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MARCH 2013


Price 40p

The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

5 Lochs Initiative The 5 Lochs initiative - for those who don’t know - is a five year project based around a newly formed Visitor Management Plan, which aims to improve the experience you will get both as a resident of the area or as a visitor. The project is also seeking to raise the standard not only in respect of how the area is being looked after, but also in the level of service everyone can expect to receive - reflecting the area’s National Park status. The 5 Lochs area comprises Loch Earn, Loch Voil, Loch Lubnaig, Loch Venachar and Loch Achray. These are the bigger lochs that help define the area - lochs that have suffered from more than their fair share of abuse over the last few decades. The Plan was officially launched on the 12th of November by Bruce Crawford at Loch Lubnaig on a cold and windswept day. Since then, there has been a lot Lochs Community Drop-in Sessions happening, with planning applications Find out more about the approved for Loch Lubnaig south and north car parks, Inverlochlarig, and 5 Lochs Project Glenoglehead car parks. Work started Learn more about the improvements at Lubnaig on the 11th February and we’re making to visitor sites. is planned for completion later this Over the next 2 months there will be summer. 5 opportunities to come in and have New visitor facilities on these sites will an informal chat with National Park include toilets and a small kiosk selling staff. If you can’t make the session food and soft drinks; informal camping nearest to you, please come along opportunities, overnight motorhome to one of the others. spaces and (gated) day car parking for There will also be an opportunity to Lubnaig on both sites (with no overnight discuss the new Cycle Way proposal parking permitted except booked between St Fillans and Lochearnhead motorhomes and informal campers). at the Strathyre, Lochearnhead and St Fillans sessions. While this work is going on, both car parks will be temporarily closed. You can drop in at any point Drop-in sessions are taking place between the times as follows: to provide additional opportunities for Killin, 26th Feb communities to learn more about the McLaren Lesser Hall 3 – 8pm 5 Lochs Visitor Management Plan and Callander, 12th March share their thoughts or concerns with NP Offices, Callander 3 – 8pm National Park staff. Strathyre, 16th April There will also be an opportunity NP Mobile Office 3:30– 9pm to discuss the new Cycle Way proposal Lochearnhead, 17th April between St Fillans and Lochearnhead NP Mobile Office 3 – 9pm during at the Strathyre, Lochearnhead St Fillans, 18th April and St Fillans sessions. NP Mobile Office 2 – 7pm Visit www.lochlomond-trossachs. We look forward to seeing you! org/looking-after/5-lochs-visitormanagement-plan/menu-id-928.html

Support your local Music Festival!


music festival 1/2 June 2013

This summer Strathyre is to host what will be, hopefully, the first of many annual music festivals. To find out more, visit and look out for more details in The Villagers in the next couple of months!


This will be short and sweet as there is my AGM report for you all to digest on page 4. Positions that need filling (for the committee to be functioning at minimum numbers) are a) a Balquhidder contact and b) a Distribution manager. As you can see from the empty St. Fillans section this month, it would be really helpful to have someone shadowing each rôle to provide cover for any emergency situations. Volunteers will be made very welcome. I would like to wish you all a relaxing and peaceful Easter at the end of the month! At the time of writing we are enjoying gorgeous sunshine, in contrast to the dull weather down south, which does seem to make it even more special! Hopefully this is the prelude to the summer we’ve long been waiting for after so many disappointing years... JJ

Wanted: Housekeeper

for holiday cottage changeover in Balquhidder Approx. 3 hours on Saturdays between & 4.00pm Please call 07946740404

Crieff Round Table

Boat Race

Press Release 17 February 2013

I would like to say thank you to all those involved in raising the necessary funds for the goodies in the Christmas parcels presented to all the senior citizens of Strathyre. The parcel is a real pleasure to receive and I know that a lot of time and effort must go into the planning, shopping, packing and delivery, so a big ‘ thank you’ to all concerned.


Pat Houghton



The date has been set for this year’s Great Loch Earn Boat Race. Sunday 21st April will see teams will row from Lochearnhead to St Fillans. Organisers Crieff Round Table hope to continue the success of the annual event which in 2011 raised approx £5000 in sponsorship and entrance fees, a sum that was donated to local charities. Ten of last year’s teams have so far registered to battle it out over the seven mile course from the Lochearnhead Watersports Centre to the jetty of the Achray House Hotel in St. Fillans. Spectators are welcome to cheer on the boats! At the completion of the race the teams will be treated to a warming meal at the Achray House hotel and the winners will collect their prizes. Remaining boats are still available (kindly provided by Drummond Fisheries) and 4-person teams of all ability are welcomed to register for the race. If you are interested in entering a team for the race or for more details, contact Jamie Russell on 01764 650473 or e-mail

Laptop Repair Service All types of repairs carried out from physical damage to data recovery


Neil Law

Balquhidder Hall

laptop Technician

Tel 01567 830314 Facebook: NHL Laptop Repair



The following readings were taken at ‘Bramblings’, Auchtubh, Balquhidder for the month of JANUARY 2013 Average max. temp. 5.1 ºC 41.1 ºF Actual max. temp. 11.3 52.3 Average min. temp. . . Actual min. temp. . . Rainfall: 18.2 cms 7.3 ins Strongest wind gust 53 mph on 29 January


a very creative fun day! Saturday 23 March 10.30 - 4.30

The Lochearnhead Village Hall

Book quickly - numbers limited! Jean Hicks 01567830359

will take place on Tuesday 12th March 2013 in the village hall at 7.30pm

Cost £20, (including tea/coffee, soup & rolls)


All are welcome to attend!

PIANO FOR SALE Bechstein upright

Immaculate original condition

£600 ONO To view Tel 01877 384202

REMEMBER... Advertising must be paid up before publication. This also applies to adverts on a 6 month discount which are coming up for renewal. We are sending out invoices a month ahead to give people plenty of time to pay - but if no payment is received by Deadline Day (21st) then the advert will have to be removed. Sorry!


The St Fillans Bit

Your views and ideas are vital!


For the first time in many years I am unable to submit “my bit”. That’s because I’m currently enjoying a wee break at P.R.I. for some internal repairs and maintenance. If they don’t put me down I’ll be back next month... John Murray

Over the next couple weeks you will receive a visit, email or questionnaire from someone in your village asking for your views and ideas about the place you live in. Please don’t ignore the doorbell, delete the email or bin the questionnaire! We are trying to gather views and ideas to make the villages we live in better for everyone. Volunteers from Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre have been working together since the beginning of the year to develop an action plan for the villages. This was last done about five years ago and it’s time to move on. Once we have your ideas, we will put together projects and help allocate them out for volunteers to take forward over the coming year. These might be small projects – perhaps planting tubs of flowers – or large scale, like revamping a play area. If you think something needs doing, now is the time to say so.

Why bother?


Balquhidder Hall Whist A Wine and Savoury Whist (or Scrabble)

will be held in the hall on

Friday 22nd March at 7.30pm.

This is a fun evening - and not to be taken too seriously! For all ages. As the name implies - wine and savouries will be served and there will be a raffle.

Cost £3.00

Calling all Strathyre Primary School children! Why not have a go at designing a logo for The BLS Community Trust? The design must be submitted on an A4 sheet of paper and include the wording BLS Community Trust. It can be drawn, painted or designed on a computer. The closing date for all entries is 22nd March. Judging will be by three creative locals and the winner will be announced at the Action Plan Launch with prizes handed out then.

Melanie Brydie

First of all, we want to know what everyone in the community thinks so that local organisations know they are on track with the projects they are taking forward. Secondly, these days, lots of projects are funded by grants – from the Big Lottery Fund, Stirling Council, banks, the National Park, etc. But the money available is increasingly limited and competition is fierce. We need to show to funders what we want. Most funders want to see an action plan before they make a grant. If we are to have any chance of getting funding for projects and getting things done, then you need to point us in the right direction.

What happens next?

