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MAY 2012




The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

Pheasant and Friends - photo by Sheila Moffat from Lochearnhead

EDITOR’ S NOTE As the role of an editor is rather topical I would stress that no undue influences have been put on me as to what we publish in The Villagers; quite the reverse in fact, as I would welcome more input in the way of local news and opinions. Being a “newcomer” I will rely on readers of many years to point me, gently I hope, in the direction of annual events which should be covered and supported and new issues and concerns to which we should be giving publicity. I certainly want to endorse Wullie’s campaign to try to ensure that a few selfish individuals do not spoil the pleasures of our areas for genuine campers, fishermen and families just wanting to enjoy all the lochs have to offer. On a lighter note it is great to see that we are bucking the apparent apathy that has been reported about the Jubilee in Scotland; here we are always ready to have a celebration and party. So let us hope for some real summer weather to enjoy the various events already planned and others which I believe are still to be finalised. Thanks to Helen for delivering The Villagers to our various outlets last month - not easy with an energetic toddler in tow! Apologies for a few errors that slipped in due to me “losing” a vital day, being in the air at the time. A new addition to the family in the middle of this month might curb our future travels. JJ PS We are sorry about the increased subscription costs to our valued overseas readers, due to the new postal rates imposed by the Post Office. I read that people will not be writing as many letters or sending as many cards as before - and with the scale of the increases, it is easy to see why.



The following readings were taken at ‘Bramblings’, Auchtubh, Balquhidder for the month of March. Average max. temp. Actual max. temp. Average min. temp. Actual min. temp.

12.75 ºC 21.6 1.45 0.25

54.9 ºF 70.8 34.6 27.7

Rainfall: 6.84 cms 2.7 ins Strongest wind gust 35 mph on 7 March 2

Letters to the Editor Dear Ed, Thought this photograph (above) might amuse your readers. Can you spot the deliberate mistake on our totally unnecessary parking lines in the car park at Lochearnhead? Angus Cameron Dear Editor, After having a stroke just over three years ago, I was feeling very isolated and was convinced that people really had no idea what it meant to have one’s life change so dramatically. I was fortunate enough to find a Stroke Support group in Bridge of Allan called Going Forward, run solely by volunteers for people in my situation. It was good to be with others with the same difficulties – some a lot worse than mine and others with very little obvious disability. The group provided friendship, acceptance, physical and mental stimulation and a jolly good afternoon tea! We all pay a contribution towards running costs, but rely heavily on donations and fundraising. Which brings me to the point of my letter. On Saturday June 9, we are doing a supermarket Bag Pack at Morrisons in Springkerse, rattling cans and handing out information about the group and stroke generally. I would be delighted to hear from anyone who might be willing to come and give us an hour or two to help, especially with the packing side of things. Please get in touch with me, email or tel. 01877 384202. Sincerely, Penny Hannah

2nd / 4th June

Waterski Speed Racing is back at

Lochearn Watersports for the Jubilee weekend.

Exciting skiing like you’ve never seen before!

Come and join us for a great day out and BBQ on the night of the 2nd. Laura and Martjn

The Village Store St Fillans

Newsagent • Off-licence • Top-ups Tobacco • Groceries • Gifts Hot Pies to take away Hardware • Oil • Fishing Tackle & Permits Café • Dunfillan Coffee Soup • Toasties • Baking • Packed Lunches OPENING HOURS:

7.30am - 5.30pm Mon-Sat Sunday 8.00am till 4.00pm

01764 685309

The St Fillans Bit Sunday 15th of April saw the 14th running of the Great Loch Earn Boat Race, organised as always by Crieff Round Table. The weather was ideal for rowing, dry with light winds (if a little chilly) and an excellent race ensued with the closest finish on record – barely a minute separating the leading two crews at the finishing line with Slipper 1 (Dave Pool, Duncan Murchie, Alec Murchie & John Pritchard) triumphant. For St Fillans the highlight was the superb performance of our aged crew, The Village Idiots, who finished in an amazing fourth place just 12 minutes behind the winners. The team comprising Russell, Harry, Richard & Steve were awarded the Veterans Cup and raised an impressive sum for their nominated charity CHAS. Overall the event raised in excess of £5,000 for charities and good causes and the organisers extend thanks to Lochearn Watersports who hosted the start, Drummond Fisheries who provided the The Idiots: Russell, Harry, Richard & Steve! boats, Comrie First Response for first aid facilities (thankfully not needed) was awarded the ‘Spirit of the Race’ award and Achray House who hosted the finish anyway, and well deserved. and provided sustenance for the crews Three weeks before the race the and officials. Russell tells me that this Hardman-Carter family and friends, is the last year the Village Idiots will be Geoff, Sam, Rebecca, Cherry and Brian on competing – but I would be surprised if the shore as back-up, organised their own bit of fundraising by kayaking the length they are not on the start line next April. Sadly, Ian Moncrieff, who had arranged of the loch in aid of Comrie Primary to row the loch solo alongside the main School Sport Relief. Sam and Rebecca race to raise funds for Guide Dogs and raised a very impressive £326 and the Scottish Blind Golf, was thwarted by a total raised by the school was a staggering viral infection which left him in no fit £2,464. Geoff hopes that the loch paddle condition to row seven miles. At 80 years might become an annual event and old and registered blind it takes a certain asks anyone interested in taking part or kind of determination to attempt a trial helping out to contact me and I will pass like this and it was only on the evening the information on to Geoff. The event before the race that Ian listened to the is not a competition, more light hearted common sense of countless family and fun with a picnic at half distance, so is friends and withdrew. He will, however, suitable for adults or youngsters alike. (Continued overleaf) carry out his row as soon as he is fit again and I see from the race results that Ian Right: Kayaking for Sport Relief 3

Continued from previous page

It is always interesting to see new local businesses or services start up and I was pleased to meet with Yvonne Mitchel who started Libra Therapy on a part time basis at Tullybannocher last year but is now operating full time in 2012. Yvonne is now living in St Fillans and from ‘The Studio’ in the Tullybannocher complex offers a range of treatments and consultations including Reiki, Reflexology, Indian Head Massage and Self Awareness help. Yvonne is a firm believer in Self and Health Awareness and her mission statement is “To make people aware of how they can enhance their life through knowledge of themselves and their bodies and thus maintain their own power”. As an introduction to her business Yvonne welcomes anyone interested to attend a complimentary Qui Yon outdoor session on any Thursday at 11 a.m. You have nothing to lose by talking to Yvonne and maybe a lot to gain. Find Libra on 01764 679493, 07984 783455 or It is good news for the village that The National Park will be taking over the eradication of knotweed from this year.


Sophie’s Bit Hello!

Yvonne at Libra Therapy

Originally 3 years ago no public funds were available to eradicate or treat this serious and dangerous infestation and the village has funded its own programme for the past two years at some considerable expense so it is a relief that help is now at hand. There remains, apparently, the need for The Park to obtain approval from all affected land owners to allow them to proceed – but it is difficult to imagine said approval being refused when the effects of the weed are realised. On the subject of money being available, how many villagers know of, or have applied for, the £75 payment available from SSE as compensation for the 2 days of power loss in the village resulting from last year’s big storm? I applied without much real hope of getting anywhere but after a ‘chase up’ email I duly received my £75 this week. I am told by another villager that their payment has been scuppered due to some odd clause in the supply agreement but presumably we are all on the same agreement so if one gets compensation then all will? Worth an application to SSE by email to their Distribution section. Mary at The Four Seasons, who never fails to drop me an email each month, reports that the New Seasonal Menus are now in use in both the Tarken Bistro and The Fine Dining Restaurant with old favourites like Beef and Ale Casserole and Surf and Turf returning to the Bistro and Duck, Lamb, Venison and Quail on the Restaurant Menu. The ongoing Fishy Friday, Lunch Time Specials and traditional Sunday Lunch continue, with booking recommended for the latter. A fine place to spend your £75 from SSE! Sorry to hear that Sophie’s lovely wee dogs have been attacked again, this time whilst on their leads, but thankfully that has not prevented her input this month. Away you go Sophie.

Hope you all had a great Easter holiday and enjoyed some lovely chocolate eggs. On Easter Sunday after Church, Daniel and Dad went down to London for a football training camp. They both had a great time and loved staying in London. We had some nice ‘girl time’. We went to the cinema to see Mirror Mirror which was very good. We also had a shopping day in Edinburgh. At the start of the holidays we bought an Auchingarrich year pass and we have been lots of times already. It is a really fun place to visit and it is great that it’s so close. Last time we were there Maxine the owner very kindly showed us some very cute baby Marmoset Monkeys that they are hand rearing. Look on their Facebook page to see photos of them. Last weekend we all went to the Hibs vs Aberdeen semifinal!! It was Emily’s first big football game and it was loads of fun as Hibs won!! (Daniel is on Hibs youth books I think – J.M.) I have to start back at school soon and this is a really busy term... Bye for now!


Lastly – Ron Wellens has asked me to thank villagers for their contributions to the recent RNLI collection which raised £93.05. John Murray

Ben Ledi Ascent

SATURDAY 2ND JUNE 2012 Callander & West Perthshire Rotary Club have been organising the Ben Ledi Ascent for some years now and is one of our main fundraising events which not only helps our own funds but also, those making the ascent, for their own chosen good causes. Ben Ledi is a whisker beneath a “Munro” and the climb is marshalled all the way up by Killin Mountain Rescue Team. We have in the past seen a wheelchair user really make the ascent, quite remarkable. Entry and sponsorship forms can be obtained from Caledonian Country Wear 79 Main Street Callander (our sponsors) or by e-mail: Thank you! B. Scott-Brown

Strathyre News

I had the privilege of being Master of Ceremonies at a recent race night at the Inn and Bistro and what a wonderful night it was with a total of £932 being raised to help fund this fantastic race. I have been asked to send on the heartfelt thanks from all the committee members to everyone who attended and supported us on the night and to the very hardworking staff who catered for our every need. Special thanks go to our individual race sponsors on the evening: KP’s DIY • Balquhidder Braes Caravan Park • Thomas Allan & Sons • The Braes Farming Co. • Immervoulin Caravan Park Lochside Cottages Lochearn • Sula Furnishings • Kingshouse Travel Your support is very much appreciated! Not forgetting the people who donated ‘lots’ for the end of evening auction and to the girls who were our ‘Bookies’ for the evening. We look forward to future fund raising events and another race night should definitely be on the cards at some point. If this reaches print before the Hill race - anyone willing to help over that weekend even in the smallest capacity would be very much appreciated, especially on the Friday and the Sunday when so much work is needed to be done. Hope to see you there!

