Page 1

MARCH 2015


Price 50p

The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

Editor’s Bit This is my “Cameron” moment if, as we are told, David Cameron gets nervous before every Wednesday’s PMQ’s this is my trembling knees moment and I only have to do it once a year. I did suggest to David he might like to add speech writer to his job titles but for some reason he declined. I will start with the good news that we received 3 awards from the Community Newspaper awards presentation this year, the first for the best regular contributor went to John Murray for all his revelations of what goes on in St Fillans. The second was for the best article and this was won by Richard Harris on the joys or otherwise of getting Broadband. (It was only at a recent committee meeting that I discovered this had caused quite a bit of discontent as some of the other editors considered it too political, which made it even better in my eyes) and the third award was a new category I had actually proposed to celebrate outstanding and/or long service in some capacity and this was awarded to Agricola who has been recording the state of Scottish farming for some 19 years now. We are extremely lucky in that we could put forward several people for this commendation, Pin Feathers, our Weather recorders and our very diligent Subscriptions cum post lady being just three who come instantly to mind. We try not to rest on our laurels and do keep trying to get new features and writers and our latest new contributor Kasia has delighted us with her Polish recipes. We were also given access to a book containing letters from the First World War and are still hoping we might get some more stories and photos etc. to continue this theme. Now for the “bad” news record as yet again we appeal for more helpers to enable us to continue to produce the 11 copies a year we are very proud to do at the moment. I do find it quite amazing sometimes when we get all sorts of positive comments, one of the bizarre ones was at the Highland Games when a lady said she did want us to do her obituary as we did them so nicely! We cannot do the glossy colour of some of our “rivals” but I think we more than make up for it by being more local and topical, with a little latitude when Burns Nights are going to feature in the March edition. As will be revealed later in the evening changes will have to be made to the committee as we seek to build up a stronger team to keep The Villagers going. In conclusion I want to personally thank all the present committee for 2

all their hard work and not grumbling too often at me, our great regular contributors, our wonderful advertisers who really help us to keep afloat and the various shops and pubs which give us the space to sell our words of wisdom and, of course, our loyal readers. Villagers AGM I am delighted to report that we have three new members on our “team” now. Donald McGregor has agreed to help with the distribution and Andrew and Andrea Poulter are going to do the Advertising and understudy Hilda’s subscription roles respectively. We will give you more information next month! I still feel we really need to have a Deputy Editor in place for many reasons so please come and chat if you could help here. Thanks go to Rory Gilchrist for auditing our accounts again and to the staff at Mhor 84 for looking after us on the evening, particularly to the chef for some delicious pizzas at the end of the meeting.

In today’s world, most people feel stressed and worried about many different aspects of their lives and, often, do not know to whom they can turn. It could be a young person worried about impending exams, relationships with their peers or a breakup in their family. An older person might have financial, job or drink problems, whilst a pensioner might be very depressed as a result of living alone. Many people suffer from physical or mental health illnesses and do not always want to talk to immediate friends or family. Samaritans offer a confidential listening service on a 24/7 basis for anyone wishing to telephone, email, text or write a letter. Anyone is also welcome to come to the Central Scotland Samaritans office in Falkirk, during the day, and talk through their problems in complete confidence. Sometimes, the person contacting Samaritans may have harmed themselves, or even be so desperate that they are thinking about ending their lives. Samaritans will not offer advice, but give an opportunity to talk through alternative options. If is you that are worrying about life, just remember that you can talk to a Samaritan by calling 08457 90 90 90 at any time, or send an email to jo@ or write to Chris, PO Box 9090, Stirling, FK8 2SA.

The St Fillans Bit

by John Murray

Having experienced both I am often in this column heard to mutter on about the many joys of village life compared to the noise, hassle, crowds and so on of urban life. Yes in the cities dwellers have easy access to theatres and cinemas – but one thing they don’t have is A Village Hall. Usually ancient, usually pretty basic but a centre of the community which can be put to multiple uses by multiple users. A place where villagers gather to enjoy pastimes which range from art classes and bowling through to full scale theatrical performances in the case of our own Sandison Hall. Good examples in the past month have been The St Fillans Burns Supper and The Mr & Mrs Show. The Burns Supper was, as is usual, organised by the small group of ‘mature’ gents who meet monthly for lunch whilst their wives partake of the Ladies Lunch Club lunch. Most of the organisation is down to Jim Brierley who always says this is the last time he is doing it but who secretly loves the task and the satisfaction of it all coming together on the night – which it certainly did on 28th January. As well as providing a great evening for villagers the intent is to raise money for different charities, and this year Help for Heroes was that charity. Particularly fitting then that our own ‘Hero’ Ali Spearing, who was so badly injured in £130 which went to The Sandison Hall. How do you follow that? Mr & Mrs Afghanistan, made the journey from London to propose The Toast To The Night on Valentine’s Day. Running and Lassies. His toast was highly original maintaining the village Hall involves and involved a wall mounted chart into spending money, which we need to get in which he put the ideal characteristics first. Annual villager subscriptions help of a woman. Bit by bit as Ali filled in along with donations and a grant but the chart, different types of ladies were these all need topped up by fund raising eliminated until only one box remained. events. This one was devised by the This, he explained, was danger territory indefatigable Cathy Moncrieff who, along because anyone who possessed all of with fellow lady committee members the desirable characteristics to be the Elspeth and Trish organised the show perfect woman was probably a man. (some small help from males along the Space precludes detailing all of the way but it was definitely the ladies’ night). ‘performers’ but mention must go to Alex Although on the committee I had no Duncan who addressed The Haggis and gave The Immortal Memory. Alex is a relative newcomer to the village (defined seemingly as anyone who has not lived here for 25 years) so not well known to many of us but his Memory was outstanding. Delivered without notes, interesting, factual and amusing it was easily the best Memory I have heard. This part of the programme can be very heavy going and like the Kings New Clothes everyone has to pretend to enjoy it. The enjoyment here was very genuine. Dave Pryde gave a great recitation of Holy Willy’s Prayer standing on a beer crate and Jim Brierley leapt about the place with spittle bursting from his beard ranting a totally indecipherable poem (to me that is) that was pure theatre. I enquired afterwards of a couple of Scots if they understood it all. They did not but loved it. A superb night, produced and performed by villagers, no imported speakers, and to me the better for that. It also raised £500 for HfH from donations and a surplus of

Burns Supper

idea of exactly what the evening would comprise and I admit to not having great expectations. How wrong can a man be? When I saw the stage set up the night before I was amazed at what had been achieved. The show itself was fantastic. Yet again the thespian part of Dave Pryde came to the fore as he and wife Lynda acted as hosts. Lynda told me afterwards that it really wasn’t ‘her scene’ and that she was terrified. It didn’t show – it looked as if the couple had been hosting shows for years. Contestants were 3 village couples who joined in the fun with gusto. The winners were Richard &

Continued overleaf


The St Fillans Bit

(Continued from p3) this season. We’ll see. As predicted last

Carol Graham who were duly crowned. Another grand evening in The Hall, entirely home grown. And it raised £422 for Hall funds. Mention here of Hall Chairman Sally Watson who would have been part of the Mr & Mrs organising group but was prevented by surgery carried out in Dundee. Sally is now in the cottage hospital in Auchterarder and, I’m told, is recovering well. That means that she will shortly be delivering to me the annual accounts for the Ladies Lunch Club for auditing. A task not unlike unravelling The DaVinci Code. All the best Sally. I mentioned a couple of months ago that the No Dogs rule in the golf course had been rescinded with the aim of making the club more villager friendly and that dogs were now welcome. I’ve been asked to report that that rule has itself been rescinded and that now dogs can walk on the course but only on short leads. I personally committed the intolerable sin 2 weeks ago of not only having my dog off a lead but also driving my all terrain mobility buggy on the course (no – not on the greens). I was reported by an eagle eyed member. Sadly said member did not approach me directly when he saw me sinning or I could have appraised him of the real situation in law which is that anywhere the public have foot access to then any device specifically designed for handicapped or disabled people has equal access rights. Which includes the golf course. I might have mentioned that the law states that dogs must be under control – not on leads. My dogs have always been country dogs and trained never to worry livestock. I well remember years ago a farmer telling me that if my retriever was seen worrying his stock he would shoot it. I told him that if he saw that to give me the gun and I would shoot the dog. My current dog is now undergoing intensive training not to worry golfers but he is not fully trained yet so golfers please do not walk about the village in fancy tartan trousers and Ryder Cup caps as you run the risk of being savaged by a Cocker Spaniel. As we all know the National Park Consultation Period ended more than a month ago. We were initially told at a public meeting here in the village last year that the NP recommendations would be submitted for approval straight after the consultation period for implementation at the start of the 2015 season. One of our Community Councillors has been told that the report should be out in ‘late spring’. Which means, to my simple mind, that hopes of having new controls in place this year are fading. Owen McKee tells me that the NP still hope to get action 4

year the delightful lady from the NP who addressed us with assurances last year has now moved on. Isn’t it always the way? I know that I am a cynic so won’t suggest that control proposals will be strung out then well watered down to suit rambler and walker bodies who don’t have to live with the problems of their less responsible countryside users.

