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The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

Perthshire Open Studios with Balquhidder’s Veronika Verden-Anderson

‘I like my painting to be a form of communication and language in itself. I want my work to resonate with the viewer on the primal and intuitive level. Good painting does not need endless explanation. My influences are organic, spontaneous and primitive art. Let the work speak for itself.’ Veronika Verden-Anderson

Veronika worked in collaboration with Edward Chadfield who sculpted the crocodile, snakes, seats and totem poles. Edward’s own collection of fine woodwork was also exhibited.

Perthshire Open Studios is a unique opportunity for both established and emerging creative individuals. This year POS had over 180 artists exhibiting in 122 venues across Perthshire between the 3rd and 11th September.

................................................. Edward Chadfield’s wooden bowls

EDITOR’S (farewell) NOTE

g g g g g WANTED - URGENT! g g g g g Volunteer to collect and distribute The Villagers Our newspaper is printed by the Graphics and Print Department at Stirling University and approx. 600 copies have to be collected, sorted and distributed each month (except January!). There are 8 outlets (hotels, village shops and the

The new editor is still in New Zealand enjoying the southern Spring and you can read all about it (and the rugby) in the blog which she and David have been sending in over the last month. Back here the swallows have flown, the stags are roaring and the wild geese will arrive any day so it’s safe to say we are already ‘enjoying’ the northern Autumn. My little granddaughter Zoe is discovering new and exciting things in the woods and as this is my last Editor’s Note I make no apology for including her. I shall still be around in the back room for a while to help out and will still be available on e-mail but this is my formal Goodbye and a huge Thank You to everyone for all the fun and friendship over many years with the newspaper. I am firmly convinced that community newspapers continue to occupy a relevant place in our society and serve their readership well and I wish The Villagers all success in the future. Marguerite Kobs



The following readings were taken at ‘Bramblings’, Auchtubh, Balquhidder for the month of August. Average max. temp. Actual max. temp. Average min. temp. Actual min. temp.

16.8 ºC 19.2 8.9 4.7

62.2 ºF 66.5 48.0 40.5

Rainfall: 16.5 cms 46.6 ins Strongest wind gust 25 mph on 23 August 2

Post Office) which receive copies each month throughout the year and an additional 4 places (caravan parks and the tearoom) to be given copies through the summer season. The volunteer will also be required to collect the money from the honesty boxes and remove unsold copies in the various places. Help will be available for sorting the newspapers into bundles prior to distribution and the work takes approx. two half days near the start of each month. (We aim to be on sale on the first Friday of the month.)

Anyone willing to help please contact the Business Manager on 01877 384664

Gail & Adrian’s Big Day On a wet and windy Saturday in early September, the rain

stopped and the sun came out just long enough to bless the crucial outdoor moments of Gail Coulter’s and Adrian Squires’ wedding at Balquhidder Church. Guests arrived as Balquhidder’s own piper, Kieran McNicol played airs on the church steps. After the service everyone repaired to the village hall for the wedding breakfast, music and dancing. Mr and Mrs Squires led the dancing in fine style to the accompaniment of Kieran McNicol local musicians playing ‘Annie’s Song’. It was a truly wonderful day! We wish Adrian and Gail every happiness for a great life together. Photos by Richard Harris

Mr & Mrs Squires!

The St Fillans Bit Great excitement in August when St Fillans Golf Club received a visit (impromptu) from our First Minister Alex Salmond. Alex enjoyed a round, then autographed a flag which will be auctioned for club funds. I gather there is no truth in the story that two golfers found what looked like an ostrich egg in the 2nd hole but on investigation found it to be wee Eck who had slipped and fallen into the hole. Joking apart, a visit from the top man can’t do the club any harm.

Alex Salmond with Fraser Ballantyne at St Fillans Golf Club

A timely notice from our local PC Sarah Jane highlights the ever increasing number of scams on the go. Many of them look so professional that it is hard to tell if they are real promotions or scams. As she points out – if you haven’t entered a competition you certainly haven’t won a prize. Any organisation looking for a ‘processing fee’ before releasing your amazing prize is certainly bent. Her advice is not to respond in any way since you then are then on a computerised ‘suckers list’. If you think you are a victim of such a scam then phone 0300 111 222. SJ also mentions a recent theft of two mountain bikes from St Fillans and Braco – along with sightings of a white van at the same time. She asks that anyone seeing anything out of the usual should contact the Police. Probably quite innocent – but you never know. It’s worth having your bikes etc chipped so that if they are found you’ll at least get them back. Just to prove that we are a village of multi-talents, you’ll find on this page three novice fishermen, calling themselves The Piscatorials (lead by Dave Pryde), who tried their hands at fly fishing near Invergordon with remarkable success. However if you look closely you’ll see the sign for the local fish merchant….. Whilst these fine athletes stood in freezing water

their other halves visited Glenmorangie distillery. Shows that only half the world is mad! On Friday 14 October Johnston Brown and Dave Pryde are organising another Village Quiz in the Hall to raise funds for Hall Maintenance. I doubt if many folk realise the ongoing costs of running an old building like the hall. The whole floor has been sanded down this month and given three coats of floor finish – a massive job in itself. The quiz be along the lines of last year’s with entry at £10 a head including food and prizes. There will be a raffle and the boys welcome any donation of prizes for that. Whilst talking about The Hall we will be holding the usual Hogmanay Gathering there this year, starting at 10.00 pm. Same rules – bring your own drink and nibbles, we’ll provide the music and glasses etc. The only difference this year is that we will be selling tickets at £5 a head before the event. The reason for this is so that we have an exact number of folk coming along plus all proceeds will go to Hall funds (at the moment the plan is to replace the three rotten, draughty windows on the south wall. Please contact me or Daisy (685487 or for tickets – but beware, once 100 are sold, that’s it! Overleaf you’ll see photos of the intrepid biker chicks (Jan & Lorna) who won the auction for a day out on a Harley Davidson. (Continued overleaf)

The Piscatorials 3

(Continued from previous page)

Jim and Graham piloted the bikes and, I’m assured, went out of their way not to scare the girls, which they obviously achieved as I’ve seldom seen four happier bikers than our wee team when they returned to St Fillans. Lunch was enjoyed in Dunkeld and Jim’s wife followed in a car – not in case a bike broke down but in case either of the ladies took a wobble. Her services were not required - but thanks Margo. On Saturday 5 November our annual Bonfire & Fireworks will be held in the field behind the Drummond – kick off 6.30 pm. The organisers welcome contributions of suitable combustible material – old fences, pallets and garden waste – but PLEASE, no old sofas or beds or anything else containing metal framework - it doesn’t burn and it’s a nightmare to get rid of after the fire. Entry is free, and free hot dogs, mulled wine and soft drinks will be provided – there will, however, be a bucket collection to keep village funds in balance. The usual request not to bring your own fireworks applies. Now over to Sophie:

Living the Dream... and born to be wild! Jan and Lorna show how it’s done with pilots Graham and Jim

Sophie’s Bit...............


Guess what? I was in the Co-op with my mum and they had Christmas Stuff out on display!!!. In my eyes that means it’s early Christmas. Hurray. Before that it’s going to be The St Fillans Bonfire night. It will be a lot of fun and let’s hope it doesn’t rain. I hope everyone comes along and enjoys it. They have already started building the bonfire. It’s going to be huge. Can everyone remember to look after their pets. We get special medicine from the vet for our dogs because they hate the noise of the fireworks. Our neighbour’s cat Jessie had a runin with Gnasher, Gnipper and Hintza, my Grampa’s dog. Jessie is just a kitten but she won the fight. All the dogs came home injured. She is the most fearless cat I know!!

A few adjustments...

The Village Store

Sophie x The orange and black vertical stripes on the moggie might be a clue... (plus her South African passport)... JM

St Fillans

... all sorted!

Finally our usual update from the Four Seasons. From 11 - 17 October it’s National Chocolate Week and the menu is being supplemented with a Chocolate inspired menu. Just what us tiny 19-stoners need! Next Wine Tasting Evening is on 18 November, always a good night with fantastic food to complement the wines. Residents welcome and taxi home offered - to be safe. Peter the chef asks me to mention that in Autumn and Winter he will be using more local game on the menu – so (his words) “if you’re game we’re gamey”. And I thought my puns were dodgy! John Murray 4

Newsagent • Off-licence • Top-ups Tobacco • Groceries • Gifts Hot Pies to take away Hardware • Oil • Fishing Tackle & Permits Café • Dunfillan Coffee Soup • Toasties • Baking • Packed Lunches OPENING HOURS:

7.00am - 5.30pm every day Late opening (Fri/Sat/Sun) till 7.00pm

01764 685309

Strathyre News Channel Swim! Question: Have you ever thought about swimming the Channel? Answer: NO WAY!! At least not in my case. However I was contacted by Janet and Emma Richards from Immervoulin Caravan Park and informed that they were planning to do just that. With curiosity killing me, I JUST HAD to go and interview the girls and find out what this was all about. It turns out that they (very wisely) will not be swimming the actual English Channel but will in fact be swimming the same distance as the Channel which is a mind blowing TWENTY TWO MILES, in the relative safety and comfort of the pool at McLaren Leisure Centre in Callander. Let me explain. Both girls go swimming almost daily just for the exercise and a bit of fun - but decided, why not put this to good use and do something for charity? They saw a poster in the Centre, which was displayed nationwide, so decided to take up the challenge. Going by what they have told me this is not for the faint hearted. They are in constant training for this and swim 80 lengths each day, which is equal to one mile. To complete this challenge they will need to do an incredible 1770 LENGTHS of the pool, the distance deemed to cover the channel. Now that is some swim! Obviously not something anyone could do in one go. So the organisers have decided to spread the challenge over a twelve-week period or less if they can. They will take to the water on 12 September - so by the time you read this they will be well under way. The charity they support and the one which set up the challenge, is ASPIRE, a charity that works with people with spinal cord injury in order to create Opportunity, Choice and Independence. Their national services and programmes include: adapted housing for people leaving hospital if houses aren’t yet accessible, specialist computer equipment, independent living advisors (who provide direct support and advice for people recently injured) and the Human Needs Fund which sponsors specialist equipment.