Darts Tournament The winter darts tournament culminated in a presentation evening in the Inn and Bistro who were kind enough to host it this year on Thursday 29th March, so on behalf of all the players I would like to say a big thank you to Steve, Gill and Kirstyann for putting up with us for the duration of the tournament. Also to say a big thank you for all the wonderful food which was made available to us each week. This was a very hard fought competition where the winner was never to be assumed until the closing stages and the results are as follows, in reverse order. Highest scoring Lady Irene Wright (well done Irene!) The Men: First Place Wullie Dalziel Second place Arthur Crammond Third place Ron Milne The photos show all the players (except Jim Roberts who could not make it) and yours truly being presented with first prize by Kirstyann. We have had some very enjoyable evenings of darts and we all look forward to the next one... I am sure it will be a belter but I’ll be looking to defend my title - so beware! Wullie D (The Champ......or is it chump?)

I have just read an article in the Observer, Friday 20th April. This was premature and was supposed to highlight the situation on the loch but I would like to point out to anyone who has read it that it was not my article and is full of inaccuracies which have nothing to do with my report (although some of my information has been used). I would also point out that my report was in no way meant for association with any political party and I had no political motivation in mind when writing it.The report was for awareness for all concerned with the wellbeing of the area and I have stressed this to the people concerned with the Observer report. The Villagers article is the accurate report!

The ‘Season’ gets off to a start... oh dear...

And So It Begins...

It is that time of year when the “Season” gets under way and the visitors start to arrive. How very nice it is to welcome law abiding citizens to our beautiful countryside. However I feel that some of our visitors would do better to stay at home. As can be seen there are more than a few issues with the legality of what is being allowed to happen here, e.g. open and unattended fires; fishermen using ‘set lines’; unattended rods; vehicles parked nose to tail; (Continued overleaf)

Saturday 5th May - We host Stuc a Chroin Registration and Ceilidh - good luck to all those taking part! Friday 18th and Saturday 19th May - Curry Nights Cider Festival - 25th/26th/27th and 28th May with live music Saturday 26th and a folk jam session Sunday 27th


litter strewn or put in bags and left at the side of the road; dangerous rope swings (which have been hanging from these trees for some time now); an unsightly makeshift tent (which has been there for about eight days at the time of writing)... almost everyone fishing the loch day and night without being challenged. As a fisherman myself this type of attitude disgusts me, as I am sure it does any self respecting fisherman and resident of this beautiful area that we live in. Should we be challenging the powers that be to explain why this behaviour goes unchecked, not just at holiday periods but also at any given time during the fishing season along the full length of the loch? I say the full length as vehicles are now constantly parked on the grass verges. It is questionable as to whether these fishermen have purchased permits (only four have been sold in the Village shop in Strathyre since the start of the trout season) and if they have, why are the rules that go with the permit allowed to be openly flaunted and ignored? There are so many disasters just waiting to happen... We have campers using gas bottles just a few feet from unattended and open fires. Vehicles are parked so close that a means of escape if one of the bottles were to ignite would be impossible and would probably lead to the possibility of more explosions. Would the emergency services be in a position to enter this site if the worst-case scenario happened? What about the sanitation of this area, given that no toilets are located there, or in Strathyre for that matter? As I said earlier, some of these campers have been here for over a week and more, it just does not bear thinking about where they are disposing of their waste. I certainly would not like to take my grandchildren down the loch side at this time! What about the litter that is left behind, (Continued from previous page)

whether in bags or just strewn about. Who is supposed to deal with it? I know that when the loch rises it can be seen entering the feeding and nesting habitat of the herons near Immervoulin, to say nothing of the otters, ducks, geese, swans and all other wild life that rely on the wetlands for survival. This must have some effect on the biodiversity of the loch. So what, if anything, can the authorities to do about this? Should the park rangers intervene; after all, are we not part of the park? Should the police intervene when the law is clearly being broken? Should environmental health intervene and address the sanitation issue? Should SEPA intervene and check just what is entering the loch? If Camper vans and Caravans are there for this length of time, are chemical toilets being poured into the loch? Should Health and Safety intervene and point out the obvious dangers of camping so close together? Should the bailiffs, if there are any, be checking on permits, and if rules are being followed or broken, what local revenue is being lost? Should fire prevention officers be advising about the dangers of unattended and illegal fires, which are being fuelled by illegally cutting down healthy trees? On more than one occasion I have seen someone waiting to cross the road with a saw in one hand and an axe in the other! These people are not an asset to this area; they bring nothing in the way of income to the local businesses as they stock up at the supermarkets before leaving home with food and alcohol, they leave the area in a disgusting state and since they appear not to be challenged, no doubt they will be keen to return, probably bringing a few friends with them!

The Aftermath...

I took a trip back down to the loch side after the Visitors had left and the photographs (right) say it all.

Photo of the Month

Fruit • Veg • Jams • Preserves • Gifts Title: ‘Breakfast in April Snows’ Camera: Canon 500D 6

Taken: 16 April 2012 (Morning) By: David Johnston

Strathyre Primary School News Think Dance Since February the P4-7 have been working on ‘Think Dance’. They have been rehearsing twice a week with Mrs McDonald who choreographed the dance. The theme was Victorian Life. They started off with dancing to ‘I do like to be beside the seaside’, then it was a dance about factory children and the finale of it was a dance to ‘Consider Yourself’. The whole routine took ten minutes. The children performed this in the MacRobert Theatre along with seven other schools. The children were apprehensive about performing their dance but once they were on the stage all their fears disappeared and they danced like professionals. Well done to all the children. You were all amazing. Easter Service The end of term Easter service was held in the school on the last day of term. Parents and friends came along to hear the Easter story, poems written by the children and singing by the children. It was lovely to have everyone in the school to celebrate Easter with us. After the service the children decorated their eggs and did a parade in their Easter bonnets. The eggs were judged after lunch by Mrs Campbell and Mrs Hendry, it was a very difficult task for them. The children then went over to the field to roll their eggs down the hill and whilst they were away the Easter Bunny came and hid eggs in the playground. The children had great fun looking for all the eggs; we do believe that there are still two out there somewhere!!!!

Church News BalquhiĐĐer Reg. Charity No. SC012316

We were sad to say goodbye to our Session Clerk, Mrs Joan Mann, at the end of March. She has been a tremendous help to the Church here, but has now moved house to Deanston. We shall miss her very much. She was Session Clerk from 2008, and now we are pleased to welcome Mrs Catherine Lochhead who has kindly taken over as Session Clerk. The past few weeks have been quite eventful for Balquhidder Church. Changes are well under way and are proving effective in bringing folk back to Church. The Rev Lincoln’s idea of asking local musicians to help with Sunday music on the last Sunday in the month is certainly bearing fruit. We are very grateful to everybody who takes part. Pauline Perkins has provided the photograph taken in Church at the end of March. Easter Sunday was a joyous occasion when we were joined by members of Choir Occasional and the musicians who accompanied them. The children had a great time with egg decorating and hunting. It was altogether delightful. Our thanks go to all who helped to make it such a lovely service. The start of Messy Church is planned for the 3rd Sunday in May before the normal service. As I explained last month, this is especially for children to enjoy Church without the restrictions of the adult service. Mrs Eleanor Bell or Mrs Erica MacKenzie will be able to tell you all about it. Last but not least, a reminder that the Kingshouse Taxi/Minibus picks up folk from Strathyre to get them to Church in time for the midday Sunday service. OAPs just show their bus passes and they don’t pay any fare. For further information please contact Kingshouse Travel on 01877 384 768. Jean Edwards

Stuc a’ Chroin Hill Race

The Stuc a’ Chroin 5000 Hill Race this year will be run on Saturday 5th May at 1pm. This is one of the toughest hill races covering a distance of 14 miles and climbing 5000 feet. The Stuc a’ Chroin is a race organised under British Athletic Rules and is classed as Scotland’s oldest long hill race. The whole route is marked by volunteers and has the reputation of being the best marshalled hill race. It is the only hill race in Britain not organised by a hill or fell running club. The Inn and Bistro in Strathyre will be hosting the event this year providing registration facilities before the race from 10.00 am to 12.30am. This year as a break from our usual tradition we will be presenting the prizes in the field at 4.30pm and instead of our usual ceilidh there will be a Music Night at the Inn at Strathyre featuring Voice Box from 8.30pm There is no entrance fee so please come along – everybody is welcome. The Green Welly Stop in Tyndrum is generously sponsoring the prize for the first local runner so why not come along and enter the race! If you prefer something slightly less energetic why not volunteer as a marshal or help out in the field on the day. All welcome. For more information please go to 7

Sky’s the limit for National Park tourism Millions of people visit Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park every year and now the Park Authority is hoping to attract a rising number of stargazing tourists by bidding to be the first International Dark Sky Reserve in Scotland. The National Park has some of the highest quality dark skies in the UK and receiving Dark Sky status would help protect the quality of the night sky for people to enjoy. The Park has asked local residents living in the The Trossachs to help with a lighting survey to determine the level of light pollution in order to help find ways to reduce it. The quality of the dark skies has been measured and the Trossachs scored highly with 20 out of a possible 25 marks being awarded. People of all ages and backgrounds have found a new found love for astronomy partly due to the enthusiasm of TV’s Professor Brian Cox who has successfully managed to explain the wonders of the universe to a broad audience. Over 3.8 million people tuned into the last Stargazing live programme. National Park Landscapes Manager, Lisa Duggan explains: “Looking at the night sky in the National Park is a truly amazing experience due to the lack of street lights and other household lighting. Unfortunately over 80 per cent of the UK population will never actually experience a totally dark sky. We’re extremely lucky to have such high quality skies and are keen to share this with the millions of visitors coming to the National Park each year. Our bid to become the first International Dark Sky Reserve in Scotland is a huge opportunity for people to visit Loch


Lomond and The Trossachs and enjoy the stunning night sky. With over eight million people in the UK who look at the stars and another five million who say they would like to look at them, there are obvious benefits to having this status including welcome boosts to the local economy. Our visitors are always amazed at how clear the night sky is here and we’re really keen to protect this. This is a great opportunity for everyone to make the most of the night sky and to learn more about what you can see up above the National Park. We’re asking local residents to help by letting us know what sort of lighting they have at home. There may be ways we can help improve lighting, reduce energy bills and lower the level of light pollution. Simple small changes can help improve the quality of the night sky. Simply by reducing the light escaping from homes by switching off lights when they are not needed or changing light bulbs to energy efficient ones can make a big difference. Exterior lights could be operated by motion detectors, timers or solar power. By taking small steps, we can all benefit and enjoy a spot of star gazing in the National Park.” Galloway Forest Park was granted Dark Sky Reserve status in November 2009. Over 84 per cent of businesses who were surveyed agreed that Dark Sky Protection status was an important feature in attracting tourists to the area. If you would like more details about the survey or the dark skies in the Park project, contact 01389 722625 or 01389 722127 or email

McLaren Badminton Club Callander

New Faces Wanted! Come and have fun, keep fit and enjoy friendly company.

