Page 1



Morning sun on a frosty Loch Voil, looking west

WINTER 2018/9

Photo by Gill Waugh

From the Manse

Living Stones and Sacred Spaces

It is often said that ‘the Church is not the building - it’s the people’. Of course - in one sense, and at one level, that is true. The early church did not start off with buildings; they met in homes and houses. Jesus himself said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt 18:20). But the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, is fully aware of sacred places: places where God’s presence is experienced in a powerful way; places where, over time, a site is established that becomes a place of focus and pilgrimage for people of faith. Balquhidder Church in Balquhidder Glen is just such a place. A more evocative location would be hard to find. The mixture of mountains, loch, and the ever moving, ever changing mists can be enchanting if not mesmerising. The church building itself is a “pearl of great price”, to quote a parable of Jesus: a place where true silence can be experienced and where, in the simplicity yet sanctity of the building, the mind can be directed to matters eternal. The large number of visitors we attract every year, and their comments, both spoken and written, testify to that. Yet Balquhidder Church is also the people…a small but dedicated group of disciples that I feel very proud and privileged to be a shepherd to. I still consider myself new to this job, but am slowly finding my feet and my way. I have sensed this past year an awakening of the Spirit in our midst and it augers well for the future. I feel in my bones that 2019 will be a year when the foundations will be laid for the future of our church. Let us pray for God’s guidance on our deliberations, plans and dreams as we seek to respond to challenging and difficult times. I want to thank everyone in the congregation for the fantastic support you have given both practically and spiritually to the cause of Christ’s kingdom this past year. Morale is good and the fellowship before and after the Church services is a real joy. This is something to really build on and I’m confident with God’s help we will. Furthermore, a huge thanks to all our “Friends” who support us from a distance (both near and far) with prayer, financial giving and the occasional visit. It is good to still have an extended church family despite the changes we have being going through in recent times. In the Apostle Peter’s first letter he refers to his fellow believers in the following terms: “living stones” being built into a “spiritual house” (1Pet 2:5). What a wonderful metaphor! The Church is indeed God’s living Temple here on earth. But that does not in any way, shape or form mean that the idea of buildings as sacred places is not therefore important. Sacred people and sacred buildings are both required for the sake of our mission to the wider world. Balquhidder Church without a living and active membership would be greatly diminished in meaning and power. Likewise, an active congregation without the hallowed ground of our historic building would be lacking a visible sign of the invisible presence that we all feel in this place. May God continue to raise us up as “living stones” in His service, and may we find resources to keep the wonderful legacy of Balquhidder Church open and usable for congregation, community and pilgrims long into the future.


Russel Moffat (Rev Dr)

Briar Cottages on Loch Earn

Luxury & Pet Friendly Self Catering fishing • putting • petanque Twitter @Briarcottages Tel Kim 07917 416 497


Winter greetings to you from The Belfry.

Note from the


In this issue, thanks to Leslie MacKenzie, we have a fascinating piece concerning the many recordings of Calum Maclean, who, in the 1940s and ‘50s, travelled the length and breadth of the Scottish Highlands collecting first hand accounts of cultural heritage and folklore. Naturally he stopped off in Balquhidder! We hope you enjoy reading it. We’ll continue the excerpts from the Rev. James MacGregor lecture in our next edition. In the meantime, we wish you all the very best for a peaceful and happy Christmas and New Year.

Gill Waugh • Stronvar Farm • Balquhidder • FK19 8PB


CHURCH OF SCOTLAND Balquhidder Parish Church WEEKLY SERVICE Every Sunday at 11.30am


A Visit to Balquhidder in 1958 by

Calum I Maclean Gaelic Ethnographer

by Leslie MacKenzie (Leaslaidh NicCoinnich)

Who was Calum Maclean - and why was he important? Calum Maclean was among the first field-workers to use modern recording apparatus to undertake the systematic collection of the cultural heritage of the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

