Page 1


Price 50p


The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

‘The Bigger the Back, the Bigger the Front’ Veronika Verden-Anderson’s Edinburgh Exhibition strikes a chord Recently the work of Balquhidder’s resident artist Veronika VerdenAnderson was brought to the attention of Scottish television, as her exhibition The Bigger the Front, The Bigger the Back opened at Edinburgh’s MS Therapy Centre. The preview night opened with a talk at the Centre by ‘Ronnie’ herself. In front of a large audience and surrounded by the powerful presence of her colourful works, Ronnie talked about her MS experiences with candour and humour, before explaining the reason behind the exhibition’s title. “Every single thing in life has a front (positive) and a back (negative). When I got MS, that was a massive ‘back’... not to be able to do a million things. But with time, I begain to work out that there was a ‘front’ to my illness... I found myself with a lot of time to think about what’s important in life. Everything that’s hard will have lessons to teach you.” After finally losing the use of her arms

Above: ‘Triangle’ by Ronnie, and right: being interviewed on The Fountainbridge Show

about eight years ago, Ronnie had to adapt to a new way of transporting her ideas to canvas, and she now paints with her mouth, aided and abetted by ‘assistants’. The results are authentic works of passion, brimming with colour and texture, and charged with a vital energy that stops you in your tracks. (Continued on page 20)

Editor’s Bit According to our constitution, the first thing I need to do in this edition is to give notice that our AGM will be on Thursday 25th of February and, this year, it is St Fillans’ turn to hold it. We will advise of the actual venue in the new year. This also gives me an opportunity of appealing for more people to volunteer to help with The Villagers. Unfortunately we will be losing more of our regular correspondents soon, so we need more budding scribes to add new features. These do not need to be every month - some articles currently run every other month already and a series of ‘guest’ writers could mean an article just once a year - so please do give it some thought if you could write about your favourite walk/fishing trip/sports club/party dish - whatever. This month we have included an article about Callander Ramblers and, as it happens, David and I are ‘leading’ one of the rambles - on Wednesday the 2nd of December - and we would be delighted if any locals would like to come and join the walk. It will be from Mhor84, going to Strathyre along the upper forest track, and then returning along the cycle path. I hope we have included all the Christmas and New Year activities on offer from the villages! There certainly appear to be plenty of ways to celebrate. Please let us know in good time for next month’s edition if there are any new ones you wish to publicise.


Balquhidder Broadband

Right, everyone: we’re now at the stage where we have things to report and have some likely pricing for fast (VERY fast) broadband in the glen. We will be contacting you individually but there will be a public meeting at Balquhidder Village Hall on 20 November at 7.30pm. At this, we’ll be presenting what’s going to be possible, what it’s going to cost and just what it will mean for the much-neglected communications in our little corner of the world. Put it in your diary, be there if you’re even remotely interested - and either email or go to the web site at for updates. See you there.



Remembrance Service

will be held at 10.45 am on Sunday 8th November 2015 at the War Memorial. A short religious service, followed by the laying of wreaths - usually four, will be followed by the reading of the 31 names of the Fallen from the villages of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre, the Piper will play the Lament Flowers of the Forest. Please support this ecumenical short act of Remembrance. For those wishing to attend church services, these will be held at St Angus, Lochearnhead at 9.45 am, or Balquhidder at 11.30 am. Malcolm White Lochearnhead


Balquhidder Christmas Market!

If you’d like a stall contact Janet on 0781794808 or

Sunday 6th December Balquhidder Hall £7 small table

£14 large table

Traditional Games Night Lochearnhead Village Hall

Saturday 14th November 7.30pm till late H H H H H 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 H Bar H Supper

Rock and Roll Bingo Night at The Inn, Strathyre Saturday 14th November from 7.30pm

Please come along to have fun and to help raise funds for the Strathyre Village Christmas Party BLS COMMUNITY TRUST


Balquhidder Lochearnhead & Strathyre 7:30pm, Tuesday 17 November at Mhor 84 Including Guest Speaker Tom Lewis

Not to be Missed!

The trust is working hard on various projects to improve the three villages, but we are just a small group of volunteers. With more helpers/volunteers - particularly from Balquhidder and Lochearnhead we could do a whole lot more. It’s not that demanding - and it is rewarding.

Come along and learn more about what we are doing and enjoy Tom’s entertaining chat. 2

The St Fillans Bit

incorporating ‘Murph’s Mumblings’... by John Murray

Two days ago I attended the AGM of Arran Brewers held in the Drummond. Initially I was refused entrance as I am no longer a shareholder but I had taken the precaution of getting a proxy form signed by Fraz who could not attend so nominated me to represent him. The meeting was chaired very professionally by MD Gerald Michaluk who spent the first 30 minutes outlining where Arran stood in the small brewery market and their very impressive expansion plans into England and the USA, as well as a new bottling plant - and the acquisition of a pub in Cambridge with a mini brewery as an easy outlet to London for Arran beers. All very impressive. Then the meeting was brought back to earth since the reason we were all there was to talk about the mess which is The Drummond. It transpired that Arran had essentially bought the premises because they were cheap. No proper survey was done. I am just a simpleton but I know that something is usually cheap for a reason. Arran were amazed to find out just how much would need to be spent to renovate the building and revitalise the business. Many of us locally had looked at the building because it was so cheap and all agreed that at least £1million would be required to get it up and running. If Arran had researched locally this info was all there. Gerald was honest about the mess. So they set out doing a bits and pieces renovation with very restricted funds. They had appointed a hotel manager with no building experience who departed in about three months. Gerald states that they were let down badly by contractors but that it was his fault for not having proper supervision. Some of his examples were comical – like ten months to lay a concrete floor which I would have taken five days to do. The meeting became ‘lively’ when various villagers pointed out that his promises of three years ago - including the creation of two restaurants, two bars and a brewery within a year have not been realised in three years - but that all that had opened (spasmodically) was a coffee shop (taking business from our village store which depends heavily from its coffee shop income to survive). Gerald was not sympathetic and effectively said “that’s business”. Not very community minded and making few friends. When asked just exactly what was going to happen with The Drummond he admitted that the Crowd Funding share issue two years ago had raised £260K against a target of £4million and

that the bulk of that had been spent on the brewery (which the share prospectus did state at the time). There will now be a second crowd funding share offer aimed at raising £2M. Based on the first one this seems a bit optimistic. On the success of this hangs all possibility of our village’s centrepiece being restored. It was suggested to Gerald that if the crowd funding failed he should put the Drummond back on the market to let someone who did have money develop it. He stated that he would not do that as he loved the building and the village. Which is presumably why he is trying to put our Village Store out of business! The meeting came to a crescendo when a shareholder who has done work for Arran on The Drummond got fed up with the verbosity and suggested that it was time for some honesty and plain speaking, along the lines of whether there was, in fact, any money available to continue the project. Gerald tried to defuse things but voices continued to be raised. Dramatic stuff, for a village where Coronation Street is about all the drama we usually get! The consensus after the meeting was that we are stuck with a steadily decaying Drummond for years to come. A sad affair. Apologies to the Four Seasons for missing their input last month. I made the daft decision to upgrade my Windows 7 operating system which has served me well for years to Windows 10 with all its bells and whistles. The result was a

Andrew’s new mode of transport

computer which operated randomly. It took reliable Jim Bissett to give me a link which dumped 10 and reinstalled 7. All was now working fine - but in the process I missed their email. Mary wants to thank the two girls who have worked with them through the summer: Bree Murdoch (presumably on the cheese trolley) and Joanna Morris - who have ‘worked like troopers’ but are now back to school/university, although Bree will still help out at weekends. In November the hotel goes to winter hours – Thursday PM to Sunday PM with the last of the season’s wine tasting dinners on 27 November with a Game menu. ‘Tin Man’ has departed for the winter but will return next spring. Plus, I’m delighted to see that Andrew has at last replaced his ancient Volvo with an emission free form of transport – pictured above. Two weeks ago I attended the presentation of the steering group for the new Community Action Plan – CAP. I was heavily involved in the first one done some nine years ago so I know how much work is involved in preparing the thing. Continued overleaf


The St Fillans Bit

(Continued from p3)