McLaren Badminton Club has been meeting for over 8 years now on a Tuesday night at McLaren Leisure Centre in Callander. As well as the members from Callander, players come from Dunblane, Gargunnock, Thornhill, Gartmore, Brig o Turk, Lochearnhead and Crianlarich, and they come in all shapes, sizes and ages. It’s a friendly, sociable club of mixed fitness and ability and new members, aged 16+, are always very welcome. Different membership packages are available - £20 per month will allow you to play for 2 hours on both Tuesday and Wednesday, or for £15 a month you can choose to play either on the Tuesday or the Wednesday. If you don’t want membership you can pay-as-you-go on a Tuesday night - £5 for 2 hours. Come and join the fun – it doesn’t matter if you’ve never played before or haven’t played in years. If you have your own racquet best to bring it along, but if not the Leisure Centre holds a few. If you take your game more seriously we also run competitions in which you can participate. Just turn up at the Sports Hall in McLaren Leisure Centre in Callander from 7.30 – 9.30 on a Tuesday evening or if you want you can give us a call first on – Jean 01877 330833 or Oliver 01877 339335.

Come to the MHOR festival! The 2 day MHOR festival kicks off on Sunday 3rd June with the Raft Race on Loch Doine. We would like as many people as possible to enter, children and adults. Every boat must have a queen on board! There’s a cake competition - enter your best Victoria Sponge, fruit cake or cake of your choice - from chocolate brownie to flapjack. Don’t be shy, give it a go! Great prizes to be won! Join us at The Great British Feast. It’s £50.00 per person to book your seat at this one off dining experience. We have five of Scotland’s most talented and much loved chefs to each cook one course. There are 100 seats to be sat on......! If you have kids and you can’t make the Monday during the day, why not wait until they come home from school and bring them to A Play, a Pie and a Pint at 6pm - it’s the ground-breaking theatre programme from Glasgow - only £10.00 for adults, no charge for under-14s. Round off the weekend at the Ceilidh with some of the finest musicians in Scotland. We’d love you to come for the whole 2 days and camp but we realise you may only be able to come for one event... so please pick and choose. If anyone would like to get involved and help us over the 2 days then please get in touch on 01877 384622. There are more details available! Visit

Hope to see you here - and may the sun shine on us all!

! t i s s i m t Don’ Do you need a new home in Lochearnhead, Strathyre, Killin or Callander? If so,

Rural Stirling Housing Association may be able to help

The Association’s aim is to support rural communities by providing affordable good quality homes for people in housing need. We currently have 450 rented homes and around 30 of these become available for re-let each year. We also build some new homes each year. For more details and a housing application form contact us at: Rural Stirling Housing Association Stirling Road, Doune FK16 6AA Telephone 01786 841101 Email Registered as a Scottish Charity No. SCO37849 Please note that we encourage all applicants to also apply to Stirling Council’s housing list (Tel 0845 277 7000) Being on both lists is the best way to maximise your chances of being re-housed.


Callander Rambling Club

Sponsored by Caledonian Country Wear

Alycia puts Choir Occasional through its paces

Huge thanks from Choir Occasional (and additional folk who came along) to Alycia Hayes for her wonderful Vocal Workshop at Balquhidder Hall last month. We all learned a lot: breath control, how to get the most out of what you’ve got - and the importance of all finishing together! Also it was wonderful to be treated to a special and moving performance of Vissi d’arte from Tosca. Thanks Alycia - the evening was inspirational. Choir Occasional meets every Thursday evening (starting again on the 17th May) from 7.30 to 9pm. Everyone is very welcome to come along.

Stirling Careers and Jobs Event

Following the success of last year’s event, Stirling Council is hosting another Careers and Jobs Event at the Albert Halls in Stirling on Thursday 10th May, between 10am and 4pm. This is a free event and is aimed at a wide range of people, including those who are looking for work, facing redundancy, considering a change of career, leaving school, college or university, or wanting to start their own business. Exhibitors at the event will include local employers, recruitment agencies, training providers and support organisations as well as specialist job search, career, businessstart up, volunteering, tax, welfare and benefits advisers. Everyone welcome!

The Club consists of a group of enthusiasts who meet regularly throughout the year to participate in a programme of strolls, rambles, hill walks and a Long Distance Path. Details are published on http://www. a m b l e r s . h t m in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diary: MAY • Wed 9th 9:30am Stroll: River Earn and Laggan Hill (5.5 miles) contact 01877 376236 • Sat 12th 8:30am Ramble: Across Rannoch Moor (12 miles) contact 01786 825877 • Wed 16th 9:30am Ramble: Aberfoyle Spring Flowers (8 miles) contact 01877 330775 • Sat 19th 8:30am Hill: Beinn a’Choin (770m) contact 01877 387201 • Sat 26th 8:30am LDP: CtoC(6) Lettermay to Ardgarten (8.5 miles) contact 01877 330032 JUNE • Sat 9th 8:30am Hill: Meall an t-Seallaidh (852m) contact 01877 339080

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!

‘The Cardiologist’s Diet’ If it tastes good, spit it out!

does your COMPUTER run slowly? need SOFTWARE updating? VIRUS PROTECTION? General System overhaul?

CALL SHAMMI on 01877 384715 10

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 unearths ‘one ring to rule them all’... or maybe not! “The Ring in the Molehill”, sounds like Harry Potter doesn’t it. Well if it had been what it looked like, it would still be a secret, until more research and digging had been carried out. Old Nyati was setting mole traps round his ‘Shamba’, with a keen eye on the ground - and probing with a stick, searching for the mole run between the heaps - a good catching place for a trap. But then what is this showing in one of the heaps of soil? “Very interesting,” one might say. Certainly a ring of some sort. Forget the moles for a bit and wash it carefully in the burn. There are small stones set in it; one is missing so we can see how the others are held in place. Are they garnets? A very light scratch at the metal and it shows an exciting colour... is it... can it be? Well it certainly looks like it. Now the imagination is in top gear. We had better look up some info on the internet. It seems that mediaeval finger rings were of this form; now it is easy to think of what was found near Stirling not long ago - and how many millions of pounds was the value of that find! But don’t go shouting about it yet. Balquhidder could really be on the map... A scrub with a toothbrush in hot water and things start to look even better! A few close up photos and an email to Perth Museum... and then, the waiting. Several days later... a weekend always crops up during times like this. Eventually Perth says it is mediaeval, and has passed the image on to Scottish Treasure Trove for their comments. Old Nyati has by now found out that things of this sort are deemed to belong to the Nation, but a fair valuation is paid to the finder/landowner... could there be

more items of this sort out there? The position of that molehill has been very carefully marked! A wee bit of scratching about doesn’t turn up anything else, but we had better wait for the experts, or there may be trouble. In the meantime an old horse-drawn plough share comes to light in another part of the field. (Back in time, any level and well drained land would have been cultivated. In this field it is still plain to see the centre ridge where the last ploughing took place; remember each field ploughed would be “split “or “gathered “with a single furrow plough. Of course as each furrow was turned over it moved soil to the side, so the next time it had to be turned back ... hence the ‘split’ or ‘gather’ ending at the centre. All the work after the plough would be done by hand, planting and weeding, harvesting and storing all the tatties, oats and neeps needed for cattle food as well as for use in the human kitchen. What hard and toiling work it must have been with only a smouldering peat fire and a damp bed at the end of the day.) But now - what of our ‘treasure’? A few more days and another mail, this time from the treasure people in Glasgow ... “We are sorry to inform you that your find is a finger ring circa 1900 of a style and metal copying a gold ring of mediaeval times...” Oh dear! So now we can let the news out. Well we did find that 1900 Boer War badge in the garden which was a story in The Villagers some time ago. It was the

The ‘Treasure’

Morrison family living here at that time; could this ring be of that family too? Working in the field lifting potatoes by hand, it would have been easy to lose a ring. Was it a treasured possession given by a loved one? We shall never know, or is there still a member of that family out there who may read The Villagers and could tell us? Maybe there is. Old Nyati

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Gardening M AY Plant names...

by Jonathan MacDonald

and why we love to forget them There are two categories of ‘gardener’ into which we all must fall. In addition to these, a sub-category exists on the technique in the use of water - and then a further subdivision exists within this group. In fact I could go on sub-dividing, creating a system to attempt to describe exactly what type of gardener you are. You will either water your plants too much or too little and, within this technique, and in reference to watering houseplants in particular, you will be either be a ‘bottom’ or ‘top’ waterer. Are you ‘glove’ or ‘bare hand’, do you put your secateurs in your pocket or in a nifty holster, do you stoop or kneel, do you lob snails into the river, thinking it is not as cruel as crushing them? Del...finny...ums.....! Mine go in the wheelie bin unharmed but perhaps I’m making things worse, I can’t tell. Are you in love with Monty Don or Alan Titchmarsh? see a Delphinium. This is revealing! What more effective. Try a poem (to the plant!) Carl Linnaeus found no time for this as would appear to be the simple recalling of or word association. he was so preoccupied throughout most a plant name is in fact a highly complex I end on a failsafe technique to remember of his lifetime developing the binomial process in which a construction of the Latin family name of Carnations system to which all plants are now multiple memories and associations from Caryophyllaceae: ‘Carry off a lassie’...! named, still in use today - this being the various parts of the brain are brought up Now to last month’s teaser: Reggae genus and species system e.g. Rosa canina and instantly reassembled - so that when music was shown to stimulate growth in (Dog rose). you look at a Camellia, and your mouth controlled glasshouse experiments using It would be far easier to simply observe opens, your brain has enough stored a range of plants and different styles your garden as a ‘fingerprint’: your information so that “your Camellia looks of music e.g. rock, classical, pop. No very own series of bumps and ridges, lovely this year - my mother grew that correct answers from last month so here on a grand scale, in a monument to an one” is heard by Jean next door and not is another easier teaser: What country did extensive excretion of sweat. One not so “your - oh dash what do you call that the father of plant names come from? Two latent problem now common amongst plant with the lovely flowers, Jean... it gardening books up for grabs! Send your gardeners is the ability to remember plant looks lovely this year?” When you cannot answer to (by names. We have all suffered here. No remember the name it is more than likely 15th May). doubt at least several hours of our lives you do not have a sufficient construction Jonathan MacDonald is a Horticulture have been spent bent over a plant with base with that particular plant. Keeping lecturer and grower who runs the Riverside your neighbour or passer by both patting the label on is perhaps a subconscious Garden Centre in Comrie. your foreheads: “aah... dash it - it’s on way of memorising the plant in the future the tip of my tongue...oh jeepers... I can when in fact other techniques may be Next month: The joy of fruit and veg! hear it and see it when I close my eyes, oh jeepers... I’ve been growing it for years.. oh got it...Helichrysum!!! ....” This has led to a certain kind of curious behaviour. You will either leave all your plants labels ‘on’ or ‘beside’ or remove them entirely from the scene after planting. You might even secretly stash them in the garden Open 7 days a week: 9.30am -5pm shed allowing a degree of name security to the project just in case they are lost. I Summer bedding, baskets, window planters, pots and much more curiously saw a small alpine garden that to brighten your garden this summer. Full range of garden centre plants had fallen into disrepair and the plants and accessories. Free delivery and advice. long gone were marked like headstones Gardening evening classes! by wonky faded labels. Whatever type See website for more details or call to book a place: you are - plant names, common or Latin, 8th May Pruning and planting are part, in some way, of the pleasure and 15th May Theory and techniques of Propagation pain in gardening. 22nd May Plant classification, structure, and function So what is this thing you cannot 29th May Basic Plant biology touch? This process of remembering 5th June Plant nutrition and the root environment names. There is a marvellous scene in 12th June Perennials, alpines and water features Powell & Pressburger’s classic Black 19th June Visit, review of learning and end of term quiz Narcissus where one of the nuns is teaching gardening and plant names and On the main road A85 going East just before Comrie one young student repeats the word finny-um with quaint long pauses. To this Tel: 01764 670800 day I always think of that scene when I 12