Emma and Janet, going for ‘The Channel’!

ASPIRE ensures that everyone with a spinal cord injury has the opportunity to live an independent and fulfilled life. Fundraising is now underway and if you would like to donate to this very worthwhile cause there are several ways in which to do so: • There is a donation box in the Village Shop and at the park. • Sponsor forms are also available in the Shop, The Inn & Bistro and at the park. • If you wish you could also phone Janet or Emma on 01877 384285 and pledge a donation or go to www.Justgiving. com and type in Janet Richards under FRIENDS. Then click on Janet and Emma’s Channel Swim. If you would like to check the girls’ progress you can go onto Facebook and view Janet’s blogs. Good luck, girls - we are all rooting for you. (Pictured are the girls in training).

not in great detail, it is a relatively simple operation, which harnesses power through a natural water supply from the hills above Laggan. Water is piped down the hill from the intake weirs to the turbine house. The turbine house will contain the turbine, generator and control system. After passing through the turbine, the water will be returned to the burn from which it was extracted before entering the Loch. All the pipe work is underground except where it enters the turbine house so over a short period of time all the groundwork will blend back into the natural landscape. All the civil works are now complete and the equipment is due shortly. If all goes to plan they should be up and running before the end of the year. Fingers crossed. Strathyre going Green Rosanne and Ged McWilliams have taken steps to create a greener environment in their home Cherrystone House by installing solar panels on both sides of the roof. These are now producing part of the electricity they require and Rosanne asked me to pass on some details for other interested villagers.

Local Hydro Scheme Jan and I were invited over to Laggan Farm recently by Peter and Anna Gina to view the progress of their ongoing venture which is installing their own Hydro-Electric Scheme, and what a fascinating feature it is. As the photographs show, although Cherrystone House

The weir, and below, pipework in progress!

First go online to the Energy Saving Trust for information about funding in the Stirling area. Interest-free loans may be available, repayable over 8 years. A local accredited installer is to hand – Ewen Todd, who runs Stirling Stove Centre, says the installation at Cherrystone House was a first for his company and is a great success. Contact him on 01786 440028 or online at Give Rosanne a ring on 01877 384728 for advice too. Still on the ‘Green Trail’ and in her position on SVA, Rosanne is pursuing a future hydro scheme for Strathyre. A site has been chosen and feedback is required. I will keep you posted - but please attend village meetings to find out more and to have your say. (Continued overleaf) 5

Strathyre News (Continued from previous page)

Well done to Laura and Emma for raising a magnificent total!

Angus celebrates Would you believe that Angus Todd is now one year old... where does the time go? Angus celebrated his First Birthday party at home with his mum and dad, big sister Abigail and grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and family friends on Saturday 17 September and what a lovely day it was. Pictured above are Abigail and Angus (having a cuddle) with other partygoers.

Walking the Way I reported in last month’s edition that Laura and Emma were attempting to walk the West Highland Way to raise funds for the March Glen Care Centre, well I can now report that they successfully completed what was a very gruelling task fraught with some unpleasant experiences and raised the fantastic sum of £2042.30. Well done to both these brave young ladies on a splendid effort which, I am sure, will be of great benefit to their charity.

Footnote What a fascinating scenario modern technology is! On one hand we have Cherrystone House harnessing power from an object which, if my memory serves me correctly, is 93 million miles away from the Earth, which we all know as the “Sun”, and Laggan Farm House which is harnessing power from the water provided by Mother Nature from the ‘back garden’, albeit a rather large back garden, but the outcome is the same, Green Electric Power. Wonderful!! Photos and articles by Wullie D.

Eyes down... for

Balquhidder Bingo on 28 0ctober

at Balquhidder Village Hall from 6.00-9.00pm All ages welcome.

Tickets available from: Alan Sneddon, Mike Lee, Andrew Leishman or Abbey Arkotxa. Price not yet confirmed but will include a light buffet. All proceeds go to the Village Hall fund.


Killin Community Choir

is giving a concert on 28 October at 7.00pm in the Church of Scotland, followed by a Harvest Supper in the Lesser McLaren Hall at about 8.00pm. Ticket prices are yet to be confirmed but will be available as a combined price for concert and supper (possibly £12.00) or for the concert alone (possibly £4.00) School children will probably be allowed into the concert for free. 6

Diary of a Rugby Tourist

Top: Crossing Arthur’s Pass; Left: Stirling Falls

by David Johnston

1 Sept. - On our way to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup we have stopped off in Sydney to see our grandson and budding rugby pundit, Thomas. The attached photo shows him reclining with a saltire, contemplating form. However, he would only giggle when asked about Scotland’s chances. He will more than likely turn out to follow the Wallabies! 2 Sept. - Thomas decided that it would be good to watch the Wallabies train, so we walked down to the beach at Coogee and the nearby Randwick Rugby Club, but we were too late and they were just leaving the ground. Randwick was of course the home club of David Campasie, a famous Wallabie. Scotland are in Brisbane, also recovering from the jet lag in Oz. 4 Sept. - Have now flown to Queenstown for a bit of adventure before the games begin. Ireland are in town seeking thrills as well, jet boating and bungee jumping, as well as doing a little bit of training. The TV is full of rugby news and speculation of the All Blacks’ chances of finally winning again. 43% apparently, whatever that means! 5 Sept. - Tonga arrived in Auckland and their supporters turn out in full bringing the traffic around the airport to a standstill. Tonga play the All Blacks in the opening game so much is made of their arrival. 5/6 Sept. - England arrive to a muted reception, followed by Australia who slip in almost unannounced. As the opening game approaches there are still tickets for games and the corporate packages are being discounted. There is some talk of the tournament making a loss. 7/8 Sept. - While we are cruising Milford Sound overnight, Scotland are the last team to arrive. Invercargill turns out in force to welcome them with bagpipes and a haka. The team are stunned, according to the headlines. On board there are supporters from Wales, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand and we are all looking for Scotland and Argentina to beat England in the Pool Games. There is only one more ‘sleep’ until the opening game and we are off to Invercargill to joint the other Scots in the morning. More news from there. 9 Sept. am - It all starts today and the headlines are all about the rugby. The All Blacks set to win the cup. Shock - England to play expansive game, Kelly Brown shows off field talent with rendition of the Dougie McLean song - Caledonia. It is a fabulous day in Te Anua, the lake is blue and the distant mountains white with snow. Thinking back to yesterday morning on Milford Sound; the overnight rain had added volume to the waterfalls, in particular Stirling Falls, photo attached. Average rainfall there is 2m a year so we are quite lucky in Scotland. 9 Sept. pm - Having arrived in Invercargill we checked into our accommodation and took a wander into town to check out the best pubs and restaurants from which to watch the opening ceremony and game. Waxy O’Shea’s, an Irish pub

turned Scottish bar for the duration, won the vote for tonight. Met Max Evans (winger) there having some lunch. Stopped in the street by a lone BBC Scotland reporter with camera looking to interview fans. Couldn’t resist, so may be on the telly at home but he will probably find someone more interesting. The welcome here has been amazing with cars hooting horns and folk waving at anyone wearing Scottish colours. The TV warm-up has started, so off to the pub. 10 Sept. - Magnificant opening ceremony last night was a great start to the tournament. Great on the TV but would have been better in Auckland. The All Blacks had a great first half with the back three combining to score 4 tries but Tonga came back at them in the second half and although they won by a comfortable score the performance was too full of errors to please the local press and coach Graham Henry who only gave their performance 5 out of 10 and asked if that was a pass. Scotland’s turn today and supporters are gathering at Waxy O’Shea’s to march to the ground with a local piper. The papers reckon that Scotland are clear favourites so we are off to join the fun and see. 11 Sept. - We drove up to Dunedin this morning to stay with my cousin and watch some more rugby. My cousin is an All Black supporter but her husband is a jersey-wearing England supporter so it will be fun. Looking back on all of the games yesterday the best that can be said for Scotland is that they won and the bonus point will put them at the top of their group for now. A great first 10 mins offered lots of promise but for the next 60 mins they let Romania dominate. Thankfully a good last 10 mins secured the win. The best part of the day was the supporters’ march to the game, with piper and mad blue-painted local. (Photo attached) England scraped a win in the last match of the day but Argentina were hurt by injuries to key players. As we have to play both of these teams in the group Scotland will have to improve and be more consistent in order to progress. 15 Sept. - We left Dunedin this morning and drove up to Christchurch. Long straight roads with little traffic until you reach Christchurch. Although it has been a year since the earthquake there hasn’t been any significant rebuilding. The city centre is completely blocked off and many buildings have still to be demolished. Away from the centre the damage is still clearly visible. Some buildings have been cleared, some are in the process of demolition and some are just fenced off awaiting the start of the work. In between these sites of devastation there are houses and buildings unaffected. Last night Scotland played Georgia for their second match. Not a class performance and the local press were scathing, but it was another win. To be positive Scotland neutralised the reputed power of the opposition scrum, controlled the game but made too many basic errors to capitalise. 16 Sept. - Crossing the country today on the Trans Alpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth, the site of the recent Pike River mining disaster.

