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The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

Jim MacTaggart’s aerobatic display during the Highland Games at Lochearnhead

Editor’s Bit Let’s start with some really good news this month Gill Allan is intending to pick up the production reins again for next month’s edition. We have certainly missed her not only from the technical side but also has almost a deputy editor with her wise words steering us clear of potential controversial articles. On the topic of controversial articles Fiona Martin inviting comments on why people no longer go to church has elicited two responses so far. No one, apart from Fiona, has risen to my challenge of explaining why people still attend church so hopefully we can continue the debate for next month too in a spirit of respecting whilst questioning different stances. We actually spent a very enjoyable Sunday afternoon in St Fillans with John and Daisy at the Tenors concert and Lunch, our first venture so far east and discovered the sun actually shines all day there. Another display of “local” talent and good humour from the amateur singers followed by the 3 Tenors displaying their musical range proved again how you don’t need to be in a city to enjoy great music. To conclude with more boring practical issues could I ask for people to help us keep the Weekly and Diary dates as accurate as possible please? I obviously do not know when the majority of clubs start or when they change days or times so corrections are up to you. Similarly we are happy to try and put all local events in the actual paper and then on the Diary back page if we get copy well in advance, preferably as a Word document and photos as JPG files. Thanks.

Sandy Lyle Charity Day What an amazing day it was at St Fillans golf club with 112 players through the course! The day commenced at 9am with Sandy Lyle driving off at the 1st tee with his hickory driver, a phenomenal shot which shot way over the road gently and perfectly turning left towards the elevated first pin.....all players watched in awe hoping this would inspire their own first tee shot! Play commenced in sunshine allowing the course to show itself off to those visiting for the first time... the weather was good to us until mid-afternoon when the heavens opened giving players a huge challenge over three holes, it was touch and go whether play would continue but our course did us proud with the greens soaking up any residual water and the late afternoon and early evening play continued in unbroken sunshine (Scottish weather at its best!) Sandy Lyle met every player individually, gave tips to those requesting them, shared stories and anecdotes and walked the field throughout the day watching play.... for some players this was their excuse for thinning the ball, shanking the ball, skying the ball ..... all players were delighted to see Sandy take an interest in their game. The junior teams arrived in the late afternoon from Crieff and Callander, Sandy took great interest in this match

There is little more to report this month. Progress with the three tenderers is slow but there is progress. Unfortunately it does not look as if we will have enough information to hold a community meeting, as suggested, in September. Be assured that we are working as hard as we can on this and would really like to get things started before the winter weather sets in. Anyone interested in being kept informed or to ask a question should should go to: and click on the “Subscribe to this Group” link, using their email address.


and gave pre-match tips to all players. This was a great match to follow, the teams of boys headed out and showed us from the first tee that there were some talented golfers among them, the drives from some of the boys would put our existing club champions to shame! Over nine holes a very tight fought match was won by only three points by a well deserving Crieff team, Sandy presented their trophy and medals accompanied by St Fillans oldest member Ian

Pinkerton. Players enjoyed a hot spit roast, drinks and took part in a fundraising auction before the announcement of winners of The Sandy Lyle Biennial Cup 2015.... We are delighted that in our inaugural year the cup was won by one of our home teams Jill Lothian, Malcolm Baillie, Keith Stewart and Mos Pugh with an aggregate score of 134. The winner of the individual highest score was Nicola Robertson from Stirling GC. Sandy presented the trophies and the event was brought to an end by Club Captain, Keith Stewart. Thanks to everyone who supported the event, players, organisers, caterers, greens staff, prize donators, photographers and volunteers. Special thanks to Scott Hastings, STV Glasgow and Visit Scotland for assisting in raising the profile of our event but most of all to Sandy Lyle who went way beyond the call of duty, a true gentleman and great friend of St Fillans Golf Club.

An exciting new event is coming to Balquhidder this December - everyone is welcome to join in! There will be music, food - and the chance to demonstrate your creative skills in the amazing Christmas Tree Competition! For more information call Karen Methven on 01877 384624


The St Fillans Bit 15 - 16 August was Village Festive Weekend time again. As I mentioned previously I made a one off return to organise the music and raise sponsorship. Thus we had ‘Elvis’ booked for the Saturday BBQ and the Scottish 3 Tenors for the Sunday Buffet and all sponsored. So what could go wrong? What went wrong was that 18 hours before Elvis was due on stage he quit – because his car had broken and it was impossible to hire a car in Argyll (aye right Jimmy). I was in big depression. Then the booking agent phoned and said he had persuaded an alternative duo to fill the booking. We expected little from a last minute booking. How wrong we were. They started with Elvis numbers as they knew folk were expecting Elvis then ran through an amazing repertoire from Neil Diamond to Abba. They had the place buzzing. Then on their second set they slowly increased the tempo until, by the end, virtually everyone was up dancing. To my shame I can’t remember if they were called NightRider or NightRunner but what a show. On Sunday we enjoyed a superb buffet lunch provided by Tullybannocher and great music from the 3 tenors. Operatic stuff, show stuff and Scots music. Another brilliant afternoon. Can’t remember a better Festive Weekend. There was a disco on Saturday evening with comedy sketches by local talent. I was not there since nowadays after a day out I am asleep by 8 p.m. but I’m told that it was a much enjoyed evening. What many folk do not realise is the immense amount of work by The Festive Committee which goes in to organising the weekend – then when everyone has enjoyed it and gone home there are hours of tidying up, taking down the marquee etc. Congratulations to them. Sally Watson has asked me to recognise that they even went to the effort of laying on chairs with arms for her, myself and Cecil who find it hard to arise now without using our arms. I should mention the performance prior to the 3 Tenors of St Fillans own 4 Fivers, pictured here somewhere. Superb humour. And apart from the

by John Murray

The Four Fivers

fun the event raised some £2000 for village funds. What more could you ask? During the weekend I noticed a rather good looking lady enter the marquee. It took a minute to realise that it was Trish Forrester who has shed 2 stone and about 10 years by going to Slimming World. Further investigation revealed that Jo Steventon is now the local agent and has also lost 2 stone. After my bit this month follows a piece by Jo which tells the whole story. Gawd

knows how many diets I’ve been on in my 73 years and given up on them all cos I was ravenous and alcohol was banned. This system seems to work without those side effects. Give her a ring – the only thing you have to lose is weight. On 1st August the inaugural Sandy Lyle cup was held at St Fillans Golf Club with an incredible 112 players taking part – some coming from Dubai and Bangkok to be a part of it... Sandy took a very active part in the day, driving Continued overleaf


The St Fillans Bit

(Continued from p3)

The Three Tenors

the first ball with his hickory driver, meeting with everyone, giving tips and so on. In the afternoon junior teams from Crieff and Callander competed with Sandy taking a keen interest in in the match. The day ended with a Spit Roast, drinks and auction. The whole day raised about £3,000 for charity. During the month Kay Naitby circulated an email to the village pointing out just how hard it was for a village store to survive in a wee place like St Fillans and how important it is for villagers to support the store whenever possible. It is a thing I have mentioned more than once in this column but am happy to reinforce Kay’s message again. Profit margins are low on newspapers, sweets and general groceries and the only thing that makes the shop half viable is the coffee shop. Which makes me repeat my disgust that instead of living up to their mighty claims when Arran bought The Drummond they opened a coffee shop in direct competition with our Village Store. Kay reminds us of the days under a previous owner when it was a lottery whether the shop would open or not and the period when it was closed altogether and we had to go to Comrie for a paper and a pint of milk. Now if you are baking in the afternoon and run out of flour or milk or whatever Liam is there. Her basic point was ‘use it or lose it’ and if we lose it again I doubt it will ever reopen. Mary from The Four Seasons tells me that the menus will change at the start of September to reflect seasonal changes. It has been a busy season and they have had to turn locals away, which they never want to do, so 4