Here’s another 5-minute interview from Rusty McD concerning those furry, feathered or scaly friends in our community...

5 minutes with...

Fiona Leishman - and her Ferrets! Last month, Ollie Cameron nominated Fiona Leishman and her ferrets to be interviewed next. Obviously the ferrets can’t talk but I know for definite that Fiona can and it is debatable who talks more... her or me. Our phone calls never seem short ones so see how this interview will go! I am looking forward to this one! Fiona, you were born a McNaughton and you are a true “native” to Balquhidder. What was it like growing up at Inverlochlarig? Goodness, where do I start? I could write a book of stories of growing up at Inverlochlarig; we had so much space and freedom. I spent a lot of time making dens, playing up the burn, swimming and picnicking down at the river, helping in the fank, the clipping shed, riding the ponies with my sister, fishing with my brothers – always outside, never bored! You are married to Andrew and are a busy couple, juggling the coffee shop in Callander, helping out at the Braes, driving to and from different sports venues – I don’t know how you do it! Well, we do spend a lot of the time taxiing the kids around. I suppose it is history repeating itself because mum and dad did the same for us. Horsebox up and down the glen frequently - and still both of them are willing taxis and rugby supporters! The ferrets...? I should really clarify that they are actually the kids’ ferrets! Over the years though, I have to admit I have got quite attached to the wee beasties. They are really fascinating animals. These particular ferrets came from a young lad in Stirling. Despite the fact that the lad had a scar on his nose and a wee chunk out of his ear, reported by him to be the handiwork of his ferrets, he clearly loved them. They were well handled and healthy wee “kits”. He was keen for us to take a couple to keep our old ferret company and so arrived Dizzy and Rascal. The third addition that we have now is a young Jill who is just known as “Wee Toots” as she is such a petite wee thing. Ferrets belong to the Mustelidae family and are related to polecats, weasels,

pine martens etc. Obviously ferrets are traditionally used for ferreting (flushing rabbits from burrows) and we do have ferret nets but ours are just pets. Besides, the only rabbit near us is a pet! Our ferrets are very inquisitive and playful. They hoard little treasures and love crinkly bags, places to dig, going in and out of their various tunnels in their big enclosure. They never fail to bring a smile to your face when you see their antics. Speaking of antics, the kids at one point came back from Primary School, were going to play with the ferrets, quickly “wheeched” on boiler-suits to keep their school stuff clean. When I came out later, the kids and the ferrets were having a great time with the ferrets inside the suits shooting up and

Top: Fiona - “Careful - these ferrets are loaded!” (Check out the contents of Fiona’s pocket!) Above: Dizzy, Rascal and ‘Wee Toots’

down of the arms and legs. Needless to say their uniforms smelt delightful! I think the whole family would agree that our ferrets certainly add an extra dimension to family life! Thank you so much for fitting me in your busy schedule. I really enjoyed our chat and you know what my very last question to you will be: Who would you like to nominate for next month’s 5 minutes with? Jane McLeod (Convoy) and her horses Fergus, Hal and Cara. Cara as we discovered is a monkey and likes to get out and about through the night!


Rangers’ Review By Graeme Auty

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Spring Cleans Gareth and I, along with national park volunteers, and a group of volunteers from International Development Scotland based in Glasgow, have once again been out in the area helping to collect some of the loc side litter which has accumulated over the winter months. Over two days at the end of March the group collected a total of 75 bags of litter from the eastern side of Loch Lubnaig, clocking up a total of 126 hours volunteer time. The following week a smaller group of national park volunteers took part in a similar task around the eastern end of Loch Earn collecting a total of 34 bags. Ospreys Return The recent good weather has seen the return of many of our ospreys, with several birds already seen diving feet first for fish in Loch Earn as well as Lochs Lubnaig and Venachar. These fascinating birds spend the winter in Africa before migrating back here to breed in the spring, often returning to the same nest year after year. Ospreys differ in several ways from other large birds of prey, they are able to close their nostrils when plunging into the cold waters of our Lochs and they also have a rather unusual reversible outer toe which helps them to catch and hold wet slippery fish then carry them back to a nearby perch or nest. Invasives update I and the national park’s volunteers involved in the Breadalbane Invasive Plants Project have now completed our PA1 & PA6AW pesticide training and assessment. All the equipment necessary to carry out the chemical treatment of the invasive Japanese knotweed has now been purchased. May will be one of the busiest months for this project as this is the prime time to carry out the first chemical treatment, the plants are actively growing but not so tall to make spraying difficult. Survey work is still ongoing and new stands of the weed are turning up all the time, especially around Loch Earn. Again if you have any of these invasive plants on your land and would like to get rid of them please let us know. If you want to know more about the project or what to do if you have knotweed on your land please contact me on the number at the end. 14

Knotweed - evil alien monster from hell

As usual, if we are around at the Lochearnhead Office, please feel free to drop in, or to call Gareth or myself if you have any queries, wildlife sightings or just for a catch up. Thanks to all those that have let us know of some of the interesting wildlife sightings recently in particular several sightings of nuthatches in the area plus some very interesting signs of beaver activity on the River Earn near Comrie. Gareth is in most days but I am part time and am on duty Thursdays and Fridays. You can call me on 01389 722115 or on my mobile 07764371700 or alternatively you can email me on graeme.auty@ or Gareth at

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Scotland’s Oldest Purpose-Built Library to receive £76,800 Historic Scotland Building Repair Grant

Susan Stewart

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07712 047149 Tu e s d a y s & We d n e s d a y s

Ladies, Gents and Children

The Leighton Library in Dunblane, Stirling, Scotland’s oldest purposebuilt library, dating back to the 17th century, is to receive a building repair grant from Historic Scotland for £76,800. It is one of 16 buildings across Scotland which will receive a total of £4,061,535, which was announced today, Wednesday 18th April 2012, by Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs. She said: “I am delighted that Historic Scotland’s £4,061,535 grant funding for building repairs will regenerate 16 diverse and fascinating buildings, from the Leighton Library in Dunblane, Scotland’s earliest surviving purpose-built library, to the iconic bridge at Brig o’ Doon in Alloway, immortalised by Robert Burns’ poem Tam O’Shanter, to the well-loved Kelvingrove Bandstand in Glasgow. “It is vital that we preserve our historic environment, not only for future generations to enjoy, but also to attract visitors from around the world who come

to explore our fascinating history and heritage.” Anne Heseltine of the Leighton Library Trust said: “The Trustees of the Leighton Library are delighted to have been accepted for a building Repair Grant -

The Leighton Library

the funding will be used to re-render this 17th century building in a traditional lime mortar finish, and thus restore the external fabric to its original condition. “The Leighton Library in Dunblane is Scotland’s oldest purpose-built library and houses a priceless collection of historic books.”

New Action Plan will tackle climate change threat to historic buildings The challenges and opportunities of climate change on Scotland’s built heritage are to be addressed by Historic Scotland in a five-year plan that aligns with Scottish Government carbon emissions reduction targets, which are amongst the most ambitious in the world. The new Climate Change Action Plan tackles a wide range of challenges presented by the impacts of rising sea levels, increased storm events and heavier precipitation on historic landscapes, built heritage, archaeology and the tourist industry. Figures show that Scotland’s climate is already changing, with average precipitation rising by more than 20 per cent since the1960s. Historic buildings are particularly susceptible to increased rainfall and extremes of wetting and drying cycles, which may lead to accelerated decay. Historic Scotland Chief Executive Ruth Parsons said: “Climate change is a very real threat facing Scotland’s built and natural environment. “We have already seen significant changes in our weather in recent decades, and this is set to continue, or even increase, throughout this century. It is imperative to our economy that we start taking action immediately. “Historic Scotland has built up expertise to counter the threat of climate change, and gained useful knowledge from tackling

the impacts of coastal and wind erosion at some of our most popular and significant sites. “Closely aligned with these efforts is our commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We aim to meet the ambitious targets set by the Scottish Government and cut carbon emissions by 42 per cent by 2020, based on 1990 levels. “We will share the research we are doing and encourage others to identify the actions they can take to reduce their own emissions, and help Scotland move towards a low carbon economy.” The strategic aims of Historic Scotland’s Climate Change Action Plan focus on reducing energy use in the agency’s buildings and improving the carbon efficiency of its operations. Innovative techniques have already proved successful – for example, using sheep wool to help insulate the agency’s Edinburgh headquarters, combined with other practical measures such as replacing more than 500 light bulbs in Glasgow Cathedral with low energy versions to reduce power consumption. The Plan also aims to improve energy efficiency in traditional buildings, principally through a series of pilot schemes in a range of property types throughout Scotland. The agency recently demonstrated its expertise in this field,

when it won a Low Carbon Award in March for refurbishment work on traditional tenements in the Pleasance area of Edinburgh. Preparing the historic environment for climate change forms a key element of the Action Plan. Historic Scotland will identify which of its sites are most at risk, and modify conservation strategies accordingly, in addition to responding to climate change threats by prioritising grant funding. The agency will also improve sustainability by increasing awareness of the importance of appropriate materials and skills in the upkeep of traditional buildings, for example by encouraging the reopening of stone and slate quarries, in addition to investing in training and skills. Sustainable tourism will be enhanced, focusing on reducing emissions, better waste management, and developing low carbon tourism by exploring options for reducing emission footprints. Historic Scotland’s also aims to inform and influence others, by sharing best practice and offering advice. Updates on the progress of the Action Plan will be made available on the Historic Scotland web site (www.historic-scotland., and in the agency’s climate change blog (at 15

