Page 1



Price 50p

The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

rd n o c Re hed o as Fest m S ike ! B Day

After a two-year reign, Scott Denny’s record time for the 12k cycle loop from Balquhidder to Mhor84, Strathyre and back has been smashed by a full 13.5 seconds.

With a new record time of 20 minutes 28.73 seconds, the new 12k loop champion is... Scott Denny! Yes - he’s done it again, and this time in great style, pipping fellow Stirling Cycle Club member Vincent Jozajtis to the post in the last 50 metres, in a spectacular sprint finish to the line. That’s some going - it’s pretty hard to drive round that loop in 20 minutes let alone cycle it in that time. You have a go!! This was just one of the many highlights in this year’s 2016 Balquhidder Bike Fest which took place on the last weekend in August on what has since felt like the last day of summer. Blessed with blue skies from dawn on Saturday, keen mountain bikers, road bikers and families looking for a day out, came together for a full weekend of races, fun and entertainment on two wheels. Read the report and see more photos on page 12/13.

Scott Denny does it again!

Balquhidder Christmas Market

Editor’s Bit The Villagers Referendum? At a recent Production Team Meeting (a grand title for a chat and a glass of wine) we discussed the question as to whether we should take the big step of producing The Villagers in colour. As you can imagine such a radical change has many implications - the main one being that the cost would have to be increased to £1. We considered putting it to a local vote but common sense prevailed and we decided to go ahead with both colour and, hopefully, a more modern format in the New Year. This will also enable us to make far more use of the great photos we have of many of the social events from all the villages as well as showcasing the fantastic scenery we all enjoy - perhaps we are sometimes guilty of taking it for granted. We do hope you will all continue to support us as we will certainly need the backing of all our readers and advertisers. We also have plans to offer some of our subscribers more up-to-date options, so please watch this space! Inevitably in this edition we are starting to give you advance warning of dates for your diaries for December. We hope to get all details correct this year and include as many notices as we can so please remember 21st November will be our final deadline before Christmas and New Year. Congratulations to Iain RamsayClapham for another very successful Bike Fest. The trails he has created are fantastic for getting different perspectives over Balquhidder (if you are sensible and walking them rather than hurtling down at great speed) and thoroughly recommended by our two Labradors. Enjoy them in some autumn sunshine. JJ

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 - September 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 2

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




Thank you

It is with great sadness for George and Helen, that from 1st October 2016 Highland Glen Travel will no longer be operating. This is due to illness, as George can no longer drive for the company. We are going to work with Kingshouse Travel to fulfil any bookings we have already taken. Kingshouse Travel will be doing more taxi work and will have a dedicated number to make short notice bookings easier to do. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported our small business over the past 5 years. It has been a pleasure getting to know you all.

‘Lunch Club’ time again!

The Lunch Club starts up again on Monday 3rd October at the Hertfordshire Scout Station in Lochearnhead. We are a very friendly and welcoming club so why not give us a try? We start from 12.30 to 2.30pm every Monday until Christmas week, then restart in January till March. On offer is a choice of two soups, two puddings, tea/coffee with biscuits all for the princely sum of £2.00. Also four special Dinners between now and March. See you there! Pauline Perkins, President

The St Fillans Bit

by Isobel Howell

On Monday 5th September we welcomed a new furry addition to the Howell family, an event that has been some eleven years in the making (we never like to rush into anything). Like so many other people that have moved into the area, it has been a life changing experience living in St Fillans. As my job means that I’m able to work from home, and having so many great walks and beautiful scenery on our doorstep, a puppy seemed like the next grown up thing to do (or the closest to having a toddler we’ll ever get). Barley, a working border collie, is three months old and came from a sheep farm in Glen Quaich. I’m ashamed to admit that I’m the sort of person who would rather drive the half mile to the local shop than walk (well, it’s quicker, and it’s always raining) so this is one huge life changing event for me. When I tell people we’ve got a border collie, they nearly always look aghast and exclaim, “Oh, they need an awful lot of exercise!” Now I’m not against exercise if there’s a purpose to it, such as walking to a pub for a nice meal or walking and taking photographs of scenery (to distract me from the fact that I’m actually walking) but walking every day because you have to sounds like punishment to me. So, last month I bid farewell to the morning lie-ins with a cup of tea, banished thoughts of impulsive evenings away, put away anything nice that might look as though it could be classed as puppy fodder and braced talk about their feelings with others who myself for lots of exercise, carpet cleaning can empathise, and they gain support and the other necessities that go hand in from knowing they are not alone in a hand with responsible dog ownership. time of great sadness and uncertainty. The upside of it so far is that she’s only On a personal note, I’d just like to got little legs (at the moment), hasn’t been add that these groups can provide fully vaccinated and so can’t go very far. much support, as well as a valuable In all honesty, I do actually enjoy walking social opportunity, for anybody going when I’ve got a companion at my side through the life challenging events that and having a dog allows you an excuse to bereavement can bring - I’d encourage stop and chat with people you wouldn’t anybody to go along. normally – I am surprised by how much attention a cute puppy can evoke. A walk Now for Mary’s update from The Four without a dog just seems like tonic water Seasons Hotel: without gin. And so here’s to all dog owners everywhere and to Barley who’s Their Autumn menus are going down a going to take me on some wonderful treat, apparently, especially their Dunira adventures – once we get out of the car! venison, Perthshire lamb Wellington and Ayrshire pork, cooked 3 ways. Mary Liz Cunningham (a cat owner) would like wishes to remind everyone that they are to share news about a new bereavement still open every day for lunch and evening group that has been set up in Comrie: meals –   even though some visitors to A new self-help bereavement group is now running every  Monday  in the Comrie Church Annexe, in a drop-in format from  2:00 pm until 4:00 pm. The aim is simply to allow people who are coping with the loss of a loved one, whether recent or from some time ago, to meet with each other and talk about their feelings with others who are going through the same difficult adjustment to a life missing a much loved relative or friend. Elders from Dundurn Church are on hand to support the group in its initial phase, but the plan is that as time goes on, group members will themselves determine their future development. Anyone coming to the Church Annexe  on Monday  afternoons, even if only for a short time, can be assured of a welcoming atmosphere and a relaxed chat over tea or coffee, with people free to talk or listen as they prefer. Many bereaved people have found it helpful to


the area have been told they are closed midweek and only called in because the lights were on! From November the hotel is open for long weekends only (Thursday nights to Sunday nights inclusive). On 25th November the hotel is hosting a wine tasting dinner (which, by the way, I went to last year and it was excellent) – the hotel is almost fully booked and there are only a few tables left for this.  A five course meal with wine to match each course is £62 per person. If anybody is contemplating Christmas Day lunch there we are advised to book well in advance as, Mary points out, this fills up quickly and they have already started taking bookings. Their new Autumn menu has just been implemented, and we are encouraged to call in for dinner and Sunday lunch to taste the best of Fall (or Autumn as they Continued overleaf say in these parts).