booking is safer. On 20th September they are hosting the Scottish Classic Motor Cycle Club Rally from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For anyone interested in classic bikes a great chance to go and see a vast range and relive old memories. And the riders are a great group of sociable guys (and gals) – I know because I used to host the gatherings at Achray. Go get a coffee or lunch and go down memory lane. Before handing over to Jo, I’d like to give a bit of praise to Perth & Kinross Council. Most of the time in this column I have been critical of the ‘cooncil’. But since my brief hospitalisation reported a couple of months ago I have received excellent care and help from P&K. Not asked for but volunteered by P&K. I usually see public employees as on a cushy number. I now see many of them as genuinely caring and eager to help. John Murray A lighter future for Villagers Readers Jo Steventon joined her local slimming world group initially to support a friend. Though she wanted to lose weight herself she admits to being very sceptical but is now nearly two stone lighter and about to become the Consultant for the Crieff Slimming World Group. “My weight had gradually crept up and I had been trying all sorts of different diets to no avail. Hardly anything in my wardrobe fitted anymore and what did, didn’t look or feel right” said Jo. “I couldn’t motivate myself (didn’t want to give up chocolate!) “Like a lot of slimmer’s, I had tried to lose weight so many times before by following numerous diets but they were never sustainable because I’d always get tired of restricting what I ate. I thought I was destined to struggle but when I came to Slimming World it was different. I never felt like I was on a diet. The eating plan encourages you to eat unlimited amounts of filling foods like pasta, rice, potatoes, lean meat and fish, you are never hungry and no foods are banned so there’s no deprivation. I couldn’t believe I’d found a way to lose weight without starving myself plus with a generous ‘syn’ allowance every day, it meant that I could even have my bar of

chocolate each night if I wanted to. “I’d never been to a slimming group before, didn’t know how they worked and was quite worried that I would feel embarrassed. Nothing could have been further from what I had envisaged. Everyone was friendly and supportive and there was no embarrassment. Each week, after the confidential weigh in, the group chats, shares ideas, experiences and recipes about what has helped them that week. All this, plus with free refreshments and awards to be won it was great. Slimming World isn’t just about changing what you eat. It’s all about getting the support to choose a healthier lifestyle like finding ways to eat out and still lose weight or become more active even if you’re not very mobile or don’t like exercise. I now feel fantastic and having trained as a Consultant for Slimming World, the UK’s leading slimming club, I want to help anyone else who isn’t happy with their weight to change their life too.” If you want to join Jo, the group meets at 5.30 and 7.30pm on a Monday evening at The Crieff Hotel and you are welcome to just turn up or for more information about Jo’s Slimming World group contact her on 07946 339031 or visit

Scottish Wildlife Trust Callander Local Group Diary 2015 Talks start at 7:30pm Kirk Hall, South Church Street, Callander.

**Note the change of venue** Tuesday 8 September 7:30pm ‘Birds of /central /Scotland: 40 years of change’ by David Bryant Thursday 22th October 2015 Otter Ecology & Conservation: the work of IOSF Dr Paul Yoxon, CEO, IOSF, Skye

EVERYONE WELCOME! Admission £2 members, £2.50 non-members, free to full-time students. Includes tea/coffee & biscuits.

Please book with Lesley Hawkins 01877 339080 or

Annette Baird Brown I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Annette recently to talk about her latest achievement which was the presentation of her “BATCHELOR OF ARTS IN HISTORY DEGREE” from Stirling University, a remarkable feat by a lovely lady who will be 79 years young come September! Annette attended the award ceremony on Wednesday 24th June where she received her well-earned diploma.

The photographs show Annette with her much deserved diploma, the diploma itself, and the gruelling schedule she endured to receive it. She had an interest in history from an early age and started off with evening

classes on a part time basis and just had to take what “units” were on offer but the classes stopped running and she went on to mainstream.

Annette said it was a difficult course at times but was still very enjoyable and rewarding. I asked if at 79 would she be embarking on some other educational expedition but, with a wee twinkle in her eye, she said she would like to travel

around Scotland and the Islands and see a bit more of the country she loves so much. I can tell you that will be an education in its self. Annette has a wee bit of history herself in this area as the family used to go on camping holidays in Keip road, the photo shows a VERY young Annette on her first ever holiday in Strathyre in July 1937. The family then built a “Holiday Hut” in Lochearnhead in 1946 but later sold it in 1955 for, wait for it, £80 and believe it or not, bought “Rusgachan” for, wait for it again, £60. It just shows how important holidays were in this area when a Hut is more costly than a cottage!



A very young Annette on her first holiday in Strathyre in July 1937

She told me a wonderful little story of how her Granny was so keen to join the family when camping in Keip road that she had her garden shed dismantled, loaded on a truck and rebuilt in Keip by Annette’s dad, who was a joiner. She then lived in for the duration of the holiday, how fantastic is that! I would like to congratulate this wonderful lady and I’m sure so would all the readers of The Villagers. I personally think Annette has made a wee bit of history herself and I hope she gets her trip around this beautiful country that we have the pleasure of calling home. Scotland is waiting for you. Wullie D

Real Ale - Real Music

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre ANNUAL COUNTRY SHOW Formally the Horticultural Society

CANCELLED Unfortunately because of the poor weather and lack of suitable product this years show has been cancelled.


Peter and Mary Matyjasek They will be shocked to see themselves staring out of “The Villagers” but their family and huge number of friends have asked me to pass on their congratulations to Peter and Mary on their forthcoming fiftieth wedding anniversary, which they will be celebrating on Friday 11th September. They have spent most of their married life in their lovely cottage in Strathyre and although this is their “Golden Wedding” I am sure that every year has been golden for this lovely couple, who are much loved and admired by this community. Have a wonderful time when it comes and we all hope for many more happy years to come. Wullie D

Balquhidder Christmas Market If wanting a Stall contact Janet on Tel: 0781794808 or Sunday 6th December Balquhidder Hall £7 small table £14 large table

Callander Amateur Operatic Society “Callander Amateur Operatic Society (CAOS) has a new musical director! Following Ian Milligan’s retirement from the society as musical director for thirty five years, CAOS have pleasure in announcing that our new musical director is Razvan Luculescu.

Razvan, who was born in Rumania, has lived in Scotland for a number of years. Razvan has broad experience in directing musical societies, theatre groups and orchestras in the Glasgow area. He grew up in the theatre world in Rumania. CAOS is keen to encourage existing, new and younger members to join the society for the season 2015/2016. If you enjoy singing and like the idea of performing in front of an audience, and would like the opportunity of being involved with a long established and successful team of likeminded enthusiasts, then please come along to CAOS rehearsal at Callander Youth Project (CYP). Our first rehearsal meeting will take place at CYP (what was formerly the Bridgend Hotel) in Callander on Monday 7th September at 7.30pm. This is a new era for the society under new musical leadership but, as ever, we look forward to not only enjoying ourselves during rehearsals but ultimately entertaining the public. No particular skills are required. You don’t have to be able to read music although some singing ability would definitely be useful. No previous experience of either acting or performing is an entry requirement, those skills can be developed through experience over time. What we do know is that when you come along you’ll be in the company of many others who didn’t know what to expect when they decided to “give it a go”. You might have thought about it for years, well now is your chance! We look forward to meeting you on 7th September at CYP. Bob Johnson (newly elected President CAOS)”

Cricket (as explained to a visitor) You have two sides, one out in the field, and one in. Each man that`s in the side that`s in goes out, and when he`s out he comes in and the next man goes in, until he`s out. When they are all out, the side that`s out comes in, and the side that`s been in goes out, and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When both sides have been in and out, including the not outs. that`s the end of the game.

We are at the start of our 4th year and are no longer the newest U3A in Scotland; 3 more have started up since we began and all are going strong. Our membership ranges far and wide from our base in Callander, encompassing villages to the south and west, from Kippen through Buchlyvie, Gartmore, Aberfoyle and Brig o’Turk; east to Doune, Deanston and Dunblane; north to Strathyre, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Killin. 25 different interest groups are on offer, details of which can be found on our website ‘Callander and West Perthshire U3A’ or you can ring the Secretary on 01360 850722. We welcome new members at any time. Marguerite Kobs


Church News BalquhiĐĐer •bls Reg. Charity No. SC012316

A Note from

St Angus’s

This time I feel I must rise to the challenge in case anyone else doesn’t.....The Editor posed the question “Why do some people go to Church?” Well, I can only speak from a personal point of view so here goes. I was brought up in the Church of Scotland and was made a member at the age of 18 while still at school but once I left home I very quickly lapsed from Church attendance, a state which lasted for years. My first husband, who wasn’t a church-goer either, insisted that our children were baptised so I then felt if I was promising to bring them up “in the faith” I’d better start attending Church again. I went sporadically for a few years, mainly because I liked the minister who had been very helpful and supportive during an unpleasant divorce. Eventually the minister left and so did I! For the next 5 or 6 years I tried very hard to be an atheist even to the point of being invited to an ecumenical Bible study group and going with the intention of rubbishing all they said. But there was something about that group of folk studying the Bible who put up so patiently with my counter-arguments to everything that made me just a little bit envious. Also the more I heard about the actual person of Jesus the more I felt drawn to him to the point that when, out of the blue, someone asked me if I believed in Him, I heard myself saying “yes” and with that seemed to come an obligation to a deeper commitment. Shortly after that I met my second husband who happened to be a Vicar in the Church of England and the rest, as they say, is history! However, I have been widowed now for 16 years and there is certainly no obligation to continue going to Church. So why do I continue? Habit? - Probably; choice? Certainly, because I want to be with likeminded people; because I believe everything I read in the Bible? Up to a point but I also believe it has to be understood against its historical background; because Jesus is real and the very embodiment of goodness? Absolutely; because I believe in the power of prayer? I’ve seen too many prayers answered NOT to believe. I could go on but maybe you’ve given up reading by now...... I’m sure the age-old argument will crop up now that religion causes wars - No, people cause wars and will pervert religion to their own ends. Religions on the whole are peaceable. It has been said that there is a “God sized hole in all of us” and I believe religion is simply the way in which folk express that search for God. I feel very fortunate to have found that way in Jesus Christ.