McLaren High School News by Yvonne King Pupil Achievements in Music At the Glasgow Music Festival recently Rachel Speirs S6 won The Janette Clanachan Memorial Award, the Judith Richmond Memorial Award for Opera/Oratorio and the Agnes Duncan Trophy for vocalists. She also won the Glasgow Grand Opera Society Cup for voice at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Well done Rachel! Graeme Platman was the winner of the Guitar section (level 3) at the recent Edinburgh Competition Festival Association. In addition to this, Graeme was credited with best solo guitarist performance of the day and was the recipient of ‘The Norman Quinney Medal’. Well done to him for this outstanding achievement. Science Quiz To round off National Science and Engineering Week there was a Quiz in the dining hall at lunch time. Questions were set by Millie Tigwell and Henrietta Bowie, and there was a great response from pupils right across the school! The winners were Jack Cartwright and Ben Coles (both S5), with 19 out of 20, who have won 10 House Points for Bracklinn.

Graeme Platman

Rachel Speirs

Disposing of detritus

Dragons’ Den Over the past few weeks, S1 pupils have been working on a wide variety of projects in their classes in order to gain the British Science Association’s Crest Bronze Award. Each class then put forward a presentation for the grand final – a Dragons’ Den event in the assembly hall, in front of the whole of S1, who then voted on their favourite project. Big thanks are due to volunteers from S4, who helped with the lighting, presentations and voting, and especially thanks to our S6 “dragons”. Millie Tigwell, Kirsty Fingland and Stuart Berrow The winning team was Mr Paterson’s class, 1P2, with their presentation on “The Nervous System”. They will now get the chance to represent McLaren at the National Science and Engineering Competition, at the Big Bang science fair in Perth on 12 June. “I think the Dragons’ Den activity was a cool and fun way to present our work. I liked getting feedback from the S6s.” Luke Hibbert S1

Dragon’s Den

“I thought the idea of the Dragons’ Den was great, it was fun doing experiments and presenting and the PowerPoints were great to watch.” Charlie Allardyce S1 The Sweetest Flower Poetry Collection March saw the release of a poetry collection written by Bryony Clare Semple and the classmates of 1B, now 2B. Bryony was a gifted writer and much loved friend who tragically died in June 2011. All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to Bryony’s charity ‘The Malawi Education Project’. Anyone wishing to purchase a copy of the book, cost £5, should contact the school.

Poetry book - available now

visit our website: 16

Litter Pick On Wednesday 14 March, we went litter picking during our S1 Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Challenge periods. We did this as part of Callander’s Spring Clean Week and also to help our school on its way to gaining a Green Flag from Eco Schools. Some of us went to the Creek, which is a path used by lots of pupils on their way to school and at lunchtime. Some worked around the Leisure Centre and some of us were in the school grounds. We picked up sacks of rubbish such as: bottles, cans, sweetie papers and chip boxes. We were using litter pickers and black bin bags. When we had finished the areas we had worked on looked much better. We also recorded what we did that day in our John Muir diaries as helping to keep local areas litter free as part of the Conserve section of the John Muir Award which we are completing in S1 CfE. Lauryn Donnelly and Eilidh Graham S1 Zoolab Ross from Zoolab came to the school to deliver workshops to S1 on the movement of energy through Food Webs, bringing several friends with him – including a tarantula, hissing cockroaches, corn snakes and rats! National Science and Engineering Week 2012 McLaren High School celebrated National Science and Engineering Week by hosting a variety of science-related events, all on the theme of “World in Motion”.

Under 18 Rugby After a comfortable 38-0 victory against Alloa High School, McLaren competed for the under 18 Central Schools Cup against an experienced Alva High School team. Alva had managed to successfully win and defend the last 5 competitions, so the boys knew they would have to play to their full potential to win the game. McLaren took the lead through a Harry Milligan penalty, however Alva replied with a quick try to put them 3-5 in the lead. Adam Wood went over to put McLaren 8-5 into the lead. A further penalty, try and conversion from Alva made the score 8-15. At the start of the second half McLaren came out fighting with Angus Leishman and Cameron Reid scoring unconverted tries to swing the score again to 1815. Unfortunately, Alva gained momentum and scored twice without reply to give them control of the match with an 18-32 lead. Angus Leishman pulled another try back to narrow the gap, but Alva scored the final score of the game in the closing minutes to record a 23-39 victory and retain the trophy for a sixth consecutive year. The McLaren boys should be proud of their achievement, and most of them will be back next year to try to end the season with a win.

Top: Under 18s and above: Under16s

Creating homes for our feathered friends!

CfE Bird boxes During one of our CfE experience Wednesdays some S1 pupils had the opportunity to hang bird boxes on the trees in the school grounds. The pupils found this exciting and different – being able to build the bird boxes, and then place them on the trees and watch the birds hopefully make their nests in them. Emma Aitken from 1C said “I loved watching the birds investigating their new homes”. I think that placing the bird boxes on the trees was fun and a great experience that was part of our John Muir Award. Sophie Rose S1

One participant proudly shows off his handiwork

Under 16 Rugby The under 16 rugby squad were crowned Central Schools champions this week, after finishing the campaign with two excellent performances. McLaren then knew that they would have to overcome a strong Stirling High School to stand a chance of progressing to the final. The team started the game at an excellent tempo and continued to play excellent rugby in the wet conditions, and won the game comfortably 38-0. This allowed McLaren the chance to defend the trophy they had won last year. In what looked a tough game against a strong Balfron High team, McLaren yet again showed their class with an excellent all round performance. Tries from Andrew Howells, Hamish Innes and Conor Alexander gave McLaren a 15-3 lead. Balfron responded with an unconverted try to make the score 15-8, but this proved to be their last score of the match. Further tries throughout the game from Oliver Wesley (3), Andrew Howells (2), Andrew Nixon and Alastair Orr, and conversions from Oliver (3) and Hamish (1) secured a resounding 58-8 victory for the boys. Balfron High School were worthy of their place in the final, but when McLaren started to demonstrate the excellent standard of rugby we have seen throughout the season, gaps appeared in the Balfron defence for the boys to take advantage of. Well done on an excellent victory! Rugby - McLaren S1/2 v Wallace High School On Thursday 22 March it was the turn of the McLaren S1/2 team to get into the action after a long winter lay-off. McLaren, facing a Wallace team that outsized them, were undaunted. Defence was solid. Gregor Nixon and Connor Clarke put in some excellent tackles and Geordie Perrie certainly made his presence felt with some massive hits. This presence in defence seemed to build the confidence of the McLaren boys and, with the knowledge that they could stop their opponents, they very slowly began to put together some better rugby. Logan Trotter was the first benefactor, receiving a pass in mid-22 he was able to cross over near the corner. Soon after Andrew Mclean followed suit before Duncan Hendry added the teams third. By now the McLaren team were rucking and mauling well and flinging the ball out more flamboyantly through the backs. Connor Ramsay-Clapham at scrum half hadn’t had an easy first half. But by delaying the pick up from the scum, he was beginning to pick up penalties due to his Wallace counterpart straying off-side. One such penalty provided a touch-line kick and from the line-out McLaren spun the ball out wide and then back, drawing many of the Wallace team out of position. Louis Parsons on the wing showed a clean pair of heels, sprinting in from the 10 metre line to touch down. By this time confidence was much more evident and the handling had by now improved. Logan Trotter and Andrew McLean both got other tries before Wallace scored a couple of consolation tries. The try scoring efforts shouldn’t detract from the work of the forwards. Connor Clarke In particular had a fantastic game making some terrific runs. Charlie Allardyce also should take credit from his work in the loose frequently securing possession and passing off to the backs. Final score: Wallace 12 - McLaren 34 17

View from the Park by Owen McKee The old adage of a “A job planned is a job half done” springs to mind as the Park Authority approves its latest plan for submission to Scottish Government. Under the National Park Act the Park Authority is obliged to prepare a Plan for The Park. As I have said many times before there is much in a Park Plan on which we are dependent on others to carry out the tasks to achieve the aims of the National Park. That reliance on others means that we had to ensure that those concerned commit resources to fulfil the tasks they are allotted in the Park Plan. And that, particularly in the current economic climate, was certainly not easy. But agreements have been reached and that to my mind surely means that there is virtue in the old adage. In recognition of the role of the other agencies we have given the Plan the title of “National Park Partnership Plan 2012 -2017. Yes Park Plans are for five years. It is hoped that the Minister will approve the Plan in time for its official launch together with the Plan from Cairngorms National Park at the Highland Show in late June. At the end of April the RSPB acquired an estate at Gartocharn on the southern shore of Loch Lomond where, unusually for a private purchase, both the Park Authority and Scottish Natural Heritage were given the opportunity to contribute to the plans for running the estate and we were happy to get involved. It is no surprise that the project opens up a number of opportunities for partnership working for all three organisations. I was delighted to attend a Garden Party at Brig O’Turk to mark the


occasion of the presentation of a GREEN FLAG AWARD to Trossachs Primary. The Eco Schools green flag awards last for two years and amazingly for such a small school this is the third time it has achieved the award. On this occasion, with help from their neighbours at the Woodland Trust and the assistance of National Park Rangers, they have constructed a Secret Garden which will be used as an outdoor classroom. Annuality is a horrible term and its effects are often horrendous. Public funding is allocated year by year with no facility to carry forward to another year so that if a project is not started in the year to which the funding is allocated the funding is lost and the application process has to start all over again. Back in 2008 a scheme to provide a cycle track between Crianlarich and Tyndrum was put on hold through a combination of higher than expected costs and the effects of annuality. I am happy to say that the scheme is back on track and planning has started with the hope that funding will be in place to get the structural work started in 2013. The early season has produced evidence that Loch Lubnaig is again proving attractive to the wild camping fraternity. That reinforces our commitment to treating Loch Lubnaig as a priority. I hope to be able to report in the next issue of the Villagers some progress in our Five Lochs Project. Owen McKee As always I can be contacted as follows: Taigh Na Bhuth, Lochearnhead. 01567 830214