Young supporter Thomas Johnson

Scotland supporters on the march

The trip certainly lived up to its billing as one of the world’s greatest train journeys. See attached photo taken on the way down to the west coast across Arthur’s Pass. 17 Sept. - Spending a couple of nights in Nelson which we drove to after the train journey. A lovely place at the top of the South Island and more like the Riviera than other parts of NZ we have seen. The Italians are in town and the locals are holding an Italian Festival with dancing and stiltwalkers. For all the hype only some of the games are on free TV as the Maori Channel, which bought the rights, sold them on to Sky NZ. Watched Argentina beat the Romanians although they didn’t have it all their own way and the Irish upset the Australians with a fantastic performance. 18 Sept. - Drove down the coast today to Hokitika. Some fantastic views along the way. England eventually had an easy win over Georgia although Georgia dominated the first half and if they had had a kicker who could score the result might have been different. Scotland will have to find the form of the Irish to progress past Argentina and England. 24 Sept. - Have returned to Christchurch for our last day on the South Island. Since the last entry we have visited glaciers by helicopter, flown around Mount Cook, watched the Whitebait fishermen (not whitebait as we know it in Britain but a NZ speciality), bathed in glacier hot pools, stargazed from a mountain top observatory and taken advantage of the many well maintained walking trails everywhere. Going to the city fanzone tonight to watch England v Romania and the All Blacks v France. Early flight tomorrow to Wellington for the Scotland v Argentina game and then the start of our tour of the North Island. Meanwhile enjoying the spring sunshine in the Botanic Gardens. 7


Christmas Market It’s that time of year again! The market at Balquhidder Hall is being held this year on

Sunday 4 December 11.00am – 4.00pm

Tables are available for hire at £7 each (square 1 x 1 metre) If you would like a space please contact Janet Richards at 17 Old Station Court, Strathyre or phone 01877 384285 07817 948908


15 October

11.00am - 2.00pm LOCHEARN HOUSE LOCHEARNHEAD Various sized quilts and throws for sale Large selection Ideal gifts or Xmas presents 8

Church News BalquhiĐĐer Reg. Charity No. SC012316

On 25 September, we held our Harvest Thanksgiving service. The harvest has been mixed this year. Locally, garden vegetables have done well but some of us couldn’t start early enough and the weather now is too wet and dreich. The scarcity of hedgerow berries has been noticeable, which I discovered when looking for autumnal foliage to decorate the Church. Nonetheless, we thanked God for what we have received. Earlier this year, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland decided that there should be a National Stewardship Campaign and every congregation was ordered to participate. To that end, representatives from the Kirk Session and Congregational Board attended an inaugural meeting organised by Stirling Presbytery to explain what this will mean at our level. No doubt we shall hear more in due course. Jean Edwards

Have a Laugh!

On Friday 18 and Saturday 19 November at 7.30pm a few local thespians are staging a play in Balquhidder Village Hall. It’s an uproarious comedy called Fit Like? by David Joy. Tickets priced at £7.50 will be available shortly. The cover price includes a glass of wine or a soft drink - so it’s good value for money! If you would like to prebook tickets please call Gillian Ramsay-Clapham on 01877 384648.

Piano Tuition Professional musician offering offering lessons lessons in in Strathyre Strathyre

Edinburgh University and Royal Academy of Music trained. Full member of Incorporated Society of Musicians. All levels - beginners welcome. Competitive rates. Contact

Robin Versteeg ATCL


07835 737905 / 01877 384736 Email:


Fancy playing Badminton for a couple of hours one evening each week?

Balquhidder Village Hall is the venue.

Tuesdays at 8.00pm

the proposed day and time. (Wednesdays or Thursdays are possible too if the majority of players would prefer.) Play is not serious and it’s a fun way to keep fit, so all skill levels including beginners are welcome. If you are interested please email Donald McGregor or call him on 01877 384277 H H H Charges per player will be a modest £2 for adults and £1 for under 18s/students. The hall has a few spare racquets so you don’t need to buy any equipment before trying it out! H H H The first week of Badminton is likely to be Tuesday 11 October...


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 gets his feet wet!

Talking about ponds seems highly appropriate at the moment, or perhaps I could call this month’s contribution “Katia Cometh”, since as I write the remains of hurricane Katia has arrived from across the Atlantic in the form of a deep depression right over the Northern British Isles. Our Loch Occasional in full glory too, but as the saying goes, “If you don’t like it just wait a bit .” So what about my photos? All taken during the ‘Summer’, well, the calendar said it was !!!! Tadpoles, newtpoles (is that what they are called?) dragonflies and an empty nymph case. We all see high drama on TV wildlife programmes, the cheetah or lion catching and eating a zebra or gazelle, but there are things like that happening all the while just outside in the garden pond. The Dragonfly nymph is a great predator with huge front pincers; just watch it stalk or wait in hiding for unsuspecting prey. Hard luck if you are a mosquito larva, worm, tadpole or small fish. Mature newts love worms. As a schoolboy there was great excitement in stocking up the classroom aquarium so that together we could watch our own Safari drama in the water - Predator v Prey - I don’t suppose that would be allowed today. And for sure ‘Elf ’n Safety’ wouldn’t allow pond dipping - well, not the way we did it – and anyway, the newts etc would take exception to the fluorescent tabards I fear. Tadpoles were not that easy to catch but a stealthy approach with the net would secure a few; we called them Taddies. But by far the greatest challenge was the Great Crested Newt. A bent pin and just the right size of worm, not too big and not too small, were required. A patient half hour with this on a length of thread and a long stick would, with a bit of luck, invite a great battle with the (now rare) GCN, that’s the one with the orange coloured underbelly and a wonderful wavy crest. These were a great prize and put up a good fight - if the worm didn’t break in half! The newt hung on to the worm, not the pin, so a gentle hand was needed to land the catch without breaking the worm. Then it was back to the aquarium to offer live predators to the inmates and

From top: Empty dragonfly nymph-case; Old Nyati’s pond; Dragonfly; Another dragonfly; Frog tadpoles; Newt tadpoles.

watch the battles commence. It was much better than Space Invaders on the PC. What fun to watch a large newt swallow a still-wriggling worm or tadpole; the dragonfly nymphs were the best killers! Another big prize was the Great Diving Beetle, Dytiscus marginalis, bigger than a fifty pence coin and a magnificent chap. (I never managed to catch one until a few years ago here in my garden). Want to see some gruesome sights? Then visit the following: dytiscus-marginalis/video-08c.html It is rather sad to recall that some years later these same village ponds came to be filled in. The advent of the JCB excavator together with grants paid by the then Ministry of Agriculture, in the so called Farm Improvement Scheme, encouraged people to destroy things like this. Digging out hedgerows was another grant-aided operation. Of course now there are grants to put them all back - it is a crazy world! So don’t despair if your pond is full of weeds, it’s all the better for those wriggling things; just think of the drama going on whilst you have a cup of tea and watch it raining... it has to be better than a desert!! 9

Drs Strang & Scott and Drs Mathewson & Gibson Community Nurses The surgeries and community nurses are taking part in a training programme. This is to meet the educational and training needs of all members of the practice and nursing team. The next training afternoon will be on: Thursday 20 October Tuesday 22 November Both practices and the community nurse clinic will close at 12 noon. Emergency cover will be provided by NHS24 for nursing and GPs. In the event of an emergency, please telephone 08454 242424. On that afternoon, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments.




Bracklinn Practice would like to thank all our patients and their families who have given us donations over the past few years. With this money we have been able to purchase a centrifuge costing nearly £4000. The centrifuge is already giving the practice more flexibility in arranging appointments for blood tests as we can now take blood samples in the afternoon. Before having the centrifuge we were only able to take certain blood samples in the morning, as they had to reach the hospital laboratory within so many hours. Now we can use the centrifuge to spin the blood and keep it until the next day. We are very grateful to the patients and families for thinking of us, at what is very often a sad and difficult time, as without their consideration to the practice, we would not be able to afford to buy items like this.