Calum Maclean, Katie Buchanan and John MacPherson - ‘The Coddie’, 1947

He was born in Òsgaig on the Isle of Raasay into a well respected and studious Gaelic speaking family. His brother was famous Gaelic poet and scholar, Sorley MacLean (Somhairle MacGill-Eain) who later lived in the Braes area of Skye near Portree. From 1935-9 he attended Edinburgh University where he graduated with a First in Celtic studies. He went on to study Early Irish and Medieval and Modern Welsh at the University College Dublin. In 1939, with the outbreak of war, his scholarships were stopped and he found manual work in Connemara - where - as his fluency in Irish increased - he soon became a part-time collector for the Irish Folklore Commission (Coimisiún Béaloideasa Éireann). In 1945 this became a full time appointment. During this period he also converted to Catholicism. On 19 December 1945 he was sent to the Hebrides with his own Ediphone recording device. (Recordings were made on wax cylinders at this time.) After 1951, when the Edinburgh based School of Scottish Studies (Sgoil Eòlais na Alba) was founded and he had completed a year’s study of ‘scientific’ collection in Uppsala, Sweden, he worked for both bodies. Hamish Henderson and John MacInnes were among his notable fellow field-workers in Scotland. Maclean’s bi-lingualism and his in-depth knowledge of Gaelic and Celtic oral tradition provided him with useful skills as a field-worker. In addition, he had a remarkable facility to put people at ease and gain their confidence. He began his work in Raasay – as he described in his diary below: “I, Calum I Maclean, began two days ago to collect the oral tradition of the island of Raasay. I was born and reared on this island. When I was young there were many people here who had tales and songs which had never been written down, and which never will be, since the old people are now dead, and all that they knew is with them in the grave. There are still some people alive who remember some of the songs and traditions of their forefathers, I decided to write down those which I could find. I


realise that we are sixty years late in beginning this work of collection, but we may be able to save at least some of the traditional lore before it dies out…” He became famous for collecting the longest story ever recorded in Western Europe. This was the 58,000-word Alasdair mac a’ Cheird (Alasdair son of the Caird), told to him in 1949 by Angus MacMillan of Griminish, Benbecula (d. 1954). He also recorded Piper Calum Johnson and his sister Annie in Barra, and ‘The Coddie’ who went on to influence writer Sir Compton Mackenzie (Whisky Galore 1947 etc). In all, he is said to have recorded a total of 2.1 million words. During his years as a collector he made a huge odyssey through the historic territories of the clans—Lochaber, Morar, Arisaig, Moidart, Ardgour, Ardnamurchan, Morvern, Badenoch not to mention the Western Isles and in particular Barra and South Uist where he found tradition bearers with huge memories. He only wrote one book “The Highlands” published in 1959.

Why Balquhidder?

It is hard to know why Calum made a detour into Balquhidder in September 1958. His curiosity may have been roused by his meeting with Archie MacDiarmaid of Tulloch at the beginning of the same year. He may have been curious how far West Perthshire Gaelic still survived. His health was already deteriorated. He was aware he did not have so much time left. In 1957 his left arm had been amputated due to his cancer which had appeared the Balquhidder Glen 1890 (Permission Canmore Archive Edinburgh) year before. Undaunted richer farming in Aberdeenshire. Allan’s sister Elsie also he was back on the road collecting by 1958 when he contributed to the tape. He was also at Tulloch where headed to South Uist and then on to Argyll. he spoke with Archie MacDiarmaid, the father of Davey It was early September when he came to Balquhidder MacDiarmaid (whose family left the area around the – probably on his way through from Argyll towards same time.) Glen Lyon where he hoped to find Perthshire Gaelic He also met the MacIntyres – father and son - of speakers. In Balquhidder he was interested to find out Stronslaney. how much traditional knowledge was still preserved All these families had been in the area for a long and he found two Gaelic speakers – The older MacIntyre time. at Stronslaney and Jimmy Fergusson from Muirlaggan On the transcript these names are shortened to who, as he told him, spoke Acharacle Gaelic which he initials: Calum Maclean Is CM, Jimmy Fergusson is JF, had learnt from his grandmother who was a Cameron Allan Ferguson Senior is AF, his father is RF and mother from Ardtoe. GF and Elsie is EF. He spent only two days in Balquhidder -Sept 4/5th it The topics he covered were: seems. The first day he was on foot but seems to have had helpers with him –as he was probably no longer • Customs – in particular the custom of a’ mhaighhean capable of carrying the heavy Ediphone tape recorder bhuana the harvest maiden - which was dying out by himself or of riding his bicycle for which he was well at the time as the farms replaced their horses with known. tractors and mechanical binders. In Balquhidder he visited James Fergusson at • Historical stories – Rob Roy and the old widow; the Muirlaggan – also known as Jimmy ‘Muirlaggan’; the Battle of Balquhidder; Rob Roy’s son; family ‘45 stories. Fergusons of Gartnafuaran where he interviewed both • Gaelic anecdotes (Jimmy ‘Muirlaggan’) the parents and the grandparents (Robert and Grace) • Music – Jimmy ‘Muirlaggan’ Fergusson – who among of Allan Ferguson – who left the area with his wife, son his many talents was also an energetic fiddle player and grandchildren in the early 1990s to move to the played him some well known tunes – including An t-Eilean Muileach -the Isle of Mull. • Local Placenames - Jimmy was also recorded giving the correct pronounciation for some local place names: • Social history - The most interesting informant on this topic was Allan Ferguson’s father (also Allan) who at Strathyre had a keen eye for the changes that were going Main Street on around him. Strathyre Near Callander FK18 8NA 01877 384275