Another year has gone in a flash as St Angus Day came round again on 12th August. It was good to welcome visitors as we commemorated the saint`s day. We have often been told that Balquhidder is a “thin place” where the line between heaven and earth is very narrow. I was reminded of this recently when I visited Iona, as the same is said of that remarkable island with its lovely Abbey. Church life here continues as usual and it will soon be harvest time. Our service will most likely be in late September or early October and will be announced in Church and with notices on the notice boards in Lochearnhead and Strathyre. I am glad to report that we are making progress with arrangements to advertise for a new minister. The work on the manse in Killin is due to be completed in September. The hope is that the completely renovated manse will attract applicants to what is a challenging ministry of two very large rural parishes. We are looking for an enthusiastic minister who will help us reenergise the church here. A few more folk in church who are not OAPs would help! Meanwhile, I can give advance notice that the Edinburgh University Renaissance Singers plan to give a concert in the church on October 24th. Their programme will include sacred and Scottish music. Please watch out for notices later on and in next month`s Villagers. Last month, in the Villagers, folk were asked why they did or did not come to church. Most reasons given to me centre around the time of services and since we changed the time of our service to an earlier one, I can say it has made no difference at all! The other main reason for not coming has been that family activities must come first, and these do not include church! Jean Edwards

DOCTORS Drs Strang & Scott and Drs Mathewson & Gibson Community Nurses

The surgeries and community nurses take part in various training programmes throughout the year. This is to meet the educational and training needs of all members of the practice and nursing team. The next training afternoons will be on: Tuesday 20th October 2015 and Wednesday 25th November 2015 Both practices and community nurse clinic will close at 12.30pm. Emergency cover will be provided by NHS24 for nursing and GPs. In the event of an emergency, please telephone 111. On that afternoon, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments.

Bracklinn Practice

If you require urgent medical attention when the surgery is closed please contact NHS24 on 111. Make sure you have enough medication to last you over the holiday period, and if you think you will run out, order your medication early or ask for 2 months supply. Public Holday - Monday 12th October - Bracklinn Practice will

A NOTE FROM OWEN Some of you will have seen from newspaper articles that I have resigned from the National Park Authority Board so it won’t surprise you to see the change in the article heading. My position has changed but the matters which concern us all have not. That is why I am as anxious as anyone that the minister comes to an early decision on the YOUR PARK camping provision and bylaws proposals. Lest anyone is lulled into a false sense of wellbeing because the reported incidents of anti-social behaviour have been few and far between this year, may I just remind you that the same pattern emerged on East Lomond in the year prior to the formal introduction of the bylaws there? Add to that the fact that this summer has been one of the wettest for a good number of years and consequently there has been a considerable damper on the desire for wild camping. The problem hasn’t gone away and the need for the minister to give the thumbs up to the proposals before her is as pressing as ever. Let’s all hope she sees it that way and that September 2015 is a month we will all remember as the start of another phase of improving the Park for residents and visitors alike. Get on your bike is a trend that is blossoming with the numbers seeking out the cycle tracks validating the decision to invest in them. There are many more to come with proposals in play which will eventually see tracks cris

crossing the Park. Part and parcel of the plans is an understanding that there will be times and areas where cyclists will want, or need to, make use of public transport eg.when they are faced with a watery expanse like Loch Lomond. Facilities for carrying bikes are being integrated into scheduled services. We tend to think of community projects for the benefits they bring to the community in which they take place but time and time again I have come across projects which have benefitted people from outwith the initiating community. One such was the Walled Garden Project at Ardentinny. This was a major project which needed a considerable amount of manual labour to bring back to productive use a garden that had been sorely neglected for decades. Realising they would need help, the community applied to Argyll & Bute Council to have assistance from those sentenced to provide community service. With no Ardentinny locals on the community service list Argyll and Bute sent in offenders from further afield. The good news part is that not only did they do a splendid job but many of the offenders so enjoyed their time at the garden that they have returned as volunteers and continue to make a contribution to the project. For a day out you could combine a visit to Ardentinny with one to Benmore Gardens. A thought. My place on the Park Board will be through an election sometime around October. Details will be published in due course. Owen McKee

be open in the morning as usual, and closed in the afternoon for staff training.

Flu Vaccine Clinic Friday 2nd October - This years open flu clinic

is on Friday 2nd October. Leny and Bracklinn Practice will be available for vaccines between 9am – 5.30pm. Come along at any time during the day. If you are unsure whether you are eligible please contact your surgery beforehand. Due to the staff concentrating on the vaccines on the 2nd October, there will be emergency clinics only and no repeat prescriptions printed. 9

French Scouts Visit Lochearnhead Historical links with Clan McLaren going back to 1919 were in evidence at Lochearnhead’s Highland Games when 51 French scouts joined in the proceedings. The scouts had travelled from Paris for three weeks camping in Scotland building on links forged by a trip in 1990 by the French Troop McLaren. The scouts joined in enthusiastically with the Parade, hill race and the Tug of War and then amazed the crowds with their three part harmony singing in front of the McLaren tent. The Auld Alliance was cemented by singing Scotland the Brave as their penultimate song followed by a passionate rendition of Le Marseilles. The scouts were very perceptive in their comments about the Games remarking on how friendly everyone was and they appreciated the atmosphere of a big friendly gathering where everyone enjoyed taking part and competing but winning was not always the most important aspect. They were really surprised by the very warm welcome they received and claimed to feel like heroes in the march. On the following Tuesday they put on a concert in the hall where they sang for over an hour. Their choir has only been formed over the last two years and they can only practise once a month but what a sound they produced and a great array of different styles. After the concert and once they had devoured all the pancakes and scones (about 2 minutes) we were

Holding their flags aloft


Marching as part of the Chieftans Parade

Group gathering on the shores of Loch Earn

lucky enough to be taken on a tour of their camp in the fields generously lent to them by Gus Cameron. Each patrol had to make from scratch their own “tent” and together they had also built a “theatre” for their evening camp where they could sing and put on sketches. They explained how orders were relayed by a horn using Morse code. They also told us about all their inter-patrol competitions ranging from cooking to mini Olympics. We saw their immaculate, despite all the rain, food tent and heard how they got a delivery from Asda and cleared out the store of baguettes with their first order! Their only concession they had made was borrowing some tarpaulins from the British scouts camping in the Scout hall across the road, who had taken pity on them not realising what a Scottish “summer” could be like. We were escorted very politely back to the entrance after our “tour” and asked to

mention how grateful they were to Gus for the use of his land (apparently they cut up enough logs for the winter for him as a parting gift) and to Mr McLaren for his assistance with arrangements for their trip and most importantly including them in the Parade.

Clockwise from top left - Their daily parade square - Entray to the camp ground One of their camps - The concert in the Village Hall - Another camp showing their kitchen


Callander’s McLaren High School is getting set to celebrate a very special anniversary. This August it will be 50 years since the school moved from itsprevious location at what is now Callander Primary School to the Trossachs town’s Mollands Road. It officially opened in September1965. A programme of events has now been organised for Saturday 5th Septemberto mark the occasion, including sports matches between former andcurrent pupils, school tours, an exhibition and a ceilidh. Headteacher Marc Fleming said: “There was no way we could let an anniversary like this go unmarked and I hope as many people as possible turn out for what should be a great fun day. “There have been a lot of changes at McLaren High School over the years – not least the major refurbishment that took place between 2006 and 2008 and saw the school interior

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 - Mid August. We also sell frozen pork, sausages and bacon and can arrange drop off points in the local area Contact: Fiona MacLennan t: 07783116399 e: facebook: Glenorchy Farm 12

completely transformed – but it has always been important throughout that the school remains a central part of community life, which is why we’re inviting everybody in to celebrate this milestone with us.” A former versus current pupils rugby match will be held at the Callander Primary School pitch from 10am on Saturday 5th September, with football and hockey games on the pitches at McLaren Leisure Centre from noon. Tours of the current school and the exhibition of McLaren through the years can be enjoyed from noon-3pm and then the ceilidh takes place inthe school from 7-11pm with tickets priced £5 each or £15 for a family (two adults and two children). To take part in the sports matches or to purchase ceilidh tickets email: or call 01877 330156 01877 330156. Tickets can also be bought at the school reception.

