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The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans • September 2017

St Fillans Festive Weekend A great time was had by all at the celebrations for 200 years since the village’s renaming. Read all about it in the St Fillans Bit on page 3/4

Editor’s Bit Lots of “thank yous” to start with this month particularly to Isobel for managing to send such a comprehensive account of St Fillans’ Festive weekend accompanied by lots of photos, all after lots of Prosecco had been enjoyed! Congratulations too to the brave team who took on the challenge of ensuring the Annual Horticultural Show continues and we will have more from them next month. Old Nyati has issued another challenge to all the keen photographers amongst you and, as it is such a great idea, we will give an appropriate bottle prize to the best photo sent in. (See page 10). I have been asked if we could provide details of any Book Clubs which run in any of the villages so we would be very grateful if you could send such information to us. We have a great book review this month from Ali and I would really like to have a regular feature of a Book Page. On the literary theme, a personal recommendation is “Bloody Scotland’s Book Festival Stirling from the 8-10th September featuring great crime writers giving varied talks throughout the weekend, and then Nelson at the Library Bus is great at getting new authors in for us. Our history article for this edition (on pages 12-13) is a very interesting piece about the Reverend Malcolm MacLeod, who was minister in Balquhidder during the first half of the twentieth century. A scholarly man with a passion for the Gaelic language, he was responsible for a surprising number of biblical translations and made a considerable contribution to worship in Scotland at that time. We are very grateful to Graham Cooper for sending us such a fascinating piece of writing. JJ

Dear Editor Please could you print in large letters the council ruling on overgrown trees/shrubs/ brambles etc overhanging the road outside your own garden/land. So many people are unaware that they could be invoiced by the council if they have to cut back the offending trees, etc. Regards Georgina Wagstaff 2

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Horticultural Society

Annual Show

Traditional Games Night Lochearnhead Village Hall Saturday 21st October 2017 7pm - midnight Carpet bowling (no need to bring a team and no experience necessary!) Play dominoes and cards or just come along for a blether! Free entry



Lochearnhead Hogmanay Party

Thank you everyone that made this year’s show go with a modest bang! We had a good number of exhibits and an excellent turn out on the day. Watch out for the full report, list of prizewinners and more photographs in October’s Villagers!


It has been some years since a concerted effort was made to cut back the trees and vertical verges alongside the roads in Balquhidder and the Community Council has received complaints that they are once again encroaching on the roads, restricting sight lines and making it difficult in various places for two cars to pass each other. All landowners are reminded that it is their responsibility to cut back the vertical verges or they will find that Stirling Council will do it with a flail and send the land owner a bill. In many cases the verges will need to be cut back more than folk realise and it is important that the debris from the cutting work is cleared away.

tickets will go on sale at the beginning of December and details of how to get hold of the tickets will be published in October’s edition of The Villagers. Last year the event was sold out - so if you intend to come along please keep an eye open for the advertising posters!

Crafternoon Enterprising ladies in Strathyre have got a grant to set up a Craft group for the area. Janet Richards is going to lead the first session on embroidery in Strathyre Village Hall on Sunday 10th September from 12 noon. Everyone is welcome to come along to this first crafternoon and learn a new skill or share a skill you have. We hope to have further information in future months. Mel Brydie

St Fillans Festive Weekend The celebrations to commemorate 200 years since the renaming of our village got off to a damp start, weatherwise, on Friday 25th August, however, there was nothing damp about villagers’ spirits as we gathered at the site of a new commemorative cairn at the north end of Station Road. Armed with an array of colourful umbrellas, we waited with excitement in the pouring rain until the precise moment of 18:17 hrs (the timing chosen to mirror the date of 1817). Dave Pryde of The Festive Committee led the proceedings with a thoughtful opening speech which included a poem written by John Hall in 1943. He welcomed St Fillans’ oldest male resident, Professor John Forty, who had been invited to lay the first stone of the new cairn. Immediately afterwards, the village’s youngest resident, Evie Allen was invited to lay the second stone, to much applause and cheering from the crowd as we stood holding wee drams of whisky ready to raise a toast to St Fillans as fireworks were set off from the top of the hill at the back of us – a truly spectacular sight. Within the cairn a time capsule has been buried, containing items of relevance to the village – as one friend commented the following Sunday – a bottle of Prosecco would be apt (having experienced Sunday’s festivities and the village having drunk the bar dry of the fizzy stuff ). The capsule is to be opened in 50 years’ time and Dave Pryde extended an invitation to Evie Allen, who is 3 years old, to do the honours in 2067. (It will truly be a vintage bottle of Prosecco by then). After the first two stones of the cairn were laid, Dave led us down the road


St Fillans Bit

a few steps to the westerly wall which once supported the old railway bridge. Here, the first of two maps of the village, painted by village artist, Kay Naitby, was unveiled by John and Evie. The map has been cleverly designed by Kay who has incorporated paintings of houses and landmarks in the village into the border. The second map will be sighted near the Four Seasons Hotel end of the village. On the Sunday of the Festive Weekend, an original framed map of the village was kindly donated by Kay as an auction prize, the proceeds of which have been shared between The Festive Committee and the annual children’s party which is held towards the end of the year. Everyone who was in attendance was invited to lay a stone at the cairn which is being completed at a later date. The Friday evening’s entertainment, which took place in the marquees on the playing field, gave us music performed by folk band, Tarneybackle, who had the crowds going and food which was kindly provided by Liz from Tullybannocher Café, who also provided the buffet lunch on the Sunday which included some mouth-watering salads. On the Saturday, at long last, the sun made a welcome appearance as children’s games were held on the playing field. The games were organised and co-ordinated by our local builder, Jonathan Dovey, who did an excellent job at keeping the wee ones entertained

by Isobel Howell

John and Evie with the map

for most of the afternoon, whilst the not so wee ones enjoyed sitting in the sunshine, catching up with friends and relaxing. Kay Naitby, true to her artistic roots, provided face painting for the children, so we had lots of happy little wild foxes, elephants, tigers and zebras running around that day. Continued overleaf

Light Lunch and ‘Specials’ Menu in the Bistro • Afternoon and Cream Tea • Evening A La Carte and Rosette Menu • Sunday Roasts from £15.95 • Lunches, Afternoon Tea, Suppers and Dinner served daily

John and Evie


Continued from previous page

Three legged race

Magician, Gary James, gave a very entertaining show in the afternoon, for young and older ones. His act had the children enthralled and during the second half he had our host (one half of Don ‘n’ Dave, who also provided the barbecue) up on stage, monkeying around with him (see photo on next page). That evening, the mood changed as there’d been a murder in the village! Don’t worry, it was only a murder mystery play that we had to try and solve, the theme of which was based on “The Royal Visit” to St Fillans in 1935 by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (more on that later). Once the murder was solved, “Ken’s Disco” got underway, where I believe a few dance moves were murdered. The Sunday was another glorious warm sunny day and the buffet lunch was enjoyed whilst listening to the band, Mystery Train, who had a very wide repertoire of songs which had everybody joining in. Once Monkeying around with the Magician


again, our very capable and entertaining compare, Dave Pryde, kept the whole day going, making sure everything ran smoothly – not to mention, of course, everybody behind the scenes who worked extremely hard and gave up a lot of their free time to make the event a success. Thanks to everyone involved. The weekend closed after the auction and a raffle (Steve won four candles – somebody’s idea of a wry joke, perhaps?) I mentioned earlier of a visit to the village by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. In an ironic twist of fate, a few days before the murder mystery evening, I was delighted to receive a letter from a reader of The Villagers, Jean Hunter, who lives in Chepstow, and owns the house Cruachan in St Fillans. Jean has provided her own account of The Royal Visit, when she was six years old at the time (August 1935). Jean recalls that there was great excitement at the prospect of a Queen coming to holiday

