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The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans • February 2018

A Welcome Visitor

at the Children’s Christmas Party School’s out - we’ve played Musical Chairs, Statues, Pass the Parcel and Admiral’s Aboard - and nobody cheated or cried... and we’ve eaten our sandwiches nicely ... and now, hurrah! Here comes Santa Claus! Thanks to Mrs. Ramsay-Clapham for organising our Party again. Photos by Abbey Arkotxa

Editor’s Bit Happy New Year to all and hope 2018 is a good, peaceful and prosperous one and your resolutions are being kept. One of my resolutions is to double double check I have all the articles in that you send. So, to Paddy and Russel I think the following is apposite “To err is human; to forgive divine” as your gracious reactions to my error omitting the Carols in December’s edition was incredibly generous. This leads on to me reminding you all of our AGM on Tuesday 13th February at 7.30 at Mhor 84. You are all very welcome to come and join our team (a new Editor?), give us your views and help us plan to take The Villagers forward. We particularly hope to see people from St Fillans and promise you all a very short meeting leaving time for a more informal chat over a beer, wine or coffee.

Bus Services

You will probably be aware that three pilot services were introduced in December 2017 as a response to consultation responses in rural areas. The services are:

Service C12A – 18:20 Balfron – Stirling journey on Fridays and Saturdays, helping residents of Balfron, Buchlyvie, Arnprior, Kippen and Gargunnock to access evening leisure activities in Stirling.

Service C59 – 23:02 Stirling – Callander journey on Fridays and Saturdays, helping residents of Deanston, Doune and Callander to return from evening leisure activities in Stirling.

Service S60 – 10:00 Tyndrum – Stirling (Springkerse) and 16:00 Stirling (Springkerse) – Tyndrum journeys on the 1st  and 3rd Saturdays of each month, enabling residents of Tyndrum, Crianlarich, Killin, Lochearnhead and Strathyre to make shopping trips to Stirling city centre and Springkerse Retail Park.   Contracts were initially let for operation until 31 March 2018, with options to extend. These services have now been extended until Saturday 18 August 2018.     Marketing activities are being undertaken to encourage people to use the services. If they are clearly meeting community needs and remain affordable, further extensions are possible.   Anything you can do to inform people about these services and encourage their use will be very helpful.


St Louis Zoo, Conservation Award goes to Karen Freeman and Jean-Noel The Saint Louis Zoo announced its 2017 Conservation Award at its 26th annual Marlin Perkins Society Celebration in November. Conservation Award was The presented to Balquhidder’s own Dr Karen Freeman, Research Director for the Madagascar Fauna Group (MFG), and her colleague Jean-Noel, MFG Conservation Ranger Team Leader. The MFG, whose headquarters are in St Louis Zoo, is a consortium of international zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens and universities who work in partnership with the Malagasy Government to conserve its rich biodiversity. Karen (pictured third from right) and Jean-Noel (third from left) have worked together for the MFG for the past 13 years with support from the Saint Louis Zoo Wildcare Institute Centre for Conservation in Madagascar. The focus of their work has been research and conservation in Betampona Strict Nature Reserve. Betampona is a 2,200ha primary rainforest fragment that is internationally recognized for its endemic biodiversity. Besides her extensive research, Karen works to build relationships with local and national officials in charge of environmental affairs, university professors and students, mayors and village leaders, NGOs and a network of researchers to draw attention to the significant threat invasive plants pose to the ecological structure of Betampona and other Malagasy rainforests. Jean-Noel’s passionate commitment to his native land’s flora and fauna is demonstrated by the attention and care he pays to organising the logistical needs of each researcher that works in Betampona. He gave a up a career in the army to dedicate the past twenty years

to protecting the rainforest that was approximately two miles from where he grew up in Madagascar. The Saint Louis Zoo Conservation Award is presented by the Saint Louis Zoological Park Commission to recognise the achievements of someone who has made an outstanding contribution to wildlife conservation throughout his or her lifetime. In citing the accomplishments of the year’s Conservation recipient, Jeffrey P. Bonner, Ph.D, and Dana Brown (President and CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo), said, “to date, the survival of its endangered plant and animal populations can be wholly attributed to the continual presence of the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Groups research team in the forest - and these two amazing individuals.” Huge congratulations to Karen on this fantastic achievement and the recognition of all your hard work: coordinating work on the ground in Madagascar, working with colleagues at St Louis Zoo and tirelessly submitting grant applications from Balquhidder amongst the many other things you do.

New Year at Balquhidder Hogmanay A great start to Balquhidder’s special Hogmany party was provided by the Pipes, Drums and even a trumpet this year. Inspired by their music the floor was packed for the dances that followed with all ages (and abilities) taking part enthusiastically. Fortunately, the Rev. Jolly popped in again to give the dancers both a chance to catch their breath and to appreciate our good fortune compared to the year “Jolly” had endured! Other locals continued to entertain with a variety of musical performances and party pieces until the clock reached the magic 12 and 2018 began. Thanks to all who performed, to Iain and Gillian for their organisation of the evening, and to those wonderful people who came at 10 am to clear up and clean the floor so that the New Year’s Day Dance could happen (Balquhidder being greedy and wanting two parties)!

New Year’s Day Dance A huge thanks to everyone who braved the icy roads and carried on their New Year celebrations by coming to the dance in Balquhidder on the 1st. The night swiftly got into full swing with the dance floor buzzing from the very start. It was great to see so many, and of all ages up and keen to dance. The wonderful Stuart McKeown Ceilidh Band kept the tempo up all night and once again the dance was deemed a great success. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year... 1st January 2019.

Rythm and horns for Hogmanay

Gay Gordons at the New Year’s Day Dance Photography by Iain Ramsay-Clapham and Fiona Leishman


Strathyre Primary School, who have been temporarily relocated to McLaren’s High School while work continues on the primary school site, are shown here celebrating the festive season during their colourful ‘Christmas Jumper Day.’


St Fillans Bit

You may remember that just before Christmas we said a huge thank you and a sad farewell to Isobel Howell who has had to step down from reporting for St Fillans after two years of some very entertaining writing. Now we need someone else to take over! It doesn’t have to be one person. If you would like to write a St Fillans coloumn or two over the next year, please get in touch with The Villagers. Contact details are on page 21. The Four Seasons Hotel would like to thank all of their patrons for their support over the last few months and is looking forward to a new year and new friends at the hotel. Due to reopen on 16th February (for late or forgotten Valentines’ gifts!!) the hotel is partnering that weekend with Kirriemuir gin manufacturer, Gin Bothy, for a very special gin led menu to promote Gin Bothy’s new rose flavoured gin. (Advance reservations are essential.)   The hotel is revising opening hours and their offer slightly, with The Tarken serving hot food at lunchtime from 12.00 noon to 2.30pm and 4

from 5pm  to  8pm, seven days a week. Soup, sandwiches and afternoon tea can be found in the main hotel between 3.00pm and 5.00pm. Please note that over the winter months the Meall Reamhar will only be open  at  weekends with advance reservations so please check with the hotel directly. The Chef’s menu will be available in both The Meall Reamhar and The Tarken from 6.00pm to 8.00pm.   For those who haven’t visited The Four Seasons for a while, The Tarken has had a face-lift. There is an increased petfriendly seating area and, for those who want to “put the world to rights”, pull up

a pew at the bar and have a chat with Neil. Looking forward to March, there are Strawberry Cream Teas planned for Mother’s Day, 11th March (with a gift for Mum). A spring wine and food pairing evening with Great Grog scheduled for 23rd March with the hotel chalets open in time for Easter, for friends and family visiting the area.   If you have any ideas for any events that you would like the hotel to host, do let them know. They have been considering a monthly Sunday Brunch or a St Patrick’s evening music night and are asking for feedback and ideas. 

A stunning display by Fireworks company 21CC - and thanks to Connor Ramsay-Clapham for the wonderful sound of the pipes!

Strathyre News Fireworks!

Strathyre hosted a fantastic fireworks event on Friday 3rd November. It was a great success - thanks to a strong team of local volunteers who came together to provide food, fun and fireworks. The whole community chipped in with donations of food including soup from The Inn, rolls from Mhor, cakes from the Broch and local donations of treats. We were supported by the Munro Inn, Ben Sheann hotel and so many other local businesses - I’m struggling to remember them all! The delicious burgers were provided by Comrie butchers, and hot dogs from our awesome team at Strathyre village shop (who provided help at every turn). We were shown support from our local policemen and TSAR first responders - and even our primary school, who let us borrow all their high-viz vests when ours didn’t arrive. So a huge thank you to you all - and sorry if I have forgotten to mention anyone, but all the support shown was overwhelming! We raised enough to do it all again next year. We’ll be sure to book 21CC who provided this display - and we’ll see you all again next year.  Cheers! Mel