CALLANDER MEDICAL CENTRE FLU VACCINE CLINICS Bracklinn and Leny Practices are holding an OPEN DAY for flu vaccinations on Friday 7 October. The surgeries will be open from 9.00am – 5.30pm. Please note that we will be operating emergency only appointments on that day and there will be no repeat prescription requests. The flu vaccine is available to you if you are over 65 years - or if you are under 65 and have one of the following conditions: -

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease • Asthma • Chronic heart disease • Hypertension with cardiac complications • Renal disease • Liver disease • Stroke • Multiple Sclerosis • Diabetes • If you have had a stent inserted • If you have no spleen • If you are receiving chemotherapy or steroids - or if you are a carer. Also • immunosuppressed patients and children under the age of 5 years who have health problems. If you are unsure if you are entitled to the vaccination, or cannot attend the surgery on 7 October, please contact us on the following numbers: Bracklinn Practice 01877 331001 Leny Practice 01877 331000 CHARITY FUNDRAISING

We will also be fundraising on our

Open Day Friday 7 October for

Jeans for Genes Day

(children with genetic disorders)


Pink Friday

(Breast Cancer Care) 10



Balquhidder Hall

New season begins on Monday 7 November at 7.30pm Contact John Cooper on

01877 384331

From our Beijing Correspondents I suppose really it should read ‘from our Asia correspondent’ as we actually spend more time travelling around this vast continent than staying in Beijing. Why? Because we can! This place is huge and we only have another two years to explore it! – though we are doing a good job of it …… and YES, Duncan is actually working! Since the headless Tania last wrote, we have been to the beautiful old city of Lijiang in Yunnan; to Shangri-la (not quite living up to the name!) to see the giant carved Buddha Dafo, at Le Shan just outside Chengdu (as in the last photo); photo-snooping along the DPRK/ Russian border; to Singapore (and found Tania’s old childhood home); to Kuala Lumpur and Penang on the Malaysian Peninsula (had a slap-up Birthday meal at a street market cafe in Ipoh!); Hong Kong (where we were treated to Tania’s second helicopter ride); and finally, we are just back from Borneo! This last trip started with an official request and turned into a challenging, exhilarating, exhausting and spectacular holiday of a lifetime. We have seen and done the most amazing things over the past year, but our trip to Sabah, Malaysian North Borneo, was two weeks of our lives, which felt like a lifetime of experience. Fourteen soldiers of the Royal Artillery flew out from the UK to Borneo, to endure a 165mile, 12-day commemorative march, following the 1945 route of the ‘Death March’ of British and Australian POWs at the hands of the Japanese. (Of those 2,432 soldiers, only six survived). We joined them for their final two days’ march – and it wasn’t easy to keep pace with them, particularly up the steep hill we had to climb at the start.

A piper plays at the commemoration service

Duncan and Tania watching the sun come up at the top of Mount Kinabalu

It ended with a commemoration service at the Kundasang War Memorial, where the emotive Last Post was played by a bugler, followed by the glorious sounds of the lament Flowers of the Forest played by a Glaswegian piper. This event took place at the end of our two weeks in the beautiful area of Sabah. Our active schedule (the man is a fiend!) began with a Proboscis Monkey Sightseeing Cruise along the Kalias River, two hours after our arrival in the capital of Kota Kinabalu. During the following days, we; snorkelled in a diver’s paradise off Mantanani Island; watched wild orangutans feeding at the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre; squelched around in guano in the Gomantong Caves, famous for their Birds Nests (Chinese cuisine!); climbed up to the 13,000 ft summit of Mount Kinabalu to see the sunrise at 0600hrs – glorious, but worth the 8hour steep step trek up? Hmm! (It took two days before Tania could manage to walk steps with some normality); and finally, our relaxation (of sorts, ignoring the early-rising and jungle walks) was in

Kinabatangan, where we spent three days exploring the protected rainforest and rivers. There we saw more orangutans, proboscis monkeys and macaques; crocodile and a huge Monitor lizard; hornbills, kingfishers and the rare Storm’s Stork, plus snakes lounging in the heat of the day (one right above our head!) whilst we watched the antics of young monkeys. We were totally spoilt for choice and left with fabulous memories and hundreds of photographs. The flora and fauna of Sabah is as diverse as it is beautiful. We slept in rainforest cabins, stilted huts, home-stays and a longhouse, mostly under mosquito nets, and in temperatures not dropping below 28°C (and that is COLD!). Even the streets of Beijing seem tame after that lot ….. though we are back on our bikes and in the thick of it!. Tania is undertaking physical training for a potential new career, so watch out Balquhidder!

Tania and Duncan Francis 11

Patricia Rosie Thea - your special day! We gathered in Balquhidder church, all in bright array, The Paterson/Mackenzie clans together once again, And their happiness for Poppy rings around the glen. Dozens of cup cakes - chocolate, pink and gold, And the magnificent christening cake - a sight to behold! Lots of chubby babies bouncing on our knees And the perfume of the Bar-B-Q wafting in the breeze. Poppy was a little star and joined in all the fun As the cousins and the aunties chatted in the sun. We drank Poppy’s health in the wine white and red, And when it was over everyone said, “What a wonderful day for dear little Pops” Sunny, happy and friendly - in fact – Just the tops! Paddie Paterson (Poppy’s Great Grandma)

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://www. a m b l e r s . h t m in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New Members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diary! OCTOBER • Sat 8th 8:30am LDP: Hill: Beinn Chochan & Beinn Bhreac (703m) contact 01877 387201 • Wed 12th 9:30am Ramble: Through the Bealach Cumhang (6miles) contact 01877 331691 • Wed 19th 9:30am Stroll: Carse of Lecropt, Bridge of Allan (4.5 miles) contact 01786 842021 • Sat 22nd 8:30am Hill: The Central Pentlands Ridge (579m) contact 01786 825198 NOVEMBER • Wed 16th 9:30am Ramble: Duncryne and Loch Lomond (5miles) contact 01877 331864

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!


Rusty McD is here again with another 5-minute interview featuring someone in our community - and their furry, feathered or scaly friends!

5 minutes with...

Margaret Mylne, Edna Haydock and ‘Copper’ It is so nice to be able to interview some of the people in our four villages who otherwise would not put themselves forward to be in the limelight. This month I am off to visit Margaret Mylne and Edna Haydock from Balquhidder. It is a typical autumn day and the trees are turning into all tones of reds and coppers so to also visit a dog called Copper seems fitting. As I am standing on the doorstep of Bramblings, I get a good view over ‘Loch Occasional’ which for once is dry and not a loch at all! Bramblings is lovely and cosy, Margaret and Edna welcome me in and so we start the interview. How long have you lived in Balquhidder? Edna: We arrived in Stroneslaney in 1984. Margaret: I moved to Stroneslaney a week before Edna, my companions were a parrot and an injured owl! I had asked a local chap to build an aviary but he didn’t, so I built the aviary myself. The owl took up temporary accommodation in the henhouse. Because there wasn’t any furniture, the parrot was allowed to fly around in the house until the furniture arrived! Edna: Rod Blain built Bramblings for us in 1998. There was a little bothy on the site (where we now have the garden huts) and some of the stones were used to build the house. Margaret: During the building works, we took pictures from the start of construction until the end. My son told me I should always stand in the same position whilst taking the photograph so I could then flick through the photo book and see the house developing almost like a moving picture. Problem was, piles of stones, bits of building material etc. made it pretty much impossible to always stand on the same spot. What do you like best about living in the area and what is maybe not so good? Edna: Balquhidder is a great place to live. Out in the country but not too far away for friends to come and visit. Not so good: the rain!! Margaret: Yes, I agree with Edna. I find it a pity we are so far from a theatre but recently we have made a bit of an effort and been to Pitlochry which was great. Tell me about Copper! Edna: When our standard poodle Bracken died, we really wanted another dog. We were told about a litter of poodles available in Comrie. When we contacted the breeder and asked for directions, the breeder asked us, “Are

you travelling via the Kincardine Bridge?” This puzzled us slightly – it seemed a very strange way to travel to Comrie! It turns out there is a Comrie near Dunfermline in Fife, hence the question about the Kincardine Bridge! So this is how we came about Copper. Her name suits her. Usually in summer-time her coat becomes very light and copper coloured. Copper in the meantime is joining us, quite contented on her cushion on the floor. On the wall of the sitting room is a lovely painting of Edna and Margaret’s old dog Bracken. I am told the artist is Maureen Jack, mother of villager Vicky Jack. Edna: Margaret and I were up at Kintyre the other week and visited Skipness castle. Margaret was in a particular room looking at a plaque on the wall (where they tell you about the room etc.) and Copper became all uptight. It was obvious something gave our Copper the heebie jeebies... and she decided to make a bolt for the door hauling me with her. We spoke to the owner of a restaurant in the grounds who said that this would be because of the ‘Green Lady’...... Apparently he has two wolfhounds who every now and then refuse to go in! We went back later in the afternoon and Copper was fine.

chimney – hence the name. Edna advises me to blink at him. As soon as I do this Sooty blinks back... So I blink twice, Sooty blinks back twice. I blink again, Sooty blinks back. This is a great way of communicating and I could stand there forever! Wonderful! When I got home I couldn’t help looking up ‘Green Lady’ and Skipness Castle on the Internet. Ghost stories just intrigue me! On one of the sites it says: “The green lady is a native spirit to the British Isles that has been described in many ways. Some who have seen her describe her as beautiful and protective but others have said she is a demon. These spirits are also known to be protective, dislike dogs and prefer to be alone. The Skipness Castle has been protected by a green lady for centuries. She has helped prevent attacks upon the castle by using the supernatural to confuse enemies”. Huh! Spooky stuff!! So it’s off to visit the Chadfields next month. Can’t wait! Thank you very much Margaret and Edna for your hospitality.