Dave Pryde and Gary James

in the village. Accompanying the Queen was Princess Juliana who had just become engaged to Prince Bernhard. During their stay, according to Jean, a ball had been planned at Drummond Castle. Tragically, that summer Queen Astrid of Belgium was killed in a car accident in Switzerland which resulted in all of the royal houses being in mourning, and the ball being cancelled. The Dutch royal family and their household stayed in Neish, where a Miss Urquhart, manageress/owner of the Drummond Arms Hotel, usually lived. During their stay, the Queen would often be seen wandering in the field at the back of the property - she was a keen sketcher – and her lady in waiting would be in attendance with the Queen’s easel, stool and painting equipment on hand, ready to place down when a chosen landscape was found. Jean recalls that Princess Juliana, who had the most beautiful golden blonde hair, along with younger members of the party, would walk along the village by the loch side in the early evening. At the time, Jean lived in Lake Cottage and often the Princess would stop at the gate to watch her two black Labradors cavorting across the lawn. Along with her account, Jean has very generously sent a cheque for £75 as a donation towards the Festive Weekend which I am extremely grateful to be passing onto the Festive Committee, on behalf of whom I would like to extend a huge thank you to Jean for her kind and thoughtful gift. Thanks go too to everyone who supported the weekend. Here’s to the next two hundred years of village life!

Thank You! Lochearnhead Latest

A massive thank you to all who donated to our tombola stand at the Lochearnhead games. I cannot believe the generosity and kindness of the village supporting this fundraiser for the village Christmas party. Dani Bird and I manned the stall and raised over £300 towards this (and future years’ events). We are changing things a little this year by organising entertainment to the style of a disco and would love any family members like grannies, grandpas, aunties and uncles to join us and see the kids have a boogie! If any mums have suggestions or thoughts I would very much appreciate input - I’m available on Facebook and mobile. The party will be Saturday 23rd December 1pm until 3pm at the hall. I am so excited to take over running this event and very thankful to my predecessor Jeanette Welsh for running the party for many years. 

Ali and Mike Tie the Knot! We had a really brilliant weekend party with our families and friends. The wedding took place at 3pm on Saturday 29th July 2017 at the Four Seasons Hotel, St Fillans. Lots of delicious food, champagne, dancing and love.

Michael Cowie, who sent the story and photos last month about his grandparents living at Dalveich in Lochearnhead, was kind enough to send us the wonderful photo (below) of the crowd at the Highland Games. This had been originally given to his grandmother and then kept by his mum. Unfortunately, she is not in the photo - but perhaps some of our readers could put names to some of the faces - and perhaps even tell us the date of these Games? Michael also included his account of being on the McLaren tour in 2016: “We went on the tour last year (that was really well organised!)... We said to a chap on the tour that there were two mole catchers living at Dalveich and he said that one of them was his great granddad,who was born and died there - and it brought it home to us what a busy hamlet it must have been... There was a case of scarlet fever or some other illness - and that resulted in a number of cottages being burnt to the ground... There was a recognised footpath through the games field which should still be there, as my granddad always kept it open.” Great tales and we would welcome more - either from Michael, or any of our readers with good memories or interesting connections.


England 1 - Scotland 4! I recently read the following article: “A pine marten has been sighted in Yorkshire for the first time in 35 years. Once the second most common carnivore in Britain, today they are the second rarest. For the past four years a Yorkshire project has set up wildlife cameras around the Yorkshire moors and has finally caught one on film.’ I realised again how fortunate we are here, as we had very recently had an adult and three kits scrambling all over our bird table, just feet from our house in the afternoon. As requested by Gareth Kett in his Rangers articles to report unusual sightings to him, I duly did so - and he has been good enough to set up a camera for us. We have now had several photos of the adult at night and the other night, the three kits again!

Don’t think anyone’s watching!


A Message from

Stephen Kerr MP

McLaren: Seven ‘A’s at Nat 5

I am delighted at McLaren High School’s strong academic achievement this year; as a small rural school, this is something our community is really proud of. This success has been down to focus and determination on the part of the pupils in the senior phase, and also the exceptional support provided by their teachers over the academic session. I am very proud - not only of the pupils who have achieved all ‘A’s, but of all our pupils; both in terms of their National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher results and the life experiences, with co-curricular enrichment, that they have gained here at McLaren High School. As Headteacher, it has been my aim to unlock the full academic potential of each individual but, more importantly, to encourage every pupil to discover him or herself, making the most of the opportunities presented, so that he or she can go out into the world and make a meaningful and fulfilling contribution. With 96% of our pupils in positive destinations after leaving McLaren High School, I am certain that we are providing the best possible grounding for a successful future for our young people in whatever career path they choose. Marc Fleming

BrainTeaser Move one matchstick to produce another correct equation!

Answer on page 23

Since being elected in June it has been an exciting, busy period in which we have established our constituency office in Stirling and put in place the staff that will assist me in dealing with the large number of inquiries I receive. Please do get in touch with any problems or concerns you may have and we will ensure your issue is dealt with efficiently and professionally. I gave a commitment that , if elected, I would leave my current profession to concentrate my time and efforts on representing the people of Stirling without any distractions and I am pleased to say that this is now the case. Before parliament rose for the summer recess I delivered my maiden speech, engaged in a number of debates, submitted questions on a range of topics and took time to become familiar with the parliamentary estate. When the House is in session I will need to be in Parliament from Mondays to Thursdays and will hold surgeries across the constituency on Fridays. Surgery dates are available on my website, posters, the Stirling Observer and upon inquiry from my office. During the summer I started an ongoing series of meetings with organisations and groups across the area. Meetings held so far include with the Federation of Small Businesses, the NFU, Start Up Stirling, Network Rail and BT. These will help me stay informed on the many important issues that people are affected by or have an opinion on. Please let me know if you feel there are any groups you feel I should be in dialogue with. At present I am working on a number of Priorities including; Broadband, environmental issues, the rural economy and how the City Region Deal from Stirling Council must deserve the use of ‘region’ in the title by benefiting communities across the Stirling area as well as the city. Brexit, of course will be a major topic. I am also keen to hear from any businesses or individuals that have experienced poor service from their banks or utility companies. Finally, if you live in the Stirling constituency, have ever wanted to see the Westminster Parliament in session, and you are planning to visit London, why not get in touch with me to arrange a visit? Tell me when you are planning to come and, if possible, I could give you a tour of the historic building. I do also get a small allocation of tickets for Prime Minister’s Questions. The tickets are in limited supply but I will do my best to get them for dates that suit you. 7

Book Review Freya

by Anthony Quinn

A Postcard from...

