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JULY 2015


Price 50p

The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

STUC A CHROIN 2015 Photo Curtesy of Allardyce Photography

The long ascent up Beinn Each

Editor’s Bit Congratulations to Sandy Muir for getting the right answer to Fiona Martin’s question about Pentecost. Sandy had a friend Brian Pentecost and had researched the origins of the name, hence the interest. Fiona was very relieved to discover that at least one person reads her St Angus column. See the prize presentation photograph below. The next challenge, for what it is worth, is to email the editor with the name of the person who is featured or mentioned most (either in prose or photos) in this issue. The winner this time will receive something to enjoy while watching Wimbledon, Cricket, Cyclists or buttercups. We are very pleased to welcome another new member to The Villagers team. We were at the Strathyre music festival when David was casting envious eyes at the very busy photographer with a far superior camera. On the nothing to be ventured nothing gained principal I went to chat to him to see if he might let us have some of his photos for this months edition. To my amazement and delight he not only agreed to that but said he would also be pleased to be our new resident photographer. The two pages (pages 14 & 15) covering the music festival, our rather amazing front cover and our monthly changing title photograph are all curtesy of Jason Allardyce. The front cover photo was chosen by Jason as his own favourite from the 1,000 plus he took over the two days.

Balquhidder Hall Donates £700 to Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance

After various fundraising activities the Balquhidder Hall Committee was able to make a £700 donation SCAA to help support its activities. The service relies on such donations to fund its services which provide so much benefit to our rural communities.

Erudite Muse “I believe in reluctant politicians. Anybody enthusiastic about political power should be disqualified from having it.” Yanis Varoufakis, quoted in The Times “The first thing to know in life is to see what one does understand and what one does not.” Duke of Wellington, quoted in the Daily Telegraph

Iain Ramsay Clapham and David Johnston handing over the Hall’s Chaque

“People will believe anything if you whisper it.” Karl Kraus, quoted in The Browser “Conquering the world on horseback is easy. It is dismounting and governing this is hard.” Genghis Khan, quoted in The Times “I’m not young enough to know everything.” Oscar Wilde, quoted in the Las Vegas Sun “Be yourself. Well, maybe someone a little nicer.” Barbara Bush, quoted in Time “Why do they call it a ‘building’? It looks like their finished. Why isn’t it a ‘built’. Jerry Seinfeld, quoted in the New Your Daily News

Sandy Muir receives his prize from Fiona Martin - see A Note from St Angus’s - page 8 2

“Irreverence is a greater oaf than superstition.” W.H. Auden, quoted in The Daily Telegraph

The St Fillans Bit On 19th, 20th & 21st June the So & Sews held one of their popular Exhibitions of Patchwork, Quilts and Floral art. And magnificent it was too. Many local ladies (and Jim Brierley) laboured long for days to prepare the show and were rewarded by car loads of visitors from far and wide. Final account are not yet done but it looks like a profit of around £2,000 will be distributed as donations to Guide Dogs for the Blind, First Response and the Sandison Hall. As usual Cathy aided by a tribe of helpers masterminded the floral side and Eileen Livermore has asked me to extend thanks to the many other volunteers who helped out. It never ceases to amaze me just what talent our wee community holds. A couple of pics give an idea of how lovely the displays were.

by John Murray a log over the next 12 months to get an annual average. Sadly, despite my constant pleas for input from villagers to this column to keep it alive there is now virtually no input. As a result more and more of my writing is about me rather than the village just to fill the space. In over 10 years of writing this column I have not elicited one letter to the editor or one written response. Over the past month my already useless legs decided to give in completely and I started falling over regularly. 10 stone of wife trying to get 21 stone of husband with weak legs doesn’t work. Thus I found myself using a zimmer and then in Crieff Cottage Hospital. First point – if you need support and a mobility aid don’t get a zimmer. Constantly lifting the thing and shuffling 2 paces actually makes things worse. I was pointed to a rolling device with 4 wheels, brakes, built in seat and storage box. It transformed things and now I walk along normally behind my roller thingie. Second point – all we ever hear is how bad the NHS is – not Crieff Cottage Hospital. Caring staff, peaceful atmosphere, and good food. Home from home. Compared with the admissions ward at PRI which I have experienced 3


times and which best resembles the scene on deck as the Titanic sinks (except the Titanic is quieter) it lets you see how hospital care should be. Whilst talking of health care my present condition brought forth a visit from the Social Works Dept. to see if they could help. I was reluctant to even see the lady after the various stories we hear. How wrong again. A charming lady who fully understood my problems and was able to offer very positive aid. Maybe we are just lucky up here? Anyway the good physios at Crieff have got me mobile again and intensive study into falls has ended them – virtually every fall is your own thought and avoidable with forethought. In previous encounters with physios I always saw their gentle exercise routines as pointless so just assured them that I was doing the things. This time I felt I had nothing to lose and Continued overleaf


Brad & Zelda continue to support the local building industry with constant repairs and improvements to the Achray – though Brad assures me that 11th July is the end date for works. This week the rotten old jetty (I built it 19 years ago) has been renewed and so impressed were the couple by my new solar panels that they have installed a set on the biggest lodge behind the Achray. My mention last month of my investment and possible returns met with mixed reaction – many thinking that I had it all wrong. Well, cynics, I have received my first Remittance Advice from Npower for the month of May and they are paying me £108 for the electricity I generated – plus we have saved around £50 on our electricity bill. Net result nearly £160 better off in a month for a £5,800 investment. I’ll keep 3

The St Fillans Bit

(Continued from p3) RA claimed that existing legislation re

followed the regime regularly. And it works, I am not exactly prancing around like Rudolph but I am greatly improved on a month ago. Lesson – listen to the professionals, maybe they do know what they are doing. Onto Blue Badges. I got one 3 years ago and it is invaluable. The process of getting one is amazingly complex, something like an 8 page form which asks things like on what exact date 8 years previously did which surgeon examine your knee or whatever. If you have records going back 8 years you are one in a thousand. The badge lasts 3 years then you renew. Now, the obvious simple question is ‘has there been any change in your condition in the past 3 years?’ But no – our highly pressurised local authority employees require that we fill in the same 8 page form that we did 3 years ago! And send a driving licence, and a passport, and a council tax bill. And they tell us there are no ways of saving in local government admin! Many of you, like me, will have been amused to see the latest Arran Brewers Press Release telling the world they have now bought 2 more pubs in England to renovate. It will soon be 3 years since Arran bought the Drummond with projections for opening bars and restaurants within 6 months and rooms ready for the Ryder Cup! The place remains a local eyesore – the filthy curtains on the East wing still dangle randomly. I’m sure that Arran are brighter than me but I personally would complete one project before starting numerous others. Meanwhile at the Four Seasons the seasonal menu has now changed to the Summer Menu. The new menu format is receiving positive feedback from locals and residents alike. Believe it or not they are already taking Christmas bookings so get in there. By the time you read this the Festive weekend will be just a week away. I’ve trailed it a lot but remember it’s Elvis on Saturday and the 3R Tenors on Sunday. Well worth supporting. I read in the Nationals that although antisocial behaviour is much reduced where new byelaws apply on Lomond the problem is getting worse on uncontrolled areas. From the lack of any publicity I take it the new controls promised for Loch Earn this Spring have not happened. But wandering up the North loch side I do see a marked reduction in the random and filthy loch side encampments from previous years. Is this, as I dared suggest last year, the authorities simply using the powers that already exist? Is it the case that instead of countless meetings and consultations over the years is it as the 4

antisocial behaviour, public drunkenness, litter, fouling with human waste etc. was adequate? Just get on and enforce the existing laws. I hear that the dreaded Japanese Knotweed has made a reappearance in the field north of Dundurn Walk. I understand that the LA are controlling it, hopefully successfully as we all remember the horrors of the last outbreak a few years back. Good news for sore backsides. Masterminded by John Forty it is hoped that very shortly the ancient chairs in the Sandison will be replaced by brand new ones. John kicked off the project by obtaining an anonymous donation of £500. At Richard Graham’s suggestion the villager were circulated asking for individual donations of £15 towards the fund. John tells me that virtually all villagers responded positively and the target was raised. A sample of the new seats is expected by 1 July and will be placed in the village shop for bum testing by villagers. For so many years we have all moaned about the existing chairs so all praise to John for solving the problem. The old chairs will be gifted to the Festive Committee for use at their various events. John Murray