village shop

CTN & Groceries Calum Maclean recording Angus MacMillan in 1947


A Maighdean Bhuana - The Harvest Maiden During the 1950s each farm’s pair of workhorses were being replaced by tractors, reapers and binders. This meant that the old rituals were fast disappearing. Calum MacLean was interested in tracking the custom of ‘a’ Mhaighdean Bhuana’ - the ‘harvest maiden’ which he had often come across in Argyll and other parts of the Gàidhealtachd. He found that all three of his Balquhidder families knew the ritual and it was still being practised at Muirlaggan. GF: (Gartnafuaran) The last sheaf that was cut was brought in and dressed up in a pleat or dressed in something fancy and was hung up on the wall and kept there until the New Year’s day when it was given to the mare. They made a doll with fancy papers and any colour of ribbon. We always had it …. We used to always have the Maiden – up to less than ten years ago. The youngest person would cut it. Usually it would be oats. AD (Tulloch) told Calum MacLean that his family followed the ritual up to a year or two ago- ‘or maybe four/five years ago as long as we had horses’ – but it died out with the tractor and binder. And that ‘it was supposed to be the oldest person on the field cut it and the youngest one tied it up.’ It was kept until February on the wall in the form of a cross and then taken out for the first ploughing and shared as a treat between the two work horses. JF (Muirlaggan) In 1958 Jimmy was the only one who was still working with horses and still followed the ceremony. His nephew Iain Fergusson recounted recently that when he stayed there in 1963 the two work horses Winnie and Jess were still there and in use. Jimmy explained further: JF: It was the old custom when it came to the cutting of the corn that the last sheaf should be cut by the youngest member of the family. This year on my farm the last sheaf was cut with the scythe by my youngest daughter. That is what you call a’ Mhaighdean. It will be taken home, it will be dressed as a’ Mhaighdean, and given to the horses on the first day they came out to plough in the spring. Divided between the two horses for good luck for the next year.

An elaborated Mhaighdean - made with oats. Note the ribbon

GF: Oh yes. CM: And were there any houses that didn’t give you anything? GF: Oh well, there wasn’t that. They always got apples or nuts or something. CM: Then did you try to tell the future on Halloween: who would marry and who wouldn’t? GF: Yes we did. They pulled the stalks out of the garden, the kale stalks, and stuck them in the window or the gate somewhere. Good luck. The kale stalks a crooked one or a straight one. They pulled this stalk and put it either in your gate or your window. It was some business getting the stalk in the dark - there was not much light anywhere. They generally fell over everything I think. EF: Then there was the three plates: a sooty colour plate, and an empty one and another plate. I suppose this was who you were going to get married to, or get married or never get married at all. CM: Was there any other way of getting married did you know? GF: Oh yes. They put the nuts in the fire, and they put two together, and if they cracked that was alright but if they never went off there was no wedding for those two. And then if one flew out and other stayed in you were jilted. Great fun!

Other Customs It was the Gartnafuaran womenfolk who were able to tell more about the old customs - those of Old Halloe’en in particular. CM: You were talking about Old Hallo’een then. GF: Yes, Hallo’ een, the 11th November was always kept. We always dressed up and went out guising from door to door. We had a big bonfire up on the hill or in the park. With sticks and brackens and all the old stuff. They all were dressed up and went up and lighted this bonfire and danced round about, and had great fun. And then they came down and went round guising the houses. CM: You got something in each house did you?