the Gruffalo Trail We went with Grandma and Grandad to Loch Fyne. They said we were just going for a walk but then we discovered there was a Gruffalo trail so it was much more exciting! The place is called Ardkinglas Estate and there is lots to do there. You can see the photo of us by the Gruffalo and see some of the pages of the Scottish Gruffalo story you can read at different points in the walk. There is another walk that has some gi-normous trees which are old in it and one is called the Mighty Tree. You can also walk by the river to an old mill. Grandma kept telling us to be very careful but then she slipped in the mud and got a muddy bottom so we all laughed and call it “doing a grandma” when we fall. Ally and Amber


I have been spending some time in Oxford recently and on one day when I was released from granny duties I indulged in one of my favourite pastimes and spent an afternoon in a well-known high street bookshop. For me to find a book set in a place I know well is always an added bonus. This book is set initially in Oxford, and then London and describes streets and places known to me and remembered from my frequent times spent there. Set immediately after WW2, Freya is back in civvy street having served in the Wrens and arrives as an undergraduate in Oxford where she meets up again with Nancy, an aspiring novelist, a younger and less worldly girl whom Freya takes under her wing in the role of mentor. Freya’s ambition to be a journalist leads her to be sent down from Oxford for missing her exams by travelling to Nuremberg for a life changing scoop. Nancy’s path continues along more traditional lines. The characters of both Freya and Nancy are so well drawn by Quinn that they both take you along with them all the way through the novel. Theirs is a friendship full of twist and turns and nuances, with sexual, emotional and professional rivalries. There are moments when Freya seems a less likeable character than Nancy whose marriage and seemingly conventional, successful life contrasts with Freya’s chaotic choices. Both women are childless although Freya falls pregnant then loses the baby in truly horrific circumstance, empathetically dealt with by Quinn. The large cast of supporting characters are fully drawn and one is pleased to see them reappear again and again in the novel, giving meat to the feast that is this book. There is a betrayal, a misunderstanding - and a final reconciliation, which I felt would be inevitable; but a pleasant conclusion to a story which is a really good read. Well worth a look!

Church News

Balquhidder BLS


A Note from

St Angus’s

I wonder how many of you remember the Thought for the Day programme when Rabbi Blue used to speak. I always thought he spoke so much good sense and was delighted when someone gave me a little booklet called The little Book of Blue Thoughts.  Until I saw who the author was I thought it was going to be a book of rude jokes!  Here’s one of them: Real Religion in the Real World “When I caught religion, I tried very hard to shut out the silly secular world around me with its rows and rumpus and just concentrate on eternity instead.  I wanted some special revelation to fall from heaven and hit me - bonk! - on the head in the high street. My life would then be bathed in blessings obvious to any discerning believer.  Well, it was fun while it lasted though it didn’t last long because real holiness doesn’t happen that way. The real knowledge of God came to me for example while I was boiling cabbage in the kitchen or riding a bad-tempered camel on a package holiday.  Faith was funnier than I expected and, to be honest, more real than I really wanted.”  That last sentence made me think “faith was more real than I really wanted.” it set me wondering, with true faith comes responsibility to God and my neighbour,  could that be one of the reasons why our churches are so empty? FM

Hi, Folks! At the opening of the epic film Lord of the Rings, the hauntingly evocative voice of Galadriel declares: “The world has changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it.” In recent weeks at Balquhidder Church, we have welcomed and celebrated the history and traditions of the Clans MacLaren and MacGregor, and commemorated the coming of the Christian Faith to this area through the work of St Angus in the 7th Century. The latter event was well attended and a huge thank you is given to those who helped with the music and singing…it was wonderful! A few years ago I was speaking to Kenny MacAskill MSP in Edinburgh and he asked how my church (at that time it was St Martins) was doing. I replied that we were small in number and all getting older. He replied “join the club.” He told me that he often visited organisations, associations and groups of various kinds in an official capacity. Everywhere he went it was the same story – falling numbers and increasingly ageing memberships. The common question was “how do we attract the next generation?” It appears it is not only the Kirk which has a problem with this. Two stories: The first concerns a very successful businessman and company director who was at the pinnacle of his career. One night, he left his wife sleeping in their bed and slipped out to his car. He drove a few hours down the motorway on route to Stonehenge. The newspaper report quoted him as saying that he wanted to be there in that ancient and spiritual place to observe the sunrise. The reason – despite his financial and social standing he felt “empty” inside and was searching for something deeper and more meaningful. The second concerns a runaway public schoolboy from Rugby. The press traced the 16 year old to a beach in Barbados! He said that he was desperate to “escape” life at the famous boarding school and felt he was under pressure to live up to the expectations being placed on him. Reflecting on his life, he realised that the path that lay before him was a university degree, a career, a mortgage and then death. He was searching for something more! We live in a wonderful age of science and technology and it does seem that we are the most “connected” human beings who have ever lived - with the internet, Skype and mobile phones. Yet in some other ways we are part of a “disconnected” culture - removed from our history, our traditions and the wisdom of the past. The Christian Gospel is about “connection” at its centre. There is wisdom, power and hope in its message but many people miss that. How about you?

Russel Moffat



*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, we have two ancient local photogaphs that may be recognised by many readers... They were copied for me some years ago by Bobby Bennett, out of a 1930s magazine of mine. (Who remembers Bobby in Balquhidder, his photography and stories of the Glens?) This journal was called The Bibby’s Annual. Farmers and country folk who had perhaps been using Bibby’s famous cattle and poultry food would have been given a complimentary copy as a goodwill gesture if they were good and loyal customers.   Most readers will recognise the clue of the skyline and the foreshore of Loch Lubnaig, both photographs taken from the same spot looking North and South between Strathyre and Kilmahog.              But what of the “Main Road”? This is what it looked like in 1907 when, according to the journal, the photographs were taken.  It would be interesting to take a picture or two from the same spot today. is there anyone who would like to do this? Without risking life and limb in the process, of course!  There would be quite a different kind of traffic on a holiday weekend these days. Dare we try to imagine what it might look like in another 110 years? I dread to think!   How did the photographer get there?  On the train to Strathyre or Kilmahog? (I don`t think the line was open in those days.) it would more likely have been a pony and trap from Stirling to carry his equipment. That would have been a large wooden  tripod and heavy camera with glass exposure plates - and the classic hood to put over his head and the camera.    He must have waited some time to get the cattle going one way and then the sheep following. Where were they going and to whom did they belong? Did he arrange with the drovers or did he just wait until they came along? Perhaps this was the day after a tryst further north and they were on the way to the borders.  It must have been an all-day outing and carefully planned to be there at the right time to set up the camera.   So, there is my challenge to all those adventurous photographers out there: let’s see today’s images from that same place, looking both ways, published in The Villagers in the months to come for comparison, maybe they will all  end up in the archives for someone else to use their imagination in another 100 years.   It should be easy to locate the spot by using the skyline of the hills and the loch shore line as “trig” points and the stone wall will still be there. Good luck! Old Nyati 10

Boys’ Toys at Monachyle Defender Jam Monachyle Mhor was the venue for aficionados of Landrovers of varied vintages, styles and colours (yes, I did like the red ones). Owners and would-be owners congregated to swop stories and essential bits of kit and latest accessories. There were also plenty of market stalls, street food and bars to keep everyone happy. The big barn was the venue for a Disco barn dance to entertain campers in the evening. Fortunately, the weather improved from the torrential rain earlier in the week and at least there were plenty of vehicles on hand to pull any stranded vehicles out of the mud.