Once everyone has had the chance to have their say, then we will be pulling the results together and launching the plan. Watch out for details! If you want more information on the action planning process then please contact: Erica Mackenzie (Balquhidder), Jan Dalziel (Strathyre), Hatti Harvey (Lochearnhead). 3



Editor’s Report Time flies when you are having fun – so they say – so it hardly seems another year has passed – but eleven more editions have been produced, all with 28 pages, printed and delivered. I think there are two curves still going on – one is my learning curve, I have made mistakes, some just involving commas, others such as name misspelling (or mistyping more likely) and others of a more serious nature in that articles were not given the prominence they deserved, or in a couple of instances didn’t appear at all. Gill Allan and Penny Hannah rescue me from most of the errors, for which I am very grateful – and for others I wear my hair shirt and keep offering my resignation – not even asking for redundancy money. The far more serious curve is the downward trajectory of our monthly sales from the village outlets. The sales figures go back a long way and I suppose that in some ways it is not a great surprise to see that the decline in sales figures mirror the downward slope of the British economy since 2008. I have been cutting back on the numbers we have been printing and think we should now only have around 450 to 470 printed each month. We tried one new outlet this summer – the Watersports Centre, but this was not at all successful. John Murray has reminded me that we should look at ways of promoting the new editions each month as they arrive and any practical suggestions from our readership would be welcome. Another issue which needs to be looked at is the outlets where only a few editions are sold as the distribution effort involved is quite time consuming but many of the outlets are longstanding supporters and advertisers. I suppose this leads us to the point that we have only 8 people involved in the operation, excluding our much valued contributors both regular and occasional, whereas papers such as the Ben Ledi View have 23 according to their published figures – and we really need more help, particularly as

The chart shows the total annual sales of The Villagers between 2002 and 2012. The trend line clearly shows a decline in sales since 2008.

occasional backup, especially when David and I have to babysit Down Under or Gill needs a break. Enough of the grumbles – I would like to end on positive notes – I have had several people tell me what a good paper it is – some who didn’t realise I was the editor so they were particularly encouraging comments. We have had some new features – our new Gardening Expert Jonathan for instance – Soap Box to allow people to let off steam – and hopefully Travellers’ Tales and a Day Out might take off – any other suggestions would be very welcome. Finally thanks to all involved – the production committee, our regular and occasional contributors, our advertiser and outlets and – God bless you – our readers. (Many thanks to Robert and Amanda of the Lochearnhead Hotel for so cheerfully setting up for us on the night of the AGM, as well as having The Lochearnhead Ladies Supper on that night; which unfortunately was far better attended!) JJ

The Villagers Production Team - from left to right: Gill Allan, Production Manager; Jill Johnson, Editor; Wullie Dalziel, Strathyre Contact; Hilda Astbury, Mail Order Distribution; Alistair Barclay, Photographer & Advertising Co-ordinator; Ali Ferguson, Lochearnhead Contact; Helen Clark, Business manager. Our St Fillans Contact, John Murray, was in hospital at the time. Get well soon, John!

NEW ‘LOCAL’ TELEPHONE DIRECTORY LETI is producing a new local telephone directory, and would like people to check their entry and phone if it is incorrect - or not there at all! Please check your entry on the list in the local shop (Strathyre and Lochearnhead), and to add or correct an entry, phone:Mal on 01877 384208 for Strathyre entries Pam on 01567 830238 for Lochearnhead entries Alan on 07765789354 for Balquhidder entries 4

Strathyre News

Celebrate Community Pubs Month

At the Inn & Bistro at Strathyre we want to include all the family as we join in the celebration of our community pubs. We are going to have some events and menus you might not normally find in a pub so come and join us and give it a try as you choose from:

High Teas•Mother and Toddler Mornings Home Baking, Teas and Coffees Or the more traditional

Friday Night Specials • Curry Night Pasta and Tapas • Burger and a Beer Friday Fish Special Pie and a Pint

Russell Duncan was the winner of the Gary Smith Memorial Shield Pool tournament played at the Inn in February. He defeated our very own Strathyre correspondent Wullie Dalziel in the final.

March is the first of four Community Pubs Months promoted by CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale). The idea is to raise the profile of “the local” as a community venue. We are throwing open the doors to allow people to use The Inn as a meeting place locally with family friendly food, promotions, special offers and above all a warm welcome. So please support your community pub - as, with your help, we are trying ideas, not just for March, but as a continuing series of events to put locals back into our local.

Celebrate Community Pubs Month! 5


air your views...

Another Eyesore

Readers may remember an article I did last year concerning the gap in the wall on the A84 which had been there for a few years with no attempt on anyone’s part to make a repair. After some investigation I traced the people responsible - who are Cambusmore Estates - and was given a glowing report that the wall would be prioritised and repairs would be done ASAP. Unfortunately, as can be seen, nothing has been done to date. I contacted their office a few weeks ago and asked for an update and was told that the repair would be more costly than anticipated .This is due to the fact that the ends of the wall at each side of the gap are disintegrating and more extensive work will need to be carried out and once again they would have to go down the legal route of ownership. Given that they admitted that they were the owners at that time I am now a wee bit confused. However I did point out that this gap was a danger to the public and it would be in their interest to put some sort of barrier up to stop pedestrians using the footpath beside it.This was met with total agreement and I was told that it would be looked into and even some barrier tape would help. However, as the photo above shows, the gap still lies open and is still a danger to the public. Surely the longer this goes then the more costly it will become!! With all that is happening in and around the Village lately to enhance the area, i.e. the work at the lochside, the refurbishment of the old toilet block, the near completion of the new build as you enter the village, then to find this gaping hole in a crumbling wall lets the Village down. With so much happening this year it would be nice to have this eyesore addressed before the visitors arrive I have forwarded this to Cambusmore Estates and will update readers with any reply. WD


All types of tree work undertaken Removal of dangerous trees Crown lifting, Crown reduction, High pruning,Removal of deadwood. All types of fencing erected Mole trapping References can be given. Free estimates

STRATHYRE. TEL 01877384248 07967143910 6

‘The gap in the wall’ Is Wullie the only ‘angry young man’ in the area? Let’s have some more soap box articles please!

Out and About in the heart of Scotland The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) will be resident in Stirlingshire from Monday 4 March to Saturday 9 March 2013 for its ninth annual Out and About. The fulltime, professional musicians of the RSNO will host, contribute to and participate in dozens of rural and city based events, bringing music in many guises to central Scotland. In partnership with Stirling Council, the Orchestra, and its various ensembles, will perform a full symphony concert at Stirling’s Albert Halls, create a massed voice choir for a community choral recital, host a Tea Dance with a difference and will even pair music with gastronomy with RSNO cellist and former Masterchef contestant Kennedy Leitch. The RSNO will also be forging relationships with every secondary school in the region, collaborating on themed programmes, present miniature versions of its award-winning Monster Music to Stirlingshire nurseries, and bring music to many care homes and sheltered housing schemes. Although the week features a number of stand-alone performances and events, it will also mark the conclusion of a collaborative music project with participants from across the region. From February musicians from the orchestra will be working with four groups in composing original works inspired by the musical heritage of the area. These will be performed publicly for the first time at an informal concert at Stirling’s Albert Halls, with the programme augmented by contributions from the RSNO musicians. RSNO Chief Executive Michael Elliott: “Following the success of last year’s Out and About in Shetland we felt it appropriatea to bring things closer to home, and I’m delighted that Stirling Council has welcomed us to its region for 2013. Over the years we have developed our residential week to reflect the wishes and needs of the communities we connect with and this coming year we have weighted our activities towards music provision for secondary schools and nurseries. In addition, we will be providing a substantial and diverse programme of events for everyone to enjoy.” Stirling Council Provost, Mike Robbins: “We are honoured to be hosting the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for a week in March. Connecting with communities is a key focus for us and what better way than to bring such a well renowned musical body to the Stirling area. Composing work inspired by the heritage of the area will really tie in and connect the RSNO visit to its time here. We’re sure that the visit will be fruitful to both the RSNO and to all our residents and visitors.” To buy tickets for Out And About in Stirling public events contact The Tolbooth Box Office on 01786 27 4000.