What I realised when completing my questionnaire was just how ideal our wee village is. Essentially the questions ‘what is good about St Fillans’, ‘what is bad’ and ‘what would you like to change’. To the second two questions I found it hard to say much. The thing about a place like St F is that we all came here of our own volition – no one was sent here with their jobs or with social housing. So we came here for a peaceful village life. And that is what we have. Virtually crime free, yob free, superb scenery, easy access to the hills behind us, two excellent hotels if we choose to dine out and a good community spirit. If you are in trouble in any way there is always someone there to help. I recall my brand new mobility scooter breaking down on the south loch road. In thirty minutes Richard Steventon arrived with his trailer to rescue me. Back home he sorted out the fault in about ten minutes. A few weeks back a tree fell over the old railway preventing my usual mobility scooter dog walk. I mentioned it to Richard Graham with a view to borrowing his chain saw – no need, the next day he’d been along and cut the tree away. Years back when I was heavily involved in organising community events I used to get frustrated that only about 60% of the villagers ever wanted to get involved. I was told at the time and as I have aged I appreciate that whilst some folk came here for community life others came here to live in peace and privacy. So what is to change? It has been suggested that we build a new village hall. I proposed this nine years ago and was voted down by older traditionalists who felt that The Sandison Hall was a part of our heritage or history and they would not like to see it go. I now agree totally. Our Hall is a superb example of a traditional village hall. It is well maintained, has excellent toilet & kitchen facilities and is plenty big enough for any events we organise. Various suggestions have been made, like a badminton club – the existing hall is ideal. There has been a suggestion, I gather, of encouraging water-borne activity in the village. As an ‘old timer’ with twentyfive years in the village I well remember the nightmare weekend afternoons when jet bikes, jet skis and power boats performed their raucous antics in front of the village making relaxation impossible. It took years to eradicate the problem – please let us not encourage its return. Another idea is a night time bus service to Comrie. We used to have a problem with Comrie yobs being chased out by the police so coming here with their lager and antisocial behaviour. The bus goes two ways. Do we want to import yobbery? My thinking is that we live in an almost perfect village. I know that the population is slowly changing and new folk have new ideas - but remember what we came here for. Like the Yanks say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Sound thinking. 4

Hogmanay Party

Lochearnhead Village Hall 9pm-2am The Lochearnhead Village Hall will be hosting a Hogmanay party once again on the 31st December 2015. Live band Raband will be back and is 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 21 November 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.

Finally, my monthly advice to our government. Unemployment is falling in England whilst rising in Scotland. Can the SNP not see the link between stability and confidence? England is politically settled for five years so consumers and businesses invest. Scotland is awash with repeated

calls for another referendum - result is a lack of consumer confidence and business confidence. Nicola - make a decisive statement that the next referendum will not be for ten years - and then get on with the business of running Scotland with stability.

Inn & Bistro Darts League Winter is almost upon us and the new darts league will soon be underway at the Inn at Strathyre. We have earmarked Thursday 12th November to start the season off. Anyone who is interested in joining our existing group of players would be made most welcome just come along on that evening and we will have you registered for the season. There is a small fee of £2 per week which is payable for the duration of the season (still to be determined) with all monies going toward end of season presentation. This is a very informal darts league and is aimed at having some fun during the winter months. No skill levels are required - just come along and enjoy the banter and a wee drink. But you don’t need to wait till then to have a game - the darts are on every Thursday where you can join in and get some practice before the league starts! See you on “the ochy”... Wullie D

Rugby Trivia The very first time a national anthem was ever sung before a sporting event, it happened spontaneously. It was a rugby game! New Zealand famously dance the Haka before the start of a game of rugby, a traditional war-dance which is sometimes seen as an attempt to intimidate their opposition. On 16th November 1905 they played Wales at Cardiff Arms Park. After New Zealand danced the Haka before the match, Wales responded by beginning to sing the Welsh national anthem Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (not sure what it means, but it probably isn’t anything to do with chickens). The crowd picked up on this and joined in. Nowadays, before major sporting events, it is traditional for the national anthems of the countries being represented to be sung beforehand. Rugby players mostly earn points by scoring tries, achieved by a player crossing the touchline with a ball and touching it to the ground (which can be done by falling on it!). A try in rugby union is worth 5 points; in rugby league it is worth 4. However, a try was once worth nothing - instead it gave the player who achieved one the opportunity to ‘try’ to score a goal, hence its name. Goals were scored by placing the ball on the ground and kicking it over the crossbar and between the two posts, therefore converting the try into a goal - a goal being worth 1 point. Nowadays, an attempt at a conversion still follows a successful try and gives players the opportunity to score an extra 2 points.

Real Ale - Real Music


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 explores some amusing inscriptions on gravestones. Some people collect the strangest things! How about these, a few of my thought provoking gravestone epitaphs. Perhaps the first one may give an idea of what awaits us all.   Spare a thought as you pass by, For as you are, so once was I. Prepare yourself to follow me, For as I am, so you will be.   And in a Yorkshire graveyard:   Here lies John Bunn. He was killed by a gun. His name was not Bunn, but Wood. But Wood would not rhyme with gun and Bunn would.   Some of you dear readers may have seen the one on the wayside seat in Glen Artney in memory of the school car driver:   There’s folks who like to travel, and some, foreign lands to see Like spain or sunny Italy, or even gay Paree. But me, I like the hameland, so I dinnae travel far I go driving up Glen Artney wi my ould schule car We see the bonnie rowan trees Their flowers the summer’s pride And then the scarlet berries come and deck the countryside. Ye get a great contentment and a pleasure none can mar When yer driving up Glen Artney in the old schule car.   Now a few from Highland graveyards. Notice first the one in the photograph, right, and then this one about the ‘Chippie’ ...   Here lies Chipper Annie, wi the muckle greasy hips Nae mair salt ’n’ vinegar, for Annie’s hud her chips! And now here’s one for a bus driver:   Here lies fearsome Maggie Freer She drove a bus for forty year We aften missed that dear old bus But Maggs is missed by nane o’ us.   Now one for the “Misery Guts”that we all know...   Here lies aul’ ‘Misery Chops’ Jardine, He kept a’ the baws we kicked intae his garden Tae commemmorate his dear departed soul We used burst baws tae fill the hole.  And the next time you are in Tesco:   Here lies the great explorer ‘Jolly’ He sailed the seas in a Tesco trolley. He fund oot just wan thing o’ note A Tesco trolley disnae float.   6

But what about the nosey one: Here lieth aul’ Nebby-Features Burton, She spent aw her days keekin’ through a net curtain Checkin’ the neds an’ tuttin’ at vandals, Clockin’ the neebors and dreamin’ up scandals. Noo she’s six feet ablow us still mumphin’ and scoffin’ ‘Cause we put a wee windae in the lid o’ her coffin.   Now who remembers the wartime radio programme ITMA, (It`s That Man Again,)  with Tommy Hanley? And the interlude when the natives would beat their tom-toms and chant: Down in the jungle, ten feet deep Lies old Hitler, fast asleep. Do not wake him, let him rest Native spears Have done their best.   So do spare a thought on a wet day and think up something suitable for your own demise!

Twenty-fourth Parish Golf Thrash 2015 The annual Parish Thrash took place this year once again at Crieff. As in previous years we were very well looked after. The day started with the bus leaving the Clachan Hotel car park on a beautiful sunny day, a bit of a contrast to last year! Everyone enjoyed a bacon roll and tea or coffee before taking on the course. On checking the list I found it hard to believe that all the teams were complete I think that’s a first in thirty odd years! Well done everyon - nobody called off. The course was in great condition apart from the fact that the greens had been cored - which made them a wee bit tricky - but they were still very fast. First on the tee was last year’s winner (which is the tradition) who, under a great deal of pressure including heckling and banter from the other thirty-one golfers, managed a lovely shot up to the front of the green. The first of the many expensive prizes is awarded at the first hole for the “worst drive”, and this went to Martin Sanders who put a ball out of bounds - and nearly a second, which was quite clever as it is a fairly wide fairway! Next up was the long par five fifth, the longest drive, where it can be hard to keep the ball on the fairway, as it runs downhill right to left - and the ball must finish on the fairway. This was won by Graham Galloway, with a monster hit which managed to grip the fairway by a foot. The nearest to the pin on the 115 yard downhill 17th hole brought some hilarity in our group, as Roger Sharp tried to “donk” his ball down the hill with a driver, and after a couple of attempts it still didn’t work. To fully explain the goings on I would need another chapter! Anyway the ‘nearest the hole’ was won by Graham Galloway again. The 18th hosts the ‘nearest the pin in two’ and with two super shots Tony Barnard put his ball to within a couple of yards of the pin. The ‘team ball’ (where all four players play alternate holes and put their score for that hole on the card) puts an amazing amount of pressure on the player - as you don’t want to be the one to lose the team ball. This year it