Haymaking at Torrin Skye, 1960

Balquhidder Stories The two best known local stories (that all the informants knew.) were the story of the ‘Battle of Balquhidder’, MacLarens vs Buchanans - and the story of Rob Roy helping the poor widow. The Battle of Balquhidder CM: You were talking about the MacGregors and some fight you heard the old people talk about. AF: It was a thing that happened maybe not that awful long ago. I forget what date it was. A young MacLaren had been down Callander way and a Buchanan had struck him with a fish. And he said to the Buchanans: “You would’na do that to me the day of the fair of Balquhidder.” But he never told his clansmen back home what he had said and so the MacLarens were taken by surprise when the following year the Buchanans came armed to the St Angus Fair. (This was the annual Balquhidder fair). And the battle started at Tom Ban - the smiddy stood there - they were being worsted - that is the MacLarens by the Buchanans - with them no being prepared - and they were driven back. It would be half a mile they were driven back there. They asked the MacGregors who were looking on to help them. There was one Buchanan got away and he was making up the meadow to the hill road and two MacGregors were after him and they got him up on that mound (he points) that day. And none of the Buchanans went home that day. They died in the river at Linn nan Seiceachan (The Pool of the Hides). And there must have been MacGregors connected with this glen, and latterly they were the stronger. (LM Note: This battle was said to have happened in the 15th century – ie according to the MacLarens the presence of the MacGregors would have been a later embellishment.) Jimmy Fergusson of Muirlaggan tells the same story – in Gaelic. The Buchanans (Na Cananaich) came over when the MacLarens (Clann Mhic Labhrainn) lived here. The Buchanans were winning but the MacLarens called in the MacGregors. (Na Grigorich) Oh it was a terrible battle. The pool in the Balvaig – Linn nan Seiceachean was red with blood - dearg le fuil. After this the MacGregors were allowed to enter the church on Sunday at the same time as the MacLarens instead of giving them precedence. LM Note: This battle was said to have happened in the late fifteenth century so, according to the MacLaren historians the presence of the MacGregors was a later embellishment. However it is agreed that Stronslaney (from the Gaelic Sròn-Lenac - the Leny man’s Point) is named after the Buchanan who died there escaping from this Battle. Archie MacDiarmaid: – who was not brought up in Balquhidder - knows the story less well. CM asks him ” Were there any stories about Rob Roy or the MacGregors or the different clans, did you hear any

stories about that? About fights between the different clans?” AM: There have been but I’m not too well versed on them. There was a battle down below Kirkton at one time. Rob Roy and the Old Widow When asked, Jimmy Fergusson says he does not know any Rob Roy stories. However both Allan Ferguson of Gartnafuaran and Archie MacDiarmaid of Tulloch give versions of this popular Rob Roy story. Allan Ferguson: There was one I liked, about an old lady that was up the glen and she was gey down in spirits and he asked what was wrong. “They’ll be coming for the rent tomorrow.” He said, “Don’t worry - I have it for you here.” She did’na want to take it but he gave it to her. These are the stories that the old people talked about. He was a fine chap after all. He had some sense of justice. Archie MacDiarmaid: CM: Yes - and was this Rob Roy? Was this an old woman he went to see? AM: Yes, this was an old woman, a widow, and she was living in a smallholding in Balquhidder here. And she had no money for her rent. So she met Rob Roy and, “Oh,” he said, “Yes I’ll be very pleased to help you.” And they gave her the money for her rent. The factor came round from Breadalbane and collected the rent, and maybe a party with him guarding him, and went away. Rob Roy and a party of his followers were waiting down the road for him and waylaid him and attacked him and took all the rent money off him and then let him go. Rob Roy came back and he handed it over: “There now Mrs, there’s your rent back again,” and she thanked him very much. That’s how I heard the story.

Jimmy Muirlaggan’s Gaelic stories Jimmy ‘Muirlaggan’ Fergusson was the only one able to converse with Calum Maclean in Gaelic – which both of them enjoyed immensely. Calum after all was used to finding fluent Gaelic speakers wherever he went – and, Gaelic was his mother tongue. Interestingly they both


