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

The ‘Queen of Loch Earn’, St Fillans

Editor’s Bit This month’s Ed’s Bit is all about Good News (the not-so-good news is contained in the very full report of The Villagers AGM, which we have hidden away at the back using the infuriating small text we all hate). We would like to give a huge thank you to two of our young people - Iona from St Fillans who wrote us a lovely story (page 10), and Albert who demonstrated his skills with a camera in some of our Burns Night photos, seen here on the right. I would also thank two well known former residents of Lochearnhead, Pam and Lawrie Hopkins, for sending us some lovely old postcards which we have used on the cover this month, with the permission of their owner Robert Sanders. Finally good luck to Kim and LETI, Megan Haste at Loch Venachar and the Lewis Family for their Mhor Festival who are all finalists at the Scottish Thistle Awards in March. JJ

Balquhidder Community Broadband

Public Meeting 2pm Sunday 18 March 2018 Balquhidder Village Hall Now that we have started delivering ‘world class’ fibre broadband to properties, this is your opportunity to meet our team and some of our volunteers. It will be your opportunity to catch up on our progress and schedule for getting around the glen. We will give you the run down on costs and service and hopefully be able to answer all of those questions you have been waiting to ask.


Put the date in your diary - and we look forward to meeting you then.


Hidden Glen 10K - Saturday 21st April 2018 The Hidden Glen 10K is being planned to return to Balquhidder Glen on Saturday 21st April instead of repeating a September date as last year. The event is due to start at 12pm and as such the Glen road from Balquhidder Village Hall to Monachyle Mhor Hotel will experience increased traffic between 10am and 11.30am and then again between 1pm and 3pm. I recognise that the Glen road is single track and I do not want to cause annoyance to local residents. We would like to ask local residents to, where possible, avoid travelling on the Glen Road between these times in order to avoid any inconvenience. I hope that I am giving sufficient notice of the event but If travel between these times is essential please contact me directly on the email below and I will make every effort to facilitate your journey within the Glen with minimal inconvenience. This year Run Mhor will be making a donation to Balquhidder Playgroup, but we are looking for other local charities or groups which we could also support so please get in touch. Pete Waugh Run Mhor 2


Claire and ‘The Ed’

Wine Safari Sunday 25th March £55 per person

The Three Musketeers - Alan, Charlie and Charlie

Spring forward with the Mhor Wine Safari. A 6 mile meander along Balquhidder Glen with pit stops every couple of miles for sustenance in spectacular locations. On the 6th mile we gather in Monachyle Barn, with fires lit, for a hearty lunch. Dogs welcome!

Burns in the Barn The Lewis family’s Burns Night at Monachyle provided another memorable evening of music, songs, poems, great food and an occasional dram. The ‘Three Musketeers’ from Balquhidder provided much of the entertainment along with Fin Moore piping, Shane Maclennan singing, Tim Maguire doing the Toast to the Lassies and Susan Mathieson replying on behalf of the fairer sex. Albert Lewis was very busy all evening taking most of the photos here, providing a great example of the young talent there is in the area which we hope we will see a lot more of in this special Year for Young People.

To book your place, contact us at: T 01877 384 622



An address...

The star of the show

... and a song

Piping in the Haggis

Ewan and friend



St Fillans Bit

The Four Seasons enjoyed a belated February Valentines celebration, partnering with Gin Bothy. Looking forward to March - with Mothers’ Day fast approaching, we are offering a Strawberry Cream Afternoon Tea at £17.50 along with a souvenir gift. The Tarken will be including some Irish specials on Saturday 17th March as a nod to St Patrick’s Day, and on the 23rd we welcome back Richard from Great Grog to share his thoughts on some spring wines to match Chef Carlos’s spring pairing menu. Turning into Easter at the end of the month, we will be introducing the first of our Sunday Brunches. To be held on the 1st Sunday of the month, brunch will consist of traditional breakfast items along with classic brunch dishes of pancakes, bacon and maple syrup along with your choice of eggs, smoothies and a brunch buffet, all for £17.50 per person. For the first of our brunches and to celebrate Easter, there will be an Easter Egg hunt for the kids and for the young at heart. Bookings for all of the above are essential, so please call 01764 685333.

Night and Day, St Fillans... thank you to Gordon McDowall for sending in some lovely photos


Strathyre News AGM 8PM TUESDAY 13 MARCH 2018 STRATHYRE VILLAGE HALL Guest Speaker Kim Proven, LETi (tbc)

“The Year of Young People”

Call Mel on 07919384724 for details


Lochearnhead Latest

A Story from the Past The following newspaper article comes to us courtesy of Michael Cowie, one of our readers who supplied us with some fascinating glimpses of local history last year. We think the tragic event may have happened in the October of 1928. If any of our readers have anything further they can add to the tale, we would be glad to know about it!

The Lochearnhead Village Hall

Lochearnhead Mystery


The mysterious disappearance of a well-known Lochearnhead postman during the wild storm of 19th October is causing great concern among the inhabitants of the pretty village at the head of Loch Earn. The missing man is John Thornton, a 60-year-old postman who resided alone at Dunearn, a large house standing back from the St Fillans Road. Mr Thornton was a popular and kenspeckle figure in Lochearnhead and, as was but natural, spent the major portion of his leisure time with his many friends in the village. As was his wont he had come across to the centre of the village on the evening of Friday the 19th October, when, it will be remembered, a terrible storm of wind and rain raged throughout the country. Somewhere about nine o’clock Mr Thornton left the friends in whose company he had spent the evening, and since that time no trace of him has been discovered. His non-appearance in the village on the following day caused comment and when on Sunday forenoon he failed to appear the police were informed. The local constable went to his home but discovered that he had not been there since Friday evening. It was then felt that something had happened to Mr Thornton while on his way home in the storm and several theories have been advanced which might account for his mysterious disappearance. Many feared that he had fallen into the River Ogle while retracing his steps to his home on the braeside. It is thought he may have missed his way in the dark and had walked down the path into the swollen river. Another theory is that Mr Thornton may, for some reason, have decided to return to the village and, forgetful of the swollen state of the river, had attempted to use a short cut of which he was in the habit of making use and had been carried away by the spate. Two of the most diligent searchers were Mr D McLaren who, up to a month age, was the postmaster, and Mr Mc Naughton who now holds the position. Mr Thornton is the last of the Lochearnhead long service postmen and would have been retiring in February next.

will take place on

Tuesday 10th April 2018 in the village hall at 7.30pm All are welcome to attend – please come along and get involved!