was won by Team 4 which consisted of George Weir, Kerr Butterworth, Johnnie Fergusson and Shuggie. Well done to them. The ‘over sixties’, which is increasing in numbers annually, alarmingly, was a close competition with three lads on 30 points each - but on a count back, nine was won by Jimmy Smith. The most unwanted prize, the ‘booby prize’ for the player with the lowest score, was ‘won’ by new entry Ian Walker. The ‘midway man’ is an important result as this determines the handicapping for the following year. Those with scores above the midway man, have their handicaps come down accordingly, and those below their handicaps come up, so one day in the perfect world we will all come first equal - but don’t hold your breath! This year’s winner has won the competition three times, which is very hard to do as the handicaps are rigged to try and prevent someone winning too often - but if you do, you must have played very well and Graham Courtney did just that, returning a score of 37 and going round the course in a Gross 75 on a 5 handicap. As always, a major thank you is given to Kingshouse Buses for the use of a bus and for Colin Lumsden for driving us there and back; to Crieff golf club for looking after us well and understanding our needs (as dinner arrived during the Scotland v Australia game); and to those who contributed to the prizes. And of course, to everyone for turning up and making it a great day out! May all your drives be long and straight and your putts short and accurate.

Martin Sanders, with trophy for the ‘worst drive’

Glorious 2 : Tony Barnard Midway Man : Rod Blain (24) Best front Nine : Adrian Wilbert (21) Best over 60 : Jimmy Smith (30) Lowest Gross : Graham Courtney (75) Booby Prize : Ian Walker (10) 5th : Jimmy Smith (30) 4th : Dave Fairbairn (32) 3rd : Adrian Wilbert (34) 2nd : George Weir (34) 1st : Graham Courtney (37)

Best wishes, A Hacker The results were as follows: Nearest the pin in 2 : Tony Barnard Team Ball : George Weir, Kerr Butterworth, Johnnie Fergusson, Shuggie Most 5s : George Weir Worst Drive : Martin Sanders Longest Drive : Graham Galloway Nearest the pin : Graham Galloway

Ian Walker proudly holds the Booby Prize


A Note from

St Angus’s As I write the leaves are steadily falling from the trees and Autumn is surely upon us. By the time you read this the clocks will have gone back an hour and, please note, St Angus’s service times will have changed to 9.45am.  The reason for this is to allow those taking services both in Lochearnhead and Killin to tackle the winter roads through Glen Ogle a little later. Thank you again to those folk who took the trouble to answer my question ‘why do people no longer go to church?’ I would like to make it clear that what I say is my opinion only and may not be shared by others in the congregation. A special thanks to Paul Hicks this month for his contribution.  I must say I agree with 99% of what you say Paul.  The 1% I don’t agree with is your use of the word ‘contrived’  i.e. ‘the church...has... contrived to become hugely irrelevant....’  The church has been guilty of many things over the years but I don’t see why it should have CONTRIVED to become irrelevant.  Why would it?!  The church has certainly been guilty at times of being too heavenly minded to be any earthly use.  I would certainly agree that the church has not kept pace with modern society in its presentation of the Gospel.  But I wonder what you mean by ‘the church?’  If you are referring to the authority of the church i.e. the church leadership then I  think it may be less guilty of resistance to innovative ideas than are people in the pews.  In my experience there are many folk who resist change and want to hang on to tradition almost at any price.  There is for all of us a comfort and reassurance even nostalgia about the familiar so, I suppose, a reluctance to change is inevitable. Nevertheless you might be surprised at how upset folk can become when even the prayers are said in the wrong order or some small part of the liturgy is omitted.  It seems sometimes almost as if tradition has become more important than  the presenting of the Gospel in a relevant manner to the 21st Century. I am being deliberately provocative here in the hope of eliciting a response from those who put a strong emphasis on tradition! I would never want to throw out tradition completely nor would I want to dispense with the glorious and inspiring music of our great cathedrals or the colour and ceremony which serves to emphasise both the mystery of God and the celebration of what he has done for us in Jesus.  Is there not room for both? 

Erudite Muse Cashew - the sound of a nut sneezing. Bacon - the main reason you are not a vegetarian. Foot - a device used for finding a cat’s hairball in the dark. Relief - What trees do in the spring. Artery - the study of paintings. 8

Church News

BalquhiĐĐer •bls Reg. Charity No. SC012316

We have started the process of advertising for a new minister, but nothing more is likely to happen until work on refurbishing the manse in Killin is completed. Although the original deadline for this has slipped slightly, we are hopeful that it will be finished by the end of October. At least the weather has been kind recently. Church services continue as usual despite the number of people coming remaining abysmally low! We are fortunate to have a good locum minister and a few faithful folk coming every week. Our local musicians still come on the last Sunday in the month and add to the noise level thankfully! Occasionally, a male visitor adds a welcome tenor or baritone voice which is great. We have raised £100.00 for the Christian Aid Refugee Appeal and this appeal will be on-going here until the beginning of January 2016. It is a shock to write 2016 but time marches on. Now we are heading towards Remembrance Sunday which falls on November 8th this year. Please note that times of services at the war memorials in Lochearnhead (11.00am) and Strathyre (3.00 pm) are as usual. But, in Balquhidder, the service this year will start at 11.30 am now that the Sunday service time is earlier. Jean Edwards

Part of our responsibilities as members of the nationwide network of U3As is to spread the word that being in one’s Third Age is a great opportunity to join with others in ‘Learning for Fun’, with no requirement for previous qualifications and no examinations to worry about. This was made much easier due to the recent Flu vaccination days run by all GP surgeries when older patients were encouraged to attend. Thanks to the extensive leafletting which was organised we have had a steady stream of enquiries and recruited many new members who are now taking part in the 26 different group activities which Callander & West Perthshire has to offer. The first general meeting for all our members will be held on Saturday 14th November when there will be a talk on ‘Winter Driving’ given by Angus Maciver of the Institute for Advanced Motoring. A Christmas event is also being arranged which will feature music and song performed by our own groups, centred around a festive lunch. Further details will be sent out to members in our newsletter and can also be found on our website, where you can contact the Secretary for any further information on U3A. Just Google ‘Callander and West Perthshire U3A’.

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 afternoons will be on: Wednesday 25th November 2015 On these afternoons, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments. 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. Bracklinn Practice If you require urgent medical attention when the surgery is closed please contact NHS24 on 111. Make sure you have enough medication to last you over the holiday period, and if you think you will run out, order your medication early or ask for 2 months supply.


Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of Meeting held at Strathyre Village Hall on 23rd September 2015

