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Village Shop, Strathyre © Barbara Higgins

The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans • MARCH 2017

From the (acting) Editor Hello Everyone! At the time of going to press, as you’ll see from our cover photo, we’re not quite into spring yet - although there are tiny signs cropping up everywhere, so we’ve added in some early daffodils to take the chill off. We’ve had some very positive feedback about the new look Villagers and we intend to keep it as colourful as we can, so please keep sending in your photographs. As you may have noticed there are now properly defined spaces for news from each of the four villages; order of appearance will be rotated every month. Let me remind you about The Villagers AGM which takes place on the 17th March in the Achray Hotel, St Fillans. Everyone is very welcome to attend. It’s a great opportunity to make known your views about our newsletter and perhaps make suggestions about how it could be improved. Very best wishes to our Editor Jill Johnston and Production Assistant David Johnston who are taking a break from Villagers duties out in Australia for a few weeks. I suspect the weather is slightly better out there at the moment! Remember to put your clocks forward one hour over the weekend of 25th/26th in celebration of the start of British Summertime... we live in hope... GW

Lochearnhead Latest Strathyre News Stuc Race Night

The Great Loch Earn Boat Race The date has been set for this year’s Great Loch Earn Boat Race. Sunday 23rd April will see teams row from Lochearnhead to St Fillans. Organisers Crieff Round Table hope to continue the success of the annual event which in 2016 raised a total of over £4000 in sponsorship, all of which was donated to local charities. Several of last years teams have so far registered to battle it out over the seven mile course from Lochearnhead beach to the jetty of the Achray House Hotel in St. Fillans, but organisers are keen to encourage more local teams from Lochearnhead, St Fillans, Balquhidder and Stathyre to compete in the race. Spectators are welcome to cheer on the boats at the completion of the race where the teams will be treated to a warming meal at the Achray House Hotel where the winning teams will collect their prizes. Remaining boats are still available (kindly provided by Drummond Fisheries) and 4-person teams of all ability are welcomed to register for the race for more details email Jamie Russell at

Lochearnhead Post Office The post office in Lochearnhead has changed its times:

Monday 10am until 1pm Thursday 10am until 1pm 2

Our ever popular annul race night will be held on Sat.1st April`17. at the White Stag (The Inn) with the first race hopefully of by 7.30/7.45pm. Usual procedures will be in place and if you wish to sponsor a race or buy a horse then our board will be available in the bar - or just contact any committee member and advise. As always, come early and get comfortable for what is definitely an entertaining evening. See you at the start line!

The Horticultural Show

The A G M of the Horticultural Show will take place on the 28th March 2017 at the White Stag at 7.30pm. This is an important meeting as the current committee can no longer continue. If you want this show to continue please come along and volunteer. If there is no-one to form a new committee the show will have to be discontinued. Any questions Phone Linda Anderson 01877 384315 (chairperson)

CREATE A ‘SPORTS CLUB’ The Trust has been trying to raise funds to restore the tennis court in Strathyre but accessing such funds requires the creation of a ‘Sports Club’. This does not need to be a single sport ‘Sports Club’ but could be a combination of sports such as ‘Bowling’ from Lochearnhead, ‘Badminton’ from Balquhidder, ‘Tennis’ from Strathyre or for that matter ‘Darts’ from Strathyre. To discuss the options a meeting is being arranged at 7pm on Tuesday 7 March 2017 at The Munro, Strathyre. Please come along and let’s see what can be achieved.

#BLiSStrail Secures Wee Coo from Sustrans Scotland for RT7, Strathyre LETi is delighted to announce success in securing an Art Roots grant from Sustrans Scotland. Once funds are secured the group will waste no time in selecting a Kev Paxton metal sculpture to be placed on Route 7 at Strathyre near the Balvaig Bridge exit. “Scotland’s tourism community is celebrating Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology - #HHA - guided by Visit Scotland” said Chair Kim Proven. “Bill The Bull has been popular at The Lochearnhead Hotel. Our new mini coo will represent an area between the old drove road and old Strathyre over The Balvaig Bridge. Drovers were known to frequent numerous public houses in old Strathyre before Victorian architects changed the heart of the village and main street to its existing location.” The coo will be named Drovers

26th - 28th May 2017

Strathyre Music Festival is back again for a fifth year! An eclectic mix of Rock, Folk, Blues, Americano, Traditional and Country - something for everyone. Hosted by top local band, Balvaig, this music event is considered to be Scotland’s largest community festival for 2017. With 50 acts, comprising 100 musicians over 3 days, this promises to be our best ever Festival yet. The Festival is opened Friday night by Balvaig who will aim to get you all in the mood for what is to be a great weekend of music. Whereas Balvaig will open the Festival, in true Scottish style we will end the evening with a Ceilidh courtesy of Stirling’s own Riverside Ceilidh Band, no strangers to our Festival. For Saturday’s line up we have plenty of musicians to entertain you into the

The wee coo Drovers Bho

Bho. The word bho is gaelic for cow, recognising the language that would have been spoken by drovers. LETi is working on an #HHA on-line map and will be delighted to consider your stories or photographs on its website, blog or on social media during this tourism year. Send any details to Kim Proven or

Kenny Higgins info@strathyreoutdoors. org. Wish LETi luck. They compete against other regions in the national final of the Scottish Thistle Awards for #BLiSStrail “Working Together For Tourism”. LETi Member Tom Lewis is up for Regional Ambassador. The final takes place in Edinburgh 16th March.

wee hours. They include top south Lanarkshire band Mid Town Riot, Benedictus, and Mudslide - regular visitors to The Strathyre Music Festival. Sunday: Day 3 of the Festival and we aim to go out with a bang. We have a great selection of musicians for the final day. Among them is local Aberfeldy girl Elsa McTaggart, accompanied on piano accordion by Mr Lister. Elsa will treat us to a mix of traditional folk, jazz and electronics. Last but certainly not least, from the heart of Glasgow we have Papa Shandy and The Drams. For those of you that have heard them before at our Festival you know you will not be disappointed. For those of you that haven’t, then it’s a must. Performing a mixture of traditional Irish and Scottish music, folk, bluegrass and ceilidh music - no better way to end the weekend. You can hear all this wonderful music for the princely sum of £5 per day. Children below 16 come free. All proceeds go to next year’s Festival. Tickets are available on the day - or if you are passing, pop into the box office situated in Strathyre’s Village Shop. Please be sure to visit the Market

Place in the centre of our village. The Market will be opened on Saturday at 11.00am and Sunday from 12 noon. With all local produce and crafts on display, it makes it well worth a gander. For the first time this year we have The Market Stage - Acoustic by Nature this is our second music venue in the village. If you fancy a slot email our Market Stage Manager, Andy Bates at or drop in to the shop (see ad below). Mike Keeney Chairman Strathyre Music Festival Visit us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter

Calling all local musical talent! The

Strathyre Music Festival is hosting a new stage at the market Square this year and would like to showcase some local talent. Interested? Contact Janet or Emma at the village shop.