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council

Minutes of Annual General Meeting held at Strathyre Village Hall on 12th August 2015

Please note that these minutes have not yet received formal approval and should be considered as a draft only. Present: Malcolm McNaughton (MM), Alistair Barclay (AB), David Johnston (DJ), Ruth McLusky (RMC), Karen Methven (KM), Loraine Telfer (LT), Angus Cameron (AC). Apologies: Paul Hicks, Richard Eastland (RE), Adrian Squires (AS), Susie Crammon (SC), Rosanne McWilliams (RM). Attending: PC Will Diamond, Police Scotland 1) Approval of Minutes: It was proposed by [AB] and seconded by [RMC], that the minutes of the meeting on 1st July 2015 should be accepted, and this was approved unanimously. 2) Declarations of Interest: DJ declared an interest in Balquhidder Broadband which he will give an update under AOCB 3) Police Report: Between 01/07/2015 – 09/08/2015 (42 crimes reported). Three reports have been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal in relation to persons being found in possession of drugs. 35 road traffic offences were reported during this time period. These were predominantly speeders but also included defects, and driving under the influence of alcohol amongst other offences.Between the 12th June and 3rd July, an attempt was made to steal a trailer, which was parked off the A85 in Lochearnhead close to the watersports centre. The hitch lock was drilled out in an attempt to remove the trailer. At 1350hrs on the 31st July, a caravan was stolen from Immervoulin, Strathyre. Two males were responsible and were using a light coloured VW saloon car. Between the 5th and 6th July, the Broch Café in Strathyre was broken into and a quantity of items were stolen from within. A White Ford Transit was seen in the area around the time that police would be keen to trace the occupants of. Community Engagement and Reassurance Routine patrols have been carried out as well as Ironworks patrols every weekend. I was also in attendance at the launch of the Rural Crime Initiative at United Auctions, Stirling. I have been on annual leave for 3 weeks during this reporting period. 4) Matters Arising: 4a) Demand Responsive Transport – Publicity. PH had circulated a report to members concerning the meeting with Derek Parry and Margaret Wallace of Stirling Council on 16th July. They had requested details of any businesses or organisations that would be willing to pass out information to visitors. PH will collate the results and send a list through to David Brown at S-C. 4b) Stroneslaney Road – Flooding. DJ has written to SC re the flooding issue and it has now been confirmed that a flood warning sign will be added to a sign warning that the road is 3 miles long with no passing places and a sign at the Strathyre end informing people that the best way to Balquhidder is via the A 84 to Kingshouse. 5) Bye-law and Clearways: There is nothing to report 6) Correspondence: There is nothing to report 7) Planning Matters: There is nothing to report 8) Matters from Councillors: Nothing reported 9) Any Other Competent Business: 9a) Stronslaney Road sign. MM had received a letter from Gordon McIntyre asking that the CC look into the old Stronslaney road sign, which had been removed from the road at the Strathyre end. He noted that the sign at the Balquhidder end was still in place although in need of painting and that the sign at Kingshouse had been refurbished. As the Strathyre sign had been replaced with a new one he suspected that this was an action of the council but felt that the old cast iron signs were more appropriate for the area and the old one should be reinstated. Action - PH to write to the council re the old signs for Stronslaney 9b) Balquhidder Broadband Update – As per updates in The Villagers in response to the ITT bids have been received from 3 companies. Briskona and AB Internet have submitted wireless bids and engineering visits have been arranged. Bogons have submitted a fibre bid and an initial visit has taken place. All three companies are working on their submissions and it is hoped that by mid to late September BCB will be in the position to hold a public meeting. 9c) Balquhidder Glen Road. Helen from Highland Glen Travel has asked that the state of this road after the Village Hall be raised. They travel down to Monachyle Mhor and the Buddhist retreat several times a day and the roughness of the road and the soft verges are damaging their vehicles and are potentially dangerous. Action - PH to write to the council re the state of Balquhidder Glen road above the Village Hall. There was no other business and, at 8:40 p.m., MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting is due to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 23rd September 2015 at the Village Hall, Strathyre. 13

The Badeboch and Strathspey Pipe Band lead the Chieftans to the Games Field

Summer is here and our week setting up the arena got off to a good start as we dug more and more trenches to carry away ponding water from our Games field. I won’t dwell on it; we all live in the climate and we know the problem. What a fine day and top entertainment we did enjoy on Saturday and our concerns faded into distant memory. Our car parks filled quickly and once more we experienced a high proportion of foreign tourists eager to sample Scotland’s traditions in a lochside setting. Our March this year was led by Donald MacLaren, Chieftain of Clan MacLaren, piped into the field by Badenoch and Strathspey Pipe Band. The March was swelled by a company of French Scouts who have been camping in Glen Ogle this past three weeks and they added to our day with their colourful enthusiasm. Donald’s message of welcome to our Games would be appropriate to quote in full here. He writes, ‘I attended my first Lochearnhead nearly 50 years ago. Since then, I have been at many Games both in Scotland and in other parts of the world. None of them are quite like these; and none of them as special. When others give way to commercial pressures and cut corners to try and achieve mass appeal, Lochearnhead successfully maintains its distinct highland character of friendliness, hospitality and human 14

warmth. Together with that, these Games set high standards of competition in all the traditional areas of piping, dancing, athletics and heavy field events - and, of course, the famous hill race.’ Thanks for that Donald. As soon as events began Jim MacTaggart swooped in with an aerobatic display in his vintage biplane, spinning and looping around to thrill our visitors in a skilful show. Back here on earth the Heavyweight athletes got to work and our own Stuart Anderson made his home supporters happy by winning both the Perthshire and the Open competitions overall, coming first in every event apart from the hammer classes. The chat around the ring was about the informality of the occasion and inclusive atmosphere, with spectators able to take part in athletics and trying their strength at tug of war against a good natured expert team from Strathardle. A fine dancing competition gave a real taste of Scotland and a good turnout of

The Clan Chiefs

pipers kept the sound of bagpipes in our ears all day. A big effort is always needed to ensure these Games go ahead. Formal authorities lend advice with policing and health and safety. My particular appreciation is always directed to the volunteers who lay out the field, attend the gates, steward the parking, staff the beer tent, all with great good humour ending the day dog tired but happy. Many of them won’t see much or any of the Games. Thank you all for your support. The weather was kind we look forward to doing it all again next year.

was well supported and together with the proceeds from the beer tent and BBQ (a big thank you goes to barmaids, Moira and Janette Welsh and ‘burger flippers’ Jimmy McSkimming and Cathy Borland), raised significant amounts of money which will be used to support local activities and provide a donation to Marie Curie Cancer Care.