The Reverend Malcolm MacLeod and Balquhidder’s Gaelic Connections by Graham G Cooper MD

The Reverend Malcolm MacLeod was inducted as minister to Balquhidder Parish Church on the 10th of September 1937. At that time, he was a 56 year old man who had had a very busy and productive life notable for dedication to two great causes: ministry within the Christian Church and support of the Gaelic language and culture. Perhaps these causes were closely linked in his mind. He had been born in 1881 in Crowlista, a township of 25 crofts in the district of Uig on the west coast of the island of Lewis. Gaelic was the language of the area and it would have been the language in which he first heard the Christian message that inspired his life, presented to him powerfully by the Sunday School teacher, John MacRae of Timsgarry. Malcolm MacLeod’s school education began at Crowlista and was completed at the Nicholson Institute, Stornoway (1897-1900) and at Glasgow High School (1900-1902). At the age of 21, he began the undergraduate studies at Edinburgh University which led to the award of an MA degree in 1906. He then went on to study for a further 4 years at New College School of Divinity. It was during these years that he joined a team of Gaelic scholars enlisted by Edward Dwelly to help him prepare his landmark book, The Illustrated Gaelic-Engish Dictionary. Malcolm MacLeod was inducted to his first charge, the United Free Church in Strath, Isle of Skye, in 1910. His ministry in Skye, however, was interrupted by the Great War, and from early in 1915 he spent 3 years working with troops in France (Figure 1). Initially, he ministered to British soldiers at a large YMCA camp. Then, from 1916 onwards, he was Chaplain to the Fourth Gordon Regiment of the 51st Highland Division. He served at many battle-fields which will be long remembered for massive loss of life, including the Somme and Ypres. On his return from France, Malcolm MacLeod continued his ministry in the United Free Church in Lochgilphead. He enjoyed living close to Dunadd and Kilmartin Glen, the heart of ancient Dalriada. There he began to develop what would prove to be lifelong interests: in the work of An Comunn Gàidhealach (The Gaelic Society), an organisation formed in 1891 to promote the Gaelic language and to establish the Royal National Mòd; and in the study of Gaelic, Old Irish, history and natural history. In 1924, he left Lochgilphead to accept the call of the charge of John Knox and Tradeston in Glasgow. This was a Gaelic congregation located in the Gorbals area but in the process of moving out to new housing in other parts of Glasgow. Despite his considerable workload, Malcolm MacLeod became well known and respected as a public speaker on Celtic subjects. His skills as a writer were recognised when, in 1936, he was invited to be the editor of the monthly periodical of An Comunn Gàidhealach, An Gàidheal. This, in brief, was Malcolm MacLeod’s background as he began the final nine years of his life and ministry in Balquhidder. During his career, he had come to be known as a committed minister of the Gospel, an eloquent preacher and a kind and attentive pastor and 12

he continued to exercise these qualities for the benefit of his parishioners in Balquhidder in the years of the Second World War. War time difficulties notwithstanding, Malcolm MacLeod served on several committees of the Church of Scotland and, from 1938, as President of An Comunn Gàidhealach. In his biographical sketch of Malcolm MacLeod, the Reverend Thomas M MacCalmain wrote of how happy he had been to be living and working in Balquhidder during these years and of his pleasure in the warm and friendly people and the beautiful landscape steeped in history. The parish is situated to the northwest of the “Highland Line”, a line of both geological and linguistic significance. Northwest of the Highland Boundary Fault, which runs approximately from Helensburgh in the west to Stonehaven in the east, Balquhidder shares the same rock structure as the Grampians, the Cairngorms and much of Argyll. As a result, its landscape is typically Highland. In the 17th and 18th centuries, a linguistic “Highland Line” followed a similar course to the geological one, demarcating the predominantly Gaelicspeaking northwest from the Englishspeaking southeast (Figure 2). When the first detailed studies of the geography of language in Scotland began towards the end of the 17th century, Balquhidder parish was recorded as being a Gaelic speaking area. This had probably been the case since St Angus had arrived as missionary to the Pictish people of the glen in the 6th century. He may have been the monk called Angus whose feast day on the 11th of August is mentioned in an ancient Martyrology of Donegal. Alternatively, Gaelic may have come from the west with the people of Dalriada. Although the modern road, the A84, is towards the eastern edge of the parish, the Kirkton of Balquhidder was probably central to the routes of travellers from west to east in the early centuries AD. Those tracks which later became drove roads from Loch Lomondside and Argyll, over Bealach nan Corp, are believed to have been used in the first millennium as paths from the Celtic Kingdom of Dalriada to the Kingdoms of the Picts (Figure 3). From the 18th century onwards, English gradually began to replace Gaelic as the first language of Balquhidder. The area’s proximity to the Lowlands to the east, the impacts of trade and educational policy and the large

Figure 1 The Reverend Malcolm MacLeod when he was a Chaplain during the First World War

Figure 2 “The Highland Line” in relation to Balquhidder (shown as flag “B”). The solid line shows the southeastern limit of Gaelic speaking parishes in 1698 (modified from C W J Withers (1984), used with the publishers permission). The dotted line shows the position of the Highland Boundary Fault.

movements of population in the 18th and 19th centuries gradually led to English/Gaelic bilingualism and then to the loss of Gaelic. National Census data is missing for several decades of the 20th century, but the records for 1901 and 1981 show, respectively, that 58.3% and 6% of the population were Gaelic speakers. If the everyday use of the language was in sharp decline by the 1930s, Malcolm MacLeod enjoyed the opportunity to converse in Gaelic with his next door neighbour, the primary school mistress Miss MacPherson, and with some of his parishioners, notably John MacNaughton of Inverlochlarig, whom he described as “a typical Highlander of the oldschool, a man of fine physique, a good Gaelic speaker and, in his younger day, a piper and Gaelic singer”. Over the centuries during which the Gaelic language gradually lost ground in Balquhidder, numerous individuals made valuable efforts on its behalf. One of those who did so was the Reverend Robert Kirk (1644-1692). He was inducted to Balquhidder Church, his first charge, in 1664 and lived there until he was called to Aberfoyle in 1685. During

Figure 3 Ancient and modern roads through Balquhidder parish. The solid line shows the route of the A84. The dot-dash line shows the ancient track, possibly a route from Dalriada in the west to the Pictish Kingdoms of the east, subsequently a coffin road and a drove road (modified, with permission, from James Henderson Stewart PhD and Scotways, The dotted line shows a path south of Loch Voil as it appears on the Roy Military Survey, 1747 -1755 (with permission of National Library of Scotland).

