Team Editor: Marguerite Kobs 01877 384 215 ‘Kalinka’, Auchtubh, Balquhidder Lochearnhead FK19 8NZ Business Manager: John Stewart 01877 384 664 Production Manager: Gill Allan 01877 384 203 Advertising Co-ordinator and Photographer: Alistair Barclay 01567 830 453 Co-editor and Lochearnhead Contact: Ali Ferguson 01567 830 405 Strathyre Contact: Susan Revie 01877 384 306 St Fillans Contact: John Murray 01764 685 487 Mail Order Distribution: Hilda Astbury 01877 384 681

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

“Let’s hope we’ve seen the last of him for another year!” Cartoon by Jim Hannah.

The deadline date for copy each month this year is the

BLS Newspaper Association Tom-na-Dhair, Balquhidder Lochearnhead FK19 8PB

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

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

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

SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH St Angus’s 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 - Lawrie Hopkins Tel: 01567 830 238 Printed by Graphics and Print Services, University of Stirling Tel: 01786 467209 email: graphicsandprint@stir.ac.uk Published by The BLS Newspaper Association


The Villagers February