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The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

Reading with Scruffy Are you sitting comfortably...?

Scruffy arrived in Balquhidder in March

2000, having been chosen from one of the SSPCA’s cat and dog rescue homes by Elspeth and Graeme Courtney. They were told he was very good with cats and, as they already had rescue cats at home this was a plus point to override any of the negative behaviours they were told he might have. Scruffy (who was already called that and seemed to suit the name) was only 18 months old and had already been re-housed once and returned to the rescue centre. Scruffy was very closely monitored initially but soon showed what a lovely nature he possessed and settled into his new home and tolerated all the cats around him. Elspeth took him to dog classes in Stirling where, after a while, the trainer asked if they would consider having him assessed to see if he would be a suitable candidate for the Pet Therapy scheme. This is a scheme greatly supported by the trainer; he looks out for appropriate dogs to assess. Elspeth realised this would involve quite a big-time commitment for them but agreed that Scruffy showed all the qualities they look for: he is a very calm and friendly dog who loves being made a fuss over, and enjoys being with people of all ages. He was duly given an initial assessment at their home and then began his training. The charity which manages the whole scheme is Canine Concern Scotland and they co-ordinate all the visits the dogs (and the occasional cat) do once they have completed their training. The dogs mainly visit Care Homes, hospitals and prisons, anywhere where people will benefit from the contact and calming experience of being with the dogs on both a physical and emotional level. Scruffy goes regularly to a home in Stirling where there are adults with physical and learning difficulties and he knows his way around the communal areas where people can pat him and chat to him. He also

Elspeth and ‘Scruffy’

visits one young deaf and blind man and curls up on his couch and puts his head on his knee, all without any instruction now. He has also been involved with events at Stirling University and Forth College called Paws Against Stress where at both Freshers’ week and exam periods the dogs can provide de-stressing times to the students. There are also plans for Stirling to have events for some of the young Carers in the area to benefit from similar relaxing opportunities. Scruffy’s latest involvement in the work of the charity has been with a pilot scheme initiated by Bannockburn Primary - the first primary school in Scotland to do so. Scruffy and one other dog have gone to school once a week for six weeks to visit a group of Primary 5 pupils who struggle for a variety of reasons with their reading. They sit with the dogs and read to them. Scruffy apparently lies down

happily ‘listening’ as the children read in a non-judgemental and non-threatening atmosphere. The school has seen a clear rise in their attainments and Elspeth noticed one girl, who stutters badly in other contexts, reading confidently to Scruffy with no problem at all. There are plans to try and roll out the programme to other parts of Scotland and hopefully Scruffy is going to star in a short television slot about the programme soon. Scruffy and his reading dog pal have been nominated for Therapy Pet of the Year for Scotland for their involvement in this study, which, considering there are over 700 pets currently training with the charity in Scotland, is already high recognition of Scruffy’s qualities and shows what a great ambassador he is for re-housed rescue dogs. It just shows what they can become in the right (Continued on page 16) environment.

Editor’s Bit Best wishes to our three potential award winners this month: Kim Proven, Tom Lewis - and Scruffy Courtney! Kim and Tom are in the Scottish Thistle Awards in connection with their roles in LETI and beyond. Kim was obviously too modest to include a personal photo but we hope to have a glamorous one of her from the awards ceremony next month. Scruffy, on the other hand, was very happy to pose all morning to ensure we got his best side! This edition contains lots of very important dates and we hope we have managed to remember them all so you can fill up your social diaries and prioritise your festivities. One other date we should be giving you is for the AGM of The Villagers. However, as this is traditionally in February and we will be away then, we will decide on a date in March which we will publish next month. This will give you all plenty of time to volunteer for any rôle on our happy team. I did consider just picking a date in February, hoping that would produce a coup - and I would come back to find I had been deposed. But Gill overruled that idea. As we are going to print the weather men are still forecasting a few more days to enjoy the wonderful colours and the amazing calm and peaceful atmosphere, so hopefully they are right - and we can enjoy the season of mellow fruitfulness for a while longer. JJ Remembrance Service Lochearnhead The annual Remembrance Service will take place on Sunday13th of November at the War Memorial in Lochearnhead. We will assemble at 10.35 prior to the Service at 10.45.

Balquhidder ChristmasMarket Our annual Christmas Market will be held on

Sunday 4th December in Balquhidder Village Hall between 11am and 4pm.

Lunch, teas, coffees and Home baking will be served. Unique hand crafted gifts will be on sale. H Tables available! Small £7 • Large £14 2

Balquhidder Village Hall


Monday 28 November 7.30pm at the Hall

All Welcome!

Balquhidder Hall – Indoor Bowling

The bowling club in Balquhidder has not met for a number of years. The bowling boards and equipment are still safely stored under the stage but they take up a considerable amount of room which could potentially be used for another purpose. The hall committee is wondering whether anyone is interested in re-establishing a regular bowling group and would be pleased that the equipment began to be used again. Anyone interested should contact David Johnston – 01877 384227 and arrangements will be made to examine the rinks and equipment. The issue will be discussed at the AGM on Monday 28 November at 19:30 but if no one is interested in re-establishing this activity then a decision to dispose of the equipment and use the space freed up for other activities may well be taken.