My next question is of course: who would you like to nominate next? Margaret and Edna: Jane and Edward Chadfield with their labrador, CD. The photo is taken in the sunroom. In there grow grapes on grapevines! Copper prefers to play with her blue ball rather than posing for the photo but obliges. On my way out I am allowed to have a look into the aviary and meet Sooty the tawny owl. Sooty was injured years ago by falling into a 13

McLaren High School News by Yvonne King

Top Team Our Top Team for session 2011/12, pictured right: (left to right) Rachel Speirs, Alasdair Sewell, Kirsty Fingland, Peter Martin (Headteacher), Joe Howells, Megan Rhys (Head Girl), Liam Garvie (Head Boy).

New stuff from Sainsbury’s ‘Active Kids’

Sainsburys Active Kids Vouchers McLaren High took delivery of a large package from Sainsburys in the last week of September. It included among other things, table tennis bats and balls for PE, pizza trays, food storage boxes and vegetable peelers for HE. These items were obtained as part of the Active Kids Voucher scheme and we would like to thank everyone who handed in vouchers to the school for their help in achieving this. Many of our pupils will now benefit from your generosity.

Thank you, Tesco!

Tesco Vouchers for Schools We would like to thank everyone who handed in Tesco Vouchers for Schools. These were exchanged for a digital microscope and a digital camera which were received recently and from which all our pupils will benefit. The Nuffield Foundation Last year I applied for the Nuffield Bursary Scheme for Schools and Colleges. The scheme enables fifth and sixth year students who are interested in pursuing a career in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) to work alongside practising scientists, technologists, engineers, research institutions or universities. The Nuffield Foundation awards each student a bursary to carry out 14

Above: Top Team!

a project which is designed to make a real contribution to the host organisation, as well as benefiting the students themselves. I was subsequently awarded a placement at the University of Stirling, under the guidance of Dr L Bussiere and E L Rotheray. The project took place over a six week period during the summer holidays, in the department of Biological and Environmental Sciences. My investigation was concerned with the conservation of the endangered Blera fallax, more commonly referred to as the Pine Hoverfly. We successfully developed a non-lethal DNA extraction technique involving the larval puparia. Our findings will not only significantly assist the genetic monitoring of Blera fallax, but widens the possibilities for insect-wide population genetic research. The bursary students from various schools throughout Scotland gathered at the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh on 5 September to present their findings. The event was organised by the Nuffield co-ordinator for Scotland, Frances Chapman. The event offered us the opportunity to display what we had achieved over the summer and to discuss it with fellow bursary students, supervisors, teachers and guests. I thoroughly enjoyed my work over the summer as it allowed me the opportunity to experience the technicalities of genetic research, and I urge anybody interested in the scheme to ask their Pupil Support Leader for details. Claire Watson S6 Claire Watson

The Duke of Edinburgh expedition

Duke of Edinburgh Awards Update Since the start of the summer, 23 Duke of Edinburgh Bronze participants have gone on their gruelling qualifying expedition. Each group started at Ledcharrie Farm near Killin, then walked up some steep hills through Kirkton Glen to Balquhidder and from there to Immeroin Farm where they camped for the night. The next day they headed off for another day’s walk which took them through Glen Finglas to their destination point at Brig O’Turk. The groups were faced with all types of weather but they all managed to successfully complete their expeditions. Seven S5 pupils have completed their silver canoe training and have also gone on their practice expedition to Loch Tay. A further 9 pupils just recently took part in their silver walking expedition starting with a train journey from Crianlarich to Corrour and then walking from there to Kinlochlaggan. Gregor Black S4 Duke of Edinburgh Dates for your diaries... Friday 21 October – Family Ceilidh, McLaren High School at 7.30pm (join us for a fun evening and help raise funds for the group!) Wednesday 26 October – Annual Award Ceremony and AGM , McLaren High School at 7.30pm.

Tango and Pongo: could you give a loving home to this sibling duo?

Brave staff...

Wheelbarrow Challenge A big thank you to all pupils and staff who took part in the wheelbarrow challenge which took place during Sports Day at the end of last term. I am sure everyone will agree it was great fun (even tipping the Headteacher out of his barrow!) and congratulations again to the winners, Omar Al-Asadi and Rory Wilson.

The Blue Cross, in collaboration with Pet Fostering Service Scotland, is appealing for a loving home for brothers Tango and Pongo, fiveyear-old Golden Retriever cross Whippet dogs who are being fostered in Callander. Tango and Pongo are very friendly, endearing dogs who just love to play with toys. However, what they love most of all is each other so we are looking for a home where they can remain together. Tango is a fun-loving boy, he is fantastic with people and would be fine to be homed with older children. Pongo is not as confident as Tango and can look for reassurance at times. He is very affectionate and enjoys cuddling up to a cosy lap in the evening after a hard day’s play. The Blue Cross, one of Britain’s leading animal charities, teamed up with Pet Fostering Service Scotland (PFSS) in 2008 to help animals in need across Scotland. The collaboration helps the PFSS develop its work assisting pet owners on a low income who need their animals cared for on a temporary basis, for example if their home is flooded or if they need hospital treatment. PFSS runs a network of volunteers who provide foster care for pets until they can be reunited with their owners. By teaming up with The Blue Cross, the charity now also helps find loving new homes for homeless pets. To find out more about Tango & Pongo, or if you are interested in becoming a short term or rehoming foster carer in Scotland, please contact Natalie Hogg at PFSS on 0300 456 8500 or email for more information.

Wheelbarrow winners!

visit our website:


Ladies at the Supper Club

Supper Club a Success! The Lochearnhead Ladies’ Supper Club had its 4th meeting on 24 August in the Lochearnhead Hotel. We meet every three months and so far it has been a resounding success with everyone having a lovely relaxed evening and a delicious meal. At the moment we don’t have a large waiting list and have managed to fit everyone in who has shown an interest. If anyone would like more information, please feel free to contact Janette on 01567 830 490 or email jcurle@btinternet. com


recipes from our local hotels Coffee Cream Gâteau by Matt Duncan

at Lochearn House B&B, Lochearnhead Preheat oven to 375°F, 170°C, Gas Mark 5 Grease and line an 8in cake tin (preferably loose based) CAKE 6 oz butter or soft margarine 6oz caster sugar 6oz self raising flour 3 eggs, lightly beaten ½ pint double cream, whipped Walnut halves or fresh fruit to decorate

St Fillans Quiz Night £10 per head to help provide funds for

The Sandison Hall on Friday 14th October at 7:30 pm Teams of six people Refreshments will be provided but bring your own wine Donations of raffle prizes will be welcomed Get your teams together and let Johnston Brown know you are coming on 685268

COFFEE SYRUP 8oz sugar ¾ pint water 1-2 tablespoons brandy (optional) 3 tablespoons liquid coffee (1 dessertspoon instant coffee in 3 tablespoons boiling water)

St. Angus’s Charity Quiz at the Watersports Centre on Thursday 27th October at 7.00pm

Teams of 4 can apply to take part and further details will be available from Mary Barclay on 01567-830453. Proceeds to Falls of Dochart Retirement Home in Killin. A buffet will also be available. Thanks to Laura and Martin of the Watersports Centre for allowing us to use their facilities and for donating the buffet.

Method Cream sugar and butter till pale and creamy. Gradually add the beaten egg, mixing thoroughly and with the last of the egg add a spoonful of flour. Fold in remaining flour, pour mixture into tin and smooth top. Bake 45-50 mins until well risen and golden. Meanwhile make the syrup, ready to pour over the warm cake so that it will be properly absorbed. Dissolve the sugar in the water over low heat. Remove from heat and add brandy and coffee. As soon as the cake is baked, remove it from the tin and place it onto a dish with a lip so that all the syrup is contained. Pierce all over with a skewer then gradually pour over the coffee syrup. Refrigerate overnight, then cover with whipped cream and either halved walnuts or fresh fruit.