Long-Service Postman Missing


Optical & Sunglasses Ranges

49 Main Street CALLANDER (01877) 330084



our Wonderful Postie Balquhidder is going to lose one of its most well-known faces when Moira Welsh drives her red post van round the glen for the last time. Moira has been delivering our letters and parcels in all conditions for 27 years in Balquhidder having initially worked for three years on a casual basis in Lochearnhead. Her friend emigrating to Australia gave her the opportunity to inherit the Balquhidder run and the rest is her history! Her only problems seem to revolve around pheasants. One in particular down at Inverlochlarig would wait for the arrival of the van and fly right in front of her and then, despite having a limp, chase and terrorise Moira as she attempted to get out. It would then fly down to Rob Roy’s cottage and repeat the performance. Moira was very relieved when it suddenly disappeared and would like to assure John McNaughton she had nothing do with its demise. There are many amusing incidents: Margaret Ritchie’s Siamese cat stowing away in her van and startling her with a very loud squeak as she drove away; finding Charlie Methven’s dog at Gart (Moira took pity on the dog and took it back on her run to Auchleskine only to discover that Charlie himself had been at Gart working and had spent ages looking for his dog). On the topic of dogs, she said she had been very lucky in only having two bites from dogs in all her career. Back to two-legged creatures - and Moira claims everyone has always been friendly and supportive. In the “old days” she notes there was more interaction between people and she would often be given a box of scones to pass on or veg. when someone had a surplus to pass on further down the glen. She also reflected on how in bad weather she was a contact for older residents - but now they are not allowed to venture out in the snow. She does think that, contrary to what we might think, they are much busier than ever despite the advent of emails and the dramatic drop in personal letters. Online shopping has resulted in a huge rise in parcels throughout the year and these are complicated by the need to scan all these items, both at the office and the place of delivery, and as a result the runs are taking longer. The closure of the local post office was a big change for posties, even though they are employed by the Royal Mail. From a personal perspective Moira is very pleased she has been able to live in Lochearnhead all her life like father and

grandfather before her, and work in the rural community - not having to climb up blocks of flats with a big bag. She has seen lots of changes in Lochearnhead with new houses bringing more families into the village. On the other hand, two fires (the first at the original Lochearnhead Hotel and the second more recently at the Watersports) have had a negative impact with loss of jobs and facilities, and a knock-on effect on the opportunities for both locals and holiday makers to really take advantage of the loch and what it could provide. And what are her plans after March? Initially she wants just to have a breather and take her time to plan, at least that was her initial comment. In the next breath she said she wants to fly to Barra in June as Dougie loves flying and had

always wanted to land on the beach. Her own bucket list dream is to travel through Canada on the Rocky Mountain train... possibly China, with the Great Wall, could be another big trip. She also intends to turn her hand to growing veg and has Dougie organised to make her some raised beds - so look out for her taking the next Horticultural Show by storm. Indoors she will always have a jigsaw on the go, sometimes to share with her grandson. Finally, she will adjust to the big change from the routine of the early rise, only starting at 7.45 recently - not the 6.30 start when she first started work! She would just like to say she will miss everyone... and Moira, we will certainly miss you, your smile and your incredibly helpful nature. JJ

Lady in Red...Moira and her trusty van. Come along to Balquhidder Hall on Friday 6 April between 6 and 8pm for a drink, a bite to eat - and a chance to wish Moira ‘all the best’!


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 takes a wander along the southern shore of Loch Voil to Stronvar House and surroundings. This month we take a look into the past. (“again...” some might say!) But this is a glimpse into the happenings at Stronvar House in 1994 from the brochure of the enterprise there - a brief history of earlier times written by Betty Beauchamp who lived at The Woodlands, Balquhidder (previously Woodbine Cottage - the name was changed because Mrs Carnegie of Stronvar did not approve of smoking.) Betty was also the headmistress at Balquhidder school for many years until her retirement. Those who are familiar with the area around Stronvar House, with a little imagination, should be able to picture things as in times gone by.    There is talk of peacocks and rose arches in formal gardens, marble statues and a tennis court. The boathouse and ice house are still to be seen on the shore line of the loch - and the remains of the game larder, by the coach house that was.     What a proud and manicured place the Glen would have been then.   I was told an interesting story by my friend Mervyn Browne who as a young man at that time was assistant shepherd at Muirlaggan.  A  wee puckle of sheep had played truant from the hill and were being rounded up, with much embarrassment, from the gardens around the house.  To his horror they all trotted up the steps of the front door and into the reception hall.  A discreet and very silent diversion succeeded in persuading them not to venture any further and thankfully no one was any the wiser, Luckily, they did not leave any visiting cards. So, have a stroll down that way sometime and have a peep at the boathouse and the ice house, let your imagination wander a little... perhaps you will meet a ghost or two of the forty-odd staff who used to be there.   Spare a thought about Betty Beauchamp’s history of the place - and what might have happened if Mervyn’s sheep had taken to the staircase! Old Nyati


Jean Edwards “Golly, Moses!” was Jean’s response when I asked her if she would do an interview about her period as Balquhidder Church’s news reporter. It has to be “short and frivolous” - so I hope she approves. As we spent over an hour chatting and admiring her view over Balquhidder I’m not sure I can promise ‘short’! Jean and her husband Bob discovered Balquhidder in 1967 when they wanted somewhere for Bob to climb and Jean and the family to enjoy the surroundings offered by a holiday home at Tulloch. Jean said they were lucky that Bob, being a civil servant, had six weeks’ holiday which enabled them to get to know the area well. After a career which included four years in Australia with the Diplomatic Corps, and a round the world trip home at the expense of the Foreign Office, Bob decided Scotland would be their eventual home. So, when a plot of land came up for sale they bought it, went to Comrie one afternoon and arranged an architect, builder and lawyer all in the one visit. It then took two years to deal with all the legal “stuff”. When they moved up Bob was soon involved with the Community Council and the Hall committee and Jean found that her love of classical music was shared by Jim Benson, the minister in Balquhidder at the time. Her involvement with both the Church and Summer Music were natural homes for Jean and she was very happy to do her part in feeding a “slap-up Scottish Tea” to the performers, who initially were happy to perform for their supper. Her involvement with The Villagers arose from these connections and she took on the job of writing ‘Church News’. As she had been doing it for over twenty years she was very happy when Russel started writing for us and, after a few months of working in tandem she is happy for Russel to fly solo. She thinks it is very important that The Villagers has a regular message from the Church as well as having a diary of Church events. Many thanks, Jean, from all of us at The Villagers, for your very valued contributions. JJ

Church News Balquhidder BLS



Mystery! A note from

St Angus’s

It is fascinating to talk to folk about what they think about God. For some people He seems to be the big kill-joy in the sky, ready to disapprove when we put a foot wrong. For those who have had a difficult relationship with their own father it is difficult for them to see God as a loving Father. For others God is an irrelevancy or He just doesn’t care about us enough to stop bad things happening. The Churches have struggled over the centuries to present God as He really is and, after all, does anyone really know? I wonder if anyone has read The Shack by Wm Paul Young? A controversial book but I really enjoyed it. Paul Young takes the nature and very essence of God as he understands Him and presents Him as a large black American woman overflowing with love. Now I am going to get controversial – some Churches tell us that sin separates us from God. I’m not sure I altogether agree. The Apostle Paul tells us that ”NOTHING can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus”... check it out in Romans Ch. 8 v35 onwards. Sin certainly didn’t separate Jesus from folk - in fact he seemed to deliberately seek out the sinners so that he could love them back into wholeness. He didn’t stand there pointing an accusing finger or condemning them. Strangely, the only folk he really had a go at were the religious ones! Just pondering….