Traditional Games Night Lochearnhead Village Hall Saturday 12th November 2016 7pm - midnight Carpet bowling (no need to bring a team and no experience necessary) Play dominoes and cards or just come along for a blether!

Free entry • Bar • Supper

All Welcome!

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Trust


Tuesday 15 November 7:30pm at The Munro Inn

The St Fillans Bit

by Isobel Howell

Whilst walking through the village at the beginning of October, a lady who was visiting the area stopped and asked me if I knew where St Fillan’s cave was. At first I thought I’d misheard her – perhaps she meant Fingal’s Cave. I’d never heard of such a place before. If such a place did exist, though, I thought it could only be on the edge of the loch, or perhaps at the foot of St Fillan’s Hill and so, naively, I directed her and her partner towards the golf course and the hill – oh dear! When I got home I got my history book out (aka “Google”) and searched for St Fillan’s cave. Soon I was enlightened to discover that St Fillan’s cave is in fact located in Pittenweem (oh, those poor visitors wandering round the golf course). Pittenweem, apparently, was named in honour of St Fillan and means “place of the cave”; St Fillan having been on his travels, ended up in Pittenweem, which he took a liking to (must have been the fish and chips) and spent a lot of his time in a small cave. After delving further into the history books I was delighted to find out that January 9th, 19th or 20th, depending which “history book” you read, is St Fillan’s Feast Day (it’s obviously a moveable feast). This got me thinking, why don’t we have a St Fillan’s Feast Day next year? This would also tie in nicely with the bicentenary of the renaming of the village.

Did you know that St Fillan is Patron Saint of the mentally ill? Makes me wonder if we could use this to promote the village: “Welcome to St Fillans - You don’t have to be mad to live here, but it helps”. By the way, just in case you were wondering what old St Fillan was up to in his “man cave” – it is said that he used to pray and write by the light shining from his left hand. Something else interesting I stumbled across on my way to finding out about the cave, was this website: catholic. org/saints where you’ll find a saint for almost every cause you can imagine – it’s worth having a look at just to find out if you have your own saints day. A sight that you might see in the village, if you’re wandering about with an electronic mobile device in your hand, is this year’s mobile game phenomenon, Pokémon Go - or more precisely, the characters that you have to collect as part of the game. During the summer several Pokémon characters were spotted hanging around the village. It is reported that Snorlax, a hard to find individual,

was loitering on the lane leading up to the power station. Psyduck was spotted too (probably in the lay-by opposite the Four Seasons being fed by visitors); Goldeen was found outside the Achray Hotel (or was it a straggler from the Gents’ Supper Club) and Pidgeotto was caught trying to get a ticket for the Loch Earn Arran Brewery Visitor Centre. I’m just impressed that anybody managed to get a signal for that length of time. Parts of the village are now sporting shiny new lamp posts and environmentally friendly lightbulbs, which we’re in need of as St Fillan’s not around to light our streets with the glow from his magical left hand. I managed to observe BEAR Scotland taking down one of the old lamp posts with an angle grinder opposite Lochearnside (pictured right) - can life in St Fillans get any more exciting, I ask you! (Continued overleaf)

St Fillan (as depicted on and (far left) the entrance to St Fillan’s cave, Pittenweem (photos from Wikipedia)

BEAR Men at work!


The St Fillans Bit (Continued from previous page) This month brings us Remembrance Sunday when we stop to think of the servicemen and women who have, and continue to, put themselves in danger, keeping us safe. As this year is the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, we marked the occasion at our home, Foxknowe, and paid our respects to the son of a gentleman who lived at our house in the early 1900’s. Captain Andrew Currie Begg, apparently a descendant of Robert Burns, was working with the Bank of India before he enlisted as a volunteer with the Black Watch in November 1914. A year later he was made an Adjutant. Sadly, on 30th July 1916 he was one of 154 men who were killed in action during the Battle for High Wood. In a twist of fate, he was made Captain four days after his death, his papers having been posted to him just days before. Captain Currie Begg is commemorated, along with several other soldiers, on the village war memorial, just across the footbridge. Another good reason to buy a poppy this month.

The inscription on the war memorial commemorating lost local soldiers

On another sad note, I would like to express my sincere condolences to June Morrison and her family as we learned about the death of Bert Morrison in October. Bert played a big part in the village, helping to maintain the appearance and dealing with the important tasks such as keeping drains and culverts clear – things that I’m sure a lot of us took for granted but which Bert just got on and did. He was very involved in helping out with practical jobs around the golf club too and I understand that in the winter months he did the catering for the Seniors’ matches and any profits that were made he donated them to Shelter for Cats. I’m sure there are a lot of people around who have some great stories to tell about Bert - a true generous spirit who will be greatly missed. On a lighter note, on 30th September Lorraine and Jonathan Dovey hosted a coffee morning at their home in aid of Macmillan. Never before have I seen such a tempting offer of cakes – well done to all the bakers – not a soggy bottom in sight – and Lorraine was very pleased to report that the event raised £275. Finally, “Mary’s Bit” (aka “News from The Four Seasons”); “Still” (the man in the loch) has gone away for his winter break and will be back in spring. The hotel is open Thursday through to Sunday evenings in November up to 11th December. On 21st  of December they re-open for Christmas/New Year and are taking bookings now for Christmas lunch. Just a quick reminder (in case there’s still time, by the time I’ve written this): the village Bonfire and Fireworks Display is on Saturday 5th November on the playing field at the end of Shoemaker’s Lane. It’s a free event - but please take along cash as there will be a bucket collection. Happy Guy Fawkes’ Night!