these years, he laboured single-handedly to translate the Psalms into a metrical form in Gaelic. The Synod of Argyll had already published the first fifty Psalms in Gaelic and there was perhaps some competition in the air! Robert Kirk used to work far into the night on his translation, clenching a lead bullet between his teeth: had he dropped off to sleep, he would have been woken by the sound of the bullet falling onto his desk. His version of the Psalms was published in 1684, before the Synod of Argyll completed theirs. His greatest literary achievement, however, appeared in 1690: his edition of the Irish Bible for readers of Scottish Gaelic. It was the only available Scottish Gaelic translation of the Bible for approximately 100 years. In 1927, Professor Donald MacLean wrote that its value to the people of the Highlands had been “beyond human calculation”. Dugald Buchanan (1716-1768) would have been another historical figure well known to Malcolm MacLeod. Although his name is often associated with Rannoch, he was born in Strathyre in Balquhidder parish and brought up there on his father’s mill. After his father’s death in 1749, he inherited the mill and may well have spent periods of time working the land there during the course of his adult life. In addition to his skills as a schoolmaster, preacher and catechist, Dugald Buchanan was an able linguist who supervised the printing of the Gaelic New Testament of 1767. He made an enduring contribution to Gaelic religious poetry with his Laoidhe Spioradail (Spiritual Songs). Published in 1767, they had appeared in 20 editions by 1844. They are still held in high regard today. Among many others whose names were associated with Balquhidder and who made notable contributions to Gaelic language and culture, mention might be made of the schoolteacher James Murray, Sir John Murray MacGregor, the Reverend Alasdair MacGregor and the Reverend David Cameron.

James Murray (d. 1757) was called back to Perthshire from Orkney in 1714 by the Society in Scotland for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge (SSPCK) to teach in Balquhidder school. In subsequent years, he repeatedly petitioned the SSPCK to permit the teaching of Gaelic literacy in their schools so that children of native Gaelic speakers could read the Gaelic Psalter. Sir John Murray MacGregor of Lanrick and Balquhidder (1745-1822) gave generously and encouraged subscriptions to fund the publication of much Gaelic literature and music. Sir John’s contribution to Gaelic language may have extended beyond patronage. He has been credited as the originator of the Gaelic word “buntàta” (potato): in addition to its phonetic qualities, it might literally mean “the splendid root”. In the 19th century, the reverend gentlemen Alasdair MacGregor and David Cameron, ministers in successive periods at Balquhidder Church, carefully collected and published a booklet of place-names of the area with suggestions as to their Gaelic derivations. When he came to live and work in Balquhidder, Malcolm MacLeod would have been very aware of the Gaelic heritage of the parish. While his calling as a minister of the Christian Church was always his first priority, these last 9 years were to prove to be very productive in terms of his contribution to Highland culture and the Gaelic language. As President of An Comunn Gàidhealach, he supervised collection of donations of several thousand pounds to bring comfort to Highlanders who were fighting in the British Armed Forces or who were Prisoners of War. He edited pocket-sized books with short articles in Gaelic on a variety of uplifting topics, contributing essays himself on subjects as diverse as the Lewis chessmen and praise for the war efforts being made by women. The two books (Airgiod an Rìgh (1942)

[The King’s Shilling]) and Seirbheis a’ Chrùn (1943) [The Service of the Crown]) added to his earlier literary output: his articles in Church periodicals and An Gàidheal, Comasan na h-Ùrnuigh (1913), a Gaelic translation of The Possibilities of Prayer by J H Oldham, and his co-editing of the Gaelic hymnbook An Laoidheadair (1935). Many would agree, however, that Malcolm MacLeod’s greatest contribution to Gaelic literature is the book An Iuchair Òir (The Golden Key). The Reverend Thomas MacCalmain edited this book, which saw publication in 1950. It is a collection of 27 sermons or radio addresses selected by Malcolm MacLeod before his death, preceded by Thomas MacCalmain’s biographical introduction. The sermons are deeply evangelical and written in beautiful Gaelic, rich in idiom and historical references. In early 1946, Edinburgh University offered to bestow the degree of Doctor of Divinity upon Malcolm MacLeod in honour of his work for the Church and on behalf of Gaelic culture and literature. Sadly, however, he died in Glasgow on the 21st of June before this degree could be conferred. His death was mourned by his wife Blanche, his two daughters, Blanche (“Babs”) and Catriona, and by his many friends. He was buried on the upper slopes of Balquhidder Churchyard, his grave marked by a Celtic cross designed by his friend, the architect and scholar Colin Sinclair PhD. At the base of the cross are simple words which sum up the life of this faithful minister: “Thaisbean e gum bu duine le Dia e” (“He made it manifest that he was a man of God”). Acknowledgements I am particularly indebted to “An Iuchair Òir” (1950, Stirling Tract Enterprise), edited by the Reverend Thomas M MacCalmain, for biographical details of the Reverend Malcolm MacLeod. In addition to those sources mentioned in the text, I wish to acknowledge my debt to “Development and Change in the Parish of Balquhidder from the 15th Century to 1851” (1986, Newcastle University Library), the thesis of James Henderson Stewart PhD, “Gaelic in Scotland 1698 -1981. The Geographical History of a Language” (1984) by Professor Charles W J Withers and “The Decline of the Celtic Languages” (1983) by Victor E Durkacz, both published by John Donald, Edinburgh, “Gàidhlig (Scottish Gaelic) Local Studies, Volume 27: Siorrachd Pheairt agus Sruighlea (Perth and Stirling)” 2nd edition (2008) by Kurt C Duwe htm and “Laoidhean Spioradail Dhùghaill Bhochanain” (2015) edited by Professor Donald E Meek and published by the Scottish Gaelic Texts Society, Glasgow. I am grateful to Mrs Anne Gorrod, Malcolm MacLeod’s grand-daughter, for her kindness in providing me with her personal recollections, to Stirling Council for granting me access to Balquhidder’s Kirk Session Records and to Mr Donald John MacLeod, Glenelg, for his helpful advice with regard to Gaelic translation. 13