27th and 28th May 2017


The Munro Inn

A few years ago any conversation regarding The Munro generally ended up with “ would be better if the bulldozers moved in and demolished it...” The reason being that it was in such a bad state of disrepair that demolition seemed to be the obvious solution. It was always felt that it would be a disaster for the Village to lose such an iconic building, as it forms such a huge part of the history of Strathyre. Fate can deal some very strange hands and just when we thought all was lost, along came the Rooney family from Glasgow, who bought the building and set about with a restoration programme that would not have been out of place on Homes under the Hammer. Their dedication and sheer determination ensured a new lease of life for the building, much to the delight of all the locals and visitors who have spent many happy hours there. Let me introduce you to the (camera shy) Rooneys, Steve and May, who are now the proud owners of The Munro Inn. When talking to May I asked why they decided on an hotel in Strathyre, and it turns out that they had been looking at another property in the village when they happened to see the hotel up for sale. They gave it the once over and made a firm decision that they could “fix it” and make it a family run business. I have to say, that was a very brave decision! They took possession of the hotel in January 2015 and it was all hands on deck from there on. It would be nothing unusual to see both of them painting and plastering the outside when weather allowed, and inside when it rained. Their hard work was rewarded when the new bar opened for business in September 2016, and the seven en suite rooms, named after Scottish clans, opened in December. Their daughter, Carla, is now their manageress and you will find her (most times) behind the bar, when not running all the other areas that 4

Clockwise from top left: The restored exterior; revellers enjoying themselves in the new bar; diners raising a glass or two; the games room; ready for orders!

require her attention. Her husband, John, although in full time employment, often ends up behind the bar to help Carla out and occasionally May will step in when needed - that’s the point of a family run hotel. There is also the dining room, lounge, conservatory and games room. They have just recently employed Master Chef Rickie Todd, and, after sampling some of his cooking delights, I can definitely recommend that you give the place a try; the food is outstanding. The order of the day will be Quiz Nights, live music, Race Nights, fund raising nights (something May is very passionate about) and more along with being open for popping in for a social drink and a bit of craìc! What I like most about the hotel is the fact that all this hard work has been done, yet it still retains its original character. I’m sure many locals will have tales to tell of nights in The Munro. We live in a village where the three hotels are family owned - and I feel that is so much nicer than corporate ownership: it’s a cosy feeling when you enter these establishments; the person you are

speaking to has you and the hotel’s best interests at heart. I am sure everyone will join me in wishing Steve, May and Carla all the best for the future. You can follow what’s happening in The Munro through adverts in The Villagers - which you can buy in the bar, as they are our latest outlet. Find them at or email Wullie D


St Fillans Bit

A great idea for just after Christmas and New Year when you want to have a cleansing of your wardrobe and cupboards - host a “Swap Shop” evening, as Andrea Hudspeth did on a cold winter’s evening in January. I’d never heard of such an event before (apart from the Saturday morning TV kind from the 1980s).  The idea is, you take along any no longer wanted items - which, in this case, were mainly clothes - and you hope that other folk have donated clothes of your size, which you can then purchase by making a donation to charity - in this case, the chosen charity was the SSPCA.  In total, £150 was raised by a small group of ladies, which got me thinking - I wonder, if men were to host such an event – what would they take along and swap - images of pieces of wood in various sizes, spring to mind. I think this next bit should be front page, headline news. In January an event occurred that I have never witnessed before. Normally reserved for separate nights in different venues, the ladies’ and gentlemen’s supper clubs combined for one night only and sat down at tables together for a gents’ and ladies’ supper club. Thanks to Don Forrester for the Raising a glass at the Curry Night

by Isobel Howell idea, and to Richard Mountain (chef at The Golf Club and who catered for everyone), the theme was a curry night in the Sandison Hall, which included a fine array of starters and several different dishes of curry. It was a great success and it’s rumoured that this may become a regular thing – themed food nights in the village hall, which would go down very well, especially during the winter months when the local hotels are closed – speaking of which, The Four Seasons Hotel is now open every Thursday evening until Monday morning, until the end of March, and then it’s business as usual. On 10th March they’re hosting another wine tasting evening with a five course meal and paired wines. No news from Brad and Zelda at The Achray Hotel, but I know they are currently open from Wednesday to Sunday and for Sunday lunch but check with the hotel first. (By the way, Sunday 26th March is Mother’s Day). As you enter the village from the east, following yonder star, one of the first things you’ll see, after the farm, is a patch of grass with a fir tree in the middle and a bench. This grassy area is called the

Field of Hope. Several years ago, many daffodils were planted in remembrance of loved ones and a Marie Curie sign identifying the area was erected. Over the years, the daffodils have waned and so has the sign. Thanks to the Gardening Group, last year the strip behind the field underwent a makeover and hundreds of new daffodil bulbs were planted. More recently a new sign was acquired, thanks to Lorna and Eric Kennelly and the Gardening Group. On 15th February Helen Zollinger, from Marie Curie in Edinburgh, came to the village to unveil the new sign which, as you’ll see from the photo, is a big improvement on the old one. One thing I learned, speaking to Helen, is that Marie Curie not only helps those suffering with cancer, but they provide care for people with any terminal illness. As March is their daffodil appeal, this couldn’t have come at a more pertinent moment. Now for the interview I promised last month with Sam Morshead, a resident of St Fillans, who was awarded an MBE in this year’s New Year’s Honours List, for his services to horseracing and charity. Sam is a former jockey and retired General Manager of Perth Racecourse. On the Friday evening before receiving the news, Sam had been invited by his old team at Perth Racecourse to attend the Perthshire Chamber Dinner and Awards Ceremony at Crieff Hydro Hotel, Continued overleaf

Field of Hope’s Gardening Group


The St Fillans Bit Continued from page 5

under the guise that the hotel at the racecourse (which was Sam’s baby) had been nominated for a few awards. Sam had also been asked to take along some copies of his autobiography, Racing Through Life, which, at the time, Sam thought was an odd request, but nonetheless, he took copies along. At the very end of the ceremony, which was a noisy do, the MD announced they were presenting the most important award of the night, the Life Achievement Award. In her speech, she mentioned that the nominee had done major improvements to the Perth economy, helped raised millions of pounds, the person came to Perth in 1994 – all of which were ringing bells in Sam’s ears – she went on to give further mention to previous careers, having survived serious injury – at which point, Sam thought, “Oh my goodness, it’s me!” (or words to that effect). Through the background noise, he just managed to hear her say “Would Sam Morshead please come up to the stage,” followed by a two minute standing ovation from the room, by which he was overwhelmed. The following day, still on cloud nine from the previous night’s celebrations, he received a letter addressed from The Cabinet Office. At first, Sam was quite dismissive, thinking it was probably an invitation to a street party or similar occasion, however, when he read the letter he couldn’t believe his eyes and had to read it three times – at one point he thought one of his jockey mates was playing a joke on him. The Honours Committee had decided to put him forward, who then put him forward to another committee who put him forward to the Prime Minister who then put his name forward to The Queen – honestly getting an MBE these days is worse than being elected onto the village Community Council. As Sam said, he was “gobsmacked” at the news. Of course, upon hearing such good news the first thing you’d want to do is tell everybody, however, he was under strict instructions not to tell anyone, so of course he told his immediate family but then had to keep schtumm throughout the whole of December, and was finally allowed to reveal all, and held a party at New Year to celebrate. Sam had been General Manager at Perth Racecourse, and as he says, he had a great team around him, who he modestly puts down to his success. His achievements at Perth included building the current Grandstand with a conference and banqueting centre which turned the racecourse around, making it become a year round venue. He was also responsible for relocating the stables to the site (previously they were a mile and a half away) which made getting the horses ready on race day much easier and less stressful for horses and two legged folks. Once the 6

stables were in situ, it then made sense that accommodation for the stable staff should be built, which Sam orchestrated. It was his idea to build not just a hostel, but a hotel which could be opened to the public during non-race meeting days. During his jockey career, Sam’s favourite horse was Grand National winner, Western Rose, who, according to Sam, was very fast and jumped well over two miles and was well suited to Sam’s style of riding. Incidentally, Sam has competed six times in the Grand National – he must have nerves of steel, although the way Sam talks about it, you’d think he was going for a ride on a seaside donkey, rather than hurtling at full pelt down four miles of racecourse – twice! He describes the event as fun and relaxed, in contrast to some of the more “serious” race meetings such as Cheltenham. Clearly, jockeys are made of sterner stuff. Gaye Chance, who won twice for Sam at The Cheltenham Festival and won seven races within his first season, he describes as his best horse. Listening to Sam explaining how today’s jockeys get their horses, or “rides”, it’s a wonder that anybody makes it in the business. Jockeys are tied to agents who find them their rides – agents are paid by what rides they can get for their jockeys, and so naturally they try to find them as many as they can. This means that a jockey could end up at any race anywhere in the country and, to the detriment of the majority of the country’s aspiring jockeys, I would think, it’s only the top ones who get the good rides. I suppose it’s the equine equivalent of Formula One motor racing – a very hard sport to become successful in. These days, Sam likes to spend his time in the company of his beautiful golden retriever, Wickham, when he’s at home, and when he’s not, he enjoys the chance to fish

Sam and his autobiography

(salmon, in particular) and loves visiting the West Coast of Scotland, for which he has a soft spot. Currently, he is very excited about his new venture, a charity, “Coats for All Seasons”, which he’s in the early stages of starting. His dream is to provide coats to refugees across Europe. Until then, he has the honourable duty of attending his investiture, which will take place at either Holyrood Palace or Buckingham Palace, which he’s looking forward to greatly. Sam has been fortunate in the sense that he has spent his career doing what he loves and in his eyes, he never saw it as being work, more like fun. Not a bad achievement, for having had, and given people a lot of fun and long may he continue to do so. Finally, a reminder that The Great Loch Earn Boat Race is taking place on Sunday 23rd April, which is being organised by Crieff Round Table. Still no news on this but I suspect they’ll be looking for teams to enter the race. Let’s hope they get some publicity out soon so it turns out to be a successful event.