The war memorial


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 in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diaries! NOVEMBER •Wed 16th Beinn-an-t Sithein, Strathyre contact David & Jill Johnston 01877 384 227 •Wed 30th Doon Hill, Aberfoyle contact Frank Nicolson 01877 382 803

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. Thanks!

Pin-Feathers* *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). With Remembrance Day approaching, Old Nyati compares technology of today with that of the war days, and reminds us just how hard it was for air fighters during WWII. “We plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land...” We all know this favourite Harvest service hymn. But have a look at this month’s photographs. What is going on?    How many people know that a modern tractor fitted with GPS technology can be programmed to cultivate a field with great accuracy?  Precision  ploughing, cultivating a tilth, drilling seed, spraying and harvesting, all controlled by its on board computer to follow the exact settings of the shape of the field.  Who has seen one of those robot lawn mowers that just wander about cutting the grass without ever going off the lawn?   It will very soon be Remembrance Day and it was the nice idea of a farmer whose land was under the flight path into an old wartime USAF airfield.  He remembered as a wartime schoolboy seeing bombers leaving and returning from operations over enemy territory.   There would have been B-24 Liberators and B-17 Flying Fortresses - and probably Mustang escort fighters too.   But it is the B-17 Flying Fortress that is featured here.  Take a look at the plough field pattern shown in the top photo.   An Autumn stubble field where the tractor has been programmed to plough just the exact 2D shape of the shadow of a returning B-17 on final approach to its base, the shadow that would have been seen by the aircrew as they returned thankfully to their airfield.         The farmer as a schoolboy of course also remembered some of the aircraft showing battle damage, one engine not running, anti-aircraft fire (flak) damage to the wings and tail plane, maybe an undercarriage hanging loose and disabled.  Perhaps even to see a flare fired to signal to the ground crew that there were injured on board so as to be given priority landing.  The ground crew always waited anxiously counting the returning aircraft to see how many and who was missing.   What would those navigators and pilots have thought of the technology on that plough field tractor? They had to manage with just a map and a compass, taking bearings from the stars, a little help

via radio bearings, but radio silence was essential in order to avoid detection. Can we imagine what it was like, perhaps a faulty radio, the danger in formation and in cloud of a mid-air collision. Crossing the enemy coast and running the gauntlet of anti-aircraft fire, the interception by enemy fighters. Some were going to be shot down, but who this time? Very few survived a full tour of operations, it was a game of chance.   There would be fear, there would be bravery too.  To see another aircraft go down in flames, falling in a spin, the centrifugal force preventing anyone from escaping and then the eventual explosion.  Yes, there would be fear; who would be the next to go down?  Who has seen the film The Memphis Belle which tells all about this?   Near Remembrance Day, let our thoughts for a moment be of those who did not return.  They died for the world we know today. Let us spare a thought

for that aircraft shadow, its significance and the nice idea of the farmer who took the trouble to do it. There are still good people around. It was King George VI who in his Christmas broadcast to the Empire in 1938, said as a reassurance to his people.   “A new year is at hand.  We cannot tell what it will bring.  If it brings peace, how thankful we shall all be.  If it brings continued struggle we shall remain undaunted.” He then went on to quote Minnie Haskins’ poem The Gate of the New Year:   I said to the man who stood at the gate of the New Year “Give me a  light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied, “Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God, that shall be better than a light, and safer than a known way.”   Old Nyati 5

Strathyre Fun Night

Strathyre News

Just a reminder that The Stuc Committee will be holding a Family Fun Night in the Village Hall on Sat 19th November with the proceeds going towards the renovation of the Recreation Grounds. The evening will begin with a 50 Question Quiz hosted by Jan, followed by some whisky curling and a raffle (which I will oversee!) This is an evening where we would like all the family to join in. You can bring your own nibbles if you desire and BYOB. We hope to have the quiz started by 7.30pm and the doors will be open at 7.00 so all can be seated in plenty of time. There will be posters around the village by the time this goes to print. Please try and come along even if it is just for part of the evening. Progress is being made on the Grounds, but if we want to complete it to the standard we would like to achieve, then we need funding, but when this project IS completed it will give the Village a wonderful safe area for all to enjoy. See you on the night! Wullie.

Stuc a’ Chroin Phase two

After almost a week of VERY hard work, phase two of the recreation grounds renovations is now completed.