and many others wish success with the hotel. After my wee mention last month of the standstill at the Drummond, Gerald of Arran Brewers did not take up my suggestion of a realistic update for The Villagers. As the new season starts in a few weeks I guess we are not going to see the 2013 projection of thousands of visitors this year. Better news is the resurrection, or is it

The New Owners of The Achry House Hotel

Damn – there I’ve gone and suggested it. Pictured here are the new owners and ‘crew’ at The Achray House Hotel. Brad and Zelda Sol took over last week and are a happy and enthusiastic couple who want Achray to once again become a part of our community – which is great news. They have re-installed bar stools so that locals can meet for a drink and a blether and quite a few already have. The couple have moved from South Africa to St Fillans after investigating numerous opportunities in several countries but being finally seduced by our location and its outlook over Loch Earn and, of course, the excellent established business which Achray is. Brad has wide experience of business in a range of fields which include owning and running a guest house and leisure centre in Mauritius and operating in specialist retailing and marketing. Zelda is a qualified chef and has also worked as a marketing lecturer at university level and a scientific researcher. They have three grown up daughters, two living in SA and one in Dubai – so no problems with holiday accommodation during the closed season. Bar/waiting staff are Ockie and Linton – one from SA and the other from New Zealand (I’ve forgotten which is which) – and Chef Chris stays on to work with Zelda in the kitchen. A very engaging and personable team to whom I

re-erection, of the metal man in the loch at The Four Seasons. On my daily trips on my buggy with spaniel (seeking tasty golfers) I have seen many people stopping to photograph the sculpture so it certainly gets noticed. Mary tells me that by the time you read this The Four Seasons will be open again with most of last year’s staff including head chef David back in action. In recognition of the new draconian drink/ drive limits they have sourced red and white de- alcoholised wine which actually taste like ‘real’ wine. They also now stock Bex Blue which is alcohol free but close to the taste of beer. They also remind diners coming from the BLS catchment area that they can have a bed overnight for £10 a person (no breakfast obviously) provided it is pre-booked and they have rooms available. So no point in getting slaughtered over dinner then crawling to the waiter to get a bed for the night. Finally – remember the Pub Games Night on 20th March with a bar in The Sandison. See you there if I’m not in the jail for taking me buggy and me dug on the golf course. John Murray Late News! Elvis will be performing in St Fillans on 15th August. Watch this space for further updates.


The Sunday Lunch Group met for the first time this year in February and enjoyed a meal at The Old Rectory in Callander on a beautiful sunny day with no hint of snow to disrupt the arrangements. For the Poetry Group it was third time lucky to beat the winter weather to meet and listen to a recording of ‘Under Milk Wood’ written by Dylan Thomas and read by Richard Burton together with a host of other well-known actors from years ago. Looking to the Spring and warmer weather the committee is planning a members’ event on Monday afternoon 18th May from 4.30pm at Venachar Lochside. Entertainment will be provided by our own ‘Singing for Pleasure’ group and visitors will join us from Forth Valley U3A ‘Callander Chimes’ and the Perth U3A Ukelele Band. Tea, coffee, scones and cakes will be served. More details will be sent out to members nearer the time. The Third Age Trust has secured an arrangement with the Institute of Advanced Motoring (IAM) to offer free driving assessments to U3A members. Our local IAM, based in Stirling, has been contacted with a view to holding a meeting in the summer when a representative will give a talk followed by free half-hour driving assessments to members who have pre-booked. Further details can be obtained from the C&WP Secretary. We welcome new members throughout the year, so if you are interested to find out more about us please have a look at our website. Just Google ‘Callander and West Perthshire U3A’.

You might be interested in, and able to help with a new project being run by the Scottish Oral History Centre (SOHC), based at the University of Strathclyde. The SOHC want to hear from people who were disabled or became disabled during the period 1939-1950 or from their advocates, family and co-workers. During the war huge demands were made on the working population of Scotland to meet production targets for munitions and other goods. With the departure of many workers to the armed forces employers began recruiting disabled people to help fill the gaps in the essential services at home. By 1941, a wartime employment service for disabled people (aged 16 or over) had been put in place which also provided help to those who had been wounded in battle and were undergoing rehabilitation. Some research has been done on this subject but the personal stories of those directly involved are scarce. Indeed, it is almost impossible to access the Scottish experience. However, by creating an oral history archive for Scotland the gap in knowledge will begin

to be filled providing an important and valuable resource that can be used as a platform to stimulate research and disseminate and improve knowledge. David Walker, who works with the SOHC, would love to hear from anyone who thinks they could help with this project. So, were you, or do you know anyone who was disabled and who worked during the war years? Did you or do you know anyone who helped the disabled in the workplace during the Second World War period? This includes all those who worked for disability organizations. It doesn’t matter where you are based as David is able to visit you and capture your memories using a digital audio recorder. So, if you, or anyone you know fits the bill and want to become a part of Scottish history then why not contact David in the first instance on 0141 444 8367 and leave a message. Or, you can email him at

Scottish Wildlife Trust Callander Members’ Diary


10 March ‘Scotland’s Butterflies’ by Scott Donaldson, Butterfly Conservation 14 April Brief AGM and several short presentations **Note the change of venue** Talks start at 7.30pm Kirk Hall, Main Street, Callander EVERYONE WELCOME! Admission £2 members, £2.50 non-members, free to full-time students. Includes tea/coffee & biscuits.

Please book with Lesley Hawkins 01877 339080 or



An invitation to the Horse Racing!! The Stuc a`Chrion committee will be holding a Race Nite in The Inn & Bistro on Saturday 11th April, with the first race starting at 7.30pm.As well as the popular racing event we will also be holding an auction where several lots will be bid for, but I can give advanced information on two VERY special lots that will be available. If you are looking for somewhere to go on holiday this year or next, then please read the attached information on both these lots. They offer the choice of two entirely different holidays but both in wonderful parts of the world, the choice is yours. If interested in the Algarve it would be wise to check prices of flights etc. If you can’t make the race night and are still interested in the Algarve you can book through the details given in the information pack. If interested in The Isle of Lewis log on to ¬ Sula Furnishing ¬ and click on link “Croft” for more information. The usual “board” will be available in the Inn and then the Village shop [if needed] If you wish to purchase your own horse and increase your chances of winning a prize, donated by our wonderful sponsors, who we are indebted to each time we hold this enjoyable and fun event, then horses can be bought at a cost of £2.50 and you can buy as many as you like while available, but they can go quickly!! Bets will be 50p per ticket on the night with no limit on how many you would like to buy and remember the 9th race will be an auction race where you could win a three-figure sum if you are the owner of the winning horse. Half of all money collected for the auction race will go to the winner. So mark the 11th in your diary and come along for an evening of fun and who knows you and some of your friends may leave with a brilliant holiday in Portugal or the beautiful Hebridean Isle of Lewis as well as some winnings in your pocket. Wullie D 6