The organisers want to particularly thank all the sponsors of the raffle (too many to mention individually) for the donated prizes and local supporters, it wouldn’t be possible or fun without you! Martin Sanders Treasurer

Action from the Heaveys

Alex Gargolinski Secretary

Jim MacTaggart in a verticle climb

Annual Villages’ Football Match The now traditional charity fundraising post-Highland Games football match between the married and single BLS men took place after clearing up on the Highland Games field in Lochearnhead on Sunday 27th July. In a dramatic match that saw goals scored in double figures (9-1!) once again the single men took the trophy. The married men were spared further embarrassment by the outstanding performance of their goalie, George Weir, which earned him the ‘Man of the Match’ title ……. The onset of pouring rain just before the half-time whistle didn’t dampen the enthusiasm (much?) of the married and single ladies 5-a-side teams who played a competitive match during the half-time break with the single ladies taking the trophy 3-2. Following the presentation of the trophies, the famous charity raffle got underway, hosted by Tom Gibbon and Shuggie Atkinson. As always the event 15

Pin-Feathers* by Old Nyati

*Once in demand by Victorian miniaturists, the tiny pin-feather comes from the

leading edge of a woodcock’s wing and only two such feathers occur on each bird (one on each wing). This month, Old Nyati reports on The Battle of Britain 75th Anniversary

“Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few” Those famous words, and now at the seventy fifth anniversary of the Battle of Britain perhaps we should just pause to remember and to realise what may have been if things had have gone the other way and Britain had have been occupied by the enemy. The words of the inspired poem which was done for the What did we earth-bound make of it? A tangle film The Battle of Britain are Of vapour trails, a vertiginously high very meaningful and worth Swarming of midges, at most a fiery angel Hurled out of heaven, was all we could descry. reading carefully. It was Old Nyati`s privilege How could we know the agony and pride to be present at the recent That scrawled those fading signatures up there, memorial service to Lord And the cool expertise of those who died Dowding in Moffatt, where he Or lived through that delirium of the air? was born. It was not an event that got wide publicity so Grounded on history now, we re-enact there was not a huge crowd of Such lives, such deaths. Time, laughing out of court people, but the ones who were The newspaper heroics and the faked there came from an older age Statistics, leaves us only to record. group. The service was very What was, what might have been: fighter and bomber, touching, marching pipe The tilting sky, tense moves and counterings; bands, hymns and prayers, Those who outlived that legendary summer; speeches by “Top Brass” from Those who went down, its sunlight on their wings. the RAF. Recorded words by Dowding and Churchill, and And you, unborn then, what will you make of it— most excellent attendance and This shadow-play of battles long ago? Be sure of this: they pushed to the uttermost limit help from the RAF Cadets. At precisely the allotted Their luck, skill, nerve. And they were young like you. Cecil Day lewis Poet Laureate time in the programme there was a low level flypast by a Spitfire and Hurricane, not just once but four times with circuits over the town of Moffatt and the place where Dowding was born. Oh! The sound of a Merlin Engine at close quarters, following those prayers and thoughts, was there a dry eye anywhere? What would it be like to live through those dark days again? Yes, I think we would agree “This was their finest hour” This is a little known event and is kept rather secret for obvious reasons and it was indeed a great privilege to be invited to. “We will remember them” Old Nyati. 16

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

Erudite Muse

“Women get lost, men take unscheduled alternative routes.� Nick Harding quoted in The Daily Telegraph


My favourite recipes... by Katarzyna Sujanova

Strawberry cake with crumble topping Here is another favourite summer recipe. This is an old recipe that is always successful and is very easy to make. It can be used all year round with any seasonal fruit. It is especially delicious with juicy strawberries and lots of crumble on top. 2.5 cup of plain flour 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp vanilla extract 250 butter 4 eggs 1 cup of sugar 500g. strawberries For the crumble topping: 50g. caster sugar 100g. butter 150g. plain flour

Mix flour with baking powder. Melt the butter and cool it down. In a separate bowl mix the eggs with sugar, add the flour and then the butter. Mix and transfer to a tin lined with baking paper. Add fruit on the top and sprinkle with crumble. To make crumble: mix butter, flour and sugar until well incorporated. Bake the cake at 180 C for 40-45 min. Enjoy! Kasia Sujanova

It’s ‘Lunch Club’ time again Just a short note to all our regular ‘Lunch Clubbers’ that the new season will kick-off on the 5th October, so please put the date in your diaries. For those of you who have never been, or just want to come and try us out, we start from 12.30 to 2.30pm every Monday until Christmas week, then restart in January till March. Our venue is The Scout Station in Lochearnhead. We serve a choice of two soups, two puddings, tea/coffee with biscuits all for the princely sum of £2.00. Also there will be 4 special Dinners between now and March. We would love to see some new members, so do feel free to come and join us. Pauline Perkins President 18

Minutes of Board meeting – 25th June 2015, Old Station Court Present: Fiona Martin; Sara Hesp, Jan Dalziel; Sarah Gibson; Emma Richards 1. Apologies: Mel Brydie; Malcolm MacNaughton; Owen McKee 2. Minutes of last meeting: These were passed as a true and accurate record, proposed Emma Richards and seconded by Fiona Martin. 3. Matters Arising: Sara H is at the meeting to do the handover.If anyone wants to resign they just need to write a letter or email. David needs to be registered at Company’s House to be formally endorsed, Sara to do this. 4. Hand over from Sara Hesp: Sara H has agreed to do a formal handover on 20th August with Jan & Mel. Jan to deal with Company’s House and end of year accounts. Mel to deal with the day to day accounts and keep an accounts ledger. We will need to apply for an admin grant via the National Park to pay for web site hosting etc, this will need to be done within 2 years. Sara thinks Stuart Ballantyne from Trossachs search and rescue is the person to contact about registering the defibs, Sara H to send Sarah G his contact details. 5. Financial update: The last bank statement: balance was £5854.26. £3640 Immervoulin (£1500 from Stirling Council & £2140 left over from NP), £157.58 tennis court, £140.92 admin grant, £761.18 playground, £415.00 Benches. We will need to pay electrician’s bill £164 and also web hosting £140.53. 6. Communication and membership drive: Sarah G has updated the website, Facebook & Twitter. Emma is happy to take this on later in the year. We continue to encourage new members. 7. Projects 7.1 Tennis court: Mel to update everyone at the next meeting. Sarah to talk to Kenny & Mel about using the £157.58 to try and get the fence fixed for the Active Stirling summer tennis lessons. 7.2 Defibrillators: Sara to pay electricians bill of £164. Fiona has handed out all the money boxes to local shops etc, these will collect money for the maintenance of the Defibs. Fiona has kindly donated the money boxes. Mel has signs for the location of the defibs which need to be put up in Lochearnhead. 7.2 First Responders: Strathyre responders still doing regular training and signed on as often as possible but looking to organise another info/recruitment night. We need to ask Lindey Revie to do a write up in the Villagers about First Responders and also to setup a meeting at Continued on page 19

MHOR 84 for a recruitment drive. 7.3 Strathyre Playground: Mel to email Stirling Council and look at funding so we can move on with phase 2 7.4 Immervoulin Footpath: The grant applications to Sports Scotland and Sustrans have both been denied. Kenny Auld from the National Park is now in talks with Sustrans regarding our application being denied, with a hope of re applying. As the above have been denied we need to think of fundraising ideas. We have thought of going to local businesses to ask for a donation as this path will hopefully bring them more business. We also thought of asking the locals to sponsor the path, this means their names will appear on a plaque and we thought we could have the plaque on a Cairn or Totem pole. We received a letter back from Bruce Crawford about how the new cycle path from Strathyre to Mhor 84 was funded, but as we thought it was all done through Sustrans. So that has brought us no further forward. Fiona & Jan to look over the Funding applications that Sarah printed out to see if any of them would be relevant for the path. 7.5 Benches: We now have £415 to spend on benches for the playpark and war memorial. Sara to order from and Emma to take the delivery. Mel to try and organise Ian to tie the bench down at the playpark. 8.0 Community Action Plan: Balquhidder – David to set up a small group to organise a book exchange in the old phone box. They would also like the lily pond to be cleared so David will try and organise an event where the National Park Rangers come to help. He will apply for funding from the Stirling Council Community Grant Fund. David will also ask to see if anyone is interested in becoming a first responder. Lochearnhead – Fiona to organise a 2nd meeting with the Lochearnhead group. They would like a bin at the watersports centre, find out what is happening with the old 45 sight and to try and open up the shore line opposite Marie Stuarts. Fiona will also ask to see if anyone is interested in becoming a first responder. Strathyre – The Immervoulin Path, tennis courts and playpark are all part of this. The community Plan should be brought along to the next meeting and we can all discuss in more details. 9.0 Any Other Business David suggested putting the minutes of the meeting in the Villagers which we all thought was a great idea. David also said he would do a write up about the BLS Trust in the next issue of the Villagers. 10.0 Next meeting: Scheduled for 27th August at Fiona’s House at 8pm.