Ranger’s Review by Gareth Kett

Watching an episode of Wild Alaska Live recently I couldn’t help being awestruck by the abundance of wildlife gathering at river estuaries in Katmai National Park and Tongrass National Forest on the southwest coast of Alaska for the feast of the annual salmon run. Incredible numbers of black bears, brown bears, wolves, bald eagles and many other opportunists compete for a summer feast in a near pristine wilderness area; the salmon negotiating waterfalls and beaver dams as well as predators on their way to spawning grounds. Out at sea salmon sharks, orca and walruses also cash in on the salmon run while hump-backed whales feast on shoals of herring drawn to the area by phytoplankton feeding on nutrients released by annual glacial meltwaters. You could be forgiven for wondering how any salmon ever reach the upper parts of the rivers to spawn, but unlike Atlantic salmon whose numbers and size are declining through over-fishing, pollution, sea-lice infestation and climate-change, four out of five of Alaska’s salmon species are thriving. Around 300 million salmon return each year supporting a vibrant fishing community as well as underpinning the ecosystem. There have been significant declines in Chinook (or King) salmon in recent years Bears would once have fished Scotland’s Rivers though and the constant retreat of the glaciers show that even this wilderness burning, grazing, hunting and fishing the Alaskan economy, being primarily for is not immune to the constant threat of have left west Scotland with a depleted domestic consumption. The economic climate change. ecosystem missing all its top mammalian value of wildlife has been recognized The salmon are keystone species. predators and many of its top avian and after the petroleum industry ecotourism Having hatched and grown into smolts marine predators. makes the largest contribution to the on the upper reaches of rivers they Scotland was first colonized by economy. migrate out into the Gulf of Alaska where Mesolithic settlers around 10,000 years But is such comparison fair? Probably they feed on a nitrogen rich diet for three ago, but it wasn’t until about 5000 years not. Historic land-use in Scotland would or four years before returning inland later that the Inuit people colonized have been driven by a combination of to their natal rivers to spawn. Many Alaska. Both groups of settlers were the need to survive for some and the returning adults are taken by predators, hunter-gathers and had little impact need to profit or conquer by others; scavengers and fishing interests, but the on their ecosystems. The Inuit culture the production of enough food to be majority will reach breeding grounds. has continued to embrace wildlife self-sustaining and the ability to defend Totally spent after breeding, all the males and sustainability to the present day. ourselves would have been major and most of the females die providing a However, since the advent of permanent influences. Until relatively recently feast for scavengers such as other fish, settlements and agriculture around there was little serious concern about foxes, gulls, eagles and crows. These 6000 years ago, people in Scotland biodiversity and no scientists warned opportunists then move away from have pitted themselves against nature. us about anthropogenic (man made) water courses before defecating, and Russian settlers arrived in Alaska in climate change. So, perhaps defensibly, ultimately dying themselves, releasing 1784 before it was sold to the USA we stripped our land of trees and drove nutrients into the surrounding forest. in 1867, but outside the petroleum our top predators and other keystone Scientists have found nitrogen from industry the impact of white settlers has species (beaver and wild boar) to the Pacific Ocean in trees more than been comparatively minor and today extinction, then prevented natural ten miles away from salmon rivers. Any agriculture represents only a fraction of regeneration by over-grazing. salmon not eaten decompose releasing nutrients back into river food-web. It struck me that this is essentially what the west coast area of Scotland would have been like 6000 years ago. While the species compositions would have differed a little, western Scotland sits on similar latitudes to southern Alaska and would have had a similar maritime temperate rainforest ecosystem, becoming mountainous mixed forest further inland. Each year millions of migrating salmon would have filled lakes and rivers underpinning a diverse ecosystem including a suite of top predators including wolves, lynxes, bears and orca. But thousands of years UK Wild, with Lucy Cooke and Colin Stafford-Johnson of over-exploitation through felling, 14

What is less defensible is our continuing disregard for wildlife and the environment today. Science has shown definitively that climate change is occurring and that carbon storage and flooding are linked to land-use. Wildlife tourism is worth £65 million annually to the Scottish economy, but could be more. Yet paradoxically the State of Nature report 2016 reveals that 56% of nearly 8000 UK species studied have declined since 1970, while 1,199 species are under threat of extinction in the UK. There is a good deal of interest in wildlife in the UK (9.2 million people watched Planet Earth, episode 2 last year), but this doesn’t seem to translate into action on the ground or votes in parliament. This is not to belittle some very worthwhile conservation and climate change mitigation projects around the country, but we need more people to be aware of the plight of nature in the UK and involved in solutions. According to the Joint Nature Conservation Committee 68% of people in the UK are either unaware of or unconcerned about the threat to biodiversity in the UK. I hope that through visiting the National Park and engaging with the Ranger Service people from all backgrounds will become more concerned about the fate of our wildlife and feel more compelled to support conservation initiatives themselves. UK Wild, presented by Lucy Cooke and Colin Stafford-Johnson, was the sister programme to Alaska Wild Live and featured episodes covering the wildlife of our rivers, forests, mountains, seas and cities. The forest episode was filmed in Coille Coire Chuilc at the bottom of Cononish Glen near Tyndrum in early July and aired in late July. I joined the film-crew and presenters for the day to advise on locations and wildlife. Coille Coire Chuilc is in my opinion the natural jewel in the crown of the National Park. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Scotland’s southernmost ecologically functioning fragment of Caledonian Forest. To step into it (which has been made easier with the construction of a new bridge over the river) feels like stepping back into a wilder time. You can almost imagine wolves, bears and lynxes there. As usual if you have anything you wish to discuss or any wildlife sightings to report you are welcome to drop into the Lochearnhead office, or you can contact me by e-mail at gareth.kett@, or call me on the Lochearnhead office number 01389 722040. If I’m not in the office please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

F R E E E V E N T • D O N AT I O N S A C C E P T E D

Callander Cinema Presents

I, Daniel Blake Saturday September 23 2017 5:30pm and 8:00pm at St Kessogs Free tickets at the door on the night as space allows. Guarantee entry by calling Eammon at 339323. Sponsored by Clanranald. Food and Cash Donations taken for Start up Stirling Foodbank and The Food Train

A New Season of Films to enjoy at the Callander Cinema On 23 September we open the 41st year of screening movies in Callander with a free showing of I, Daniel Blake, the most significant film of 2016. The movie has been sponsored by Clanranald TRust and will help to raise awareness of the work done by Start Up Stirling Foodbank and The Food Train. Monetary and/or food donations will be accepted at the door. There will be two screenings - 5.30pm and 8.00 pm. Reserve your seat by calling Eammon on 339323. Our 55-seat movie theatre in St Kessog’s is one of Callander’s best kept secrets. Come along to the free screening of I, Daniel Blake (donations accepted) or join us for one of our five movies at Summerfest which include Trainspotting 2 and Mancester By The Sea. We will go on to screen another 14 movies beginning in October. The full programme membership cost is £26 which works out less than £1.75 per movie - and absolute bargain - and a perfect night out. Due to remodelling at The Waverley it is sad to announce that 20 years of screening a Classic programme has come to an end. We have included two classic films in our forthcoming season: The Maggie on 2 December and Double Indemnity on 31 March. We will miss David Skelsey with his projector, 16mm reels and the bar breaks while he changed the reels over! David has gone digital and all of our screenings will be on Blu-Ray DVD with a digital projector

CALLANDER FILM SOCIETY PROGRAMME 2017-8 Clanranald Trust Theatre, St Kessog’s 7.30pm

23 September I, Daniel Blake (free) 5.30pm/8pm 7 October Arrival 21 October Captain Fantastic 4 November Julieta 18 November Lion 2 December The Maggie 16 December La La Land 6 January The Salesman 20 January Paterson 3 February Hidden Figures 17 February Elle 3 March Moonlight 17 March Viceroy’s House 31 March Double Indemnity 28 April Whisky Galore (AGM) and a surround sound speaker system. Many thanks go to our sponsors: Clanranald, Deli Ecosse, Gordon’s Barber Shop, Spirit of Scotland and the Texas Hold ‘Em Poker players at The Waverley. We are online, on Facebook, under Callander Film Society - and there are more details on our programme at the British Film Institute site: neighbourhoodcinema/callander-filmEammon O’Boyle (339323) society 15