Light Lunch and ‘Specials’ Menu in the Bistro • Afternoon and Cream Tea • Evening A La Carte and Rosette Menu • Sunday Roasts from £15.95 • Lunches, Afternoon Tea, Suppers and Dinner served daily

Burns night in Balquhidder Celebrating Burns’ Night a little later than the rest of the world, a series of minibuses wandered down to the Barn at Monachyle Mhor, bringing participants and revellers to enjoy a slightly different Burns Supper. A very enjoyable evening ensued with dishes ‘acknowledging’ the Haggis but with modern twists; complemented by the different whiskies to go with each course. Local talent was to the fore with Charlie Hunter’s Address to the Haggis making sure it was well and truly dead before being served. Alan Sneddon taught us all more about the Bodhran in his own inimitable style with a story and music. The real surprise was perhaps the two “new Lewis’s” who recently arrived from New Zealand and who rose to the occasion with two of Burns’ poems. Euan MacPherson returned to the Glen to provide the music for dancing to end a great evening.

Our Host...

... and Hostess

Two ‘new Lewises!’

Address to the Haggis

Alan with his Bodhran Euan and Friends

Toast to the Haggis!


Church News Balquhidder • BLS Reg. Charity No. SC012316

A Note from

St Angus’s

I’ve just been given a book called Shogun and am looking forward to starting on it. The only thing I know about Shogun is that it was a powerful ruling class in Japan in the 16th century at a time when the Christians in that country were massacred and almost wiped out. The extraordinary thing is that when the country opened up 250 years later a group of Christians still existed; they had kept the candle of faith alight without the help of churches or ministers. Without liturgies or buildings they had quietly lived their faith, baptised their children and preserved a wonderful legacy to pass on to the next generation. In the 20th Century a similar situation occurred in Russia - in the 70 years preceding Perestroika. Churches had been closed, Christians persecuted, priests and monks killed or sent to labour camps and yet within a few years of comparative freedom the churches were full and flourishing. They too had kept the candle of faith burning in their communities. All of the above makes me wonder about our local churches and who is to keep the candle of faith burning for our future generations? Do we think it matters or are we content to allow the flame to flicker and die? If we care, we need to show it now, before it’s too late. The secular society is taking over. If the answer is “yes, we do care” then please support your local churches by attendance, by supporting them in any way you feel you can by your prayers, by financial giving/ supporting fund raising events. We owe it to our future generations to give them a choice. If they never hear the Good News of Jesus - they have no choice.


Hi, Folks!

I’m often asked if I have settled in to life here in the Highlands. The answer is, I am “settling”…it’s an ongoing process. In Edinburgh I could walk round my parish on foot…I rarely needed the car and when I did the journeys were short. So I’m adjusting to rural life and to a Ministry that covers four different communities and pulls in different ways (I’m schizophrenic at the moment!) But there are huge compensations…the people are wonderful and the scenery is stunning. On Sundays after I finish the service in Killin I drive over Glen Ogle and down to Balquhidder, wonderfully inspired by the journey. Long may that continue! Let me share with you a story I used in Church before Christmas. In January 2007 in the Metro Station in Washington DC a busker found a space beside the stream of early morning commuters. He took out his violin, set down his open case with a small container in it for donations and proceeded to play. He played for forty-five minutes and during that time covered six pieces by the composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Whilst he played no-one stopped or paused to listen although some deposited money in the case as they walked by. At the end he had received $32 for his effort but there was no applause. What these commuters didn’t realise was that the musician was none other than Joshua Bell - one of the world’s most famous classical violinists. The instrument he played was valued at $3.5 million and the night before he had performed to a packed theatre in Boston where the tickets were $100 each! They missed something very special indeed. For me the scenery here is food for the spirit, but every now and then just to clock it in the midst of a busy day or to tune into it for a brief moment is a wonderful pick-me-up. When we think of the of the drab, gray, soulless environments that millions of people throughout the world face every new morning we realise that what we have here on our doorstep a gift beyond price. They say that familiarity breeds contempt. I would hope that this is something we never get used to in any casual or complacent way. The Psalmist says “I lift my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? It comes from the Lord the maker of heaven and earth” (Ps 121). Appreciation is a choice and life is enhanced and enriched by disciplined habits. Make a habit of looking up and around from time to time and stealing a special moment in the midst of our work, duties and responsibilities. We will find it’s a rich blessing.


MEN OVER 65 – get your Aneurysm Scan


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: Wednesday 29th March 2017 On this afternoon, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments. 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.

Bracklinn Practice will be joined by a 5th year medical student in March

2017. Megan is currently studying at Dundee University and will join the practice from the 6th March for 4 weeks. Students are encouraged to do a GP placement in a rural setting in their final year, and we look forward to Megan working with the practice.


Vicky Jack tells us how she conquered Everest

Balquhidder Village Hall Sunday 19 March 2017 2pm

Including the 1996 classic Everest IMAX film:

‘Everest Takes you to the Top of the World’

I’ve just been for a scan for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. It was easy to arrange, painless, gives you an immediate result and it’s a lot less messy than the bowel cancer test. The government are offering a scan to all men over 65 and you should be contacted when you reach that age. However the scheme has only been running for three years so if you are older than 68 you won’t be contacted and will have to arrange it yourself. It is a very low profile scheme so if you have missed it for any reason I would recommend getting the check. The telephone number to arrange an appointment is 0800224488 and you can get more information at www.nhsinform. In my case the check was done at Stirling Community Hospital and it took about 10 minutes to do the test and get the result. Two of my in-laws have had this problem and on average 1 in 20 men over 65 have it - so it is well worth doing. AP An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a swelling (aneurysm) of the aorta – the main blood vessel that leads away from the heart, down through the abdomen to the rest of the body.

Scottish Wildlife Trust


(SWT) Callander Group Meet 7:30pm in Callander Kirk Hall. Suggested donations: £2 members, £2.50 non-members, free to full-time students, includes tea/coffee & biscuits.

Tuesday 14 March ‘Dragonflies in Scotland’ by Daniele Muir

Scotland Officer of British Dragonfly Society



*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 tells a tale of lasting friendship.

So, dear readers... here is a story of kindness and reconciliation. Just take half an hour to come a little walk with me up the hill to that tower in the distance. It is called Repentance Tower. One may wonder why. It was built around 1560 as a repentance to atone for an act of border treachery (that is another story). But we have another story to tell. All those readers who may have been watching that great drama, Roots, on BBC4, a retelling of the days of slavery, may be interested. There is, by this tower, an extensive and very ancient graveyard - and one gravestone has a very touching story to tell of those times. This particular stone bears the crude inscription: HERE LIES CHARLES MURRAY A NATIVE OF AFRICA SERVANT TO MURRAY OF MURRAYTWHAITE WHO DIED 3D FEBRY 1776 But what of the story? During the 18th century, the young John Murray (whose family has for generations owned the neighbouring lands of Murraythwaite) made a trip to America in search of adventure. While there he bought himself a black slave named Moses. When he returned to Dumfriesshire his slave, now a good friend, came with him. Moses duly took the name of his master and when he died he was buried in the family graveyard as a gesture which signified the lasting strength of his friendship with Moses. What a wonderful kindness. Old Nyati PS 3D FEBRY is the way it is spelt on the stone.


