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The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

Fun at the Balquhidder Bike Fest!

On Saturday 6th September the message was ‘Two Wheels Good!’ as the roads and tracks between Balquhidder and Strathyre were designated as cycle ways for our first Bike Fest. Great fun was had! See the report on pages 18/19. Bike Fest photos courtesy of Peter Smith and Richard Harris

Editor’s Bit Great to see that the Indian summer helped Balquhidder’s Bike Fest to be such a success (along with the RamsayClaphams’ renowned organisation)! We were sad to miss it but glad to see it was the “first” so we hope to be here for the next one. I am sure we would not be the only ones thinking if we could rely on this weather every year this area would be hard to beat - with sunshine and brilliant autumn colours all round us. Not to be outdone, Strathyre has been busy on the tennis court and St. Fillans on the golf course, and perhaps Lochearnhead are looking at the long range forecast and going for the indoor games night next. I’d like to direct you towards page 14: Richard’s article about the current state of Balquhidder’s broadband development - or more accurately, the current NON-state. Take a deep breath before reading. Last word on the Referendum to settle a big debate going on in the car park in Balquhidder as to when the name Polling Station had become the more mundane Polling Place. Wikipedia explains the difference: “A polling place or polling station is where voters cast their ballots in elections. A polling place is the building in which polling takes place. A polling station is the specific location within a polling place (such as a room, or a part of a room) where voters cast their votes, so a polling place can contain one or more polling stations.” I hope that clears it up! John Murray kindly reminded me that I have been lax in thanking one group of contributors, who are particularly evident in this month’s edition, namely all the photographers who provide us with so many images. So thanks to all who have provided photos over the last couple of years and to Fraz in particular from St. Fillans this month. JJ Please Note: Balquhidder Village Hall AGM will be on 19th November at 7.30pm. All are very welcome to attend!



The following readings were taken at ‘Bramblings’, Auchtubh, Balquhidder for the month of SEPTEMBER 2014. Average max temp Actual max temp Average min temp Actual min temp

18.2 ºC 22.0 8.2 4.0

64.0 ºF 71.0 46.0 39.0

Rainfall 1.2cms 0.5ins Strongest wind gust: 23mph on 25 Sept. 2


will take place at 7.30pm on Thursday 13 November 2014 at the Broch Cafe Strathyre. We will be entertained afterwards (at 8 pm) by well-known writer

Jim Crumley

who has been described as the best nature writer working in Britain today (by the Los Angeles Times). All welcome!


Games Night Fundraising fun in Lochearnhead Village Hall

Older People’s Reference Group

needs YOU!

Saturday October 25th 2014 ENTRY FREE Licensed bar 7-12 pm Come and join the fun with CARPET BOWLS & DOMINOES Food available No need for teams or experience! For more information please contact Liz 01567 830458 or Helen 01567 830388

Working to improve the quality of life of older people in the Stirling area, this group needs new members who are over 50 and interested in having a say on the issues affecting older people in communities. The group are consulted on issues which is especially important given the current changes to social care and health. Anyone over 50 living in the Stirling Council are can join and the group are especially interested in members from the rural area. Meetings are four times a year and areas of interest include Older People’s Care, Housing, Transport  and Community Safety. The group are supported by Stirling Council. For more information contact clerk to the group Claire McDonald, Committee Support Officer, Democratic Support, 01786 233077.