Present: Malcolm McNaughton (MM), Paul Hicks (PH), Alistair Barclay (AB), David Johnston (DJ), Ruth McLusky (RMC), Adrian Squires (AS), Loraine Telfer (LT). Apologies: Angus Cameron, Rosanne McWilliams, Richard Eastland, Karen Methven. Attending: Cllr Martin Earl (ME), Stirling Council, PC Will Diamond (WD), Police Scotland. 1. Approval of Minutes It was proposed by RMC and seconded by LT, that the minutes of the meeting on 12th August 2015 should be accepted, and this was approved unanimously. 2. Declarations of Interest No declarations were made. 3. Police Report Between 10th August and 22nd September, twenty-seven (27) offences were reported. Most of these (24) were road traffic offences, that included driving without due care, driving under the influence of alcohol, driving with no tax or insurance, and various vehicle defects. The rest involved offences of speeding. Overnight between 17-18th September, eleven mountain bikes were stolen from outsides lodges at Strathyre Forest Cabins. There was also a report of lead having been stolen, some time over the past two years, from Bealach, in Balquhidder. Two reports have been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal in relation to persons being found in possession of drugs. Routine patrols have been carried out, as well as Ironworks patrols every weekend. PC Diamond was present at the Killin Show, and the Balquhidder Bike Festival. He also took part in the launch day of Operation Core, which began by focusing on road safety. MM asked where these speeding offences had taken place. WD stated that they all took place in the local villages, and were dealt with by local officers. Road traffic patrols and Road Safety Partnership vans dealt separately with speeding offences on trunk roads in the wider area. WD then made reference to a number of recent incidents, many serious and some fatal, on the A84 and A85 Trunk Roads north of Callander. ME said that the reasons for these incidents, and the way in which they were managed, had been the subject of discussions at some other Community Council meetings. As well as the obvious impact on those involved, there is also a significant impact on the local communities and those travelling the network. Any diversions are - by necessity - extremely long. WD added that, on one particular occasion, multiple incidents had occurred in one day, creating a “perfect storm” of road closures and diversions. It was agreed generally that this was unusual but it highlighted the growing problem on our roads. DJ stated that a major problem was the nature of the roads themselves: the fact that many are not suitable for the amount of traffic that is using them. Someone needs to raise this with the transport authorities. ME stated that, in discussion with Inspector Gerry McMenemy, it was thought that a meeting involving representatives from the three Community Councils in the area, Transport Scotland and BEAR, Police Scotland, and our Education Service would be useful to explore the various aspects and ramifications of these incidents. It would be helpful for the communities to have a clear understanding of the procedures in place, how incidents are managed, and in particular, how communications might be improved. This could include the possibility of setting up traffic signs further afield to give motorists advanced warning of incidents in our area. WD agreed that this would be an effective solution, and suggested that some temporary diversion signs (similar to those being used at Crianlarich) might be useful at Lochearnhead to facilitate faster communication of such incidents. ME believed that a meeting would be useful and suggested Lochearnhead Village Hall as a central location within the area. This was approved, and it was agreed that PH would find out when the hall was available. The police have suggested a date in the week commencing 19th October, avoiding Friday 23rd. PH will liaise with those to be invited and seek to find an appropriate time and date. PH to liaise with invitees and suggest a suitable time and date for this venue. 4. Matters Arising a) Traditional Road Signs. PH reported having corresponded with Gordon MacLachlan, Rural Area Officer for Housing & Environment (Stirling Council), regarding the traditional road sign that disappeared from the back road to Stroneslaney some years ago. Mr MacLachlan stated that Stirling Council had replaced some traditional signs several years ago, but staff had since retired or moved away, and the only information he had was that at least one traditional, cast iron sign was “returned to the community council”. Unfortunately, there are no records of what happened to any signs that were passed to the community council at that time. MM said that the main point at issue was some “fingerpost” signs that used to be on the back road. It is possible that these had been stolen – but it could have been at any time over a period of many years. PH added that Mr MacLachlan had stated that Stirling Council would have no objection to the community council (at its own expense) temporarily removing and renovating any surviving, traditional signs. This was noted. b) Balquhidder Glen Road. PH reported having also spoken to Mr MacLachlan about the state of the C33 road from Balquhidder Village through to Monachyle Mhor Hotel and beyond. It appears that some damage has been caused as a result of forestry works near Tulloch Farm, and Stirling Council has been in talks with the Forestry Commission over this. Mr MacLachlan accepted that there were additional problems with the general state of the road, but pointed out that there is currently a backlog of some four hundred re-surfacing jobs in the Stirling area, at a projected cost of around £50 million. The Balquhidder Road will be assessed and given a priority rating. The council’s policy is that this assessment should take account of both the actual state of the road, and the amount of traffic that uses it. He promised to have the road looked at again, and that any short-term repairs that could be made would be addressed. MM confirmed that some short-term repairs have indeed been carried out recently. 5. Resignation – Susie Crammon Susie Crammon had written to say that she would like to tender her resignation with immediate effect. This had been precipitated largely by health issues that have obliged her and her husband to sell their business (The Broch Cafe) and make plans to move away South. She added that she had enjoyed her time serving on the community council, and was sorry that circumstances had conspired to make this step necessary, but hoped that everyone would understand. PH said that Susie had been a very enthusiastic and committed member of the CC, and had given freely of her time and support for local ventures. He proposed that her resignation should be accepted, but suggested that it would be appropriate to mark her departure with a small gift of gratitude for her many contributions to the community over the past few years, and to wish her and her husband all the best for the future. This was agreed, and it was suggested that a bouquet of flowers would be a suitable gift. It was thought that Susie might already have moved away, but PH agreed to make some enquiries and arrange for a delivery of flowers to wherever was appropriate. AB then asked if anybody was known who might be keen to take over from Susie, but nobody sprang immediately to mind. PH to organize a gift of flowers. 6. Community Council Connect Fund PH reminded members that Stirling Council had made available a “Connect Fund” that is designed to assist community councils in effectively communicating and engaging more widely with their communities. It can be used for any reasonable costs associated with consultation and communication. This had been discussed previously, and the possibility of creating a website for BLS CC had been suggested, but it was decided then that the existing channels of communication (through the LETI website and The Villagers magazine) were sufficient. The deadline for applications to this fund is Friday 23rd October and PH asked if members wished to re-consider things and make an application for a grant to help with some new form of communication. ME suggested that the community council might combine with The Villagers magazine. DJ said that magazine content couldn’t be published for free, but a website might be used on a subscription basis. In principle, it was decided that a joint venture would be useful, and PH agreed to prepare an application accordingly. PH to make application to the fund for a joint venture with The Villagers. 7. Bye-law and Clearways. There was nothing new to report. 8. Correspondence. a) National Park Community Champion Awards. PH reported that the National Park’s Community Partnership is holding its annual gathering on Saturday 7th November at Gartmore Village Hall. There will be a complimentary lunch provided, and presentations on the theme of distinctive, local food and drink produce. The Partnership is also seeking nominations for its “Community Champion” awards in categories such as: Long Standing Champion, Local Food Champion, Young Champion, and Champion Community. PH asked if members wished to put forward any person or community for such an award? ME suggested that Cameron Hendry from Balquhidder might be a nominee for the ‘Young Champion’ Award. PH to submit appropriate nomination for the ‘Young Champion’ award. MM concurred and thought that Cameron would have no objection to this. It was agreed that a nomination should be made to this effect. 9. Planning Matters. Nothing new had been notified. 10. Matters From Councillors a) ME reported that the budget process had begun for the coming year. A meeting had already been held locally, but invitations were not sent out in time. ME had expressed his displeasure at this, but said that there would be further opportunities for local opinions to be sought and expressed. b) There will be a “summit” meeting on 2nd October on the refugee crisis. Stirling is likely to take about 6% of those accepted by Scotland overall. c) ME reminded members that there had been an agreement in place between Stirling Council and Clackmannanshire Council on shared services, but informed the meeting that Stirling is now pulling back from this as the costs were proving too high. At the same time, an amalgamation of childrens’ services will be formed at Stirling in an effort to improve communications and overall efficiency. MM asked about Steven Patterson, who had been a local councillor but was elected recently to the House of Commons as an MP. ME replied that a by-election is due to be held very soon. It is likely to be a contest between SNP and Labour. 9. Any Other Competent Business Nothing had been notified. There was no other business and, at 8:45 p.m., MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting is due to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 28th October 2015 at the Inn & Bistro, Strathyre.


Scottish Wildlife Trust Callander Local Group Diary 2015 Talks start at 7:30pm

Kirk Hall, South Church Street, Callander

Scotland’s ‘chamber-folk quartet’ to visit Balquhidder Tues 15th December

7.30pm, Balquhidder Village Hall

‘RANT’, an award winning group of Scotland’s finest fiddle players, will visit Balquhidder Village Hall on 15th December as part of their acoustic winter tour. The quartet comprises Shetland sisters Jenna and Bethany Reid, Highlander Sarah-Jane Summers, and Lauren MacColl, who has lived in the glen for two years now. Since the launch of their debut CD in 2013 they have gone on to win a ‘Herald Angel’ award for exceptional performance during the Edinburgh Festivals, and were nominated for best traditional track in the BBC Radio 2 Folk awards in 2014. Their music has been compared to exhilarating contemporary string quartets and the most traditional of musicians. Highly skilled specialists in their local traditions, RANT arrange traditional material and compose melodies for the group, and use just their fiddles to weave textures and harmonies into a sound the Herald described as ‘Hypnotic’ in a review of their first performance at Edinburgh’s iconic Queen’s Hall. They have performed internationally and were invited to contribute string parts for the latest album by renowned Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis. For their December tour they will include specially arranged pieces of winter-inspired music In Balquhidder RANT will perform entirely acoustically in an intimate candlelit setting for an hour-long concert. This is a great opportunity to hear them in a small hall. Tickets £10 on the door including a glass of wine and festive nibbles. Visit to hear their music.