This was an exhausting part of the project and could not have been completed without the help of the local community. Many thanks are required here so I apologise if I miss anyone out. Our first thanks go to the work force that turned out in abundance over the whole period, some for a few hours and others for the full duration. Some people need a special mention, so here goes. First of all, to Eoin Campbell who ALWAYS answers the call when it comes to The Stuc. He is an invaluable asset to any work we take on board and his knowledge and experience is something money can’t buy and of course, there’s the banter which is very much part of having Eoin on board, but don’t ask him about Strictly Come Dancing! He will understand!! Also Kenny Higgins who worked so very hard every day he was there and Archie Scott, who left his camera and carving at home just to help out. To Iain Wilkie, Laurence and a special mention to the Munro Hotel staff who supplied all with soup, bread, tea, coffee etc. To Teresa Allan for the huge pieces of pizza, and anyone else that I may have missed. All of the committee who were available worked really hard but I need to give a mention to “Our Dougie” who worked the hardest of all - and whose forestry skills, like Eoin’s, where invaluable to this project... and our own Davy Allan who wields a mean chain saw as well! Not forgetting all the bacon rolls, tea, coffee and for some strange reason, cans of beer, which were kept in constant supply by our very own member, Catriona. To Fraser C Robb of Drymen for supplying the fantastic Chipper which we could not have done without. Because of the extensive clearing that has taken place we now have a small supply of firewood, which has been cut into fire sized logs, and is for sale to villagers at a small cost. You can purchase a small trailer load (approx 1/3 of a tonne) most of which is hard wood, for £20 - and we will try and deliver locally IF possible. 6

Contact me on 384384 or Davy on 384723, or any committee member, to order. There is a limited amount so it will be first come first served: move quickly if you want to take advantage. All proceeds will go towards the cost of the renovations. Our next phase will be to widen the existing path by about two metres, which will require some digger work, to accommodate the number of runners we expect for the championship race next May. Photographs show some of the areas where clearance has taken place. Watch this space for further developments! Wullie D (On behalf of The Stuc Committee)

A Message from Strathyre Cleansing This is a message to all my customers in Lochearnhead and Strathyre: Due to the radical changes that are ongoing with Stirling Council re empting of bins I have been put in the unfortunate position where I can no longer continue with the service which I have been providing over the last fourteen years. This is due to the fact the changes have caused an overlap with other areas where I work. These are areas where I am committed to contractual agreements and so must give them priority. This is NOT how I would have chosen to end my service in these locations and I blame the council fully for this loss of business to me. I have decided to go into semi retirement because of this situation and my biggest regret is that I did not have the chance to say thank you and goodbye to my very loyal customers, a large number of them who have supported me since I started the business. I would like now, through the power of The Villagers, to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all and wish them well for the future I will, however, still continue with all other services that I deal with, eg. patios, driveways etc., until further notice when I will retire completely. Thank you once again. A very sad and disappointed Wullie Dalziel, Proprietor


Drs Strang & Scott and Drs Mathewson & Gibson Community Nurses The surgeries and community nurses take part in various training programmes throughout the year. This is to meet the educational and training needs of all members of the practice and nursing team. The next training afternoon will provisionally be on: Wednesday 23rd November On this afternoon, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments. Both practices and community nurse clinic will close at 12.30pm. We hope that emergency cover will be provided by NHS24 for nursing and GPs, however, this will not be confirmed to the practices until nearer the time. In the event of an emergency, please telephone 111.

Hogmanay Party Lochearnhead Village Hall 9pm-2am The Lochearnhead Village Hall will be hosting a Hogmanay party once again on the 31st December 2016. Live band Raband are back and guaranteed to have you on your feet (so bring your dancing shoes!). Refreshments (bar and home-made stovies) will be available and there will be a chance for you to try your luck in the raffle. Tickets will be on sale in the Lochearnhead village shop from 1 December at £10/ adult and £5/child. But if you want to be sure of getting a ticket why not pre-reserve yours by calling 01567 830458 leaving your name, number of tickets and a contact telephone number. As always proceeds of the event will go towards the maintenance and upkeep of the village hall facility.

With Autumn here again most of us in our ‘Third Age’ have attended flu vaccination clinics at our local GP surgeries. Here at C&WP U3A we have used the opportunity again this year to promote the aims of the U3A movement by distributing leaflets to all surgeries in our catchment area in order to inform those who still have not heard of the U3A and also to showcase what we have to offer. Committee members have been present at some of the surgeries to chat to patients about the 30 courses in a wide variety of subjects which are on our list and to encourage people to come and see what ‘Learning for Fun’ is all about. Here is a sample: The Ancient History Group went on a tour of classical monuments and museums in Greece. The new ‘Out and About’ group have been behind the scenes at Scottish Opera to see costumes and hear about production before viewing a rehearsal of The Marriage of Figaro. The Theatre Group has already been to see The Broons and is fully booked for a trip to Pitlochry to see Para Handy. Catch up with our latest news by looking at our website ‘Callander and West Perthshire U3A’. New members are welcome at any time and this year’s subscription remains at only £10 for the year.