Dhanakosa Open Day

The annual open day on 13th June at Dhanakosa Buddhist Retreat Centre on Loch Voil was the most popular yet. We welcomed over 200 visitors to the house, gardens and extensive grounds. Many who came were local people, including volunteer park rangers and two women who had good memories of the restaurant food when the building used to be the Ledcreich Hotel. Other attendees had been on a retreat at Dhanakosa and were bringing friends and family to show them round and share this special place. People curious about Dhanakosa and our retreat programme also came along, including a couple who had made the trip from Manchester, and we’ve taken several bookings from attendees following the event. During the day people could tour the house and grounds, meet the resident community, talk about our retreat programme, try a meditation taster session, browse the bookshop and sample some great home-cooked vegan food. Freshly made soup, bread, scones and cakes were freely available throughout the day. Feedback was very positive and many people stayed for several hours; chatting, relaxing and enjoying the warm and friendly atmosphere. For more information about Dhanakosa see or call 01877 384213 01877 384213

U3A Visit to Forth Valley College

School holidays are upon us and many of our members are either going away themselves or working out their schedules for helping with grandchildren. Courses are winding down, some of them with a final fling; the Wine Tasting group held an afternoon tasting followed by a fourcourse dinner in Gartmore Village Hall; the Current Affairs group will hold a light-hearted quiz followed by a Bring-and-Share lunch. For the French students there is the opportunity to practise the language during the summer by joining the Group Leader for coffee at the Old Bank Café in Callander every Wednesday morning from 10.30am to 12 noon. Members who prefer to chat in English can gather every Friday morning; same time, same place. For those who want to keep active, the Table Tennis group will continue to meet every Friday morning at McLaren Leisure Centre. The Committee is not allowed much free time as the AGM is being organised and timetables for next year are being drawn up. Suggestions for new groups have been put forward and include Architecture, Model-making and Badminton. We are looking for new leaders and anyone interested should contact the Secretary through our website. The AGM will be held in Callander Kirk Hall on Thursday 27 August at 2.00pm followed by refreshments and Enrolment for the next session starting in September. Membership forms will be sent to all members at the beginning of August.

Creagan House is Congratulations to the children who performed at the Strathyre Music Festival. Although they were nervous they sang really well. The children, who named themselves “Choir Kids” for their performance, are following the National Youth Choir of Scotland’s “Go For Bronze’ scheme. The scheme, which is based on the famous Kodaly method, teaches children general musicianship, through games and song. The group, which has now been running for 9 months, meets on a Monday Session at The Inn after school at The Inn in Strathyre. The children are half way to achieving their musical fun. If you would like to discuss your child first certificate already and are learning joining the group please contact Emma all about rhythm, pitch, reading and for more details writing music. Many thanks to Steve at the Inn for allowing the group to use the space there. Thanks also to Emma Versteeg who continues to run the group despite moving away from Strathyre. The group takes a break over the summer holidays but will start up again on 24th August. Any new recruits are very welcome to come and join in and there is also a pre-school singing class for any 3-5 year olds who would like to come and have some Music Festival Performance

Open For Business

Again Following his fall from grace – well, off a ladder, Gordon and Cherry Gunn would like to thank all the friends and local guests for their offers of help and best wishes during Gordon’s lengthy recovery from some cracked and broken ribs. For more information please visit our website : Cherry and Gordon Gunn Creagan House Restaurant with Rooms Strathyre Callander Perthshire FK18 8ND Tel: 01877 384638 Fax: 01877 384319



The Eagle has Landed

provide a boost for local businesses as well.” Mike Steward, a retired wildlife forester who ran the conservation group Eagle Watch with local conservationist Bridget MacCaskill, said “This carving is a welcome addition to our village and I hope it will bring nature lovers to Strathyre and the surrounding area to appreciate this incredible work and the natural beauty it sits amongst. At the same time this carving will raise awareness of the dire threats facing Scotland’s Golden Eagle population.”

Rock and Roll Bingo Fundraiser Strathyre primary school parents put on a rock and roll bingo fundraiser night on Friday 19th June and it was fantastic we had a great turn out and raised £1017.10 which will help the school tremendously. I wanted to thank everyone for coming and local people and businesses for their support and donations which were overwhelmingly generous and a final thankyou to my wing-woman Sarah Gibson who never lets me down. Hopefully we can do it again sometime. Melanie Brydie

Knights, steeds and lances at Linlithgow Palace

A majestic eagle carving has been installed by Stirling Council in Strathyre. The beautiful wood sculpture, carved from oak heartwood, is part of a wider project being run in woodlands around the Stirling area in conjunction with the Forestry Commission, Loch Lomond and Trossachs Countryside Trust and Scottish Natural Heritage. A fairy village at Doune Hill in Aberfoyle and carvings telling the story of Stirling’s history at the Back Walk near Stirling Castle have attracted large numbers of visitors since they were installed in the spring. Nicole Paterson, Stirling Council’s 6

Senior Manager of Environment, said: “The eagle carving highlights Strathyre’s reputation as a centre to see all sorts of birds of prey and wildlife. We hope that it will attract more people to enjoy the countryside around Strathyre, which boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in Scotland, and perhaps even spot a real Golden Eagle. The Trossachs are one of the most southerly areas to have been home to Golden Eagles. “This carving is part of a wider programme of work that has been going on to increase interest in our woodlands, increase visitor numbers and hopefully

Spectacular Jousting tournament to return this July Knights and their steeds are once again getting ready to take to Linlithgow Palace and Peel to entertain visitors in a medieval jousting tournament with the return of Spectacular Jousting this July. Taking place on Saturday 4th and

out to help care for and maintain historic properties, such as Linlithgow Palace, using traditional skills and techniques. Spectacular Jousting will take place on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th July from 12.30-4.30pm. Tickets to this event can be bought on the day as well as in advance and are priced at £12.00 for adults, £9.60 for concessions, £7.20 for children (aged 5-15 years old) with under-fives going free. Family tickets are also available.

Sunday 5th July, Linlithgow Palace will host a two-day medieval jousting tournament. Armour-clad knights mounted on horseback will battle it out in the arena to be crowned champion of the joust. The weekend-long event will allow visitors to step back in time through the centuries, to experience what a real medieval jousting tournament might have been like. This once favourite form of entertainment enjoyed during the Middle Ages will be brought back to life in a series of battles and displays of technique, horsemanship and skill. As well as the opportunity to discover more about jousting, visitors will gain a real insight into these battles as they cheer their chosen knight to glory during the main clashes in the arena. There will also be demonstrations of foot combat on the Peel, whilst a jester will be sure to keep the crowds entertained with fun and foolery. Historical costumed performers will also be on hand in the medieval themed living history camps providing an insight into life around the joust, whilst in the palace itself visitors will have the opportunity to learn more about the dishes that might once have been enjoyed by knights and ladies during the period. There will also be an opportunity to get an insight into some of the other pursuits and pastimes from the era, such as the royal favourite sport of falconry. This year also sees the return of the ever-popular ‘hobby-horse’ jousting, specially created for younger visitors so that they too can be a knight for the day. Visitors can also get hands on with arts and craft activities in the Palace inspired by the medieval joust. Visitors will also have the chance to see and hear first-hand from our stone masons about the work that they carry

A 10% discount is available when tickets are purchased online in advance. This popular event is free for Historic Scotland Members. For more information and to purchase tickets for Spectacular Jousting 2015, please visit: Parking is available over the course of the weekend, through a managed car parking system.

Stirling’s Low Carbon Future Stirling’s Low Carbon Future is a new environmental project covering Stirlingshire offering wood upcycling workshops and energy advice to the Strathyre area. Get in touch directly for information on volunteering opportunities, impartial energy advice and inspiring wood workshops or look out for the team attending local events in the summer, including the Lochearnhead Highland Games on 25th July.