Loch Lomond Waterbus Following the introduction last year of the hugely popular Loch Lomond water bus service, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is delighted to announce the launch of the 2012 schedule (start 31 March). A new feature of the service this year includes a morning sailing to Rowardennan Youth Hostel starts on Saturday 31 March for all climbers wanting to make an early start on Ben Lomond. A new service linking Balloch and Luss will launch later this summer. Fiona Logan, CEO Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park said: “We had a fantastic response to the introduction of regular daily water bus routes last year with over 11,000 people taking advantage of the service over the summer. This year, I’m pleased that local operators have introduced new routes that link to the east side of the Loch. Increasing the accessibility of the National Park for our visitors is hugely important to us and the water bus is a great way to experience the varied landscape we have here. This year, we will also have our volunteer rangers on board some sailings to give visitors a personal experience of the loch and to offer their expertise on the best things to see and do in the Park. “If you haven’t already experienced arriving at your destination by boat, I would strongly recommend a trip out this summer.” Stuart Cordner, Cruise Loch Lomond added: “The Waterbus Service has been hugely successful in raising the profile of Loch Lomond and the range of activities that can be enjoyed by families and outdoor enthusiasts. Given the demand for the service Cruise Loch Lomond has committed to operating a daily service from the 31st March to the end of October. We are pleased to announce the launch of a new service the Rowardennan Explorer working with the Youth Hostel and National Trust for Scotland; as well as promoting new walking and cycling routes into the Trossachs above Inversnaid and at Rowardennan.” Villages included in the water bus service are: Inversnaid, Luss, Tarbet, Balmaha, Inchcailloch and Rowardennan. The water bus service operates daily and is only forty-five minutes from Glasgow by train or bus. Details of the service and routes can be found on the National Park website: Ruth Crosbie

From our Beijing Correspondents... When the Bureau du Change presented us with 33,000,000 Dong, we should have thought all our Christmases had come at once ….. but we are such seasoned travellers to be taken in by mere excessive wealth! – particularly when heading to Viet Nam as multi-multi-multi millionaires! We have dealt with quite a few currencies over recent years, but trying to get our heads around dividing everything by 33,000 to make a pound sterling is just ridiculous! We thought Beijing streets were mad enough…. Just as well they prepared us for getting out and about in Hanoi. It is now definitively tried and tested, that in crossing a torrent of scooters, interspersed with diesel spewing trucks and buses, you have to go for it ……. Don’t stop! Don’t hesitate! Just step out into the roaring stream and move, with attitude (360º vision would be great, but much too scary!) You might not come out the other side totally unscathed, as the occasional nudge might occur, but on the whole, it works! And was so much fun. We absolutely loved Hanoi, different from Beijing really because of the narrow streets (any more vehicles and the entire city will come to a grinding halt!) and the scooters. Here in China, we are used to the bizarre and the ridiculous going past us attached to bikes or scooters, but the Vietnamese seem to have it down to a fine art. We could have spent hours just watching and photographing the ‘loads’ being taken to and from the markets. Duncan was particularly disappointed to have missed the water buffalo on the move. Now we saw plenty of the huge beasts ambling along the roads and roaming the terraces, but what we so wanted to see was one on the back of a moped! I kid you not! How they managed to lasso the poor beast on a pillion is beyond us, but then to make the machine move under the weight of over a ton of annoyed animal? We did see the lunchbox dogs on scooters, though none bound up luckily.

We had a glorious few days aboard a wooden junk (unfortunately now all painted white) sailing around Ha Long Bay (with photo, right, to prove it). The weather wasn’t brilliant though, so we kayaked and only swam once - Aussies and Kiwis on board were forced to join mad Brits who insisted on splashing out (loch hardened!) Hue, a historic city, was a quick flight south of Hanoi, and worth a visit to the old Citadel and Forbidden Purple City (unfortunately heavily bombed by the US), before we headed up north into outstandingly beautiful scenery of undulating mountains carved with paddy fields. From Sa Pa, after a bouncy, noisy overnight train ride, we trekked across hills and paddy fields (trying to avoid slipping in) with tiny, young women bedecked in their minority tribe clothing, often carrying babies (usually mothers by the age of 16) and purchased a lot of their craftwork (they don’t give up a sale easily and Duncan was a sucker to their charms). Our final outing was to a local market at Can Cau, close to the Chinese border. The Vietnamese seem to have transportation down to a fine art! It is known as being the most exotic one and we were not disappointed – the women’s clothing and textiles for sale were spectacular and the entire rainbow spectrum of colours. A tiny tribeswoman decided Duncan was in need of a highly colourful embroidered bag and gave pursuit (photo attached) …. she won! It was worth 60,000 Dong just for the hilarity of the chase – and the bag a memory! The only purchase I failed to make was that of a young colt. I tried to convince Duncan we could take the little thing as hand luggage – you would have thought he would have been pleased I didn’t ask Tania Francis for a water buffalo!!


Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of Meeting held at Balquhidder Village Hall on 4th April 2012

Present: Malcolm McNaughton (MM); Karen Methven (KM); Alistair Barclay (AB); Adrian Squires (AS); Paul Hicks (PH). Apologies: Marguerite Kobs; Sara Hesp; Richard Eastland; Susie Crammon; Angus Cameron; Rosanne McWilliams; Owen McKee, National Park. In attendance: Cllr Paul Owens (PO); Gerry McGarvey (GM) and Martin Earl (ME), (Prospective Local Councillors). 1) Approval of Minutes The minutes of the previous meeting were reviewed. It was proposed by AB and seconded by AS that the minutes should be accepted and this was approved unanimously. 2) Police Report PC Ward was unable to attend so no report was available. 3) Matters Arising 3.1) Auchtubhmhor Forest Plan It has been agreed that a scoping meeting should be held but no date for it has yet been set. 3.2) Broadband Facilities No reply had as yet been received from Bruce Crawford but the matter was further discussed. GM stated that they were experiencing similar problems in Gartmore. Funding from the Scottish Government has been made available but seems to be operating in a different way to the rest of the UK and is targeted primarily at the Western Isles in Scotland. PH stated that the current technology had probably reached the limits of its economic viability, but future developments might hold more hope for rural areas. (These include new satellite systems, and wi-fi based on the newly released radio frequencies that previously supplied television signals.) The issue would be our ability to attract funding for our particular area in good time. GM and ME suggested that it would make sense to form a joint venture with other community councils in the same position. 3.3) Toilets at Strathyre MM understood that the issue of communication over a local application for planning permission had now been resolved. 3.4) Removal of Waste from Glen Ogle AB stated that it looked as though some waste had been cleared but the carcass of the burned-out caravan was still in situ. 3.5) Telephone Kiosk at Balquhidder MM reported that the BLS Trust had appointed someone to pursue the proposed installation of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in the vacant telephone kiosk. AB added that a resident of Lochearnhead had enquired about having a similar facility in her village and it was agreed that it might be appropriate for all three villages to have one. Some general discussion then ensued over the value and necessity of the equipment, particularly in the light of the fact that those who suffer heart failure require urgent treatment to avoid permanent brain damage. It was agreed, however, that this equipment, although it could only support conventional cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), could still mean the difference between saving or losing a life and was, therefore, worth having. 4) Correspondence 4.1) Operation Ironworks MM reported that he had received a letter from Chief Inspector Findlater regarding the ongoing commitment from the police to this operation. No new initiatives were proposed but the operation would continue throughout the coming tourist season. 5) Planning Matters There were no current applications affecting our area. 6) Matters From Local Councillors 6.1) PO had no special matters to raise but, in view of it being his final meeting with us before retiring as a councillor, took the opportunity of expressing his admiration at the way in which the many new members of the community council had adapted to their task over the past two years, and had quickly developed the necessary skills and aptitudes for their rÙle. PH expressed appreciation of the way in which local councillors, in turn, had supported the community council members in their work, and thanked PO for his personal commitment, wishing him all the best for his impending retirement. This was echoed by all the other council members. 7) Any Other Business 7.1) Litter MM highlighted the lack of official notices advising visitors of the councilís policy towards litter and offering guidance on how best to dispose of it. He said that locally produced signs placed by the community council, although purely temporary in nature, had not been vandalised or removed and were still in position but lacked the authoritative appearance of an official sign. ME pointed out the problem of mixed messages with Perth & Kinross Council pursuing a different policy to that of Stirling, resulting in confusion for visitors and tourists. It was agreed that this difference of approach had been aired many times but was still a significant obstacle to solving the problem of indiscriminate littering. CC members vented some frustration at the continuing obduracy of SC, suggesting that its policy was not working and urgently needed to be changed. AB observed that there was also an increasing problem with camper vans and caravans using informal parking places, thereby causing damage to verges and creating large amounts of litter. ME suggested that local people often had the resources to combat this scourge and, with the assistance and oversight of National Park rangers, could be used to prevent access to such areas using approved and appropriate techniques. 7.2) A84 (Annie’s Straight) There is a sharp bend at this location, about three miles North of Callander, where several road accidents have occurred in recent years. KM reported that she had just received a complaint from two local residents about the dangers of this section of road. The crash barrier has been destroyed through successive accidents, and the road camber and surface combine to make the surface extremely unstable. BLS CC has previously made representations about this problem although it actually falls within a different community council area. Nonetheless, it was agreed that we should write a further letter to Transerv as the primary authority responsible for this stretch of road. It was also suggested that we should contact Richard Johnson of MNV Consulting in Callander in his capacity as chair of Callander Community Council to advise him of our concern. Action: RE to write to Transerv and Callander Community Council. There was no other business and, at 8:35pm, MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting is planned to take place at 7:30pm on Wednesday 16th May 2012 at the Village Hall, Lochearnhead. 20

Consultation on Public Entertainment Licences There has been a recent change to the legislation covering the licensing of public entertainment. Section 41 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 states: (1)A licence, to be known as a “public entertainment licence”, shall be required for the use of premises as a place of public entertainment. (2)In this section, “place of public entertainment” means any place where, on payment of money or money’s worth, members of the public are admitted or may use any facilities for the purposes of entertainment or recreation. The Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 repeals the words “on payment of money or money’s worth”; meaning that any premises offering entertainment to the public will require a licence. In light of the above Stirling Council is concerned about the impact this change in legislation has on certain types of events that previously did not require a licence. As such, Stirling Council is now carrying out a consultation exercise to determine if certain events should perhaps be exempt from requiring a licence. It is proposed that events that meet all of the following criteria would be exempt from requiring a licence: a)organised by a charity or voluntary/community group as outlined by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations: b)admitting no more than 300 persons and c)not charging for entry. Events that admit more than 300 persons and/or charge an admittance fee will require a licence. Events run for financial gain by an individual or company will also require a licence. Comments on the above proposal would be welcomed and should be sent, no later than Friday 25 May 2012, in writing to: Licensing,Economy, Planning and Regulation, Room 229, Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET or by email to:

Drs Strang & Scott and Drs Mathewson & Gibson Community Nurses The surgeries and community nurses are taking part in a training programme. This is to meet the educational and training needs of all members of the practice and nursing team. The next training afternoon will be on: Thursday 17th May 2012 Tuesday 19th June 2012 Both practices and community nurse clinic will close at 12 noon. Emergency cover will be provided by NHS24 for nursing and GPs. In the event of an emergency, please telephone 08454 242424. On that afternoon, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments.