STONEYFIELD – Isle of Lewis 3 Bedroom self-catering Croft House - Sleeps 6 (pets welcome) A traditional stone croft house built by the grandfather of Sula owner Catriona MacGeoch, Stoneyfield dates back to around 1890 and is situated in the small village of Flesherin on the Point peninsula. The main town of Stornoway, Stornoway Airport and the Ferry Terminal are only a 10-minute drive away. The croft stands in a peaceful, tranquil position and enjoys superb open views over rolling moorland and Broad bay – perfect freedom for dogs and children. A 10-minute walk takes you to Portnaguran Pier with small fishing and lobster boats. Nearby Tiumpan Head, with its dramatic cliffs, is a haven for a diversity of wildlife, flora and fauna. Within easy travelling distance are wonderful white sandy beaches, innumerable lochs and an unspoiled natural environment. Stoneyfield is a great base from which to explore the Outer Hebrides and to truly get away from it all. CULTURE AND HISTORY - Historical attractions abound including the standing stones at Callanish, the oldest stone circle in Britain, the Blackhouse Village at Geasrrannan and the preserved Broch at Carloway. On the rigged west coast at Uig is the site where the famous Lewis Chessmen were discovered. Lewis and Harris are also home to Harris Tweed – the world famous cloth which is hand woven by weavers in their own homes. Visit the tweed weavers at work and enjoy the wide selection of Harris Tweed shops as well as art galleries, potteries and local produced arts and craft shops. OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES - The west coast of Lewis is a world-class surfing destination with stunning beaches and excellent waves. Other popular pursuits are sea kayaking, cliff abseiling, windsurfing and kite surfing. Cycling and costal and moorland walking with sublime views are also ideal ways to pass the time. The Harris hills are forged from some of the oldest rock in the world and provide superb climbing experience. Sailing, fishing, golfing are other major attractions throughout the islands. WILDLIFE AND LANDSCAPE - Often describes as Britain’s final wilderness, the Outer Hebrides are as haven for wildlife. Around the croft snipe and curlew are commonly heard as is the elusive corncrake. The Butt of Lewis attracts cormorants, guillemots, and kittiwakes and is also excellent for whale watching. In the surrounding seas basking sharks and common and seals can be spotted all year round. Take a walk along the beautiful and unspoilt beaches and be amazed by the machair – full of rare wildflowers – it does sound good. FOOD AND DRINK - You can eat incredibly well in the Outer Hebrides with a wonderful selection of locally produced foods. The local beef and lamb is fantastic. Feast on lobster and scallops as well as freshwater salmon and trout and certainly not to be misses – the famous Stornoway black pudding. HOW TO GET THERE -Caledonian MacBrayne run ferry services throughout the Outer Hebrides. For full information please go to There is currently a Road Equivalent Tariff in operation meaning all ferry fares are noticeably reduced.

Cottage in Alte, Nr San Bartolomeu de Messines, Central Algarve About The Area -The coast and beaches are a 30 minutes drive from the cottage whether it is the busy town of Albufeira or the quieter beaches of Armacao de Pera or Gale. Alte is 4 km from the cottage and worth a visit. Bartolomeu de Messines, a market town, is 5 km away. Albufeira is 20 km away. Alte and Messines have supermarkets, shops, banks, restaurants, bars, markets, English papers, craft shops and doctors. Algarve Shopping Centre is 25 minutes away with cinemas and ten-pin bowling. Loule or Silves are worth a visit, again 25 minutes away. Golf courses are between 40 and 59 minutes from the cottage. How minute

to get there – Faro is the nearest airport and a 45 drive away. Lisbon airport is less than 2.5 hours away. CAR HIRE IS RECOMMENDED

Proposed New route for Stuc a`Chrion hill race. The time has come when the Stuc committee has taken the bull by the horns and are now in the process of relocating the starting point of the Hill race. The original starting point is now up for development and we have no wish to stand in the way of progress and would like to give a huge thank you to Mr & Mrs Norrie Beaton, the proprietors, for allowing us the use of there property over the years. The new starting point will be from the recreational grounds [Tennis Court] and a new pathway will be hued out on to the hill and leading to the forest track. By the time this goes to print all remedial work “should” be completed. This will involve quite a bit of clearance work, old trees, large boulders, whin bushes etc and possibly some new drainage where necessary. When completed what we will have is an open path onto the hills, which will be ideal for walkers, local and visitors alike and I’m sure a few excited dogs!!! We will also undertake to clear and enhance the area as a whole, IE the pathway up to the war memorial and the area surrounding the tennis court which will shed much more light and hopefully help dry it out. The start of the new path will also allow wheelchair access to the court when the refurbishment starts. When completed the new route will still join the original so will only change the overall distance of the race slightly, but it will create an opportunity for new records to be set, with the old ones set in stone, never to be broken. The committee has carefully planned this route, which will become the official Hill race route and we hope everyone is in agreement with what we are doing. Please remember, we will only use this once a year. This path should be beneficial to the community as a whole but if anyone has any issues regarding this proposed route and would like to air them, and then please advise any committee member and we will do our utmost to reach a resolve. This year’s race will be on Sat 2nd May and as always we are looking for any volunteers to help in any way they can, especilly putting up and taking down the marquees, which would be on the Friday to put them up, and taking them down when the race is completed on the Saturday. If you would like to help in any way, just inform any committee member or come along when available, we would be VERY grateful for any help we an get I can be contacted on 07768221661 or Wullie D On behalf of. The Stuc a Chroin committee


Catherine and Fred Menzies would like to thank all their good neighbours and friends in Strathyre for their kindness and concern shown during Fred’s recent stay in Forth Valley Royal Hospital. A very special thanks to Peter for all his help and care given to Catherine. We are pleased to say Fred is now back home in Strathyre and making a steady recovery.

LEARN MEDITATION I am hoping to help people learn simple, calming meditation techniques in a new class in Strathyre, subject to numbers. Please feel free to be in touch asking about anything or offering your preferred days and times. I’ll collate all the info and base the class on the majority. I have still to identify a fairly peaceful location, so any suggestions about that would be most welcome. Please contact me on 384783 or by

Real Ale - Real Music


Church News BalquhiĐĐer •bls Reg. Charity No. SC012316

A Note from

St Angus’s

It seems incongruous to be looking out as I write on snow covered hills and yet thinking of Easter....By the time you pick up this publication Easter will be little more or less than a month away and, even more incongruous, British Summer time starts on Palm Sunday, March 29th. That’s a significant date because we resort to our old service time of 11.15am after that. There will be another reminder in the next issue. We have already got a couple of weeks of Lent under our (reduced?) belts. On the subject of Easter it always strikes me as a bit of a damp squib in this country with the emphasis on Easter eggs and fluffy bunnies/ chickens. I wonder if anyone reading this has ever been to a celebration of Easter in Greece? I have been fortunate enough to celebrate at least three Easters with the Orthodox Church in Corfu and what an exciting and moving event it is there! Crowds- and I mean thousands gather in the main square in Corfu town, several marching bands play and just before midnight there is a magnificent procession of the Bishop and clergy to the bandstand where prayers are intoned then at midnight there’s a jubilant shout of “Christos annesti” (Christ is risen) to which the crowds shout back “Christos annesti alleluia.” At that moment, from having stood in total darkness, candles are lit and the flame passed from person to person (we all were given candles) while the people in all the surrounding houses place candles in their windows - and then the fireworks started. You really had the feeling that something very significant had happened. I wonder if we could learn something from that, after all Easter is probably the most significant event in the Christian year and not quite so hijacked by consumerism as Christmas. Is there something we could do to make Easter as significant in Lochearnhead? One thing you CAN do is join us for our early Lochside service at 8.0am and help to make it really special. In the words of St Paul “and if Christ has not been raised then our preaching is in vain and your faith also is in vain.” So let’s celebrate, agnostics too, because I know they too (many of whom wouldn’t darken a church’s door) hang on to a secret hope that this life is not the end of it all..... Finally, on a different tack, congratulations to Pam and Lawrie on another successful Pancake Day, you can look for more about that in another article. 8

Now that we are well into 2015, perhaps I should remind readers of The Villagers that we have an excellent locum minister, Sunday services start at 11.30 am, and that the Church could do with a few more folk in the pews for worship on Sundays. With Lent fast approaching and Easter not so far off in early April, please think about the Church here and what it means to us all. At many times in our lives we need spiritual comfort and renewal, and the next few weeks could be a time for reflection, sharing in prayer and giving thanks for all the good things in life. Sad events do happen and we all need help to cope, but we should also try to remember the good things as well. Above all, in Balquhidder church these days we do need more voices prepared to join in the hymn singing each Sunday! We have a great pianist who helps us along beautifully, but we surely could do with a few more voices! I am not sure that it is understood locally that Revd June Johnston our locum is not paid to be a full time minister. She is fully ordained, and basically, she covers Sunday services and 2 days a week pastoral care which are shared with Killin. Because she is staying in the manse in Killin, despite it being like a building site as repairs begin, her time can be more flexible to cover extras such as weddings, funerals and emergencies. We have been benefiting from this already, and we do have a vacancy allowance from the Church of Scotland towards the cost of a locum. However, we should bear in mind that Balquhidder remains heavily subsidised by the Church of Scotland. As always, we still have to contribute towards central Church funds as well as maintain the building itself, and we should not be able to do this without the help of friends and visitors. Jean Edwards

DOCTORS Drs Strang & Scott and Drs Mathewson & Gibson Community Nurses The surgeries and community nurses take part in various training programmes throughout the year. This is to meet the educational and training needs of all members of the practice and nursing team. The next training afternoon will be on: Tuesday 17th March 2015 Both practices and community nurse clinic will close at 12.30pm. Emergency cover will be provided by NHS24 for nursing and GPs. In the event of an emergency, please telephone 111. On that afternoon, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments.