Out and About in Stirlingshire Public Events A Musical Feast with Kennedy Leitch and the Phoenix Wind Trio

Tuesday 5 March 7.30pm - Strathblane Village Club; Thursday 7 March 7.30pm - Brig O’ Turk Village Hall Music and Food are the perfect partners and they combine in expert proportions for these unique and intimate concerts in Strathblane and Brig O’ Turk. Watch as Kennedy Leitch, Cellist with the RSNO and sometime TV Chef, prepares a threecourse meal in front of your eyes, listen as bite-sized musical interludes from the Phoenix Wind Trio pepper the evening and sample tasty morsels cooked-up throughout the concert. A feast for the eyes, ears and taste buds! Tickets: £12 / £10

A Woodwind Serenade with the Phoenix Wind Trio

Wed 6 March 7.30pm - Balquhidder Parish Church A relaxed evening of exquisite music performed by this talented trio of principal musicians from the RSNO. Showcasing the very best of wind music including pieces by Beethoven and Ibert, the evening will be a delight for lovers of soft classical sounds. Tickets: £8 / £5 Under 26 / U16 go free*

Strictly Tea Dancing!

Thursday 7 March 2.30pm – 4.30pm - The Albert Halls, Stirling Dust off your dancing shoes and get ready to waltz, tango and quickstep as musicians from the RSNO provide a swinging live soundtrack to this tea dance with a difference! With sensational music from every style of ballroom dancing there’s sure to be something to get your feet moving, but if you’d rather just sit back, enjoy an afternoon of wonderful music and a nice cup of tea, that’s OK too. Tickets £4 (including refreshments)

The RSNO in Concert

Friday 8 March 7.30pm - The Albert Halls, Stirling Don’t miss this opportunity to see Scotland’s national orchestra perform at the Albert Halls under the baton of Assistant Conductor, Christian Kluxen. In the centrepiece concert of Out and About Week, the orchestra of the RSNO come together to present this full symphonic concert featuring Beethoven’s mighty First symphony alongside Ligeti’s beautiful Concert Românesc. Larsson Pastoral Suite • Ligeti Concert Românesc • Beethoven Symphony No. 1 Christian Kluxen Conductor Tickets: £18 / £16 / £14 / Under 26 £5 / U16 go free*

Come and Sing! – Choral Workshop

Saturday 9 March 10.00am – 4.30pm* - Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling Do you sing in a small ensemble but would like to be part of something bigger? Are you in a solo voice choir and would like the opportunity to sing alongside live musicians? Join us for a free, fun and fabulous day of vocal coaching and choral skills workshops. This inspiring day will give you the opportunity to work alongside musicians from the RSNO and members of the RSNO Chorus and introduce you to many of the skills needed to be part of a large-scale, accompanied choir. The day will culminate in a public performance at which your friends are family are invited to come along and see you perform. If you are interested in taking part or would like more information about the day’s activities, please contact the RSNO Education department on 0141 225 3574 0141 225 3574 FREE or *Registration from 9.30am

Choral Classics

Saturday 9 March 6.00 – 6.45 pm - Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling Don’t miss this celebration of song as over 100 local singers join the RSNO Chorus and musicians from the RSNO for a performance of choral classics, including excepts from Mozart’sAve Verum and Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine. This event is free and unticketed but please note that entry is on a ‘first come, first served’ basis as capacity within the Church is limited.


A Note from

St Angus’s Church...

Easter - and new life in Strathearn I was touched the other day after one of those snowfalls where the white stuff sat for a few days, smothering the flower pots completely. When the snow finally melted there were some battered pansies which had been nothing but miserable leaves before they were buried, now stretching out to the freezing air with a batch of brand new flowers – under the snow the buds had opened and those bright fragile new blossoms were not just grimly surviving but boldly celebrating! Now that to me was a foretaste of Easter – not just grim survival but celebrating with all the richness of new life, promising love for hatred, forgiveness for wrong, comfort for sorrow. At St Angus’s we plan to mark the ‘winter’ in our Good Friday (29 March) Pilgrimage. We will be starting with a service in St Columba’s in Crieff at 11.45, moving to St Serf ’s in Comrie at 1pm and St Angus’s at 2.15 – the three services being meditations on the love that is poured out to heal the violence of the world, based on Karl Jenkins wonderful music The Armed Man. On Easter Sunday (31 March) it is all celebration with an informal service with communion at the lochside at 8am followed by coffee and bacon butties, all at the Watersports Centre. There will also be a traditional service in the church at 11.15am. All are welcome to join us.


Rev Paddy Allen (St Angus’s Scottish Episcopal Church) Enquiries: tel 01764 656222 or email www.

Church News BalquhiĐĐer Reg. Charity No. SC012316

Balquhidder folk may have realised by now that the Church bell has been silent for a few Sundays – yet again. We had noticed for a while that a pronounced thump was heard inside the Church every time the bell was rung. Despite having had the mechanism checked out a few years ago, it seemed prudent now to have an expert look at it. The result was a detailed survey which showed that a major repair will be necessary in order to make the bell safe. We were told that if we had continued to ring it, there could have been a very bad accident if the mechanism collapsed! The repair will be costly, mainly because of the need for scaffolding and the repairs to be done by a blacksmith. The Church Congregational Board will be discussing all this at the end of February, and a decision about further action will be made then. It has been suggested that we might remove the bell altogether, but, apart from feeling its loss, this would in itself entail substantial costs. I emphasise that it is the mechanism that is faulty not the bell itself. More on this will be reported in the April issue of The Villagers. Jean Edwards

CHANGES TO BLUE BADGE PARKING BEING PROPOSED A Member’s Bill is being considered by the Scottish Parliament which would strengthen the current law to allow for better enforcement of the Blue Badge Scheme. The Disabled Persons’ Parking Badges (Scotland) Bill is currently out for consultation. Finding suitable parking spaces, particularly in towns and cities, is difficult at any time. However, if you have a disability it can be even more difficult to find a parking space close to your destination, whether it is for work, education or leisure. Blue Badges provide a concession which allows disabled people, who meet certain prescribed criteria and who travel as drivers or passengers, to park on-street with free use of parking meters and pay and display bays. Having a Blue Badge helps people with disabilities to retain their independence by exempting them from normal parking restrictions and allowing them to park close to where they need to go. They can, for example, park on single or double yellow lines unless there are signs indicating that local restrictions apply. However, it is common knowledge that the Blue Badge Scheme has been open to misuse in the past, and Blue Badge misuse and fraud have a cost to the public purse and represent an injustice to those with mobility issues who would benefit most from the Scheme. The purpose of the Bill is to consider ways of further tightening up the law to help stop illegal use of Blue Badges and the subsequent inconvenience, disruption and distress this can cause Blue Badge holders. Additionally, the consultation paper seeks views on the introduction of a statutory appeals process for applicants when their Blue Badge application is refused. The consultation paper can be found at: MembersBills/Consultation_Disabled_Persons_Parking_Badges.pdf; alternatively, copies can be obtained by phoning 0131 348 6201 through the office of the MSP proposing the changes, Dennis Robertson.

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 shares some African experiences...