Ba l q u h i d d e r

New Year’s Day Dance

Sunday 1st January 2017

9pm until 1am Tickets £10.00 Available at the door or book in advance! Contact Andrew or Fiona Leishman at Dunwhinny’s Coffee Shop Bridge Sreet, Callander. Telephone 07745 198854 or 01877384752


Church News

A Note from

St Angus’s

I’m sure many reading this are not too young to remember the name Dag Hammerskjold. His name cropped up many times in the 1950s in his capacity as Secretary General of the United Nations.  He was notable in negotiating the release of American soldiers from the Chinese in the Korean War; he worked hard to try to reduce tensions in the Middle East; he was instrumental in establishing the first Observation Group in Lebanon and worked tirelessly in trying to negotiate the horrific conflicts in South East Asia in the late 1950s and 60s.  He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1961 shortly before he died in a plane crash in Central Africa while trying to negotiate a peace accord in Congo.  He kept a journal which he called Markings and it was published posthumously.  He calls this journal “a sort of White Book concerning my negotiations with myself and with God.”  He was a originally a Swedish diplomat and referred to work with the United Nations as “preventive diplomacy.”  I can’t help feeling we need someone just like him to negotiate in Syria. And what has all this to do with St Angus’s Church in Lochearnhead, I hear you ask?  Well, nothing I suppose, except that in his journal he writes  about his faith in this way:  “At some moment I did answer ‘yes’ to Someone - or Somethingand from that hour I was certain that existence is meaningful and that, therefore, my life in self-surrender had a goal.”  I think that’s worth thinking about, don’t you?

BalquhiĐĐer •bls Reg. Charity No. SC012316

We have a firm date for the induction of our new Minister, Revd Dr Russell Moffatt. It will be on 17th November at 6.45 for 7.00 pm at Killin Parish Church and we hope that there will be a good showing of folk from Balquhidder. Refreshments will be available after the service. The refurbished manse is ready and we hope that Revd and Mrs Moffatt will settle happily there, just across the road from the church. It will be good to have a full time minister again, but we shall be sorry to say goodbye to Revd June Johnston who has served us so well for nigh on two years. She has coped extremely well with the problems of rushing over from Killin after the service there every Sunday morning to be here in time for our service at 11.30 am. We wish her well as she moves back to Edinburgh. It sounds as though the Church of Scotland is already lining her up for similar work in the future. Let`s hope she has a good break first! Jean Edwards

Coffee Morning raises nearly £600 for Macmillan Cancer Support

On Saturday 24 September 2016 in Strathyre Village Hall the Coffee Morning in support for the Macmillan Nurses certainly proved that “Cake tastes better together”. Nearly £600 was raised - and Barbara and Mel wish to give a huge thank you to everyone who came along and supported such a great cause.


Scottish Thistle Award Regional Finalists Congratulations to local tourism association LETi and member Tom Lewis for reaching the regional finals of the Scottish Thistle Awards. Scotland’s “Tourism Oscars” event is organised by Visit Scotland in association with the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, HIT Scotland, Scotland Food and Drink, Scottish Licenced Trade Association, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Sportscotland and Wild Scotland Winners of each region will be invited to progress to the National Final. LETi is a finalist in the category Working Together For Tourism for its BLiSS trail art installation collaboration and Tom is a finalist in the “Regional Ambassador” section. “We are delighted to be chosen as a finalist after a record number of entries this year,” said LETi Chair Kim Proven. “Regional winners will be announced at the Scottish Thistle Awards ceremony at Prestonfield House on November 10th.   In addition to artists, architects and business partners, LETi appreciates the way that Balquidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St Fillans villagers have embraced #BLiSStrail 2016, encouraging the group to work on BLiSS trail 2017.”

Glenorchy Farm Free range pork

rare breed

for sale

Available in: Greedy Pig Box: £180.00 Small Family Box: £80.00 Taster Box: £30.00 Sausage and Bacon Box: £20.00 Joints and cuts can be changed to suit individual preferences, more information on box contents available on request. SPECIAL CHRISTMAS BOX Includes a ham, mince, festive sausages and bacon (streaky and back). Please contact us to order for December. Can arrange drop off points in the local area

Contact: Fiona Maclennan t: 07783116399 e: facebook: Glenorchy Farm



by Beverly-Claire Wainwright

Apple scrumping... I love the autumn colours at this time of year - trees are such a magical part of our landscape and our gardens. Particularly colourful in the autumn are Acers, Rowans, and the beautiful Persian Ironwood (Parrotia Persica). I am also enjoying all of our autumn fruits and busy planning to plant a few fruit trees in my own garden. It is extraordinary how much fruit you can harvest from a single cordon, and if you only have a small space - as long as the rootstock is small - you can even plant trees out into a large planter. Now is the perfect time to plant apple, or other fruit trees, if you have a mind to. It was ‘orchard day’ for visitors in Comrie last month and the variety of apples they produce is impressive, a treasury of apples and a showcase for our agricultural heritage. Up unto the late 19th century apple growing in Scotland was big business and many varieties were bred in the area such as the ‘Lass o’ Gowrie’ - a cooker - and the ‘Bloody Ploughman’. This is a red apple with pink flesh named after a ploughman who was caught stealing apples and subsequently shot by a gamekeeper, harsh punishment indeed. There used to be tens of thousands of trees in old Scottish orchards with around 50 located in Perth and Kinross. Sadly we now only have 17 orchards and of those, only nine with commercial potential. I remember the joys of apple ‘scrumping’ as a child – there were no orchards but a small gang of us knew the whereabouts of every apple tree in the area; I was the ‘lookout’! I swear that apples never tasted better. I recently read an article by the chef Raymond Blanc. He was particularly scathing about the most popular

Acers are particularly colourful at this time of year... try to imagine...