Hi Folks The word “mystery” is much underused in our culture and I believe we need to reclaim it. Since the Enlightenment, humanity has increasingly been the master of nature. The icons of the microscope and telescope are indicative of this, symbolising the huge growth in human knowledge and the accompanying technology which has helped produce the modern world. But not everything can be analysed, categorised, dissected, quantified, and wrapped in a metaphorical blanket of equations and formulations. Once science has finished we are still left with the very human response to the nature of reality. For me, everywhere I turn I encounter mystery. Now this word is out of fashion at the moment for the simple reason that some equate it with a “religious” mentality. Yet as the French philosopher Gabriel Marcel once said, “Those who reduce a mystery to a problem to be solved are guilty of intellectual perversity.” On this understanding, a mystery is something which we can never fully understand or exhaust but which we can grasp partially and provisionally as we are drawn deeper into it. That certainly resonates with my experience of life in all its glorious messiness and wonder. A musician I like is the Canadian singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn. Not only because he’s good, but because unlike most of my musical heroes, he shares my Christian faith! He has established an enthusiastic and faithful following over several decades but he is very much an artist’s artist. Allegedly, Bono of U2 went to the Greenbelt Festival in England a number of years ago disguised as a steward in order to hear one of his performances. Fame indeed! One of his songs is entitled Mystery. Here is a sample of the lyrics: You can’t tell me there is no mystery Mystery Mystery You can’t tell me there is no mystery It’s everywhere I turn

This feast of beauty can intoxicate Intoxicate Intoxicate This feast of beauty can intoxicate Just like the finest wine

I was built on a Friday and you can’t fix me You can’t fix me You can’t fix me I was built on a Friday and you can’t fix me Even so I’ve done okay

So all you stumblers who believe love rules Believe love rules, believe love rules Come all you stumblers who believe love rules Stand up and let it shine Stand up and let it shine

What I love about the song is its simplicity - yet profundity. It also juxtaposes the mundane messiness of human existence with the mystery of wonder (or is it the wonder of mystery…or both?) It encourages us to enjoy the experience but also challenges us to live not just with mystery but live into it, a very different thing. I can’t think of a better description of the Christian approach to reality. The Apostle Paul reminds us that “we walk by faith not by sight” (2Cor 5:7). And that is true of everyone, not just religious folks! But nonetheless it is being “awake” to the rich tapestry of life all around us that has to be the starting point of our daily pilgrimage in this world. Let’s enjoy the journey…and see where it leads!


And as the ultimate sign of Jesus’ total identification with us we celebrate Easter as he died to experience death with us and rose again to bring us into life with him. Here are the Easter arrangements for the Strathearn Churches for this year... STRATHEARN EPISCOPAL CHURCHES EASTER ARRANGEMENTS You are welcome to join us at any of these services! FRI 30 MARCH 12noon 1pm 2.15pm SUN 1 APRIL 7am 8am 9.45am 10am 11.15am 11.30am

GOOD FRIDAY WAY OF THE CROSS (the services follow on, but each can stand alone) St Columba’s, Crieff St Serf’s, Comrie St Angus’s, Lochearnhead EASTER DAY Celebration on the Knock (joint churches, followed by breakfast venue tbc) Lochearnhead: Lochside Communion (followed by bacon butties at Lochearnhead Hotel) St Serf’s Comrie: Communion St Fillan’s Killin: Communion St Columba Crieff St Angus’s Lochearnhead: Communion 9

2018 - Year of Young People Loch Earn Tourism Information is joining the celebrations of “Year of Young People 2018 “ giving young people a voice. We are collaborating with The Villagers, Strathyre Primary School and other community groups. You may have seen Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s involvement on the TV recently! If you are aged 8 to 26 we want to hear from you. Send us your poems, stories, songs, photographs and videos with permission to publish them. You could tell us about your village, activities, clubs, groups, schools, work, university life and events for your age group. Share what you would like to see or try in the area.  Get involved with local events. Learn from and teach local businesses new skills. Are you taking part in any of the following this year - Strathyre Talent Show, Mini Stuc A Chroin, Strathyre Music Festival, BLS Horticultural Show, BLS Highland Games and others? Would you be willing to write or film a report or blog about the events?  It’s your year. It’s your voice. Be part of #YOYP2018.  Share information with adults in the community... Are you a budding film maker? Enter  Community volunteer? enter “£2000 grant opportunity for change in the community”  Enter the Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards nominations-open-young-scot-awards-2018/ and more.  Look out for #YOYP2018 on Young Scot and Visit Scotland websites.    This month we are featuring the creative writing of 9-year-old Iona Clark from St Fillans (left). Perhaps Iona’s story will inspire other young writers to forward stories enabling a permanent young writer’s column in The Villagers.

Midnight Meadows A short story by Iona Clark 20.2.2018

I skip along side the Loch,trying to ignore all the points and stares aimed towards me. I mean I get this every evening, but I still wonder at the humans rudeness! ‘’HELLO!,Don’t you know it is rude to point?’’(I doubt it.) I dance along a bit more until I am completely fed up of ,’’look Mummy, there is a doe!’’ I am a STAG! NOT a doe! Anyway I am so fed up with humans, I decide to take the short cut. The only problem is that the short cut is that it is on the other side of the Loch(you know, the massive lake?). Meaning I have to jump over the LOCH!I know it sounds fun(as if ), but this is seriously dramatic (seriously). it is easy for the Loch to tempt a deer to death. I take a moment to think. this Loch is gonna have a its work cut if it thinks I am just another victim! I take a deep breath and leap into the air. I arch my legs in the air(like the horses on TV) and try NOT to scream. A moment later I am back on solid earth and doing victory leaps. Now I can see my destination clearly and I take it at a gallop. I jump over fence and land in the meadow. Bang on time. I trot to a spare space and lie down . The moon is right in the middle of the sky. Midnight. A midnight meadow. 10

Left to right of Stephen and members of the Safe Drive stay alive team: PC Vinny Lynch, Alan Faulds, Cllr Martin Earl, Patrick Boyle, David Galloway (sitting)) Stephen Kerr, Bill Taylor and PC Andrew Starkie

MP attends hard hitting Safe Drive Stay Alive presentation Last week saw the annual presentations to all S4 pupils from the Forth Valley Area of the ‘Safe Drive, Stay Alive’ road safety event. MP Stephen Kerr attended the Thursday evening performance and was visibly moved by what he saw during the dramatic, step by step, coverage of a serious collision that had changed lives for ever. Every year the volunteers from Scottish Fire & rescue, Police & NHS that organise the eleven shows held at the MacRobert Theatre struggle to raise the £24,000 needed annually. The most powerful contributions in the shows are made by the survivors and their family members who bring home the devastating impact that a thoughtless or reckless action can result in. Stephen Kerr commented: “All I would ask is that anyone from any of the organisations and Local Authorities involved that is considering whether funding should be made available for these events should attend and witness the impact it has on our young people before deciding. I am confident they will agree that it is vitally important to ensure all our young people see what the consequences are of poor driving, if it saves one life and one family from the devastating consequences then it is worth every penny.