call stories ‘naidheachd’ which nowadays would mean ‘news’. So he asked him questions from shared Gaelic cultural heritage. Some of it was familiar to Jimmy and some wasn’t. Jimmy had no Rob Roy stories and he had never heard of witches stealing the ‘toradh’ of the milk. He know about the second sight / An dà shealladh – but did not have a story about it. Though he did have a story about a light being seen on the loch at night: JM: The brother of my grandfather – in this house here – he saw a light on the loch out there. He said: “Something is going to happen,” and what happened was someone died. Jimmy enjoyed stories about people getting frightened in the dark and stories about poaching. He told a story about a gamekeeper and some boys after salmon and another story about a strong man who caught and killed a deer with his bare hands and a ghost story where the ghost turns out to be a white cow. CM: Did you ever hear a story about a bòcan? (LM note: A bòcan being a kind of unpredictable, mischievous spirit.) JF: Oh yes, there were two boys who were coming home one night from Strathyre. They weren’t so knowledgeable about the place. They came to this huge rock and one of them said, “This is Clach a’ Bhodach - The Stone of the Old Man -– and just as he said that a man jumped out from behind the rock! They were terrified! They made for home as fast as they possibly could. (Jimmy is talking about the huge boulder fifty yards east of Garnafuaran – now in the garden of Woodend) Clach a’ Bhodach – The Stone of the Old Man – 50 yards East of Gartnafuaran Jimmy also gives Calum the local Gaelic names and their pronounciation: Bo Chuidir for Balquhidder, Strath Eadhair for Strathyre and Ceann Loch Éire for Lochearnhead; Stronslaney (Stress on lan); Muirlaggan (stress on muir).

Memories of Historical Events These reminiscences give a wonderful feeling of nearness to the historical events : Rob Roy; the drovers and the fairs, before the train came and while there was the train, and even back to the effects of the 1745 uprising. Calum himself was acutely aware what a tragedy the defeat was for the Highlands leading as it did to the Anglicisation of the Highland chiefs and ultimately to mass emigration. The Fergusons of Gartnafuaran were the best informants in this area -especially the grandparents Robert and Grace whose memories went back the furthest. Rob Roy’s son CM: You were saying that your grandfather saw Rob Roy’s son? RF: Yes. He was on horseback coming down from Invernenty – the Brae at Inverlochlarig. He held his horse for him. But where he was going I don’t know of course.


CM: And what colour of horse was it? RF: It was grey. (Others agree.) Walking – and the Fairs CM: And you said your Grandfather used to walk to the fairs. RF: He used to go to the fairs, yes, and he used to walk to Edinburgh to see a friend there. He would stay there for a day or two there and then came back. CM: Did you say they went to Bannockburn, did they? RF: Yes they went to Bannockburn for coal. CM: And that would be with the horse and cart? RF: Oh yes. It was a long road. But they had no railway of course then. CM: Do you remember them talking about hiring fairs where they used to hire the servants. RF: There used to be a fair at Doune. Fèill Mart they called it. CM: And was that a hiring fair? RF: Yes and they sold sheep and cattle too. They came from away, from the Islands. CM: Do you remember going yourself? RF: I was once there. I think it was about the last fair that was there. CM: And did you walk there. RF: No, of course the train was on then. We got the train to Doune. Oh, it wasn’t on such a big scale then. CM: There was no servants being hired then? RF: Maybe a few. They just stood about and people came for them. I never heard about them having straws in their mouths. CM: When your Grandfather went down for coal or to the fairs what way did they go? RF: They went by Callander, through Strathyre, and then by Doune I expect and by Stirling or either by Dunblane or Blair Drummond. CM: I suppose that’s the way the droves would have gone too from here to Falkirk sales. Down through the Pass of Leny. GF: They kept their cattle all night at Kingshouse for the going to the fair you see. Just a night to rest on their road to the fair you see. Because they were coming from far up the way. CM: Do you remember droves passing? GF: No, but I heard them talking about it. Jacobite stories CM: How was this in the ‘45? GF: They were down in Laggan and he was out for the ‘45 and the soldiers came in to take him away. So he asked leave to go into the next room and put on a clean shirt. And he opened the window and he got up the hill. And they waited and they waited but nobody came. At last they looked and he was gone. His wife brought food up to him every night. And he got away, they never got him. CM: Very good. So where was the farm? GF: Down at Laggan in Strathyre. CM: That is where your people were then? So they must have been out in the ‘45? GF: Yes CM: Very good. GF: My great grandmother was in the Old Church up there. Two soldiers came in and the Minister noticed them and he prayed for ‘our rightful king’ but he didn’t name anyone. So they went out.