varieties of apples that we see in our supermarkets because most have been specifically bred for sweetness, such as Pink Lady, Gala and Jazz. His point being that due to the increasing quantity of sugar, and hidden sugar, in our diets we have come to associate sweetness with flavour, which is why 70% of apples in our shops are imported and our own home grown apples have become less popular. As a child of the 60s, brought up in the north of England, I developed a sweet tooth early on... and have ongoing dental problems to prove it. Both my parents worked so my sister and I were regularly “home alone” eating all kinds of junk, “sugar butties” made of white bread and spread thickly with butter and sprinkled with white sugar were a regular feature, as was Nestlés condensed milk eaten straight from the tin. These days I am much more careful about what I eat! One of the joys of living in Perthshire, thanks to our farmers, is being able to eat a wide variety of foods that are locally grown. An interesting development in the food and drink industry (that may well see the tide turning in a positive direction for our orchards) is the development of new Scottish Ciders. One has even teamed up with a distillery to finish the maturation process in ex-whisky barrels… I might just have to give that one a try!

We have come to associate sweetness with flavour


Cooking apple - ‘Lass o’ Gowrie’

‘Bloody Ploughman’ - incredibly dark red!

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

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

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

in renting when they contact us:

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

Registered as a Scottish Charity No. SC037849


McLaren High School Gartmore House Choir Residential On Thursday 8 September the McLaren choir left for a three-day residential trip to Gartmore House. When we arrived in the minibus, it was pouring down with rain, but we were quickly shown to our cosy rooms to unpack. Most of our time over the three days was spent rehearsing for the concert on Saturday, to which our families and friends had been invited. When we weren’t rehearsing we had the choice between three different activities. We could use the sports hall in our residential building, go for a walk to the fairy tree in Aberfoyle led by Yvonne King or go on a cycle trip to Aberfoyle led by Helen Gorman and Fiona Cruickshanks. The food we had was amazing! It was made by Gartmore House’s own chefs. On the first night we all took part in a quiz about music, TV theme tunes, general knowledge and McLaren High School. On the second night we watched Shrek, which was really funny and a good way to spend our last night in Gartmore. The next morning we walked along to Gartmore Parish Church. During our concert we performed five songs, including Siya Hamba, Hakuna Matata, Flying Free (which was my favourite) and Al Shlo Sha. We also had a guest performance by Rachel Speirs - a former McLaren pupil who is studying music at Manchester. She did a great job and everyone seemed to enjoy the whole performance. There was lots of applause from the audience. It was a great way to end the trip. Aleksander Ranum Whyte S2 Interhouse Friday 7 October saw the first whole school Interhouse event of the year. All pupils throughout the school took part in one of the following events to win points for their house: • Quiz • Caricature Competition • Debating • Touch Rugby • The Great Scottish Bake Off By the end of the day total house points stood at: Dochart – 810 points Bracklinn – 752 points Leny – 735 points Well done to everyone who took part on the day and thanks to all staff who helped run these events. MacMillan Bake Sale The newly formed Charities Committee organised their first event on Friday 30 September. An inter-house bake sale was held to raise funds for MacMillan Cancer Research with each house baking and buying cakes to see who could come out ‘star bakers’. By the end of the day all the cash was counted and it was very close indeed. Bracklinn were declared the winners with an amazing total of £213.85, closely followed by Leny with £211.89 and Dochart with £199.85. Well done to everyone involved.


Gartmore House - ready to go!

The walk from Gartmore to Aberfoyle

Bake sale

Autumn Concert The Autumn Concert took place in McLaren High School on Thursday 6 October. Although pupils and staff had only 7 weeks to rehearse the evening was a huge success with performances from the Orchestra; Pipe Band; Trad Group; the Choir; String, Brass and Woodwind Ensembles. Everyone agreed it was a brilliant end to the first school term. McLaren High School PTA Christmas Fayre We are delighted to announce that the McLaren High School PTA will be holding a Christmas Fayre in the Church Hall, South Church Street, Callander on Saturday 3 December at 11am. There will be a variety of stalls selling home baking, crafts, homemade Christmas cards and lots more - plenty of ideas for Christmas presents! A number of the stalls will be fundraising for the World Challenge Expedition to Malaysia next year. The PTA will also be selling tea and coffee so you can sit and enjoy a hot drink with some home baking you have bought from the stalls. We look forward to seeing you there!

S1, S2 and U16 Rugby - Central Schools Rugby Festival at Grangemouth RFC On Wednesday 28 September McLaren Rugby travelled to Grangemouth RFC to take part in the Central Schools Rugby Festival. Although it was a wet and cold afternoon the boys demonstrated their enthusiasm and commitment to ensure that McLaren could once again field three teams (S1, S2 and U16). Unfortunately, due to call offs from other schools, the McLaren S1 and S2 squads had to play a practice match between them. This was extremely beneficial, as it gave the players within the newly formed McLaren Rugby U14 team the opportunity to continue to gel as a team before their second match. The team were coached throughout the match, ensuring the boys were able to practice scrums and lineouts in a game situation for the first time. The U16 squad played a match against a combined team made up of players from Denny, Stirling and Grangemouth High Schools. In a competitive match McLaren’s experience of playing together proved vital and they ran out 31-19 winners. The tries were scored by James Isgrove, Duncan Brown, Harris Fisher, Ben Roebuck and Reuben Lazell. Next matches for the three McLaren teams are against Wallace High at Stirling County RFC.