The St Fillans Bit Continued from previous page

Meanwhile, over at The Achray House Hotel … Zelda tells me that the seasonal change also sees an adjustment in the hotel’s schedule to make allowance for winter times; from the second week in October they will be open Wednesdays to Sundays weekly. Which leads me nicely onto news that the Ladies’ and Gents’ Supper Clubs are underway, with the first ones of the season both having been held at the Golf Club in September. For anyone new to the village, they meet every last Wednesday of each month (ladies) and the gents meet on the last Thursday of the month. Typically starting in September, and the last ones being in May or June, they provide an opportunity for folks to meet up and enjoy good food at a local hotel, golf club, sometimes curry nights at the Village Store, or on the odd occasion, a “pot luck” supper at a kindly host’s house (try saying that after a few). With the advent return of the supper clubs it is a reminder that Autumn and then, all too quickly, Winter, are on their way. A reminder again that the village bonfire and fireworks display this year will actually take place on Saturday 5th November – Bonfire Night! This is a free event and, for a small village, there is always an impressive display of fireworks. Well worth digging out the wellies for. The Ladies Lunch Club resumes its once a month get together in the Sandison Hall, starting on 12th October and held on the second Wednesday of each month until March. I’m not sure what they get up to - I’ve a secret feeling that it’s like the Freemasons and so I might pop along to the first one to find out what really goes on and then I can report back. I’m informed there is some sort “inhouse entertainment” – just so long as I’m not required to participate in any singing or performing of any kind. If you are interested (the qualifying criteria is that you must be a lady) and would like further details, please contact Sally Watson. Great news – the village will get a replacement bus shelter at the corner of Station Road. Not so good news – we’re 32nd in line and then we’re going to get a second hand one. The solution sounds simple – the current bus shelter is about the size of an average potting shed, so why can’t we just go out and buy one and install it ourselves? The powers that be (Perth & Kinross Council, I assume) would not allow such ideas above our Station (Road). Heaven forbid that the thing might collapse on somebody (even though the current one looks as though it may do at any minute) or some unfortunate soul get a splinter in their finger as they waited for the number 15 bus. It all comes down, 4

The dilapidated bus shelter

sadly, to insurance. Surely getting off a bus, or even travelling on one, is far more dangerous than standing in a bus shelter. Oh, but then again, one day I did spot an angry looking pheasant running by the bus shelter – I think those things can get quite feisty at certain times of the year. The Field of Hope

Next time you’re waiting at that bus stop (make sure you’re wearing the regulation safety gear) have a look at the Field of Hope at the entrance to Station Road. A village working group has been busy sprucing the area up. Ten tonnes of top soil (generously donated by AB Gairns) has been deposited along the fence, creating a new border which has been planted with some shrubs. The field will also have some refurbished plant containers and wildflowers will be planted, making the area an attractive focal point where the village Christmas tree stands. Last month the village ran on several electricity generators whist SECC had to disconnect the power supply to the lines running through Littleport Forest as part of the tree felling exercise. To watch the tree cutting machines in action is impressive to say the least. A JCB type vehicle with a saw blade on the end makes two cuts in the tree. The tree, laying on its side, is then stripped of its branches and then sawn into the logs you see on those lorries that you encounter on

The tree felling machine in operation (photo courtesy of Prof Steve Howell)

the Langside Road. The whole operation takes about a minute per tree. I can’t even prune a rose shrub in that time. By the time this goes to press the felling should have been completed. I’m told that the views from the top of the locally referred to route, the “zig zag path” are spectacular as you are able to see straight down the loch. Looking forward to doing that route with the hound soon.

The view of the tree felling at Littleport Forest behind The Four Seasons Hotel (photo courtesy of Prof Steve Howell)

As usual, if you have any news, stories, photos or even suggestions then please get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.


Strathyre News Abigail with her rose bowl prize

BLS Annual Country Show


Let’s Play Darts! The Inn and Bistro winter Darts League will soon be upon us and anyone wishing to join in can do so by entering their name on the notice in the Inn. Please read the rules (right) before signing up. This is a fun competition run to help fill up those long dreary winter nights - and is held every Thursday starting at 7pm. Why not come and join us for a wee fun night? No darts skill necessary - it’s just a game, although there are prizes at the end of season bash and a few beers. You can pop into the Inn and sign up or just give me a call on 384384 and I will enter your name for you. So if you fancy a night out with some really good food thrown in, why not come along. Hopefully our first night will be on the 1 November if all goes to plan, and will run through till May ‘17 with every end of month game being just for practice. Hope to see you on the ‘ochy!

• There will be a fee of £2 per player per playing week and unless player drops out this will be for the duration of the competition. • All players start with 301 and finish on a double with the exception of the reigning champion of the period (Wullie D 2015/16) who will start ALL games with 401 and finish on a double. • Marker will NOT be permitted to advise player on how to finish but CAN advise on amount left and exact position of where dart is located on the board if requested. • If any player does not attend league games for a period of THREE WEEKS without consultation with organisers, then said player will be eliminated from competition and will forfeit any payments already made. • All players MUST attend at lease one league night within a five week period whether consultation has taken place or not unless in extenuating circumstances.

These rules were agreed at a meeting held on Thursday 31st March by existing league members. W Dalziel, E Richards League organisers

Real Ale - Real Music


I had the pleasure of attending and taking part in the Country Show on 3rd September in Strathyre Village Hall and was delighted to see that many people are still supporting this lovely event, although it would be good to see more participation at future events. However, it was encouraging to see that the school and some youngsters did get involved along with our more ardent supporters. I would like to give a special mention to our own Abigail Todd who won a beautiful rose bowl with her first attempt. There were quite a few first timers this year who won awards and this is encouraging news, as they will be the people who can assure a future for this very pleasant event. My congratulations to all who put in the effort and expertise with their exhibits as they are the people that makes this show a success and to Linda Anderson and her team who work so hard and give up their valuable time organising all that is required on the day. PS I did quite well myself with five firsts, The Strathyre Cleansing Cup and the Bower Cup, but keep it quiet!!!! Wullie D

Stuc A Chroin Hill Race


As you may or may not have heard, the ‘Stuc’ Committee has secured the UK Championship AND the Scottish Championship for 2017. This is wonderful news for our very hard working committee and for the Village as a whole, hopefully bringing in some local business on the day, if not the weekend. However, this means that stage TWO of the renovations to the recreation grounds, already agreed at a Village meeting, must now come into being. This will involve extensive work before the race (which will take place on 6 May 2017) to accommodate a field of possibly some 400+ runners and supporters. To get things underway we have scheduled Friday 7th to Monday 10th October as our working weekend, with as much work as possible being squeezed in during that period. This is where we are asking for as much help as can be offered in any shape or form, even if its just making a cuppa for the work force, it would be greatly appreciated. A lot of hard work will be involved, i.e. clearing unwanted and fallen trees, digger work and a chipping machine will be going full blast. While we would appreciate all the help we can get, for Health & Safety reasons, can we request that children and pets be left safely at home while work is ongoing. If you would be interested in helping out you can advise any of the committee or just turn up on any of the specified days. The start time for the Friday is still to be clarified but from 5.00pm onwards there will be committee on site to advise. If all goes to plan this will be a wonderful area for the Village to use for their own leisure activities, as the ‘Stuc’ will only need it once a year. If you have any questions please feel free to contact any committee member or myself on 384384. Wullie D (On behalf of Stuc Committee) A date for your diary! The committee will be organising a Family Fun Night in the Strathyre Village hall on Sat 19th November to raise funds for the renovation of the Recreation ground, which will consist of a quiz, whisky curling, raffle and a possible auction. Please bring the kids, some nibbles and BYOB!!! There will be more details to follow in the way of posters and a reminder in November’s issue of The Villagers.