From The Villagers - in Cornwall!

by Bill Jamieson

Beware of village markets. The other week I was sent out to buy a loaf. I came back with a garden pot, a box of red apples, local postcards, a rhododendron, two loaves, a ciabatta, a bunch of local flowers, a tulip tree, local cheeses, a pot of marmalade and a giant lettuce. Mrs J took particular exception to the lettuce as it filled most of the fridge. But it proved superbly timed – the last lettuce available in the Western hemisphere at that time for under £25. Village markets are a great display case for local produce. They boost local business. They provide opportunity to meet and greet and exchange goods, news and ideas. The village market was in the sleepy creekside village of Devoran, south west Cornwall, a winter retreat from the northern Trossachs weather. A Scots friend of ours said it was so quiet he felt like dressing up when the recycling van came round. I know valiant attempts have been made in the Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre area to have a regular village market. Like all apparently easy events it takes time, enthusiasm and regular volunteers to make it work. I would like to think that “The BLS Triangle” which has held such markets in the past could again support such a market in the summer months. There’s another local event that shows this sleepy village is not so comatose - a local gardening club with guest speakers. This seems to be a good excuse for yet more buying, selling and bartering of plants and cuttings. It recently attracted 30 on a dark and stormy night for a talk on garden sculpture. It was a bit over the top – slides of grand cascading fountains in Milan, exotic garden sculpture in Marrakesh, etc. I put in a word for the excellent - and more practical- sculptures supported by LETI. Folk with Poldark accents may well be coming up north soon to inspect! A garden club is another example of where like-minded folk can get together. For it’s the local tips and advice – what (and what not) to plant, when to plant, when to prune etc – that can be more valuable than the general advice in magazines and TV. Might BLS follow suit this summer? Pictures show Devoran village market Saturday February 11 2017 - the fishmonger stall at the entrance; the array of home-made marmalade; and the fruit and veg display.


McLaren High School Junior Ski Course 2017 – Bormio, Italy Journey here: We left the school at 12:00 and headed for Edinburgh Airport then onward to Milan, Italy. We had some quality tunes and banter which made the journey go quicker. The flight was good and didn’t take too long. The bus journey from the airport to Bormio was 3 hours.  We arrived at the hotel late and it is was very cold – minus 10! The hotel gave us a snack and then we went to bed. Day 1 - Monday: Getting up early after a late, late night was hard but once we all had breakfast we headed down to our rooms and got changed into our ski gear. We had to get our skis and boots fitted and then we were ready to go. We were sorted into groups by ability and headed up the slopes (which were absolutely fantastic). After skiing for most of the day we headed inside to get changed, had dinner, then had chill time for a few hours before bed time. Day 2 - Tuesday: We were all really tired after our first day of skiing, but everyone was raring to go. We went for some warm up runs on the slopes with the staff and we also had the chance to change groups to a group that we felt more comfortable in for our ability. After a day of skiing with the ski school we had the chance to stay on skiing or go to the shops in Bormio. At night we had a quiz which everyone enjoyed and we also played bingo. Day - 3 Wednesday: We went for a morning ski and the weather was good but still very cold, starting off at minus 9!! As the day went on during ski school the weather improved and got slightly warmer reaching minus 3. It was a fun day overall but after two days of solid skiing we were all a bit tired. There were more people in the after-ski than Monday and especially Tuesday (because of the shopping). The food in the hotel was great. In the afternoon we played card games in the sun and listened to music. Day 4 - Thursday: At 9.00 we had free ski with the staff to warm up and loosen off our legs. We did this for an hour before the ski school took over. It started off cold and icy and got warmer throughout the day. We all feel we have greatly improved since we arrived and gained lots of confidence. After skiing we went back to our rooms until dinner. The evening entertainment  was a bonfire at the top of the slopes with chocolate crêpes and juice. Day 5 - Friday: This morning we woke up to another beautiful sunny day and had breakfast later due to so many people being tired. Ski school started and they took us all over the mountain. The 12

favourite run was “peak to creek”. The lessons lasted until 3pm. That night we had a chance to go down to the village to buy supplies to last us for the journey home. We didn’t get much time as we had to make the last gondola back to the hotel or it would be a long walk up the hill. When we got back we had time to shower then head to dinner at 7pm. After dinner the entertainment was karaoke and we all took turns at singing in groups and on our own. We all had a great time. Day 6 - Saturday: Today was our last day of skiing. It was a lot warmer in the morning than the rest of the week at minus 4. We all had a great time on this trip and were sad to be leaving. We have all improved our skiing and have become a lot more confident over the week. Straight after ski school we put our skis back to the ski hire shop and the ski school had put together a video of us over the week and presented certificates. The instructors bought us hot chocolate which was kind of them and it was a very nice way to end the week. Mr Carroll, Mr Robertson, Hazel and Molly went skiing and both teachers were going backwards down the blue slopes. Hazel and I stuck to going forward though!

Journey home: We started our day off with a late breakfast which was nice. Then we finished packing our bags and played cards games while we waited for our lunch. We left the hotel at 1:30pm and had a 4 hour bus journey ahead of us. We arrived at the airport and all went through security without any problems. We then went and bought ourselves some dinner and had a chat with our friends. The flight was on time and after a speedy boarding we were on our way back to Edinburgh. We arrived back at the school at 11:10pm after a great week. We were all tired but happy. The Bormio Ski Team

Giant Heptathlon competitors

Gymnastics Competition McLaren High School Gymnastic Club have been training hard all year, every Tuesday at lunchtime, to compete in the Stirling Schools Gymnastics competition which took place on 25 January at the Peak in Stirling. The competitors (shown above) in Team 1 were Lucy Martin, Lauren Duffy, Flora Duff and Molly Underwood and in Team 2 were Rhona Dillon, Emma Myles, Sadie Eastland and Kitty Messer. When we arrived at the Peak we had time to practice and perfect our routines and vaults. We were then called up and performed our floor routines in front of a judge who gave us a score. It was very scary as there were lots of people there. We then moved onto vault and we had a few practice tries before performing. Our best vault out of 2 was taken and added to our floor routine scores. Overall it was a very good experience as none of us had been to a gymnastics competition before. We were all shocked as team 1 came 5th and team 2 came 8th! We all had fun and hope to do it again next year. We would like to thank Mr Perman for coaching us and taking us along. Lauren Duffy S2

Giant Heptathlon On Tuesday 31 January, 14 S1 and S2 pupils went to a Giant Heptathlon at The Peak in Stirling. All of the seven Stirling Council high schools were represented. We all took part in the relay and the seven events: Beanbag Endurance Challenge, Shot Putt, Standing Long Jump, Standing Triple Jump, Bench Steps/Step Up Challenge, Sprint Hurdles and 40m Sprint. We all had a great day and did very well - the McLaren team came 3rd and qualified for the Regional Championships. Lucy More S2 I enjoyed the Giant Heptathlon because I love doing athletics. We got to compete against other schools and we ended up coming in the top 3 and are now going back to The Peak for a bigger competition. Thank you to Connor Clark, our Modern Apprentice, and Mrs Steadman for coming along with us. Well done McLaren! Jack Campbell S1

Safer Internet Day Following on from Safer Internet Day on 7 February the McLaren Digital Leader Team are beginning an exciting programme to explore how they can inspire the safe, positive and creative use of technology both in school and in the community. The Digital Leader Team will gain key skills and knowledge, including: e-safety knowledge; communication, presentation and teaching skills; leadership skills; selfefficacy and confidence; and teamwork and planning skills.