Scottish Wildlife Trust

In the final talk of the season Iain Semple, Manager of Howietoun Fisheries, Stirling University Institute of Aquaculture, spoke of his 30 years in rearing brown trout and Atlantic salmon. Built by Sir James Maitland in 1881, Howietoun is one of the oldest fish farms in Scotland, supplying stock for farming and angling throughout the world. Acquired by Stirling University in 1979, technology developments have improved quality and quantity. With 500 to 700 eggs per pound of fish and over 90% fertilisation, the annual output is 1million smolt! From late October to mid November, adults are milked for eggs and sperm, mixing them from 3-4 males and females for genetic diversity. The larger the fish the bigger the eggs and the higher the survival rate in rivers since the eggs are less likely to be washed out of the gravel. Hence the detriment to stocks if anglers take big trophy fish. In the hatchery, trays of eggs are incubated in flowing water at 3-6C, taking 400 ‘degreedays’ to hatch. In rivers they would stay in the gravel until the egg sac is absorbed then the free-swimming fry rely on the emergence of zooplankton for food. On the farm they are fed on marine fishmeal and plant protein – easier than the early 31/2 horses and 2 cartloads of Forth oysters per week! In outside tanks or ponds, food and oxygen levels are controlled to match weather and mass of fish. At the end of their first summer the fry weigh up to 50g,

Brown Trout

going into their second season as a parr and emerging as a 100g smolt ready to be sold – why do they need so many names?? Before shipping, all fish are tattooed with a recognisable quality mark! Juvenile fish have been shipped to many countries, wherever settlers wanted streams to be stocked, including India, Pakistan, Falklands, Australia and New Zealand. Before refrigerated containers fish were packed in containers insulated with sphagnum moss and frequent replenishment of ice. In Scotland they are supplied to angling rivers and lochs in addition to sea farms. Conservation of a healthy wild population supports a vital angling industry that generates far more income than fish farms: a wild brown trout also sells for 5 times the cost of farmed fish! Over 30 years changes in local river wildlife have been seen; released mink were once prevalent but now few are seen and the loss of this rat predator is contributory to reductions in mallard, moorhens, reed buntings etc. Meanwhile, protected since 1983, otters have increased significantly. Businesses also may resent the loss of fish to growing numbers of cormorants, ospreys and herons but can we really have too many otters and ospreys in Scotland?

Our thanks also go to Kevin Duffy for leading a walk on the Braes of Doune. Eleven enjoyed the benefit of his years surveying the area and his keen eye for spotting kestrel, raven, buzzard, red kite, roe deer, curlew and various ‘Little Brown Jobs’. Unfortunately, no sightings of longeared owls or hen harriers, migrants such as wheatears are late and over-wintering geese have gone north. We had to take Roy’s word that there is a very rare plant at the bottom of the pond! Ongoing monitoring of the wind farm’s impact on wildlife shows that birds do suffer fatalities, but since its opening in 2007 raptor fatalities have been within predicted single figures while filled quarries are regenerating into useful upland habitat. Where does the balance lie? Lesley Hawkins Scottish Wildlife Trust, Callander

Member’s Centre Diary

The 2011/12 season of talks has now finished. New programme will start 11 September. Note that the venue will revert to the Waverley Hotel.


Orchids and other flowers of Callander

Led by John Snodin Meet at Ancaster Square, Callander Free, but please book via or tel 01877 339080 22

Creag an Tuirc A new book on the social history of the MacLarens and the MacLaurins From the rocky promontory, high above the Kirk at Balquhidder, there is a splendid view of the glen and Loch Voil. In Gaelic, this rock is known as Creag an Tuirc, the rock of the boar. For a clan that did not have a castle, the Boar’s Rock was a rallying point for the MacLarens and ‘Creag an Tuirc’ became the clan’s war cry. In earlier times, a fiery cross, dispatched through the glens of Balquhidder and Strathearn, would bring clansmen to the Boar’s Rock in support of their chief. The clan still rallies there at the time of the annual Lochearnhead Highland Games. I chose to call my book Creag an Tuirc after this traditional meeting place of the clan as my book tells the history of many of our clansmen and women who lived in Balquhidder and the surrounding parishes. In former times the MacLarens were the most numerous of all the families living in the glen, their long association with Balquhidder dates back to medieval times. MacLaren families also lived along the shores of Loch Earn and Loch Tay and around Callander. Their traditional way of life was to work on the district’s farms, either as tenants, or as cottars (tradesmen and farm labourers). In the mid-18th century, for example, the then 170 acre Kirkton farm at Balquhidder supported three tenants and their families together with 10 cottars and their families. In the 17th and the 18th centuries the Highlands were far from peaceful. The dominant landowners sought to extend their influences and as a result there were many skirmishes between the clans. These were the times when three Jacobite uprisings took place in Scotland. The MacLarens responded to their traditional call of arms to support the Stuart cause and came out in support of the Jacobites in each of these uprisings. They fought bravely at the battle of Culloden where they were led by Donald McLaren, a drover, who lived on the farm at Invernenty, located in the western part of the glen. In retribution for their support to the Jacobites in the 1745-46 uprising, houses belonging to clansmen were burnt in around Balquhidder in June 1746. After Culloden several of the large estates that had belonged to Jacobite supporters were seized by the State. A new order was imposed on the management of farms and rents were raised. Sheep were introduced into the Highlands; they replaced black cattle and needed fewer people to look after them. Life on the overcrowded farms became difficult for the tenant farmer. Some MacLarens chose to emigrate to the colonies in search of a better way of life. They firstly went to North America and later to Australia and New Zealand. Donald McLaren’s son and grandchildren emigrated to Prince Edward Island, Canada, in 1803. They were foremost among the pioneers who settled along the Brudenell River and their descendants still

by Neil McLaurin

live on Prince Edward Island. From 1816 to 1818, other MacLarens from the district left for Upper Canada. Of the MacLarens who stayed behind in Scotland many moved from their farms and went to work in textile mills and other industries that began to open up in Scotland after 1780. Others moved to live and work on the Blair Drummond Moss near the village of Thornhill that was founded after the 174546 uprising to house displaced Highlanders. Today the only MacLaren family living in Balquhidder is that of the clan chief Donald MacLaren of MacLaren. Creag an Tuirc explores the social history of some of these families who were living in Balquhidder and Strathearn. It concentrates on a 200 year period in the history of the clan from around 1680 to around 1880, a time as we have seen of great social and political change. Although the book concentrates on the farms in Balquhidder and surrounding parishes, it also covers other areas where MacLarens at one time lived. There are descriptions of 190 Scottish parishes and

over 2,400 clansmen and women are listed. In addition, there are brief biographies of 160 clansmen and clanswomen and 65 family lines are detailed. The biographies range across all walks of life and include many eminent clansmen and women who had Highland origins. It is hoped that if you have MacLaren or MacLaurin roots you will be able to find some reference to these in this book. As well as being of interest to genealogists, Creag an Tuirc is an essential reference for social historians wishing to discover the history behind some of the famous MacLarens and MacLaurins who have left their marks on our society. The book will also interest anyone looking for more information on the history of Balquhidder and Strathearn. Creag an Tuirc will be published this summer and is to be launched just before the Lochearnhead Highland Games. The book will be on sale at the games. It can also be ordered from the publishers, Melrose Books ( The price is £20 plus postage and packing. Neil McLaurin



Central Scotland Police

There when you need us

Road accidents As the roads get busier with both motor cyclists and tourists it is even more important that we take extra care when travelling on our roads. Unfortunately during April we responded to a number of road accidents two of which were serious and one proving to be fatal. These accidents caused the roads to be closed for several hours at a time whilst investigations were carried out. I am sure you will appreciate that the emergency services are under a great deal of pressure and stress at these incidents for a number of reasons. The best way for you to help is to be patient and stay calm and wait to be updated by either the emergency services or Transerv Scotland staff. Whilst your journey may be important to you our priorities may lie elsewhere. How can you help? Please follow the following common sense “rules”: - Know where you are and know how to get to your destination by an alternative route. You should all have a road atlas! Do not rely on a satnav. - Wait to be asked to turn round; you may cause an accident or hold up essential services by carrying out a U-turn. - Listen to the advice of Transerv staff; they are there to help you, not to be the subject of your frustrations. - Let breakdown vehicles past. - Do not approach the emergency services staff with trivial questions. - Do not drive past road closure signs. Beware of bogus callers Once again I wish to remind you of the despicable crime committed by people offering to carry out either work on the house or in the garden. At this time of year, people are conned into thinking that they need to have dangerous trees felled or to have building work carried out after the winter before their home turns into a pile of rubble. These tactics are meant to do one thing only and that is to scare the occupiers into having work carried out needlessly. Another tactic used is to trick their way into a home on the pretext of carrying out work for the various utility companies, council or local housing authority. Many of these people will show an official ID badge or show an invoice with the correct letter head etc detailing the work to be carried out. The point is, anybody can make up an official badge or reproduce a work order from the internet. 24