SEEING STARS by Keith Wilson 


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

MARCH Mercury is the smallest and innermost planet in our solar system and this month is your best chance to spot it in the west after sunset. The planet is actually not much bigger than our Moon and even looks at lot like it as its surface is covered in craters. Because it is small and close to the Sun it can be difficult to spot unlike its bright neighbour Venus. Look low down in the west where the Sun has set and you should easily locate Venus as the brilliant ‘evening star’. Little Mercury is close-by - at the beginning of the month it is to the lower right of Venus and by the middle of the month you will find Mercury above and to the right of Venus. It fades in brightness as the month progresses. The best date to spot the innermost planet is on March 3 when Mercury and Venus will be side by side - two planets for the price of one!

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

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Happy Birthday, Balquhidder Hall Balquhidder village hall will be celebrating twenty years since its opening in March 1998. Such a momentous milestone seemed a very good excuse to celebrate - so put Saturday 23rd of June in your diaries (or on your computer!) and come and enjoy a Midsummer Ceilidh and Hog Roast. Any other ideas for celebrating the birthday will be welcome. JJ 11

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

Camping Management Byelaws

A Day in The Life of... The days of someone putting a parcel on the train to be collected from another station are long gone.... A WhatsApp message: “Hello, don’t suppose you guys fancy a Rannoch trip to drop off some lamb….?” My favourite railway line, I don’t need to be asked twice! Andrew’s busy elsewhere so it is just me on a mad dash - first to Glen Orchy to collect the lamb. Arriving at the farm, my son-in-law says, “It’s too heavy, I’ll need to put it on the train for you and there will be someone at the other end to meet you.” 25 kilos and a septuagenarian don’t go too well together. As always, the journey was magic for me and too soon we were arriving at Rannoch. Needless to say, there was no-one waiting to collect their lamb and between the train and the platform there was a large gap! I’m not good at stepping off the train at the best of times, so blindly stepping off the train with this ton weight was an experience! There are probably not many places you can leave a box of lamb and know it will be there on your return. Fortunately, Rannoch station is one of them. I rousted out the hotelier to come and collect his lamb whilst I relaxed with my library book (thanks, Nelson!) and a coffee, waiting for the return train and my next fix of the West Highland Line. Back at the farm I then discovered the eggs needed cleaning ‘if I happened to have the time’ before I had to return home - all 40 of them. In the evening Andrew and I went through to Stirling to see The Darkest Hour; highly recommended and very AP well worth the trip. Many thanks to Andrea, who managed to write this at the same time as her latest grandson was born, so come on the rest of you. “Time for Bed...” says Zebedee. Ed 12

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is preparing to welcome campers to its lochshores as the second season of camping management byelaws come into effect on 1st March. The seasonal byelaws cover certain parts of the National Park between March and September.  The byelaws were introduced in 2017 in order to protect some of the area’s most popular lochshores from environmental damage caused by the high volume of visitors and issues with antisocial behaviour from some campers going back a number of years.  The byelaws create Camping Management Zones, covering less than 4% of the National Park,’ where, between March and September, campers need to camp in a designated camping permit area or a campsite.  In 2017, more than 16,000 people camped in the new permit areas and the newly created low-cost campsite at Loch Chon. Feedback gathered from people who camped was extremely positive with 87% of those who responded said they would recommend staying in a permit area to others.  The National Park Authority is reminding anyone coming to camp this season to be aware of the byelaws and plan their trip in advance.  Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, said: “Camping is a great way to enjoy the National Park and we’re pleased with how things went last summer. The feedback we received through our online surveys and what the Rangers experienced from speaking to people face to face was overall very positive.  “But we know that the camping byelaws are still relatively new so it’s important that we continue to make people aware of how they work and encourage them to plan ahead.”  Feedback gathered throughout last season was used to fine-tune how the byelaws operated and that has continued over the winter months with changes being made on the ground and behind the scenes to further improve the experience for campers in 2018. Gordon Watson added: “We have continued to gather feedback from a broad range of people over the winter, including visitors, communities and partner organisations and are using that to inform how things work for 2018.  “There will be some visible changes this year such as new pitch surfaces, better water facilities, and connectivity for online bookings at Loch Chon campsite. There will also be some additional signage in places where people told us it was needed to make the Camping Management Zones clearer.  “Work is also underway to build another new low-cost campsite at Loch Achray in time for the peak summer season which will provide further low-cost camping opportunities at this popular spot.  “We’ve also made changes to our website and online booking system that will help improve the overall experience for people coming to camp.”  The byelaws also cover irresponsible fire lighting, including cutting down trees and the removal of dead wood which is damaging to the environment and wildlife. Anyone planning to have a campfire should bring their own firewood and keep fires small, under control and away from tents and buildings.  Wild camping, in accordance with the Outdoor Access Code, is still permitted outside of the Camping Management Zones. There are also a great range of private campsites throughout the National Park offering a full range of facilities.  Mr Watson said: “We are committed to providing great camping experiences for everyone while at the same time protecting the Park’s unique environment for the future. We will continue to gather feedback and further improve things throughout this season and look forward to welcoming many more people to enjoy camping this summer.”  Permit spaces for motorhomes are available at Firkin Point, Inveruglas and the Three Lochs Forest Drive in the Trossachs.  Laybys can be used to stop and rest (including sleeping overnight if necessary) but should not be used for longer stays.  To find out more and book a permit go to


Red Notice Bill Browder

“How I became Putin’s number one enemy”

One morning last month as I was munching my toast, an interview on the BBC Breakfast radio show caught my attention as the interviewer was quizzing an American about his recently released book, and I knew this was one I had to read. The novel, Red Notice, reads like a thriller and charts the true story of Browder’s experiences in the world of high finance and murder and his lonely but relentless fight for justice. Browder, from a family of academics, realises that he does not want to follow in their footsteps but find his own way in the world, with the primary purpose of making a lot of money. So, he begins his quest to find a niche in the world of banking. This journey is eventful enough on its own and many less courageous men might have given up after any of the knock backs he encounters at the beginning. However, it is when he decides that his future fortune lies in Russia that things get interesting. Settled in Moscow, Browder surrounds himself with a strong team and begins to realise his dream of making millions for his hedge fund. Things start to go wrong however when his lawyer is arrested for deigning to testify against the Russian Interior Ministry officers of stealing millions of taxes paid by the hedge fund. Disaster strikes and Browder’s attempt to discover the truth behind events are met with denials, cover ups and lies. Loyal to his friends in Russia but forced to return to London, he is unable to reenter the country for fear of arrest himself, he takes his fight for justice to the USA and world Politics. One must admire Browder’s persistence and his obvious ability to network in high places and use his persuasive power to influence those at the very pinnacle in world politics. In the course of this novel one can hear the journey the author makes from banker with £ signs in front of his eyes to a genuinely thoughtful, courageous and compassionate campaigner for justice in an unjust world. I could not put this book down until the very last page.