So - what happened to Old Nyati last month? Eaten by lions? Crushed by elephants? Devoured by crocodiles? All possibilities. Thankfully he is back, still in one piece, from a wee journey across the Selous and Ruhaha Reserves in Tanzania - but that is a long story. Let us look at the photos. First, a splendid one of Kilimanjaro on the Tanzanian border with Kenya. Who said there can’t be snow at the Equator? Then that strange animal (above) - a Genet - who was very polite, and came each evening to sit by our table, accepting a small morsel of fish or meat in a most charming manner. It was very cat- like, but in fact it’s more related to a Mongoose or Meercat. Now, being very fond of cats myself, I beg forgiveness to relate a story I read about in a gardening supplement in The Telegraph. It was a question on how to deter cats from digging up your newly sown seeds - without resorting to drastic measures. The advice was to prepare the seed bed to a very fine tilth, but before sowing any seeds, carefully dig several holes about a foot square and a foot deep. Then inflate party balloons as tight as you may dare and place one in each hole and cover with fine soil. Now use your imagination to think what will happen! It was suggested that it would ‘put the wind up’ any cat that may be tempted to dig in your seed bed... like they do! Another wicked deterrent a long time ago when, during the winter, logs were ‘disappearing’ from the log pile in a mysterious manner, was to drill a small hole in one of them and place a Standard Fireworks ‘Little Demon’ in the hole and seal it up. (Who can remember ‘Little Demons’?) It was said that this too would shift the cats from the fireplace. Methinks it would. Could be worth trying. Old Nyati

Kilimanjaro - a bird’s eye view


Scottish Wildlife Trust Scottish Wildlife Trust Callander Member’s Centre - Meeting 12/02/13 This month’s meeting started with the usual roundup of local wildlife sightings. Members reported a sea eagle near Argaty, waxwings in Callander and bramblings and redpolls in Thornhill. Some spring flowers had already started to emerge in January with primroses and snowdrops already showing their heads. Less pleasant news was the report of a buzzard found shot on the Callander/ Thornhill road. The evening’s speaker was wildlife writer, photographer and journalist Keith Graham who is a regular contributor to The Voice and The Stirling Observer. Keith has contributed his ‘Country View ‘page to the latter every week for the last 38 years. Keith arrived in Port of Menteith, where he still lives, in 1975. He set up the local Countryside Ranger Service and was for many years the only ranger present in the area. Although Keith’s talk was entitled Wildlife around the Port of Menteith he wanted to give the audience more specific reminiscences than a detailed review of Menteith wildlife. Keith began by describing the landscape of the area and how its place on the highland/lowland boundary, past volcanic activity, the ice age and the impact of human activities had shaped it. In the years since he arrived in the area the numbers of many species have changed dramatically. Ospreys, ravens, magpies, pine martens and red squirrels have increased. Grey squirrels have decreased probably as a result of the martens’ increase. The martens find it easier to catch the larger greys, which also spend more time on the ground, and so the increase in these animals provides a ray of hope for Scotland’s red squirrels. Rabbits and hares have declined, as have barn owls more recently. Hen harriers were once more common with up to seven pairs in the Menteith Hills. This species has declined nationally due to illegal persecution but one pair has returned to the area after a period of absence. Red kites have nested in the area since their reintroduction near Doune and Keith recalled the first nesting attempt and the pair’s tussles with neighbouring ospreys. Being a countryside ranger he was often involved with injured wild animals to look after or rescue. These included many foxes but also a raven. The latter impressed him with its wide repertoire of calls, mimicry and other vocalisations including dog barks! He also had an orphaned roe deer which when adult grew to love rich tea 10


biscuits and jam sandwiches as well as its more natural grazing habits. The Lake itself is host to some spectacular species including ospreys and otters, with the more common wildfowl and herons also present in good numbers. One less welcome bird which has increased in recent years is the Canada goose. Imported from North America, these birds tend to dominate and exclude the native wildfowl and also cause agricultural damage. It is estimated that four Canada geese can eat as much grass as one sheep! Keith also showed the audience many stunning pictures of common species such as blue and great tits, collared dove and blackbird, all the shots in the presentation having been taken by him.

Ospreys are big wildlife stars of the area and now number around 10 pairs having increased from the original local pair, the first outside Speyside. Protecting the nests from egg thieves has helped to increase osprey numbers both in Menteith and in Scotland as a whole. At the end of the talk Keith announced that this was to be his last public talk, and having given many talks in Callander before, this was an appropriate venue for his last. This was obviously a sad announcement for the audience and for the area. But it will still be possible to keep up with Keith’s observations every week in the Stirling Observer, in which he will continue Kevin Duffy to write.

Scottish Wildlife Trust

Callander Member’s Centre Diary Tues 12th March 2013

The Ups and Downs of Basking Sharks

by Mauvis Gore, Marine Conservation International Tues 9th April 2013 Short AGM &

Kestrels for Company

by Gordon Riddle, Scottish Raptor Group & Author


7:30pm at The Waverley Hotel, Main Street, Callander Cost £2 members, £2.50 non-members, free for full-time students. Our full programme and more details on SWT can be found at

Gardening M A R C H by Jonathan MacDonald

There is one brilliant thing about gardening. No one understands it. We will never know enough about the art and we will always be left with a feeling of being unable to understand the success and failure we experience. There is no definitive book. We all do it differently; no two soils are the same, prevailing winds hit at different heights and speeds, light and shade can dance about cooling a corner or hang all day boiling a Alpines - friends in high places! wall. We have different tastes in plants and colours. Some will nibble away like mice, the flowers are created the year before for a of a back seat. Here the plants are mere others will tear in thrashing down anything bolt for the sky when the snow melts. This trimmings. A simple wall is a good vehicle in their way. Some will drown in water is why in gardening folklore there exists in if you wish to plant it up with alpines. My and food, others will starve and dehydrate every gardener’s heart a fear of being run tip is to water regularly any wee plants and the results will more or less balance out town if you chop your daffodil leaves placed in cracks with a handful of gritty out. And all the time we probably do not down. Slowly decaying leaves allows them soil especially if it turns hot, as they take recognize that this compulsion (that is to put energy back into the ‘preforming’ of a while to get established in the wall and probably in part accounting for you reading next year’s flower. It is typical to give a light get the roots down to the cool soil below. this) and lack of understanding is the case feed at this time. Bulbs therefore survive by The alpine garden has small enchanting for gardening! Free thinking, hands free, clonal reproduction and each small offset plants, miniature flowers of great colour free thinking. No dogma, no creed, just a bulb that is produced is identical to its and beauty. This small scale I am sure completely misunderstood allure. parents DNA, this can go on for thousands reminds us of our childhood, we are at play The research backs this up. A recent of years in some cases. again and Barbie and Action man would no survey into the benefits of primary school Alpine groups and societies remain very doubt grow only alpines if they got a place gardens found that it ‘develops children for popular here and can take it to a high art together? You can make a big statement in a the challenges of adult life’. It boosts their form. One imagines the President of the small space, forget the troughs, and Belfast self esteem, resilience and responsibility. Alpine Rock Plant Society having a front sinks, if it can hold a bit of free draining In adulthood those children who acquired garden similar in appearance to the drawers compost plant alpines. I once filled a traffic an early taste may take up the challenge and compartments of the museum cabinet, cone. I have no idea why but people loved of a garden usually when they own their housing rare collected gems. These plants it and as the entire thing slowly grew into first house, take an allotment or kindly have helped encourage a whole style of a base layer of grape hyacinths, (Muscari) tend a rented garden. I would doubt gardening in itself. The rockery remains a it really was like watching a giant blue Mr if they will remember back in time on mainstay of the art and an easily achieved Hyde go from bright orange to a hairy blue how to sow cabbage or sweet peas (soak elaboration. Not entirely necessary but one and back to bright orange. A strange case overnight now!) from school days but will great asset is when you ‘get on’ so to speak indeed. they remember the subliminal message of you do not need to bend down as much? The question of expense will make it preparation for the challenges of old age Many will think of a mound with some big inevitable that we try to construct what and how you never totally understand how stones placed on top like a giant cake, some we can from what is lying around. Take it all works. There is the complete disasters can be seen from time a pond for example. A budget example is pleasure in gardening. And that challenge to time but with a good pile of Aubrietia to dig a hole, pile the soil up at one end, in life was the difference between man and and mossy Saxifrages the worst 1960’s style run a small pump to the top and you have a mouse that Burns observed in To A Mouse: will be quite passable. Others are seldom waterfall, river and or meandering stream. “Still thou are blest, compared wi’ me! satisfied by this approach but the opposite These edges make a great spot for a range The present only toucheth thee: But och! I is a very complex theatrical wall and terrace of alpines. And why not, it saves you backward cast my e’e, On prospects drear! effect built at great cost where an apeing barrowing it somewhere off site and skips An’ forward, tho’ I canna see, I guess an’ of nature results in plants taking more are a fortune these days. fear!” One fascination is how we can grow plants that are used to growing in a completely different microclimate. One such group, the alpines, have long found great support in Scotland; we are alpiney ourselves, are we not? These mainly dwarf plants naturally Open 7 days a week: 9.30am -5pm exist above the tree line which in Scotland is about 1600ft, in the Alps can get up to 7000ft and in South America even higher. Visit us for inspirational ideas Bringing them down to sea level would be the same as a native from Braemar moving and professional advice to the Sahara. You would sweat but you would survive. Above the tree line plants On the main road A85 going East just before Comrie are cold and dry and typically covered in Contact: Jonathan MacDonald snow. When this melts they need to shake a leg. You will therefore about now be seeing a show called ‘preformation’ which sounds Tel: 01764 670800 positively sci fi. The preformed bit is when 11