Scottish Wildlife Trust: Ferocious Fur Coat The last SWT article asked for your help in reporting locations of invasive nonnatives Himalayan Balsam, Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed. This time it is a furry (but not cuddly) invader – the North American mink. One was recently reported in Callander near the Red Bridge and they are known to be present by many water-courses across this area. They have expanded across most of the UK after escaping, or being misguidedly released, from fur farms. They are carnivorous: their diet includes rabbits, shrews, fish, frogs, crayfish, eels, rats, birds and eggs. It has been recently commented that there seem to be fewer ducks at Callander Meadows and, if you keep chickens, mink will not be your favourite visitor! Water voles are particularly vulnerable since the female mink is the only predator that can follow them into their escape burrows. Mink fur is naturally a glossy dark brown, commonly with small white patches on chin, throat, chest and groin. They have a slim body with relatively short legs and are much smaller than otters; head & body for males/females are 42/36cm, with tails of 18/15cm vs otters at 55-90cm with tails 30-50cm. Also otters are shy and unlikely to be seen during the day while mink can be seen at any time - and they have unmistakably malevolent beady, black eyes! Between May 2008 and August 2009 just over 1000 water voles were re-introduced into Loch Ard Forest in a project involving FCS, RZSS and SNH. Annual surveys have shown good expansion outside of the original introduction area and this season a new colony has been discovered not far from Loch Venachar, an impressive 8km away from the nearest release site. The project aim was to counter a 90% reduction in water vole populations, partly due to loss of habitat but principally due to predation by N American mink so their monitoring and control is essential if the water vole progress is to continue; voles already have a hard time, being a favoured snack of many native predators. This project relies on the voluntary effort of individuals and local organisations. If you have seen signs of water voles or a mink and/or are interested in getting involved, then please contact TWVP Project Officer Ryan Greenwood on Ryan.greenwood@   or 07909892460.

North American Mink

Water Vole


Alternatively let me know on and I’ll pass it on. Finally thanks to all the local businesses and individuals who contributed to the Bottle Stall held in Ancaster Square on 27 August; those who helped, bought raffle tickets and plants, and the weather gods for giving us a rare dry day. Also to the Scouts who graciously moved to Sunday after a double-booking of the Square! We raised just over £700 that will now be donated to wildlife conservation and educational projects. Lesley Hawkins 7


from Kasia

Cardamom Banana Muffins Ingredients: 3 large bananas, mashed 3/4 cup sugar 1 egg 1/3 cup melted butter 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups flour 2 teaspoons of ground cardamom (1Cup = 250ml) Method: 1. Mash bananas. 2. Add sugar and slightly beaten egg. 3. Add melted butter. 4. Add dry ingredients and bake at 375º for 20 min. Enjoy!

We are well into our autumn session now and since the AGM in August we have added a total of 40 new members. We have a large catchment area and draw in members from Killearn to Kippen in the south, Kinlochard and Brig o’Turk in the west, Doune and Dunblane in the east and all villages along the A84 as far north as Killin. Four new groups have started up in Killin which are much appreciated by local members as it saves them the journey to Callander. The U3A movement as a whole is expanding and developing all the time and there will be a celebration in London in November to mark the fact that there are now 1,000 local groups within the UK. It will soon be time for our annual flu vaccinations and once again we will be publicising the U3A, what it means and what our group has to offer, by leafletting all GP surgeries in our area. Finally, applause please for the team of six C&WP members who took part in the Quiz Night run by Callander & West Perthshire Rotary and who were delighted to come second, Callander Ramblers being the winners. 8


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 provisionally be on: Wednesday 26th October & Wednesday 23rd November On those afternoons, 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. BRACKLINN PRACTICE The surgery will operate as normal on Bank Holiday Monday the 10th October 2016 in the morning and close in the afternoon for staff training. If you require medical attention in the afternoon, please contact NHS24. FLU CLINIC OPEN DAY The annual open flu clinic will be held on Friday 21st October, 2016 at Callander Medical Centre. You can be vaccinated anytime between 8.30am – 5.30pm - just pop along to the medical centre and take a seat in your practice waiting room. Receptionists will be on hand to guide you. Other vaccines on offer will be the Pneumonia and Shingles vaccines for those eligible. These are a once only vaccine and do not need to be repeated. You may be surprised to know that over 50% of flu vaccines are given at the open clinic. If you cannot attend the open day, clinics will be available after the 21st. We cannot guarantee the vaccines will be available before that date. There will be emergency clinics only on this day, and repeat prescription requests will not be processed. Our chosen charity this year is the Ripples Retreat in Callander. Funded by It’s Good 2 Give, the retreat will be for families of children with cancer or bereaved families of young cancer patients. The building is designed to reflect the water of Loch Venachar. See you on the 21st October. INSURANCE REPORTS/REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION We are increasingly being asked to complete forms for people, either to do with insurance policies or benefits etc. Please do not book an appointment with either the GP or Nurse for this, just hand the form in to reception and it will be passed to the correct person for completion. This is not part of routine work, and has to be done outwith normal surgery times. They can also take up to several hours to complete and whilst every effort will be made to complete the form on time, neither practice can guarantee this. You will be contacted once the form has been completed. Please note you may be charged for this work. CLINIC SCHEDULES Both Bracklinn and Leny Practice operate their clinics with 10 minute routine appointments, with catch up appointments added in case a consultation takes longer. However, we do appreciate that sometimes the clinics run very late, and we apologise for this. When making your appointment, please discuss with the receptionist: • If you have more than one problem to discuss. • How urgent you think you need to be seen. The receptionist can make allowances by offering: an urgent appointment; a 20 minute appointment or longer if required; an appointment at the end of a clinic. By making the above allowances, clinics should run more smoothly. Please remember, the Doctors don’t start their clinics late unless an emergency situation has arisen, but the cause of clinics running late is due to consultations/examinations taking longer. We thank you for your co-operation in this matter.

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 www. a m b l e r s . h t m in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Our next walk is on Sat 1st October 09:30 Stroll: Carron Glen, Denny (5 miles) contact 01786 825682

Wedding in the Glen On 10 September Callum Leishman and Debbie Chalmers were married at Balquhidder Church. The day turned out to be beautiful and sunny, very similar to the day Callum was christened in the church in 1967! His name is on the Cradle Roll.

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!

Anyone For Tennis? The BLS Trust is working to raise funds to bring the tennis court in Strathyre back into operation. In order to access the funding, we are required to create a ‘Sports Club’.  The Trust is looking for someone willing to get a BLS Sports Club off the ground.  For further information or to volunteer please email:


A Note from

St Angus’s

We in St Angus’s have just had a great visit from the Bishop. He came from Perth to take our service and stayed on for a congregational lunch afterwards. It was  good to get to know him in an informal setting and it was easy to forget he is not just our Bishop but also the Primus (no, not a stove!), the spiritual head of the Scottish Episcopal Church.  In spite of our respect for his office and, indeed for him as a man for he deserves it, in the sight of God is he any more valued and loved  than the homeless addicts we so often see on the streets of our cities?  It’s hard for us with our prejudices and expectations to believe that, but....... I wonder if you saw the Dalai Llama speaking on Channel 4 News recently?  My son-in-law sent me a video clip  and what the Dalai Llama says in it is worth sharing in case you missed it. “Buddhist Terrorists, Muslim Terrorists - that wording is WRONG. Any person who wants to indulge in violence is no longer a genuine Buddhist or a genuine Muslim.  The teaching of Islam is that once you involve bloodshed you are no longer a genuine practising Muslim.  All the major world religions carry the same message love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline.  That is the common ground and the common practice which leads to mutual respect, mutual learning and mutual admiration.” Frankly I would add “Christian” to that list but I would also want to highlight the word “wants.”  What do YOU think? PS  If you are looking for a connection between our Bishop and terrorists I can assure you there isn’t one!  I was just rambling. And from St Angus’s, Lochearnhead: Dinner and More at The Four Seasons, St Fillans on Sunday 6 November at 6pm. You are welcome to join us for an evening of good food, music  (Neil Thomson of Gandiegow fame, Kathy Whitaker, Ilse MacFarlane), talks and book signings by two of our new authors: Sam Morshead of racing fame with his memoirs of a great and often very funny career, and Donnie Duncan, a geologist with his memories of diamond hunting in Botswana, China, Russia and other intriguing spots. Tickets at £12 and proceeds to Mountain Rescue and the work of St Angus’s. Of course there will be a raffle! If you are interested, please contact Paddy Allen at 01764 655389 or 10