A plan outlining proposals for the development of housing, recreation, tourism and supporting infrastructure in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park over the next 10 years has passed another milestone following a final consultation which ended in June. ‘LIVE Park’ is all about planning for future development of the National Park and this vision was set out in the Park Authority’s Proposed Local Development Plan published in May for consideration by interested parties. The response, according to the Park Authority’s Head of Planning and Rural Development, has been very encouraging. Stuart Mearns said: “We would like to thank everyone in our local communities who took the trouble to consider these proposals and respond, whether online, in National Park offices, or by attending local events. “The consultation closed at the end of June and we are really pleased with the level of responses. Our aim with LIVE Park was to develop a Plan that meets the aspirations of our communities and helps the Park to flourish. “Having invested a lot of time in working with our communities, businesses and partner organisations we are delighted that we have got the big issues right. This includes identifying key locations for future development, how to balance development needs with safeguarding the natural heritage of the Park and how we support business and community development with reasonable and flexible planning policies.

objections we received is testament to the approach we took with issues being addressed early on in the process. We received 140 responses in total with the majority of these relating to proposed development in a small number of towns and villages, particularly Callander and Drymen. During the process, the National Park worked with pupils from nearby secondary schools, Hermitage Academy, Helensburgh, Balfron High and McLaren High in Callander. Stuart explained: “A particular highlight for the team was following up last year’s work with pupils to show how their aspirations had been reflected in our new plan. It was great to see pupils really taking an interest in planning matters using an interactive game to suggest where new developments should go and then comparing their proposals with our own. We definitely spotted a couple of planners in the making!” The Proposed Plan was developed following an intensive fouryear process and the latest draft incorporating final representation from members of the public will be taken to a meeting of the National Park Authority’s board before being submitted to the Scottish Government who will undertake independent assessment of the representations. For regular progress on the Proposed Plan, follow the LIVE Park blog

“The relatively low number of 19

green jacket with light stripes across it, jeans and trainers.

First of all apologies for not producing an article for last month; however I was on leave for three weeks and by the time I returned to work it had already gone to press! Thankfully whilst I was away, there were not many incidents of note which is probably down to the adverse weather conditions which has kept the lochsides slightly quieter than usual. That said, there has still been plenty going on to keep us busy! Over the last month, there have been three reports submitted to the Procurator Fiscal in relation to persons being found in possession of controlled drugs. A male was also traced locally driving under the influence of alcohol and he is also now subject of a report to the Fiscal. Between the 12th of June and the 3rd of July, an attempt was made to steal a trailer which was parked off the A85 in Lochearnhead close to the watersports centre. The hitch lock was drilled out in an attempt to remove the trailer and the perpetrators clearly came well prepared.

At 1350hrs on the 31st July, a caravan was stolen from Immervoulin Caravan Park, Strathyre. Two males were responsible for the theft and were using a light coloured VW saloon car. One male was described as being in his 50’s/60’s and has short white/grey hair, and was seen wearing a white shirt, tan coloured jacket, jeans and brown shoes. The other male was younger, aged around 30/40, was taller, and was wearing a white baseball cap, grey/ 20

If you own trailers or caravans then please consider the security of them. A good quality wheel lock/clamp and hitch locks are crucial if you are unable to secure them in a lockfast shed. In both incidents above the trailer and caravan were secured; however the people responsible still overcame the security at Immervoulin and managed to get away with the caravan. An ‘Ifor Williams’ trailer has also been stolen from Kilmahog around the same time so it is clear that these are the items of choice at present. Overnight between the 5th and the 6th July, the Broch Café in Strathyre was broken into and a quantity of items were stolen from within. On that same evening, a white Ford Transit was seen driving slowly around Strathyre and I would be keen to trace the occupants of the vehicle. If anyone saw this vehicle and could provide me with a registration or description of the occupants, get in touch with me. Again, I still have a quantity of Smartwater products available free of charge so if you are interested, drop me an email and I will arrange to drop some off to you.

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

Strathearn Makers and Painters Last month a bunch of us who used to meet at Balquhidder to paint together met a couple of times in St Fillan’s and Killin and had a lovely time. We have decided that it would be fun to get together initially once a month to have tea and cake and bring along our paints or craft work for a couple of hours. We can enjoy each other’s company and encourage one another, and swop hints and tips as we go along. Anyone would be welcome. Next meeting: Wednesday 16 September 10am – 12.30. If you are interested but another time would be better, or you would like to find out more, do phone Paddy Allen at 01764 655389 or email

Callander Film Festival Building on the success of the 2014 Film Festival, the second annual Callander Film Festival will run from 25th to 27th September at St Kessog’s in Ancaster Square. This year it will have a railway theme to tie in with the railway festival on the same weekend to mark 50 years since the Callander

and Oban railway was closed. On Sunday 27th September at 2pm we’re screening the 1926 Buster Keaton silent classic The General with live piano accompaniment from expert silent film improviser Mike Nolan. The rest of the programme is being developed by Callander Film Society and will also feature short films, archive material on the Callander and Oban Railway and feature films. The Festival has been made possible with funding support from Callander Enterprise, Stirling Council and Regional Screen Scotland. Look out for posters and leaflets in AllOr Photos Curtesy of August! contact Eammon O’Boyle forAllardyce details 01877 339323. Photography



by Jonathan MacDonald Spring bulbs evoke feelings of rebirth and renewal and a good display can fill the sky with colour and magnificence and if we remember to squirrel them away in the autumn into gaps and hot spots no greater pleasure can be had by the gardener. Most plants satisfy instantly yet bulbs by their nature are forgotten about and this is certainly part of their joy as a group. Lurking below your borders could be a minefield of colourful high explosives just waiting to be trigged by some warmth and longer days. They are the easiest plants to grow by far and are virtually idiot proof and it is indeed difficult to plant too many in fact some of the finest bulb gardens have them in waves in huge numbers. They also have the great habit of coming back each year perhaps with the odd exception if you are overrun by mice who particularly like Crocus or is it Crocii? It is a general rule to plant the pointy bit upwards and at a depth 3 times the bulb height which applies to more or less all sizes. Autumn is the perfect time as we return to the garden after the summer and bulb planting time is a wonderful bifurcation of the gardening hobby not to be missed. You can, as many do, buy them in pots in the spring and plunge them but you miss out on the pleasure of waiting and peeking to see the small green shoots appear and to know you’ve made it through another winter. The twin peaks of the art can be split into those that grow in grass; daffodils, crocus and snowdrops and those for the border; tulips, hyacinths and alliums. You could split this out a little further using smaller specimens for raised beds and rockeries. Here Muscari, Scillia, dwarf Narcissis and Chinodoxas are good little carpeters and will soon die down and leave no unsightly gaps. Good designers like to get bushy perennials to grow out after the bulbs die back e.g. catmint whose foliage will mask the dying back bulb leaves. Pot work is also very popular today and the classic pot lasagne with layers of bulbs to give a succession of flowering is Rachael de Tames great party piece on the idiot box albeit ex libris. I bet she has never heard of a pure tulip lasagne, one made entirely from tulips? Its simplicity, like the finest long slow cooked Sugo di pomodoro sauce (which incidentally Ruth Rogers on desert island discs this week would take as her luxury) will burst in a pageant of colours and perhaps rich scented flavours. Start with the water lily tulips (Kaufmannian’s) in March then the single and double earlies in April followed by the stately Darwin hybrids and you could

throw in some lily flowered, Rembrandts and parrots. It is always worth sticking a few rows in somewhere for cutting as the ones you tend to buy in the shops don’t have that same oil painting feel in the vase. Hyacinths are superb in the border for their fragrance and array of colours. A neighbour here mixes them in pastel colours to great effect, the scents wafting through the window on a warm spring day or for the passing doggy walker to enjoy. Like all bulbs a rich humus soil laced with bone meal will help the display develop each year and hyacinths, if left undisturbed, should come back better each year. Probably the best herald of spring and a bulb par excellence for an early shock of colour are crocuses. Although you get equally early bulbs e.g. aconites and snow drops it is the crocus whose fragile daintiness makes us wonder how they dare to expose themselves to the first fleeting glimpse of early February sunshine. The earliest are the species and the later ones the large “Dutch” varieties who follow their brave example. Botanically they are called corms and not bulbs but does anyone care but themselves? Corm production is fast and they soon establish in lawns even spreading by seed production and can appear in the deepest recesses in some gardens as if by magic. They are charming and unostentatious and never a nuisance. Who could not enjoy a rich carpet of colour after a wet and dreary winter (nearly said summer)? Be careful as colours can clash and choose your palette wisely as some dark purples can really blast you between the eyes. Planting is easy with a garden spade just dig out a

big clump of grass and pour some in and make sure their upright replace sod, firm gently under boot and continue dotting about as you go. The lawn might look a bit lumpy till the grass grows but things will soon settle down. Crocus bulbs enjoy both the long cold period followed by warm early spring sunshine. Oh those poor wee bulbs who live like moles in subterranean darkness. You could hardly grudge them the perquisite garden room in the early spring sun and their lead role at the beginning of nature’s great gardening drama. O were my Love yon lilac fair, Wi’ purple blossoms to the spring, And I a bird to shelter there, When wearied on my little wing; How I wad mourn when it was torn By autumn wild and winter rude! But I wad sing on wanton wing When youthfu’ May its bloom renew’d Robert Burns Riverside Garden Centre Spring bulbs now in Stock. Open 7 days a week: 9.30 - 4.30 Tullybannocher, Comrie, (A85) Tel: 01764 670800