Per day page

Happy New Year

Can I begin with wishing all our readers a belated Happy New Year and all the best for 2018? As is always the case, 2017 went out with a bang in Strathyre, where we have a real community spirit in the village (along with a few other spirits!) A huge thank you is needed for everyone who made the festivities happen over the Christmas period with the Carol Service kicking things off. I find this a wonderful evening, giving a real sense that Christmas is almost here, so well done to all the organisers and those who contributed to the mulled wine and mince pies but especially Callander Brass who make this such a special occasion. Then we had the village Christmas Party, which was enjoyed by all ages, and this is an event which must NEVER be lost, if only to see the kids’ faces when ‘Santa’ arrives. I can only imagine the work and organisation that goes into making this such a success and take my hat off to the ‘girls’ that make this possible - well done! Hogmanay wouldn’t be the same without our party in the village hall, which as always, was ‘Fu’ tae the gunnels’ - so well done to our new organisers, Lynn and John, with a little help from some ‘old’ hands from the village. There are several new faces in the village this year and I am delighted to see that they very much like to be involved in the social side of Strathyre, which can be ‘very social’ at times, but it was nice to see husbands, wives and children involved in all that was happening. I must give a wee mention to some unsung heroes during the festivities: the owners and staff of our three hotels - The Ben Sheann, The Munro and The White Stag - who go the extra mile and work so very hard so the rest of us can relax and enjoy ourselves. It is now all a memory, or a blur, depending on who you are, and it’s time to look forward to 2018 and all it has to offer. At the time of writing it is snowy and icy, but every day is a day nearer spring, and soon the village will be coming to life and looking forward to all the events that will be pending as the weeks roll along. I hope all your dreams come true and that ‘18 is a very good year. All the best Wullie and Jan


Lochearnhead Latest Lochearnhead Village Hall Hogmanay Party The Lochearnhead Hogmanay party proved to be popular with residents and visitors alike and was a sell-out again this year. ‘Raband’ provided the live music and were as excellent as always so the dance floor was full from start to finish. ‘Guest’ appearances from members of the audience have become a regular feature in recent years and this year a couple of raffle prize winners were persuaded to take to the stage! As always the raffle was well supported by local businesses and individuals and trade over the bar was brisk. Overall approx £800 was raised which goes towards covering the annual running costs of the hall. The village hall committee would like to thank local businesses and individuals for their continued support of this event and their generous donations. Save the date for next year and get your tickets early!

Do you need an affordable home? Rural Stirling Housing Association aims to support local communities by providing quality homes at affordable rents for families, couples and single people in housing need. We currently have over 560 rented houses and flats. Around 40 of these become available for rent each year. We are in the process of building a further 23 flats in Callander and 12 flats & houses in Killearn. We currently have properties in the following communities: Aberfoyle • Doune • Kinlochard Stronachlachar • Balfron • Drymen Kippen • Tyndrum • Buchlyvie Gargunnock • Lochearnhead Callander • Gartmore • Strathblane Deanston • Killin • Strathyre We may be able to build in other communities in the future – please let us know 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 in renting one of our properties when they become available please contact us: Rural Stirling Housing Association Stirling Road, Doune FK16 6AA Telephone: 01786 841101 Email: Registered as a Scottish Charity No. SC037849


For all that the weather hasn’t exactly been co-operative (it’s probably time to give up and go for a cuppa when you can’t find the chambers under 50cm of snow…), we’ve got a surprising amount done in January. Firstly, we have staff: our project manager post, co-funded for a year by LEADER (EU funds) and Stirling Council, has been filled on a job-share basis by two local residents: Stuart Gow is looking after the planning and organising (good luck there, mate) all of our activities as we extend the network throughout the glen, and Andrew Leishman, who is providing on-the-ground project management for the build. Stuart is a professional project manager and Andrew has been extensively involved in the network build so far, so their work will provide us with much-needed hands-on support. The first working parties of 2018 have installed both the backbone and property ducting from Woodlands to Ballinluig, and work is now under way to bridge that segment to the network chamber at Gardener’s Cottage. A working party on Sunday 28th will work to clear the remainder of the route west from the village towards Tulloch prior to the laying of the network duct in that sector. With the snow having cleared, our splicing contractor is now back on site, working to finish the first 48 connections at the cabinet and to connect the chambers and bullets in the completed Stronvar sector, as well as those properties whose fibre was blown in December. Our roads contractor has also been busy, surveying and marking out the first batch of road crossings, ready to start work this coming week (bar a return to Arctic conditions). These will include the crossing to the Village Hall, Stronvar and Calair bridges, the road at Ballinluig, the road to Gartnafuran and, if time permits, crossings on the road between the village and Danakhosa. We will also be installing a second network cabinet at the Village Hall. Getting dates agreed for the next tranche of fibre blowing (backbone and individual properties) has taken rather longer than expected, due in part again to the weather, but we’re hoping to arrange a session in the very near future, which will get another batch of properties connected. With more resources now available to us, we’ve set some ambitious goals for the next phases of the build: all being well, we aim to complete at least the vast majority of the build this year. There are a number of ways in which you can follow progress of the project: - via our web site, at: - our Facebook page: - our Twitter Feed: @gigabit_glen - sign up to our email list, at: - and, of course, here in The Villagers!

Callander’s Cancer Research shop is currently looking for people to join our small group of fantastic volunteers. We can offer a variety of activities (to suit everyone’s ability, age and willingness) which we need help with including sorting books, cd’s and DVD’s into order, sorting through the donated items, steaming and hanging clothes. Even if you can only manage an hour a week, it would make a huge difference to us. Contact Mary on 01567 830303 or call into the shop to find out more. Volunteering is good for you, us and Cancer Research. Many thanks. Mary McDiarmid

Look Forward to A BLiSS Future Loch Earn Tourism Information (LETi) would like to show off young local talent while contributing to this year’s national tourism theme “Year of Young People 2018” with its BLiSS Future programme #BLiSSfuture. Have you heard of #YOYP2018? Are you already taking part? The Visit Scotland led initiative aims to: provide a platform for young people to have their views heard and acted upon, showcase the amazing talents of young people through events and media, develop better understanding, co-operation and respect between generations and recognize the impact of teachers, youth workers and other supporting adults on young people’s lives. Young people all over Scotland have already been planning opportunities and actioning programmes to express themselves through culture, sport and other activities under the theme headings of Participation • Education • Health and Wellbeing • Equality and Discrimination and Young Scot Ambassadors have been elected in every region of Scotland. Enterprise and Regeneration • Culture Whether you want to take part and LETi is in talks with members of the engage on national programmes, work community and external partners with teachers at local schools, offer to hoping to engage with young minds. assist LETi’s BLiSS future programme, Hopefully some of you will remain or feature your story in The Villagers return to our villages one day to set up news or send us other ideas; let’s work businesses, ensure the continuation together and learn from each other. of annual events, represent us at Local event groups, businesses and community council meetings, edit The committee members might also have Villagers newspaper, chair LETi and a think about how to include young take over other tasks that keep our people in the planning, set up and communities and economy going implementation of projects and events whether for income or as a volunteer. this year. Potential projects for our award If you have ideas or thoughts on winning tourism group include; inviting YOYP2018 please email LETi enquiries@ young people to set up and take over or contact The a #BLiSSfuture social media account to Villagers editor Jill Johnston. share photo’s, videos and stories with Visit Loch Earn Tourism Information the world, encouraging young guests at If you have to write our tourism reports in The a tourism related business within our Villagers newspaper monthly, collating villages and would like to join LETi, poems describing favourite aspects of contact: Kim Proven, email: briarinfo@ Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre or visit LETi’s stand at and St Fillans for digital publication. The Breadalbane Tourism Expo, Comrie We are working with GeoTourist, the Croft, 20th March 2018. world travel app, to produce an audio trail of the BLiSS art installations and NB: BLiSS stands for Balquhidder, aim to recruit an 8-26-year old to record Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St Fillans voice over descriptions that will be with the i in the middle representing the audible when visiting the sculptures international Tourist Information symbol. at their GPS locations. Some members have also agreed to give their time to Founders4Schools.l LETi aims to focus on promoting young people when reporting on local events e.g., Mini Stuc a Chroin, BLS Highland Games, Strathyre Music Festival. These are some of the ways that we hope to engage with you and to promote you. More importantly, what would you like to see, do or offer? How would you like to be represented? Find out more about YOYP2018 here Young people are already taking part in Scottish Parliament

Photography by Mel Lewis

Are You Aged Between 8 and 26 Years Old?


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 compares the pros and cons of village life during wartime and postwar, with some of today’s - and the future’s - problems. With the dawn of another year it seemed appropriate to turn our thoughts to our own memories of years gone by (80 of them in my case!) and consider the changes in wildlife, the environment, the world - and in village life.   As a very small boy, life on a farm in a small   The great winter of 1947 came soon after the

village gave the sort of freedom that would not be possible today.There were a few other boys around and our activities had to be inventive. The countryside was our playground and so there was always something to occupy the imaginative mind besides the usual games of Hide and Seek, Tiddly Winks, Snakes and Ladders, make-believe battles and the like. Fruit picking, harvest time - which was always fun, and we had to help on the farm at this time - potato picking (such was the importance of this that there was even a week’s school holiday), lifting root crops, corn cutting and hay making. At the tender age of six we were expected to be able to drive the only tractor in the village, a Standard Fordson. The combined clutch and brake pedal could only be operated by standing on it with both feet, so it needed all our body weight to hold it down. Woe betide anyone who let it up with a jerk, as this would have lurched someone off the back of the towed trailer. At this time there were so many more wild birds around and so we would go bird nesting, sure in the knowledge that should we be found to have destroyed a nest or taken more than one egg for our collection there would be severe retribution.  Schooldays came and went, and Wednesday was always thought of as being just two more days before getting out in the fields again. There was a war on, with severe rationing of food and almost everything else. ‘Make do and mend’ was the order of the day. After a gale of wind the poorer people of the village would be seen gathering fallen branches for the fire. We small boys at that time made a platform in an apple tree, loaded it with old bricks and dropped them onto a rusty tin sheet - we were bombing the enemy! Tadpoles, newts and sticklebacks were fair game for an aquarium. Water hen eggs were gathered from the nest on ponds with a spoon fastened to a long stick and fried for breakfast, but again only one or two  from each nest. The bird would keep laying until a full clutch was achieved. Many were the times when trying to stretch too far over the water a guilty boy would fall in and go home in very wet clothes - probably to get more than just a telling off.    VE Day (Victory in Europe) came and we had sweet biscuits for the first time ever at the village celebration.   The years rolled by and when we were 11 years old we had to attend a different school to the one in the village. It was in the nearest town, 14 miles away, entailing a bicycle ride of six miles to catch a bus, a sixpenny return ticket each day and rarely a seat to sit on.  This would be in the dark, both there and back, in the winter. There were hundreds of workmen’s bicycles left at a cottage by the bus stop.