Church News

BalquhiĐĐer •bls Reg. Charity No. SC012316

Harvest Thanksgiving Sunday was earlier for us this year. If you were not in Church on 25th September you will have missed it. We gave thanks for all we receive and will be contributing to Christian Aid`s harvest appeal for families in many parts of Africa to have safe supplies of clean water. This is something we so often take for granted here, but it is very different in places like Malawi in Africa. Now to local affairs. I am very optimistic to report that we have a sole nominee for the vacant ministry here in Balquhidder and Killin. Rev Dr Russel Moffat has been invited to preach at both Sunday services on 2nd October 2016. At present, Rev Dr Moffat is at a parish in Edinburgh and the Vacancy Committee is hoping that our two parishes will be happy to call him to serve here. Church members will be able to vote on his selection immediately after the service here on 2nd October at the usual time of 11.30 am. Votes will be counted and the result will be conveyed to Presbytery by our Interim Moderator, Rev Terry Anne Taylor. If Rev Moffat is duly chosen by both parishes we shall have to wait for the Church of Scotland process of ordering these things, and for his own parish to agree. Who knows, we could have a new Minister to start 2017 -if not before! It would be a nice Christmas present for our two parishes, but we had better not jump the gun just yet. We hope for more news next month! Keep praying, everyone! Jean Edwards


Ronie Spy Hamilton   26.04.41 – 21.07.16

Jacqui, Gaynor and I would like to thank friends and neighbours for the support and kindness shown following Ronie’s death on 21st July 2016. For those who were able to join us at the celebration of Ronie’s life, your presence helped turn a sad occasion into something much more positive.   It was exactly the sort of gathering of kindred spirits at which the man himself was in his element and how it befitted him.  The love and admiration for Ronie expressed personally and in the many cards and letters we have received has been quite overwhelming, heart-warming and comforting.    It is also thanks to your generosity that I was able to send a donation of £910.00 to Bloodwise, a charity which funds worldclass research into, and offers information and support to anyone affected by, leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other blood cancer related disorders.     Ronie loved his years in Strathyre and Balquhidder - 45 in all.   In his earlier, fitter days he so enjoyed roaming the hills, walking his dog, holding the floor at a Burns Night or similar, or having a craic with a neighbour.   While deteriorating health significantly constrained such activities in recent times, he continued to gain immense pleasure simply from sitting on his stoop, listening to the silence or the birdsong or the whirr of a distant lawnmower or power-saw.  Being at home, in the house he built, and in the midst of such beautiful surroundings he didn’t feel the need or desire to be anywhere else. Thank you all for making his life here so agreeable.   He will be greatly missed around the glen and beyond and, above all, by us. Maureen  


Hi Iain we all had a fabulous tim e on the weekend and Ethan said it was the best bike fest ever (praise indeed!). Sun day was a great family day, I just loved see ing the kids ride around the village with their friends and of course the Horsey Ladies winning the tug of war was the icing on the cake! Laura

Balquhidder Bike Fest 2016 Saturday afternoon saw an Enduro style event run on the wild natural singletrack downhill trails in Kirkton Glen (where riders are timed riding four downhill trails). Local names on the podiums included Gregor Nixon with fastest overall time over the four testing routes littered with drop offs, banked corners, jumps, steep sections and burn crossings. Also on the podium in their own age and gender categories were Rebecca RamsayClapham who was 2nd behind Scottish Junior Cross Country MTB Champion Emily Field, and Jamie Nixon, who secured a third in the male U17 category. Saturday evening saw Mhor’s excellent mobile fish and chips on offer backed up by some live music and a bar in the festival tent at the village hall.

Sunday dawned - another blinder of a day - and kicked off with the KXC1000 mountain bike ascent race to the head of Kirkton Glen. This gruelling climb and white knuckled descent was won overall by Charlie Aldrige from Crieff with a blistering time of 29 minutes 49.9 seconds who was swiftly followed up by Connor Ramsay-Clapham in 2nd in the male U17 category. Karen Methven also proved once again that she is made of stern stuff chasing the ladies 40+ podiumists down the hill in style with a huge grin on her face. Then to the road race at noon - a 12k sprint round the loop from Balquhidder through Strathyre. Though won by Scott Denny, local faces who put up good performances include Kevin Horsely

who secured a strong 3rd in the male 40+ category. He was quickly chased round the loop by both Ian Inglis and Adrian Wilburt - all pretty fit guys - well done all. With the morning’s races over, so the afternoon fun and games began at 1pm with the Big Noisy Bike Parade taking riders and pipers and drummers from Mclaren High School on a float, in style to Kirkton field where a veritable cocktail of biking antics and games entertained families, children and grandparents alike. Of particular note were the Dual Slalom courses - allowing riders of all ages to “race their mates” on two parallel slalom courses shoulder to shoulder. Most of the kids had hours of fun trying the bike agility and obstacle course, but without doubt the moment to cap them all was Thank Y O everyon U, Iain and e BIKEFES at the T a fantas ... What t Very we ic time. ll done. Gill xx


h we enjoyed Dear Iain, to say how muc effort you te no k ic qu a Just dous What a tremen the weekend.  .  in t pu s er and all the help able to attend next year… be ndar!  We will I hope we will arlie’s race cale t people Ch on g in nd depe to le e word as well try to spread th e missing!  ar know what they n ai  Many thanks ag el ha  Mic

when the Tug of War rope snapped as the iphone users v android phone users tug of war battle commenced... hilarious to all onlookers enjoying Inverlochlarig venison burgers in the sunshine.! To the delight of all the horsey ladies they thrashed their spouses in the “Horsey Ladies v Husbands” tug of war too! Altogether the 2016 BBF was yet another memorable and fun day. Thank you to all the organisers, volunteers, riders and spectators and may everyone be just a little bit inspired to keep on pedalling as we venture into colder weather... Full results are live online at www. Iain Ramsay-Clapham

Glad it was such a weekend. I’m lo good oking forward to all the pics too. Excellent orga nisation as always, Iain an d Gilly. Penny xx


Gardening by Beverly-Claire Wainwright Growing up in Manchester, as a child I had very little understanding of the countryside and of food production. I vividly remember the first time I saw a cow on a camping holiday to Wales and being quite horrified when I watched it being milked by hand into a grubby bucket - and then even worse, being expected to drink it, still warm. Every child of my generation received a small bottle of milk at school break time. Ours were always sat next to a radiator and were, consequently, similarly warm and to me, absolutely disgusting!

Left: tea plantation in Sri Lanka; and above, the ‘camellia’ tea plant Who remembers school milk?