View from the Park by Owen McKee Last week I attended a reception at Holyrood to promote Environment Week. One of the speakers mentioned that it had been proposed that MSPs should each champion a species in celebration of this the Year of Natural Scotland. So far 28 MSPs have taken up the challenge. It occurred to me that one particular species i.e. the human, would be a very exciting challenge. I had in mind more particularly that sub species which is oft quoted as the 5% or so that causes mayhem. You know to whom I refer. Where they come so also does vandalism, destruction, filth, noise, litter, and general anti-social behaviour. With any major projects there is a requirement to carry out a Strategic Environmental Assessment. Dwelling on that I decided an appropriate SEA for my sub species would be to Segregate, Educate and Assimilate. I know there are those who would rather truncate the process and just Segregate and Exterminate but we are more civilised than that, aren’t we? Then it dawned on me that effectively we have already started on the process. The East Loch Lomond project has already shown that by properly managing visitors it is possible to eliminate much of the anti social behaviour that the 5% sub species brings. It is therefore particularly pleasing that we are now embarking on bringing that same visitor management here with the Five Loch Project. You will no doubt have noticed that work has started at Loch Lubnaig. In addition to the structural and landscaping

work, discussions are taking place with Transport Scotland to introduce a St Fillan’s Mill benefits from Clearway along the A84 so that parking Historic Scotland Building and camping on the verges will be illegal. Repair Grant But where will the 5% then go and how will they be controlled. The 19th Century St Fillan’s Mill in Operation Ironworks will be beefed Killin is to receive a Historic Scotland up and gradually visitor management Building Repair Grant of £38,703. provisions will be in place throughout It is one of six historic sites in Scotland our area and eventually throughout the to benefit from this latest round of National Park. Yes it will take time but funding totalling £587,049. the prospect of a much reduced anti- The Mill is sited at the water’s edge social problem within the National next to the Bridge of Dochart, just off the main street and is built on the site of a Park is worth the time and effort. As I am constantly saying Development succession of grain mills which date back Planning within the National Park is to ancient times. It is considered very under continuous review . Under current unusual in Scotland due to its romantic, decorative style. legislation Plans have to be renewed The Building Repair Grant scheme every five years. For most what goes makes financial help available to property into a Local Plan doesn’t concern them owners to meet the cost of high-quality until something within the Plan affects repairs using traditional materials and them personally so why should they specialist craftsman to conserve original concern themselves with its preparation. features. In return, owners must maintain The simple answer to that is that if you the building and allow some access to take no heed then things that you may visitors. regard as detrimental to your locality Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for may become established. Equally there Culture and External Affairs said: “It is may be developments that you would essential that we maintain our historic Scottish buildings which form such a key like to see take place which are frustrated part of our streetscape and also attract because no provision was made for them tourists from around the world. We need in the Local Plan. So now is the time to ensure that we preserve them for future to think about where you would like to generations to enjoy and also learn about see development and where you would their past.” prefer to maintain the status quo. Dr Willie Angus, Chairman of the Owen McKee Killin and Ardeonaig Trust, said: “The Old Mill is an iconic feature associated As always I can be contacted as follows; with Killin and the Falls of Dochart Taigh Na Bhuth, Lochearnhead that is a major attraction for visitors. 01567 830214 It is well-loved and venerated by the local community as the last remaining example of at least five local water mills and on account of the long association of St Fillan’s Healing Stones with sequential mills on this site since about 760 AD. “By securing the building, caring for it and repairing it, the community plans to make it a space for community activities and to allow access for all who wish to visit it. The Historic Scotland repair grant will ensure that the building is returned to good condition and provide a solid base on which the community can develop a sustainable business model to provide Mobile Local Hairdresser an income to maintain the building. We greatly appreciate this generous support from Historic Scotland.”

Susan Stewart

07712 047149


Grow Forth back for seconds Grow Forth is back for second helpings, after the success of the first local food summit held last year. This year the summit is on the move - it will be held at Alloa Town Hall on the 16th of March from 10am to 2pm. The event is aimed at everyone with an interest in local food, whether you are already doing something or are keen to get started. There is an exciting programme of talks, discussions, food mapping activities, interactive displays, a tasty ‘local’ lunch and a chance to become part of the Grow Forth Membership adding your voice to the local food movement. The keynote address will be delivered by Laura Stewart Director of the Soil Association Scotland who will talk about some inspiring cities and towns across the world who have harnessed grassroots action on local food and created exciting, real visions for a secure food future.   The event is being organised by Forth Environment Link, with sponsorship from the Co-operative Membership Community Fund. Grow Forth is hosted by Forth Environment Link and is supported by Stirling Council and NHS Forth Valley.  An advisory group helps to shape our work.  Jane Cullingworth, Executive Director of Forth Environment Link, states “We are thrilled with the level of interest there has been from a diversity of communities in both the Grow Forth network and the Local Food Summit event. We have planned the day with a real focus on enabling people to talk to and learn from one another”. Forth Environment Link encourages people to register ahead of time especially if you wish to take a stall, but drop-ins are welcome. To find out more and to get a registration form please visit www. or contact our event coordinator Emily Harvey on 01786 449 215 or 07545 247 489 or by email on emily@forthenvironmentlink. org For more information about Forth Environment Link, please contact Jane Cullingworth, Forth Environment Link at 01786 449 215.

Ballroom Dancing has started up again! All welcome each Friday at 7.30pm in Lochearnhead Village Hall. For further details contact Mary Barclay on 01567 830453

Scottish Water charges deliver good value for customers Average charge is lowest in Great Britain The average household water charge in Scotland is now £54 pounds a year less than the average in England and Wales. The change from an average of £52 less last year is backed by one of the best value water packages in Great Britain. With an average household charge of £334 in Scotland compared to £388 pounds in England and Wales, Scottish Water is delivering improved services for the lowest charge while investing around £500 million a year to improve Scotland’s water infrastructure. Douglas Millican, Chief Executive of Scottish Water, said: “Scottish Water recognises the pressures facing customers and public finances. That is why we are continuing to deliver improved service while we ensure our customers have among the lowest increases in charges for 2013/14. “Scottish Water is the fourth largest water company in the UK. Our teams from Stranraer to Shetland are looking after our customers and ensuring the water delivered to their homes and services we provide are of the highest possible quality. “We are determined to do even better than this and deliver more savings for customers and the Scottish Government. Our customers need to be reassured that while we strive to become more efficient - delivering increasing value for money - we will continue to improve our service and deliver the vital investment that Scotland needs in its water industry. “Drinking water quality is the best it has ever been and the environment, which has improved from 2002 when Scottish Water took over, will see major investment in the next few years to ensure a greener Scotland. We are tackling changing climate and ensuring we make the right decisions for communities across the country. “This is an exciting time for Scottish Water. Hundreds of projects are underway across the country as our five year investment programme continues. This period will see us match the efficient service of the water industry south of the border. “We are determined to meet and beat our performance targets to deliver better value and service to customers.” 13

Callander & West Perthshire U3A Having announced the launch of eight new groups at the start of this year we all wondered if the weather would allow full attendances. So far seven of the eight are underway and all have shown that enthusiasm amongst our members has triumphed over the snow, unless roads were completely impassable. It proves that getting together with folk of like mind and shared interests provides not only stimulation of the mind but a very pleasant and sociable way to spend a few hours. (The Lunch Group will be starting soon). Amongst the already established groups the Winetasters enjoyed a celebratory dinner in January while the Italian students completed their Beginners Course and are busy with plans for a holiday in Venice in 2014. The next Members’ Social Meeting is on Thursday 14 March at 2.00 pm in the Callander Youth Project building in Bridgend. Les Slater is our speaker and his talk is entitled “Busy bees - a sting in the tail”. The meeting is open to all C&WP U3A members (and to any guests interested in joining). Entrance is free. Unlimited tea and coffee is £2. Our latest newsletter is in circulation and the website has been updated. If there is anyone new to U3A who would like more information just go to the internet and type in ‘Callander & West Perthshire U3A’. We welcome new members at any time of the year.