Tuesday 10 November RSPB’s All Nature Programme: Not Just Birds! James Silvey, RSPB Tuesday 8 December John Muir Trust: Giving Wild Land a Voice JMT

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

Thanks From Alistair Barclay

I’d like to thank everyone from around the local villages who took the trouble to support my nomination for the vacancy on the National Park Board. This was very much appreciated and as I don’t know specifically all those who did vote for me I hope you’ll accept this method of saying thank you. As you can see elsewhere, it was largely a two horse race with a previous applicant - Billy Ronald - getting the nod. I wish him well, and sincerely hope that he’ll support a lot of the previously completed efforts that have been made around our area to ensure a lasting great place to live in and visit.


Callander Film Festival See You at the Movies! You can join at any of our screenings or contact Eammon on 01877 339323 or Kumiko on November 7th is the story of a Japanese woman who goes in search of the satchel of money buried in the film Fargo... and on November 21st Selma chronicles three months in 1965 with Martin Luther King on the equal rights march from Selma to Montgomery. The November classic is The African Queen on Friday 13th November, one of the best loved adventure movies, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn as two completely opposite personalities thrown together on a river journey in WWI. We’re delighted to be back in the former St Kessog’s (Rob Roy Centre) in Ancaster Square for the contemporary programme on Saturday evenings, thanks to the Clanranald Trust. Classics are once again in The Waverley Hotel on Fridays. All screenings start at 7.30 and visitors are always welcome for £4 at the door. The Festival has been made possible with funding support from Callander Enterprise, Stirling Council and Regional Screen Scotland. Look out for posters and leaflets in August! Or contact Eammon O’Boyle for details 01877 339323.


McLaren High School Charities Bake Sale On Friday 25 September the new Charities Committee held their first event of this session. It was an Inter House Bake Sale and Wear Your Own Tie day to raise money for Save the Children. S6 pupils and teachers baked lots of delicious cakes to sell and it was a great success as we raised £613.35 for the crisis in Syria. Dochart won raising £236.29. Thank you to everyone who took part! Autumn Concert McLaren’s first concert of the new session took place on Thursday 8 October and the evening got off to a great start with the orchestra playing Purcell’s Intrada and Sarabande. This was followed by one of 3 new groups to be performing – the newly formed McLaren High School Pipe Band. Their debut performance was fantastic as they marched in, around the hall and played a set for the audience before marching out again. Well done Callum Hall in S5 for taking the initiative and organising our first pipe band in over 10 years! Performances by the Brass Ensemble (Lazy Bones), Wind Band (Sweet Caroline and a Glenn Miller mix), String Ensemble (Inception and Thriller) and Jazz Band (Blue Bossa and C Jam Blues) followed throughout the evening giving the audience a taste of the different genres of music. There were also debut performances by the Traditional Music Group who played 2 sets including well known tunes Battle of the Somme and The Gael (theme from The Last of the Mohicans) and the Doune S1 String Quintet. The Ukulele Ensemble seems to grow each year and they played a great rendition of Little Talks, followed by the Mixed Voices who sang Wade in the Water (acappella) and Blue Mountain River accompanied by Megan Milligan S3 on piano. Autumn Concert


The Winners - Dochart House’s effort for the Bake Sale...

... and Bracklinn with their display

The evening was brought to a close by the final orchestral piece, a brilliant version of Kernkraft. Well done to all pupils and

staff involved. We are now looking forward to the Christmas Concert on Monday 21 December! U14s and U18s vs Balfron High School - Wednesday 23 September On Wednesday 23 September, McLaren hosted rugby matches against Balfron at U14 and U18 levels. Both teams were looking to continue their good form after victories last week. The U14 match finished 9 tries to 3 in favour of the away team. However, this was another good run out for the boys, and a special mention goes to Ben Roebuck who capped an excellent debut with a try in the corner. Well done! The U18 team continued their excellent winning run with a fine 52-0 victory. Try scorers were Logan Trotter (x3), Luke Maher (x2), Charlie Allardyce, Gregor Nixon and Chris Orr. Logan successfully converted 6 out of the 9 scores. Next up

McLaren High U14s v Larbert High On Wednesday 30 September McLaren U14s were at home against Larbert High. A large number of the boys in both teams had only started playing rugby in August, so both sides deserve praise for the rugby on display. In the end, McLaren won the match 35-16. McLaren’s try scorers were Liam Ferguson x3, Duncan Brown x3, Cameron Dinwoodie, Euan Cairns and Innes Huckerby. Liam successfully converted 8 out of the 9 scores. Well done to all the boys on winning their second match of the season.

for the U14s is Larbert HS, and the U18s travel up to Aberdeen to play Westhill Academy in the next round of the Scottish Schools Plate competition. U18 Scottish Schools Plate Competition – McLaren High v Westhill Academy On Tuesday 29 September the McLaren U18 squad made the long journey to Aberdeen to face Westhill Academy in the second round of the Scottish Schools Plate Competition. It was a lovely day in Aberdeen, with conditions perfect for a game of rugby. McLaren started the match strongly and moved into an early 19-0 lead. The home team rallied and managed a score of their own to make it 19-5. However, this only served to motivate the McLaren players and they exerted their dominance to make the score 40-5 at half time. Changes were made at the break but this didn’t stop the boys from playing

Top: The Under 18s V Westhill, and above: The Under 14 Team. Top right - the Under 18s do their stuff

an expansive running game. Two more scores, including a debut try for Andrew King, extended McLaren’s lead to 52-5. Both teams then traded converted scores to make it 59-12. The home gained some momentum in the closing stages of the match and managed to bring the score back to 59-26. However McLaren scored the last points of a highly entertaining match, as De Lo sidestepped his way past a number of Westhill defenders to score his first try for the team. The final score was 66-26 to McLaren and the boys progress to the next round of the competition. Well done! The McLaren try scorers were Connor Clark x2, Logan Trotter x2, Charlie Allardyce x2, Duncan Hendry, Luke Maher, Andrew King and De Lo. Logan was in fine form with the boot successfully converting 8 out of 10 conversions.

Rugby – McLaren High v Stirling High On Wednesday 7 October the U14 squad travelled to Stirling High for a mini tournament. They played four matches against Stirling High, Lornshill Academy, Alloa Academy and Dunblane High. The games were fiercely contested and they were a great learning experience for the boys, with the teams having mixed results. They started with a 5-3 defeat to Stirling. However, they bounced back and recorded a 7-3 victory against Alloa, and then they defeated Lornshill 6-2. In the final match Dunblane ran out 4-1 winners. Try scorers for the boys were Liam Ferguson x7, Euan Cairns x4, Duncan Brown x3, Innes Huckerby x2 and Andrew McBeath. On the second pitch the McLaren U16 squad played a full length match against Stirling High. Stirling ran out 37-5 winners. The boys gave 100% until the final whistle and were rewarded with a first score for the team by Gabriel Thoumire-Bloemsma. A great effort from the 38 players involved in both McLaren teams.


Forestry Commission Scotland

My favourite recipes...

Pumpkin Soup

Any pumpkins left after the Halloween party? This is the recipe for you a wonderfully warming soup, perfect for cold winter nights. It is made with pumpkin (or butternut squash if preferred) and fresh ginger. Enjoy! Ingredients: A small piece of ginger root, thinly sliced 1 large onion, chopped 1 stalk celery, sliced 1leek, sliced 1-2 carrots, chopped 1/2 pumpkin (or 1 butter squash), chopped 1-2 potatoes, chopped 2 stock cubes 5 tbsp double cream Salt & pepper

Gently fry the ginger in a bit of oil, add the celery, leek and onion, fry until glossy. Add vegetables, potatoes, leave to sweat under cover for 10 min. Add 1 litre of water and stock cubes. Season, add cream and purée the soup.