Real Ale - Real Music

The St Fillans Bit

by John Murray

Thank goodness that’s over – The Referendum. Night after night of repetitive debates and discussions on TV with neither side really answering any questions. All pretty harmless till you think that we are paying the wages of all these countless talking heads. I took delivery of the polling booths at the Sandison Hall and remarked that it will be good when it’s all over. The delivery driver said “Problem is that when it’s all over it won’t be all over”. A sage remark indeed. Within hours the various parties are arguing again – wish they’d just get on and run the country which is what we pay them for. I think the most encouraging thing about the referendum was the involvement Ryder Cup at St Fillans Golf Club of the electorate with an average of 85% of registered voters actually voting (89% in St Fillans) which is about 50% more Members of St Fillans Golf Club - trying hard not to touch the trophy! than at most elections. The current situation regarding the Committee are welcoming ‘new blood’ the honour of having the actual Ryder problems on the lochsides is that there – any villagers who would like to be Cup visit St Fillans on 19th September. are now three focus groups of interested involved in organising and running the Over 100 members and guests gathered parties working with the National Park event next year and new ideas for the to see the iconic trophy and have photos on areas of Code of Conduct, Alcohol event. Just contact Russell, Johnston, taken with the cup – as long as they didn’t Bylaws and Use of Laybys. The position Don or any other existing organiser. touch it! re caravans and motorhomes seems likely From personal experience of having For those of us non golfers the surprise to be that the lengthy hidden layby will be master minded the event for several years was how small it is, somehow it looks allocated to caravans and motorhomes, I know that organisers can get jaded and bigger on television – but then again with a limit of 2-3 days, and the others fresh input is vital. the Ashes Urn fought over by England for cars. I understand that Drummond There can’t be many who are not aware & Australia cricket teams is only about Estates have issued a statement regarding that the Ryder Cup will be competed for 6 inches high (I think). The magic is in the 2-3 days limit and that the Police at Gleneagles this week (as I write). St the kudos of winning. The event at St have found legislation which will enable Fillans Golf Club seized the opportunity Fillans was run with his usual enthusiasm them to enforce that. The actions to date to get involved in a variety of ways. by Gordon Hibbert who managed to seem to be working as there are far fewer They applied for grant assistance from overcome his natural shyness and reserve long term campers already. I gather that P&K Council to enhance the club house to MC matters very well. the ‘dawn swoop’ on one encampment entrance and P&K were so impressed The monthly update from Mary at The reported here last month has resulted that a further prize was awarded for their Four Seasons tells me that Chocolate week in three reports to the Benefits Agency. Legacy work. Following on from last begins on 13th October – a week of pure Additionally the Estate will be adding year’s inaugural Ryder Cup style match indulgence and she reckons that research printed restrictions to next year’s fishing with neighbours Comrie the club has has shown that chocolate is good for permits making clear the limitations on been granted “Ultimate Venue” status by you (probably carried out by Cadburys). lochside parking. It does seem that real Sky Sports with a prize of a 3D TV set and Cream teas by the open fire seems a fine Continued overleaf progress is being made and that our local representatives will keep up the pressure on the NP and others to keep to the time table which should result in enforceable laws, bylaws or codes ready for the 2015 season. A spin off from these problems, as highlighted by Richard Graham at the last Community Council meeting, is that we as a community often don’t report miscreants or suspicious activity because we don’t think that the Police will investigate anyway. This results in official Police records showing no real problems here. The simple answer is to report anything you see which affects our community so that records reflect the extent of the problem. The final surplus raised over the August Festive Weekend was over £1700 – somewhat more than I indicated last month. Funds will be used to renovate parts of the village marquee, renovate the village trailer and fund the Bonfire Night Party with the balance going to the Community Trust. The Festive 3

The St Fillans Bit

(Continued from p3)

way of passing a chilly afternoon. Then in November & December the hotel will be open only from Thursday to Sunday evening. Christmas Day Lunch is booking well – so get on the phone if you fancy somebody else doing all the work. The hotel has recently installed an incredibly impressive new boiler system for heating and hot water (Bio Mass?) – I’ve watched it being assembled and meant to get some pics for this column but never did. Very big, mucho expensive but apparently low running costs and almost minimal ash. These devices are also available for domestic installation I’m told. I briefly mentioned last month the passing of Blanche Forty, wife of Professor John Forty. Blanche was born in 1927 and during her teen years experienced true austerity and adversity during World War 2 with daily & nightly bombing of Pembroke Dock and the warships in Milford Haven below her home town of Hakin and the loss of her father at sea. Doubtless these experiences led to her dislike of waste and to the bravery she displayed in the last few