Scottish Wildlife Trust, Callander Member’s Centre Diary Tuesday 11 October Honey Bees: breeding challenges in Scotland by Magnus Peterson, local beekeeper Tuesday 8 November Beavers: the Knapdale Reintroduction Trial by Simon Jones, SWT Project Manager All meetings are open to members and non-members and are held in St Andrew’s Church Hall, Leny Road, Callander at 7:30pm. Cost £2 includes refreshments, free for full-time students. More details on the organisation can be found at


Scottish Wildlife Trust Red Squirrels: The Callander Frontier was presented by Lewis Pate, SWT Project Officer, fulfilling his remit to educate (and entertain) the public. The red squirrel was once a common sight throughout mainland Britain but today is absent from most of England, Wales and parts of Southern Scotland. Scotland’s remaining 120,000 represent ~75% of the UK population. Once again man has contributed; the Highland Squirrel Club, est1903, shot 82,000 over thirty years and estates shot thousands more to prevent damage to trees. Habitat is now being conserved to counter the impact of large monoculture plantations and property development. However, reds remain under threat from the larger grey squirrel, introduced from North America in the 19th century, and able to out-compete reds for food and habitat. More significantly, it carries the squirrelpox virus that does not harm them but is lethal to reds. Some reds have developed antibodies but immunity cannot evolve fast enough: infection kills in fifteen days. The method of transmission is uncertain but may be via fleas and ticks. A vaccine is under development but its application is another challenge. Did you know? Red squirrels in the UK today comprise 23 sub-species, introduced from across Europe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Those cute ear tufts are not universal and there is a wide colour variation in their red/brown fur and dark to blond tails (not necessarily those of Scandinavian origin!). They can have two litters per year (February and June), usually of 3-4 young, with 36-42 days’ gestation, weaned in 7-10 weeks and independent in 10-16 weeks. They are very agile, 4 fingers and 5 long toes making them very good climbers - a bonus when escaping pine martens. They moult twice per year, once from back to front and once in the opposite direction. They may nest in tree holes but usually build spherical dreys, often sharing up to six communal ones, and these are very well insulated, important since squirrels do not hibernate. They feed all year; initially scent marking their food caches but after weathering identification becomes more chaotic! Main foods are cones, beech and hazel nuts so their preferred habitat is conifer forests with a mix of Scots Pine, Norway and Sitka Spruce, larch and broadleaves, with a spread of age for a continuous food supply. Reds cover a wider range than greys and need 200ha of mixed habitat to maintain a healthy population, a monoculture of Sitka Spruce only supporting 10%. Peanuts are a good winter supplement but are high in potassium


A very perky and tufty Red Squirrel at Loch Eck

which inhibits the uptake of calcium, especially in the young, so a healthier mix would include sunflower seeds and hazelnuts. Fastening a cuttlefish or a deer’s antler on to the feeder provides a calcium supplement. Unlike greys, reds cannot tolerate the high levels of tannin in acorns but they do eat fungi, even the hallucinogenic fly agaric – must make climbing trees exciting! Their front teeth only have enamel on the front surface and continually grow so they need to gnaw to keep them short enough to feed (not good housemates!). Their lower jaw is in two halves, enabling the two bottom teeth to be used like levers to crack open hazelnuts – and clamp to fingers! Do they really swim on their backs to keep nuts dry? While greys have moved up through the South of Scotland they are absent from most Northern areas. The Central belt therefore is a key frontier and without intervention reds could end up restricted to isolated islands and zoos. Within the National Park, collection of tail hair samples (via sticky pads on feeders) has shown that there are no greys north of Callander, but Callander Crags have both types and therefore have been a recent focus. Initial trapping in July/August caught 11 greys, 3 reds, 9 hedgehogs and 2 jays! Surveys since then are showing predominantly reds but still some greys. Funding beyond March 2012 is needed. Lewis showed many wonderful photos of red squirrels but the mental image we will treasure is that of him dressed in his squirrel costume while playing the bagpipes – don’t ask! If you are interested in learning more, there is an excellent website http://www. Recording sightings of all squirrels is important to monitor distributions. This can be done on-line on the same site or contact Lewis on Tel: 07825 972434. Lesley Hawkins

Strathyre Primary News New Starts Strathyre Primary School welcomed five new P1’s this session; Annie Allen, Libby Brydie, Sean Welsh, Skye Hatton and Freja Mattsson. Edinburgh Book Festival On 30 August we all went to the Edinburgh Book Festival which is held in Charlotte Square. This has been an annual outing for the school for several years now. The children listen to an author who tells them about his or her life and reads part of a book to them, usually their latest novel. They then get to ask the author questions. This is a fantastic event for the children to go to and many come back filled with ideas about writing their own books after inspirational talks from the authors. This year the P1’s - P4’s went to see Aileen Paterson who writes the Maisie series of books and the P5’s - P7’s went to see Joan Lingard who has been writing since she was 11. Afterwards they all went to see an enactment of Canterbury Tales. RAGBAG Textile Bank The school has a textile bank in the playground where you can deposit all your old clothes, shoes, towels and bedding. Put your items in a black bin bag, tie it up and just pop it in the big metal bank. The school will receive payment for all the items on a weight basis. This will go towards school funds and resources for the pupils. Everyone is welcome to use the textile bank. Rugby Taster P2 & P3 children have been getting a taste of rugby from Active School Sports. A coach comes out to teach

Waiting to see Joan Lingard at the Book Festival

basic skills. Already we have some budding rugby players who, in a few years’ time, could be playing in the World Cup. Athletics Taster P5 pupils had special athletics training from Active School Sports, where they were taught javelin, long jump, triple jump, speed bounces, chest passes and running. They finished their session at McLaren High School with a competition among all schools in the McLaren Cluster and they came 3rd.

Rugby Orienteering

Orienteering P1 - P3s have been going out to the Recreation Ground for weekly Orienteering experience. This helps the children to read and understand maps. They have gone out in all weathers and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. P3 children are very keen to help the younger ones to read their maps and take them round the course. Mrs Series Mrs Series has been our music teacher for the last seven years and she retired in September. She has played and helped with the music at all the magnificent shows which the children have performed during this time. We will miss her and we wish her well in her retirement. Japan Our topic this term is Japan, with the pupils learning about and enjoying all aspects of the country. They have even been using chopsticks to try and lift rice and transfer it from one plate to another. If anybody has any artefacts or books about Japan we would be grateful if you could bring them in to school to show the children. Please phone the school to arrange a time. Rhoda Keenan

Meet the Magician! 19

Olwyn Hendry receiving a bouquet from Polly Perkins Edward Chadfield

Hilda Astbury

Flora Phillips

Wilhelmina Stewart

The Annual Show It seems a long way off now but I’m pleased to report our little show was a successful one. This surprised me considering the dreadful Summer we had – however, thanks to everyone for the effort you have all made. We even had more visitors and it was good to all meet up again. Many thanks to our little committee who helped to make it happen and a big Thank You goes to Olwyn Hendry for giving up her time to present the prizes. I was so pleased that Jimmy McSkimming was this year’s Show Winner. A relative newcomer, he produced the most entries – even making a buttonhole, so well done to him. I am sad to say that I’m not sure whether or not there will be another show next year mainly because our committee has dwindled; however, we will hold a meeting soon and make a decision in the New Year. Pauline Perkins President/Secretary

The Garden of Life Jean MacNaughton winning Best in Show

Plant 3 rows of Peas Peace of mind Peace of heart Peace of soul Plant 4 rows of Squash Squash gossip Squash indifference Squash grumbling Squash selfishness

Sadie Eastland

Plant 4 rows of Lettuce Lettuce be faithful Lettuce be kind Lettuce be patient Lettuce really love one another Every garden needs Thyme Thyme for each other Thyme for the family Thyme for friends

Jimmy McSkimming receives the Winner’s Shield from Olwyn Hendry 20

No garden is without Turnips Turnip for meetings Turnip for service Turnip to help Water freely with patience and cultivate with love.