Rotary Young Chef Competition After qualifying in the local heats in School against other pupils I took part in the Rotary Young Chef competition in Dundee, at Dundee and Angus College, where we had to cook a 3-course meal in just 2 hours. We had to cost every ingredient that we used and it had to total less than or equal to £15, as well as making it as healthy as possible and create a time plan for each step. I got a lot of help from my Granny as she is a very good cook, was very patient with me and had lots of great tips. I decided on cooking chicken liver pate with melba toast as a starter, citrus marinated spiced pork fillet with wedges and spicy tomato sauce as the main course and pear and apple filo pastry baskets with vanilla custard for dessert. I got the chance to practice the entire menu at The Meadows in Callander, they have an industrial kitchen so it was good practice for the actual competition and the Head Chef gave me some really good tips and ideas. On the day of the competition everything went well, the judges consisted of the cooking professors from the college and some chefs from restaurants. I scored full marks on the starter and desert and they said the main tasted great. I was placed as a finalist and I really enjoyed the experience even though it was quite stressful. I would like to return another year and give it another go and I would encourage others to do the same. Niamh King S4 13

McLaren High School continued... some surveys about what people were doing in Edinburgh and what they felt about the area and its uses. The bus came and picked us up and we headed out towards Leith to have a look at some of the developments done to the area over recent years to boost the profile of Leith. We walked around Leith to see the improvements but also noticed how they fitted in with the old part of Leith’s ship and fishing industry. After this we had a quick look around Ocean Terminal before heading back to the bus where birthday boy, Matty, was given a bit of cake to celebrate! The trip will really help us with our final exam where we need to give named examples of places in Edinburgh and also gave us evidence to use in our assignments. Ben Shearer-Richards and Matthew McLeary S6

The Geography Group on tour!


visit our website:

Geography Field Trip On 7 February the Higher Geography class, along with our teachers Mrs Drysdale and Mr Williamson, took part in a Geography field trip to Edinburgh. When we arrived in Edinburgh we went on the tram which was the first time for many of us as we wanted to experience alternative ways of travelling around a city centre. We got off the tram in Princes Street and headed up towards the Castle and the Old Town. We took a look around the old part of Edinburgh noticing the old buildings and structure of the medieval core and how this compared to the Georgian New Town on the other side of Princes Street Gardens. The next stop was back along Princes Street which was full of high street brands and expensive stores compared to the independent tourist shops of the Royal Mile. We then went up to George Street where we took

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 incallander. in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diary: March • Wed 8 March 09:30 Ramble: Coire Grogain, Arrochar (10miles) Contact 01877 339080 •Wed 15 March 09:30 Stroll: Along the River Balvaig (4 miles) Contact 01877 384227 April • Sat 1 April 08:30 Hill: Beinn Dearg (Glen Artney) (706m) Contact 01786 825877 • Wed 5 April 09:30 Stroll: Glen Finglas (5miles) Contact 01877 331834

The success of our newest groups is very pleasing: ‘Knit & Natter’ has met twice so far and the dozen or so enthusiastic members are enjoying the format. They have already produced a variety of articles which are ready to send away to needy groups and individuals. ‘Singles Holidays’ also attracted attention and the first successful trip was a 4 day holiday based in Reykjavik with tours of waterfalls, geysers and the gap in the tectonic plate! ‘Out & About’ is very popular and has a programme of unusual places to visit which is often oversubscribed but over the year there will be something for everyone to enjoy. The ‘Theatre Group’ also has a full and ambitious list of plays and shows to see (both amateur and professional) which will take their members to a variety of towns throughout the whole year. To anyone who still doesn’t know what U3A is all about we welcome you to have a look at our website ‘Callander and West Perthshire U3A’where you will find out who we are and what we do with details of the timetables and how to join. We welcome new members at any time of the year.

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 550 rented houses and flats. Around 50 of these become available for rent each year. We hope to have new properties in Strathblane and Balmaha soon and currently have properties in the following communities

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

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

in renting when they contact us:

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

Registered as a Scottish Charity No. SC037849

We 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.


Strathyre Primary School Robert Burns Lunch On Friday 27th January we held a Burns’ Lunch at Strathyre Village Hall and there was lots of great entertainment during the whole afternoon. First we had ex-pupils Callum Convoy and Connor Ramsay Clapham playing the whistle and the bodhran to welcome people to the event. Holly and her father Iain then joined in on the guitar and fiddle. Connor Ramsay Clapham piped in the Haggis and Jenna McGeary, the Poosie Nancy and Charlie Hunter followed behind. The Reverend Russell Moffat delivered The Selkirk Grace to start the proceedings and Charlie Hunter toasted the haggis with great drama and aplomb. All the food was made by our great cook, Sheryl Bone. She made us some lovely potato and leek soup followed by From top: the haggis neeps and tatties. Afterwards we afternoon in full ate shortbread and drank a toast with Irn swing; recitations; Bru. Connor and Callum; The speeches were magnificent: Alan Skye; The Sair Finger; Sneddon delivered the Toast to the Lassies Charlie Hunter cuts and Gillian Ramsay Clapham replying in open the haggis; fine form. The P7 children then presented and bottom left, Ye the Immortal Memory to the audience. Jacobites by Name Skye, Freja and Libby, the P6 girls, recited My Love is like a Red, Red Rose, and then sang Ye Jacobites by Name accompanied by Kenny Higgins on the guitar. P1-3 recited Marry Arry Arry, The Sair Finger and sang Donald Where’s Your Troosers? P4 presented To A Mouse and the P5-6 boys delivered Scots Wha Hae. Some of the children played instruments to the audience - Skye on the fiddle and Jenna on the guitar. Family members, parents and friends from the local community played instruments, sang songs and recited Burns poetry. We finished by singing Auld Lang Syne together, holding hands across the tables. We all had a wonderful afternoon. Thank you to everyone who made it such a special celebration both for Burns and for our school. Jenna McGeary and Mrs McDonald


Space - The Final Frontier On the 9th of February 2017, four of the Stirling Astronomers Society visited our school. When they came in the astronomers told us their names. After that we brought in the P3 pupils and were put into our year groups. The first workshop was with David Harrison and he taught us about solar and lunar eclipses. We watched him do the demonstration of the solar eclipse. When it was our turn we put a painted black golf ball in front of a circular light and it resembled the moon and the sun overlapping. Next we went to where Bert Mackenzie was showing us how to tell the difference between concave and convex lenses. We made some of our own telescopes from materials you can find in craft shops. After that he let us look through the big telescope beside the window. When that was done we went to the front with Jed who was teaching us about stars and the constellations. We had to fill in a constellation challenge sheet that included the Plough, Ursa Minor and Cassiopeia. Last but not least Terry was telling us about the years and days on different planets like Mercury, Jupiter and Mars. He used an electronic simulation of the planets to work out the length of the years. After all that we asked questions of the astronomers and they answered them really well. Then we tidied up the chairs and said thank you. Abigail Todd, P7


Camping byelaws coming into effect on 1st March Camping is a fantastic way to enjoy the National Park whether in a campsite along an idyllic lochshore or river, or for those who prefer the solitude of ‘wild camping’ away from the hustle and bustle. New byelaws coming in this spring will affect those wanting to camp in some loch shore locations in the National Park, whether they are staying in a tent, campervan or motorhome. The new byelaws come into effect on the 1st March and they will cover camping in designated Camping Management Zones and firelighting. Their purpose is to protect some of the most fragile loch shores within Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, and will help manage camping in some of the busiest areas of the Park from March to September each year. There are four Camping Management Zones, which include some of the most heavily used loch shores in the National Park. Together they make up less than 4% of the National Park area, so most of the Park will not be affected by the byelaws. The Park Authority are running a wide-ranging information campaign highlighting how to camp responsibly within the National Park including ‘wild camping’ outwith the camping management zones, as well as camping


The new byelaws come into effect on 1st March

in permit areas and informal campsites and private campsites. A series of information roadshows will be taking place in local communities later in February. Details of these events will be publicised locally as well as online through Facebook. com/lomondtrossachs and Twitter @ lomondtrossachs. Leaflets and maps highlighting how to camp in the National Park are also being produced. Anyone coming to camp in the National Park between March and September is being urged to plan and book ahead!

SEEING STARS Emma Hamilton (pictured immediately right of the Tom Weir Statue) receives her prize for being the 200,000 th visitor to the statue site. Pictured from left to right are Bill Dalrymple (Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs Trustee); Susan Taylor (Tom Weir Memorial Group Administrator); Sandy Fraser (Site Contractor and Oak Tree Inn Proprietor); Emma Hamilton; Councillor Graham Lambie and James Fraser (Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs Chairman).