Find out more: Contact Morag Buxel, Volunteer Coordinator 07436 547972 7

Church News BalquhiĐĐer •bls Reg. Charity No. SC012316

A Note from

St Angus’s

At last we have a winner for last month’s challenge - to find the meaning of Pentecost and the Jewish festival which occurs at the same time. Sandy Muir came up with the answers very promptly and so wins the prize. Pentecost means fiftieth in Greek and is celebrated in the Christian Church on the nearest Sunday to fifty days from Easter. Savuoth is the Jewish festival which occurs at the same time. So congratulations to Sandy Muir. In our Home Group we have been looking at the first letter of Peter. The first few verses refer to the Lord Jesus Christ having “brought about in us that rebirth which leads to a living hope...” There is so much scathing talk - in and out of Christian circles - about “born again Christians” but actually I believe the two are inseparable. Jesus himself says “unless a man is born again of water and the spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God”. Some of you who read this are not too young to remember William Barclay at one time Professor of Divinity at Glasgow University. Writing in his commentary he says this “The Christian rebirth happens by the will and by the act of God. It is not something which a man achieves any more than he achieves his physical birth... this rebirth is the work of the Spirit... in this rebirth he is cleansed from himself... that is not to say the man who is reborn will never sin but it is to say that every time he falls he will be given the power and grace to rise again... because the life of God is in him he is cleansed from the essential unforgiving bitterness of the self-centred life and there is in him something of the forgiving and sacrificial love of God.” As I remember him from his broadcasts in the 1960’s (yes I AM old!) William Barclay was a man with his thoughts in Heaven but his feet firmly planted on the ground and someone who knew what he was talking about. His words might be worth giving serious thought to. 8

Work on the manse in Killin has started and it is hoped will be completed by the end of August. When it has been approved by Presbytery, we hope to advertise for a new minister. The Vacancy Committee is planning its first meeting for early July so as to meet formally with the Interim Moderator, Revd Terry Ann Taylor. We pray that the discussions will progress smoothly and, above all, that there will be some applicants interested in the rural linked parishes of Balquhidder and Killin. Meanwhile, church life goes on with our regular Sunday services at 11.30 am. In July, we shall welcome the Clan MacLaren Society to our Sunday service on Games Sunday, 26th July as well as the Clan Gregor Society who have their own service on that day at 3.00 pm. So, there will be more folk in church that weekend, not to mention plenty of kilts and tartan. Then in August we shall celebrate St Angus Day. Traditionally, this is always the first Wednesday after the second Tuesday that month. It is a joy to commemorate the bringing of Christianity to the glen back in the 7th or 8th century. We usually have a short service in the church at 6.30 pm and this is followed at about 7.00 pm by the A.G.M. of the Friends of Balquhidder Church Association. We thank the Friends most sincerely for their support of the church here. As ever, we wish more local people would come to enjoy the simple, straightforward Sunday services which really do set us up for the week ahead. We all need spiritual comfort and help from time to time, and sharing in prayer and hymn singing provides that and much more besides. Jean Edwards

DOCTORS 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 afternoons will be on: Thursday 24th September 2015 and

Marianne Hendry was presented with flowers, a card and all the very best of wishes in her new role within Stirling Council from the staff and pupils at Strathyre Primary School. She will be greatly missed by us all. Christine Campbell

Real Ale - Real Music

Tuesday 20th October 2015 Both practices and community nurse clinic will close at 12.30pm. Emergency cover will be provided by NHS24 for nursing and GPs. In the event of an emergency, please telephone 111. On that afternoon, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments.

Bracklinn Practice If you require urgent medical attention when the surgery is closed please contact NHS24 on 111. Make sure you have enough medication to last you over the holiday period, and if you think you will run out, order your medication early or ask for 2 months supply.


My favourite recipes... by Katarzyna Sujanova

Nettle soup Nettle soup is a very nutritious meal and very tasty too, it is made with stinging nettles, the best when made at this time of year, when there are plenty of fresh young nettle leaves. The light green leaves are more delicate in taste, but this soup can be made even in the early autumn. Darker leaves contain more iron and folic acid. There are plenty benefits of using nettles. This herb is rich in vitamins and minerals. It gently cleanses the body of metabolic wastes and is recommended for woman during pregnancy. It is an excellent herb for anaemia and fatigue and is accessible for everyone so easily. Remember to use gloves or scissors to pick the leaves up. Ingredients Large knob of butter 1 oz oatmeal 2 pints of vegetable stock 1 pint of milk 2-3 cups of nettle leaves Salt Pepper Optional: 2 cloves of garlic 2 bay leaves Place the butter and the oatmeal in a pan, fry until golden, add stock and milk, garlic and bay leaves, boil, add nettles,cook for 4-5 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Purée the soup with the blender. Serve with boiled egg and cream. Enjoy!


Balquhidder’s Local Farming Hero Regular viewers of Countryfile will already know that Cameron Hendry from Balquhidder appeared on the programme when they were looking for Britain’s farming heroes. A few weeks having past Cameron managed to find time in his very busy farming life to look back, along with mum Marianne, on the whole experience. It was a typically hectic time with Marianne about to leave for a hospital appointment when Darren Rice unexpectedly came rushing in to admit that he had put Cameron forward for the awards. This was minutes before the BBC contacted them to say the nomination was in the top ten. The next stage quickly followed when Adam Henson phoned to arrange to come to Balquhidder to film Cameron at work on their farm. At this point they knew they were now in the final three. The film crew duly arrived and two days of intensive activity followed. The first day concentrated on Cameron when he was supposedly “doing a normal day’s work” but in reality meant he had to walk up the same bit of hill five times talking to Adam! Fortunately the second day moved on to Marianne and Duncan so Cameron felt he could get on with his real work and Marianne just had to produce

to chat and, more importantly to them, they finally met the other finalist who was there. She was 82 years old Joan Bomford who was still looking after the family farm in Worcestershire. Cameron said he was very glad when she won the top award saying she deserved it and it meant he did not have to have his BAFTA moment and make a speech! Reflecting on the whole experience they felt it had given them a boost after such a difficult time for the family. Any element of competition had seemed totally irrelevant having lost David. Watching the programme was hard but they feel the people from Countryfile were genuine and wanting to help and support them if possible. They might also be able to do a follow up feature in the future.

Cameron with Adam Henson

a pasta supper for fourteen people. They both felt that overall the two days had been great fun and all the people from the BBC had been easy to have around and very appreciative of what they providedand the stunning scenery which would make such good television. The next stage came with the invite to the “Food and Farming Awards” ceremony in Bristol- and a taste of luxury hotel life for a night being very well looked after by the BBC. Marianne claimed they were really amused when she was trying to get their tickets out of her bag at the entrance but the security people immediately recognised them as VIPs and escorted them straight through. Inside they met various celebrity chefs who all came up

Cameron Hendry

Saturday 25 July 2015

Cupcake Heaven Freshly baked, delicious flavour for every occasion. Boxed individually or in 4, 6 or 12 cakes for Birthdays, Anniversaries or other occasions. Celebration Cakes made to order. Contact Loraine on 01567 830368 or for flavours and prices. Will deliver f.o.c. locally