BLS HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ANNUAL SHOW 27 AUGUST 2011 COMPETITORS’ RESULTS Show Winner: Jimmy McSkimming (40pts) Runner up: Annette Brown (38pts) Best Exhibit in Show: Wooden Table made by Jean MacNaughton Section 1 - Secretary’s Cup for Pot Plants Best in Section: F. Phillips 1. F. Phillips 2. W. Stewart 3. M. Mylne Best Begonia: William McConnachy Trophy: W. Stewart

Alison Semeonoff

Section 2 – Matyjasek Cup for Cut Flowers Best in Section: H. Astbury 1. L. Anderson 2. H. Astbury 3. G. Wagstaff Section 3 – The Bowers Cup for Vegetables & Fruit Best in Section: P. Perkins 1. J. McSkimming 2. P. Perkins 3. A. Brown The Strathyre Cleansing Cup for Best Collection of 5 Vegetables: P. Perkins Section 4 – Club Cup for Floral Art Best in Section: E. Jamieson for Table Arrangement 1. A. Brown 2. Sadie Eastland 3. J. McSkimming Section 5 – Macdonald Cup for Kindred Activities Best in Section: Upside down cake made by Jean MacNaughton 1. H. Astbury 2. J. MacNaughton 3. M. Kobs Section 6 – Stuart-Love Cup for Handicrafts Best in Section: Handmade Table by Jean MacNaughton 1. A. Brown 2. A. Semeonoff 3. Lottie Hesp Section 7 – Gibson Cup for Art Best in Section: Poem on The Environment by Lottie Hesp 1. E. Chadfield 2. Lottie Hesp 3. A. Semeonoff The Bobby Bennett Cup for Photography: A. Semeonoff for Photo of a Robin


Rangers’ Review By Graeme Auty

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Red data list Once again this is the time of the year when many of the rangers and volunteers are out in the area carrying out squirrel surveys. This is a very busy time of the year for our red squirrels. Keep a look out for them as they hurry about gathering up food for the coming winter. Once most of the leaves are off the trees they are easier to spot as they move around. As always we are interested in any sightings of red and grey squirrels in the area, alive or not, as this helps build a picture of their distribution providing essential information for future red squirrel conservation efforts. Many thanks to all for those recent sightings that you have forwarded on to us. This information has been recorded online via the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) web site. The SWT are now the lead organisation in collecting information on the distribution of red and grey squirrels right across Scotland. This allows us not only to identify areas of importance where habitat management or grey squirrel control will benefit red squirrel populations, but also to understand natural changes in their populations. The data is shared with local biological records centres and the national

database of squirrel records. If you do see them regularly please continue to let us know or if you have access to the internet you enter the information directly on the website: (under the ‘What we do’ section look for ‘Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels’). Over the last few months the number of records submitted on line has fallen, but we know that greys are still on the move in the area. This is also the time of year when the rangers and volunteers are out and about carrying out the first of the monthly winter wetland bird surveys, (WeBS counts). The survey is a national scheme which monitors non-breeding waterbirds in the UK. The principal aims of WeBS are to identify population sizes, determine trends in numbers and distribution and to identify important sites for waterbirds. Gareth and I recently carried out the September WeBS count on Loch Earn by boat, whilst at the same time surveying and recording all of the Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam on the shores around the loch. On what turned out to be a glorious sunny day we were lucky to have

Still nuts about red squirrels

some great sightings of kingfisher, dipper and grey wagtails around the loch. On the recent WeBs survey of Loch Lubnaig, even though the bird numbers are still fairly low there, I was again very lucky to have another great view of otter swimming and playing in the shallow waters close to where the river Balvaig enters the loch.

Coming to a garden near you?

Nuthatches are relative newcomers to Scotland with the first confirmed breeding pairs established in the Scottish borders around twenty years ago and they have continued to move northwards ever since. The reason for these changes is unknown. There have been some recent regular sightings of nuthatches in Stirling and Callander. It would be interesting to hear if they are beginning to establish themselves in this area. They feed mainly on nuts and seeds, such as acorns and hazel nuts, in the autumn and winter, and are increasingly visiting gardens for nuts and seeds. As usual, if we are around at the Lochearnhead Office, please feel free to drop in, or to call Gareth or me if you have any queries, wildlife sightings or just for a catch up. Gareth is in most days but I am part time and on duty Thursdays and Fridays. You can call me on 01389 722115 or on my mobile 07764371700 or alternatively you can email me on graeme. or Gareth at 22

Got yer ticket yit? for Balquhidder Riding Association’s

Featuring Scottish Bluegrass Association’s

Grub’s up in the chuckwagon between 6.30 – 8 only, folks. Vegetarian option available, yessiree! Remember to BYOB and glass. Wear western or hillbilly. Come on … you know you want to!! Scotland’s best Bluegrass band GOLDRUSH, line dancing, games and races. If you fancy a gamble then bring your $’s (£1 coins) for the famous whisky curling. Get into the groove and dance into the small hours with a country and western type disco by Iain “The Kid” Ramsay-Clapham... Tickets a-going fast, y’all... so don’t mosey on down, but avoid a long face! Be there or be square…you know it makes sense!


Farm Forum: Autumn Woes! I do not apologise for talking about the weather again because farmers are always expected to talk about it! I will not mention rainfall figures because these are very well documented in this journal by The Bramblings. Our weather software churns out all sorts of information, some more useful than others, but one thing that is interesting are the “wet” days in each month which are almost more indicative of the summer we have “enjoyed” than total rainfall. They were: May - 23 days, June - 19, July - 16, August - 22, September 16 and we’re just over half way through - enough said! Rain on this scale is not good for livestock, and the mist usually associated with it means that gathering sheep on the hills is a complete nightmare, never mind trying to get sheep dry to clip or dip. The arable sector does not have its sorrows to seek either. Grain cannot necessarily wait until the weather is perfect because it will deteriorate and indeed the grain will fall off, and there are many farmers having to combine fields when the moisture content of the grain is 28%. That means that 28% of the weight of cereal you harvest is water. The crop has to be dried and that is costing an absolute fortune. I have often mentioned the various rules dreamed up by the EU and their usual strict implementation by Great Britain, also the fact that many members ignore them and a blind eye is turned. Sheep electronic tagging is a prime example and it looks as though the ban on the use of battery cages for egg production is going to fall into the same category. The cages are to be banned from 1st January and it looks as though

just seventeen out of twenty seven states will fully comply. It is quite likely that no meaningful action will be taken against those that do not comply even though it has cost those that have obeyed the rules hundreds of thousands of pounds to bring their units up to new regulation standards – that off course includes our country! Bracken has always been a scourge of some hill areas and many hill farmers and foresters spray badly affected areas from the air with “Asulox”. This has been the only successful means of control and allows trees to be planted and grazing to be improved. The EU, despite appeals from land managers, farmers and conservationists alike, have just banned the product. The root of its downfall appears to be the fact that the EU’s market authorisation for the product is for treating spinach and lettuce and it does not comply with the EU food crop safety regulations. Unfortunately the approval does not allow for one use to be swapped for another. I mention the EU quite a lot – let me explain. The ‘rules’ affecting farming are to a large extent made and enforced by politicians under the guise of human health, animal health, the environment etc. etc. etc. and indeed this is necessary to a certain degree. However I always felt that politicians in Westminster were often at least one step removed from the reality of farming, for example, in the hills of Scotland. Now, however, the decisions are taken in Brussels by those who are even more removed from reality and unfortunately our own Government do not seem to have the power to interpret the rules to suit the circumstances in this country. Agricola

Adults & Children (13 & over) £17 Children 6-12 £10 Under 5s FREE Tickets from Karen 384624 Laura 384345 and Jane 330566


View from the Park by Owen McKee A little optimism helps dispel the national economic gloom, so it was with heightened spirits that I attended a meeting in Crianlarich where the local community is planning a brighter future for their village. OK for them, you may say, for they have the prospect of a Gold Mine up the road to give them a boost. But the plans they have stem not from the gold mine but from the imminent upgrade to the A82 road which will see traffic from Loch Lomond and Glen Falloch bypass the village. Indeed the plans gained momentum when the Gold Mine application was turned down last year. For them the prospect was further decline in an already ailing economy or action by the community. With a little help from their friends and funding from the European Agriculture and Rural Development Fund, Leader and the Scottish Government they commissioned consultants Nick Wright Planning to come up with a practical scheme from the many thoughts and aspirations gleaned from all corners of the community. That plan is now in place. Yes, there are features which will take some years to achieve but equally there are things which can and will be quickly put in place. Some elements tie in nicely with a Stirling Council pilot scheme for stationing a Local Services team in the Breadalbane area to deal with grass cutting, toilets, litter etc. Needless to say the Park Authority will be supporting the community wherever we can. Uppermost in our funding pleas to the Scottish Government is our Five Lochs project, for although we do have some priority funding in place for Loch Lubnaig we need to keep pressing the case to ensure that all five lochs can be suitably funded. The early signs of success of the East Loch Lomond scheme is adding strength to our campaign and the actions we are taking are supported by the Scottish Government’s own preventative action policy. Occasionaly I am being asked if the Five Lochs Project will involve byelaws. At this stage the hope is that by putting facilities in place the need for byelaws will not be necessary but, as with everything we do, the situation will be monitored to ensure that the best outcomes are achieved. That same monitoring is in place for the East Loch Lomond byelaws and it is part of the 24

process that the need for them has to be subject to review. More good news! There were two awards relating to the West Highland Railway Line. Readers of Wanderlust for the third year in a row voted the West Highland Line the Best in The World and the Friends of The West Highland Line received The Good Lineside Neighbour Award for their work in improving the views by clearing scrub and trees at key vantage points. The Friends were able to do that work through grants from The National Park Natural Heritage Grant Scheme. The Reporters’ review of the Final Draft Local Plan has now been examined and full account has been taken of the amendments requested by the Reporters. And so finally the Local Plan comes forward for formal adoption at our meeting on 12 October. So, after 9 years and 3 months, we will have our own Local Plan. As Donald Dewar famously said, “I like that”. As always I can be contacted as follows: Post: Tigh Na Bhuth, Lochearnhead. Phone: 01567 830214

Singing is Good for You! On Thursday 27 October at 7.30 a small group of nervous (but determined) people who love to sing are going to meet in

Balquhidder Village Hall with the aim of starting a singing group. The idea is to have fun. Come along, bring a song if you like! Let’s do it! Gill Allan 384203


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.