war was over. There was no transport, rationed petrol, no electricity and little food; the womenfolk in the village had to make bread, if they could get flour. Milk from the farms could not be collected by the dairies so it was made into butter and cheese for everyone.   Many villagers were cut off by snowdrifts which had to be dug out by hand. There was no machinery in those days. An RAF Halifax Bomber on a supply drop to a desperate village nearby crashed into a hillside killing all the crew.  Then the rapid thaw brought flooding.   School was left at the age of 16 and work began immediately on the farm - up at 6am each morning to milk the cows in time for the milk lorry. Skipping the years still more, the cry came to farmers to produce more food at all costs, because the country was starving. There was severe rationing of almost everything. Everyone had a ration book and could only buy food and other goods if they had saved up enough coupons for a meagre allowance. There was no petrol for anybody except for essential transport.  Hardly anyone had a car anyway. There was only one in our village, but no petrol was allowed. Some years later came the Suez crisis which again caused severe petrol rationing.   Farming had to become much more intensive to supply more food. This change in cropping gradually led to the loss of resident birds like skylarks, curlews, peewits and grey partridges, and most ground nesting species.  My father once told me that in days gone by he was kept awake in the springtime by corncrakes calling all night - and that was in Derbyshire. Now, as industry began to get going again, people in the towns became quite well off compared with village folk. Some of the village people found that they could sell part of their garden to have a house built upon it, so this was a means to allow them to release some money and to perhaps retire from work or move on to a larger enterprise. Sadly, this became commonplace and towns- people outnumbered the locals; thus the old ways of the village were going for ever.  It was difficult for the newcomers to understand that rural life was the way village people made their living whilst they made their wages in the town. So the division of understanding widened, and the small farms slowly disappeared.  Everyone now had to have a car, and this started a materialistic trait amongst the population, for better or worse. The M1 opened and  from the north midlands it was possible to drive the 130 miles into London in just a couple of hours which opened up many opportunities. This progress continued rapidly and so the

“The future is like a huge juggernaut...”

increase in traffic meant that it was no longer possible to make this journey so quickly. The population was increasing and so came the first traffic jams. More houses had to be built and so the countryside near towns in most cases became just a dormitory for the newcomers. Those old country characters had all died out.   Then came the Cold War, a closer run thing to nuclear war than we have now with Donald Trump.   Let us look at Balquhidder Glen. There were once many small well cared for family farms, a thriving community - and the Glen was blessed with a great pride in the care of the land.    Have a look at the old films that featured the Glen: The Thirty-Nine Steps and Geordie. Look in the corners at the fields and houses, the gardens, how tidy they were. The ploughing match at Tulloch, the cornfield on the Long Dubh and the roadside hedges. Where is the pride and responsibility for those roadside hedges and stone walls today?  Perhaps there is a different mindset. Where have the grouse, the black game and eagles gone in the last 10/15 years?  Is it because of mass forestry monoculture and changes in farming? Now there are many more red and roe deer, foxes, pine martens, even an occasional mink. Watch out if you have hens! Now to be controversial. Why is it that people delight in watching wild dogs, wolves and the big cats killing their prey on TV and yet condemn fox hunting? Foxes really do have to be culled the same as deer. A rifle bullet does not always make a clean kill if placed wrongly and a shotgun must be at very close range for a clean kill. The hounds never wounded a fox.   Now, what of the future through the next 70/80 years? Will it be Trump and Kim Jong Un?  More terrorism?  Cyber-attack? (That might be equivalent to the food and petrol rationing of long ago). World population will certainly be a major factor. Continued over-population is certain. Stephen Hawking predicts that the earth’s population only has 100 years left. How will politics  come and go?  There is bound to be more restrictive legislation to try to control a population that does not know how to behave. We hope and pray for the future, and trust in our young people.     There are still wonderful and kind people in the world. Someone said the future was like a huge juggernaut truck rolling down the road towards us; you could not stop it, but if you could manage to jump on board you may be able to persuade the driver where to go.

Church News Balquhidder BLS


Snow, Flu and Wisdom Hi Folks

A note from

St Angus’s

Well, it’s all over! The tinsel, the lights and the decorations all put away for another year. But I can’t help wondering what the children made of it all. The presents, the excitement, the stories – ah, the stories! What did they make of them? Do they really believe in Santa Claus and what has he got to do with the Child in the manger? What has a funny old man in a red suit got to do with the baby for whom there was no room in the inn? And if they are old enough to know that Santa Claus is just a story and a lovely way of giving presents then what do they believe about the baby Jesus? Come to think of it are all the parents clear in their own minds about the fact and myths of Christmas? If your child eventually asks you “is it all true about Santa, does he really exist and does he really know if I have been good?” What will you say? And if he/she asks the same question about Jesus how will you answer? Your reply to the last question could be life changing... just more pew ponderings….

CaledoniaNight at The White Stag Inn The White Stag Inn is holding a Caledonia Night on Saturday 3rd Feb 2018. There will also be a Scottish Quiz during the evening with Jan overseeing the questions. Teams of four will cost £10, with any teams under four priced at £3 per member. We would ask that teams are no more than four please. All entrants will be entitled to a nice warm plate of tatties, haggis & neeps and a wee dram, with a prize for the best team. The first question will be at 8.00pm. So, come early and grab a table. Come along and shake off some of those winter blues. See you there.

It has been a great start to 2018 with both the weather and the continuing Flu virus. I have been intrigued by the way the media, public, and politicians react to this. Although it happens in some form every year it is almost as though it was the first time we had experienced it. Now let me make it clear I am not minimising either the seriousness of the weather for drivers nor the inconvenience this can cause. Nor am I minimising the effects of the flu especially on elderly people and the pressures caused to our hospitals. But sometimes our expectations seem to be unrealistic. Whilst it is true that science and technology has made us as a species the most secure and powerful of any in the history of life on earth, we cannot control the weather. Well not yet anyway! (God help us if we ever can…there will be wars over it!). Despite this, we have the least disruption and danger to our lives now, compared to any other time in history. For many people throughout history and even in some parts of the world today, winter was and is about survival, not just of individuals but whole communities. We have a lot to be thankful for today. Yet one day of disruption to traffic or roads being closed and the blame game starts….especially in the “points scoring” world of politics. Those who work to keep the roads open and us safe do a tremendous job. We owe them a great debt. In all of this our attitude is important. I remember a few of years ago in Edinburgh after a couple of days of snowfall, walking past two men in the housing scheme where I worked. They were ranting about the Council failing to clear the pavements and how terrible this was. Now given the enormity of the task and the resources that this needed, such a complaint was unjustified. Besides, whatever happened to community spirit? What was needed was neighbourly action. If everyone cleared a little bit of the pavement outside of their house and also those of any elderly and infirm neighbours the problem would have been dealt with. In my response to the men I mentioned this and can’t print the reply! Likewise, the medical resources available to us in our contemporary society are breath-taking when compared to history and other parts of the globe today. Yes, nothing is perfect; yes there are challenges to the NHS; yes some people unfortunately miss out or fall through the cracks in the system. But, the lack of gratitude and even amazement at what the NHS does deliver sometimes saddens me. I bet they wished they’d had a vaccination programme at the time of the Spanish Flu pandemic 1918-1919! Part of the problem for our society is that the modern world and modern life is used to fairly rapid responses and solutions to problems. Science and technology have greatly helped with that. If I can use an analogy. We automatically take electrical power for granted as we go around our houses switching appliances on an off effortlessly and instantaneously….until that is, there is a power-cut…. and then the annoyance and irritation kick in. Modern living doesn’t make us patient and understanding people! It so often takes the “waiting” out of “wanting” and therefore not only robs us of the discipline and enriching trait of “delayed gratification,” but fosters and nurtures unrealistic expectations. I am aware of this quite a lot in my own life…especially when the computer is playing up! There are wise words found in Ecclesiastes chapter 3 “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.” This passage formed the basis for the late Pete Seeger’s song Turn, Turn, Turn. Yes, there is a season called winter and we know what to expect. Yes, there is a time of illness and also a time needed for healing. Yes, there is a time for complaint and criticism but also a time for grateful reflection, appreciation and patience. I finish with the words of the famous Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen to that!