During the early hours of the 27th January 2018, an RTC occurred on the A85 at Glen Ogle. As a result of the enquiries, the driver was found to be driving under the influence of alcohol. The driver has been reported to the Procurator Fiscal.   Between the 24th  January and the 1st  February, a theft occurred at an address in Strathyre. Positive lines of enquiry were followed which has resulted in the perpetrator being reported to the Procurator Fiscal.   On the 15th  February, an incident occurred within the Glen Dochart forest at Glenoglehead. A deer stalker was out within the woods having been legitimately shooting deer. As he was returning to his vehicle at the end of the day, someone else within the wood fired a rifle in his direction within close proximity. The person who fired the rifle did not have permission to be shooting within the woods and it is believed that this person was on the land with the intention of deer poaching.   Poaching is currently a UK wildlife crime priority, and deer poaching is of particular concern. The people involved are often using high powered firearms illegally, with no regard for others or the welfare of the animals. The other main concern is that the venison from the deer being poached can enter into the food chain.  The people who are doing this are not concerned with hygiene and any venison being sold for human consumption must adhere to strict standards, which the poachers do not do.   This incident could have ended tragically with someone being shot by a high calibre rifle. The area itself is very popular with cyclists, walkers and dog walkers alike, as the old railway line passes through this area. There is also currently forestry staff working within the woods harvesting timber, so it has been by chance that no-one has been

hurt or killed in this incident. The person responsible for firing the rifle was seen to leave the area in a pickup type vehicle. I would appeal to anyone who has any knowledge of this incident to get in touch with me.   Just as a reminder, by the time this goes to print, the National Park Byelaws will once again be in operation. They come into into effect on 1  March each year and are in place until 30 September. Also, in addition to the previous Byelaws, the alcohol byelaw is now also fully operational. It was empowered last August, but towards the end of last year, we provided advice to those we found consuming alcohol in the areas they shouldn’t have been. Again, by the time this goes to print, the signage should be in place, and anyone found consuming alcohol in public this year will face a £40 fine. For those that aren’t already aware, the map above shows the camping management zones, as well as the permit areas where it can be permitted for people to camp etc on the provision that they purchase a permit. As the byelaws come into operation once again, so too does Operation Ironworks. Again, each weekend across the summer, officers will be dedicated to the operation to deal with issues caused by antisocial behaviour, and also road safety issues which typically increases with higher visitor numbers to the local areas.   As always, I can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at  william.     Regards, PC Will Diamond


Scottish Wildlife Trust: Keeping Track of Birds Not so long ago people believed that swallows wintered in the mud of reed beds or even flew to the moon! Now modern tracking devices have actually shown that birds make almost equally unbelievable migrations, as BTO’s Ben Darvill told in a fascinating talk to the January SWT meeting.

Numbered metal leg rings have been used since 1909 and in 1912 the first UKringed swallow was recovered in South Africa, an impressive 6,000 mile trip. By 2015 43million birds had been ringed and 950,000 recovered. Recent decades have witnessed a marked increase in the use of colour rings and wing tags that allow individuals to be identified without recapture. Mobile phone technology has miniaturised electronic components and GPS tracking has become an invaluable tool for monitoring movement of resident and migratory birds: currently a 5gm cellular GPS transmitter offers precise, year-round information. However, trackers must be <3% of the bird’s weight so further development is needed for smaller birds and to reduce the £2-3000 price tag. There have been some amazing discoveries such as the 16,000mile return journey of a 35g rednecked phalarope from Scotland to the eastern Pacific. The cuckoo population has halved over the last 20 years so 50 males have been fitted with satellite tags at nine UK breeding locations since 2011. Unfortunately, the Scottish birds are no longer actively transmitting but results have shown that those returning to Scotland are faring better than those staying in England, probably due to a later spring that better matches the cycle of food and nesting of host species. Active cuckoos can be followed on migration/tracking-studies/cuckootracking. Trackers also transmit the final location of dead birds: of 131 young golden eagles tracked over 12 years, 41 have disappeared, principally in 6 areas of the Highlands. If future technology provided live transmission of stills/videos would they be admissible in prosecution cases? BTO coordinates the results of many surveys, frequently carried out by volunteers. They show trends such as increasing sea and wetland bird populations but reducing woodland and farmland species while birds migrating to Africa are faring worse than our residents. For results and opportunities to get involved see https://www.bto. org/volunteer-surveys/core-surveys. 14

Golden Eagle (© Lesley Hawkins)

Emperor Moth

Painted Lady

Moths & Butterflies Strategies Moths and butterflies have developed a variety of strategies to counter the threat of diseases, parasites, predators and habitat changes. This is not a readily accessible topic but Jo Davis of West of Scotland Butterfly Conservation shared his fascinating findings with the SWT group in February. Scotland has more day-flying moths than its 30 butterflies but many are equally colourful. Predation by birds kills 15% of butterflies: one blue tit needs 100 caterpillars a day so a brood of 5 need 20,000 to fledge! Night-flying moths are eaten by bats but some emit ultrasonic clicks that jam bat radar. The simplest strategy is to lay thousands of eggs. More complex ones include camouflage against a resting background or mimicry of something inedible like birds’ droppings or hornets or the bright colours of poisonous insects. The patterns on the emperor hawk moth’s wings make it look more like a mammal head – are found locally. Strategies to counter variations in conditions or resources include adaptation (changing diet or moving north as the climate warms), diapause (a period of suspended development eg the Arctic Woolly Bear can remain a caterpillar for 12 seasons), hibernation in winter or aestivation in summer and

migration. Migrating insects can be monitored by powerful vertical-looking radar that has given estimated numbers flying at altitude and shown that they are able to navigate, compensate for cross-winds and cover 650km per night. In August 2002, 200million moths were counted crossing a 150km line in S England. Migratory species have 6-8 reproductive cycles per year, using a migratory ‘relay’ to fly north but a single generation returns south. In 2009 an irruption of painted lady butterflies saw 11million reach the UK in Spring and 26million return to North Africa in Autumn. Yet again, man has had a detrimental impact on habitat. Each fall, millions of monarch butterflies migrate from northern USA and Canada to a small area of Mexico where 35million have been estimated in just over an acre of trees! While projects to improve farming practices are preserving this habitat, it is overwhelmed by the destructive farming practices in huge areas of N America where their native food milkweed is being wiped out to increase yields of soya. Will this spectacle cease to exist? For lots of fascinating information and excellent identification guides see