Riverside Garden Centre

Spring Bulbs    Need  Inspiration?   now in stock Open  7  days  a  week:  9.30  -­‐  4.30   Tullybannocher,    Comrie,    (A85)   Open 7 days a week: 9.30 - 4.30      Tel:  (A85) 01764  670800   Tullybannocher, Comrie, Tel: 01764 670800 21

BLS - Where Business Does the Talking

by Iona Mchedliani This month Iona continues with her interview with Graeme Courtney of King’s House Travel. Over the last two decades Graeme Courtney has built up his company King’s House Travel into the reputable coach hire business that it is today. Drawing in customers from across the UK, and with a diverse range of travel services on offer, here Graeme describes the history of the business he started from scratch, and how it has developed over the years into the impressive travel management business it is today.

our license only stipulates every eight weeks. In effect, every vehicle goes in for a full MOT every four weeks, which is quite heavy-going. So if you think about it, I have two vehicles at Lix Toll virtually every single week! There’s hardly a day I don’t have a vehicle at Lix Toll! And then of course if there’s any minor thing wrong at all, they need to fix it.

beginning of 1990. We came here as a family, myself and my parents. I have been a past Community Councillor, a past member of LETI, past treasurer of LETI, and past chairman of LETI! When I came along it was growing quite well; I was involved in expanding it out of the Loch Earn area into our parish. I was also on the committee of The Trossachs Tourism Association, holding various posts back before VisitScotland came into being.

Is there a time limit, after which point you have to replace your vehicles? No. At the moment our oldest vehicle has just turned ten years old, which is relatively new for a bus company. Part of the condition of your license though, is that when you apply for a PSV operator’s license, it’s like having a pub license or a window-cleaning license, there are certain conditions that you have to adhere to, and the two main areas of conditions that you can adhere to are the financial criteria and the maintenance criteria. To be a bus company you have to have a certain amount of spare money lying in the bank. You have to meet a certain financial criteria. For us - operating eight vehicles - we have to have 30 thousand pounds spare cash available instantly. You’ve got to have a certain financial standing, because you’re providing a public service. Big companies like ‘First’ will provide a bond; they don’t have to provide the same financial criteria we do. It’s about seven thousand pounds for one vehicle; it can be in an overdraft facility, or it can be in cash, but you have to have this sum of money available to provide financial security for the services you’re operating. And then the other thing is, obviously, you have to maintain the vehicles. Our vehicles go through the equivalent of an MOT every four weeks. We use the approved centre Lix Toll Garage. We also use H&R Gray in Throsk, which is a truck operator that also has a testing lane. They have an approved MOT station. Our buses have to go to a specialist testing lane, which H&R Gray provide. It’s a government testing lane. And we use Volvo. Those are our three. Our maintenance contractors have to be approved by the traffic commissioner to be able to maintain PSV vehicles to a certain standard. What happens is they’re MOT-d once a year, but we try to put them through a maintenance inspection every 4 weeks, even though 22

Balquhidder to McLaren School Bus

It must take a huge amount of management to run a bus company. Can you tell us some of what it involves? I’m the designated transport manager, which means I am solely responsible for everything that happens within the bus company. It’s my duty to maintain the vehicles, and it’s my duty to keep an eye on the driving hour regulations with the drivers. It’s also my duty to train the drivers and make sure they comply with the law. It’s harder than you think in a small business. You might think in a little rural business it would be easy, but it’s actually more challenging, because our work has to be so diverse to keep us busy. Much in the same way as a small rural hotel has got to be so diverse as well. We have to be to survive. It brings challenges with it, in terms of the length of the working day for example; the number of hours that the drivers work. The challenge is to keep on doing lots of little jobs that add up. On top of this there are always the normal administration tasks that come with running any small company. Are you also involved with the Loch Earn Tourism Initiative (LETI)? I’ve been here 25 years now, since the

Over the course of time that you’ve been here, how would you say the area has changed or developed most significantly? I think that there’s a lot more movement of people. When I came 25 years ago many people had been here for a very long time, like your family the MacLarens, whereas I’m looking at very few people now who have been here longer than me. There’s only about a dozen families that have been here in the Balquhidder parish longer than me, so I think that people are a little bit more transient now. They move in, they don’t settle into the rural area for whatever reason, and they move on again. There’s been a bit more of a turnover. I have to say I think there’s quite a good community spirit at the moment. Turnover of people is good in the sense that new people coming in tend to be quite keen to get involved in things. However, otherwise I think the area is very similar. I was one of the very few supporters of the National Park right at the start, which was interesting. It presents challenges for businesses obviously, being involved with the National Park. Not necessarily an extra

in the vehicle that records a driver’s behaviour, speed, and time spent on the road driving or doing other work. It also records when he’s at rest. Pretty much all buses and trucks (bar a few exceptions) run with a tachograph. It is a method of recording what the vehicle is doing, and it is specific to the driver. So each driver runs his own one. In this day and age, modern vehicles (which most of ours are) have an electronic tachograph.

Private Hire People Carrier

layer of bureaucracy, but there are other things you have to consider and take into account. I think the area is still a great place to live and work. And I’m lucky enough that I do both. There are many people who now are in the same position and work here. Would you say that being based in this location offers your type of business an advantage, or are you at a disadvantage to the city-based coach firms? It’s definitely a disadvantage. It’s challenging. I’m quite proud of the fact that all of the drivers (bar two exceptions who are self-employed) have all been trained by me to be PCV drivers. When I arrived in this area there were no PCV drivers at all. So I started the business from scratch. Before I could operate a bus I had to learn to drive a bus, and then my dad learned to drive to help me out. I selected local people who I thought would be able to help, and trained them up. Initially I was training them all myself to keep costs down. All of the drivers are local; the furthest away lives in Killin, while the rest live in the parish. The challenge lies in the fact that there are no replacements coming along if I want another driver. They’re not growing on trees! That’s a particular challenge that has not been made easier by the fact that there is a lot more involved in becoming a bus or truck driver nowadays than there used to be. The cost of it is probably about three thousand pounds just to be able to drive a minibus professionally! There is all sorts of training required; they’re trying to raise the professionalism of bus and truck drivers which is a difficult thing to

argue against. As Scotland and the UK’s political climate has changed over the past two decades, have you found different parties’ policies to have affected you in any way? Not particularly. In our industry, health and safety is the thing that’s driving change. As it’s become easier to move about throughout the world, obviously trucks are coming from overseas where there are different standards of operations, and I think that that has driven a lot of the change in legislation. It doesn’t necessarily affect a small business in a rural area though, and it’s difficult to argue against it anyway because most of it is safety-related - driving hours-related etc. That’s a challenge for the agencies that legislate and look after our industry. And they’re constantly challenged by that. I would hope that a small business like ours doesn’t challenge them, but we do fall into the same category of regulations. We are involved with three different types of hours. We’re a comparatively tiny business in a rural area, and yet there are three types of employment hours regulations that we have to abide by, which include EEC driving hour’s regulations, Domestic Driving hours Legislation and Working time Directive. These are all regulations which restrict the amount and type of work that you can do, they are all slightly different and serve different purposes, but we have to abide by them all. These are European driving regulations, which means when we go out on private hire, coach trip, school trip etc. we are running on a ‘tachograph’. It’s a recording device

Also, for me to be able to drive a bus today in Scotland, even in this rural area, I have to carry at all times three specific plastic identification cards. All of our drivers have to carry these. One is a driving license the same as every driver holds, which shows the various categories we can drive. As bus drivers, we are in the extra category “D”. Then to be able to drive a bus you have to have a professional qualification. So I carry another card for that and this card is my qualification. It tells anyone in officialdom that I am professionally qualified; that my qualification and skills are up-to-date. I then have to go through a whole week of periodic training every five years! There’s no exam, it is just to keep my skills up-to-date. And finally, there is the digital tachograph card, which is what I was referring to when talking about the tachograph. Everything that I have done in a vehicle for the last year is recorded on that card’s chip. If the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) load that card into their machine and see what vehicles I’ve been driving and have I been complying with the law. The DVSA is the government agency which oversees the transport industry. Every one of our drivers has got to have all three of these bits of plastic to drive a bus and carry them with them. Finally, do you have any specific plans for your company’s future? There are opportunities to do more work, but I think at the moment we’re quite happy just consolidating. I don’t think I want to train any more drivers. It’s probably gone as far as I want to take it. We’re fortunate to be diverse enough to keep sufficiently busy! Interview by Iona Mchedliani For enquiries or to make a travel booking, Graeme Courtney can be contacted at King’s House Travel on: 01877 384768. Interested parties can also visit the company’s website:


Two Responses to why people do or do not go to Church Reasons why people don’t go to church:

and that it is all given by the great dictator.