Scottish Wildlife Trust The Wildlife of Glencoe Glencoe is probably best known for its spectacular mountains, its treacherous massacre and, more recently, as a film set. However, at the November Scottish Wildlife Trust meeting, NTS Ranger Dan Watson highlighted its range of wildlife habitats, from the glen to inhospitable high corries. From the visitor centre, where every camera shows visiting pine martens and pipistrelle bats sharing the volunteers’ house, a walk through the alder woods progresses from riverside meadows to montane terrain on the little-visited hill, Meall Mhor. The meadows with low-level grazing are home to a wide range of uncommon plants including orchids, grass of parnassus, pale butterwort and alpine cinquefoil along with 18 species of colourful wax cap fungi. Going higher, pearl-bordered fritillary and chequered skipper butterflies give way to the mountain ringlet, our only true mountain butterfly. On craggy ledges near the summit, safe from grazing sheep and deer, wintergreens and wortle-leaved willow survive. Bidean nam Bian, the highest peak in Glencoe at 1150m is home to ring ouzel, ptarmigan and mountain hare while, amazingly the steep Hourglass Gully up to its west summit, was described as ‘saxifrage central’. Seven species have colonised this remote, north-facing area that always keeps the last snow. Soil temperatures range from 0C under the snow to 7-8C in summer and annual changes are being monitored to assess the potential impact of climate change. The year-round humidity of some gullies, a habitat known as ‘Celtic Rainforest’, is home to oceanic bryophytes that are only found in Glencoe, Ben Nevis and the Himalaya. NTS’s footpath management minimises habitat damage from 2-legged visitors but sheep and deer pose a threat wherever they have access. For more details, to book an event, wildlife safari or film set, see uk/Visit/Glencoe or, check the rangers’ blog Deer Management in Scotland Achieving a sustainable population of deer in Scotland is a controversial topic and at the December Scottish Wildlife Trust meeting, Kevin McCulloch, Wildlife Management Officer, described the role of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). Scotland is home to 4 species of deer. The red deer is our largest wild land mammal at the highest density in Europe. The delicate roe deer range has expanded, particularly in Central Scotland, and it is increasingly seen in urban areas. Fallow and sika deer were introduced by deliberate releases and escapes from country parks, the latter posing a cross-breeding threat to red deer. It is important to guard against the spread of muntjac and Chinese water deer from England. 10

Wild deer are a huge asset to Scotland’s rural economy, an integral part of biodiversity and a source of healthy food and recreational opportunities (stalking is worth >£100M pa). However, they have an impact on habitats and Environmental Impact Assessments are a better measure of sustainable numbers than counts. Red deer help to shape habitats; grazing can help to maintain some wildlife communities, create niches for seedling regeneration and provide a source of dung and carrion for other species. However, over-grazing and trampling can threaten important habitats. Roe deer can limit woodland establishment & regeneration and coppice regrowth and understorey species but cause less damage by grazing & trampling due to smaller body and group sizes and more selective browsing. With no natural predators, deer populations are managed to control impact and maintain their health. As vehicle numbers and land development increase, deer are involved in a growing number of road accidents, 2/3 of the estimated 4- 9000per year are roe deer. SNH has a statutory responsibility to further the conservation, control and sustainable management of all wild deer in Scotland and support development of Wild Deer Best Practices. The January 2012 code of management of wild deer and their habitats sets out land managers’ responsibilities, what they must,  should  and  could  do to manage deer sustainably. It stresses the importance of managing deer collaboratively and supports a voluntary approach but also outlines how and when SNH may get involved. Since wild deer do not recognise land boundaries, voluntary Deer Management Groups play an essential role across most of Scotland’s red deer range. Members comprise representatives from landholdings in the area and the Association of DMG’s works closely with SNH to deliver effective deer management. Deer managers are also trained to identify and report diseases such as Blue Tongue, Haemorrhagic Disease, Bovine TB, Foot & Mouth and Chronic Wasting Disease, thus protecting the health of the population. For a lot more information on deer and their management see http://deerscotland. info. Lesley Hawkins

The Majesty of Glencoe; Roe deer (left) and Red deer (above)

Toad patrols and Black Grouse surveys volunteers wanted! Toad road crossings Every spring toads migrate from their wintering to spawning grounds. However, travelling at dusk and not being the fastest movers around, huge numbers are squashed by traffic as they cross roads. For many years two individuals in Callander have, virtually single-handed, carried toads across the road in buckets, releasing them to safety. Now we are asking for more helpers so that a rota can be set up, ideally working in pairs. • Starts mid-Feb once the temperature is 6ºC or above and lasts approx 4-6 weeks • Crossings continue for about an hour from just before dusk • Main location is near the end of Tulipan Crescent, releasing them on the Meadows side of the road • Please wear visible/light clothing and bring a bucket, rubber gloves, a torch (we may be able to supply if needed) If interested, then please contact John Snodin on E: or tel: 01877 331621 Black Grouse surveys RSPB is looking for volunteers to help carry out surveys for black grouse at Braeleny and Drumardoch, Callander.  • 2 visits: between 25 March - 15 April and 16 April to 15 May • from first light for 2-3 hours • actual dates will have to be agreed with landowners as it will be lambing time • a recce of the area is recommended before the surveys for familiarity RSPB’s Alison Phillips will co-ordinate and go out initially with volunteers if required If interested, please contact Alison directly Tel 0141 331 0993 or Mob 07920 831216 

SEEING STARS by Keith Wilson 


Drs Strang & Scott and Drs Mathewson & Gibson Community Nurses The surgeries and community nurses take part in various training programmes throughout the year. This is to meet the educational and training needs of all members of the practice and nursing team. The next training afternoon will provisionally be on:

FEBRUARY Happy New Year to all readers of the ‘Seeing Stars’ column! This is a great time of year to observe the constellation of Orion which is easy to spot high to the south - it is a very distinctive constellation with its supermassive stars Betelgeuse and Rigel. However, the focus this month is not the constellation but an object to be found within it - the Orion nebula. If you have good eyesight you will see the nebula as a fuzzy patch below Orion’s three ‘belt’ stars it is the middle ‘star’ of Orion’s sword. If you look at it through binoculars or even a small telescope the fuzzy patch looks more like a cloud. So, what is the Orion nebula? It’s a ‘star factory’ where hundreds of stars are being born from the massive clouds of dust and gas in that region of space. Our Sun developed this way billions of years ago in another region of our Milky Way galaxy. If you would like a closer look at the nebula then NASA has put together an impressive 3D fly-through based on spacecraft data. You can find it here:

Wednesday 28th February 2018 Thursday 22nd March 2018 Both practices and community nurse clinic will close at 12.30pm. We hope that emergency cover will be provided by NHS24 for nursing and GPs, however, this will not be confirmed to the practices until nearer the time. In the event of an emergency, please telephone 111. On these afternoons, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments.

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Scottish Wildlife Trust Diary Tuesday 13 February

‘Survival and Dispersal Strategies of Moths & Butterflies’ by Jo Davis, Butterfly Conservation West of  Scotland Group Tuesday 13 March

‘Scotland’s Cetaceans: Protecting our Amazing Sea Life’ by Tara Proud, Marine Conservation UK Talks start at 7:30pm in Callander Kirk Hall, South Church St, Callander FK17 8BN. Suggested donations £2 members, £2.50 non-members, free to full-time students, include tea/coffee and biscuits.


This is an idea “borrowed” from The Sunday Times where a varied selection of people wrote about their busy/boring, happy/sad, memorable/mundane days. We would love you all to send us your Day - the length is entirely up to you. Send your Day In The Life to The Editor at

A Day in The Life of... The alarm goes off at 6.15 - and I think “this is not how I imagined retiral to be” as I head for the shower, and the lovely husband nobly puts the kettle on and goes to scrape the ice off the car. Off to Glasgow by 6.40 - well, 6.44 by the time I went back for the sandwiches I had made the previous night and were still in the fridge. Listening to the glorious voices on Radio 4 and thinking that they do the news so much better than Breakfast TV; we really should just listen to them every morning, even if normally it would only be from 7.30ish. Heading over the hill looking down towards Aberfoyle with the sun coming out improves the mood, as does the section by Queen’s View. However, hitting Bearsden means the start of the slow crawl of traffic for the rest of the journey into Glasgow - accompanied by the feeling of relief that the daily commute for me is a thing of the past. I squeeze into the car park at Kelvinbridge Subway and ‘Park and Ride’ for the bargain price of £5 for the day. I quite enjoy the rattling journey crammed into the carriage with everyone hiding behind their free Metro papers before emerging into Argyll Street and counting how many sales are still on in all the shops. My destination is Bell Street in the Merchant City area, where I am going to do a Children’s Panel this morning. The Panel is a voluntary body set up to “make vital decisions about vulnerable children and young people who are in need of care or who have offended. Each hearing is a lay tribunal involving three members of the panel which must consist of at least one man and one woman”. Today’s three hearings covered the range of ages from a baby to an eighteen year old about to leave the system and fortunately with a job already started. Good to come away feeling it had been a positive morning - not, unfortunately, always the case. 12