Quality Lochearnhead Souvenirs Dog Treats ~ Wild Bird Food Signed Books ~ Toys Confectionery ~ Ice Cream Cards ~ Stationery FISHING PERMITS/TACKLE/ LIVE BAIT

~ ~ ~



0900 - 1730


0900 - 1230

Wednesday Sunday

0900 - 1300 Closed

Post Office Post Box Collection Times: Morning - 12 noon Afternoon - 1600 (Except Saturday) Sunday - No Collection Telephone: 01567 830 201


Central Scotland Police

There when you need us

Another successful drink driving operation On the morning of Sunday 11 September as part of my PACT priorities, I carried out an operation targeting drivers who were still under the influence of alcohol from the previous night. Along with colleagues from Tayside, Callander, Drymen, Killin and the Road Policing Unit as well as Special Constables, we patrolled the roads around Loch Earn. In total we used two motorcycles and five police cars, one of which was unmarked. During the first 3 hours we stopped 24 drivers - many were surprised that they were being breathalysed at that time of the day. One driver who failed the roadside test was arrested. I took him down to Stirling where he failed a second breath test. I ascertained that he had been disqualified from driving for being drunk in February 2009 and given a 12 month ban. He then took part in the Driver Awareness Course which meant he was able to gain his licence back 3 months early. Despite this he had clearly forgotten everything he had learnt and witnessed. The male, who was from Stenhousemuir, was kept in custody on the Sunday and appeared at court on the Monday. He pled guilty and received a £600 fine and was disqualified for a further 3 years. Perhaps I should not be warning people but this is the first in a series of pre-planned operations specifically aimed at drivers who are still under the influence the following morning. I would urge drivers to think before they drive if they have been consuming alcohol at any time. Anybody who suspects a person of driving or intending to drive whilst under the influence of drink or drugs should contact the police immediately. Drug dealers caught near Lochearnhead A man and a woman appeared in court

on Friday 9 September in connection with drugs offences after they were caught in possession of drugs with a potential street value of up to £1 million. The two, both aged 51 and from Plean, near Stirling, were detained after 8.5 kilos of uncut amphetamine were recovered from an address in Plean. A quantity of bulking agent was also recovered from a van stopped in the Lochearnhead area in connection with the enquiry. Detective Inspector Charlie Mitchell, head of the Force’s Drugs and Organised Crime Unit, said: “These drugs were intended for extensive adulteration which would have allowed them to be sold to users for large profits. We were acting on information received and we are pleased that we managed to prevent these drugs from getting onto our streets. We are intent on damaging the finances of those involved in their supply.” Anyone with information can contact Central Scotland Police on 01786 456000 or information can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. One Scottish Force By now we will all have heard that Scotland is to move away from the eight regional police forces it currently has in order to form a single national force. The time period for the transition is to be less than two years with many senior officers and politicians hoping that the single Scottish police force will be up and running in time for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. I was asked how a single force would affect me to which I replied, “It doesn’t matter who gives you a row, a row is a row is a row.” The question is how will it affect you, especially during the transitional period. The simple answer is - it won’t. There are no plans to change how the local area is policed or funded. If you have any concerns then please contact me and I will endeavour to get the answers to your questions. PC Andrew Ward 01786 456 000

Renowned Scottish Artist takes up residence at Stirling Castle Stirling Castle has been the inspiration for many paintings and drawings over the centuries – and now it has its own artist in residence. Visitors will be able to see Iona Leishman – a rising star among Scottish painters – carry out a residency at the castle for the rest of 2011 and view a selection of her work on display and on sale. During this time she will work with schools and community groups to develop the creative talents of children and adults – including supporting high school students who are putting together portfolios for art exams. Iona will also create her own art, capturing and reflecting the character of one of the Scotland’s most famous historic sites in a way that has never been done before. The initiative is part of Historic Scotland’s far-reaching educational programme which aims to make the best and most imaginative use of our national heritage. Perth-born Iona, 48, has been a professional artist for eight years and has a growing reputation as a landscape painter and especially enjoys working in oils. She lives in Dunblane, and is the granddaughter of one of its most famous citizens, John Reith, first director general of the BBC. Her colourful and distinctive style is increasingly popular with galleries and collectors across the UK and overseas. Visit One of her aims during the residency is to capture the life of the castle as it is today – as both a workplace and a visitor attraction. Exhibitions are planned in the autumn and winter where visitors can enjoy art by Iona and by members of the groups she has supported. Among the groups that Iona will work with is Artlink Central, which runs a programme for people with mental health issues, and has been involved with a series of projects at the castle. Visit arts-and-health 25



d up must be pai Advertising publication. before adverts on a so applies to t which are al is Th n u co 6 month dis p for renewal. coming u g out invoices in We are send d to give people ea ah th n o m a e to pay plenty of tim t is received men but if no pay e Day (24th) by Deadlin rt will have ve then the ad moved. to be re

We’ll send you or your friends

The Villagers

£11.00 for 11 monthly issues (£20.00 for Europe and £27.50 for the rest of the world). All you need to do is to post the completed form to: BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION, Tom-Na-Dair BALQUHIDDER FK19 8PB, SCOTLAND Cheques should be made payable to: THE BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION Remittance enclosed £ .........................(do not send cash) Please send copies of The Villagers starting on ................................. for 11 months To: NAME .......................................................................................................................... ADDRESS: ........................................................................................................................ ........................................................................................POSTCODE .............................. SENDER’S NAME & ADDRESS IF DIFFERENT FROM ABOVE Please send copies of ‘The Villagers’ starting on ............................... for 11 months NAME ................................................................................................................................ ADDRESS .......................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................POSTCODE................................ 26


Attenti n Advertiso ers!

Do you real ise how mu ch extra advertising you will get now that Th e Villagers is online? Don’t risk lo sing your ad verts. Make sure yo u pay up-fro nt and on time. Our deadlin e is 24th of each month!


• The Villagers’ Contacts • John Stewart Business Manager BLS Newspaper Association Tom na Dhair Balquhidder Lochearnhead FK19 8PB 01877 384664

Marguerite Kobs Editor (last time!) Kalinka Auchtubh Balquhidder Lochearnhead FK19 8NZ 01877 384215

Jill Johnston Joint Editor Gardeners Cottage Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384227

Other Contacts... Alistair Barclay Photographer & Advertising Coordinator Dalvaich Glenbeich Lochearnhead FK19 8PZ 01567 830453

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

BLS Lunch Club - Lochearnhead Scout Station from 3 October - 12.30-2.30pm Indoor Bowls - Balquhidder Hall - 7.30pm - starting 7 November


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 - starting 11 October


Yoga - Strathyre Hall - 11.00am-12noon 3 Villages Art & Craft Group - Balquhidder Hall - 1.00 - 4.00pm Contact Ruth McLusky 01877 384309


Scottish Country Dancing - Strathyre Hall - 8.00pm Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00-9.00pm Upholstery Classes - 10am-1pm - Lochearnhead Hall - 07824 446024


Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon Ballroom Dancing - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.30-9.00pm

Production Manager: Gill Allan 01877 384 203 Lochearnhead Contact: Ali Ferguson 01567 830 405 Strathyre Contact: Wullie Dalziel 01877 384 384 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

OCTOBER 1-2 9 11 14 15 27 28

Callander Jazz & Blues Festival Blow & Blast Workshops – Lochearnhead Hall – 11.00am and 2.00pm Possible start of evening Badminton – see p.8 SWT talk – ‘Honey Bees’ – St Andrews Church, Callander – 7.30pm Talk by Michael Forsyth – St Mary’s Church, Aberfoyle – 7.30pm St Fillans Quiz Night – Sandison Hall – 7.30pm – see p.16 Quilt Sale – Lochearn House, Lochearnhead – 11.00am – 2.00pm – see p.8 St Angus Quiz Night – Watersports Centre – 7.00pm – see p.16 Balquhidder Bingo Night – 6.00-9.00pm – see p.6 Killin Choir Concert and Harvest Supper – 7.00pm – see p.6


Start of Indoor Bowls – Balquhidder Hall – 7.30pm see p.10

contac t@the Cheques for advertising and mail order subscriptions should be made out to:

The BLS Newspaper Association

Copy Deadline Day is the 24th of the month. Please help us to get The Villagers to you as soon as possible!

CHURCH CHURCH SERVICES 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 Vigil Mass Saturday 5.30pm May to September Killin, in the Episcopal Church Sunday 2.30pm Father Jim McCruden 2 Ancaster Square, Callander Tel: 01877 330 702

SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH St Angus’s Church, Lochearnhead 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 Printed by Graphics and Print Services, University of Stirling Tel: 01786 467209 email: Published by The BLS Newspaper Association

The Villagers October 2011  

Stories from St Fillans, Lochearnhead, Balquhidder and Strathyre villagers. Perthshire Open Studios, rugby world cup, wild geese, weddings,...