SWT Callander events Sunday 3 June 11-2am Guided walk at RSPB’s Loch Lomond Reserve. Group of 15-20. Free to RSPB members, £5 nonmembers. Payment on the day. Take a picnic.  I will need to book this so need to know who would like to be included asap.  Early June has been chosen as bluebells  will still be out in the woods but if you would prefer another date also let me know 25 August 10am-4pm  SWT  fundraiser  in Ancaster Square, Callander. Bottle stall, plant sales, Red Squirrel & SWT HQ information stalls. Can you help on the day? Could you donate a ‘bottle’ or plants? At least come along, have a chat and spend! Himalayan Balsam removal along River Teith:  Sundays 8 July & 19 August, Saturday 8 September Looking for volunteers: River Forth Fisheries Trust  has been awarded funding from the LL&Trossachs NP Natural Heritage Grant Scheme for their new Stroneslaney farm riparian tree planting project.  500 trees will be planted in small enclosures along the river Balvaig near Balquhidder to help boost riparian tree planting in the catchment.    The Trust is looking for help creating these small enclosures and planting the trees and has planned three volunteer events for people to get involved. 27th February 1st March & 2nd March all 10am – 3pm - if you would like to get involved with this project please contact Amy Fergusson for more information or call the office on 0131 445 1527

Scottish Wildlife Trust Diary Tuesday 13 March

‘Scotland’s Cetaceans: Protecting our Amazing Sea Life’ by Tara Proud, Marine Conservation UK Tuesday 10 April

‘Orchids around Callander’ by Roy Sexton, Stirling SWT followed by very brief AGM.

Talks start at 7:30pm in Callander Kirk Hall, South Church St, Callander FK17 8BN. Suggested donations £2 members, £2.50 non-members, free to full-time students, include tea/coffee and biscuits.

Sunday 13 May Birding Walk, Braeleny Rd to the reservoir. Meet 10am Scout Pool car park. Free but must book via  or 01877 339080

Kasia’s Cookin’. . . Charming

Apple Tart

for Mothering Sunday This tart looks like a rose bouquet and tastes wonderful too! That’s why it could be a nice present for Mother’s Day. It is filled with homemade custard and folded softened slices of apples. Pretty and delicious. For the shortcrust pastry: 200g plain flour 90g cold butter, cut in cubes 30 g lard or vegetable fat (like coconut oil or more butter)

60g icing sugar Pinch of salt 2-3 tbsp cold water

Sieve the flour, add butter, lard, cut with the knife. Add sugar, salt, water, quickly make a dough. Cover and keep in the fridge for 30-60 min. Butter a 25 cm baking tin and sprinkle with flour. Roll the dough to about 3 mm thick. Place in the form. Chill for 30 min. Sprinkle with flour, cover with flour and fill with beans or baking ceramic beans (this is to avoid the tart rising too much in the oven). Bake in 200C for 15 min. Remove the baking paper and beans, bake for another 10 min. Cool down. How to make custard: 600 ml milk Seeds from 1 vanilla pod 6 large egg yolks

100 g sugar 40g plain flour 40g potato starch (can be replaced with corn flour) 1 tsp almond extract or 25 ml Amaretto

Boil the milk with vanilla. Whip egg yolks with sugar separately, add the flours, mix well. Add 100ml hot milk, mix and after combine with the rest of hot milk. Add almond extract. Return to the hob, cook until thick mixing constantly. Pour the custard over the short crust pastry. Apples: 7-8 apples 3 cups of water Juice from 1.5 lemons 200 g sugar Boil the water, sugar and lemon juice. Core the apples, cut in 4, leaving the skin on. Cut apples to 2 mm slices. Add to the syrup, cook for 1-2 min, depending on the apples. The slices should be soft but shouldn’t fall apart. Cool them down. To form the roses, we start with 6 pieces of apple as shown on the photo. One slice above the other one, 6 in row, we fold them to create the rose bud. Place on a tart pressing slightly in the custard, so the apple roses don’t unfold back. Repeat with all remaining slices of apples. This magnificent tart is ready to slice. Enjoy!

Kasia Sujanova 15

Stirling MSP backs calls for speed ‘buffer’ on A85 Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford has written to Transport Scotland urging them to consider plans to create a speed ‘buffer’ on the A85. The target area runs east of Crianlarich, just beyond the end of the 30mph limit, for around 400 metres. Local residents have reported a number of near misses and have raised concerns of drivers reaching the 60mph speed limit within seconds from leaving the 30mph zone, making it nearimpossible for locals to safely merge onto the road. Commenting, Bruce Crawford MSP said: “I wholly back the idea of a speed buffer on this stretch of the A85, which includes a concentrated number of residential, tourist-based properties. Concerns were raised with me by constituents that a 60mph zone in this area was not suitable. I have seen the positive impact that the speed buffer in Strathyre has had and I have made representations to Transport Scotland to ask them to commit to exploring all available options to progress this proposal. The safety of residents and tourists is absolutely paramount and I trust Transport Scotland will view this request with the seriousness that it deserves.”

Do you need an affordable home? Rural Stirling Housing Association aims to support local communities by providing quality homes at affordable rents for families, couples and single people in housing need. We currently have over 560 rented houses and flats. Around 40 of these become available for rent each year. We are in the process of building a further 23 flats in Callander and 12 flats & houses in Killearn. We currently have properties in the following communities: Aberfoyle • Doune • Kinlochard Stronachlachar • Balfron • Drymen Kippen • Tyndrum • Buchlyvie Gargunnock • Lochearnhead Callander • Gartmore • Strathblane Deanston • Killin • Strathyre We may be able to build in other communities in the future – please let us know if you want to live in a village that is not listed above. Information on local housing need and demand helps us plan for the future. If you are interested in renting one of our properties when they become available please contact us: Rural Stirling Housing Association Stirling Road, Doune FK16 6AA Telephone: 01786 841101 Email: Registered as a Scottish Charity No. SC037849


CLACHAN COTTTAGE HOTEL ONE OF SCOTLAND’S ICONIC SETTINGS ON THE SHORE OF LOCH EARN The clachan has been here for a long time, tending to travellers and residents alike - and is now the largest hotel in the area, boasting deluxe bedrooms and amazing loch view rooms. Our Autumn menu is now on the go - it’s definitely time for snuggling up in front of our blazing log burner on a chilly night. Try our “smoked venison with grilled wild mushrooms” accompanied by one of our 20 trendy gins. Sample our fresh scallops from Loch Broome - and finish off with an old favourite: home made sticky toffee pudding, smothered with butterscotch sauce. The summer has been fantastic from a customer point of view as we have launched our activities for hotel residents where they can take advantage of our free bikes or canoes to really explore the surrounding countryside. This gives our overseas visitors the chance to see Cycle Route 7 without the hassle of travelling with bikes. Weddings and small functions are now hosted by the Clachan. Our stunning setting provides the perfect backdrop for those all important videos or photos. Weddings or functions catered for • deluxe bedrooms • Clachan bar • Rowan restaurant Canoes/boat trips or bikes available • now showing all SKY sports in the bar

We provide a range of counselling, community rehabilitation & recovery development services for people affected by substance misuse to help them on their recovery journey. We are seeking an experienced and competent practitioner to join us in providing high quality and effective services across our organisation.