Happy New Year from Argaty Red Kites Dear friends, It’s been a busy few months on the farm with the usual large numbers of kites coming in to feed. Our pine martens and squirrels are still visiting our peanut feeders too. Recently we even saw a squirrel up at the hide, a definite first for the project and a good sign that our feeding is working! We’re now turning our attention to 2018 and we have some questions to ask you, our visitors! As most of you know we are trying to expand the conservation work we do here at Argaty and allow more people to come and experience the wonderful wildlife we have on the farm. We plan to hold another bat night in the spring and, in the longer term, to build a red squirrel hide here. Other things we have in mind are a dragonfly event, a trip up to the hills at the northern end of the farm to look at the wildflowers that grow there, and a screening of Worlds Collide, a film by Nicholas Rodd. Nick recently visited Georgia (the European one rather than the American). Each year over a million raptors migrate through the country. Unfortunately, scores of them are shot under misguided notions of what is and isn’t sport. Recently attempts have been made to fund conservation and education in the country and Nick’s film documents these efforts. For more information visit:  http:// w w w. O r o p e n d o l a P r o d u c t i o n s . com/upcoming-projects Be warned though, for all you bird lovers, some of the footage may be hard to watch. Now we’d like to ask for your help... We want to put on events that are of interest to our visitors so our questions are these: What might be of interest to you? Have you been to events at other places which you think might work here at Argaty? If so, who ran them? Do you know of any charities or organisations who you feel we should link up with? Back on the subway and then to the M80 via a quick trip to Costco only to find they were re-doing their car park, so chaos ensues. Stock up on dog food, dog treats, bird seed, peanuts for birds and our red squirrels; little space or cash left for mere humans. Home and the usual wonderful reception from the two labs, anxious to find the good smells in the boot. Just time to go for a de-stressing walk along the river with them before home for a quick shower and bite to eat - and then off to the metropolis of Callander for an evening of Rock Music as part of the U3A

Kite showing off its magnificent markings

Kite twisting in the air

Pine Marten

Red Squirrel

If anyone has any suggestions, please send me an email to: or post on the Argaty Red Kites Facebook page. All recommendations would be gratefully received. Thanks so much everyone and all the best for 2018! Kind regards, Lynn, Niall, and Tom. PS Massive thanks to Alan Jones and Fiona Brims for the photos! programme running in Callander and surrounding areas. Tonight, we bring our favourite tracks from the Rolling Stones and the tracks we would want to have on a desert island and our reasons for choosing them. Pizza and red wine and lots of chat about favourite concerts attended complete a very enjoyable evening. Time to head back up the road and, as it is a Thursday, just time to pop into Mhor84’s folk night. Great to have live music on the doorstep - even if we are too tired to stay too long. Jill Johnston

BOOK REVIEW Beneath a Scarlet Sky Mark T Sullivan This is a story based on fact, but it reads like a thriller. Since WW2 we have become accustomed to hearing of the dreadful conditions those who endured Nazi occupation in France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany not to mention the atrocities of the concentration camps. I for one was completely unaware that the same thing was happening in Italy during the last 2 years of the war. Il Duce was under house arrest, the Nazi machine was virtually running Italy using her factories to make munitions, and machines for the war effort. Food was requisitioned from farmers under threat of death. Slaves were made to dig tunnels, clear blocked roads whilst being denied the basics of water and sufficient food. In the midst of all this a 17-year-old boy with all the hopes and insecurities of any teenager, is sent to the mountains by his family to get away from the bombing in Milan. Here he becomes a man, helping Jews across treacherous passes to freedom in Switzerland. He encounters many hazards, not least a rogue element of the partisan movement in the region. Eventually he is recalled to Milan as on his 18th birthday he will be drafted into the army and, like many other Italian soldiers at this point in the war, will be sent to Russia. The solution is to remain in Milan and work for the ODT, which he reluctantly agrees to although he is ashamed at wearing the swastika on his arm. He is allocated as chauffeur to the German officer who is running the Nazi machine in Northern Italy. He becomes a spy for the partisans, and, by doing this, feels he can justify his wearing the Nazi uniform. The highs and lows of his story are like riding a roller coaster. After hearing of his story Mark Sullivan spent many days and hours talking to Signor Lella, this book is an account of his life during those final years of the war. I could not put it down and read it long into the wee small hours. It is a difficult read at times, but I think would appeal to anyone interested in history and the effect of war and unsung heroes.

Again to start this month’s column, the weather is the hot topic. Over the past week, the snow has been incredible and with it the usual “chaos” on the roads network. As I write this, most of the snow has gone, and now we anticipate the flooding owing to the snow melt and torrential rain. Thankfully our communities seem to have fared better than others, particularly those further south who were badly hit. Entire communities were blocked off, and a level 4 warning was issued by Police in the area, which is the highest category, advising to expect disruption. Locally, we had our own disruption with the trunk roads network becoming blocked on a number of occasions, either due to collisions or jack-knifed lorries.   Discussions are currently underway with the roads authorities, predominantly Bear and Transport Scotland, with the assistance of the local councillors and community council, to look at the installation of snow gates on the A85 in Glen Ogle. This route, given its height, is usually one of the first to be affected, and once a lorry jack-knifes, other motorists struggle to get past. The snow gates allow the gritters and Police to work safely within the area, without allowing further vehicles to add to the problem. There are snow gates on the A82 at Tyndrum, Bridge of Orchy and Glencoe, and they are utilized a few times a year for short periods of time to allow incidents to be dealt with safely.   I have also had discussions in the past week with officials from Stirling Council regarding the lack of snow clearance/ gritting within the local communities. I requested snow clearance the first day it arrived on the Tuesday, but disappointingly the first Council gritter did not seem to arrive until the following Sunday, once the snow was starting to melt. I have also been in liaison with the three elected councillors in this regard,

and we will continue to push the matter, so that in future, minor roads are cleared suitably. I was thoroughly impressed by the response from local residents when the weather hit. Everywhere I went, I saw residents out shovelling snow from driveways, paths, and even from the roads themselves. Any vehicles that became stuck were also pushed or pulled out, to get motorists on their way again. All this assistance is greatly appreciated, as in times like these, I often struggle to get down the minor roads as we are so busy on the trunk roads. So, thank you!   In between all the weather-related calls, it is always business as usual. Only a few minor issues to report this month, thankfully, as follows:   Between the 17th  and 20th  December 2017, a vandalism occurred at Stronvar Bridge, Balquhidder, where a cable was cut at the new broadband hub. This occurred whilst I was on leave, and I was incredibly disappointed to hear that this had happened. The broadband scheme is being set up, as most will know, by a bunch of loyal volunteers, for the benefit of the community. To think that someone would knowingly sabotage that is awful. If anyone has any information, please get in touch with me.   Overnight, between the 2nd  and 3rd January 2018, 15 caravans were broken into at the Balquhidder Braes Caravan Park. Very little was taken from the caravans, apart from some foodstuffs. If anyone has any information, again please get in touch.   As always, I can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at  william.diamond@   Regards, PC Will Diamond


McLaren High School Internet Safety Day Our young people spend a lot of time on the Internet and we are continually working with them to help them stay safe and make good decisions. As such we had an internet day of action on Wednesday 6 December which involved both the school and the Police Service of Scotland. Prior to the day of action students had been reflecting on advice they would offer to their peers on Internet Safety and the most valuable and relevant advice was posted on the Police Scotland Twitter account by our Digital Leaders who took over the Twitter feed for the day. Any tweets posted were awarded house points. We also promoted a digital detox and encouraged pupils to leave their phones at home and points were also awarded for this. At lunchtime there was an interhouse quiz on Internet Safety. Geography Trip On 4 December, both National 5 Geography classes and Advanced Higher pupils took a trip to Glasgow. This was so that we could gather data for our Assignments. We started the trip at Glasgow Green and walked along London Road to Trongate. Along the way we went to Glasgow city centre to learn how to perfect environmental shop quality and traffic surveys, we also did a field sketch by the beautiful Clyde. We did lots of walking but also took the low-level train from Central Station to Exhibition and walked along ‘the worm’ to the SSE Hydro. All the information we gathered will be very useful. Chris Knights S4 Fundraising for Start Up Stirling McLaren High School held a Christmas Jumper Day on Friday 15 December to support Start Up Stirling (Food Bank). Donations of non-perishable  food items, festive goodies and  small gifts to help others less fortunate than ourselves were collected.  Huge thanks to Strathyre Primary pupils who joined our Christmas Jumper day and also brought lots of donations along. You can see from the photos how much we collected!

visit our website:

www.mclarenhigh. 14

Anticlockwise from above: Digital Leaders; Food bank collection for Start Up Stirling; Christmas Jumper Day; high fives at the S3 & S4 Dance; three images from the glamorous Seniors Dance!

Kasia’s Cookin’. . . Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Quiche This is a delicious quiche with smoked salmon and asparagus. If asparagus is not available use broccoli or spinach. The whole dish is great, we love the crunchy pastry, soft and creamy middle with aromatic smoked salmon Turn the oven down to 170C/Gas 3 and fresh dill on the top. (Serves 4) Scatter the salmon, asparagus, capers and dill over the pastry. Mix the eggs and cream 250g Short crust Pastry adding black pepper. 50g Smoked Salmon, chopped (or Pour over the pastry and bake for 20 mins smoked salmon trimmings) or until set. 200g Asparagus, halved 1 tablespoon Capers The quiche will be even better if you make 1 tablespoon Dill, chopped short crust pastry from scratch: 2 Eggs, beaten Use 125g plain flour 100ml Single Cream 60 g butter Preheat oven to 200C/Gas 6 Line an 18cm tart tin with the pastry and blind bake with greaseproof paper and baking beans for 10 mins, remove weights and bake for a further 5 mins until pastry is golden Allow to cool

About 1 tbsp cold water

To make the pastry: tip the flour into a bowl, rub in the butter with your fingertips, then add enough water to bind to a soft dough. Cover and keep in the fridge for 30 min. Roll the pastry out, use to line the dish or tin. Follow the steps above. Enjoy!