months of her life. Despite the conditions Blanche studied hard, obtaining Highers in some subjects without a teacher (!) and went on to Bristol University studying zoology & botany and gaining an Honours Degree. Her understanding of botany and horticulture underpinned her life-long love of gardening. At Bristol she also met husband to be John and they married in 1950. She was then a science teacher and supported him as a PhD student. Blanche had to be adaptable, firstly as an RAF wife and later as a University wife and the couple enjoyed 64 years of marriage with Blanche always encouraging John in a true partnership. Son Jonathan came along and she adapted to being a mother and bringing up her son with her own values of knowing right from wrong, gaining a good education, trying to lead a life of 4

Are you a sole trader... a partnership... a small limited company a or charity? I can offer help with your: a VAT returns • Tax returns Book keeping • Credit control a Payroll • General office/paperwork a Helen Clark a 07971 648743 01567 830459 a benefit to others and having a scientific understanding of our world. The family learned to sail in small dinghies, remarkable as she couldn’t swim and often finished up in the water. In her fifties Blanche did learn to swim and became quite an enthusiast – but in the pool not the sea. She enjoyed meeting people, supporting young faculty wives and staff at the University of Warwick and then later as Principal’s wife at the University of Stirling. She travelled extensively embracing new cultures and people in New Zealand, Japan and the USA but was very community minded – fund raising, delivering meals on wheels and joining St Fillans Ladies Lunch Club before she even moved here full time. She established a charity to help children & young people and funded a children’s centre in Tembelela in Kenya which bears her name and in the design of which she was ‘hands on’. But her real passion and relaxation was always gardening – breaking in or adapting gardens as she and John moved around, an unerring eye for what to plant and where and an artist’s view of construction and further growth. In later years with poor eyesight she still loved what she could see, aided by John’s descriptions of the plants and still directing the design. It was summed up by the quote on the order of her Service and Thanksgiving: “The wonder of the world, the beauty and the power, the shapes of things, their colours, lights and shades: these I saw”. Personally I knew Blanche and John as regular clients in the Achray and supporters of village events. John as a perfect gentleman, but with a real humorous streak and Blanche as a lovely lady. Our sympathy to John in the loss of his lifelong partner. Finally, as a real reminder that winter approaches the weekly Country Dancing & Carpet Bowls sessions in the Sandison Hall are starting again. The dancing is already up and running on Tuesdays at 7.30 and the Bowls commence on Monday 20th October at 7.30. All are very welcome, all you have to do is turn up and JM enjoy.

The Bridge Group

Table Tennis Group

Welcome to the start of our third year. Our autumn session is in full swing and some new groups have been added. The full timetable is available on our website together with details of the new committee for 2014-15. (Just ‘Google’ Callander and West Perthshire U3A). Anyone can e-mail the committee with queries and a membership form is also available online. For anyone new to U3A the University of the Third Age (U3A) is a nationwide movement of selfhelp, self-managed co-operatives for older people no longer in full time work, providing opportunities for their members to share learning experiences in a wide range of interest groups. All the group leaders give their services for free and the accent is on ‘Learning for Fun’. C&WP U3A offers two taster sessions before a commitment to membership so if you are interested but unsure about joining us please contact the Secretary either by email: or phone: 01360 850 722 Our newsletters are available to view at Callander Library.