New Electoral Register

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 http:// a m b l e r s . 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: MARCH • Wed 6th 9:30am Stroll: Cambuskenneth Pilgramage (4.5 miles) contact 07737 682426 • Sat 16th 8:30am Hill: Hill: Beinn Dubh (508m) contact 01877 387201 • Wed 27th 9:30am Ramble: Around Dumyat (6 miles) contact 01877 330446 APRIL • Sat 6th 8:30am CtoC(11) Callander to Doune (8.5 miles) contact 01877 330032 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!

National Park Display Caravan

is coming to a village near you! Most of you will be aware that a number of improvements are being made/ planned for around the Five Lochs area which takes in Lochs Venacher, Lubnaig, Earn and the Balquhidder Glen. In fact work is just getting underway at two of the sites at the southern end of Loch Lubnaig. In order that everyone can be aware of how these improvements will help locals and visitors alike, the National Park Display Caravan is going to be available at the following venues: Strathyre - Tuesday, 16th April Lochearnhead - Wednesday, 17th April St. Fillans - Thursday, 18th April It will be open from 3.00pm until 9.00pm each day, and staff will be available to explain the plans for each of the 19 locations which are outlined for development. In addition outline details will also be available for the proposed cycleway using the old railway line between St. Fillans and Lochearnhead. So, make a note in your diaries and come along to see what is planned and to have your say.

Do you need a new home in Lochearnhead, Strathyre, Killin or Callander? If so,

Rural Stirling Housing Association may be able to help

The Association’s aim is to support rural communities by providing affordable good quality homes for people in housing need. We currently have 450 rented homes and around 30 of these become available for re-let each year. We also build some new homes each year. For more details and a housing application form contact us at: Rural Stirling Housing Association Stirling Road, Doune FK16 6AA Telephone 01786 841101 Email Registered as a Scottish Charity No. SCO37849 Please note that we encourage all applicants to also apply to Stirling Council’s housing list (Tel 0845 277 7000) Being on both lists is the best way to maximise your chances of being re-housed.

The Register of Electors was last published on 1st December 2012 following enquiries made of every address in the Stirling Council area. This year saw an increase in the responses received by email, telephone and text to over 35% of responses however with postage costs in 2012/2013 of just under £100,000 Brian Byrne, the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) is encouraging any electors with email addresses to supply them to him so that the 2013 annual enquiry to be issued this October/November can be emailed. The email issue and response could save up to 60p per household. (Those who have supplied their email addresses in the past do not need to do so again unless they have changed). Since the register was created over 1000 electors have been removed as they had failed to respond or had moved address and not re-registered. As well as losing their right to vote in any future referendum or election these electors can expect to have future credit reference difficulties as all major credit reference companies buy the Register of Electors for use in credit referencing. Brian has advised that efforts are ongoing to contact registered electors who have not responded to verify if they are still resident. If no response is received to the enquiries they are likely to be removed from the Register. Anyone moving address is reminded that they need to apply to register at their new address as soon as possible after they take up occupancy (it is not automatically done as part of any other council process). They will be removed from their current address as soon as information that they are no longer resident is received from landlords, council tax, or from the new occupiers. Plans are being prepared for the next annual canvass of households this autumn which will request details of every resident eligible elector at every address for a March 2014 register which will be the Register of Electors used for the 2014 European Parliament election and the Referendum on Scottish Independence. For the purposes of the Referendum, the canvass will also ask for details of any under 16 year olds who will be 16 or over by 31st December 2014. More information on registering to vote and voting by post or proxy the ERO’s website at or on the Electoral Commission’s website at 15

McLaren High School News by Yvonne King

Authors Live Event: McLaren High School’s Zombie Apocalypse On Thursday 24 January all S1 pupils watched a live broadcast of best-selling horror writer Darren Shan talking about his new 12 part ’Zom-B’ series of books about a Zombie invasion. Pupils were enthralled as the famous author read extracts from the first two books in the series, ‘Zom-B’ and ‘Zom-B Underground’ and answered questions, including one posed by McLaren High School pupil Jamie Campbell. McLaren High School also got a mention from the presenter Janice Forsyth as she referred to all the Zombie themed activities taking place in the school as part of the CfE Challenge. For the ‘Surviving a Zombie Invasion’ Challenge S1 pupils are learning shelter building and first aid as well as taking part in other Zombie themed activities such as survival packing, writing a survival plan, living in harmony, Zombie dance and Zombie science. It was certainly an interesting and fun experience, since Darren’s reading of extracts drew pictures in your mind as you hung onto his every word. Authors Live was an experience I won’t forget anytime soon.” Hamish Duff 1L Higher Geography Fieldtrip On 18 December, the Higher Geography class (and Mrs Drysdale!) travelled to Edinburgh as part of the Urban unit. First we travelled to The Gyle to view modern, out of town shopping and office environments. We also visited Edinburgh Castle to see how the defensive site of the castle was key to the city’s development, allowing us to really understand what we had learnt in the classroom. We also studied the types of shops in the Central Business District of Edinburgh, looking at how larger retailers can afford the best positions on key shopping streets such as Princes Street and George Street. It was also useful to see the attempts made to make shopping in the city centre easier with the creation of pedestrianized streets and larger car parks. After only getting lost once (we walked a bit too far down the Royal Mile!) we came away with a wealth of knowledge and skills that have proved very useful in the Urban Unit. Ruaridh Maxwell S5 Buckhaven v McLaren U16, Bell Lawrie Bowl Semi Final On Wednesday 23 January a young yet ambitious McLaren U16s team travelled to Fife for the Bell Lawrie Bowl Semi Final. Against a physically bigger Buckhaven pack our forwards took the fight to them from the first whistle (see picture, right). Credit must go to all the boys who battled hard for the whole game and were no doubt disappointed with the final score of 13-7. Good luck to the Buckhaven team for their next game. 16

Students of S1 display some of Darren Shan’s books

Geography class ‘does’ Edinburgh

visit our website:

McLaren Ski Team Race Report It’s not often that you arrive at a schools competition thinking that you might have half a chance, but we were really hopeful of doing well as we had already won a schools Team Dual Slalom skiing event a few months ago and we knew that we had a strong team. But then the thing is, you never know who else you might be racing against… Our team, Regan Dingwall, James Ronald, Craig Fingland and McLaren High School medal winners. Left to right: Regan, Connor, Connor Ramsay-Clapham, arrived at Glencoe on Friday 8 February Craig and James raring to go. We registered, and joined the other 70 competitors at the top of the mountain - ready for the course inspection. There were 22 gates spread over 300m of Stirling Schools Cross Country challenging terrain on a firm base of snow. It looked great. After inspection everyone On Thursday 7 February 18 pupils took then lined up at the start gate and watched the forerunners perform a test run of the part in the Stirling Schools Cross Country course before we started racing. Event held at Stirling County Rugby Club. We were numbered high on the start list so we were able to watch quite a few The McLaren team had success with people race before us, which gave us a better idea of what to expect. Then it was our Conor Ryan finishing 4th. turn… In the S1/2 girls’ race the leaders went Each of us raced as fast as we could and put in a solid run, but we weren’t to know off at a flying pace, Madeleine Woods and our actual times until the prize-giving later on at the end of the day. After our own Carmen Clive keeping with them. They runs we watched as some of the other skiers also put in great performances - so we ran very well, with Madeleine finishing really had no idea how well we’d done. At prize-giving the anticipation was building in 3rd and Carmen finishing 6th. Jenny as third and second place were announced in our secondary team category. Then Holl’s 18th place gave McLaren an overall after a long build up, they finally announced McLaren High School as the winners! 2nd place and a well deserved team We are all delighted to have won gold at Glencoe and James did fantastically, coming silver medal. All the other McLaren girls in 3rd place in the overall individual ranking. We are all looking forward to going to who took part achieved personal bests. Cairngorm for the finals in March. Connor Ramsay-Clapham S2 Below: Cross Country Silver medallists Junior Ski Course, Bormio, Italy 25 January – 1 February 2013 On Friday 1 February, pupils involved in this year’s Junior Ski Course returned from Italy buzzing with enthusiasm from a fantastic week at Bormio in the Italian Alps. As ever the objectives for the week were to bring on skiing but also contribute greatly to personal and social development through experiences that can only be introduced in a residential situation. Additional benefits were achieved through ‘real life’ exposure to different language, geography and culture. Having enjoyed such a great week, it is of course worth noting that the behaviour of the group was outstanding - a great credit to all! Scottish Schools Indoor Athletics On Thursday 7 February a small band of athletes from McLaren High School visited the magnificent Emirates Arena in Glasgow to represent the School at the Scottish Schools Indoor Athletics Championships. This was a truly inspirational setting and served as a real source of motivation to those involved. 17

Stirling Community Hospital Welcomes Additional Services Stirling Community Hospital is welcoming a number of additional services and improved facilities over the next few weeks. The biggest change will see the transfer of mental health services from Kildean Hospital to a new unit which will be known as Livilands Resource Centre and will be based in the former Ward 30. Housed within the Centre will be the Community Mental Health Team, Outpatient Psychiatry, the Area Wide Eating Disorder Service, the Mental Health Social Work Team and staff from Stirling Mental Health Resource Centre. Following the transfer, Kildean Hospital site, which is no longer required for NHS use, will be sold. Creating the new Livilands Resource Centre has involved total refurbishment of the former Ward 30. Care has been taken to create a light, bright and airy environment for patients and staff. Each service has a specific corridor and there are a variety of group and individual therapy rooms, ample parking and a more central location for patients. Annette Gilmour, Clinical Nurse Manager, NHS Forth Valley, said: “This move is part of the bigger redesign work ongoing within Mental Health and is extremely positive. It will enable Community Mental Health Services to fully integrate with partner organisations who work closely with NHS Forth Valley to support the delivery of Mental Health Service.” From February 17th 2013 Livilands Resource Centre can be contacted on 01786 446913. Other changes have seen the former Ward 9 at Stirling opening up as a Rehabilitation Hub. The premises have had a major facelift and contain a range of outpatient and community based services including a team base for ReACH (the community rehabilitation teams for Stirling) orthotics, diabetes education, nutrition and dietetics, wheelchair services and a variety of other clinics. This move has also offered an opportunity for the Social Work Reablement team and Hospital Social work team to co-locate with health colleagues on the Stirling Community Hospital Site. In addition, the day hospital for older people has moved there from Orchard House, giving treatment and support for older people with mental illness. Shiona Hogg, NHS Forth Valley’s Allied Health Professions Manager for Rehabilitation, said: “The transformation of the former Ward 9 into a new 18

Top: Easy access, and above: all smiles at the new facility!

Rehabilitation Hub has been absolutely amazing. Freshly painted corridors in pastel shades have made the whole area not only brighter but more patient friendly. People have commented on how pleasant it is in both the new waiting areas and treatment areas.” The Rehab Hub can be accessed directly through automatic doors in car park c or through the main hospital entrance. For further information please contact Communications Department on 01786 457243.

Contribution of Heritage Stalwarts Recognised

Heritage Stalwarts: Keith and Louis receive their awards

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


The surgery will close for the Easter Holidays at lunchtime on Friday 29th March, and re-open on Tuesday 2nd April. If you require urgent medical attention during this time, please contact NHS24 on 08454 24 24 24. After 20 years of dedicated working in the practice Pat Dixon, our practice nurse, will be retiring this year. She has been a very loyal member of the team and has formed many close relationships with our patients. She has contributed greatly to the development of care within the practice as we have expanded our services to patients of all ages. The Callander Arthritis Care group was set up with her input and continued for many years. Depending on Pat’s successor, she is hoping to leave at the end of April. A few patients have asked us about a retirement gift. If anyone would like to contribute, please come into the medical centre and speak to the receptionists or myself. We would be very grateful if you kept this a secret from Pat. Thank you for your co-operation. Margaret Davis, Practice Manager, Bracklinn Practice 01877 331001

Farm Forum: Neigh Problem... Well! There is no question about what has been the main agricultural talking point recently – and it has not been the Grand National! I would be remiss not to mention the problem and will relate points made by Richard Wright in the Scottish Farmer (with additions by me!) to emphasise that there is little point in British farmers having amongst the most rigid traceability rules in the world if the rest of the industry can buy and use whatever it wants. There is one thing for sure it is going to lead to even more regulation and testing and, as usual, it will be the farmer at the end of the chain that will in effect pay for it. Retailers are, for the most part, pretending this is a problem only for those supplying them. However, they must have known, when squeezing margins, that they were demanding products below the cost of production – they cannot all be deaf and blind!

What happened was the inevitable result of those tactics. The industry is now being made to clean up its act, but it would be wrong if retailers were left as pious hand-wringers, when they created the price culture that led to disastrous corner cutting. For many years we have been asking for countries of origin of contents to be stated on the labels of all processed meat products and the contents to be adequately displayed, but this seems to get bogged down in Europe – I can’t imagine why. In this age of austerity you cannot blame customers for paying close attention to price but they are entitled to know the source and content of what they are buying. The current situation gives a whole new meaning to the old saying “buying a pig in a poke” – It may really mean buying a horse……….! Agricola

At a recent event in Ross Priory the contributions of two National Park residents, Keith Graham and Louis Stott, who between them have clocked up 77 years writing and sharing their knowledge about the natural and cultural heritage riches of the Park, were recognised with Honorary Life Memberships of the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, the conservation and heritage charity for the National Park. Louis Stott moved to the area in 1974 to head up a Government Quality of Life Initiative in Dunbartonshire and has lived at Aberfoyle since 1984. He also ran the popular Browsers Bookshop in Dunblane between 1993 and 2002. Over almost four decades Louis has written on most aspects of the heritage of the National Park area and his most popular books include his Literary Guides to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs; The Enchantment of the Trossachs; The History of Aberfoyle Quarry; and Waterfalls of Scotland. In addition to contributing regularly to the Friends’ Voice magazine Louis contributes to the Forth Naturalist and Historian and has given numerous talks and lectures on local history. He also has an excellent website with in depth details of literary connections with places throughout the Park.   Keith Graham pioneered the first Council Countryside Ranger Service in the eastern half of the Park when he moved to the Trossachs in 1975. He began writing the “Country View “ weekly nature column with the Stirling Observer later the same year and he amazingly hasn’t missed a week in 37 years! Keith also spent 30 years giving regular evening talks in packed venues about the magical qualities of the Trossachs with the help of a sound and light show and live narration. He also toured the UK for many years with a popular Celtic Tapestry show with Mary Sandeman and the late Bob Christie. Keith has written several books, including some in the Colin Baxter Wildlife series and has also published a collection of his own work three years ago. For many years he also filled a weekly wildlife slot on BBC Scotland’s “McGregor’s Gathering’’ and has been ‘’the voice of Scottish cricket’’ on BBC Radio Scotland. He continues to be a regular contributor to the Friends Voice magazine and is providing weekly nature watch articles for the Friends new website. 19

Travellers’ Tales

North to Alaska!