Bracklinn Practice Bracklinn Practice will be closed on the following dates: Friday 3rd April 2015 (Good Friday) From 12:30pm Monday 6th April 2015 (Easter Monday) Monday 4th May 2015 Holiday) From 12:30pm


Nelson with Maida MacLaren collecting her library books Housebound Library Services

Please note that on the above days when the practice is open until 12; 30pm blood tests cannot be done as there will be no collection service.

If due to age/disability you are unable to get to your local library then we can come to you.

If you require urgent medical attention when the practice is closed, please contact NHS24 on 111, and make sure you have enough medication to cover you over the holiday periods.

We also deliver to you for short periods following an operation or accident.

We are pleased to announce a new Health Visitor started working at the medical centre just before Christmas. Susan will be providing a baby group every Monday 10.30am – 11.30am for babies up to 1 year old. Also, a baby clinic every Thursday morning 10am – 11.30am. Cover will not be provided for either the baby group or clinic during periods of annual leave and sickness, however, Susan will give everyone as much notice as possible to avoid unnecessary journeys. If you require advice or help from the health visitor, please contact Susan on 01877 331537. We would like to take this opportunity to wish Susan all the best in her new post.

We can supply Ordinary print, Large print, books on CD, Daisy players and boom box loan available on request. We can supply reading aids eg magnifying sheets. We also hold a range of events such as author visits and reminiscence sessions throughout the year, and distribute a seasonal newsletter. This is a totally free service. Contact us on 01786 237549 to arrange a visit.

Tuesday Mar 10, 24 Apr 7, 21 May 5, 19 Jun 2, 16, 30 Jul 14, 28 Aug 11, 25 Sep 2, 22 Oct 6, 20 Nov 3, 17 Dec 15 Lochearnhead Kendrum Road 10.15 - 10.35 Village Shop 10.40 - 11.10 Vorlich Road 11.15 - 11.35 Village Hall 11.40 - 12.00 Tigh-na-Dalloch 12.10 - 12.25 Balquhidder Station 12.10 - 12.25 Strathyre Car Park 2.00 - 2.30 School 2.40- 3.20 Thursday Mar 15, 29 Apr 9, 23 May 7, 21 Jun 4, 18 Jul 2, 16, 30 Aug 13, 27 Sep 10, 24 Oct 8, 22 Nov 5, 19 Dec 3,17 Balquhidder Auchtubh Village Hall

1.25 - 2.00 2.05 - 2.35 9


Strathyre Post Office has now converted to the new Local plus Model as part of Network Transformation by Post Office Ltd. It was opened by Catherine Menzies, who has stayed in the village of Strathyre for over 80 years. Catherine recalls the original Post Office being situated on the south side of the village and run by a Mrs Lyons. Her daughter, Rosemary Lyons used to collect the mail from the local train take it back to the office for sorting then deliver to all the houses in the surrounding area on her push bike. In the evening Rosemary used to take the outgoing mail customers had posted, back to the train, where it would be sent to Callander for processing. The present building where the Post Office is was built by Stirling Council and officially opened by Provost John Patterson on 12th November 1996. The Postmaster at that time was Tom Whiteman, assisted by his wife Helen. They ran the Post Office until retirement. The current Postmaster is David Richards, being helped at all times by his daughter Janet and Jess the cat. Janet serves the surrounding villages with the Post Office Outreach kit, travelling to even more isolated areas around Strathyre to provide Post Office service. Jess the Cat found her home here after turning up worse for wear and with love and care from Janet has become a permanent fixture to Strathyre Post Office, loved by all visitors. Inside the old Fortress, Jess made her home there and although the Fortress is now gone Jess slept comfortably at the retail counter while the opening took place, uninterested at what was going on until the ribbon was cut. She looked on with approval. The new look Post Office has given Strathyre Village Shop more space to add to the retail without losing the


Saturday 4th April 2015 from: 10am to 2pm, Strathyre Village Car Park – Next to the Village shop Strathyre Outdoors is a new Activity and Event Management business being set up by Kenny and Barbara Higgins in the beautiful setting of Strathyre. Strathyre Outdoors will offer a wide range of accompanied Wildlife and Wilderness Treks, Twilight Trails, Bushman Courses and the NNS National Navigation Award Scheme, which teaches Map Reading, Navigation skills and how to stay safe outdoors. The course offers certificates at Silver and Bronze level. One or two day Canoe Safaris and Orienteering events are also available. The upgraded Strathyre Tennis Court should re-open this year and Strathyre Outdoors will assist in booking management. Team Building events are also planned using local cafe and hotel meeting rooms around the Village. After the “Team Meeting” there will be a choice of activities provided as part of a one or two day event. Kenny and Barbara are planning a 9-hole Disc Golf Course in the Village. Disc Golf is growing in popularity having been recently promoted on BBC Breakfast TV. Unlike Ball Golf, Disc Golf is played by Teeing off and throwing a special Frisbee type disc. A Basket catches your disc – equivalent to putting-out into a hole. Funding is applied for and it is hoped to have the course up and running for Mid-Summer 2015. It is hoped to form a Disc Golf Club in the Village so Competitions may be hosted with players and visiting clubs. A large Bike competition is planned in the Village in September and Kenny and Barbara hope to turn this into an annual event. Bike Hire will also be provided in Strathyre with uplift and return in the centre of the Village. Local bike guides are able to assist visitors on best route options. Strathyre Outdoors Activities and Events are designed to: • attract Visitors and Tourists to Strathyre offering something for all ages to enjoy • help promote health and fitness in a fun way • have a positive impact on the local economy of Strathyre and surrounding Communities The Strathyre Outdoors team will be available between 10am and 2pm on 4th April to answer any questions and to take early bookings. There will also be a range of Fun activities available for all to enjoy. Contact: Kenny Higgins Ar Tigh Phone : 01877 384660 Strathyre FK18 8NA

Opening of the converted Post Office

Jess the Cat 10

services the Post Office Services provide. It will now also be available for even more hours, opening on a Saturday afternoon and Sunday until 16:30.

The customers at Strathyre are thrilled with their new Post Office and will continue to support David and Janet for many years to come.

Coffee and Pancakes People from the Comrie and Crieff churches joined local friends at a convivial gathering at Earnknowe on Shrove Tuesday. There was bric-àbrac to buy and a raffle, which with donations raised £430+ for St Angus’s Church. This will go towards restoring the gate and entrance area to the church However the requested condition is that the squeak of the gate should be retained so that if the Gilchrists are in the garden and hear it they can let visitors in to view the church, as they kindly do now! Many thanks to all who supported this event and enjoyed chatting to each other and enjoying the pancakes. We hope to see some of you at the Lochearnhead Lochside Service at 8am on Easter Sunday. Pam and Lawrie Hopkins

No Smoking Day - 11th March 2015

show that you are proud to be a quitter.

It is no smoking day on the 11 March 2015 and Forth Valley Stop Smoking Service is proud to be involved and at present we are supporting local organisations/groups to create their own motivational events to highlight the benefits of stopping smoking. If you have been thinking of stopping smoking perhaps this is the day you could pick as your quit date. Not only would stopping smoking benefit your health by reducing your risk of heart disease and cancers but also by improving your circulation, blood pressure and breathing as well. In addition it also benefits your pocket too, the average 20 a day smoker will save approx £3,000 a year when they stop smoking (just imagine what you could use that for). The stop smoking service is here to help you quit by providing drop in clinics all across Forth Valley which offer FREE support and advice as well as providing information on the closest pharmacy to you that will prescribe you FREE nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and champix. We don’t stop there our advisers are out and about in the community organising pop up clinics within work places, GP practices and community centres. You may even have seen our advisers at one of your local community events accompanied by the Big Cig. So on 11 March 2015 join us, get involved and

For more information please contact the Stop Smoking Service on 01786 433295. Help to quit is also available at A free no smoking day event pack is available at

Circus skills!