Memories of Social Changes Forestry had first come into the area with the Carnegie ‘Lairds’ of Stronvar (1849). During and after the 2nd WW forestry became much more important in the area. The Stronvar Estate contributed to the ‘war effort’ with two years of felling at the Bealach plantation. The Forestry Commission was also very active in the area– with a nursery and hostels for the ‘timber gills’ and for volunteers and prisoners of war at Strathyre. There was a lot of new planting – and also felling around the Balvaig. It is interesting for us now to hear Allan Ferguson (father of ‘our’ Allan Ferguson) when he talks about the social changes he had lived through. Dwindling Population in Balquhidder C.M. Probably when you were young or your father’s people were young there’d be a lot more people living in the glen, more farmers, crofters. AF: A big lot. They’re making out with the forestry there that they’re helping things but - the car that was in for the school when I was there was to seat say 65. But anyhow there was 70 and over for a bit when I was in school and it came down to very few, and, with all their forestry, it’s only about 30 or something the now. It was much more when there were folks on crofts and that. (LM note: Although the 1886 Crofting Act gave secure status to crofters in eight Highland counties Perthshire crofters were excluded from this protection.) Destruction of Hill Dykes for Forestry CM: You were saying something about, remember, a hill dyke on the face of that hill there at one time, and that would be about sixty years ago was it, probably more. AF: That was when they were putting the tatties there about 60 years ago. But the hill dykes would be downed about 100 years ago when that laird came there because he put them completely to the ground – the ones that were in his sight – and others he planted trees right across them. It was more sport he was into than anything to do with agriculture. The End of Agriculture CM: And I wonder if many of the crofters were put out of their crofts? Or evicted or like that? AF: Not much in my time. Before that they had to suffer. CM: The old people would tell about it. AF: Yes, yes, they did suffer, and often I think it was more the factor to blame than the Laird, getting wrong stories. CM: A lot more land was cultivated than now. AF: Oh, it was cultivated in every corner. And now it’s desolate, and it was much cheerier when the folks were in agriculture. This forestry, they’re apart from agriculture, they don’t join in the same with the others, and their interests are away from here, they’re just there for wages as you would say, most of them they’re just coming and going . Draining the River CM: You’re suffering badly from the flooding here you

Remnants of old dykes at Muirlaggan 2017

were saying in the olden days they used to drain the river. AF: Yes, well I think that stopped when the Laird got into power and tenants , some of them, were shifting at that time. An awful lot went away from here at that time. And all that was let go and now it’s a difficult thing. Fines for not working for the Laird CM: But you were saying something about them having to pay half a crown if they didn’t turn up (to work for the Laird). AF: Yes, they said it was like that at one time. Those that did’na turn up had half a crown to pay – the price of a bottle of whisky at that time – that was more the fine.

Leaving Balquhidder

In Calum’s own words (as recorded by himself ) : “On leaving Jimmy, Morag and I walked down by the side of Loch Voil, down until I came to the bridge and I carried on then down in the direction of Stronslaney. I hadn’t gone far when I noticed a strange circular wooden building with a thick covering of thatch - it had a sort of bell roof. I wondered what it was, but I carried on towards Stronslaney. It was a very long distance. I passed one farm and then another and finally came to a big farm and discovered that this was not the place I wanted -it was further on. I went on and I finally saw the house. And I saw two men working down the field. I thought first I should go to the house but I decided to go down to the field. I then went down to the field and found two men, the son, MacIntyre, and the old father. I spoke to the son first and then I spoke in Gaelic to the old man. He understood me even though he was rather deaf. I told him what I wanted and I gave a dram, I gave both of


them a dram. The old man then went away but I caught up with him and the son followed with his tractor. The old man had stories - that story about the fight between the Buchanans and the MacLarens he told me much as his nephew Jimmy of Muirlaggan had. Jimmy of Muirlaggan was his sister’s son. He also told me that on the site of one of the steadings, there stood during the ’45 a bakery used by the Hanoverian troops. He has some material this man. The son sent me across the river in a sort of boat with an endless chain - a punt. I walked back to the Hotel. I was too tired to go anywhere else. So, that ends my first day in Balquhidder, the Fourth of September 1958.” After Balquhidder Calum carried on towards Glen Lyon where he recorded Perthshire Gaelic speaker James MacLaurin. He was soon back in the Western Isles where he carried on working almost right up until his death in Daliburgh Cotttage Hospital in 1960 at the early age of 44 years.