Silver Duke of Edinburgh Canoeing Expedition - Cruising down the Caledonian Canal On a soggy Thursday night the 2 DofE silver reached Laggan locks where we were stay for canoe groups set off to Fort William for the night. Our work was, however, not done their qualifying expedition. Our expedition as we had to put up our tents and cook a meal started on a low note as we had lost two on our stove, but after our long and damp of our members due to injury and illness, day it was a delight for us all to hear that this but on the bright side they may get better camping spot had a toilet! weather next year! The group stayed in a The next morning we canoed along the hostel for the first night and planned for the canal up until lunch when we stopped for weekend ahead. Early on the Friday morning another portage before going onto Loch we packed our dry bags and set off onto Oich. The waters were calm and despite the water. We canoed for 8km before we regular stops for snack swapping we made reached our first portage of the weekend, a good pace and reached camp before 4 challenge which none of us were aware was o’clock. The whole group were thrilled to going to be so difficult! It involved tying be what we thought was finished, however onto a pontoon, getting the gear out of the were disappointed to hear that we had not canoe, getting the canoe out of the water and completed enough hours and had to go carrying everything round to a pontoon on back out onto the canal! This was not too the other side of the lock! After this we were bad though as we had dumped our stuff at all suitably exhausted and decided to stop for camp so our canoes were a lot lighter, we also lunch. After we had refuelled we canoed the didn’t have to worry about timing and even whole of Loch Lochy and about 20km later we managed to fit in a game of tig on the canoes!

We returned to camp and made dinner even managing to play a game of catch and Uno before bed. The final day was our shortest day but did have the longest portage - which a lot of us were dreading! We did manage, however - and with the prospect of a warm, dry bed powering us on we set off onto Loch Ness. Despite the high winds and choppy waters the sun decided to make its first appearance of the 3 days for the final stretch and spirits were high. We all had a great weekend and would like to thank Owen Rhys and Matt Brooks for giving up their weekend to help to assess us. A special thanks also has to go to Mr Clark who kayaked with us for a short while on the Saturday. Laura King S5

Canoeing for D of E!


St Andrew’s Day Celebration Concert McLaren High School Pipe Band are hosting an evening of Scottish traditional music on Wednesday 30 November at 7.30pm to raise funds for the band and celebrate St Andrew’s Day. The evening will feature music from the Pipe Band, the traditional music group and other young musicians from the school. We hope to not only raise money to buy equipment for the band, but raise the profile of Scottish traditional music in the school and wider community. Please come along to support the band and listen to some of the finest music the school has to offer. Tickets available from the school are £5 (includes entry plus cheese and biscuits) and there will also be a raffle, auction and bar. We look forward to seeing you there!


SEEING STARS by Keith Wilson 

NOVEMBER 2016 Can you find the bull in the sky? The constellation is a well-known one and has lots for you to see it is of course Taurus with its red star Aldebaran which represents the eye of the bull. You’ll find the stars of Taurus in the eastern night sky, centred around a cluster of V-shaped stars called The Hyades which are just to the right of Aldebaran. The Hyades are a beautiful cluster of stars to look at, even more so if you use binoculars to take a look. This cluster is the closest to our solar system at just 150 light years! The back of the bull sits on another star cluster, the well known Pleiades or ‘Seven Sisters’. You can’t fail to notice The Pleiades on a clear dark night but how many can you count with the naked eye? Most people see between six and eight although some with good eyesight can make out up to fourteen. The Pleiades were used to test the eyesight of Roman soldiers but they certainly wouldn’t have seen all five hundred stars which make up this cluster which looks stunning when viewed through a pair of binoculars. Interestingly the dots on a famous prehistoric cave painting at Lascaux in France are said to depict The Pleiades. Don’t forget to go to a dark site away from lights when you look at the night sky and allow twenty minutes or so for your eyes to adapt to the dark and let us know how many stars you counted in The Pleiades with the naked eye. 15

Another busy couple of months have been and gone. There is an autumnal nip in the air and the stags are roaring which is a sure sign that winter is fast approaching. Only time will tell what sort of winter we have, but here’s hoping it is drier than last year. Please take care on the roads as the leaf litter and debris are starting to make the roads slippery and in the past few weeks there have been a few collisions on the roads network. I have been lucky enough to have been off on holiday for three and a half weeks so my colleagues kindly held the fort in my absence. Another fatal collision occurred on the A85 between Lochearnhead and St Fillans on Saturday 18th September, where the rider of a motorcycle was killed as a result of the collision. This year has seen three fatal collisions in the area; all of them have been motorcyclists and all have been killed on the A85 between Lochearnhead and St Fillans. Our thoughts go to the families and friends. On the 26th August, an assault took place within the Ben Sheann Hotel, Strathyre which resulted in the perpetrator being reported to the Procurator Fiscal. On the 29th August, a female motorist was driving on the A85 in Glen Ogle and performed a very poorly timed overtake and in the process almost collided with Police Motorcyclists - which has resulted in her being reported to the Procurator Fiscal. On the 22nd September, a search warrant was executed at a property in Lochearnhead as a result of information that was provided by the community. A four figure sum of drugs was found within and a male and female were arrested and have been reported to the Procurator Fiscal. I must add my thanks to those who came forward with information that led to this operation. If anyone has knowledge of any criminality taking place within the communities, please get in touch with me. Any information passed will be treated confidentially, and if you would prefer, the details can be passed anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. On the 1st October, a vehicle was stopped on Main Street, Strathyre and a quantity of controlled drugs was found. A report has again been submitted to the courts. On the 3rd October, a disturbance took place within the Ben Sheann Hotel, Strathyre. The persons responsible were identified and received formal warnings regarding their conduct. Overnight between the 12th and the 13th October, a caravan was stolen from 16

Scruffy, Champion Reading Dog! (Continued from front page)

Leaf litter and debris are starting to make the roads slippery. Take care please!