A Road Trip - Spring 2012

Joe La Piazza and Andrew Drysdale have been friends for many years and share a fascination for long distance motor travel in interesting places. Here we continue their diary as they describe the next leg of their journey to icy wastes!

28th May - North to Alaska We set off at 10am on the first part of our “real” journey. This was to take us some 8250 miles in twelve days from San Francisco to Homer in Alaska. Our return trip would take us through the Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Minnesota and Nebraska and before finally heading back to New Liberty Iowa. Our “time out” was one day of Halibut fishing in glorious Homer, Alaska. Homer is described by locals as “a great little drinking town with a fishing problem” and is the world capital for Halibut fishing. Hmm - sounds a bit like Lochearnhead - in a way! Our route from San Francisco took us east on Interstate 80 for about 380 miles by which time we had travelled into the heart lands of northern Arizona. We turned north at Winnemucca on to state route 95, which was new country for me, although I had crisscrossed this road many times previously going east to west. The land is very similar to the Tay Valley and parts of Aberdeenshire. In places, especially the more mountainous stretches, it takes on a striking resemblance to parts of Switzerland. It is a wealthy and sophisticated agricultural area running several hundred miles in a corridor between Oregon and Montana and even the farm houses have a similar look to those in central Scotland. This was an area of great conflict in the 1890s during the Perce Nez wars where these fine Indian peoples were massacred by the whites in a ruthless cull which destroyed their way of life forever. One can still sense a presence of these tribal Indians almost in the way 20

one does while driving through Glencoe, where a massacre of our own tribal highlanders took place. It brought forth similar emotions! Our journey finished late that evening at a motel in the town of Ontario on the Idaho /Oregon border. 29th May The morning saw us back on the road again and set for Coeur D’Alene and the Canadian border. As we drove North beyond Interstate 90, the land became less cultivated and took on a wilder appearance. We travelled through places with names we had never heard of such as Hells Canyon - what a beauty spot! As we neared Bonners Ferry it looked and felt like we were nearing the Canadian border. Joe was driving in the late afternoon that day and, bearing in mind the excellent roads and lack of policemen, he was cracking on a bit. Coming to a four or five mile descent from a high ridge he was travelling at about 98 mph and was overtaking four or five cars (the only ones in miles) when we spotted the local Sheriff hiding out of sight with the intent of catching some speeding motorists, probably tourists. The lights came on and Joe, who was by this time about 3/4mile ahead of the other cars, dropped back to the 55 mph limit. We were working out our excuses when the car at the furthest back position was stopped. Joe must have been in a blind spot as we passed the Sheriff and this probably saved us a few hundred dollars in fines! We had driven over 1000 miles that day ending up at Lake Louise in the (to be continued!) Canadian Rockies...


A useful addition to the Hotel is the adjacent cottage ‘Glenview’ which is also available to rent. Just having had an extensive renovation, Glenview can only be described as luxury accommodation with spa bath, state of the art kitchen and two bedrooms. To view just email, phone - or drop in!

01567 830247


The Clachan Cottage Hotel

Alan Garnier is the proud owner of The Clachan in Lochearnhead and he recently invited us to go and see all the changes he has now put in place to bring the hotel up to the standards its enviable position on the shore of Loch Earn deserves. It has been a three year programme starting with the twenty bedrooms which have all been updated and beautifully furnished and complemented with luxury bathrooms, all to Alan’s high standard trademark. Many rooms overlook the loch and Edinample Castle. The last part of the refurbishment has just been completed on the ground floor where the bar has been sympathetically restored to include the large stove log burner as the centre piece of the room. Much effort has gone into the theme of the bar centred around the water-skiing heritage of the loch; indeed there are displays of programmes and memorabilia from the period 1979 when the world ski championships were held at Loch Earn, including displays of water skis from around the world. The bar gantry hosts an impressive display of the finest malts and blended whiskies certainly enough to satisfy the most discerning whisky buff. And real ale will keep the beer aficionados content! Sky TV will bring a much welcome addition to the venue for enjoying those big sporting occasions. Alan has a long experience of local hotel operation and he says the last time he was as excited as this was when he opened the Riverview Bistro at Killin Hotel in 1997. Four hotels later he is determined to make the Clachan Cottage hotel the best bar and restaurant in the area. The bar will focus on what it does best: great pub grub using local produce - and cooked in a traditional way: Sunday roasts, open topped sandwiches served on homemade breads, and homemade soups. The restaurant is now called The Rowan and Alan explained that this had been the name of the original cottage; clachan being the name for a collection of cottages, which is what the hotel is. This is an area which has been transformed into a cosy but very modern dining room looking out at the castle. When it’s too dark to see out, you can admire Alan’s photos of the area which hang all round the room. Here Alan intends to serve food using the best of local produce, some from his own farm. He has a new team of chefs under his supervision, building on his own past experiences of running the River Bistro and the Tayside fish restaurant in Stanley. Ingredients will be sourced from carefully selected suppliers to deliver his modern interpretations of classic dishes, based on local venison and game, fish from the west coast, and beef from the Angus glens. He hopes his philosophy of giving value for money will mean that this will be a dining experience to repeat! The function room and residents’ library complete the renovations to date - but Alan still has plans for more in the future. Next season will see the addition of a spa facility so that when guests return from a day on the hills they can unwind using hot tubs, a steam room, sauna and a relaxation area. These will complete the Clachan’s makeover and set it on the way to becoming Alan’s dream of being one of the best small hotels in the area - worthy of its great setting.







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• 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

Alistair Barclay Photographer & Advertising Coordinator Dalvaich, Glenbeich Lochearnhead FK19 8PZ 01567 830453

Other Contacts... Helen Clark Business Manager 07971 648743

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

BLS Luncheon & Leisure Club - 12.30 - 2.30pm - Scout Station, Lochearnhead Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 -11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am - 12.30pm (Contact Abbey Arkotxa 01877 384671) Badminton - Balquhidder Hall - 8.00pm Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am-12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00-9.00pm Choir Occasional - Balquhidder Hall - 7.30-9.00pm Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon Ballroom Dancing - Lochearnhead Hall

MARCH 2013 6 RSNO Phoenix Wind Trio - Balquhidder Church - 7.30pm - see p.9 12 SWT Talk - ‘Basking Sharks’ The Waverley Hotel, Callander - 7.30pm - see p.10 12 Lochearnhead Village Hall AGM 7.30 - see p.2 22 Whist Supper - Balquhidder Hall 7.30 - see p.2 23 3V Arts and Crafts - Balquhidder Hall - see p.2 29 Pilgrimage Services p.8 Easter Sunday Communion lochside Watersports Lochearnhead 8am - see p.8 31 APRIL 9 16 17 18

2013 SWT Talk Kestrels for Company Callander 7.30 - see p.10 5 Lochs Drop-In Session, Strathyre - see front page 5 Lochs Drop-In Session, Lochearnhead - see front page 5 Lochs Drop-In Session, St. Fillans - see front page

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 Alistair Barclay is available to attend village functions and take photos if contacted in plenty of time. CDs of photos are also for sale. Please phone him on 01567 830453

CHURCH SERVICES Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St. Fillans CHURCH OF SCOTLAND Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316 Sunday 12 noon Minister: Rev John Lincoln The Manse, Killin Tel: 01567 820 247 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


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

St Angus’s Church, Lochearnhead First and third Sundays of the month: Holy Communion at 11.15am. Second and fourth Sundays of the month: Evensong at 6.00pm Fifth Sunday of the month: please see church noticeboard. Vestry Secretary - Mary Barclay Tel: 01567 830453

The Villagers March 2013  

Five lochs project, Loch Lomond nd The Trossachs national park, The Villagers AGM, community pubs month, Balquhidder Church News, Royal Scot...

The Villagers March 2013  

Five lochs project, Loch Lomond nd The Trossachs national park, The Villagers AGM, community pubs month, Balquhidder Church News, Royal Scot...