The Great Trossachs FunFest- Saturday April 11th to April 18th To celebrate the opening of our new Visitor Gateways and The Great Trossachs Path we are planning a fantastic week of events. There is something for everyone to enjoy. From April 11th to April 18th a host of activities will be held at various locations within The Great Trossachs Forest. We would love you to be involved, or come along and support others. All the information is listed on our website The programme of events is as follows: Saturday 11th April 2015: The Great Tartan Skidaddle There are two events as part of The Great Tartan Skidaddle- either an ultramarathon or a duathlon. The duathlon is a 5 mile run along the shores of Loch Arklet. Stronachlachar is the transition point to start an 18 mile cycle around the north shore of Loch Katrine and the south shore of Loch Achray. At the Glen Finglas Visitor Gateway it is off the bike to complete a final 7 mile run back to Callander. Both events will start at Inversnaid pier on the shores of Loch Lomond and take you along The Great Trossachs Path to Callander. These events are run in association with Skidaddle. Booking for both is via w w w . s k i d a d d l e . o r g Sunday 12th April: The Great Egg Assault Course This event is for families and is free to attend. However it is necessary to book onto this event. Contact euanhills@woodlandtrust. or phone 01877 376340 We will start the afternoon building a fantastic assault course in Little Druim Wood for our little egg people! We will then put our eggs to the test to see how they survive the assault course. Meeting place will be the Glen Finglas Visitor Gateway, Lendrick Hill car park. Start time is 1pm (finish approx. 3.30pm) 13th & 14th April: A Great Walk in the Park In conjunction with the Countryside Trust’ walk in the park scheme we are holding two great walks in the park. Monday 13th April will be a gentle stroll in Stronachlachar. We will take a leisurely stroll for about 45 minutes along The Great Trossachs Path. The meeting point is the Aberfoyle main car park at 10.20 for a 10.30 departure. This is a free event. Booking is not required - just turn up for a lovely morning’s walk. On the Tuesday 14th the Callander group will be strolling to Ruskin’s Viewpoint, Brig o’ Turk. We will meet in Callander Meadows car park at 10.20 for a 10.30am departure and then take a 45 minute stroll to this tranquil 12

riverside viewpoint. This is a free event. Booking is not required - just turn up for a lovely morning’s walk. Tuesday 14th April: RSPB Nature Cruise with Cruise Loch Lomond This event offers a great opportunity to find out more about the wildlife living near to Loch Lomond. Departing from Tarbet at 11.30, you will be accompanied on your cruise with Cruise Loch Lomond by RSPB staff who will be on board to answer your questions and to see what wildlife is out and about on the loch. At Inversnaid, RSPB staff will guide you on a walk along the Inversnaid nature trail. The Cruise Loch Lomond boat will return to Tarbet by 2.45pm. A fantastic day out especially as many of our migrant birds return in April. This event costs £12 per adult and £6 per child. A family discount is available. Booking is via Wednesday April 15th: Great Ramble with the Ramblers Join the Callander Ramblers for an enjoyable and stunning walk along The Great Trossachs Path. We will be walking the newest section of that path- from Bochastle to the Trossachs Pier at Loch Katrine. The total length of this walk is approximately 11 miles. When we reach our destination at the Trossachs Pier, a minibus will take you back to Callander. This event is free to attend and booking is not required. For more information contact Suemorris@thegreattrossachsforest. or call 01877 376340 Thursday 16th April: The Great Minibeast Hunt Have you ever wondered what is living in our woods and streams? Then this family event is for you! Join Euan to search for creepy crawlies on Lendrick Hill. We will use our detective skills, some special tools and a bit of luck to see what is lurking in the river and in the woods. This is a free event and is suitable for all ages. There is no need to book and you can drop in any time between 10am & 2pm. For more information contact euanhills@woodlandtrust. or call 01877 376340 Thursday 16th April: The Great Whisky and History Tales of Inversnaid The RSPB Inversnaid Nature Reserve

has a fascinating history and also has a great future. Join RSPB Scotland to find out more about its history through the ages, and also the conservation work we are undertaking. This will involve a short walk along a farm track. We will also undertake a spot of whisky tasting at the new Inversnaid Visitor Gateway. Conservation, history and whisky how are they related? Come along to find out the link... This event is free to attend. We will meet at the Aberfoyle main car park at 11am, where you will take a minibus to Inversnaid. To make sure we have sufficient whisky it is necessary to book onto this event! To book or to find out more information please email suemorris@ thegreattrossachsforest. or call 01877 376340 Saturday 18th April: Loop o’ the Loch This is the final event in The Great Trossachs FunFest- but it is not just one event it is three! The loopy cycle: The loop is a great cycle. You can either be the person to get the first ever official time around Loch Venachar or you can take in the 16 mile loop at your own pace. Please note this event is only suitable for mountain bikes and not road bikes. The loopy run: It is a smidge over a half marathon distance but is all the better for it. Runners will set off after the cyclists and will follow the same route (will you catch any of the cyclists??). The route goes along the south of Loch Venachar first, and so small section on tarmac is out of the way early on. Then your shoes will take you through forests, new woodland and hillsides offering spectacular views of the Trossachs area. One not to be missed! The loopy duathlon: If a cycle or a run is not enough- then why not do both? These events are run in association with Skidaddle. Booking for both is via www. We anticipate participants to be going through Brig o’Turk from about 11am to 3pm. I am sure they would love a cheer as they go through the village.

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 has more old times stories.

The Tale of Pricilla There were two readers who said that they enjoyed my last story about old times so here goes on a similar theme. It was at the end of the war on our farm and at that time there was a great shortage of food and everything was severely rationed, in fact in some areas there were cases of malnutrition. Of course we kept pigs on the farm and they had to be sent to market when they were big enough for slaughter. If we wished to kill one for our own use it was necessary to apply to the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food for a licence to kill one pig and to give sound reasons as to why it was needed. Of course the temptation was to kill two pigs whilst only being allowed one licence, such were the desperate measures at the time. Lots of country folk kept a pig, it was a way of using all the scraps and left overs from the table, if there were any, there was no waste in those days. At one time we had several pigs and our favourite was called Pricilla, she had become very friendly, as pigs do if they are made a fuss of and we school children would often play with Pricilla. Ball games with her were always fun as she would endeavour to retrieve the ball. One day she beat us to it and the ball was quickly eaten, pigs can digest the most unusual things. When she was out and about one day we saw her rooting about in a pile of coal which had just been delivered, and she was eating it I suppose there was some deficiency in her diet and she was making up for that. After seeing this we naughty boys would carry bits of coal and throw them to her in the sty. This was always when parental eyes were not looking, because coal was also rationed and we would have been in great trouble, but it was fun for small boys to see a pig gobbling up lumps of coal with great enthusiasm. Inevitable the day came when Pricilla was doomed to be killed, butchered and distributed to the family. It was rather a secretive affair because of course there was only one licence and Pricilla was an extra pig. It was our duty at the beginning to keep watch on the farm road for any sign of approaching visitors, particularly the village policeman who was notified of the licence to kill one pig and was empowered to look in on proceedings if he wished. He was, of course, on the

list of recipients for a few sausages or a piece of pork but never the less there could have been an impromptu call. Killing the pig in those days was rather barbaric and not without a good deal of squealing from the pig, which if prolonged would indicate that perhaps more than one pig was meeting its end. The chosen day was always during a spell of cold weather in the winter so that the carcass could be left to hang for as long as possible, there were no deep freezers in those days. There was a big fire under the washing boiler early in the morning ready for the boiling water to use for scraping the bristles off the pig. Three men were on hand to assist and the womenfolk were ready for their part in the proceedings. The unfortunate pig was pulled out from its sty with a rope round its nose to an open space in the yard. At this point there were some very loud objections from the pig. Another man held a rope on one back leg to try and keep the animal still whilst the third man swung a large sledge hammer at a point just between the eyes of the pig, an accurate blow stunned it and then someone quickly stepped in and cut the throat with one slash of a knife. One of the ladies would be there to catch the blood for making Black Puddings, the blood then had to be kept stirred until it had cooled and a little salt was added so that it did not congeal. The pig was then hauled onto a bench and the men set to work to take out the intestines and using the boiling water they would scrape all the bristles from the body. The next operation was to hoist it up onto a beam in one the outbuildings, cut off the feet and head and allow it to cool for a few days, the head was split open with a cleaver and the brains were a great delicacy. It was at this point that everyone was in need of a break. Warming by the fire under the boiler was a large container of beer, and this was poured out and shared between everyone, we boys were even allowed a taste, which made us feel very grown up. Another treat was to be given the pigs tail which we could play with, but best of all, was the pig’s bladder, this was inflated and tied up and made a really good football, which would surprisingly survive prolonged rough treatment.