200,000th Visitor Welcomed to Tom Weir’s Statue Just over two years after the unveiling of the Tom Weir statue at Balmaha Bay a staggering 200,000 people have now visited the site to pay homage to Scotland’s most popular mountain man. Tom Weir is credited with introducing several generations to Scotland’s great outdoors, and the wonders of Loch Lomond in particular, through his prolific writings and numerous TV and radio broadcasts over a 50-year period. At a special ceremony to mark the occasion Cllr Graham Lambie presented the 200,000th visitor, Emma Hamilton from Peebles, with a DVD featuring the TV series On Weir’s Way, fronted by David Hayman. The Tom Weir Memorial Fund and the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs worked jointly to raise almost £150,000 to transform the former run down picnic site at Balmaha Bay which is now the popular home of Tom Weir’s statue and the recently created ‘Tom and Rhona’s Mountain Garden’.

by Keith Wilson

MARCH When we gaze up at the night sky it is easy to think that the stars we are viewing are all white. However, think again, for they can be red, yellow, blue-white and even golden! Looking with just the naked eye stars will mostly appear white but if you train your binoculars on them you will see some glorious gems. Star colour relate to their temperature - the coolest ones are red then the warmer ones yellow followed by white and the hottest ones are blue-white in colour. Look for the constellation of Orion, the Hunter, in the south west sky. The star Betelgeuse is at top left and its red colour tells us it’s a cool star, some 2000 degrees cooler than the surface of our Sun. However, the star is huge, over a thousand times wider than our Sun and as such is known as a ‘red giant’. Now look at bottom right of Orion and spot the star Rigel. It’s bluewhite colour indicates that it is very hot - 7000 degrees hotter than our Sun. Above Orion you will spot the bright star Capella in the constellation of Auriga - it is much like our Sun and has a yellow colour.


Draft Minutes of Board meeting 17th January 2017 in Mhor 84 from 8pm Present: Sarah Gibson; Andrew Poulter; David Johnstone; Mel Brydie; Sarah-Lou Douglas; Alison Ferguson; Liz Kelly 1. Apologies Kelly Clapperton-Bates; Emma Richards; David Richards 2. Declaration of interest Sarah declared an interest in the Immervoulin to Strathyre path. 3. Minutes of last meeting These were passed as a true and accurate record, proposed by David and seconded by Mel. 4. Matters Arising Kelly still to produce the community benefit letter for the path. 5. Financial update (See table, right) A cheque for the Balquhidder Christmas Party needs to be written and handed over to the Balquhidder Hall Association. The bank account still needs to be setup in different names. 6. Communication and membership drive The membership drive is ongoing. But we got a few new members from sending out letters for the AGM. 7. Projects 7.1 Strathyre Tennis court The clean-up was a success and the shed had been taken down but we still need to check to see if that had been cleared away as the Stuc a Chroin committee said they would do this. Eoin Campbell will come and have a look at putting up a new fence around the tennis court before the Easter holidays. Active Stirling said they would run tennis coaching in the Easter holidays. 7.2 Sports Club David to put an advert in The Villagers to ask for help with setting up a sports club the date agreed was 7th March at 7pm in the Munro, Strathyre. We need to find recruits to come along to the meeting to take on the roles of Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary. Sarah to make up flyers to get people interested. 7.3 Strathyre Playpark We still need to order an outdoor money box from the Stirling Council grant, it was agreed if it costs extra then we can use the ring fenced playpark money to buy it. It was also mentioned we should ask local welders if they could make a moneybox which would be unique to the playpark. Graeme Harley will do a land survey and then plans for a bike park so we can send to Stirling Council to get approved. We have enough funds raised to pay for this to be done. We still need to look at match funding for the playpark as we have over ÂŁ900 raised so far. 7.4 Immervoulin Footpath Kelly to write the community document saying the path will benefit the community, give the village a safe route to the caravan park, explain the 3 different routes and why only 1 is feasible, also the community benefit for all 3 villages. Once this document has been done we are planning a path meeting with Billy Ronald, Kenny Auld & Martin Earl to get things, moving again. The Road Safety Audit through Transport Scotland has now been completed. We agreed to speak to local business to ask for a letter of interest from them.


7.4 Notice Boards for the 3 villages & 7.5 Three Village Plan David to spoke to Gill about the notice boards and she thinks it’s a great idea. She will come up with some ideas and make a draft copy. St Fillans and the Bliss Trail are also wanting notice boards so we have agreed to sit down together to try and get them all looking the same, hopefully this will happen in March. We thought a QR barcode is a great idea so people can scan that and get all the information they need. All directors are going to start making lists of what should go in the noticeboards QR barcodes. 7.6 Christmas Party Grant for the 3 villages The grant money has now been paid to Lochearnhead & Strathyre but Balquhidder has still to be paid and receipts obtained. 7.7 The SVA In principle we all are willing to take over the SVA but we need the SVA to provide details

of exactly what they own, how much they are worth and what insurances etc they pay out. We are still waiting for the SVA to hold an EGM. 8.0 Community Action Plan Liz and Sarah-Lou have been doing a good job in Lochearnhead to try and get some actions completed. The Lochearnhead to St Fillans cycle path is coming along well and they now had funding to do behind the Four Seasons Hotel. Liz & Sarah-Lou are planning on having an open night to show how the Community Action Plan is coming along and to ask for support, date to be confirmed. 9.0 Date of next meeting The next meeting will be on 7th March in The Munro from 8pm. 10.0 Any Other Business We discussed the Trust buying the local phone boxes; this needs to be looked into.