New Year, new venue, new faces... As we enter the New Year, the Rotary Club of Callander & West Perthshire has settled happily into our new venue, at Callander Golf Club… and now we would really like to welcome some new faces to our membership, particularly from some of the villages around Callander. Have you ever wondered what Rotary is, and what we actually do? Would you like to be involved in an organisation which works for the benefit of the local community and for a wide range of good causes, local, national and international? It’s not all hard work! In fact, we have a lot of fun while out raising funds, supporting local events, and encouraging young people to reach their full potential. If you want to find out more, we’d be delighted to welcome you to one of our Tuesday evening meetings, where you will be assured of a friendly reception. We meet at the Golf Club every Tuesday at around 6pm, for a meal at 6.30pm, usually followed by a speaker, or sometimes an evening spent planning our next project(s). You’ll also find information on our website:; or our Facebook page. Alternatively, email:, or give our friendly President a ring on 01877-330446, to arrange to meet up for an informal chat over a cup of coffee. No one will twist your arm, and you just might find you enjoy exploring what Rotary has to offer! You have nothing to lose, and potentially a lot to gain…. So why not give us a call….?


A warm welcome, whatever the weather!


Dear all,

Just before Christmas, my wife Yvonne and I were blessed with the birth of our eighth grandchild. This wonderful occasion brought home to me just how fortunate I am and, although it is a muchused metaphor, a new child at the start of a new year caused me to reflect on how we can all approach the start of another year. My new granddaughter, Emery, has that blank canvas waiting to be filled with her journey through life. To a certain extent this applies to all of us: we can take a new year as an opportunity to consider our approach to aspects of our own lives and rewrite the script if we choose to do so. Many in our society face daily struggles and challenges, many have had their lives marked by terrible events, poor health, periods of misfortune and sheer bad luck. I am humbled by the quiet determination and capacity to cope shown by so many and by the work carried out by all those that provide help, support and guidance to those in need. It has been my privilege to meet some of those people and I look forward too many more opportunities to continue to do so in 2018. Of course, we face many challenges in our own country but when one considers those faced by huge numbers of people across the globe day after day we should give thanks that, overall, we are extremely fortunate when compared to so many others. Armed Conflicts around the world are depressingly numerous. A war zone provides many of the most horrific circumstances that individuals are forced to cope with. I am especially concerned by the increased instances of sexual violence in these conflicts. This is often calculated and carried out as a ‘weapon of war’. Just before the festive break I established an All Party Parliamentary Group. The remit of this formal body, that has members from many political parties, will be to scrutinise this issue and make recommendations to the UK Government. I hope this will help make our countries approach to these terrible crimes as robust as possible.

These all-party groups are just one example of how members of parliament, irrespective of their political views, work closely together on a wide range of issues. It does concern me that this huge amount of sensible, pragmatic and detailed work is very often unreported. All most of us see on the news is the adversarial theatre of Prime Ministers questions. There is far more civility in our political system than those sessions might suggest. On a personal note, I have appreciated the kind words and practical support from many MPs of every party that have helped me during my first few months after the election. I will do everything I can to encourage this civility and a positive relationship between individuals, parties, and the two parliaments that between them govern our affairs in Scotland. 2018 is going to be a crucially important year, one in which we must agree mutually beneficial solutions in the complex negotiations with our European colleagues. This can only be achieved if we all engage together. For myself I am honoured to be your elected representative and I will do my best to be as effective as possible as an advocate for the constituency throughout 2018. Finally, I would take this opportunity to wish everyone a peaceful and positive 2018. Sincerely, Stephen Kerr MP

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: February • Wed 7th 9:30 am (Stroll) Forest Foray 4.5 miles Ron Dalton 01877 382617 • Wed 14th 9:30 am (Ramble, Scenic) Plean 8 miles Peter Mehta 07950 046913 • Wed 21st 9:30 am (Hill) Myreton Hill 387m Jane Tomkins 07737-682426 March • Sat 10th 8:30 am (Hill) Moncreiffe Hill 223m Hadrian Stirling 01786 823086 • Wed 21st 9:30 am (Ramble) Aberfoyle & Gartmore circuit 7 miles Jane Jones 01877 382682 • Wed 28th 9:30 am (Stroll) River Teith 4 miles Myra Craig & Ailsa Thain 01786 841240 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 Broch, Strathyre on 6th December 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), Ruth McLusky (RM), Loraine Telfer (LT), Karen Methven (KM), Richard Eastland (RE). Apologies: Adrian Squires (AS), Angus Cameron (AC), Michelle Flynn (MF). In attendance: Cllr Martin Earl (ME), Theresa Elliot (TE), Stirling Council; PC Will Diamond (WD), Police Scotland; Billy Ronald (BR), National Park. 1) Approval of Minutes It was proposed by RM, and seconded by DJ, that the minutes of the meeting on 25th October 2017 should be accepted, and this was approved unanimously. 2) Declarations of Interest No declarations were made. 3) Police Report During the period from 24th October to 5th December, there was one theft reported but no incidents of anti-social behaviour. The theft occurred overnight between the 30th November and 1st December, when a red Suzuki Quadrunner 350cc, four wheel drive Quad Bike was stolen from a yard at Tomrannoch, Lochearnhead. There have been similar thefts elsewhere within rural Stirlingshire and all residents are asked to be vigilant, and to report any suspicious behaviour to the police. On 2nd December, a motorist was reported to the Procurator Fiscal for travelling at excessive speed through Strathyre. A number of fixed penalty tickets were also issued to motorists for speeding, no insurance, no MOT, and careless driving. The usual high visibility patrols and static road checks have continued, and PC Diamond also attended at several local events. These included a meeting of the Balquhidder Deer Management Group to discuss issues concerning collisions between vehicles and deer. Any strikes or near misses, can be reported to PC Diamond via email. The Strathyre Fireworks Display was well attended, and there were no incidents. Two days were spent at Strathyre Primary School, firstly looking at road safety, and then an giving an input on internet safety. PC Diamond also attended a number of meetings in relation to mountain rescue and water safety, and took part in a joint exercise with mountain rescue teams on Sunday 3rd December. 4) Matters arising 4a) Professional Indemnity Insurance. PH reported having received a reply from Liz Drysdale at Keegan & Pennykid (insurance brokers) regarding professional indemnity insurance. She was able to confirm that all members of the community council are covered, but the figure of £250,000 is the overall total that would be paid for claims in any one year. Furthermore, there is an excess of £250 for ‘each and every claim’ made under these policies. Additional insurance could be provided specifically for our community council if we decided that it was necessary. Ms Drysdale stated: “Examples of minimum premiums for stand-alone Trustees policies are £250,000 limit - £112.00, £500,000 limit - £168.00 and a £1m limit - £224.00 annually”. PH stated that he understood this to mean that Stirling Council was probably paying for each community council to have the basic cover. If higher cover was needed, we would need to ask specifically for this, and would probably have to pay the additional premium ourselves. There was some discussion regarding what level members thought would be appropriate. DJ commented that many public bodies carry a certain amount of risk themselves and asked whether Stirling Council would cover additional costs itself, should the insured cover prove insufficient? ME suggested that this question should be referred to the Chief Governance Officer to ascertain whether the Council would adopt a self-insure policy and cover any additional costs in such circumstances. It was agreed to write accordingly before coming to any decision concerning additional cover. Action: PH to write to Stirling Council regarding this question. 4b) Various matters in Lochearnhead. PH reported that, in relation to the anonymous complaint of anti-social behaviour, Stirling Council can use equipment to monitor noise levels, but this would have to be installed in a neighbouring property. As regards the use of a property through ‘Air B&B’, the position over regulations is unclear, but erecting any semi-permanent structure for business purposes requires planning permission. In this particular case, Stirling Council will notify the appropriate authority. PH reported that the gated access to private land at the loch side is still locked, but that the fire debris is gradually being cleared. He was hopeful that this land would once again be more easily accessible in the not too distant future. 5) Bye-laws and clear-ways. There has been no further news of when the clearway legislation will take effect. 6) Correspondence 6a) Litter bins. PH reported that the community council has been notified by the Land Services Department at Stirling Council that ‘broken, pole-mounted dog bins’ will not be replaced in future. This is because they are reckoned to be unhygienic to use (for members of the public and for those who have to empty them). This is made worse when bins are over-filled or subject to heavy rain. In some cases, it is proposed that a broken bin may be replaced by a free-standing litter bin, that accepts both litter and dog waste. These are emptied via a door at the bottom, instead of having to lift out the contents from chest height, making them safer and easier to service. Unfortunately, they are also more expensive, meaning that the Council cannot afford to replace every broken pole bin with one of these models. 6b) Glass collection. Blue boxes will now only be collected monthly. If residents find that one box is insufficient to hold all their glass waste, a second box can be issued on request. Contact the Council by telephone (01786 404040) - or complete a form on their website. 7) Planning Matters Telecommunications mast, Strathyre. PH reported that the community council has been notified that Telefonica has withdrawn its current planning application for a mast at Strathyre. This followed a review of its ìcurrent, roll-out phaseî so, presumably, it does not preclude a further, similar application in the future. There was some discussion regarding the current situation with mobile network coverage and aerials. MM queried whether we could put together a map showing all telecommunications masts in the area. PH stated that, although individual companies provide facilities on their websites where people can check whether coverage is available for that particular network in a given area, it could be a long and difficult task to compile a comprehensive map showing all network masts. Note from Secretary: A comprehensive map is available from this site: Information can be referenced by postcode, mast name or grid reference. 7b) PH reported on behalf of AS that there had been three recent planning applications in the area, but none had been referred formally to the community council, and none appeared to raise any concerns for the wider community. 8) Matters From Councillors 8a) ME mentioned that there had been a change of local authority representation on the board of the National Park. Both of the current councillors now live outwith the Park itself. MM queried the current position regarding the draft Partnership Plan and BR replied that the latest update was due to be placed before board members within a week or so. 8b) A full Council meeting takes place on 7th December. Ninety priorities are to be put before the Council for agreement. ME made special mention of the Local Outcome Improvement Plan (LOIP). This is proposing to split the Council area into four sectors. It will also be linked to the Scottish Index of Multi-Deprivation which is used across the country to decide on local priorities. However, ME highlighted a potential problem in rural areas where there are far fewer people, resulting in generally low scores for all rural areas. TE agreed and said that the only item in our area with a significant score is ‘Access Deprivation’ - that is, access to facilities such as libraries and sports centres. ME advised that important needs in our area could be overlooked, and careful attention should be paid to any proposals that are circulated. 8c) A full review of the Waste Management service within the Council is to be undertaken soon. 8d) The Winter Maintenance Service is also to be reviewed and ME suggested that community councils might take an active interest in such matters as the policy for according priority to minor roads (for services such as gritting during wintry weather) and the provision of bins for salt and grit. It was agreed that PH would request further information regarding these matters. Action: PH to request further information. 9) Any Other Competent Business 9a) Vegetation growth in Balquhidder. MM reminded members of the problem with overhanging branches and other vegetation along the minor roads in Balquhidder Glen that had been raised earlier this year. Stirling Council has now responded with a team that is doing excellent work along the full length of the Glen. He proposed that a letter of thanks be sent to the local Liaison Officer, Michelle Flynn, to pass on our grateful thanks to all those concerned. This was agreed unanimously. Action: PH to write letter of thanks to MF for work in Balquhidder. 9b) Quarry at Balquhidder. LT raised a query on behalf of a resident about work being carried out on the hill behind Auchtubh at Balquhidder. It concerned an area of private land and members were able to provide sufficient information for the resident concerned to make further enquiries personally with the owner about the time-scales of the work. 9c) Lay-by at Strathyre. ME had received a complaint about drivers parking for lengthy periods in the lay-by outside the shop at Strathyre. He was considering making application for a ‘waiting’ restriction and asked for any comments. This was generally agreed to be a sensible measure, although it was pointed out that the area for the bus-stop might need to be re-marked. There was also some concern expressed over the effect of a restriction on the Road Safety Partnership van that was often parked there to discourage speeding through the village. ME agreed to take heed of these concerns and members unanimously gave their support to the proposal. 9d) Parking in Callander. The previous discussion then gave rise to comments about parking in Callander. It was suggested that the situation there could be greatly improved if payment for parking in the car park at Station Road was discontinued. It would encourage more people to stop there and use the shops. It was proposed that we should write to Callander community council to suggest this. Action: PH to write to Callander CC regarding parking. There was no other business and, at 8:55 p.m., MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting will take place on Wednesday 10th January 2018 at The White Stag, Strathyre.


Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of a meeting held at The White Stag, Strathyre on 10th January 2018 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), Ruth McLusky (RM), Loraine Telfer (LT), Angus Cameron (AC), Karen Methven (KM), Richard Eastland (RE). Apologies: Adrian Squires, Michelle Flynn (Stirling Council). In attendance: Cllr Jeremy McDonald (JM), Theresa Elliot (TE), Stirling Council; PC Will Diamond (WD), Police Scotland; Billy Ronald (BR), National Park. 1) Approval of Minutes It was proposed by LT, and seconded by RM, that the minutes of the meeting 6th December 2017 should be accepted, and this was approved unanimously. 2) Declarations of Interest MM declared an interest in item 4b, specifically the application of the Winter Service Policy to Balquhidder Road (C33). 3) Police Report Between the 17th and 20th December 2017, an offence of vandalism occurred near to Stronvar Bridge, when a cable for a CCTV camera was cut at the new community broadband hub. Overnight, between the 2nd-3rd January 2018, several caravans were forced open at Balquhidder Braes Caravan Park. A small amount of food was taken from one caravan, but nothing else was stolen. Similar thefts have occurred in other rural areas around and residents are asked to be vigilant. During the period from 6th December 2017 until 8th January 2018, there were several collisions on the roads in our area, mainly owing to the adverse weather and drivers not driving to the conditions of the road. Also, several Fixed Penalty Tickets were issued to motorists for speeding, no insurance, no MOT, careless driving and so on. A number of minor defects were recorded and dealt with by means of the Vehicle Rectification scheme. However, there were no arrests for drink-driving over the holiday period - possibly for the first time ever. PC Diamond was on leave for two weeks during this period but high visibility patrols and static road checks continued - in order to deter and detect travelling criminals, given the recent thefts elsewhere in the local area. WD went on to express his concern at the problems caused by the bad weather, with the consequent delays and problems in clearing the road after collisions. He raised the idea of installing snow gates on the A85 between Lochearnhead and Lix Toll. The aim would be to allow police quickly to close the road following a collision, providing easier access for emergency vehicles, and faster clearing of any blockages. This proposal was welcomed and the community council gave its full support to the idea. Action: WD to progress the suggestion with Transport Scotland. 4) Matters arising 4a) Professional Indemnity Insurance. PH reported having received a reply from Iain Strachan, Chief Governance Officer for Stirling Council, regarding professional indemnity insurance. He had been able to clarify that the figure of £250,000 would apply to ‘each and every claim’ made under the policy, regardless of how many claims were made in one year - although the excess of £250 would also apply to each claim. However, whilst acknowledging that bodies such as councils do ‘self-insure’ in respect of some risks concerning their own actions, Mr Strachan did not believe that it would be appropriate for a council to cover the actions of third parties - such as community councillors - because of the lack of any control or oversight that the Council would be entitled to exercise. Furthermore, since community councils are also statutory consultees on a number of matters, it could compromise their independence if the Council were to carry such risks on their behalf. He suggested that another solution might be for the Scottish government to introduce legislation to give community councils their own legal identity, separate from that of their own individual, community councillors. This is something we might wish to raise with one of our MSPs. This suggestion was discussed and regarded favourably by all present. JM suggested that Stirling Council might also be able to advise and assist, and indicated that the Senior Manager for Communities and People, Alan Milliken, might be the best person to contact initially. Action: PH to contact Manager for Communities & People. 4b) Winter Maintenance. PH reported having obtained a copy of the ‘Winter Service Policy’ for Stirling Council’s Roads & Land Services Department. It had been circulated to all members. The policy described three levels of priority, each triggered by specific weather events and involving different levels of treatment. In our area are: 1) two short stretches of road marked as “Priority 1” (between Strathyre Primary School and Main Street - A84 - in Strathyre); roads will be salted and treated for snow and ice when appropriate. 2) one stretch of “Priority 2” road (from Mhor 84 / Kingshouse down Balquhidder Glen to the Village Hall, and then across Stronvar Bridge to the junction just short of Calair Bridge); roads will only be treated when prevailing ice and snow conditions are forecast to continue. 3) two stretches of “Priority 3” road (from Balquhidder Village Hall along the glen as far as Inverlochlairig, and the “back road” between Balquhidder and Strathyre from the junction near Calair Bridge as far as the T-junction, just before you get to Strathyre Primary); roads will only be treated in exceptional conditions and on the direct authority of the Director of Localities & Infrastructure. Members commented that gritters previously had treated most roads to enable waste disposal vehicles to complete their rounds, but that nowadays, no gritting was done and waste removal vehicles simply ignored roads that were impassable. MM referred to the C33 (Balquhidder Road) between the village hall and Inverlochlairig and commented that culverts and drainage ditches were not being cleared properly, leading to water freezing on road surfaces and rendering them impassable. He had noted that grit and sand were being placed on the roads by Council staff, but often in places where it was ineffective. He drew attention to recent steep rises in non-domestic rates and pointed out that businesses were not being well served in our area. Comments were also passed about the lack of grit bins on the C33 road and elsewhere. Mention was also made of the car park behind the shop in Strathyre where there were no grit bins at all. It was pointed out that people could help themselves if only grit was available. MM also reminded members of the well-publicised initiative a couple of years previously whereby members of the ‘Tayforth Machinery Ring’ had been given special equipment by the Council to assist with local gritting and snow-clearing. He queried why these people never seemed to be called out or given permission to help. It was agreed that the Secretary should draft some appropriate comments on the ‘Winter Service Policy’ in response to these perceived problems. Action: PH to send comments on Winter Service Policy to Stirling Council. 4c) Parking in Callander. PH reported having written to the Secretary of Callander Community Council, offering to support the removal of charges at the Station Road car park in Callander. To date, he had not received any acknowledgement or reply. JM mentioned that the community council in Callander is considering various proposals to deal with traffic problems. These include more restrictions on parking and waiting on the main road, and a reduced speed limit, but all the proposals will need to be balanced, one against another. 5) Bye-laws and clear-ways. There has been no further news of when the clearway legislation will take effect. 6) Cycle Path from St Fillans to Lochearnhead DJ reported having had an approach from St Fillans community council regarding this cycle path. The route through St Fillans itself has now been completed and the next section, heading West towards Lochearnhead, is being contemplated. It would be helpful for St Fillans to receive a letter from our community council making clear our continued support for this project. This was agreed and DJ offered to draft a suitable reply. Action: DJ to send a suitable letter to St Fillans Community Council. 7) Correspondence 7a) Letter regarding Craggan House, Craggan Road, Lochearnhead. It was agreed that this should be dealt with under item 8a below. 7b) Community Connections Survey. PH reported that Stirling Council is conducting a survey to gain feedback from the people of Stirlingshire on how they currently feel about the friendships and relationships in their life, and what would help improve their quality of life. The feedback will be used to look at improvements that might be made. Members were asked to ensure that copies were widely distributed in our communities, especially to people living alone. 7c) Review of Statement of Licensing Policy. The District of Stirling Licensing Board is conducting a statutory review of its Statement of Licensing Policy and invites the views and comments of the community council. A survey can be viewed at: ‘’ with a link to the policy itself. Members indicated that the current policy seemed to be working effectively in our area and no problems were perceived. 7d) Review of Small Charities. Stirling Council is trustee for a large number of small, charitable trusts, many of which are now outdated and, effectively, dormant. The total sum involved is £110,308. The Council has been in discussions with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator with a view to closing these trusts and redistributing the monies. Local Authority Councillors and Community Councillors are being consulted about some specific proposals. A list of remaining charities is available to peruse, but none actually affects any of our own communities directly. The list was passed around for inspection, and members approved the initiative but saw no need for specific comment from our council. 8) Planning Matters 8a) Craggan House, Craggan Road, Lochearnhead. 2017/0381/DET. An earlier application by John MacCrae to convert the existing building into four holiday apartments had prompted some concerns from the community council that had been expressed to the National Park Planning Authority. That application had been refused but a new application has been submitted, seeking to transform this building into one residential flat and one holiday flat. A local resident had written to the community council, asking for renewed consideration to be given to the application. This was discussed at length, and previous concerns about the restricted access, on a single track road, and the potential problems from increased traffic were noted, but members believed that this was a much more reasonable application and commented on the need to consider this from the point of view of the community at large. The point was made that the application had not been formally notified to the community council by the planning authority, so the decision was taken that it would be more appropriate to make no comments at all. Objections could still be lodged by local residents. PH was asked to reply to the local resident accordingly. Action: PH to reply to local resident, explaining the community council’s views. 8b) Dhanakosa Retreat Centre, Balquhidder. 2017/0395/DET. This involves the erection of an extension, linking two parts of the building. It was thought unlikely to cause any wider problems. 9) Matters From Councillors 9a) JM made brief mention of an initiative being undertaken by Stirling Council to coordinate the approach to historical sites in our area. 9b) He then referred to the recent review of bus services and commented on the success of the ‘Shoppers’ Bus’, but said that staff were hoping to build on this with a further marketing campaign. BR asked if it might be possible to advertise further afield as the link between Crianlarich and Stirling created by the bus service will be much appreciated by many to the North and West of that area. JM also stated that a review of the Demand Responsive Transport service was to be undertaken, with a proposal for accepting same-day booking of trips to be considered. TE asked about the possibility of linking the services in Crianlarich and Killin with the Lochearnhead DRT service. This would enable more people to travel to St Fillans and further East. 10) Any Other Competent Business 10a) KM raised a concern voiced by a local resident about the possible reintroduction of large waste bins at loch side venues in Balquhidder. JM had no knowledge of this but promised to investigate further. 10b) AC commented on the number and danger of several potholes that had appeared very recently on some of the main roads in and around Lochearnhead in particular. WD mentioned that BEAR Scotland was beginning to deal with these as a matter of urgency. TE mentioned that Stirling Council has an online facility for reporting pot-holes on local roads that are not trunk roads. See: ‘’. There was no other business and, at 8:50 p.m., MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting will take place on Wednesday 21st February 2018 at The Broch, Strathyre.