Main Street, Strathyre. The caravan had been parked for some time behind the roundhouse and the persons responsible came well prepared for the hitch lock and two wheel clamps that were fitted. The caravan was a 21ft twin axle Swift, white in colour. If anyone has any information with regards to the theft, please get in touch with me. Also please consider your own security; this is the time of year where we historically see a rise in the number of the thefts as the hours of darkness increase. If you wish to discuss security options, again, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and I can provide suitable advice. Air Weapon Licensing A polite reminder that you must apply by the 31st of October 2016 to guarantee certification. In accordance with the new Air Weapon legislation coming into effect and in order to guarantee certification by 31 December 2016, anyone wishing to obtain a certificate for any air weapons(s) MUST have their completed applications form submitted to Police Scotland, by NO LATER than 31 October 2016. The  Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015  comes fully into effect on 31 December 2016. The new law will require any person who possesses, purchases, uses or acquires an air weapon to have a certificate to hold them legally.  It will be an offence not to have a certificate for these purposes from 31 December 2016, unless you are exempt. As always, I can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at william.diamond@     Regards, PC Will Diamond

Elspeth would recommend any dog owner (with a dog who shares similar qualities to Scruffy) to consider letting their furry friend try to become a pet therapy dog, as both she and Scruffy have found it very rewarding. There is a website - Canine Concern Scotland - which she encourages you to visit if you want to find out more. Initially the dogs work in care homes for the first year and then must be reassessed to be considered for working with children. For owners, their involvement is geared to how much time they can commit. Once a fortnight is usually the basic time needed. Good luck to Scruffy - and we hope for more news of a champion pet. Scruffy is hoping to celebrate with his master in due course at his local, Mhor84!

Scruffy settles down for a hard earned nap!

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

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

David Johnston Production Gardeners Cottage Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384227

Other Contacts...

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

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

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

Lochearnhead Contact: Ali Ferguson 01567 830 405 St Fillans Contact: Isobel Howell 07876 031768 Strathyre Contact: Wullie Dalziel 01877 384 384 Mobile 07768 221661 Mail Order Distribution: Hilda Astbury 01877 384 681

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

Bowling - St Fillans Lunch Club - The Scout Station, Lochearnhead - 12.30pm - 2.30pm


Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 to11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am to 12.30pm Country Dancing - St Fillans

Wednesday Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am to 12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00 to 9.00pm Thursday

Darts League - The Inn & Bistro - 7.00pm Choir Occasional - Balquhidder Village Hall - 7.30 to 9pm (contact Gill 01877 384203)


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



Lochearnhead Games Night - see page 2


BLS Community Trust AGM - 7.30pm - The Munro Inn - see page 2


Family Fun Night - Strathyre - see page 6


Balquhidder Hall AGM - Balquhidder Hall - 7.30pm - see page 2


Scottish Music Night - McLaren High School - see page 14


Balquhidder Christmas Market - Balquhidder Hall - 11am-4pm - see page 2

Tree Festival - Balquhidder Hall - 4.30pm-8pm - see back page


The Villagers’ Photographer Jason Allardyce 01877 384295 / 07508 595211 Wedding, Portrait, Social, Pet Photography Councillor Martin Earl Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07881 310 922 Councillor Alycia Hayes Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07881 310 924 Councillor Fergus Wood Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07824 496 019

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

Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316

Sunday 11.30am Minister: Vacancy Enquiries to Interim Moderator: Revd Terry Ann Taylor 01877 382391 Dundurn Church, St Fillans Sunday11.30am Minister: Rev Graham McWilliams Tel: 01764 671 045

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

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

A reflective time to discuss contemporary issues in a spiritual context

(Check with Rector for venue: 01764 655389)

Vestry Secretary - Maureen Lipscomb Tel: 01567 830234



We’ll send you or your friends The


£15.00 for 11 monthly issues (£40.00 for Europe and £50.00 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



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Thanks to our sponsors: MHOR 84, Venachar Lochside, The Wee Gem, Sula Furnishing, Inverlochlarig Farm, The Villagers, Carol Cowan, Penny Hannah, Sue Haste, Alison Inglis, Gaylor MacNicol and Gill Waugh

The Villagers News nov 2016  

November 2016 community news, events, photographs, recipe's and businesses surrounding the picturesque villages of St Fillans, Lochearnhead,...

The Villagers News nov 2016  

November 2016 community news, events, photographs, recipe's and businesses surrounding the picturesque villages of St Fillans, Lochearnhead,...