View from the Park by Owen McKee With the end of the consultation period on the YOUR PARK lochside proposals we now have the anxious wait until the minister publishes her decision. Obviously there will be a time lapse to give the matter mature consideration but we are pressing for as early a decision as possible. Our hope is that we will hear by September and that the minister will endorse our proposals so that we can get the works underway to ensure that everything possible is in place for the start of the 2016 season. And our lochsides are not the only thing that is receiving our attention. Tyndrum and gold is a combination which will be a focus for some time. It is not the goldmine but gold panning which is causing some concern. With it having already been established that there is gold in them thar hills it is understandable that panning enthusiasts are visiting the area in greater numbers. On the one hand local businesses welcome the additional trade this provides but on the other there is concern - and the local businesses share that concern - that insufficient action is being taken to protect the Crom Allt which is part of a Special Area of Conservation and is the burn where most of the panning takes place. This is another case where individuals point out that they have the right to pan for gold and want that right protected. Oh that life was that simple. As always there are complicated and confusing issues surrounding ownership of gold - and other minerals - and who is responsible for what. Add to that the risks to the environment that the disturbance of sediments may cause. Some, and I emphasise that it is a small number, over enthusiastic panners are using what can only be described as industrial methods of panning. Fortunately there are a goodly number of responsible panners and these, backed by two national gold pannng associations, wish to see the introduction of a permit based system similar to that operating at Leadhills where there is a well-established mining heritage exhibition centre. Discussions 12

are ongoing and the Leadhills operation will be taken into account and hopefully a solution can be found which will satisfy the competing interests. We may have only one high school within the Park but our education and inclusion officer has established communication with a wide range of schools throughout the central belt and last week we had a presentation from two of those schools on how the Park was assisting in the development of the educational facilities open to the schools. One of the schools served one of Glasgow’s deprived areas where the opportunity for field trips was restricted. The Park Authority funded the cost of a coach and brought the students to our field centre at Balmaha where they were able to cover some sections of the Higher Geography curriculum. This introduction to the Park has sparked further interest from these students who have returned with their families. The other presentation was from a school catering for children with special needs. The visits have helped calm the children and there has been considerable improvement in their behaviour. The visits to the Park are now well established as is the improvement to the childrens’ wellbeing. And so to McLaren, the only High School in the Park. There we have been able to engage with 12 pupils who have taken advantage of our Junior Ranger programme. They have been working with our Rangers to sample the range of activities they undertake from path maintenance to conservation practices and the many and varied duties in between. These youngster take their experiences back to help with the education of their peer group and the Park benefits all around. Owen McKee As always I can be contacted as follows: Post: Tigh Na Bhuth, Lochearnhead. Phone: 01567 830214 01567 830214 email:

Tweedageddon The Royal Highland Show is probably the third largest ticketed event in Scotland, after the Edinburgh Festivals and T in the Park. It has been an annual event for nearly two hundred years and currently exists as a four-day celebration of the cultural collision between acres of tweed, forests of wellington boots and great steaming piles of manure, all worn or produced by attendees from a considerable number of species. It is, definitively and definingly, Country. So imagine every rural fayre you’ve ever been to, merged into one and redoubled. There are fashion stalls, craft stands and show rings. There are marquees for people, marquees for animals and marquees for those who aren’t sure which they are. There are high-end cars and lowend burger bars, high-slung tractors and low-slung ducks. All attendees are catered for by the many food halls and stands, whose raw ingredients can oft be seen and heard in the adjacent show rings. There are goats, sheep and cattle of all sizes, colours and degrees of hairiness, from every known, and a number of hitherto unsuspected, breeds. These in turn are fed, shampooed and combed by humans of equally variable and often matching size, shape and hirsute eccentricity. Often the only visible distinction between species is the amount of tweed worn. And, of course, there are the horses. Lots of horses, from the stumpy cuteness of the Shetlands, through the elegant power and agility of the Hunters and onwards and upwards to the might and calm good humour of the various Heavy Horse breeds. All are invariably accompanied by a phalanx of interchangeable and behelmeted Penelopes and Cassandras in their uniforms of tweed, lycra and leather. The RHS also goes large on the celebration of Scotland’s foodie heritage. To be strictly accurate though, Scotland hasn’t got a foodie heritage, its inhabitants having spent the last few thousand years being pleased just to be able to eat anything that won’t fight back on equal terms and which then doesn’t try to murder you from the inside. But we live in effete and decadent times and Scotland now seems to have hit the sweet spot of high quality ingredients, imaginatively and skilfully prepared by a new generation of chefs who can actually tell a Santoku from a Sgian Dubh. And not every dish involves haggis, although I will grant you a few prejudice points for spotting the haggis ice cream stand. This was definitely one of the better catered

events I’ve been to, even if “Mr Porky’s Artisan Grill” could do with a little focussing of its brand message. The pork was good though. And, yes, the Country does have its own fashionista, represented by traditional brands like Barbour (the very reason you don’t specify white leather in your Range Rover, dahling…), Dubarry and Le Chameau as well as nouves from and for the Polo set like Holland Cooper – where else would there be models elegantly showcasing the latest EskimoNell-meets-Bertie-Wooster look whilst accessorising with thermals and wellies? Dig a little deeper and you’ll even find stands dedicated to the social nuances of different categories of said wellies. So if cuisine is relatively arriviste in Scotland, so is a deal of the fashion. Matalan is notable by its absence. Then there are blacksmiths who shoe the horses and make the gates that keep them in, and there are blacksmiths who create large public art works, the latter most definitely POA. Merely passing through the car park provides a history of the Land Rover brand in all its incarnations, from patchworkriveted Series II Landies (forget the Series Is – they’re all now in collections) through to immaculate new, full-fat Range Rovers with custom-veneered gun cabinets and tweed bunnets, the latter left lying – oh so casually – on the dash top. There’s another, separate, park for the many and various horse transporters, which themselves range from the decrepit to the diamanté.

It’s also probably the only place where you’ll see stands promoting both kinds of AI – one from the Scottish government’s promotion of our native technology and the other from seriouslooking people in white coats waving large syringes. The results of the latter are more evident in the show rings, there not (as yet) being a competition for the best-groomed robot. And, of course, the RHS is full of people of, from and aspiring to, the Country Life. But, where events like Henley too often and too obviously showcase England’s hardy annual crop of braying Hoorays, their Scottish counterparts still seem to manage a nicely understated and oldeworlde reserve and politesse: in the course of a day’s wandering around, I met no-one who wasn’t at least polite and quite a number whose helpfulness went above and beyond the call. I do think it fair though to suggest that the Scottish Socialist Party probably wasn’t heavily represented. And, naturally, where there are farmers – gentlemen, ladies or otherwise – you’ll find farm machinery. All of it very shiny, very, very large, and dedicated to wringing the last Eurocent of profit or subsidy out of any and all types of land. Above all though, the RHS is nothing if not eclectic: I noticed

that a certificate of commendation had been given to a Wombat pot hole repairing machine. An admirably fair-minded award for something for which there probably isn’t a huge demand outside of Queensland.


The weekend of 29-31 May 2015 saw the return of The Strathyre Music Festival for its third outing! This year saw a change to the setup, with the Festival Market being moved down to the Commission Field enabling families to enjoy the wealth of musical talent in a safe and secure environment. Festival goers were kept entertained over the weekend by talented bands ranging from local talent like The Wanted Men, Dudach and Balvaig to bands from other areas, such as Papa Shandy &The Drams, The David Latto Band and Strathyre favourites The Deadly Winters Friday night was introduced this year with an evening of the young and upcoming artists and bands showing off their wonderful musical talents, bands such as Deep As Grass, Something Someone - front woman for this band said ‘Strathyre is a great festival to play at, that was my second time and it just keeps getting better and better. The crowd is warm and welcoming and there’s so many great acts to see!’ We saw local lad Steven Smart return to the village and headline the evening with TapeDeck 45, such amazing talent! Little festival goers were kept entertained with a ‘Mad Hatters Tea Party’ face painting andfairground rides, also available over the weekend were music workshops, on the Saturday Phill Ragsdell from Lochearnhead held a Drum Workshop which allowed festival goers a chance to have a go at making some noise! On Sunday we saw the return of the infamous Strumelele, who held a Ukulele Workshop. Were joined on Sunday by Kim Sibbald, hula hoop extraordinaire! And Cosmo Blake, the master of juggling, they held Circus Workshops throughout the afternoon and gave us a performance in the main marquee! A drum kit was raffled over the weekend, thanks to Phill Ragsdell, we managed to raise a fantastic £575 for McMillan Nurses, and the kit was won by Gordon King from Callander, well done! Overall a fantastic weekend, big thanks to all who helped with this year’s event! 14

All Photos Curtesy of Allardyce Photography


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 reports on a painful tale (tail) ....

It may seem a bit gruesome to some people, but then nature is cruel. So many nature programmes show everything in good health, no injuries or dying. The end in nature can be slow and painful or swift and sudden by the predator, usually the weakest go first, this is nature’s way and the most efficient in the scheme of things. My photographs tell of a little saga being staged in in the garden area here where there is a large population of Red Squirrels.