Balquhidder Village Hall invests in Green Energy

Consultation: Strathyre Land Management Plan Proposals for how we intend to manage Strathyre Forest (west side of Loch Lubnaig, Kilmahog to Balquidder) over the next ten years (2016 – 2025) are being prepared over the next 9 months. The plan will cover felling, replanting, road construction, habitat management and recreation access. Part of the process includes staging a number of events to give anyone with an interest in this area the chance to give their views and help us develop a final land management plan. Details of the dates will be online and publicised in local media and on social media. If you are interested in coming to these events please contact Stephen:

Erudite Muse “When someone says it is not about money, it’s about the money.” H. L. Mencken quoted in The Independent “A man is never so on trial as in the moment of excessive good fortune.” Lewis Wallace, quoted on The Browser “Nations are defined not only by what they remember, but by what they forget.” Philosopher Ernest Renan quoted in The Guardian

Balquhidder Village Hall has made a big investment for the future by installing solar panels on its south facing roof. The hall committee expects the investment to be paid back over the next 9 to 10 years and then give the hall an income stream for the rest for the 20 years that the ‘fit in tariff ’ will run. On top of this it is also expected that the output generated by the panels, and other planned work, will significantly reduce the hall’s electricity bills.

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 - early 2016. We also sell frozen sausage and bacon packs - £25. We can arrange drop off points in the local area.

Contact: Fiona MacLennan t: 07783116399 e: facebook: Glenorchy Farm 14

“Can you imagine anything more depressing that fulfilling your potential?” Peter Cook quoted in The Daily Telegraph “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” A. A. Milne quoted in The Wall Street Journal “He has the face of a man who clubs baby seals.” Denis Healey on John Prescott quoted in The Guardian “A man doesn’t know what happiness is until he’s married. By then it’s too late.” Frank Sinatra quoted in The Daily Telegraph “That dreary tribe of high-minded women and sandal-wearers and bearded fruit-juice drinkers who come flocking towards the smell of ‘progress’ like bluebottles to a dead cat.” George Orwell on left-wing intellectuals, quoted in The New Statesman

Poetry from the Heart

Left to right: Linda McKay, National Park Convener, Billy Ronald, new Board Member and Gordon Watson, Mational Park Chief

National Park welcomes new Board Member Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park has welcomed a new Board Member following a by-election for the Ward 2 area of the National Park covering Breadalbane and the Trossachs. Following a close fought contest, Billy Ronald from Crianlarich has been appointed and will start his new role immediately. An unprecedented number of people expressed interest in running for election with seven candidates standing for nomination. A count was held on Thursday 29 October at the National Park headquarters in Balloch. Speaking of the appointment, National Park Board Convener, Linda McKay, said: “We’re really pleased there was such a high level of interest from people in the area who care passionately about looking after this very special part of Scotland. It’s an absolute privilege to contribute to the safekeeping of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs and I’m sure Billy Ronald with his local knowledge and experience will make a positive impact in the role of Board Member. On behalf of the Board, I would like to welcome Billy and I look forward to working with him.” Speaking at the election count, new Board Member Billy Ronald said: “I would like to thank all of the people that voted for me and I look forward to working with everyone involved in the National Park.” The National Park Board meets regularly to make strategic decisions about how the Authority fulfils its role in delivering the four National Park aims including balancing the requirements for conservation and economic development within the Park’s 720 square miles. For more information about the role of the National Park Board and Board Members, visit The Results Adrian Walters, Strathyre - 56 votes Alistair Barclay, Lochearnhead - 222 votes Billy Ronald, Crianlarich - 266 votes Drew Pringle, Brig o’ Turk - 99 votes Jack Black, Callander - 77 votes Jane Fifield,Kinlochard - 84 votes Sheila Gordon, Loch Katrine - 56 votes

A very proud Granny from Balquhidder asked if we would be interested in including a poem that her teenage granddaughter in Canada, Catriona, had sent her. Catriona was first diagnosed with leukaemia when she was only three and the poem is her account of her struggles with the disease over the last years. It is a very moving piece and comes with a “have a box of tissues handy” notice. A brave piece of writing indeed. I am sure we will all wish Catriona all the best. The feeling that only I know I was only 3 Broken dreams Shattered childhood Crashed to the floor like pieces of a mirror being smashed with a sledge hammer Just like that. Snap. Kids who walked past went home and told their parents “It’s like taking candy from a baby” Because I was the baby And my life... was the candy I was 6 Plastic tubes covered the walls like oddly colored party streamers... but there was never a party. Everywhere I looked all I saw were blood shot eyes and bloated faces. The blood shot eyes because of the tears The bloated faces because of the pain DON’T TELL ME YOU CAN DEFINE PAIN Pain... was the shadow always following me Every single day was an uphill ending in a cliff A tidal wave of pain killers Crashing down Over and Over and Over..... I was 10 While others relished hitting double digits I sat alone building casts around the broken parts of myself Trying to fix them So I could hide them away Pretend they didn’t exist If I believed they weren’t real maybe just maybe they would disappear BECAUSE SOMETIMES BEING LONELY HAS LESS TO DO WITH BEING ALONE AND MORE TO DO WITH FITTING IN I was 12 That was all I wanted to do To erase the constant stares and back round whispers stuck on replay inside my head But thank you, world Thank you for making every hall, every sidewalk a battle ground where I am outnumbered I am 16 I still have to lie through my teeth so I can keep your trust Because if I tell you the truth it might slip right through my lips and then I will have lost whatever I might have had And even though I have mostly recovered I’m still fighting So congratulations Because this all started when I was 3


Callander Ramblers

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 htm in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diary:

Ben Lui

Perhaps the first thing to say about Callander Ramblers is that membership is by no means confined to people who live in Callander and the very disparate members (meant in the nicest sense of the word) come as much from the villages around as from Callander itself. Thornhill, Aberfoyle, Gartmore and even Balquhidder are well represented, not to mention further-flung Dunblane, Kinlochard and Killearn.  There are even members from Pitlochry, Kinross and Scarborough!  The second thing to note is that the club is not affiliated to the official Ramblers movement.  It was founded in 1987 by a group of newly retirees, and so will soon be celebrating its 30th anniversary.  The club is refreshingly free of rules - in fact the only rule seems to be that we don’t go walking if it is going to rain (or if Paul thinks it is going to rain, and he’s usually right).  The club motto is “We’ve got all day” which means that walks are generally at a fairly leisurely pace, and there are always plenty of coffee and lunch breaks.  The “walks” are divided between Strolls of 4 to 6 miles with no great height to be gained; Rambles which are 5 to 9 miles and might include some up-hill parts; LDPs which are long distance paths, attempted

over a number of weekends; and hills. Hills are sub-divided into Wednesday hills which are not too strenuous and Saturday hills for the fittest/youngest members.  The long distance paths so far achieved include The West Highland Way and the Mary Queen of Scots Way coast to coast walk, which was actually compiled by Paul Prescott the present Chairman.  The walks are led by a different member each time and this has the benefits of providing walks in different areas, with local knowledge enabling stories, interesting facts and gossip all to be imparted during the lunch stops.  In recent years there’s also usually been a longer trip with a variety of walks offered on each day.  Andalucia, Ullapool, Shetland and Grantown on Spey have all been most enjoyable.    Membership is certainly a bargain at £5 per year and this contributes to some of the costs if a bus is needed for a linear route, although on most occasions we manage to share cars and costs.  The photos hopefully give you an impression of the varied terrain and landscapes covered and might inspire you to come and try one of the forthcoming walks where you will be made very welcome and, for most walks, well-behaved dogs are also welcome.  Completing Mary Queen of Scots Way


November • Wed 4th 09:30 Ramble: Doune to Callander (8.5miles) Contact 01877-330105 • Wed 11th 09:30 Hill/Ramble: Wether Hill & West Craigs (503m) Contact 01786-825877 • Sat 21st 08:30 Stroll: Blair Drummond circuit (6 miles) Contact 01786-825682 December • Wed 2nd 09:30 Ramble: Strathyre Forest Loop (6.5 miles) Contact 01877-384227 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.