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of a meeting held at The Inn, Strathyre on 11th January 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), Paul Hicks (PH), Alice Duncan (AD), David Johnston (DJ), Ruth McLusky (RM), Adrian Squires (AS), Karen Methven (KM). Apologies: Loraine Telfer (LT), Angus Cameron (AC), Richard Eastland (RE). In attendance: Cllr Alycia Hayes, Stirling Council; PC Will Diamond (WD), Police Scotland; Gordon Watson (GW), Billy Ronald (BR), National Park. 1) Approval of Minutes It was proposed by AD, and seconded by KM, that the minutes of the meeting on 7th December 2016 should be accepted, and this was approved unanimously. 2) Declarations of Interest No declarations were made. 3) Bye-laws and Clear-ways PH and MM reported that the Solicitor for Stirling Council had sent an email at the beginning of November, requesting updated information from the community council in support of the application to extend the alcohol bye-law to our area. It was only sent to MM who had forwarded it to every other member but, unfortunately, the covering note in the email was somewhat ambiguous and most people formed the impression that it was a confirmation of our previous submission, rather than the start of a fresh consultation. Consequently no reply was sent at the time. Shortly before Christmas, thanks to an enquiry from Cllr Earl, it came to light that the community council had not provided any further information. As a result, PH submitted an updated report to the Solicitor, reiterating the views of the community council. This was formally accepted. MM drew attention to the fact that the boundaries for the camping legislation and for the alcohol bye-law were not exactly the same. GW stated that it wasn’t necessary for the boundaries to coincide, but it would be helpful to make them as close as possible for the benefit of all those seeking to enforce the new legislation. MM asked whether members would be willing to modify the map boundaries for the alcohol bye-law, and it was agreed that this should be done. GW stated that the Park could supply Stirling Council with a digital version of their boundaries, if this would assist. Action: PH to arrange for revised maps to be sent to the Stirling Council Solicitor. 4) Your Park - camping development strategy MM then welcomed Gordon Watson, Chief Executive Officer of the National Park, who gave a presentation on the strategy that has been devised to promote camping in the Park area as the new bye-law takes effect on 1st March 2017. GW identified several work-streams that were being pursued and gave brief details concerning them. Camping provision: At least three hundred camping places will be provided overall, with additional facilities at some locations. The main provision will be around Loch Earn - North (20) and South (38). There has been liaison with the estates that provide fishing permits. There will be fewer places in Balquhidder because it is less accessible. There are already camping sites at Loch Lubnaig, and there will be other provision outwith our area. Some toilets will be put in at a site on the South side of Loch Earn. Online booking system: This is being built and tested now, and should be available by mid-February. The basic cost of a permit will be £3 per tent in any area without camping facilities. Park Rangers will be able to issue permits on site although the Park wants to keep that to a minimum. Permits will include terms and conditions, and the expectation is that the issuing of a permit will encourage more responsible behaviour in those who buy them. Signs: Visitors will need to be made aware of the bye-law restrictions and various signs will be posted on roads in the area. There will be larger signs for the trunk roads, and smaller ones on local roads. Some completely new signs will be required, but the Park also plans to add some information to existing notices. There will be signs on the cycle paths as well, both to indicate the boundaries of the managed area and the locations of designated sites. Some signs will incorporate simple maps to indicate where people are allowed to camp. Enforcement: The Park Rangers will have primary responsibility for ensuring that people comply with the new legislation. GW emphasised that the primary aim would be to educate people, explaining the benefits of the new system and encouraging compliance wherever possible. Every effort would be made to apply common sense and discretion in the first instance. If people should refuse outright to comply, the rangers will be instructed to contact the police for assistance. Reviews: GW emphasised that the whole procedure would be reviewed regularly and adjusted if required. An annual report will be produced, and a three-yearly review will take place. If genuine problems should arise, there will be opportunity to change things, but it is a long, slow process. Some later changes did take place at East Loch Lomond Side following the introduction of similar legislation there, but evidence of a significant problem is needed before changes can be made. GW then invited questions and several members had queries. KM asked about publicity and GW replied that there would be advertisements in the media and online, with posters for local outlets (shops) where people buy fishing permits and so on. Certain specialist interest magazines would also be targeted for adverts. AD asked about provisions for refuse. GW replied that the managed camp sites would be looked after, but ‘wild camping’ puts the responsibility on the campers who should remove their own waste. The permit system will allow follow-up enquiries to be made if people do leave waste. The initial response will probably be to issue a warning about litter, but Park Rangers can issue Fixed Penalty Tickets for offences that they see. Abandoned camps will be treated as fly-tipping. AH asked about foreign visitors and language problems. Had the use of logos or symbols been considered? GW replied that this had been investigated, and graphics would certainly be included on signs, but there was a danger of providing too much information in one small space. MM asked why the area adjacent to the Stroneslaney Road was not included in the managed camping area, because this had proved to be a significant problem area in the past. GW responded that this had not been made clear at the consultation stage and that it was now too late to include within the designated camping management zones. Other members pointed out that this area would still be included in the managed zone for the proposed alcohol bye-law. MM asked what would happen where visitors camp in areas where there is no connectivity. GW replied that rangers would visit all managed areas regularly and could issue permits where required. They would also be able to advise people on how to make online payments once they reached an area with network accessibility. BR asked about volunteer rangers, and GW said that this idea is being actively promoted, to encourage local people to become volunteer rangers. This would provide important local knowledge, and would help to boost the number and frequency of Ranger patrols in the Park. KM and AD stated that they were delighted that the legislation was going ahead. GW asked whether the receipts from camping permits would cover costs. GW responded that this would not be the case, but making a payment would help to ensure that people treat the facilities with respect. The Park is not getting any extra funding for the new initiative, but equally its level of funding has not been cut ñ in recognition of the cost of providing the extra facilities. MM concluded by expressing thanks to GW on behalf of the community council for all the work undertaken, and for his personal commitment in attending and taking time to explain the camping strategy. 5) Police Report Between 6th December 2016 and 9th January 2017, there was a report of a disturbance in Strathyre on 30th December. The person responsible was arrested and held in custody to appear at Stirling Sheriff Court. Also, during this period, a motorist was stopped on the A85 travelling through Glen Ogle, and found to be committing a number of offences in relation to insurance, MOT and the driving licence regulations. The driver was reported to the Procurator Fiscal. A number of fixed penalties were also issued to other motorists for various offences, including speeding, driving untaxed vehicles, uninsured vehicles and having no MOT. No thefts occurred immediately within our area. However, at around 1 a.m. on Thursday 5th January, two trailers and four jet-skis were stolen from the Loch Earn Caravan Park. Also, during mid-December, a number of sheds and outhouses were broken into around the Callander area, with tools and bicycles being stolen. In Killin, there have been two separate incidents in recent weeks where car tyres have been slashed. All local residents are asked to remain vigilant and, if anyone is seen acting suspiciously near to vehicles, to contact the police. High visibility patrols and static road checks had continued in order to deter and detect travelling criminals, and visits to licensed premises and routine stop checks were carried out during the festive period. It was encouraging that nobody within this area was found to be driving under the influence of alcohol. Work has continued on the Mountain Safety Initiative with the local Mountain Rescue teams and the National Park. There has been very good feedback so far and work is continuing. 6) Matters Arising a) Pavement in Lochearnhead PH reported that he was in the process of arranging a site meeting to review the situation in Lochearnhead. This would involve representatives from Transport Scotland and BEAR, and any community councillors would be most welcome. b) Concealed entrance sign on A85, Lochearnhead PH reported having written to Transport Scotland, asking that the decision not to install a sign might be reviewed. He was gratified to advise members that, as a result of this intervention, BEAR had now agreed to post a warning sign of the concealed entrance on the approach from the West. 7) Correspondence 7a) Scottish Civic Trust - My Place awards PH reported that the Scottish Civic Trust was calling for nominations from community councils, local civic trusts and other heritage or community groups around Scotland for new buildings, restoration projects, landscape designs and other place-making projects for its annual “My Place” awards. The trust is also looking for nominations for a winner of the “My Place” Civic Champion award. The 2017 Awards, supported by the Scottish Government, are a national celebration of good local design and conservation projects and of people who make a significant contribution to the civic movement. There was some discussion as to whether the Bliss Trail might be a suitable candidate, but it was decided that the criteria for the award appeared to envisage buildings and projects on a larger scale. 8) Planning Matters 8a) Stronvar MM queried the progress of an existing application for a property at Stronvar designated as ‘Plot 1’. A local resident was under the impression that this was going to become a commercial development. AS had researched this but could see no sign of intended commercial use. The matter had not been directly referred to the CC, but MM queried whether the community council should seek written confirmation from the Planning Department that the development would be a dwelling-house. DJ commented that a change of use application would be required and this had not been sought. It was decided it would be better for the resident (who was already involved in the consultation process) to query this personally. 8b) AS spoke about another recent application: four holiday units are to be developed at Creagan House, Lochearnhead. AS suggested that there was unlikely to be much community interest, and PH concurred. 9) Matters From Councillors AH commented that the Finance Committee was to investigate an overspend (£2.2M) by one Council department. AH also explained how Stirling should benefit from the recently awarded City Fund, particularly with infrastructure projects. 10) Any Other Competent Business 10a) Surface flooding in Strathyre AD and RM raised the question of whether or not any work had been carried out in Strathyre to replace some smaller drains with larger ones. AH replied that the senior engineer for drains, culverts and ditches had retired recently and not yet been replaced. KM commented that there is still surface flooding in Balquhidder. AH said that the budget for this year has more or less run out now and jobs would still be listed for completion but might take some time. MM reminisced about a time when village officers had dealt with such matters on a regular basis. AH agreed but commented that, when there is a finite amount of money available, political choices have to be made in prioritising expenditure. Road repairs and maintenance do not currently come high on the list. 10b) Damage to Balvaig Bridge at Stronvar, Balquhidder PH explained that on 19th December 2016, a resident from Balquhidder had reported that a large vehicle had struck the bridge across the Balvaig at Stronvar, causing some serious damage and knocking several stones into the river. An engineer from Roads and Land Services had attended and inspected the damage. Unfortunately, because the road is very narrow at this point, it was impractical to put in a temporary barrier to protect the site of the damage. Also, because the bridge is a category B listed structure, repair works have to use an approved lime-mortar mix in keeping with the rest of the bridge. Due to the potential effects of frost at this time of year, it would be impractical to attempt a repair before the beginning of May. 10c) Waste Disposal Bins KM mentioned a problem with the new blue bins. They are particularly light in weight, and designated to collect plastics and other lightweight materials. The recent high winds have resulted in lots of rubbish being strewn around Balquhidder. AS suggested that it might be sensible to revise the system so that a heavier bin is used for the lightweight rubbish, and the lighter bin could be filled with heavier items. AH offered to take back this suggestion. AH also commented that union agreement had not yet been obtained for the changes in working practices called for by the recently revised system. Consequently, some industrial action is now taking place and the programme of collecting bins is falling behind. Furthermore, not all of the new vehicles required are available as yet, so there are insufficient vehicles to sort out the problem. The Council is planning to take on additional agency staff to catch up after the Christmas period. There was no other business and, at 9:30 p.m., MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting is due to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 22nd February 2017 at The Broch, Strathyre.