A few years later my family took on an allotment (well it was either that or pigeons) and my love of growing plants - and an interest in how food was grown - began. I recently visited Comrie Primary School on an open day and was bowled over by their garden and the children’s fantastic veg boxes. What a great way to learn so many skills and to understand the hard work that farmers worldwide put into bringing food to our table. The veg boxes have since been vandalised; hard to understand, and impossible to explain. Whenever a crop fails, for whatever reason - the weather, disease or other manmade disaster - the impact on the growers is always the hardest. October in the garden is a time for tidying and cutting back but there is still time to plant out fruit trees, hardy plants and some winter veg. Even though tea is the second most popular drink on the planet after water, until I went to work on a tea plantation in Sri Lanka, I had no idea that tea plants were a type of camellia and that all kinds of tea, whether black, white or green, are made from the same plant using different processes. I didn’t know that brewing green tea with boiling water (instead of 85 degrees) would make it bitter. I am now working with a group of nine tea planters, mostly based in Fife and Tayside, who have been busy propagating around 30,000 tea seedlings. We are about to plant out our first test batch of seedling tea plants prior to larger scale planting next year. Tea is an acid loving camellia and can grow here in Scotland. On a commercial 14

scale it takes 4-5,000 plants to fill an acre and it takes 3-4 years for bushes to reach maturity and start producing tea in any quantity. Seeds have been sourced from Nepal and the Republic of Georgia for their hardiness and seedling tea (as opposed to tea from cuttings) with its big tap root is particularly suited to the Scottish climate. However, the plucking season here is short - from May to September - with plucking being possible around once every 2 weeks. Leaf quantities are lower than you would expect in say India or Africa so any tea being made is likely to be quite expensive. Last year I worked with Walker-Munro farms who have had tea in the ground now for seven

years to help them develop their first pure 100% Scottish hand made black tea. The tea was produced from around 200 plants using only the finest leaves. The entire season’s crop produced just 2 kilos of Kinnettles Gold black tea - a totally unique honeyed gold brew quite unlike any machine made tea. If you want to try a cup the tea is on sale in Edinburgh at Pekoe Tea. Planting tea in pots or into your garden is perfectly possible and Autumn is a good time to do it... as long as you have the patience to wait several years for your very first cup, that is! More tea tips can be found at

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 McLaren High School Pipe Band – Summer 2016 This summer has been very successful for McLaren High School Pipe Band. On 16 July one of our senior pipers, Connor RamsayClapham, played in Ancaster Square for the opening of the Callander Summerfest. He helped create a lively atmosphere in the square for the event, and was even interviewed by Central FM. Our most successful event of the summer was undoubtedly the Callander Highland Games. The band marched (below right) in the parade all the way from the Dreadnought Hotel to the games field at the other end of the town, and despite the long distance we sounded great and were well received by hundreds of onlookers lining the streets. We played in the games field throughout the day, entertaining the many people who had braved the rain to attend the Games, and thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of being part of such a large community event. Well done to all those who took part, it was a fantastic effort by everyone involved! Our final event was the Balquhidder Bike Fest on 28 August, pictured below, attended by a smaller senior contingent of the band. The highlight of the day was playing whilst sitting on hay bales on a low loader trailer being pulled through Balquhidder by a tractor as part of the Noisy Bike Parade. Definitely not something we would have ever imagined doing or will ever forget! We played a few more sets at the festival field before trying our hands at ‘Zorbing’. We all thoroughly enjoyed our day at what was a fantastic event. The band now looks forward to a busy term of preparation for upcoming school concerts and McLaren High School’s first ever St Andrew’s Night traditional music concert. Callum Hall S6

The High School Pipe Band have had a busy season!

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! 16

McLaren High School Awards Ceremony 15 September 2016 The evening opened to the skirl of the pipes and beat of the drums - Callum Hall (Headboy) has built the McLaren High School Pipe Band up from nothing into a force to be reckoned with! Ailish Duthie (voice), Emily Field (Piano), Connor Ramsay-Clapham (Small Pipes) were joined by world silver medallist Callum Convoy (Bodrán) to give the musical interludes. The keynote address was delivered by former pupil Josh Littlejohn who described how he had been inspired to create ‘Social Bite’, a sandwich shop with a twist. He helps feed the homeless and those in need. The theme throughout the night was how each of us can make a difference to those around us. McLaren has an unbelievable eleven pupils who represent Scotland and the UK who were recognised on the night with two world Silver medallists in their ranks. Their remarkable talent coupled with a dedication to training are an example to all of us. There were two inaugural prizes this year: “The Douglas Connell Carpe Diem” and the “Ian ‘Budgie’ Martin” Awards. Douglas Connell is donating £1000 each and every year for the next ten years to support pupils who want to make a difference in the world. This year the prize was split between Callum Hall; to help ensure the pipe band continues after Callum and the other sixth years leave and Andrew Murphy who is raising funds to send one or more McLaren pupils to work with orphanages in South Africa. Both projects will make a positive difference to those around us. Doctor Stuart Corr, Assistant Professor of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, is a Former Pupil who, on learning of the untimely death of Ian Martin, a much loved Biology Teacher at McLaren, has set up an annual prize. One pupil, expenses paid, will travel to Texas during the summer working in a range of laboratories on a host of cutting edge equipment and applications. Olivia Ridgewell, who won this Award this year and spent part of the summer at Baylor College, spoke of her life changing and practical experience before Nicola Martin, Ian’s daughter, presented Olivia with a memento of her week. The prize giving ended with a surprise. For the first time in twenty one years there was a joint Dux with Finn Manders and Alan Chodyniecki sharing the award. Between them they could have lost a staggering 53 marks and still have had straight band 1 A passes! Please make a date in your diaries, next year’s Awards Ceremony will take place on Thursday 7 September 2017 at 7.30 pm in Callander Kirk and will celebrate the 125th year of McLaren High. All family, current and former pupils and friends are invited!

Top: Trophy winners; above: Finn and Alan (joint Dux) with Josh Littlejohn; right: Connor Ramsy-Clapham and Sophie Rose, Dux Ludorum

S1, S2, U16 and U18 Rugby - Home to Alva HS On Wednesday 7 September McLaren Rugby hosted four matches against Alva High School. In an evening packed with rugby it was great to see both schools managing to field four separate boys’ teams on one evening. The matches were played back to back on both the pitches in Callander. First up at the High School was the U18 match. In the closest game of the four, McLaren ran out 31-26 winners. The try scorers were Charlie Allardyce x 3, Callum Convoy and Angus McMillan, with Charlie successfully kicking three conversions. Next up was the U16 fixture. McLaren proved too strong for their opponents and their experience across the field ensured a comfortable 49-0 victory. Scorers were Cameron McLay x 3, Harris Fisher x 2, Jamie Nixon x 2, James Isgrove and Duncan Brown.   McLaren Rugby were victorious in both of the matches taking place at the Primary School. In the first match the S2 team won 31-9. Although Alva started strong scoring the first two tries of the game McLaren bounced back and played some excellent rugby quickly turning the scoreline around. Scorers were Rohan Watson x 3, Cameron Dinwoodie x 3, Robin Turnball, Thomas Woods and Innes McLellan. Josh Maher successfully converted three kicks. In the second match the S1 team put on an excellent display of running rugby. Scoring some excellent team and individual tries the boys ran out comfortable 44-0 winners. The tries were scored by Jamie McNaught x 4, Jack Campbell x 2, Ben Isgrove x 2, Ari Stec, Ryan McGuire, Arran Livingstone and Andrew McLay. Well done.   Please follow us @McLarenRugby on Twitter for more details and updates.


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.

7 interesting facts about BAGPIPES...