Anyone for tennis? During the summer holidays, around twenty children spent every Thursday afternoon practising their forehands and learning how to tell “love” from “deuce” at Strathyre Tennis Court. Active Stirling taught three classes for 6 -18 year olds on the re-vamped court behind the Monroe Hotel. Children from Lochearnhead, Balquhidder, Strathyre and Callander joined in. On Saturday 30th August lots of children (and their parents and grandparents) came along for an end of coaching tournament. The sun shone and some great groundstrokes ensued. The picnic baskets were cracked open and a good time was had by all. At the end of the session, there were certificates for all the children who had taken part over the summer. Lots of folk contributed to the success of the classes and thanks must go to them all. Ruth Henderson from Active Stirling has been most supportive of the initiative, Active Stirling’s first coached sports course in our area. Wullie Dalziel power-washed the court prior to the coaching and Willie from The Peak came and marked out new lines. Katriona McGeoch lent her bunting to cheer up the court over the summer. Ruth intends to keep the enthusiasm for tennis going with a half term camp for primary age children in Strathyre Village Hall – so look out for details. While all the fun has been happening, we have been working hard on our plans to raise funding to re-surface and refence the court, creating disabled access and putting up a small pavilion on the site of the dug-out. With the help of Graham Harley of Strathyre, planning permission has now been granted for the scheme. And our first funding applications have

Afternoon Practice

been successful – Rural Stirling Housing Association have contributed £650.00 and Stirling Council £1500.00 to the project. We are waiting to hear from the big three – the Weir Trust, the Postcode Lottery Trust and the Active Places Fund of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games – to find out if we can go ahead. We should know more by the end of the year. So keep those racquets crossed! If you would like to get more involved in the scheme, please contact Sara on 01877 384799. We are looking for volunteers to help maintain the court now it has been cleared and we are also need to raise some local funds towards the refurbishment. Active Stirling would like to recruit a local tennis coach to promote tennis in the area. This would be a paid position. Again, more details can be obtained from Sara. Strathyre Village Association and BLS Trust

Coaching Session


Veggie Victory

Strathyre News Letters Received...

Dear Mr Dalziel, I have been forwarded your email regarding the path behind the village shop in Strathyre. Thank you very much for getting in touch with us, and for all the photographs you have attached, they are really useful. It does seem narrow, especially as you have said in comparison with the new section between the village and Kingshouse. I will be passing through Strathrye later in the week, so will have a look at the path then. The National Park Authority do not have any maintenance agreements for this section, however, I will investigate landownership and management responsibilities so we can look to a solution for keeping the path free of the encroaching vegetation. I will let you know any progress on this as soon as possible. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the below contact details. Many thanks again. Yours sincerely, Linda Winskill Recreation and Access Adviser Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

* * * * *

Wullie, Apologies for the delay in responding, I have been on annual leave and am just catching up. Over the last few days I have spoken to the Visitor Operations Manager at the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, the Broch Café owner and the manager at Immervoulin Caravan Park. We have taken a joint approach to look for solutions to the issues reported. The steps we have in place along with some additional measures are: • Installed advisory responsible behaviour notices regarding wild camping in the FC car park • Increased patrols by Loch Lomond and the National Park Authority rangers at the weekends until the end of the season

Litter inspection and clear up by FCS staff weekly throughout the year • Arranged for a key to be allocated to the manager at Immervoulin caravan park who has offered to open/close the barrier on a daily basis. They will work along with the Broch Café owner to cover the opening/closing requirements of the barrier. I have asked that it be open from a minimum of 9am to 6pm daily. I am also intending on raising this subject with the National Park Police officer to see what further advice or assistance they can provide. We are intending on having a joint meeting with the LLTNP over the winter to review visitor management issues and plan for next season. I hope that you are reassured that we have taken this issue seriously and that we continue to do our utmost to address any concerns. However if you still feel that this complaint has not been resolved then you are able to have it reviewed externally by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. Normally you must submit any complaint to the Ombudsman not more than twelve months after you became aware of the matter you want to complain about. Regards, Anne Gilchrist Recreation Manager Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, Forestry Commission

* * * * * I would like to thank Mr Will Huckerby and Anne Gilchrist for their positive response to my email outlining the problems on the Commission and I am delighted to see that the Forestry Commission has taken such a serious view of the situation, and acted in the interest of the people of Strathyre, so well done to them!! Wullie D