Ranger’s Review by Gareth Kett

What a refreshing change it’s been to have some real winter weather. The landscape, always beautiful, has been breath-taking shrouded in snow, and now with the snow melting away I feel a twinge of sadness. Yet it must be a relief for most, although not all, of our wildlife. While we can put on some extra layers of clothing and turn up the radiators, our wildlife has to find a way to survive. A covering of snow makes food much harder to find for most wild animals, although it provides a concealing, insulating layer for voles, who can feed on vegetation beneath Red deer can be hard hit by winter the snow in relative safety, out of sight of predators. Only relative safety though… recent studies from the Czech Republic have suggested that foxes, as well as having predators (wolves, bears, lynxes) they outstanding hearing, also use the earth’s occur in numbers above the ecological magnetic field during hunting, allowing carrying capacity and fencing often them to use triangulation to locate small excludes them the shelter of woodlands, mammals hidden beneath snow. Having leading to starvation (2). Numbers of detected a target they pounce with all species are at an annual low by the remarkable success – but only if they end of February or March, but those pounce along the right axis. Pouncing to that survive have the chance to breed, the north-east, they kill on 73% of their passing on their genes, and to benefit attacks; if they pounce in the opposite from spring’s food bounty. direction, the success rate is 60%. In Any food that you put out in the all other directions, only 18% of their garden such as a wide range of seeds, fat-balls, mealworms, peanuts, cheese, pounces are successful (1). Fluctuations in temperature can be breadcrumbs and fruit can literally be bad news for plants. In early January, the difference between life and death fooled by the unseasonally mild weather, for wild animals using your garden. You bulbs began putting out shoots. The may even get more unusual visitors subsequent frost may have damaged to the garden such as great-spotted their tissues making photosynthesis woodpeckers and bramblings. difficult leading to stunted growth. The In addition to freezing weather snow however will have done them no conditions, traffic poses a constant threat to our wildlife. Following the harm. Animals need more energy just to recent deaths of a couple of otters (and keep warm during cold periods, but frost a number of near misses) on the A817 and snow make finding food difficult. near Lix Toll, back in November local This forces them to take more chances environmental group Environmental in order to find food. They may become Action Killin instigated a project to bolder, venturing closer to people install reflectors mounted on bollards because of our tendency to throw away to deter animals from attempting to food. Nocturnal animals may search for cross the road. The reflectors deflect food during daylight hours if night-time light away from the road towards any foraging is proving unfruitful; and where approaching animals, dissuading them small animals go, predators follow. from crossing. The Ranger Service So a hard winter can provide good supported the project, teaming up with opportunities for wildlife-watching. The Killin Nursery and Primary School to likes of buzzards, sparrowhawks, foxes, raise awareness of otter conservation weasels and stoats can be easier to see issues and running an otter drawing than in milder periods. And of course, competition for the children as part of a fundraising event for the project. The tracks in the snow can give them away. Many animals will not survive. The Scottish Wildlife Trust Callander branch weak, too young, too old, sick and purchased the reflectors and Robertsons unfortunate will perish, but in doing Acharn Biomass Plant and HBS Traffic so will provide food for others. Winter Management put in the stakes, posts is nature’s way of ensuring that the and reflectors free of charge. Other gene-pool remains strong. Red deer can partners involved in the project were be particularly hard hit by prolonged Stirling Council, Killin and Ardeonaig harsh weather. In the absence of top Community Trust and the International 20

Installing reflectors on the A817

Otter Survival Fund. So far, since the installation of the reflectors there have been no reports of any accidents involving animals along the stretch. Many thanks for all your reports of wildlife sightings. As usual if you have anything you wish to discuss or any wildlife sightings to report you are welcome to drop into the Lochearnhead Office, or you can contact me by email at, or call me on 01389 722044. If I’m not in the office please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. References: 1. notrocketscience/2011/01/11/foxes-usethe-earths-magnetic-field-as-a-targetingsystem/#.WmYe4stLFpg2/. Paine, R.T. (1995). “A Conversation on Refining the Concept of Keystone Species”. Conservation Biology. 9 (4): 962–964. 2. Clutton-Brock, T. & McIntyre, N, (1999), Red Deer, Colin Baxter Photography Ltd., Grantown-on-Spey

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)



Caledonia Night - White Stag, Strathyre - 8pm - See page 9


The Villagers AGM - Mhor 84 - 7.30 - See page 2


SWT Talk, Callander - See page 11

MARCH 2018


BLS Trust AGM - Strathyre Village Hall - See page 15


SWT Talk Callander See page 11


Strathyre Talent Show See page 5

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 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



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


Thanks to Andrew Poulter for two wintry images. Morning sun above Loch Voil - and the inscription is from the architectural viewpoint at the car park at the bottom end of Loch Lubnaig (worth a look if you haven’t been).

The villagers February 2018  

Local news for St Fillans Lochearnhead, Balquhidder and Strathyre village communities. Bus services, New Year reviews, Balquhidder communit...

The villagers February 2018  

Local news for St Fillans Lochearnhead, Balquhidder and Strathyre village communities. Bus services, New Year reviews, Balquhidder communit...