Pricilla After a short rest and refreshment the intestines would be stretched out and the fat lying between would be scraped away to be chopped into small bits and fried to make what was called “Scratchings or Chittlings”, with a pinch of salt they were really good to eat at breakfast time. It was always said at that time that the only thing on a pig that could not be eaten was the SQUEAL. A final use of what was left was to keep the scraped off bristles. If there was a cow, sheep or horse that persisted in pushing its way out of a field, a handful of pig bristles scattered around the place where the errant animal escaped would stop the trouble. It was always amusing to watch the culprit making to escape and come to dead stop when it smelt the bristles. There must be some ancient instinct that made this work and it was most effective. Naughty boys were not unknown to play tricks and place a few in the roadway and then hide to see what happened when the next horse or cow came along, it was then always best to keep well out of sight.

This is rather a gruesome story of things long ago but in those desperate days that was the way things had to be done.

Glenorchy Farm

Free range rare breed pork for sale

We sell fresh pork as 1/2 pigs (20kg) and 1/4 pigs (10kg) every 3 months, next available at the start of April. We also sell frozen pork individually andcan arrange drop off points in the local area Contact: Fiona MacLennan t: 07783116399 e: facebook: Glenorchy Farm 13

View from the Park by Owen McKee The first stage of analysing the submissions on the YOUR PARK byelaw proposals has now been completed and there have been some interesting statistics. It is fairly normal in consultations to see a significantly higher number of submissions opposing the proposal. It is therefore a pleasant surprise in the case of YOUR PARK that there is roughly a fifty fifty split. Not surprisingly, when we look at where the submissions come from we see that, those from residents of the park are largely in favour whereas the submissions from people and organisations from outwith the park are largely in opposition. Significantly the responses from the community councils, which included two from outwith the park, are all in favour. The points of opposition have not produced any surprises and some requested amendments have been for adjustments to the zones to include some adjacent lochs and take out some areas where it is clear that camping is not possible. There will now be further consideration of all the points raised and adjustment to the proposals made where appropriate. That there will be some amendments to our original proposals is a certainty but this should not alter the main thrust nor should it delay the timescale for submission for ministerial approval. It is worthwhile to note that the relevant Minister, Aileen McLeod, will be visiting the Park on 19th March and it is hoped that we will be in a position then to brief her on the likely makeup of the byelaw at that time. The formal submission, with all the tweaks to the proposed zones and definitions is scheduled for May. On Ministerial approval (or adjustment) there is a further 28 day period during which further submissions can be made. So a summer introduction of the new byelaw is still on schedule. Vital to that implementation, and a point made frequently in the submissions on the byelaws, is the provision of managed camping facilities. However what that provision should be and where it should be situated does bring with it further challenges. The main thrust is that provision should not present a substitute blight in those areas we are trying to clean up and protect. Scattered provision in small plots may not be commercially viable and consequently some financial help will be required to encourage these. Some sites have been identified and discussions are taking 14

place but again I would ask that if you own land that could be put to use to help solve the problem, please get in touch. Moving away from the byelaws there are other areas in which the Park Authority is working with others to ensure that the Park ( and in this respect it becomes OUR PARK) retains the services of its young people. And employment opportunities are at the forefront. We are fortunate that we have within the Park the Community Partnership which is a membership organisation covering each and every one of the 22 communities of the Park. The Community Partnership is the lead in the promotion of apprenticeships within the Park. Why not have a look at one example of what is going on by visiting their website and viewing a film produced in conjunction with a recent event promoting employment for our young people. The film can be seen at www.thecommunitypartnership. org.u k/proj e c t/ski l ls-p ar t nership. As always I can be contacted as follows: Post: Taigh Na Bhuth, Lochearnhead Phone: 01567 830214 email: owen@thevillageshop.

The National Trust for Scotland has a Stirling Members’ Centre (Registered Charity SC 025499) which provides talks for Members and their friends in the region during the winter and outings to places of interest in the summer. This summer the trips we have planned are:- • • • • • •

Visit to National Mining Museum of Scotland on 22nd April 2015 Visit to Glamis Castle on 14th May 2015 Visit to Dunstaffnage Castle on 17th June 2015 Visit to Mellerstain House on 8th July 2015 Visit to North Berwick and Dirleton Castle on 12th August 2015 Visit to McManus Art Gallery and RMS Discovery, Dundee on 17th September 2015

If you are interested in becoming a member (YEAR OF JOINING TILL 1st OCT FREE!), and in any of the above trips, please contact either Neil Pollock – Tel: 01786 841778, Sandy & Margaret Moreland - Tel: 01259 761700, or see website w w w. s p a n g l e f i s h . c o m / n t s s t i r l i n g for further information.

Burns Suppers Two very different but equally enjoyable Burns suppers were held in Lochearnhead and Balquhidder fortunately on different nights so we were able to really brush up on our knowledge of the bard and be entertained and very well fed on both occasions. Lochearnhead Hotel started the weekend with a fine dinner with lots of haggis to enjoy while we listened to Sandy Marshall from Tarneybackle regal us with a selection of folk songs. Charlie and Clare Hunter then provided the “serious” part of the proceedings with their reflections on the life of Burns and Mrs. Burns respectively. Sufficient toasts had then been drunk to inspire all the diners to join in more singing with Sandy to round off a very entertaining evening. Robert and Amanda and their staff were warmly thanked by all present for their very friendly and efficient arrangements. ‘Burns in the Barn’ on the Sunday evening started with music from the Breabach band with Ewan MacPherson, Lauren MacColl and Ewan Robertson. A very unusual dance set featured The Rebel Dancers with Martin Fell with their very energetic take on Scottish dancing. The meal consisted of 3 delicious courses each accompanied by a malt of a different age, although perhaps not many people would have known which was which by the end of the evening! Victoria’s beautiful singing started the main event and speeches and poems also flowed throughout the night featuring amongst others Charlie Hunter (again, well done Charlie) and Charlie Methven (aka Tam O’Shanter). Dancing concluded the night and Tom and Lisa fully deserved the congratulations from all for being brave enough to stage the event in the barn, surely a venue and night Burns would have thoroughly approved of.


My favourite recipes...

by Kasia Sujanova

‘Italian pear tart with mascarpone cheese’ This tart is very tasty, soft and creamy, great for cold winter days. Pears and mascarpone cheese go nicely together. It is best served warm or at room temperature. The recipe and the photo come from ‘The food of Italy’ by S. Braimbridge and J. Glynn. Pastry Ingredients: 155g plain flour 55g caster sugar 1 tsp grated lemon zest 60g butter, chilled and cut into small cubes 1 egg yolk Mascarpone cream: 125g mascarpone cheese 55g caster sugar 1 egg 1/4 tsp vanilla extract 1 tbsp plain flour 2-3 tbsp milk Filling: 4 ripe pears Juice of 1/2 lemon 45g roasted hazelnuts, chopped 11/2 tbsp caster sugar 1 tbsp apricot jam/jelly 1 tsp of any fruit-flavoured liqueur

until the dough gathers in a loose clump. Knead until smooth, adding more flour if needed. Chill for 30 min. Preheat oven to 190C. Grease 23 cm tart tin and put the pastry in, cover with baking paper and fill with uncooked beans. Bake for 15 min. 2. To make mascarpone cream:- blend all the ingredients, spoon the cream into the pastry shell. 3. Arrange halved and cored pears on the top. 4. Scatter the hazelnuts over and sprinkle with sugar. 5. Bake in 170C for 15 min or until gold and set. 6. Heat the jam and liqueur with 2 tbsp water, brush over the pears. Enjoy!