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of a meeting held at The Village Hall, Strathyre on 9 August 2017 Please note that these minutes have not yet received formal approval and should be considered as a draft version only. Present: Malcolm McNaughton (MM), David Johnston (DJ), Karen Methven (KM), Ruth McLusky (RM), Adrian Squires (AS), Loraine Telfer (LT). Apologies: Paul Hicks (PH), Margaret Alexander (MA), Angus Cameron (AC), Richard Eastland (RE); PC Will Diamond, Police Scotland; Billy Ronald, National Park. In attendance: Cllr Martin Earl (ME), Michelle Flynn (MF), Theresa Elliot (TE), Stirling Council. 1) Approval of Minutes It was proposed by RM, and seconded by KM, that the revised minutes of the meeting on 28th June 2017 should be accepted, and this was approved unanimously. 2) Declarations of Interest No declarations were made. 3) Police Report During the period from 28th June to 26th July, there were no thefts or burglaries reported in our area, and no reports of drunken or anti-social behaviour. A number of “conditional offers” were issued to motorists for various driving offences including speeding, no insurance, no MOT, and careless driving. In addition, six reports were sent to the Procurator Fiscal in relation to drivers travelling in excess of 50mph through the villages. One vehicle was seized and its driver reported for having no driving licence or insurance. High visibility patrols and static road checks continued, in order to deter and detect travelling criminals. PC Diamond attended both The Royal Highland Show and the Scone Game Fair, working at a Scottish Government stand that was dealing with wildlife crime. Local police also attended the Lochearnhead Shears and Highland Games events, both of which passed off without incident. PC Diamond also spent a day with Stirling Council staff visiting licensed premises in the area. Over the weekend of the 8th and 9th of July, officers from Forth Valley’s Road Policing Unit conducted high visibility patrols on the A84, A85 and A82 to tackle speeding as part of the ongoing Rural Road Safety Campaign. Officers reported twenty-five people to the Procurator Fiscal for speeding offences, including four people who were doing speeds of over 50mph in a 30mph limit, with the highest speed recorded being 57mph. One driver was reported for two offences, committed within seven miles on the same stretch of road (caught in Strathyre and then again, a short time later, in Lochearnhead). A further thirty-nine drivers were also spoken to by officers about their speed. 4) Matters arising 4a) Trustees’ Liability Insurance. MF stated that the CC was covered with an excess of £250 per claim. However, the CC still requires this in writing to show that full and co-opted members, and that all the points previously raised, are properly covered. ME suggested that an email is sent from the CC requesting clarification on each point. Action: MM and PH to liaise and compose the email covering all points. 4b) Footbridge behind Balquhidder Church. DJ reported that an approach has been made to the National Park via Gareth Kett to see if they would fund the materials, so that the repair could be done through a Volunteer Day. The Park’s response was to point us towards their new grant scheme which was due out in early August. The notice announcing the scheme was sent to the Trust on 7 August. DJ will pursue through the scheme if appropriate. Action: To be pursued through BLS Trust. 5) Bye-laws and clear-ways. The community council was notified on 12th July that the Stirling Council Prohibition of the Drinking of Alcohol in Public Places (Amendment) (No.1) Byelaws 2017 would come into force on Monday 7th August. DJ had been asked for comment from The Herald and his comments had appeared last week. He read excerpts from the article. 6) Correspondence No other correspondence had been received. 7) Planning Matters AS reported that two applications had been received. 7a) A change of use has been requested for a hut at Stronvar, from storage to occupancy for “glamping”. No issues were raised but MM declared an interest as the applicant was related to him, and took no part in the discussion on this matter. 7b) An extension to Greenacres Farm in Balquhidder was requested. No issues were raised. 8) Matters From Councillors 8a) ME reported that Stirling Council is in recess. The committee structure remains the same but will probably be reviewed once it resumes after the break. There is an issue with certain GP practices (including Killin) refusing to deal with Firearms Licence applications because of information from the British Medical Association questioning GPs’ ability to carry out this assessment. The space is being filled by private businesses at increased cost to applicants. 8b) ME reported that he gets sent the surgery notices which he doesn’t always have time to distribute. It was suggested that if PDF notices were sent to PH, he could circulate to village representatives to post on local notice boards. 8c) ME reported having attended an outreach project by Stirling District Citizens Advice Bureau at the Callander Library which was being supported by the Callander Hydro. 8d) TE reminded everyone that the Glen Ogle road was being closed for repairs. 9) Any Other Competent Business 9a) MM reported that overhanging hedges in Balquhidder are still an issue. 9b) MF reported that Stirling Council Corporate Management is coming to Killin on 19th September to cover things of interest. Members are looking for information on projects such as broadband. Invitations will be sent out in due course. 9c) MM had attended a Deer Management Group (DMG) meeting at Mhor 84 and had been told that Transport Scotland is keen to do something regarding deer accidents and had funds to use. He also reported that the Forestry Commission wants to cull a lot of deer, which could have a detrimental effect on some businesses. ME suggested that, if the Deer Management Group wishes, he would be happy to get involved and could link in with the local MP and MSPs. Action: The DMG will contact ME about its concerns. 9d) MM reported that the Forth River Fishery Board is proposing to have a survey day on 1st October to work out the number of birds taking fish along the river. There are no further details as yet. There was no other business and, at 8:55 p.m., MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting is due to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 20th September 2017 at the Village Hall, Balquhidder.


SEEING STARS by Keith Wilson 

SEPTEMBER 2017 September 6 will see a full moon followed by last quarter on the 13th and a new moon on September 20 followed by first quarter on the 28th - but what does this mean? Our Moon goes through a cycle of phases each month as it orbits our planet. When the Moon is located between us and the Sun the sunlight falls entirely on the side of the Moon we cannot see from Earth. This is known as a New Moon. Soon afterwards the Moon will appear as a very thin crescent just after sunset or before sunrise. Seven days later as more of the Moon’s Earth-facing side is lit with sunlight we reach the First Quarter phase. It’s called this as the Moon is a quarter of its way around its orbit. From Earth we see exactly half of the near side. Another week later we see the Full Moon when Earth lies between Sun and the Moon. This is when the Moon is at its brightest. Seven days later the phase is Last Quarter when we again see a half moon, the left half this time. The cycle finishes a week later when we reach the New Moon phase again. See if you can view all the phases of the Moon this month.


With more and more of our patients going abroad on holiday, or as an aid for a charity, we find that the demands on our service have increased. Bracklinn Practice is not a travel clinic, therefore, often, we cannot provide patients with all the vaccines they need. In future, you will be asked to collect a travel questionnaire and offered a 20-minute appointment with the practice nurse to discuss what you require. We can only give you appointments for the following vaccines – Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Cholera. If you are going away and we cannot offer you a suitable appointment within your timeframe, or you are advised you need vaccines other than the ones stated above, or antimalarial medication you will be advised to go to a private travel clinic.

Almost a Diamond!