Pin-Feathers 18

1 Traditionally, bagpipes were made from the skin of a whole animal, turned inside out, with the pipes attached where the legs and neck would be. 2 Far from being a Scottish invention, bagpipes have a lengthy history. Even Aristophanes has a character joke about pipers from Thebes who sound like dogs in distress. 3 The tyrant Nero was a ruthless ruler, strategist, and persecutor of Christians. He was also said to be a skilled piper. 4 Across Europe bagpipes have been in continuous use for centuries, especially in Great Britain, Ireland, and north-western Spain. In Bulgaria, the instrument is called a Gaida. 5 Following the 1745 Jacobite rebellion overt signs of highland culture were driven underground, which may have resulted in the suppression of the instrument, although no law explicitly banned it. Following this clampdown, a piper fell afoul of the authorities as “no highland regiment ever marched without a piper” and that therefore in the eyes of the law, his bagpipe was an instrument of war. He was executed on 6 November 1746. 6 The song A Flame of Wrath for Patrick MacCrimmon is a piping standard. It gets its name from the story of a piper from Glenelg, near The Isle of Skye. The musician set a whole village alight in order to avenge the murder of his brother, the eponymous Patrick. It is said the piper overlooked the blaze from a hill, playing this relentless chant. 7 In April 2015 the bagpipes came unstuck again when busking regulation introduced by Boris Johnson sought to limit performances which involved instruments with “loud repetitive sounds.” Apparently the bagpipe fell afoul of this regulation.

SEEING STARS by Keith Wilson 

OCTOBER 2016 The constellation of Pegasus represents the winged horse and although it doesn’t have any bright stars it does have a very distinctive feature known as the ‘Great Square of Pegasus’. The horse is depicted in the upside down position as viewed in the northern hemisphere. The corners of ‘The Great Square’ are marked by four stars and it is a large feature, about the width of two outstretched fists. You will find it high above you in the south this month - just look for the big empty space! ‘The Great Square’ is yet another excellent signpost to find your way around the night sky. If you didn’t find the Andromeda Galaxy last month using Cassiopeia as a signpost then why not try using ‘The Great Square’. Draw an imaginary line from the bottom right hand star through the one at top left and then go the same distance again - you should land right on top of the Andromeda Galaxy. An imaginary line from the bottom left star through the top left star and slightly more than the same distance again will bring you to the W-shaped constellation of Cassiopeia which sits right in the middle of a band of the Milky Way. You can also locate the star Deneb in the constellation Cygnus (The Swan) by drawing an imaginary line from the bottom left star in the ‘square’ through the top right star and twice the distance again. The ‘Great Square’ might not be spectacular to look at but you can’t beat it as a celestial signpost! 19

Over the last month, I have been conducting joint visits alongside Stirling Council Licensing staff to all the licensed premises within the local area. These visits are routine and carried out regularly to check compliance; but they came at a time when Stirling Council are reviewing their liquor licensing policies, and Police Scotland (alongside the Ambulance and Fire Service) have been highlighting the issues that the emergency services contend with surrounding alcohol consumption. Staff from all three emergency services were surveyed regarding the reporting period of a month with alarming results. The following provides a breakdown: Staff suffered from verbal abuse: Police Scotland 76%, Scottish Ambulance Service 68%, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service 34% Delays getting urgent information from drunk people at incidents: Police Scotland 67%, Scottish Ambulance Service 71%, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service 21% Challenges at incidents due to drunken behaviour: Police Scotland 67%, Scottish Ambulance Service 75%, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service 22% Alcohol related incidents: Police Scotland 59%, Scottish Ambulance Service  45%, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service 24% These issues are not only isolated to the big towns and cities, and locally we have seen our fair share of alcohol related issues. The premises visits were only part of the approach and no major issues were found; however regular checks will continue. The place where we come across most of the alcohol issues locally is on the loch sides and that is the reason why an alcohol byelaw was proposed some time ago. It has not been forgotten about and work is still going on behind the scenes with the legal team at Stirling Council and we are hopeful that all going well they will come into effect early next year alongside the proposed National Park byelaws. Your View Counts Some of you recall over the past several years, as the local community officers, we were given the task of attending and speaking to a number of random people each year to gauge what the priorities were for the area. That system has now been replaced with an online survey which runs year round. The annual survey has been live since April and has been completed by more than 10,000 people nationally since the 7th April. Only 41 responses have 20

been received from the Trossachs and Teith ward so we need more people to tell us what we should be focusing our attentions on. Analysis of the results, which are published on the Police Scotland website and are broken down by division, show that the main issue of concern at a local level is split between anti-social behaviour, housebreakings and drug dealing or misuse. Given recent international events, Counter Terrorism and National Security understandably also came out on top as a national priority. Police Scotland has recently announced an increase of 124 armed officers, to ensure we have the capacity and capability across Scotland to respond to any emerging threat, and the use of our armed officers will be a critical factor in our response. This is complemented by work which aims to identify and prevent those vulnerable to supporting terrorism, from taking this path, ultimately working in partnership to achieve a safer Scotland. Violent Crime was the second highest priority nationally. There are many aspects to violent crime, which take place in both public and private areas, and include robbery, domestic abuse and sexual crime.  We are seeing an increase in reporting of some aspects of these crimes, which we understand from partners to be an indication of confidence in our approach and support of victims. The picture of violence varies across the country, so we ensure flexibility of local and specialist support services, to reflect the demand across communities. As well as giving their view on the national priorities the public are also commenting on priorities for their local areas.  The ongoing survey, which will report quarterly, replaces the annual survey and is hosted on the Police Scotland

website: - yourviewcounts. The survey should take no more than 15 minutes to tell us what is important to you about policing these local communities. I appreciate any responses that are given. As always, I can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at william.     Regards, PC Will Diamond  

Lochearnhead Police Office FK19 8PT Twitter:- @stirlingpol       Facebook:-

Rangers’ Review By Gareth Kett

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Last week the roar of stags reverberated across Balquhidder Glen for the first time this year. It seemed not quite in keeping with the unseasonably mild weather. But while we often associate the rut with cold frosty mornings, rutting activity is actually stimulated by a combination of diminishing daylength and light intensity (1), rather than temperature. The rut is all about display with visual, acoustic and olfactory posturing between rival males used to establish dominance and the chance to hold a harem. Fighting can lead to serious injury or death, so only occurs when dominance can’t be established through ritual display. Recent research has revealed that nighttime brings no respite for harem holders (2); they must defend their hinds around the clock. Towards the end of the rut in November many harem holders will tire and be displaced, allowing other stags the chance to mate. In Europe stags seriously injured during the rut are often quickly picked off by wolves, but the price is higher in Britain where in the absence of predators death can be slow in coming. While stag activity in the National Park is increasing, visitor activity is decreasing. Despite the normal seasonal occurrences of abandoned camps, litter and damage to trees, by and large the season has gone well, with joint patrols by the Police and Rangers continuing to discourage antisocial behaviour. Rangers have received additional training on managing problem campers and Volunteer Rangers have been out and about engaging with visitors, providing information and encouraging positive behavior. In between patrolling and training Rangers from the Trossachs and Breadalbane Team have been surveying water voles both in the Glen Dochart/ Strath Fillan area and in the Trossachs Water Vole Project area in and around Loch Ard Forest. Across Britain water voles have declined by around 94% since the 1970s (1) due to habitat degradation and predation by American mink. They became extinct in the Loch Ard Forest in the 1980’s. An opportunity to initiate what would become Scotland’s first water vole reintroduction project arose in 2006 when around 60 water voles were found and removed from a road construction site near Glasgow. These water voles were taken to the Derek Gow Consultancy (DCS) breeding centre in Devon, where they were bred to fourth generation