And now a photo of of what a GOOD taiul should look like. Old Nyati

A healthier tail to cheer us all up!

This Squirrel was first noticed with an obvious injury to its tail. Quite how this happened is open to question. Was it during escape from a Pine Martin, a domestic Cat or an accident injury in some way? It looks as though the tail will eventually drop off, but will the squirrel be too handicapped without good balance to survive a life in the trees. As the days go by it is becoming apparent that there is some spreading disability to one back leg, either by spreading infection or overloading of muscle through lack of balance. The wee chap is still able to climb onto the peanut feeder, and take evasive action into the trees when needed, but what will be the eventual outcome. Will nature be cruel and lingering or will there be a swift end from a Buzzard or a Fox. We have to wait and see.

Glenorchy Farm

Free range rare breed pork for sale

We sell fresh pork as 1/2 pigs (20kg) and 1/4 pigs (10kg) every 3 months, next available - Mid August. We also sell frozen pork, sausages and bacon and can arrange drop off points in the local area Contact: Fiona MacLennan t: 07783116399 e: facebook: Glenorchy Farm


BALQUHIDDER BROADBAND UPDATE Fast Broadband, Slow Politics Having succeeded in obtaining funding from Community Broadband Scotland for the provision of fast broadband to Balquhidder and its outlying areas, it’s been quite a busy couple of months: We’ve formed Balquhidder Community Broadband, a Community Interest Company (CIC) which will manage the process of getting the infrastructure we need in place and then running the service from the community’s perspective. The initial directors of the company are Richard Harris, David Johnston, Mark Venables, Fearghas McKay and Donald McGregor but the idea is that everyone who wants to subscribe to the service will become a shareholder. We’ve written and issued an Invitation to Tender (ITT) which has gone out both directly from ourselves and via CBS, to solicit potential suppliers to come up with solutions to providing us with fast and futureproof broadband. Closing date for proposals is 3 July, so we’re eagerly awaiting a range of options to work through and choose from. David Johnston was invited to talk about Balquhidder’s communications issues at the President’s seminar at this year’s Royal Highland Show. Given that

Taking questions - Katy Lamb (Kinlochard Village Hall), Derek Logan (Dolby Medical), Angus Annan (Blair Logie Business Park), David Johnston (Balquhidder Community Broadband), Phil Hogan (European Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Devlopment), Brebdan Dick (Director BT Scotland). Not shown - David Mundell (Secretary of State for Scotland)

the audience included the relevant EU Commissioner and BT’s MD for Scotland, the presentation and subsequent discussions were very useful indeed and we’ve got various follow-up meetings arranged. If all goes to plan (which is always unlikely), we hope to be able to provide a service to the glen by early next year. As one of the options is to lay our own fibre optic cable the length of Balquhidder and

Ballimore glens, we may well be looking for volunteers with digging machinery to help install it, once we’ve got the agreement of all landowners along the route. Which is likely to take longer than the actual installation. We’ll be posting updates on the web site, at Any queries should be sent to, or collar any of us when you see us on the road. Richard Harris



A great day out for families ands everyone in beautiful Balquhidder, with lots of family fun, three cycle challenges and activities for all. Grab your wheels and come along if you are keen...

FAMILIES WITH BIKES! MOUNTAIN BIKERS, ROAD CYCLISTS, and KIDS BIKE AGILITY COURSE BIKE CHECKS/CLINIC FUN TENT with face painting and “Style it up” bike decorating! FOOD Coffees, Teas, Home Baking & BBQ at the village hall. Whatever way you look at it, you’re in for a whole lot of family fun!


The NAT7 challenge is a 12k loop on the fully tarmacked National 7cycle route Depending on ability riders should register to start in group A or B. Families and individuals are then invited to join a third mass start group of ‘mellow pedallers’ and ride all or part of the way round the loop in their own time! Casual ‘mellow pedallers’ are free to enter and there is no need to register.


The Kirkton X-Country 1000ft ascent for mountain bikes. The KXC1000 is a 10k cross-country mountain bike challenge on the forestry tracks and forests of Kirkton Glen. It comprises a 1000ft ascent over 4.7k to the head of the glen, followed by a wide grinned 2.5k decent on forestry roads. There is then a further 500m climb on forest roads before reaching a pleasing level grassy single-track traverse through the trees, and finally, a white knuckle 1k downhill section on a newly created mountain bike track back to the start.


The 2k Open Sprint Duathlon – 400m Run plus 1600m Cycle The 2k Open Sprint Duathlon is open to all ages 13 years+. This is a hilarious 18

fast and furious head to head challenge. Two other duathlon events will take place on the day. The MICRO Duathlon for up to 8 year olds and the MINI Duathlon for 9 to 12 year olds. These two children’s events (in Kirkton field) are FREE to enter and do not require registration.

Event Times

KXC1000 – NAT7 Loop – Duathlon –

1100am 2.00pm 4.00pm

For more information or to register for NST7, KXC1000, Duathlons visit the Balquhidder Village Hall website at:

BEETLE MANIA The Killin and Crianlarich Nursery Parents’ Group held their Beetle Drive as planned on the 6th June. There was a decent turn out and much fun was had by all. We also managed to raise around £600 into the bargain, which will be spent on doing up the outdoor play areas at both nurseries.

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

Some Older Beetlers remembering previous games

Abbey’s Minstrels

Abbey Arkotxa organized a fantastic band of minstrels for the night (many hailing from our 3 villages) with Katie McLeod rallying the audience into an impromptu ceilidh once the games were complete! The children were doing some amazing free-styling on the dance floor with us adults struggling to keep up! A huge thank you to all the wonderful musicians who gave up their time to support the event, it really made the night.

What was also heart-warming about the whole experience was the great team work in the organisation of the event with parents from both nurseries working alongside the nursery staff but also with members of the wider community. There were too many to mention by name but so many local businesses donated fantastic prizes for the raffle, Co-op and Yvonne from the Wee Bake Shop were brilliant in letting us buy goods “sale or return”, Gordon from the Killin Drama Club and Kay at the Killin library (always a star!) also did a lot to help. Gareth successfully navigated the storm of children wanting to play “Hook the Beetle” (with baby in arms too for much of the time). A personal thank you to Trevor Woodward who stepped in to look after baby Erin while I was busy with the raffle and Gareth was manning the Beetle Game. Be careful, Trevor, you might get yourself hired as a nanny one of these days! And our own Alan Sneddon displayed a hidden talent as an auctioneer so we will have to remember that for future fundraising events!

Aberfoyle Deanston Gartmore Lochearnhead Balfron Doune Killin Strathyre Buchlyvie Drymen Kinlochard Stronachlachar Callander Gargunnock Kippen Tyndrum We may be able to build in other communities in the future – please let us know to if you want to live in a village that is not listed above. Information on local housing need and demand helps us plan for the future. If you are interested 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

Scottish Wildlife Trust Callander Local Group Diary 2015 Talks start at 7:30pm Kirk Hall, South Church Street, Callander. **Note the change of venue** 5 July SWT Balsam Bash: 10-13:00, meet Geisher Road Surgery Car Park 25 July Bottle, plant and SWT Stall fund-raising event for Callander SWT group 10-16:00, Ancaster Square:

Some Young Beetlers

It was heart-warming during the evening to see the young and not so young side by side at the game tables having fun. The great thing about Beetle Drives is that you have to switch opponents at the end of every round so it is a brilliant way to get different people from the community mixing that otherwise might not. Beetle Drives have become a bit of a thing of the past and I have to confess to being a bit nervous beforehand about upsetting people by making them all switch tables but I think it really worked. Here’s to more Beetle Drives in the future- I am a definite convert!

Do you need an affordable home ?

The new season of talks will start in September 2015. Dance Time

So a huge thank you to all those who came, participated, helped set it up, donated prizes, bought raffle tickets or played us lovely music! We will make sure your generously donated money gets well spent! Karen Kett

EVERYONE WELCOME! Admission £2 members, £2.50 non-members, free to full-time students. Includes tea/coffee & biscuits.