Shetland Broch

Stac Polly

Gardening At this time of year we should be talking of ‘burning melting reds, orange and butter yellow, turning to scorched lime before dropping to the floor and littering tree bases in a halo’. These autumn leaves, the delights of small children, parents and primary school teachers whose posters decorate fridges and classrooms are as traditional as conker picking and pumpkin carving. These colours may be seasonal favourites - but why not have an investigation into our most favourite of colours?  How can we ignore blue - from the deep sea to the wide sky; this, our most widely used colour in all things, is a modern phenomenon in the garden.  Blue is sharply refracted by the eyes, which causes the lens to flatten and to push the blue image back.  We perceive that blue areas are receding and therefore smaller; this should be considered when planting blue plants.  The tonal range is enormous in the plant world - from denim, sky, cobalt and sapphire, to baby.  When we look towards spring, blues are worth planning for as they can soothe the abundance of red and purple tulips, and the abundant, jaundiced love of yellow in nature (think daffs). The ‘river of blue’ at Keukenhof Park in The Netherlands is one of the world’s great horticulture feats.  This prime example is a swathe of blue muscari running like a river - and I would defy anyone going on what I regard as a pilgrimage for the spring not to be overawed.  As the crow flies, it is literally on our doorstep.  Another beauty in blue is Scilla siberica (Siberian squill) which sits beautifully with dwarf daffodils like ‘Jetfire’ or ‘Tête à Tête’.  They are animal resistant and spread nicely around the garden if given some space.  You can get them into your lawns and like most bulbs you apply the 6 week rule after planting to let the foliage die down.  With Scilla you should set your mower blades high so as not to scalp the foliage.   Agapanthus, another striking blue, has become more popular over the years mainly due to some excellent breeding work to develop dwarf cultivars in a range of colours.  Some have that metallic feel to the flowers, and if crammed into tight pots and kept dry over the winter they can make impressive displays with their clean arching foliage - still attractive when not in flower.  Another, a deer resistant anemone by the name of ‘Blanda’ (which can naturalise like its white wild cousins) have cultivars that are like washed denim and lilac in appearance and are very


by Jonathan MacDonald


easy on the eyeballs. Iris reticulata is a very elegant showy blue plant whose rich petals exhibit interesting striping and speckles, to contrast with the cobalt blue leaves.  Ideally planted at the front of the border (on account of their dwarf habit) the leaves, which elongate after the flowers have gone, will disappear by late spring, clearing the decks for other plants.  The general concept of a entirely blue garden is seldom done, as it would no doubt appear cold and icy. Yet the range in colours is worth exploring - and clues lie in the names caerulea, cyanea, or azurea to name a few.  Botanically speaking, blue flowers are uncommon, but in northern Europe there is a relative abundance of the various vivid colours available.  Think of the shocking spires of delphiniums and lupins and you instantly get the ‘blue feeling’ with perhaps the classic and often discussed hydrangea turning from blue to pink (soil acidity controls this).  There will always be the hanging basket purists who insist on rich plumes of blue lobelia whose Achilles’ heel is its propensity to dry out.  If this happens, the show is over and the curtain is down.  Last century saw a huge craze for bright

glazed blue pots usually surrounded by crushed slate. However more neutral coloured pots are easier to plant as you do not need to contend with the pot colour, which can be a challenge! Companies like Cuprinol now have impressive ranges of colour wood stain and have come a long way from Red Cedar or Dark Oak.  You literally choose your ‘garden room’ colour* like you would your living room.  (*‘Wild Thyme’ seems hot these days, by the way.)    The colour blue is believed to slow the metabolism, help suppress one’s appetite and release calming chemicals (ideal colour scheme for a bedroom?); it helps you become more productive - and interestingly, weightlifters have been shown to handle heavier weights in blue gyms.  Surely all good reasons to turn your garden blue next year. “Blue is the only colour which maintains its own character in all its tones; it will always stay blue. Yellow blackens in its shades, and fades away when lightened; red when darkened becomes brown, and diluted with white is no longer red, but pink.” Raoul Dufy, French Fauvist Painter 1877-1953

Light up your garden next spring! Bulbs now in stock - lots of rare varieties.

Open 7 days a week: 9.30am - 4.30pm Huge selection of plants and stock

Tel: 01764 670800 17

Operation Ironworks has now came to an end for the 2015, and it has been a fairly busy summer with numerous crimes detected, ranging from drugs possessions to drink drivers and thefts. Visitor numbers have definitely been down compared to other years which I think is down to the weather predominantly, but this was the same effect that we observed over on East Loch Lomond when the byelaws went through the consultation phase. The Environment Minister has been out and visited this area and she is now making her decision which we should hopefully know sometime soon. Work is still progressing with the National Park looking to Transport Scotland to implement “Clearway” status to the A84 and A85 trunk roads. The local community council is still awaiting a response from Stirling Council with regards to their application for alcohol byelaws around the lochsides in this area. I think once all the solutions are in place, this area can only get better with an increase in numbers of tourists and a safer place with less antisocial behaviour. In the past month, we have found 7 persons in possession of controlled drugs and they will now be reported to the Procurator Fiscal as a result. There have also been the usual number of motoring offences detected.   In the surrounding area, we has an issue with a male sneaking into commercial premises such as guest houses and hotels and stealing items. Thanks to a local businessman within this area and his staff who made contact with me after disrupting the male and providing some details on a vehicle. This was key to tracing a male who we suspected as having been involved and he is now safely in custody awaiting trial. He was responsible for thefts in Callander, Killin, Crianlarich, Comrie and Crieff but to name a few.   Between the 11th and 13th of October, a house under construction near to Killin was broken into and copper was stolen from within. Although the property stolen

is only valued at several hundred pounds, the value of the damage caused will run to tens of thousands. I am aware that there is a number of building sites or properties undergoing renovations in the area. Can I please ask that everyone remains vigilant, particularly as we move into the darker winter nights? Typically this is when we begin to see a rise in the number of thefts.

Security Advice

Given that the darker nights usually heralds an increase in thefts, I ought to provide suitable advice. Consider how your property looks to a would be thief. If you had the choice of a house that was well lit and looked “lived in” or one completely in darkness and clearly unoccupied, which would you chose?   Given that we are approaching winter, and the hours of darkness are increasing, consider the lighting of your property, inside and out. Inside, leave lights on or leave a lamp on an electronic timer. Another good tip is to leave a radio or TV on when popping out and consider closing blinds and curtains also to make the house look like someone is in.   Outside, put up lighting all around the house, and consider the use of security lights with PIR sensors attached. Bushes and shrubs can also be cut back to aid visibility and reduce potential hiding places for thieves. Try and put security lighting up as high as possible, along with alarm boxes. On several occasions, thieves have disabled both as they have been within easy reach of the ground. Great for easy maintenance, and for a thief to remove!   Consider taking a note of serial numbers of any expensive items of property in your house, and photographs are also a good idea. Another

good solution on the market is Smartwater. Have a look at their website, www.smartwater. com . If you are interested, please get in touch with me and I will provide you with details. I do still have some free kits available. Ensure all sheds and outhouses are locked at all times, even if working in the garden. If you leave doors open on sheds and garages, it lets everyone see what is inside and gives them the opportunity to plan a return visit!   If you are going away for a few days, always consider leaving a key with a neighbour or friend/family member who will visit regularly, daily if possible. Do not allow mail to stack up behind doors. If it is possible, leave a car outside the house and whoever is checking the property can move the car if possible. If you are going on holiday, let me know by either popping into my office, or drop me an email. It means that where possible, we will try to keep a look out for your property when we pass.   Have good quality locks fitted to doors and windows and consider the use of an alarm. Some alarms will contact the police and we will attend along with a keyholder to ensure all is in order. This is not always the case so if you hear a house alarm sounding, think about phoning the police.   Make sure you lock your vehicles at all times and remove the keys from the ignition. Do not leave vehicles unattended to defrost outside your house as they are liable to be stolen and your insurance will be void! Take any items of value out of the car, or if you have no choice, cover it with something to make it less obvious.   The most important piece of advice is be vigilant and keep an eye out for your neighbours and the local community. Call the police immediately on 101, or 999 in an emergency, if you are at all concerned about the behaviour of a person or vehicle.   If in doubt, contact me and I can arrange a free security survey and can provide the relevant advice to you. 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


Farm Forum: Anyone for roast midge?

Every year there are important food fairs held on the continent. The Scottish meat trade, among other sectors, are represented there. The Scottish meat trade is represented by our meat exporters under the Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) banner. The Anuga Fair, held in Cologne, has just concluded and this coincides with the release of the results of the annual survey of Scottish meat exporters carried out by QMS. This survey revealed a 4.3% increase in the total red meat exported from Scotland for the year ending September 2015 to approximately £76.6 million. Beef represented 55% of the total red meat exported from Scotland, with lamb representing 45%. These figures exclude what is known as the fifth quarter - this is product like liver and tongue etc. Far more of the fifth quarter is eaten on the continent than at home. This has always puzzled me because it is cheap, tastes great and is very nutritious. However it is encouraging that it is selling and it is good news in terms of optimising returns for the whole carcase. The survey concluded that “The steady demand for Scottish products overseas should send out a positive signal to livestock producers for the long term.” This is especially so when you consider the on-going challenges, especially the influence of the exchange rates.