(approx. 500 animals) and released into suitable sites across Loch Ard Forest, near Aberfoyle. Around 500 more animals were released between 2008 and 2011. Descendants of the released water voles have occupied most suitable areas of habitat across Loch Ard Forest and the population is now expanding into areas of land outside the forest. National Park Rangers have led volunteers in monitoring the spread of the water voles since 2009. In a project complementing the Trossachs Water Vole Project, Rangers and volunteers have been surveying for water voles in the Strath Fillan/west Glen Dochart/north Glen Falloch area. The project has revealed a meta-population of water voles spreading from Glen Lochay down through Loch Dochart Estate, east to Loch Dochart and west to Dalrigh. There could be more as large areas remain unsurveyed. Unlike the Loch Ard water voles, this northern population is a remnant of a much larger historic population that probably spread across much of Britain prior to agricultural intensification. Interestingly, at lower altitude we found mink and otter sign in areas occupied by water voles, suggesting that where habitat quality is good and otters are present, water voles can survive despite the presence of mink. While extensive good habitat is probably the key to survival for water voles, otters are thought to compete for riparian habitat with (and occasionally kill) mink (1), reducing their impact on water voles.

Rutting time again!

Otters aren’t impartial to an occasional water vole either, but can’t fit down their burrows. Sticking with small mammals, each year we ask people to be especially vigilant on the roads at this time of year as red squirrels are out and about cashing in on the seasonal abundance of food to build up fat reserves for the winter. Many of them will be taking advantage of the hazel nuts that can be found in abundance along many roadsides, so will be dashing across roads displaying a distinct lack of road awareness. Please watch out for them. Thanks for all your reports of wildlife sightings (there was a particularly unusual report of a hoopoe at Mid-Lix in mid-September). It helps us build up a picture of wildlife in our area. As usual if you have any wildlife sightings to report or any queries please contact me on the above number or e-mail gareth., or contact Graeme on 01389 722115, e-mail References: 1.Harris, S & Yalden D.W. (2008) Mammals of the British Isles: Handbook, 4th Edition. Impress Print, Corby, UK 2 . h t t p : / / w w w. r e p r o d u c t i o n - o n l i n e . o r g / content/85/1/213.full.pdf 3.

Breadalbane’s water voles are black in contrast to the mostly brown Trossachs population.


Calea Sona, Bed & Breakfast BLS – Where Business Does the Talking

Lesley and Rod Blain have lived in Balquhidder since the early eighties, with Lesley running a B&B from their home in the Glen since 1992. Offering two comfortable rooms and homecooked breakfasts for guests, Lesley has seen the popularity of her business grow over the years with many guests returning time and again thanks to her excellent hospitality. Here she talks about the practical elements involved in her line of work, as well as some of the more memorable experiences she’s had over the years. What does the name of your B&B Calea Sona mean? Our friend Bill McGeorge, who was helping Rod with his building works at the time, told Rod he had a name for the house which was Calea Sona, which apparently is Gaelic for “peaceful harbour”. The spelling we have isn’t exactly correct because Bill made the sign, and the piece of wood wasn’t long enough for the proper spelling! So now it almost looks Spanish. I think there are probably a couple of ‘d’s and ‘h’s missing. Anyway, that’s how it came about. I think Rod had asked him for ideas for a name for a house and he said “Oh, I’ll go away and have a think,” and he came back with the sign. That sort of settled the matter. When did you first open the B&B and can you tell us a little of its history? The B&B actually started at Stronvar (where we used to live) basically because it was just something interesting to do, and to make a little bit of extra money. We used the downstairs rooms for guests and they would come upstairs to our family kitchen for breakfast. We started in 1986 and carried on till we moved across the Glen in the summer of 1992. There was 22

Calea Sona

still work to be done in the new house and the B&B resumed the following summer of ‘93. At that time there were several folks in the Glen doing B&B. Now there are just a couple of us, as all the other places have changed hands or stopped. We’re still hanging in there though.

myself. It makes sense because sending out the laundry for example would probably cost as much as I was earning.

How do you manage the bookings – do you do it all yourself or are you registered with any website or computer programme? Initially I was with the Tourist Board in Callander. There were lots of tourists in the area, so they kept us busy. I’m not with any agency now, but I have many guests who keep coming and recommending their friends. For the bookings I receive both phone calls and emails. Calea Sona is on the internet too. We are on the Trossachs website.

Do you have to wake up at a certain time in the morning when you have guests staying? I’m very flexible. I’ve done breakfasts at 5 o’clock in the morning. The chaps who used to come for deerstalking used to get up at all sorts of times. They’d go out early, and so they’d have part of their breakfast first and then come back later and have the rest of their breakfast. I just ask people what time they would like to eat and then I figure out what time I need to get up. I’ve learned not to start cooking the breakfast until I see them, because not everyone gets up and comes down when they say they will. They can be early, but more often than not they’re late, so I prefer to wait until I see them!

What is involved in the everyday running of the B&B – do you have any staff helping with the cooking and cleaning or is it all done by you? I do all the cooking and house-keeping

If you’re making a cooked breakfast do you use any local produce or ingredients? We buy all our eggs from that little place in Callander Deli Ecosse. They’re very

good eggs – two yolks is quite a common occurrence. I used to sometimes get eggs from people in the Glen too, but there are not that many places to get eggs locally anymore. For bacon I tend to go to Booker Cash & Carry in Stirling and buy a big pack. They have a really nice range of bacon. It’s a nice thickness – not something that disappears under the grill! Are things noticeably quieter in the winter months, and if so, do you enjoy the quieter period or are you trying to get as many guests in year-round? The season really is spring and summer, tailing off as we go into October. There are still bookings in the winter, usually from people that I know. I’ve got some people that I see regularly in the winter who live on Skye and are often passing through. And then of course, if there are Autumn-Winter weddings at Monachyle Mhor, there can be guests looking for a room nearby. So there is still some business to be had in the winter months but not people walking or cycling. Although I don’t advertise, a lot of my business comes from the walking agencies. They keep me busy. They have routes with various B&Bs that they recommend as stopping points. One route is the Rob Roy Way for example. So that’s good, and then those folks come to you independently. We’re usually situated in the middle of their walk; whether they’re starting in Callander or Brig o’ Turk, and ending up in Killin and then cycling all the way back. Sometimes they come just to be here though, and enjoy the beautiful hill-walking in the Glen. Do you have many guests who return again and again? Yes, I’ve got lots of people who I even recognise by voice when they come on the phone. There’s a Dutch couple who come every year, in Spring and also every October. And they stay with me at both the start of their holiday and at the end. It’s quite nice because you get to know lots of different people. And out of the people who stay with you, do you have people who have come to Balquhidder just for the history and culture of this specific area? Yes, many people come for the clan history of the MacLarens and the MacGregors. It’s mostly in the summer and they’re mostly coming from America and Canada, or Australia and New Zealand. We’ve had guests who have come to us from all over the world, Denmark, China, Chile and many other places. We get a lot of friends of friends, people who have heard of us through word-ofmouth. I’ve got one particular German