Please book with Lesley Hawkins 01877 339080 or


Again this month we have seen some further dishonesty in the area. Overnight from the 16th to the 17th June, a large quantity of lead was stolen from a locked container at Stronvar House in Balquhidder which is currently undergoing renovation work. Alongside the lead, a quantity of power tools was also taken. The perpetrators managed to overcome the security measures in place and make off with the items. Given it was slightly less than 2 tonnes of lead which was stolen, it was not a five minute job. I appreciate those who have already been in touch with information, it proves invaluable. One local resident has provided details of a vehicle and male occupant that we’d be keen to trace. The vehicle is question was a new style Ford Transit van, white in colour with no visible markings that arrived at Stronvar House around 1700hrs on Tuesday 16th May. The vehicle had one occupant who was described as a male aged between 3040 years of age, with short dark hair and protruding teeth with a visible gap. The van was observed to reverse back into the front of the house and it stayed for 5-10 minutes before leaving and going back out towards the bridge. If the description of this male or vehicle rings any bells, please get in touch with me. I would like to thank the local residents who assisted me greatly in apprehending a male in Strathyre over the weekend of the Music Festival. As many of you will no doubt be aware, a serious RTC occurred South of Strathyre on the approach to Doctor’s Corner. The male driver from the vehicle involved, who was injured, made off from the scene in efforts to evade the police. During the course of our enquiries, several local residents came forward and provided me with a positive identification of the driver which allowed the male to be taken into police custody. By the nature of my job, I cannot be everywhere at once and I cannot stress how much I rely on the assistance of the community to provide eyes and ears to me when I’m dealing with things elsewhere or off duty. On several occasions now the local community have assisted in providing information and I would like to take the opportunity to pass on my sincerest thanks. I have visited a number of local residents already in relation to a 20

Smartwater initiative that has been running in conjunction with Police Scotland. Smartwater is a forensic solution which can be applied to property as a means of marking it, and the chemical DNA of each solution in unique in order to allow recovered property to be reunited with the owners. Smartwater is a solution that has police approval and during security surveys we usually recommend the product. Over the past few months, Smartwater have provided a number of samples of the solution for distribution. I have recently been given a small number of samples to provide to members of the community who have either previously been victims of theft, or are deemed to be vulnerable due to their location. I have distributed a few samples already and I am trying to juggle

‘Smartwater’ marked Jewellery

this alongside my day to day duties. If I haven’t already been in touch, and you think that you’d be interested in a sample, please let me know. It will be handed out on a first come first served basis and can only be provided to domestic users and not business premises. On the 1st of July the police will be working alongside Smartwater and various other organizations such Agricar, NFU and Scottish Land and Estates to name but a few, as we launch our local rural crime initiative at the United Auctions Market at Stirling. This initiative is purely aimed and working closely with the farming and rural communities in order to tackle rural crime. It should be an interesting day and we are looking forward to see what results it brings. As always, I can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at w i l li am.di amond@s c otl and.pnn. Regards, PC Will Diamond

The Mystic Hunt of the Unicorn Unveiled A 14 year project to recreate the lost tapestries of James V has been completed at Stirling Castle. The final tapestry in the series ‘The Mystic Hunt of the Unicorn’ woven by Master Weavers at West Dean Tapestry Studio will be unveiled at Stirling Castle marking the culmination of the biggest tapestry project undertaken in the UK in the last 100 years. The project was commissioned by Historic Scotland in 2001 as part of a wider project to restore the interiors of the palace of James V to how they may have looked in the 1540s, when it was home to James’ wife Mary of Guise and their young daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots. It was known from royal inventories that when James V built the palace he owned over 100 tapestries, but there is no record of what happened to them. The inventories, however, described a set of tapestries depicting “the historie of the unicorne”. The team began extensive research which took them to the United States, and to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which is home to a set of seven 15th century Flemish tapestries ‘The Hunt of the Unicorn’. The result was a 14 year project to reinterpret and create the ‘Hunt of the Unicorn’ tapestries, bringing together 18 weavers from across the globe. Peter Buchanan, Project Manager for Historic Scotland, who oversaw the project from its inception to completion said: “It has been a privilege to watch these talented weavers painstakingly recreate the tapestries in all their Renaissance glory. Whilst we may never know what happened to the original tapestries, the fact that we now have these fantastic recreations, with the assistance of the Met in New York and through the generosity of our donors, will provide visitors to the castle now and for generations to come with a real insight into how the palace may have been at the time of James V.. Ruth Jones, the last weaver to work on the project, said: “It was fantastic to come on board as the 18th weaver on this unique project. Following in the footsteps of a medieval weaver has been a truly rewarding experience, and one that will stay with me for a long time. “Recreating the last tapestry, the Mystic Hunt of the Unicorn, from just two fragments of the original tapestry was an artistic challenge like no other, and one that I am particularly proud of.”



by Jonathan MacDonald In the garden the perfect colour scheme is yet to be achieved. There has never been a gardener who fully expects their plants to behave exactly as they should; the unexpected happens and confounds any pre-planned calculations. This does not obviate the desirability of some colour planning. Trying to create, as Piet Oudoulf calls the “dream landscape” will require considerations of plants afterlife and the ability for them to self-seed. If you were painting a harmonious picture of colour surely it best to put in a few touches of discordant colour to dispel an over-sweetness of unrelieved harmony? Often I find these touches of discord need not be planned and a joy is to be found when they almost surely appear by themselves. An experiment with mixing wildflowers and poppies and letting the seeds explode and spread allows this joy to appear year on year. You simply need to take care with the hoe in spring time as the seedlings appear. An early taught love of identifying weeds at the Cotyledon stage (first wee leaves) is as much a garden design skill as anything. Scheme for harmony therefore and you will end with contrast. Nature will fall in meekly with most of your plans and then, in sudden defiance, bring off a combination you will be proud off. It is tricky to rely on these happy accidents but if you are gardener who does not take life too seriously you will accept them with joy when they come. Perhaps you know what I mean. The colour wheel or chart is a much used tool for anyone involved in colour be it interior decorator, architect and quilter. It is about matching the colours to the neighbours on the wheel or to their opposites. One exception to the rule is crimson and scarlet, a colour with rules of their own. From a design point of view you need to know when flowers bloom as following the rule will fail if you plan a harmony of two plants who flower six months apart. Reading the labels is as good a start on this road as anything. Another choice is to either elect to go drifting or in mixtures or matrixes with annuals and perennials. Roberto Burle Marx the Brazillian notable avant garde artist experimented with big, bold plantings and never mixed colours instead choosing big swathes of single specimens. He worked on a much bigger scale than the amateur but his style is worth some study. Marx made his mark working on public landscapes which brought the style closer to the public and today I can’t help thinking the

Gertrude Jekyll’s Garden at Lindisfarne Castle

awful designs at supermarket car parks and the likes pay a very poor lip service to this style and for some reason the mono blocks of over clipped shrubs never seem to have the Marx impact. Piet Oudolf himself has become widely regarded in the same way. He put much effort into understanding which plants are happy coexisting and can get along year after year without too much trouble. A greater emphasis on structure over colour can be seen in his designs in fact he said famously that a plant is only worth growing if it looks good dead. Some of his designs take the look of old burnished antique shop windows. Off course the mother of good planting colour design is surely Gertrude Jekyll. Stevenson, a friend of the family borrowed the name for his famous novella. She certainly captured the romance of the arts and crafts movement, quite literally painting her gardens in elegant strokes and bringing new meaning to large borders and use

of warm and cool colours. Lindsfarne castle gardens is an excellent example that remains true to her original design. She worked closely with Sir Edward Lutyens a famous architect who was also at the forefront of the arts and crafts movement. He is famous for designing the Cenotaph as well as many important buildings. He also designed probably the most beautiful garden seat ever designed and is simply a touch of class in any garden. You often see these painted in egg shell greens and pale blues and in deference can be seen in many modern gardens richly planted and bowered. It was designed at the end of the 19th century and is instantly recognisable with its rounded armrests and it slight tipping of hat to the orient, a curved backrest with just enough support tapering to both sides to support two people. It has a timeless modern look and is still widely sold to this day and its modern blend of the formal and informal epitomises this mould breaking style of both these great artists.