There is no getting away from the fact that many of these people are very good at what they do and appear totally genuine. That is because they do this for a living and will pick up on the slightest clue to con their way into your home. If these criminals think the local population are an easy target they will continually return and prey on the vulnerable. It is up to each of us to look out for our neighbours and our community. If you think something or somebody looks suspicious the chances are you will be right. Genuine workers welcome being checked out by the police and residents. Just because you see something in another street do not ignore it, remember they are our streets they belong to us not the criminals. What you can and should do: - Note details of the person as accurately as possible paying attention to their accent or if they had any marks or tattoos. - Take a description of the clothing worn, note any distinguishing patterns, motifs or if they were carrying a bag etc. - Try and remember what they said. - Watch which way they went. - Note down the make, colour, type, registration number of any vehicles. Think of it this way: 1) if you think the job needs doing, you arrange for somebody to call at your convenience; there are plenty of good local tradesmen in our area that can be called on to carry out any job that requires doing. 2) If you haven’t noticed something wrong before it is pointed out by a caller then to spend another day while you arrange to have it checked won’t be too disastrous. 3) Contact your housing department and utility provider and arrange a pass word which will be given by bonafide workers. Towards the end of the month we were visited by a company looking to carry out roofing work. Once I stopped and checked them out they quickly left the area. Rather disappointingly I received only 1 telephone call regarding these males despite the fact that they fitted the “bogus workman profile”. The fact that they made a sharp exit from the area showed me that they were not serious about their work. IF IN THE SLIGHTEST DOUBT ALWAYS CONTACT THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY. Seat Belts Motorists who regularly travel along the A84 through Lochearnhead and Strathyre will be fully aware that along with my colleagues I

routinely carry out road safety and speed checks on passing vehicles in line with my PACT priorities. On Sunday March 25 I was carrying out these checks in Lochearnhead with two colleagues from the motorcycle section of the Road Policing Unit when I saw a van approach us. Whilst the driver was not speeding I could see that he had two passengers beside him. It is not uncommon for people in vans not to wear their seatbelts. I indicated to the driver to stop which he did. On checking the occupants I saw that they were all wearing their belts however I heard voices in the back of the van and asked the driver to open the back doors. When he did this I saw three males sitting in the back amongst several power tools. The van was not fitted with seats in the rear and as a result of this the driver was issued with a fixed penalty notice of £60 and three penalty points for carrying the males dangerously. Some people may think he was unlucky but I believe that the occupants in the rear of the van and every other road user were LUCKY that there was not an accident. I have no doubt that if the driver had even so much as braked hard the rear occupants would have received potentially life threatening injuries. Do not be tempted to give somebody a lift if they can not be restrained by way of a seatbelt nor should you accept a lift where you have to sit on the floor or amongst bags, tools or other equipment. It is just not worth it. New look to web site Central Scotland Police has updated its official web site which should make it easier for visitors not only to navigate around it but also to keep abreast of crime trends both across the force and locally. It also allows for those visiting to be able to contact me and my colleagues more easily. Have a look and let me know what you think. New shift pattern coming soon Following a review of the various shift patterns worked by departments across the force it has been decided that all community officers will now work the same shift pattern irrespective of their location, this is to allow for a better deployment of staff at certain times of the day. This new pattern will come into place on the 1st of July. Whilst it will change both the hours and days we currently work in the Killin area it should not impact on the service you receive as calls will be dealt with by colleagues in Callander and if need be Dunblane and Balfron. PC Andrew Ward 01786 456 000

Farm Forum: Still Playing ‘Tag’ Nowadays it seems that barely a month goes by without some other bit of restrictive legislation rearing its ugly head necessitating many man hours being spent attempting to sort it out. In last month’s article I suggested that there was some hope that we might get the electronic identification of sheep made more user friendly. These hopes have been virtually dashed in recent diminished by about another 3%. The discussions in Brussels. There are many problem is that it is costing us in some way reasons why the system will not work in or another to “discover” the obvious. The the Scottish mountains: not least among principle trouble is that the EID scheme them is the fact that the technology has is not logical and when logic goes out of simply not been invented to give the the window, meaningful negotiations are 100% accuracy that the bureaucrats well nigh impossible. At risk of repeating demand. I commented recently that myself I would point out that most of these while the accuracy was in the region of regulations are dreamed up by bureaucrats 95% for new tags, I dreaded to think what without adequate practical knowledge the figure would be for a tag that has been and in addition are trying to make one wandering around the hill for about six regulation fit 27 very different countries. years! I think it was Sir Tam Dalyell, that much Well, I don’t know if some boffin reads respected ex member of Parliament, who The Villagers but a day or two later there said that when he first entered Westminster was a reference in the paper that someone a very high percentage of Members had had discovered that after a year accuracy made a living in the big wide world before

entering politics and that when he retired things had reversed and most members were career politicians – does that perhaps have a bearing on many of our woes, not only agricultural? The next thing that seems to be on the horizon is a suggested ban on the spreading of dung, slurry and fertilizers etc. on land with more than a 12 degree slope when there is a chance of some percolating into a water course of some sort. So far as many areas in Scotland are concerned this would decimate farming. No doubt you will hear more about this but that is enough complaining for one month! However in conclusion I would point out that the beautiful place Scotland is has to be in no small way due to the people that have worked the land for centuries. There are obviously tweaks that can be made but I don’t think we have done too badly! Footnote: There are no “boffins” in America. The word came up underlined in red and I discovered I was on “English US” – changed to UK and it was recognised!


Cuttings from Times Past... La Périchole Pics

Apologies from the Production Manager for not crediting Bob Johnson and Kirsty Sutherland in last month’s Villagers for their excellent photographs of Callander Amateur Operatic Society’s show La Périchole. Many thanks to you both! GA

Deer, deer! Here, pictured above, is another fascinating snippet from Agricola’s treasure trove of historical documents - a letter penned by a frustrated Trossachs farmer to the Stirling Observer in 1883. You can sympathise with the farmer’s plight - but it makes for hilarious reading all the same. It’s followed by a highly amusing poem about the risks of taking drink and letting your guard down...!

Samaritan volunteers listen in confidence to anyone in emotional distress. We believe that given the time and space to work problems or difficulties through in confidence, people can find an inner strength and perspective which helps them find their own way forward. If you are worried about something, you can contact Samaritans by phone on 08457 90 90 90, by email or letter to Chris, P.O. Box 9090, Stirling, FK8 2SA. With another training class about to start soon, Samaritans would welcome new volunteers from the Balquhidder area - the nearest office is in Falkirk. We already have volunteers from west of Stirling as far away as Gartmore and although being a Samaritan can be demanding, the training is superb and it is a very worthwhile thing to do for the community. To find out more about volunteering, please call our administration line on 01324 671266 If you leave your name and contact details, someone from Samaritans will get back to you and let you know the date of the next information evening. 25



d up must be pai Advertising publication. before rts on a plies to adve This also ap iscount which are 6 month d p for renewal. coming u g out invoices in We are send d to give people a month ahea e to pay plenty of tim t is received en m but if no pay e Day (24th) by Deadlin rt will have ve then the ad moved. to be re

We’ll send you or your friends The


£12.00 for 11 monthly issues (£37.00 for Europe and £47.00 for the rest of the world). We are sorry about the increased costs to our valued overseas readers, due to the new postal rates imposed by the Post Office! All you need to do is to post the completed form to: BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION, GARDENERS COTTAGE BALQUHIDDER FK19 8PB, SCOTLAND Cheques should be made payable to: THE BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION Remittance enclosed £ .........................(do not send cash) Please send copies of The Villagers starting on ................................. for 11 months To: NAME .......................................................................................................................... ADDRESS: ........................................................................................................................ ........................................................................................POSTCODE .............................. SENDER’S NAME & ADDRESS IF DIFFERENT FROM ABOVE Please send copies of The Villagers starting on ............................... for 11 months NAME ................................................................................................................................ ADDRESS .......................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................POSTCODE................................


Cheques for advertising and mail order subscriptions should be made out to:

The BLS Newspaper Association



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

Gill Allan Production Manager Stronvar Farm Balquhidder Lochearnhead FK19 8PB 01877 384203

Alistair Barclay Photographer & Advertising Coordinator Dalvaich, Glenbeich Lochearnhead FK19 8PZ 01567 830453

Other Contacts... Helen Clark Business Manager 07971 648743

• DIARY DATES • We e k l y A c t i v i t i e s Tuesday

Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 -11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am - 12.30pm Contact Abbey Arkotxa 01877 384671 Badminton - Balquhidder Hall - 8.00pm


Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am-12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) 3 Villages Art & Craft Group - Balquhidder Hall - 1.00 - 4.00pm - Contact Ruth McLusky 01877 384309


Scottish Country Dancing - Strathyre Hall - 8.00pm Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00-9.00pm Upholstery Classes - 10am-1pm - Lochearnhead Hall - 07824 446024 ‘Choir Occasional’ - Balquhidder Village Hall - 7.30pm - 9.00pm


Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon Ballroom Dancing - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.30-9.00pm

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

The Villagers’ Photographer Alistair Barclay is available to attend village functions and take photos if contacted in plenty of time. CDs of photos are also for sale. Please phone him on 01567 830453

MAY 5 10 18/19 25-28

Stuc a Chroin 2012 Race - 1pm - see p.7 Stirling Careers and Job Event - Albert Hall, Stirling - 10am to 4pm - see p.10 Curry Nights - Inn at Strathyre - see p.5 Cider Festival - Inn at Strathyre - see p.5

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St. Fillans

JUNE 2 2-4 3-4 9 15/17 16


Ben Ledi Ascent - see p.4 Waterski Weekend - see p.2 Mhor Festival Monachyle Mhor see p. 9 Bag Pack - Morrisons see p. 2 Patch and Match Sandison Hall St. Fillans - see p.4 Summer Dance Balquhidder Hall - see p.2

Copy Deadline Day is the 24th of the month. Send your contributions to: contac t@the Please help us to get The Villagers to you as soon as possible!

CHURCH OF SCOTLAND Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316 Sunday 12 noon Minister: Rev John Lincoln The Manse, Killin Tel: 01567 820 247 Dundurn Church, St Fillans Sunday11.30am Minister: Rev Graham McWilliams Tel: 01764 671 045

ROMAN CATHOLIC Callander, St Joseph the Worker Saturday Vigil Mass 5.30pm from 12 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 First and third Sundays of the month: Holy Communion at 11.15am. Second and fourth Sundays of the month: Evensong at 6.00pm Fifth Sunday of the month: please see church noticeboard. Vestry Secretary - Mary Barclay Tel: 01567 830453 Printed by Graphics and Print Services, University of Stirling Tel: 01786 467209 email: Published by The BLS Newspaper Association

The Villagers May 2012  

Balquhidder, Ben Ledi Acent, Strathyre, The voice of Lochearnhead, St Fillans, Balquhidder and Strathyre villages and their people with man...

The Villagers May 2012  

Balquhidder, Ben Ledi Acent, Strathyre, The voice of Lochearnhead, St Fillans, Balquhidder and Strathyre villages and their people with man...