family who have all come to stay with me, parents, aunts, nieces & nephews – these particular guests are renowned whisky experts and have visited all of Scotland’s distilleries. What do you enjoy most about running your B&B? The people. It’s interesting and fun meeting folk from so many places far and near, and without that enjoyable interaction it really would be just a lot of extra cooking and housework! Have you had any particularly funny or memorable stories from over the years? We’ve had quite a few funny stories. I remember some Americans that we had staying with us when we were still at Stronvar. They were city dwellers and were maybe more security-conscious because of that. Anyway, the lady asked me what I would do if a murderer came? And I thought it was such a strange question – so I said “I’d probably just say I had no vacancies!” (That’s if I could recognise them as a murderer!) She was quite serious though about the idea of bringing strangers into the house who could turn out to be mad axe people or whatever. It sounds like the idea for a book or detective series doesn’t it. Another memorable time was in the years when the Braveheart and Rob Roy films came out and there were just a massive amount of tourists coming. At that time we hadn’t had a single night off for weeks. It was the very end of August, and it was the first night we’d had nobody staying. It was almost midnight, we were about to put the lights out when we heard somebody at the door. Rod opened the door, thinking it couldn’t possibly be someone looking for B&B, more likely someone lost wanting help. And I heard this very loud, dramatic voice saying “Look at my children crying for sleep!” It was an Israeli family with two young children, and the woman was expecting a baby imminently. Anyway they came in and we ended up moving mattresses all into one room so they could sleep together – what a carry-on we had! It was unbelievable. They were certainly an interesting family. What would be your top tips for running a successful B&B? You must enjoy meeting new people and making them welcome and comfortable on arrival. Offer tea/coffee etc to settle them in, and drying wet clothes and boots when necessary; hopefully making them feel at home. Obviously it’s important to offer clean, comfortable bedrooms and bathrooms and a good hearty breakfast. It’s more or less something that anyone could take up, if you like people enough

to have strangers coming to stay and getting to know them. I’ve been lucky to have very positive remarks over the years in the visitors’ book. Do you have any plans for the future? We do have the Lodge at Stronvar which we’re considering setting up in addition as a self-catering option alongside the B&B. We’ll see. But with the B&B, it just sort of ticks over. I’ll probably keep going for as long as I’m fit enough to do it. Interview by Iona Mchedliani For information on booking, Lesley can be contacted at Calea Sona on: 01877 384260 23

The Revenant

Callander Cinema - 40 Years old! Come To the Party on October 8th. Balloons, Bubbly, Birthday Cake... and the Best Films on the go. Yes, you read it right, Callander Cinema Society is moving in to its 40th year and we’d like YOU to join in the birthday celebrations when the season kicks off on October 8th. Come along and raise a glass to another 40 years.

There are two sides to the Film Society – Contemporary and Classic - so there’s always something for all tastes and all ages. Friday night in the Waverley Hotel is ‘Classic Night’ and every other Saturday you can see the most up-to-date films in the 60-seater Clan Ranald Theatre in St Kessog’s Ancaster Square. The contemporary season kicks off with four award winning blockbusters: Spotlight shows on Sat 8 October (party night!), followed up over the next few weeks by The Revenant on 22 October and Room on 5 November, all Academy Award Best Picture winners. November is then rounded off on the 19th with the 2016 Best Foreign Movie, Son of Saul. If the classics are your thing then another Academy Best Picture winner - All About Eve - isn’t to be missed on 11 November. The full programme is here, so get the dates in your diary now - and make Saturday (and sometimes Friday) night... Movie Night! You don’t have to be a member to come along – just pay at the door - but if you’d like to join the Cinema Society then we’d be more than grateful for your support. For online banking simply send a private message via the Facebook page or by email at with your contact details and we’ll send you the pay-in details. Or give me a call to arrange to send a cheque. It couldn’t be easier, so no excuse. Keep up to date and tell us what you thought about the films on our Facebook page... and you can also check us out on our website at neighbourhoodcinema/ callander-film-society See you at the movies! Eammon O’Boyle 01877 339323 Son of Saul

The Villagers’ David Johnston with Martin Earl

Balquhidder Book Exchange In the sunshine on Sunday 28 August, Councillor Martin Earl, while helping out with the Balquhidder Bike Fest, took the opportunity of donating a couple of books to the Balquhidder Book Exchange, and on behalf of Stirling Council, who provided funding for its creation, declared it officially open. The idea to convert the old telephone box in Balquhidder into a ‘book exchange’ came from the current community planning exercise. The original idea was for a box at the village hall where villagers could exchange books. As the community council had recently purchased the telephone box from BT for the princely sum of £1, the original simple box suggestion evolved into using the telephone box as the book exchange. With the approval of the community council the village hall committee were approached and asked whether they would be prepared to take on the responsibility of managing the book exchange once established. With this agreement in place quotations from local contractors were obtained and the community trust applied for a grant to Stirling Council which was forthcoming. The book exchange has now been completed and is in regular use. Books and DVDs are regularly being exchanged by both villagers and visitors to the glen. A small donation to the village hall is requested from those taking but not depositing books to help maintain it and the following notes of appreciation have been received: “Not much of a donation left – but here’s to honouring the spirit of your effort and generosity! Keep on keeping on. Will.” “For a DVD. Sorry it’s not more.” Thanks to Stirling Council, Balquhidder Village Hall, BLS Community Council and BLS Community Trust.


Farm Forum: Brexit and Beyond On the political front there is nothing

much else being talked about just now other than Brexit. The ironic thing is that despite all the talking we are no nearer even guessing the final outcome, indeed the more that is said the more confusing everything becomes. An example of this is the fact that at present 38% of all UK lamb is currently “exported” to the EU, which, at present, is a free trade area of which we are part, affected negatively or positively only by the fluctuations between the Pound and the Euro. Under the World Trade Organisation’s rules, for countries outwith existing trade deals, the punitive tariff that could be applied would be devastating for the Scottish sheep sector. Mr Davis, the UK Secretary of State for exiting the European Union, has admitted that there is a possibility that the UK may find itself outside of the EU with no trade deal, previously declaring it “ improbable” that the UK could remain in the single market. The European Parliament’s chief negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, is also quoted as making it very clear that there would be no single market membership without freedom of movement.

As a layman I find it difficult to see how Brexit is going to resolve the migrant problem - it is certainly not just going to go away! Indeed, there are signs that it could cause major fallouts in Europe before very long and before Brexit is finalised. Recently the Lobby Group, “Rewilding Britain” launched a new report claiming that rewilding the UK’s landscapes would help mitigate flood risk by creating greater water holding capacity upstream. Much is being done already by creating wet lands etc. The NFU has already said that it is ready and willing to work with any group that wants to find solutions to flooding, whilst also accepting the critical importance of protecting our limited but precious resource of productive farm land. Guy Smith, Vice President of NFU England commented that we have to keep a focus on the level of food production in the UK, now barely 60% selfsufficient. Because if we rewild vast areas of British farmland we will have to import even more food. Would that all come from countries that are more environmentally friendly? You guess! Agricola



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 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)





Lunch Club starts again - Lochearnhead - see page 2 ‘Stuc’ Working Weekend - Strathyre - see page 7 Callander Film Festival - see page 18



Darts League - Inn at Strathyre - see page 6


Lochearnhead Games Night - see page 2


Family Fun Night - Strathyre - see page 7


Scottish Music Night - McLaren High School - see page 24

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

The villagers News October 2016  

News from Strathyre, Lochearnhead, Balquhidder and St Fillans communities in the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National park of Scotland. Re...

The villagers News October 2016  

News from Strathyre, Lochearnhead, Balquhidder and St Fillans communities in the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National park of Scotland. Re...