Riverside Garden Centre

 Need  Inspiration?   Open  7  days  a  week:  9.30  -­‐  4.30   Tullybannocher,    Comrie,    (A85)    Tel:  01764  670800  


McLaren High School News Monachyle Mhor Work Experience On the 27 - 29 May four McLaren High school pupils went to Monachyle Mhor, Balquhidder for three days of work experience. There were four areas that we had the chance to work in, all of which are needed for a hotel to run smoothly. They were: kitchen, front of house, housekeeping and reception. Rhys Wykes chose front of house, Megan Pease and Rebecca Bryce the final stretch to both chose various areas where we camped to work in. I chose to that night. Once Laura King’s Panna Cotta work in the kitchen and we reached camp learnt new techniques and also how a we pitched our tents and made dinner professional kitchen works. At the end of before relaxing. On the second day we each day I would have at least one dish to walked from camp until we met the Glen show what I had learnt. On the first day Finglas path and it was then a fairly easy I picked my own salad leaves and flowers, walk to our lunch break and our finishing and nettles from the garden and then point at Brig O‘Turk. used them to make a nettle and pumpkin We would like to thank all the leaders seed pesto which I served with deep fried who have given up their weekends to help crispy oysters and carrot puree. On the us. These are some of the photos that I final day I made homemade crusty bread and my group took on our exhibition. in the morning and a cornflake panna Laura King S4 cotta with a mixed berry sorbet, chocolate custard and fresh summer berries in the Activities Week 2015 afternoon. June is traditionally the time in the I had a great time and all the food was school year when study trips, leisure delicious! It was also really interesting events and out of school visits take place. to see how dishes can be made using McLaren High has always encouraged local ingredients like the nettles and participation in these events because salad in the garden or the eggs that their of the contribution that this part of the own chickens laid. I would definitely curriculum makes to pupils’ social and recommend the experience to anyone personal development. Contact with whether they are interested in taking new people, places and situations acts as catering up as a career or not. a stimulus for learning, bringing ideas Laura King S4 and shared experiences back into the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Expeditions During the last few months all Bronze DofE groups have been going on their practice, and for some their qualifying, expeditions. I have been on both my practice and qualifying expedition and despite the sore feet and getting soaked I had a really good time! Our practice expedition took us on a hilly walk from the school to Loch Venacher where we camped that night and then to our finishing point at Loch Achray on the second day. Our group’s qualifying expedition began at Ledcharrie Farm near Crianlarich and from there we continued until we stopped by the Irishman’s Loch for lunch. We then continued walking over Kirkton Glen until we reached Rob Roy’s Grave at Balquhidder. It was then 22

London Trip

classroom whilst at the same time helping to develop positive relationships with staff and other pupils. Here are some pupil thoughts on their Activities. London 2015 We got to London at 2pm and it was very hot so I couldn’t wait to get out of my winter clothes and into my summer clothes! We went to Garfunkels for our tea and it was very yummy. After that we went to Hamleys toy shop – it is huge, there are 6 floors! Then we made our way to the theatre to watch the amazing Lion King – it was really good, but I didn’t understand it all. We went to the London Eye and I was so scared because I’m so bad with heights but I was OK because I had my friends with me and I could shut my eyes. I managed to open them at the top and there was an amazing view of Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and all these amazing skyscrapers. After the London Eye we made our way to the London Dungeons. It was terrifying – people just came out of nowhere! Then we went on some rides in water and got wet. It was an amazing experience. After that we went to the Sea Life Centre and saw all the fish and turtles and huge sharks. London was great and I hope I get to go back. Emily Black S2

Setting off on DOE Bronze Expedition

Crafty Creations Robbie Horrocks S4: For activities I chose to do crafty creations. My favourite part was making the book sculptures, I made four hedgehogs and I am going to teach my family how to make them. Brodie Haldane S3: For activities week I did

visit our website:

Book Hedgehogs

Crafty Creations, it was a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I found that I was actually decent at face painting! I made Jamie into Darth Maul from Star wars and made Jay into a skeleton, as well as practicing lots of other things. I also enjoyed making the book hedgehogs and paper butterflies.

coaster rides we wanted to go on. There were some really good rides but my favourite would have to be one called the “Aerosmith” it was a fast ride with loop da loops and sudden drops which was really fun! After lunch we all decided to go to the other park the “Disney Studios”. Once we had a full day in Disney we got our shuttle bus back to the hotel to get on to our coach which then led us around Paris for a whistle stop tour. On the tour we managed to see the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and a few other sights. Day four We spent the whole day in the park, in the morning all of us went on “Crushes Coaster” and “The Tower of Terror”. We had lunch then split up again in the groups of our choice, went on most of the rides again and walked over to the Disney shops to get some souvenirs and gifts. We went to have dinner and then we got one of the Disney buses back to our coach and started the long journey back home.

Painted Faces

Disneyland 2015 On day one we left the school at 8:15pm to travel to Disneyland Paris. I was very excited to start our trip. The bus journey was long but was fun at points On day three we woke up around 7am all very tired, we headed down for a quick breakfast then back to our rooms ready for a full day in the Disneyland Park. When we were all ready the group went to get a quick shuttle bus. Afterwards we got off and saw the signs for “Disneyland” and were really excited. In our groups we went off around the park to whichever roller

Finnished Cakes & Cookies

Cakes and Cookies It was good fun trying new recipes which looked good and were tasty. It was also good life skills for at home. Some of the things we tried were icing sculptures, smoothies, orange cheesecake, scones, shortbread, lemon drizzle cake, pavlova and pasta. Rebecca Wardrope S2

Pasta Cheese and Pupil Power

A child at Gargunnock Primary School in Stirling proved the value of “pupil power” this week, when a letter he wrote to Stirling Council changed the recipe of one of the most popular dishes on the school lunch menu. Eight-year-old Angus Smith was disappointed when his favourite school meal, macaroni cheese, changed recently. “It wasn’t cheesy enough, and I like it really cheesy,” he said. He wrote a letter to Stirling Council and organised for all his friends, who were also in favour of the old recipe, to sign a petition. Much to Angus’ and his parents’ surprise, a couple of days later the Council got in touch to say they would change the recipe – and Angus and the rest of the school would get to choose it. Margaret Gilmour, Stirling Council’s Facilities Management Manager, said: “When we got the letter, we thought ‘We’ve got to do something about that.’ I wrote back straight away and organised a trial at the school. It’s great that Angus and his friends used their initiative to get in touch with us, to help us improve our school meals. We want ????” This Tuesday lunchtime the entire school tucked into two different macaroni cheese recipes, carefully prepared by Council caterers Tracey Walker and Marianne Hendry, and voted on their favourite. Their choice will now be used in every primary and high school in the Stirling area from August. Angus gave his approval: “This one is definitely nicer than the one we normally have.” 23

Rusty McD is back wuth another 5 minute interview about animal pals in the community - furry, feathered or scaly...

5 minutes with... Darren, Tay and the Hens

Today I had the pleasure of meeting a friendly Beagle named Tay, a flock of much loved hens and Darren who takes great care of them all at Molmeg Cottage. This was my first Al Fresco interview and thankfully the midges were co-operative. We covered a huge range of topics from learning Cantonese to making cufflinks but eventually made it onto the animals…. So tell me about Tay? She’s a rescue dog from Beagle Welfare. When I was living in Hong Kong I had two Beagles, Molly and Megan. Hence the Mol Meg Cottage name. Sadly Megan died following an epileptic fit not long before I moved back to Scotland. I could tell that Molly was lonely so I got in touch with Beagle Welfare and they brought Tay to me. Tay was given to Beagle Welfare because she has Cushings disease. The medication she needs costs £80 per month and the family who had her previously couldn’t afford to keep it going. Without the medication her muscles would start wasting away. Fortunately Beagle Welfare covers the costs of the medication for Tay’s lifetime. She’s 14 now and has lived well. Tell us about your hens? Well my original plan was to have just 4 ex battery hens but when I arrived to pick them up I was persuaded to take 5. When they arrived they were completely bald and didn’t know how to express any natural behaviour like scratching. My lovely neighbour Alison knitted them wee cardigans to keep them warm until their feathers grew back. I kept them inside the hen house for a few days. When I finally opened the door they didn’t come out. The first time they stepped onto grass – it was like they got electric shocks – they had never felt grass under their feet before. The rain confused them too – since they had never felt rain on head they didn’t know what to do they just froze. Now they have forgotten their past lives and are very happy hens. I now have 12 adult hens as folk in the glen keep asking me to take in lonely hens that have managed to survive predator attacks. I have been lucky not to have lost any hens to the foxes, badgers and pine martens but I guess having Tay around the garden helps and I make sure I shut them in every night. I don’t have a cockerel – I’m a bit concerned about the noise for my neighbours but I bought some fertilised eggs on eBay for my broody. I bought 6 leghorns and 5 hatched (and as if they knew we were speaking about them a 24