Addictions Worker 28 hours per week Salary £23,697 to £26,235 pro rata Based in Stirling and Falkirk and working across Forth Valley, as a qualified counsellor you will be passionate about recovery and have a good track record in providing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) interventions. You will be competent in undertaking assessments, participating in and facilitating group work and working with service users to develop effective recovery plans. Working under tight deadlines you will be comfortable with multi-agency working and being part of a dynamic organisation that has recovery at its heart. You will • have a recognised professional counselling qualification at a minimum of SVQ level 4 and • have a recognised award in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and • be familiar with the SSSC Codes of Practice for employees and employers An application pack is available on-line on If you are interested in this post and wish to have an informal discussion, please call: Paul Mooney Chief Executive or Narek Bido Service Manager on (01324) 874 969 or e-mail at chiefexec@ or Closing date for applications is Monday 12th March at Noon. Interviews will be held on Wednesday 21st March in Falkirk. SCO Charity Number SCO23353

Callander Rambling Club Sponsored by Caledonian Country Wear

Unlock your creative side and discover the enjoyment of colour and light as you start painting without fear. Come and experiment - and have some fun! • Participants will make 3/4 artworks of varying sizes to take home and feel proud of. • £75 per person • All materials included, but bring a notebook/sketchbook and be prepared to get painty! Spaces are limited for both dates so please book early. Call/text Gill on 07778 702304 or email

The Club consists of a group of enthusiasts who meet regularly throughout the year to participate in a programme of strolls, rambles, hill walks and a Long Distance Path. Details are published on ramblers.htm in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diary: March • Sat 10th 8:30 am (Hill) Moncreiffe Hill 223m Hadrian Stirling 01786 823086 • Wed 21st 9:30 am (Ramble) Aberfoyle & Gartmore circuit 7 miles Jane Jones 01877 382682 • Wed 28th 9:30 am (Stroll) River Teith 4 miles Myra Craig & Ailsa Thain 01786 841240 We meet in Ancaster Square, unless otherwise indicated. Please bring wet weather clothing, appropriate footwear and a packed lunch. And please let the walk leader know if you plan to join the walk via the contact number given! Visitors and non-members welcome.


Junior Ski Trip – Austria 2018 Monday was our first day of skiing. The weather was quite bad and we couldn’t see much but what we did see was amazing. We learned to turn and jump, and our ski instructors were so nice and kind and were very supportive. The second day of skiing was amazing! We were all much more confident with our skiing now that we were used to the slopes. All of the groups progressed in the height and busyness of the tracks, one of the groups even excelled on the black ski runs. When we got back from skiing we had some free time and dinner and then for the evening’s entertainment we had a quiz with 3 rounds about general knowledge, colours and music of 2017. For the first day all week we woke on Wednesday to blue skies. As it was the third day our confidence had grown lots, however, even though all our confidence had grown we still had a few tumbles. As the day went on many groups travelled higher and higher up the mountain. Group 2 crossed the mountains to try out some extra hard slopes which were the same difficulty as some of the black slopes. At the end of the day everyone was exhausted but had achieved the goals they had set that morning. On Thursday group 1 ventured over to Wagrain to try their luck at the slalom with their instructor, Karl. After the highly heated race they skied down through the trees with only the occasional fall or two! After that they tried the famous Austrian doughnuts which they thoroughly enjoyed. For Friday group 1 decided to try and finish off the last few runs so that they could say they had finished them all. On Saturday we started with the fun slope and then we almost couldn’t get back to base because one of the chair lifts wasn’t working, but by luck it started again and the rest of the day was great. At lunch all our instructors told us that we were really good Everyone agreed we had had a great week and thanks to the school staff who accompanied us for making it such a brilliant trip. Outward Bound at Loch Eil On Monday 22 January, 28 S3 pupils went to the Outward-Bound Trust at Loch Eil. While we were there we got split up into three different ‘clans’ - the McDonald Clan, the Cameron Clan and the McLean Clan. We had to eat together in our clans and all the activities we did, we did in our clans. Over the course of the week we did a variety of different team challenges and activities. These activities included a zip wire, a wooden wall that we had to 18

McLaren High School

Junior Ski group A new world record...!

The group with instructor Danique

Slightly damp at Loch Eil

Loch Eil - one of the ‘Clans’

get over only using each other, canoeing, climbing and abseiling. We also did a ‘jog and dip’, this involved us going right the way into the freezing cold loch even though we could see snow on the shore! There was also an activity called tyrolean where we had to build our own zip line over a gorge with a river running at the bottom. However, because of all the snow that melted off the mountains, the river we had planned to build it over was too high (about 3 metres too high or maybe more), so we had to re-think our plan. We ended up doing it over a smaller river on-site but we still got loads of laughs out of it whenever someone fell over trying to get up at the end and we got to see the beautiful scenery. Glen Nevis (the place we were meant to go) was where some of Braveheart was filmed. Halfway through the week we went on an expedition where we worked as a team to plan which paths we would take, and we took turns reading the map as we were walking. Our group got a bit lost at one point, but eventually we got to a bothy which was where we ate and played a couple of card games. We slept in tents through all the wind, rain, snow and even thunder and lightning! Even though we were soaked through by the end of it, we enjoyed it. We got through whatever challenges were thrown our way by sticking together and encouraging each other through it all. It was certainly a great experience that we will all remember for the rest of our lives. Marley Sandy and Emma Myles S3

Outward bound - taking a breather Junior Rangers

Junior Rangers 2018 Junior Rangers on 8 February was another great experience. We had lots of fun meeting the Park Rangers and getting to know a bit more about our National Park. We started off by meeting the Balfron Junior Rangers and getting into groups to cut rhododendrons as mixed teams. We all worked well together as a team. After we had cleared this invasive weed, we moved onto lunch which we enjoyed on the beach. We learned how to make a fire using a flint and steel, cotton balls and Vaseline and had hot drinks made in a Kellie kettle. We ended up attempting to build a roaring fire to finish the day. Park Rangers aim to get people out experiencing nature and to protect the wildlife, and this is exactly what we were learning. At the end of the day you could see the progress we had made in clearing the rhododendrons. The Ranger Service gives young people the opportunity to volunteer in their National Park and experience the different jobs carried out by the Park Rangers. Being a Junior Park Ranger could also lead to jobs in the future. We would like to thank the National Park and their rangers for this brilliant opportunity. The Junior Ranger Team Experimenting on the beach!