1) People in the modern age don’t like totalitarian beliefs. People do not wish anymore to be slaves. They do not wish to believe in an unalterable, unchallengeable, tyrannical authority who can convict you of thought crime while you are asleep. Who subject you to a total surveillance around the clock every waking and sleeping minute of your life and also before you were born and indeed after you die. Think of church as a celestial North Korean state. What slave desires such a ghastly fate? But at least in North Korea you die and leave it, not the church. The church owns people like slaves using a bizarre iron age book written in a time when people thought the world was flat, did not know what disease was, what the planets were, know how the human body functioned and did not know about evolution. It presupposes we have no innate knowledge of what is right or wrong and renders us useless

2) Religion is the most dangerous and decisive ideology we have ever produced and it has taken many years to get to a point where we are allowed to criticize it openly. Religion causes so much harm today and we still seem to draw on these ancient texts on how to live in a modern world. Religion therefore is dying out simply because people are seeing it for what it is. They cannot be all right as Bertrand Russell wrote nearly a century ago. So therefore if you work on the premise that one of them is correct then all the others are wrong and it should make most of the world pause on their preaching of religious certainty? People I think understand this today and therefore leave it well alone. 3) The book of the gospels in the case of Christianity is extremely lacking in evidence and, even if we had multiple accurate eyewitness accounts, we could still find it difficult to believe. There are also lots of texts in the New

Testament that are absurd and never preached from the pulpit. People even today believe in miracles as they desperately want to believe in them but it doesn’t make them true. People today in a modern scientific world cannot believe a book was authored by god. 4)Finally one of the greatest humanist poets all that time ago put it beautifully and concisely declaring that it is far better to be enquiring and doubtful and then the beauty of the world is opened up. Who wants to be a sheep or a goat and sit in some cold, damp church being preached ancient nonsense by some fanatic? “And do you think that unto such as you A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew God gave a secret, and denied it me? Well, well—what matters it? Believe that, too!” Omar Khayyám, Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

I think Fiona Martin asked what appeared to be a very simple question, but it is not simple to answer. I think, like a lot of people, I am a bit hypocritical about my views and consequent use of the church. For the three main family events (christenings, marriage and funerals) I have used Balquhidder church and felt the formality of the church was what the occasion warranted. Outwith family celebrations, I find the church building and atmosphere quite formidable and think this is part of the reason I don’t go very often (along with other factors like work). On the one hand I would like to think the one church we have left in our local area will be there forever, but on the other hand I know that without a congregation, the church may not survive. No easy answers methinks!


Farm Forum: Title “Make Hay While the Sun Shines Briefly”

As I write the sun is shining! For the first time this “summer” this has enabled some hay and silage to be secured. It will not be of the very best quality but it is feed. Our rainfall for the year as far as the end of July was about 50 inches. As you will probably be aware the whole agricultural industry is facing a crisis to a greater or lesser degree. The milk problem is hitting the headlines but most other sectors are not much better. I have spoken about potatoes before but the meat sector is also being hard hit with lamb prices being at their lowest for five or six years and pig prices following suite. Beef prices are also faltering. The whole situation is of further concern because some of the detail of the new Common Agricultural policy still has to be disclosed. This is causing arable farmers immediate hassle because the sowing of oil seed rape has commenced and they don’t know all the new environmental rules. Many of the price problems are due to the weak euro and an over supplied world market, which is unlikely to improve given the economic problems that have surfaced in China. It is the biggest export market for dairy products, but

has not been buying. That is unlikely to be improved by the devaluation of its currency, which will boost its exports but make imports more expensive. Figures from the National Farmers’ Union show that the UK now produces about 62% of the food it consumes, with the organisation calling for a boost to the nation’s selfsufficiency. It goes on to say that by the mid-2040s the UK population will have reached 77 million and will only be able to meet about half of its needs from food grown and produced here, if action is not taken to improve domestic production. All sorts of crisis around the world, political or economic, could have a dire effect on our ability to feed ourselves. I have mentioned genetically modified (GM) crops before and the controversy surrounding them. Now things are coming to a head following the ruling by Brussels that member states must make up their own mind whether to allow them or not. The Scottish Government has decided to ban growing the crops, apparently without consultation. Now I am not an authority on GM crops but it does seem that these decisions should take account of scientific advice. The Scottish scientific organisations are seeking talks with the Government. On the face of it, it does seem we could be left behind in crop production especially as much of the modifying is to make crops resistant to pests and disease. When some important pesticides and herbicides are in danger of being banned, there is a real danger of our arable farmers being put at a competitive disadvantage.

Callander Rambling Club

Sponsored by Caledonian Country Wear

The Club consists of a group of enthusiasts who meet regularly throughout the year to participate in a programme of strolls, rambles, hill walks and a Long Distance Path. Details are published on htm in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diary:

September 2015 Sat 5 Sept 08:30 LDP: CT(5) Kirkton of Glenisla to Alyth (11miles) Contact 01877 330032 Wed 16 Sept 09:30 Stroll: Stronachlachar to Inversnaid (5miles) Contact 01877 376340 Sat 19 Sept 08:30 Hill: Beinn Narnain (926m) Contact 01877 331067 Sat 26 Sept 08:30 LDP: CT(6) Alyth to Bridge of Cally (9miles) Contact 01877 330032 October 2015 Sat 3 Oct 08:30 Hill: Ben Ledi via the Ridge (879m) Contact 01877 376212 Wed 7 Oct 09:30 Ramble: Cochno & Loch Humphrey (8.5 miles) Contact 01786 841240 Sat 19 Oct 08:30 Stroll: Mystery Stroll (4 miles) Contact 01877 330444

November 2015 Wed 4 Nov 09:30 Ramble: Doune to Callander (8.5 miles) Contact 01877 330105 Wed 11 Nov 09:30 Hill/R: Wether Hill & West Craigs (503m) Contact 01786 825877 Sat 21 Nov 08:30 Stroll: Blair Drummond Circuit (6 miles) Contact 01786 825877 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.



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................................

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


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

Gill Allan Production Manager Stronvar Farm Balquhidder Lochearnhead FK19 8PB 01877 384203

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

Other Contacts...

Andrew Poulter Business Manager Coire A Chroine Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384784

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

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

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

Bowling - St Fillans Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 to11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am to 12.30pm Country Dancing - St Fillans Pilates - Balquhidder Hall - 9.45am to 10.45am (contact Abbey Arkotxa 0776 6407578) Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am to 12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00 to 9.00pm Pilates - Balquhidder Hall - 6pm to 7pm (contact Abbey Arkotxa 0776 6407578) Choir Occasional - Balquhidder Hall - 7.30pm to 9pm (call Gill Allan 01877 384203) Metafit Classes - Strathyre Village Hall - 8.00pm Summer Darts - The Inn & Bistro - 7.00pm Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon (Contact Mel Brydie 01877 384668)

SEPTEMBER 2015 5 24 25 - 27

McLaren High School Celebratary Day - see page 12 Choir Occasional Starts again - see page 7 Callander Film Festival - see page 20

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

The Villagers’ Photographer Jason Allardyce 01877 384295 07508 595211 Wedding, Portrait, Social, Pet Photography

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

OC TOBER 2015 5

BLS Lunch Club starts again - see page 18

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

Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316 Sunday 11.30am Minister: Vacancy Enquiries to Interim Moderator: Revd Terry Ann Taylor 01877 382391 Dundurn Church, St Fillans Sunday11.30am Minister: Rev Graham McWilliams Tel: 01764 671 045

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

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

The villagers september 2015  

Local news and events for the village communities of St Fillans, Balquhidder, Strathyre and Lochearnhead in The Loch Lomond and The trossac...

The villagers september 2015  

Local news and events for the village communities of St Fillans, Balquhidder, Strathyre and Lochearnhead in The Loch Lomond and The trossac...