Following a successful first year, Killin Music Festival will return this summer, running from 16-18 June. Already announced are the weekend headliners – Mànran, Skerryvore and Dougie MacLean. The KMF team have been in talks with leading young artists in the Scottish music scene and have secured a strong supporting line-up which will be announced live on the KMF Facebook page on Sunday 5th March. Festival tickets are selling fast with only 25% remaining – secure your ticket today and don’t miss out! Tickets are available now at News First, Killin, or via our website:

Dougie MacLean


Skerryvore 22

Kasia’s Cookin’

Pizza Margherita

The classic pizza was supposedly invented in 1889 by Raffaele Esposito in honor of Queen Margherita. The queen had heard so much of the fabled pizzas of Naples that she requested one to eat when she visited the city. This is the lovely Italian recipe from ‘The food of Italy’ by S Braimbridge and J Glynn. All pizza and tomato sauce are made from scratch, simple and beautiful. With this recipe you will make two 30 cm pizzas. INGREDIENTS Pizza dough:

1 tbsp sugar 2 tsp dried yeast 215 ml lukewarm water 450 g strong flour 1/2 tsp salt 3 tbsp olive oil Cornmeal

Tomato sauce:

240g tomatoes (fresh or canned) 6 basil leaves 4 garlic cloves, crushed, 4 tsp olive oil

On the top:

9 basil leaves 1 tbs olive oil 300g mozzarella cheese, chopped

1. To make the tomato sauce puree or finely chop the tomatoes with basil leaves. Stir in the garlic, olive oil and season well with pepper and salt. Leave for at least 30 min before serving to allow the flavours to blend. 2. To make the dough put the sugar, yeast, 90 ml water in a small bowl, leave to activate. Mix the flour, salt, oil, remaining water and the yeast mixture. Mix until the dough loosely clumps together. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 min, until the dough is soft and dry to touch. Leave the dough in a draughtfree spot for about 1-1.5 hour or until doubled in size covering it with tea towel. Preheat the oven to 240C/ gas 9 3. Knead the dough, divide into 2 portions. Using the heels of your hands push each portion out to make a thick circle and flatten it into 30 cm circle with a slightly raised rim. Transfer into a lightly oiled tray, dusted with cornmeal. 4. Spoon the tomato sauce, spreading it up to the rim. Scatter with the mozzarella and basil, drizzle with the oil. 5. Bake for 12-15 min, or until golden and puffed. Remove from the oven and brush the rim with a little olive oil before serving. Enjoy! Kasia Sujanova 23

Overnight between the 16th and 17th of January, a hit and run collision occurred outside The Munro in Strathyre. The offending vehicle struck a parked car, causing substantial damage and drove off without stopping or leaving any details. If anyone has any information, please get in touch. On the 26th January a motorist was observed driving through Lochearnhead in excess of 50pmh within the 30mph zone and has been reported to the Procurator Fiscal in relation to the incident. On the 8th February an incident occurred on the Main Street in Strathyre involving two vehicles. A lorry overtook a van within the 30mph zone and whilst trying to cut back in, struck the van and kept driving. The lorry driver failed to stop, and was eventually located further down the A84 by the van driver. A heated exchange took place and the lorry driver refused to provide his details. The lorry driver has now been reported to the Procurator Fiscal for a number of motoring offences, including Careless Driving, Failing to Stop after a collision, and Failing to provide his details after the collision. Fixed Penalty Increases As of the 1st March 2017, the Government has increased the penalties for some motoring offences under new legislation. As of that date, if a motorist is found to be driving using a mobile phone, or driving using any other handheld device (such as a Sat nav etc) then they will face a fine of £200 and 6 penalty points being added to their licence. For those that are not aware, when you reach 12 penalty points, there is an automatic disqualification. The new penalties will also apply to anyone supervising a learner driver whilst using a mobile phone/handheld device as there are additional offences for the supervising driver. They will also face a £200 fine and 6 penalty points. Livestock worrying Ahead of the 2017 lambing season starting across the country, a national campaign was launched by Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime, in partnership with Police Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, NFUS, Scottish Land & Estates and the Kennel Club on Monday 13th February. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness amongst dog owners about the devastating effects of livestock worrying. The advice to dog owners who live in rural areas or anyone walking and exercising their dogs in the countryside is to ensure they are under control at all times and avoid going into fields where livestock is grazing. The Scottish Outdoor 24

Access Code says dogs shouldn’t be taken into fields where there are lambs or other young farm animals. The vast majority of livestock worrying incidents involve sheep and can occur when a dog attacks, chases or in the case of sheep, is at large (not on a lead or otherwise under close control) in a field where livestock is kept. The devastating effects of a dog attack are evident and cannot be overstated but significant damage can also be caused by a dog simply being present in a field. Pregnant ewes can abort their lambs or lambs can be separated from their mothers, causing distress and in some cases malnutrition. Killin Mountain Rescue Team 50th Anniversary The Killin MRT are celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2017 having completed over 1000 rescues in that time. In the past 50 years the team have been responsible for saving the lives of 1000’s of people, and recovering those who have sadly died on the local mountains back to their families and friends. At the team’s AGM on Sunday 19th February, Chief Superintendent Stephen McAllister, the Forth Valley Divisional Commander attended in order to pass on his personal thanks to the volunteers who willingly give up so much of their time to help other in need. Mr McAllister spoke to the team members at the meeting and relayed some of the highs and lows of the team over the past 50 years. He then presented the Team Leader with a token of appreciation. In return, the team also presented Mr McAllister with a book covering “The tales of Killin MRT”. I would also like to convey my thanks to the volunteers; many of whom are part of our own local communities, and are willing to give up their own time and put their lives in danger to help others in need. There are a number of the members who have been part of the team for a countless number of years

50 years of service - Killin’s mountain rescue team celebrate their anniversary

and have assisted in saving the lives of a large number of people in that time. I look forward to continuing to work alongside them as part of the team for many more years to come. 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

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

Andrew Poulter, Advertising & Andrea Poulter, Subscriptions Coire A Chroine Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384784 / 07816 042332

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! •


Other Contacts... 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 - 12.45pm to 4.00pm. Light lunch included. Contact: David Anderson (01764 670829) / Bill Thow (01764 670836). 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 to 9pm (contact Gill 01877 384203)


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

MARCH 2017


Sports Club meeting - 7.00pm - The Munro Inn - Strathyre


SWT Talk - Dragonflies - Callander Kirk - 7.30pm - see page 9


Villagers AGM - St Fillans Achray Hotel - 7.30pm - see page 2


Vicky Jack Talk ‘Everest’ - Balquhidder Hall - 2pm - see page 9


Mothers’ Day


Horticultural Show AGM - The White Stag Inn - 7.30pm - see page 2

APRIL 2017


Stuc Race Night - The White Stag Inn - 7.30pm - see page 2


Great Loch Earn Boat race - Lochearnhead - see page 2

The Villagers’ Photographer Jason Allardyce 01877 384295 / 07508 595211 Wedding, Portrait, Social, Pet Photography 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: Russel Moffat 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 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



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Looking forward to Spring... Thanks to Andrew Poulter of Balquhidder, Isobel Howell of St Fillans and Paul Hicks of Lochearnhead for these wintry images.

The villagers march 2017  

#BLiSStrail Secures Wee Coo from Sustrans Scotland for RT7, Strathyre, The Munro Inn, Burns Night in Balquhidder, The St Fillans Bit, Vill...

The villagers march 2017  

#BLiSStrail Secures Wee Coo from Sustrans Scotland for RT7, Strathyre, The Munro Inn, Burns Night in Balquhidder, The St Fillans Bit, Vill...