visit our website: 19



B. L . S . N E W S PA P E R A S S O C I AT I O N

Minutes of the 25th Annual General Meeting held at Mhor 84 on 13 February 2018 Present: Jill Johnston (Chair), Wullie Dalziel, Ali Calder, Gill Waugh, Andrew Poulter, Andrea Poulter, David Johnston (Minutes), Jan Dalziel, Carolyn Brody, Andy Massie Apologies: Donald McGregor, Richard Harris Welcome and Introductions At 19:30 the Chair welcomed all those attending the 25th AGM. Previous Minutes The minutes from the previous meeting were distributed and once read by those present were accepted as a true record of the 24th AGM. Their adoption was proposed by Wullie Dalziel and seconded by Gill Waugh. Matters Arising There were no matters arising from the previous minutes. Editor’s Report “Having started one report comparing my fear of speeches with David Cameron’s nerves at PMQ’s I thought I would continue in that vein tonight. So, what do Theresa May and I have in common certainly not lot of expensive footwear I’m afraid, in Brexit terms perhaps a few remoaners who still think black and white is fine - outvoted I am glad to say by the positive comments about it was time to change. Problems over the cost? A definite ‘Yes’ here I’m afraid in that having discussed costs for colour with Stirling before we made the big decision we were shocked when the ‘Angela Merkel’ of the print room returned from leave and declared that our previous discount was not going to apply to our new colour costs. Earnest discussion ensued, and the bill was brought down a little but still leaves a larger one than budgeted for. Do I face a leadership challenge? “ if only” is all I can say! Enough of such nonsense and down to serious business. We did have some warnings about whether people would part with a £1 but I am pleased to say that this, in the sense of the money in the honesty boxes tallying with the number of copies actually sold, has not been a major problem. Of more concern is the decline in the overall number being sold particularly in St Fillans as is, probably for different reasons, the continued downward trajectory of the subscriptions, - despite all Andrea’s best efforts. The positive aspects are the enthusiastic comments about the photos, contributions, layout and even an acknowledgement about the fact that we have still managed our 11 editions a year even from all parts of the globe. I would like to say a personal thanks to the readers, in particular Michael Cowie and Richard Cousens who have sent family stories and relevant newspaper articles for us. Please can we have more of these stories of village life yet again proving that Ambridge is not the only community with great story lines. We are fortunate that our villages continue to provide us with copy opportunities from ‘Crafternoon’ to open water swimming and photo opportunities galore, The Highland Games, Monachyle’s Festival and Strathyre’s Music festival being 3 of the major events each year. Obviously, it is great to both publicise these and record them for the locals involved and visitors, but I still feel we need to provide more information for our tourist visitors. We have tried to include your favourite walk and postcards from a Good day out but there are only so many of these my grandchildren are willing to write! Better not get into moaning mode and finish (knowing Gill has me on her stop watch) by a huge thanks to all our regular contributors, advertisers, proof reader extraordinaire, incredible production people and of course all you wonderful readers who do surprise me with a throwaway comment which shows you do indeed read it.” Production Gill Allan said the production with the updated version of InDesign was progressing smoothly. We had reduced from 28 pages to 24 pages for economic reasons and David’s assistance when required was helping scheduling private commitments. David Johnston stated that to continue assisting with production his version of InDesign also need to be upgraded to the cloud version at a cost of £19.98 per month. Agreed. Accounts The accounts were distributed and showed an operating loss of £526.39 and a bank balance of £7,079.43. In reality because the printers were slow in submitting invoices there was an extra invoice to come in making the loss in the region of £1,000.00 Andrea Poulter stated that when sending out subscription renewals she was offering to email a PDF version rather that posting out paper at £11.00 per year and was encouraging subscribers to pay by BACS. Andrew Poulter asked for a vote of thanks to be recorded for Rory Gilchrist who had once again audited the accounts. The accounts were adopted with Ali Calder proposing and David Johnston seconding. Advertising Andrew Poulter reported that they had lost some advertisers and the paper could do with someone who had time to seek out new advertisers. Local Reports Strathyre – The work on the primary school was progress well as was work on the Music Festival and the Stuc. Next year would be the 30th Stuc and they were hoping to combine this with the British Championships again. There was also going to be a Mini Stuc again this year. This led to a short discussion as this was the Year of the Young Person. The editor had met with Leti and Callander Rotary and were discussing ways of promoting this. Balquhidder - There is still a vacancy for a local representative for Balquhidder. Volunteers would be welcome. Lochearnhead – Ali Calder reported that its was still difficult to obtain information about Lochearnhead activities and asked how the book reviews she was sending in were received. The consensus being that they were well received and a valuable addition. ST Fillans – Unfortunately Isobel had had to stand down and a replacement representative has not come forward. Sales were also dropping and there was some discussion as to whether retaining the St Fillans Bit was going to be viable if a representative could not be found. Election of Production Committee Agreed as follows: Editor – Jill Johnston, Production – Gill Allan & David Johnston, Business Manager – Andrew Poulter, Subscriptions – Andrea Poulter, Distribution – Johnstons, Poulters & Donald McGregor. A.O.C.B. Jill Johnston thanked the Mhor 84 for hosting the AGM. No other issues were raised. Closure of Meeting There being no other business the meeting was brought to a close at 20:40 and all those who had attended were thanked for their attendance.


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

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

David Johnston Production Gardeners Cottage Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384227

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Wednesday Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am to 12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00 to 9.00pm Thursday Darts League - The Inn & Bistro - 7.00pm Choir Occasional - Balquhidder Village Hall - 7.30-9pm (contact Gill Waugh 01877 384203) Friday

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

MARCH 2018 4 &18

Crafternoons - Strathyre - see p 5


BLS Trust AGM - see p 5


SWT Talk - see p 15


Broadband Public Meeting Page 2


Talent Show& Dance Strathyre Page 5

APRIL 2018


Lochearnhead AGM page 6


SWT Talk Page 15


Hidden Glen Run Page 2

Stephen Kerr MP 49 Borestone Cres, Stirling FK7 9BQ 01786 475034 Councillor Martin Earl Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 233114 Councillor Evelyn Tweed Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling, FK8 2ET 01786 233101 Councillor Jeremy McDonald Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling, FK8 2ET 01786 233117

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

Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316

Sundays 11.30am Minister: Rev Dr Russel Moffat The Manse, Main Street, Killin FK21 8TN Dundurn Church, St Fillans Sundays 11.30am Minister: Rev Graham McWilliams Tel: 01764 671 045

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

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

A reflective time to discuss contemporary issues in a spiritual context

(Check with Rector for venue: 01764 655389)

Vestry Secretary - Maureen Lipscomb Tel: 01567 830234



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Pet Portaits by Gill / 07778 702304 Printed by Graphics and Print Services, University of Stirling Tel: 01786 467209 email: Published by The BLS Newspaper Association


Some more images from time gone by: Lochearnhead, in sepia and technicolour! Could anyone out there shed some light on when these photographs (and the one of St Fillans on the front cover) might have been taken?

The villagers march 2018  

Village news, events, tourism, services and more for St Fillans, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and Balquhidder, LETi Year of Young People news, Ca...

The villagers march 2018  

Village news, events, tourism, services and more for St Fillans, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and Balquhidder, LETi Year of Young People news, Ca...