Now for my Strange but Tr ue paragraph... I use excerpts from an article by Eleanor Mackay in the Scottish Farmer. “The risks involved in introducing insects into the food chain are still unknown according to a new report by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The long awaited report by the European food watchdog   body explores the risk of using insects as food and animal feed.” “EFSA said that further research was needed to better assess the microbiological and chemical risks arising from the use of insects for food or feed”. “...insects represent a niche food market in the EU, with several member countries reporting “occasional human consumption,” EFSA reported”. “However, the watchdog said the use of insects as a source of food and feed potentially has important environmental, economic and  food security benefits. EFSA said the insect species reported to have the greatest potential for use as food and/or feed in the EU include houseflies, mealworms, crickets and silkworms.” “Meanwhile, the use of insects for animal feed has been a popular idea throughout the EU, and the European Commission is currently co-financing a research project to explore the feasibility of using insect protein for animal feed”.... This is almost a case of the truth being stranger than fiction. However you never can tell. It may be in the years to come we could be “enjoying” braised houseflies with a midge sauce !!

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


‘The Bigger the Back, the Bigger the Front’ (Continued from front page)

Ronnie paints with an ‘assistant’ at her home in Balquhidder

In her talk, Ronnie said that she finds it hard to talk about her paintings - but that she wanted them to communicate with people on a very basic and primal level. “Each one will take about a couple of hours - quite fast! I like them to be fresh and not feel too laboured. I want them to feel spontaneous. “The ‘Triangle’ represents a very solid base in my life.” She explained how she loves to work outdoors as well as in; she spends a great deal of time outdoors, finding the fresh air and peaceful situation stimulates her mind. “You shouldn’t let limitations stop you from doing what you want to do. You have to find a way to work round them.”

Ronnie relaxes at home with a friend

HIGHLAND GLEN TRAVEL Private hire TAXI and Tours

07554 195 446

Ghost Train! ... Could it be a ghost of a train coming down Glen Ogle? Maybe some readers might remember the days. Gus Cameron 20

Airport transfers at competitive rates Distance no object Contact Stirling Council for DRT

08452 777 000

The following article is a summary of the main points presented at a meeting in Lochearnhead on the 19th of October. We are including it as we feel one of the issues was that very few people knew about this potentially important plan and might wish to have an opportunity to express their own concerns and views.

Stirling’s Economic Strategy 2014 Supporting the Rural Economy

A rural plan will be developed to help enterprises thrive and encourage economic diversity Overview of Rural Economy Population: 43,783 = 48% of Stirling Council area Number of businesses in 2013: 1,810 = 47% of total GVA (Gross Value Added) in 2013: £428m = 43% of total GVA per employee: £35,717 for rural Stirling £34,365 for all Stirling £54,646 for all Scotland Rural Economy Issues We Already Know About

• Broadband – across all sectors – but more remote communities hit hardest (and may not be included in the Superfast BB roll-out).

• Mobile phone signal – across all sectors but particularly tourism (quality of experience) • Public transport – issue for young people going to college (lack of transport and cost) also employees need this to get to work, and tourists need this to move around – or do they? • Raising investment from banks – this has been harder to raise since the economic crash • Lack of suitable business space – is this still an issue? • Restrictive planning regulations – is this still the case? • Affordable housing – for lower paid workers to be able to live in area • Red tape and regulation are dissuaders from taking on staff or apprentices • Being a sole trader can be lonely work and you have to be an expert at everything • Underemployment – seasonality of tourism + agriculture + part time working...

Sector Specific Issues Tourism • Recruitment of staff in shoulder seasons • Retention of staff • Skilled staff year round • Limited resources to take area Tourism Strategy forward • Poor tourism signage in some areas • Limited wet weather options... Local Food and Drink • Not enough food or drink producers to make collective initiatives viable? • Not all sectors represented (horticulture? cheese?) – can you make a whole meal from local produce? • Not enough business-to-business transaction • No local co-ordination to take initiatives forward... Agriculture

• Younger generation of (potential) farmers moving away (sector no longer an attractive option/lack of affordable housing)

• Weather dependent – rainfall damaging • Global pricing out of hands of individual farmers • Local branding of produce won’t make enough of a difference to farmer • Sector is very subsidy dependent ... Challenges for the Action Plan

• How do we turn these issues around? • What specific support is needed to grow the rural economy further? • Who needs to be involved? • Have you any examples or thoughts where by working together, or with support of the public sector/other organisations, more growth and jobs could be achieved?

• Other thoughts or comments?

Next Steps for Rural Stirling Economic Action Plan More consultation events are taking place around rural Stirling. A Tourism specific workshop is planned 11 November (Harbourside Café) A Local Food & Drink workshop is also planned 13 November Draft report by end of November to Steering Group & Stirling Council Final feedback event to everyone December/January Please email any thoughts or comments to - Or speak to the LEADER Team: Anne-Michelle Ketteridge 01786 233155 Neil Ramsay 01786 233166 Sue Wyllie 01786 233156

Stirling Council Stirling Council’s latest draft budget report is set to be published next week, outlining proposed changes to the way services can be delivered in the face of challenging financial circumstances. The report will be published on the Council website on Monday (2nd November) and be available in local libraries, and will form the basis for discussion between members of the public, Council officers and elected members next month. Council Leader Johanna Boyd explained that there are tough choices to be made ahead: “Everyone knows how challenging the last few years have been financially, and that the position is only going to get tougher as we go forward. “The squeeze in public spending at the same time as demand for services is rising puts us in an impossible position – this is common across Scotland. In Stirling’s case, if we do nothing, then by 2020/21 we face a budget shortfall in excess of £25 million.We have already done much to address the funding gap, working with our communities to identify savings of £12m over the last two years. “The whole shape of local authority government is having to change to meet the challenges we face. “The options set out in our Draft Budget Report detail ideas about how we can transform the way the Council works to deliver services so that we can retain as much as possible of what we currently do, but it means an inevitable impact on both services and staff. “We want to work with communities to identify and then protect the services that are most important to them and I would urge people to engage with the process now to ensure their views are heard.” Now in its third year the Council’s Priority Based Budgeting (PBB) process seeks to match available resources to priorities through detailed engagement with the public, staff and other stakeholders. A series of discussion events were held in September to gather views and ideas from members of the public that have helped inform the proposals now contained in the draft report. A further round of Community Conversations open to all to discuss these more detailed proposals will now be held as follows: Thursday 12th November, Bannockburn High School Monday 16th November, Wallace High School Tuesday 17th November, Balfron Campus Thursday 19th November, Lochearnhead Village Hall All meetings will take place from 7-9pm and a Business Breakfast Briefing will also be held on Tuesday 24th November from 8.15-10am in Old Viewforth, Stirling. 21


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



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 FK19 8PB 01877 384203

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

Andrew Poulter Business Manager 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!

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

Bowling - St Fillans Pilates - Balquhidder Hall - 9.30am (contact Abbey Arkotxa 0776 6407578) 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

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


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

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 Jason Allardyce 01877 384295 07508 595211 Wedding, Portrait, Social, Pet Photography

NOVEMBER 2015 6 8 12 14 17 20 25

Ghost Walk Strathyre - see p9 Remembrance Services - Lochearnhead, 9.45am Balquhidder 11.30am - see p2 Darts League - Inn at Strathyre - see p5 Games Night - Lochearnhead Village Hall - 7.30pm - see p2 Rock and Roll Bingo Inn Strathyre 7.30 p.2 BLS AGM Mhor 84 7.30 p.2 Stirling Council Budget Meeting - Lochearnhead Village Hall - 7.00 pm - see p21 PUBLIC MEETING: BALQUHIDDER BROADBAND - Balquhidder Hall - 7pm - see p2 Balquhidder Village Hall AGM - 7.30pm - see p2

DECEMBER 2015 Balquhidder Christmas Tree Festival- Balquhidder Hall - see p6 12 15 RANT Concert - Balquhidder Hall - see p11 31 Lochearnhead Hogmany Party - 9.00pm - see p4 Strathyre Hogmany Dance 8.00 - see p5 1st JANUARY 2016 Balquhidder New Year’s Day Dance - 9.00pm 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 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 november 2015  

Village news, events and more in Lochearnhead, Balquhidder, Strathyre and St Fillans.,