1. Make pastry:- mix the flour, sugar, lemon zest and a pinch if salt in a bowl. Rub in the butter, egg yolk and 2-3 tsp cold water, mix

Do you need an affordable home ? Rural Stirling Housing Association aims to support local communities by providing quality homes at affordable rents for families, couples and single people in housing need. We currently have over 550 rented houses and flats. Around 50 of these become available for rent each year. We hope to have new properties in Strathblane and Balmaha soon and currently have properties in the following communities Aberfoyle Deanston Gartmore Lochearnhead Balfron Doune Killin Strathyre Buchlyvie Drymen Kinlochard Stronachlachar Callander Gargunnock Kippen Tyndrum We may be able to build in other communities in the future – please let us know to if you want to live in a village that is not listed above. Information on local housing need and demand helps us plan for the future. If you are interested in renting one of our properties when they become available please contact us: Rural Stirling Housing Association Stirling Road, Doune FK16 6AA Telephone: 01786 841101 Email: Registered as a Scottish Charity No. SC037849


Erudite Muse “Knowledge is knowing

that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting one in a fruit salad.” Miles Kington, quoted in The Independent “Advice is what you ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.” Erica Jong, quoted on The Browser “It wasn’t half bad. But this was only because I left at the interval.” Daniel Finkelstein, on a play, quoted in The Times “Today is the shadow of tomorrow.” Parisian graffiti,quoted in The Guardian” “Forgiving means giving up the right to get even.” Authro John Ortberg, quoted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer “Success takes you away from what you know, while failure condems you to it.” Author Rachel Cusk, quoted in The new York Times “Two wrongs don’t make a right, but they make a good excuse.” Psychiatrist Thomas Szaz, quoted on “Poetry creates a myth. The prose writer draws its portrait.” Jean-Paul Sartre, quoted in The Guardian “Never forget the six-foottall man who drowned crossing the stream that was five feet deep on average.” Investor Howard Marks, quoted in the New Statesman “You can tell a lot about a person by the way she handles tangled Christmas lights.” Maya Angelou, quoted on The Browser 17

Over the last month there have been very few crimes of note in the local area; however we have had further thefts in the Callander area, including that of vehicles, which I highlighted last month. I must stress how important it is to keep keys out of sight and not lying on a table or on a visible hook. With the slightly better weather we have had, I have observed over the last few weekends that campers have begun to return to the loch sides. Over the winter months there have been several discussions between representatives from the National Park, the Police, and a number of landowners who faced issues last year around Loch Earn. The landowners have decided to permit short term stays within a caravan in the laybys on North Loch Earn. The landowner has decided that the Derry layby, closest to Lochearnhead, will no longer be used by caravans. This should shield any caravans that do appear from public view, and lessen the visible impact that they make. Good work has also been continuing looking at a proposed code of conduct for Loch Earn aimed at users of watercraft, and the application for the alcohol byelaw has been submitted to Stirling Council by BLS Community Council and they are awaiting feedback. St Fillans Community Council are also working to submit a similar application to Perth and Kinross Council. It has been great to see the local communities pulling together and working with one another to try to remedy the problems that we found ourselves facing last year. Only time will tell how much we will have made an impact to the issues. Another issue that has been brought to my attention is that of dog fouling, in particular on the new Sustrans cycle track between Strathyre and Kingshouse. I have taken a walk along the track and there is a clear problem at the Strathyre end with dog excrement not only on the grass verges, but also on the track surface itself. I intend to carry out patrols to try and catch those responsible and will be making contact with Stirling Council,

who will also be in a position to carry out patrols. Anyone who is caught failing to pick up after their dog will be issued with a fine. As the summer months are approaching and more children and tourists use the path, think about the image that is being cast of the village, as well as the possible health implications. As always, I can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at william. diamond@scotland.pnn.p Regards, PC Will Diamond

Callander Rambling Club Sponsored by Caledonian Country Wear

The Club consists of a group of enthusiasts who meet regularly throughout the year to participate in a programme of strolls, rambles, hill walks and a Long Distance Path. Details are published on 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: March 2015 • Wed 11 March 09:30 Stroll: Banknock to the Wheel (6.5 miles) Contact 01786 825249 • Wed 18 March 09:30 Ramble: The Whangie (5 miles) Contact 01877 330446 • Sat 25 March 08:30 Hill: Tarmangie to Innerdownie (645m) Contact 01786 825877 April 2015 • Wed 1 April 09:30 Stroll: Greystone and Arnhall Wood (5.5 miles) Contact 01786 825682

We meet in Ancaster Square, unless otherwise indicated. Please bring wet weather clothing, appropriate footwear and a packed lunch. And please let the walk leader know if you plan to join the walk via the contact number given! Visitors and non-members welcome.


Want to speak to your local Councillors about Council Issues? Come along to your Councillor’s surgery - no appointment needed .... all welcome. LOCAL SURGERIES Ward 1 - Trossachs & Teith

Councillor Earl

Councillor Hayes

Councillor Wood

9 March - Muir Hall, Doune 7.15pm 9 March - Callander Burgh Chambers, 7.00pm 9 March - Crianlarich Village Hall, 7.00pm 10 March - Killin Primary School, 7.00pm For further information please contact 01786 233079



by Jonathan MacDonald Professional gardeners/horticulturalists are an interesting group to study. What draws a person to make a living off the land? A career will cover topics as diverse as biology, botany, art, chemistry, engineering and mechanics to pick just a few. The amateur will also draw great pleasure from these subjects and become wise and confident in time. Professional gardeners are not flamboyant and could happily while away a lifetime within a walled garden in some lovely setting but alas they will only be the second happiest people on earth. A recent study put them just behind the “Clergy” (god knows why?) with publicans at the bottom just ahead of floor tilers as the least happy in their careers. Gardeners are often quiet, unassuming people whose first pick with the career teacher was not to study drama and dance. They probably will not spend 2 hours in the mirror each morning shaving and sorting their hair or makeup and they tend to be a bit scruffy and perhaps revel in the reverse snobbery of wearing big shiny German ex-army boots down the pub and to dances. Charlie Dimmock’s bra came off as it used to ride up and annoy her while weeding. Gardeners are politically left of centre with a general disdain for dole scroungers. Often being good company in a small team is a certain asset and there is often a good rivalry when employed in the big estates between the grounds staff and the “Gameys”. One not understanding the joy of blasting 28 grams of red hot lead into the belly of a pheasant; the other thinking snipping small trees into funny shapes needs the attention of a psychiatrist. The professional garden will have deep respect for a boss who takes a shared interest in the garden but lacks time or health to undertake the jobs. Like Churchill who would much rather have pottered at home albeit in bricklaying pursuits than his career and felt cheated when real work called him away. He used to save up his cigar butts in a tin for his gardener to smoke in his pipe which surely is against EU rules by now. Two gardeners stand out for me in this modern world. Firstly there is a famous large garden centre chain based in South of England who used to pride themselves in having the longest serving employees in the industry, great mileage was made of this in the press. I happened to know a cook whose husband worked for said company and starting in 1950 as a landscaper he soon had done a fifty year stretch. The night out organised

by the firm in the year 2000 for his 50th bash arrived. The cook slowly got very excited about this big day in the build up to it. “Well, how was the night?” I asked expecting to hear of some amazing holiday they were being sent on, gold carriage clock, silver secateurs engraved etc. “Terrible!” she replied. Rather pryingly I asked “did he get anything?” ‘Yes! ...another bloody certificate and nothing else!’ Now it turned out he got a certificate at 25th, his 40th and now he had the full set and they all hang nicely framed in the bathroom. I offered my sympathy and told her what a shame it was that the Roman numerals for those numbers were not M and U and that the final one G so that the final certificate had so much more meaning when hung with the others. Then there is “Johnny the gardener” the perfect name for a gardener. Johnny worked as the gardener at a 350 year old Tudor mansion called Brookfield House in Elstead, Surrey. He worked there for many years and saw many famous people come and go. The House originally belonged to Spencer Tracy, then Peter Sellers who sold it to Ringo Starr then onto Stephen Stills. Johnny saw them all come and go as he quietly tended the garden. Stephen Stills wrote probably one of the most definitive tunes from his era called “Johnny’s garden” which can easily be found on YouTube. There is a brilliant picture of him sandwiched in between the two giants of Sellers and Stills with a loaf under his arm, string tied round his middle, his dog keeping close to him. Stills, burnt out from the rock and roll business, returned home to Johnny’s garden to recover and here is the essence of the gardener quietly going about their business and which to our lasting joy

didn’t go unnoticed in his song tribute. And I’ll do anything I’ve got to do Cut my hair and shine my shoes And keep on singin’ the blues If I can stay here in Johnny’s garden.

Riverside Garden Centre

Need Inspiration? Open 7 days a week: 9.30am - 4.30pm Tullybannocher, Comrie. (A85) Tel: 01764 670800 19

McLaren High School News Burns Lunch

“Some have meat and cannot eat, Some cannot eat that want it, But we have meat and we can eat, Sae let the lord be thankit” A poem by Robert Burns 1787 Traditional haggis neeps and tatties were served in the cafeteria on Monday 26 January, a tribute to Robert Burns. Lunch proved popular as ever, haggis was even included as a panini filling too! It may make a more frequent appearance - watch this space!