proud Mother hen paraded her 5 fluffy white and black chicks along the garden for us). Do you have any good egg recipes? No – I only eat one a month! I sell the others – it pays for the feed and everyone seems to enjoy fresh free range eggs. I’ve got regular customers and I do my egg rounds once a week. What do you like so much about hens? They are very friendly and you get to know them. I love the rescue ones – they seem to be eternally grateful for being rescued. Recently someone came back to reclaim a hen they have given me but I found I couldn’t give her back – I get so attached to them. The special ones have names. There’s Georgina, Speckles, Bluebell, Magpie, Bumble and America (because she has a bald head). Would you think about getting any more animals? I’m never getting another dog. It’s too emotional when they die. (Darren’s other beagle Molly died just 2 weeks ago). Pygmy goats would be fun though. Have you ever kept anything else? I had ferrets from the age of ten until my teens – I come from Northern England and grew up with them. I used to breed and sell them. They were good company and would follow me out for walks. They are affectionate animals and not smelly like some people think. I couldn’t have any now though – hens and ferrets wouldn’t be a good combination. What do you like about living here in Balquhidder? It’s the community really. I lived in Edinburgh for a long time and never even knew my neighbours names. When I fell in my garden and badly broke my wrist people were incredible – everyone helped out with hospital runs, bringing food, doing my washing and ironing. Even now the Postie opens jars for me as I still have weakness in my hand. I like running my B&B and meeting the people that come through. People come from all over the world and I offer a dog

Darren with a hen

friendly accommodation. I used to live in Manchester but could never go back. I was in my office when the bomb went off. It was terrifying and I’ll never forget the sound, the smell and stuff falling down on me after the explosion. When I finally got back to my office 2 weeks later there were still shards of glass all over my chair. I left Manchester pretty quickly after that. Do you make the most of the great outdoors? Not as much as I should but I’m thinking of getting an inflatable canoe. It was good of you to contact Countryfile to nominate Cameron as a farming hero. I just had to do it. Watching Cameron carry on on Christmas Day and then watching Duncan and Cameron seeing to cows on Boxing Day was so inspirational. I thought that they deserved some recognition.. I sent the email without even asking their permission. When I got a reply a week later to say that Cameron had been chosen I legged it up to Immeroin Farm to ask the family’s permission. The Director called whilst I was on my way up their drive. Fortunately they took it well and I’m so pleased that Cameron has been supported by the programme with the advice and help they have promised. I’m still shocked by the loss though - every time I see David’s truck I expect him to stick his hand out the window and wave.

Farm Forum: Title “In Out Shake It All About” As I write we are just twenty four hours from the longest day and we still have far more snow on the hills than normal, especially on North East faces. I will be surprised if some patches do not remain for the whole “summer”. It is estimated that things are at least one month behind normal and this has serious repercussions for every sector of the farming industry. The availability of hay and silage for next winter being vital for the livestock sector. The Highland Show has once again been a success, more people than ever attending over the four days and as normal it spawned the usual rash of seminars. One of the most important visitors was the EU Agricultural Commissioner who emphasised the importance of simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy, but of more immediate concern he believed there was room within the current legislation for dealing with disproportionate penalties for accidental errors in registering for the new scheme. The deadline for registering was extended by one month because the Government introduced a new computer programme that had teething problems. That, combined with a new CAP that was still being adjusted, caused considerable problems to put it mildly. Farming is a long term business and it seems that we are never able to plan far ahead without some potential business changing event being in the offing. The current situation is an example - having just

about got the new CAP agreed but still not knowing exactly how it will affect the different sectors of the industry, we are going to be faced with an in/ out referendum on the EU that could linger on for a maximum of about two and a half years. This is bound to create uncertainty and curb investment. The UK Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Liz Truss, did not help much when speaking at the Highland Show, when she refused to be drawn on a “plan B” for agriculture, should we opt out of the EU stating that negotiations had only begun and she anticipated a favourable result and Britain would opt to stay in. She flatly refused to discuss the agricultural trade implications should Britain opt out. Just to give you an idea of the importance of the EU to the red meat sector, in 2014, for example, an estimated 98% of all Scottish beef and lamb exports went to Europe at a gross value of about £75m. That is equivalent to about 9% of the sectors turnover. This trade is particularly important for sheep meat, accounting for more than a quarter of ex abattoir production. Agricola

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 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:

July 2015 Wed 1 July 09:30 Stroll: Leannoch Loop (5 miles) Contact 01877 376236 Sat 11 July 08:30 Ramble: Loch Katrine Pier to Stronachlachar (13miles) Contact 01786-825198 Wed 15 July 09:30 Stroll: The Kelpies (5 miles) Contact 01877 330446 Sat 18 July 08:30 Hill: Stob Gabhar (1090m) Contact 01877 331067 Sat 25 July 08:30 LDP: CT(3) Kirkmichael to Spittal of Glenshee (9miles) Contact 01877 330032 August 2015 Sat 1 August 08:30 Ramble: Water of Leith: Balerno to Leith (12miles) Contact 01786825198 Wed 5 August 09:30 Stroll: Banknock to the Wheel (6.5miles) Contact 01786 825249 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.



We’ll send you or your friends The


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All types of tree work undertaken Removal of dangerous trees Crown lifting, Crown reduction, High pruning,Removal of deadwood. All types of fencing erected Mole trapping References can be given. Free estimates

STRATHYRE. TEL 01877384248 07967143910

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

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• DIARY DATES • We e k l y A c t i v i t i e s Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

Bowling - St Fillans Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 to11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am to 12.30pm Country Dancing - St Fillans LEGS - Lochearnhead Hall - 6.30pm Pilates - Balquhidder Hall - 9.45am to 10.45am (contact Abbey Arkotxa 0776 6407578) Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am to 12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) Pilates - Balquhidder Hall - 6pm to 7pm (contact Abbey Arkotxa 0776 6407578) Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00 to 9.00pm Choir Occasional - Balquhidder Hall - 7.30pm to 9pm (call Gill Allan 01877 384203) Metafit Classes - Strathyre Village Hall - 8.00pm Summer Darts - The Inn & Bistro - 7.00pm Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon (Contact Mel Brydie 01877 384668)

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

The Villagers’ Photographer Jason Allardyce 01877 384227 07508 595211 Wedding, Portrait, Social, Pet Photography

JULY 2015 25

Lochearnhead Highland Games - see page 11

AUGUST 2015 30

Balquhidder Bike Fest - see page 18


Horticultural Show - Balquhidder Village Hall

Councillor Martin Earl Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07881 310 922 Councillor Alycia Hayes Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07881 310 924 Councillor Fergus Wood Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07824 496 019

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

Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316 Sunday 11.30am Minister: Vacancy Enquiries to Interim Moderator: Revd Terry Ann Taylor 01877 382391 Dundurn Church, St Fillans Sunday11.30am Minister: Rev Graham McWilliams Tel: 01764 671 045

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

SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH St Angus’s Church, Lochearnhead Every Sunday: Holy Communion at 11.15am. Second and fifth Sundays in the month: Evensong at 6.00pm Vestry Secretary - Mary Barclay Tel: 01567 830453

The villagers july 2015  

Summer local news for Lochearnhead Strathyre Balquhidder and St Fillans in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, central Scotland

The villagers july 2015  

Summer local news for Lochearnhead Strathyre Balquhidder and St Fillans in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, central Scotland