The Small Man with the Big Heart Fear beag le Chridhe Mhòir Elegy for my lost brother Tha iomadh duine bochd an Albainn dhan tug thu togail agus cliù; ‘s ann a thog thu ‘n t-iriosail a chuir ar linn air chùl. Thug iad dhutsa barrachd na bheireadh iad do chàch on thug thu dhaibh an dùrachd bu ghrìosaich fo do bhàigh. Mhothaich iadsan an dealas a bha socair na do dhòigh, thuig iad doimhne throm do dhaondachd nuair b’aotroime do spòrs. There is many a poor man in Scotland Whose spirit and name you raised; You lifted the humble Whom our age put aside. They gave you more Than they would give the others Since you gave them the zeal. That was a fire beneath your kindness They sensed the vehemence That was gentle in your ways, They understood the heavy depths of your humanity When your fun was at its lightest. Sorley MacLean The Braes, Portree, 1960 For more information and sources see:


Calum left Balquhidder on this ferry (photo 2017)

Calum MacLean interviewing Charlie Douglas 1956

The Highlands Calum Iain MacLean 1959 Permission to publish these recordings here gratefully received from the School of Scottish Studies Archives

A Gaelic Topography of Balquhidder Parish £2.50

A brief guide and history of Balquhidder Church £2.00


Gifts & Souvenirs of Balquhidder Church


By Post: Rosphilda Crafts, Tannoch Taigh, Balquhidder, Perthshire FK19 8PB or Enquire/Order by email Telephone 01877 384359


Description of Item


Postage and Packing (£1 only for a postcard)




Total Payable

I wish to pay by PayPal / Cheque / Postal Order

(Please make cheques payable to ROSPHILDA CRAFTS)

My email address: ...........................................................................................

Name...............................................................................................................................Telephone No:...................................................................................... Address:.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Update on the Dissolution of the Friends Firstly, thank you to all members who completed the questionnaires which were included in the last Belfry magazine. We had replies from all around the globe all kindly agreeing to the change in the final clause of the original Constitution & then the Dissolution of the Friends after which we will become a project within Balquhidder Parish Church. We promised to keep you informed of the progress and we are pleased to be able to tell you that the first part has been accepted by the Scottish Charity Regulator ( OSCR) - and we have just heard that they have also agreed to the Dissolution in January. While we were waiting for the final decision from OSCR we have opened a new account within the church to collect the subscriptions. The reason we opened it early was so that those who pay by bankers order can be sorted before the beginning of January when the next subscriptions are due. I am hoping to include the new mandates with this magazine. Please could you complete these as soon as possible & send them directly to your bank. You will note that it says ‘ this supersedes all existing standing orders’ so your bank should automatically cancel your old one. If for any reason you haven’t received a mandate by the middle of December can you please contact me - my details are on the back page. Perhaps you would like to pay by bankers order in the future? If so please contact me and I will send you a bankers order form. Rosemary Whittemore Membership Secretary


The Belfry is published twice yearly by The Friends of Balquhidder Church Association Chairman Rev Dr Russel Moffat

The Manse, Main Street, Killin FK21 8TN

Vice Chairman Pauline Perkins & Treasurer

1 Auchtubh, Balquhidder FK19 8NZ

Membership Rosemary Whittemore Secretary Editor Gill Waugh

Tannoch Taigh, Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384359 rosemary.whittemore@yahoo. Stronvar Farm, Balquhidder FK19 8PB

The Friends of Balquhidder Church Association is a Registered Charity - No. SC008569



The Clachan has been here for a long time, tending to travellers and residents alike and is now the largest hotel in the area, boasting deluxe bedrooms and amazing loch view rooms. Winter is coming - so when the evenings get chilly, snuggle up in front of our blazing log burner... Try our ‘smoked venison with grilled wild mushrooms’ accompanied by one of our 20 trendy gins. Sample our fresh scallops from Loch Broome - and finish off with an old favourite: home made sticky toffee pudding, smothered with butterscotch sauce. Hotel residents can take advantage of our free bikes or canoes to really explore the surrounding countryside. This gives our overseas visitors the chance to see Cycle Route 7 without the hassle of travelling with bikes. Weddings and small functions are hosted by the Clachan. Our stunning setting provides the perfect backdrop for those all important videos or photos.

Clachan Cottage Hotel • Lochside, Lochearnhead • Perthshire FK19 8PU • 01567 830300

Profile for LETI Group

The Belfry Winter 2018  

In this issue, thanks to Leslie MacKenzie, we have a fascinating piece concerning the many recordings of Calum Maclean, who, in the 1940s an...

The Belfry Winter 2018  

In this issue, thanks to Leslie MacKenzie, we have a fascinating piece concerning the many recordings of Calum Maclean, who, in the 1940s an...