Sam Frost samples the Haggis

Junior Ski Course 2015—Italy Following on from previous year’s, McLaren High School once again organised a Junior Ski Course for 31 pupils and 3 members of staff. The group headed to Bormio, located in the Northern Italian Alps. The week was a great success with plenty of snow and sun for Alpine skiing. The pupils were split into 4 groups depending on their ski ability and 20

received first class instruction from the local Italian Ski School. The beginners group consisted of 12 pupils who had never skied before and it was great to see their progression as the week went on, becoming more confident, developing their ski skills and gradually making their way to the top of the mountain. The rest of the group had a wide range of skiing experience from some pupils who were beginners on the 2014 Ski Course to some who are members of a local Ski Club. These pupils decided to try the annual challenge, set in Bormio, of skiing from Peak to Creek. The challenge of the event is to ski from the peak at 3012m to the bottom of the slopes without stopping. No records were broken, but the pupils managed it in a very respectable time of 13 minutes. I’d like to thank the office staff, Mr Robertson, Miss McKell and all of the pupils for their contributions to the success of the week and look forward to the 2016 Junior Ski Course. Mr Carrol (Ski Course Organiser)

Under-16 Central Schools Cup Semi Final On 17 February McLaren High travelled to Balfron High to play for a place in the Central Schools Final. A cold and windy night didn’t stop both teams from attempting to play expansive rugby. The experienced McLaren team exerted early pressure, and Logan Trotter ran in his first of four tries which he successfully converted to give McLaren a 7-0 lead. McLaren extended their lead when Luke Maher charged down a kick, collected the loose ball and sprinted over the line. This was again successfully converted by Logan. An unconverted Duncan Hendry score gave McLaren a 19-0 lead. Balfron replied with a converted score of their own just before half time and the teams swapped ends with the score line 19-7 in the away teams favour. McLaren continued to put pressure on the Balfron defensive line, and some excellent passing and strong running provided them with the platform to extend their lead in the start of the second half. Luke and Logan both scored their second of the match, with Logan converting both tries extending the lead to 33-7. Three more unanswered scores by Logan (x2) and Duncan gave McLaren a 48-7 lead. Balfron rallied towards the end of the game and scored a penalty try which was successfully converted. The final score was 48-14 to McLaren, and the game was a good, physical encounter which was a great advert for school rugby in the local area. McLaren will now move onto the Central Schools Final. Squad – Connor Clark, Jack McGuire, James Wray, Cameron Cairns, Daniel Longworth, Callum Cameron, Duncan Hendry, Stuart Lang, Gregor Nixon, Jamie Nixon, Connor Ramsay Clapham, Calum Maxwell, Luke Maher, Logan Trotter.

visit our website:

Farm Forum: Title... Spring Lambs How time flies! Here I am writing for the March edition and the hill lambing in this area starts towards the end of April. Some of you may have noticed the outcome of a “devastating attack” by dogs on a West Lothian sheep flock reported in the press. About seventy sheep were mauled to death or later had to be put down on humane grounds. The owner of the dogs involved was fined £400 with no compensation order. The farmer concerned faces around a £20,000 loss as a result of the attack. This is an extreme case but sheep worrying is happening far too often and every case causes considerable loss, not to speak of the distress and trauma. As the days lengthen more and more people are encouraged to walk in the countryside and on the hills, the instances of sheep disturbance and worrying become more likely. They should be aware that in many Be part of Voluntary Arts Week and apply for a small cash boost From 15 – 24 May, Voluntary Arts Week will celebrate creative activity across the UK and Republic of Ireland – and all cultural groups are invited to join in. Whether you’re part of a choir, knitting group, drama company or amateur orchestra – anyone who gets creative purely for the love of it can take part in Voluntary Arts Week and benefit from some extra publicity. The idea behind the week is to showcase current activity – and encourage newcomers to join in. There are lots of ways to get involved. Click on the links for more details: • Take your talent outside and stage a ‘Flashmob’ in a public space -www. voluntar • Get crafty in public as part of the nationwide ‘Craft Bomb’ and help launch Voluntary Arts Week on 15 May - www. • Take part in ‘Woollen Woods’ and have your work displayed in one of 5 outdoor craft exhibitions this May -www. • Hold a ‘come and try’ taster session to invite newcomers to join your arts group -http://www. voluntar •

Already planning something that


areas sheep lamb on the hill and are particularly vulnerable to disturbance never mind attack. The presence of a dog that is not even chasing a sheep can frighten a sheep into a burn or to leave its lamb. The ideal answer would be for walkers/climbers to refrain from taking dogs out on the hill or near sheep during the lambing season (April and May in hill areas). If they have to be taken out it is best to have them on a lead the whole time, not just when they are in sight of a farm! Agricola

takes place during Voluntary Arts Week? Register your activity and invite new people to join you -http://www. voluntar Funding for your Voluntary Arts Week event . . . Your Voluntary Arts Week event doesn’t have to be costly and shouldn’t see your group ‘out of pocket’. That said, we understand that opening up your activity to new people can come with additional costs - Voluntary Arts Scotland have set up a small Event Expenses fund that is now welcoming applications from groups across Scotland Groups are now invited to apply for an award of £100, which can be used to cover costs relating to furthering engagement with your Voluntary Arts Week event.

The date has been set for the 2015 Gre at Loch Earn Boat Race. Sunday 19th April will see teams row from Lochearnhead to St Fillans. Despite the disappointment of last year’s event having to be cancelled due to stormy weather conditions on the loch, organisers Crieff Round Table hope to continue the success of the annual event which in 2013 raised a over £5000 in sponsorship and entrance fees, all of which was donated to good causes. All available boats (kindly provided by Drummond Fisheries) will be filled by enthusiastic teams set to battle it out over the seven mile course starting at the beach close to the Lochearnhead Watersports Centre at around midday. Spectators are welcome to cheer on the boats at the start and on completion of the race in St. Fillans where the entrants will be treated to a warming meal whilst the winning teams will be presented their prizes. Crieff Round Table are keen to hear from anyone else wishing to enter a team to compete in the race. If you are interested please e-mail Gregor Elliott at

For guidelines and information, visit h t t p : / / w w w. v o l u n t a r y a r t s . org/2015/02/09/boost-your-voluntaryarts-week-event-with-a-cash-injection/ Deadline: 12 March. Epic Awards now open . . . Don’t forget, the Voluntary Arts Epic Awards are also now open. Has your creative group coordinated an engaging project worth shouting about? Have your arts volunteers gone above and beyond? Nominate your group for a prestigious Epic Award today, www. Deadline: 16 March. 21


We’ll send you or your friends The


£14.00 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




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

STRATHYRE. TEL 01877384248 07967143910

KP’s DIY &

Builders Merchant

Rob Roy Workshop, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead

2015 New Season Garden Products Multi-Purpose Compost from ÂŁ3.33 Original Grow Bags Moisture Control Enriched Compost Ericaceous Compost Potting Mix Root Boosting Compost Organic Blend Farmyard Manure Decorative Chipped Forest Bark Decorative Gravels and Landscaping Products And much more call in and take a look around Tel 01877 384274 Mobile 07885 276573 Email New Opening Times Monday to Friday 8 to 5.00pm Saturday 8 to 12 Proprietor Kevin P Horsley MIOC

Printed by Graphics and Print Services, University of Stirling Tel: 01786 467209 email: Published by 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

David Johnston Advertising Coordinator Gardeners Cottage Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384227

To be Confirmed Business Manager

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

contac t@the Please help us to get The Villagers to you as soon as possible!

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

Bowling - St Fillans Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 to11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am to 12.30pm Badminton - Balquhidder Hall - 8.00pm (contact Donald McGregor 01877 384277) Country Dancing - St Fillans LEGS - Lochearnhead Hall - 6.30pm Pilates - Balquhidder Hall - 9.45am to 10.45am (contact Abbey Arkotxa 07766 407578) Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am to 12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) Pilates - Balquhidder Hall - 6pm to 7pm (contact Abbey Arkotxa 0776 6407578) Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00 to 9.00pm Metafit Classes - Strathyre Village Hall - 8.00pm Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon (Contact Mel Brydie 01877 384668) Ballroom Dancing - Lochearnhead Hall (contact Alistair Barclay 01567 830453)

Other Contacts...

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

The Villagers’ Photographer 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

MARCH 2015 10 1 - 22 2 29

SWT talk Butterflies - see p.5 Spring Fayre at Mhor 84 - see p17 Holy Communion St Angus 6pm

APRIL 2015 5 11 19

Lochside Services - see p8 Race Night at The Inn & Bistro, Strathyre - see p6 Loch Earn Boat Race - see p21

MAY 2015 2

Stuc a’ Chroin Hill Race - see p7

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

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

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

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

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

The villagers news march 2015  

Strathyre, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, St Fillans communit news is uploaded for archiving by The Loch Earn Tourism information Group - LETi a...

The villagers news march 2015  

Strathyre, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, St Fillans communit news is uploaded for archiving by The Loch Earn Tourism information Group - LETi a...