It was Rena and Bill Courtney’s 59th Wedding anniversary on 9th August and they celebrated together with a romantic dinner at Mhor 84. Bill was seen gathering a little bunch of flowers for Rena on their way in! They were in the same primary school and class in Springburn, Glasgow both having been born in 1934. As was usual at the time when high school approached my father went to the boys school and my mother to the girls school and they lost touch. On leaving high school, Bill then ended up in Germany doing his National Service. After serving 4 years overseas he was on extended leave to consider his future. His father was relocating to Liverpool, his mother having passed away when he was only 12. Bill did not want to move to Liverpool and at 21 he was staying at the YMCA in Springburn kicking about at a loose end, and considering his future, which he thought was re-enlisting ‘for life’. In February 1955 he popped into a cafe in Springburn for a coffee and my mum recognised him - and the rest, they say, is history. They were married in August 1958. Graeme was their first born in 1961, followed by a younger sister and brother. Most people in the area will know them as the proprietors of The Kings House Hotel, which they purchased together in March 1990. They will be remembered for Rena doing all the work and Bill recounting stories from behind the bar! The stories come from a well travelled and varied career in electrical engineering and data communications with the same company spanning 30 years. During this time he worked in virtually all of the industries and businesses that were household names at the time. After 20+ years at the hotel, and then in their 70s, they semi retired to their cottage next door. Congratulations to them both. Roll on the Diamond Wedding next year! 17

Kasia’s Cookin’... BLACK BEAN BROWNIES Moist and delicious brownies made with black beans, topped with chocolate chips. You can’t taste beans in these brownies, but the taste of the whole cake is amazing. This recipe is healthy and very allergy friendly – no gluten (if using gluten free oats), dairy or eggs. Ingredients 1½ cups cooked black beans ½ cup maple syrup or agave syrup ¼ cup coconut oil, melted 2 tsp vanilla 2 Tbsp cocoa powder ½ cup oats ¼ tsp salt ½ tsp baking powder ½ cup mini chocolate chips, divided 2-3 Tbsp chopped walnuts (optional) Instructions 1. Preheat the oven to 350F. 2. Grease an 8x8 baking dish or line with parchment paper.

3. In a high powdered blender OR in a food processor, combine the ingredients in the order listed. 4. Process the ingredients until the batter is ultra-smooth, approximately 2-3 minutes. 5. Fold in ¼ cup of the chocolate chips. 6. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips and nuts (if using) on top of the batter. 7. Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes, until the brownies are cooked through and set. Allow to cool thoroughly before cutting. Enjoy!

Kasia Sujanova

New guides make taking a stroll a walk in the Park New online walking guides have been published making enjoying a healthy self-guided stroll through Loch Lomond & The Trossachs a walk in the Park.   The handy new guides have been created to make it easier for people to enjoy short to medium distance walks in and around the Park’s stunning and unique natural environment.   The guides focus on walks in the Cowal, Killin and Callander areas and can be easily printed or downloaded to a phone or tablet.   Each card provides a short description of the route, a detailed map and key information such as time to allow for each walk, distance, elevation, local and natural history and level of difficulty, ranging from easy to strenuous.   Killin area walks: Sron a’Clachain, 3KM:  a  short but strenuous walk climbing steeply above Killin through lovely oak woods, before opening onto moorland to give fabulous views the length of Loch Tay and down over Killin itself. 18

Auchmore Circuit, 4KM:  an easy circular route on minor roads and track exploring the countryside surrounding Killin.   Acharn Forest, 6KM:  An easy walk through native woods and conifer forest, good for spotting wildlife and offering pleasant views.   Callander area walks:   Callander Meadows, 1.8KM:  a very pleasant level riverside route with lots of wildlife and flowers by the River Teith.   Lower Woods Callander, 3KM:  a moderate walk along an undulating path through the atmospheric mixed woodland to a viewpoint over the Menteith Hills.   The Glacier Trail, 4.7KM: Explore some of the area’s geology on the low-level glacier trail, starting near the Roman Camp Hotel at the east end of Main Street and following a short stretch of the River Teith.   Three Bridges of Callander, 7.2KM: Enjoy a moderate stroll through woodland and open fields taking in

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 ramblers.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: September • Saturday 2 08:30 LDP: RB5 – Killin to Lochearn (11.5miles) Contact 01877 330032 • Wednesday 6 09:30 Stroll: Mugdock Moor & Country Park (5miles)  Contact 01877 330446 • Wednesday 13 08:30 Ramble: Glen Dochart to the Kingshouse (7miles) Contact 01877 330169 • Saturday 16 09:30 Stroll: Gargunnock & Burntown (5miles)  Contact 01786 825682 • Wednesday 20 09:30 Ramble: Cochno, Slacks & Loch Humphrey (8.5m)  Contact 01786 841240 • Saturday 23 08:30 Hill: Stob a’Choin (869m) Contact 01877 330059 • Saturday 30 08:30 LDP: RB5 – Killin to Lochearn (9 miles)  Contact 01877 330032 / 01877 330059 October • Saturday 7 09:30 Stroll: Bogton Braes, Comrie (5 miles) Contact 01877 330662 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.

surrounding peaks and the chance of spotting distinctive wildlife. To download one of the new walking route guides and for more information and ideas for walking in the National Park go to  www.lochlomond-trossachs. org/walking 

Concert at St Mary’s, Aberfoyle Sunday 17th September 2017 at 3pm  Alastair Savage and Friends   We are looking forward to what undoubtedly be another enjoyable concert from Alastair Savage and Friends. The line-up will be:  Alastair Savage - fiddle Iain Crawford - double bass Eddie McGuire - flute Ewan Robertson - whistle and piccolo  This will be an hour-long concert of Scottish music old and new. It will focus on music from Alastair’s unaccompanied fiddle album released last year featuring Neil Gow and Rabbie Burns. James Scott Skinner melodies and tracks especially arranged for fiddle and bass duo and some of Alastair’s own compositions. There will be a strong island connection to the music with a piece written by Alastiar - “Hidden Shores” - inspired by Lewis and Harris. Eddie McGuire will also perform his St. Kilda traditional melodies. Book by email to or book on line from

Glenorchy Farm

Free range rare breed pork for sale

We sell fresh pork as 1/2 pigs (20kg) and 1/4 pigs (10kg) Available in Greedy Pig Box £180 Small Family Box £80 Joints and cuts can be changed to suit etc

Can arrange drop off in local area Available July, October, November

Contact: Fiona MacLennan 07783 116399 e: facebook: Glenorchy Farm


CHOIR OCCASIONAL starts up again on Thursday 21 September at Balquhidder Village Hall 7.30pm - 9pm

All types of music - all welcome! For information call Gill on 01877 384203

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

Callander SWT group


Tuesday 12 September Sea Eagles in the East of Scotland by Owen Selly, RSPB 7.30pm Callander Kirk Hall South Church Street FK17 8BN

Suggested donations to cover costs: £2 members £2.50 non-members (students free)


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:

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: Andrea Poulter 01877 384784


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

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 St Fillans Music Circle - Sandison Hall - 12.45pm to 4.00pm. Light lunch included. Contact: David Anderson (01764 670829) / Bill Thow (01764 670836). 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 - from 21st onwards (Contact Gill Waugh 01877 384203)


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


10 12 16 23

Crafternoon Strathyre - see page 2 Callander SWT - Sea Eagles Talk - see page 20 Monachyle Mhor 10k Fun Run Race Night - Strathyre - see page 6



Race Night - Lochearnhead - see page 2

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 Evelyn Tweed Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling, FK8 2ET 01786 233101 Councillor Jeremy McDonald Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling, FK8 2ET 01786 233117

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

Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316

Sunday 11.30am Minister: Rev Dr Russel Moffat The Manse, Main Street, Killin FK21 8TN 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



Cheques for advertising and mail order subscriptions should be made out to: The BLS Newspaper Association



BrainTeaser: 3+3=6 Printed by Graphics and Print Services, University of Stirling Tel: 01786 467209 email: Published by The BLS Newspaper Association


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News from the communities of St Fillans,Lochearnhead, Balquhidder, Strathyre. Read The St Fillans Bit, Book review, McLaren High School, Ch...