Fund Raising Event I would like to take this opportunity to say a very big THANK YOU to everyone who attended the wonderful music night in the Village Hall in order to raise funds for the much needed refurbishment of the toilets. A special thank you to everyone who helped me on the night, To all who provided the food, the raffle prizes and donations and to Balvaig for supporting our guest artiste of the evening Jimmy Lee, who entertained us with his own brand of music and charm. The refurbishment of the toilets will take time and require more fund raising events, but your generosity raised £1020 which is a very good kick-start to this project. Jan D


I was more that delighted to be awarded First prize for my small but very productive vegetable garden by Rural Stirling in their recent competition. This is the second time I have secured a “First” and it makes the effort all worthwhile so looking forward to defending my title next year!! Still on gardening, can I congratulate Janet Richards and all the committee members on their first year presenting what is now the Country Show in the Village hall, and what a wonderful day it was! The many items on display just show how much interest there is in the area for this kind of competition and how willing people are to put in all the hard work it takes to organise and indeed, take part in this very friendly bit of rivalry. I sincerely hope that this show will continue for many years to come and with Janet and her team at the helm, I`m sure this will be the case, so may I wish them the very best for the future. Wullie D PS I managed a respectable First, Second and Third in the veggie section!


Mrs Elizabeth (Betty) Beauchamp 1917 – 2014

It is with great sadness we announce that ‘Betty’ passed away on Wednesday 3rd September, aged 97. Many of you will not have known Betty when she lived in Balquhidder, as she left in 1993 to return to Tain where she was born. Betty had a quite remarkable life and lived it to the full. She left Tain following the completion of her ‘Highers’ at Tain Royal Academy, and became a civil servant in the Scottish Education Department in London. Shortly afterwards, in 1935, she was moved to Edinburgh. Here she met and married her husband , fondly known to all as ‘Beech’. Being released from the Civil Service, Betty became a housewife for the next 12 years. In 1957 ‘Beech’ retired. There was a shortage of teachers so Betty applied to be trained as one. Applicants had to be under 45 and Betty was now 40. She was accepted. Following three years training she qualified and her first post began in 1960 at Balquhidder. At this time , Miss Stewart was Head Teacher and there were 38 pupils. In 1964 Miss Stewart moved to Stirling and Betty became Headteacher. Betty stayed and taught so many grateful pupils, until her retirement in 1972. Following her retirement, it was not in Betty’s nature to be idle, and so she became President of the Women’s Guild, Secretary of the WRI, secretary press reporter for the Community Council, Clerk to the Congregational Board,ordained Church Elder and finally Session Clerk. As if this wasn’t enough, Betty decided to write an historical account of Balquhidder. It took her 5 years to produce the now famous book, The Braes of Balquhidder and what a good read it is. The book has seen 4 editions and for Betty it was a real ‘labour of love’ bringing her many visitors from across the world. With what little time Betty had to spare she also took up painting in watercolours. There must be hundreds all over the place. In 1993 Betty’s husband died, and aged 77, she decided to move, as it would be difficult staying if she couldn’t drive – so she thought. Betty returned to Tain and was nearer to her sisters. To quote her: “What a wrench it was to leave. I’d had 34 years of a full life in a beautiful environment with really lovely people.” Well, Jean Edwards and I visited Betty, as have many folk since she moved and in May this year she was still driving and had just renewed her driving licence for another three years. Amazing at 97. Not many people know, but Betty had written another book. It has lain in a suitcase for twenty odd years. Called Please Miss it recalls her teacher training and experiences at Balquhidder School. Just before Betty died the book resurfaced and her nephew James retyped it. A publisher will be found and the book will be printed. Betty even drew the wonderful illustrations to go with it. Her Minister in Tain, Rev. Douglas Horne said the following at Betty’s funeral, “... she was held in such high esteem and so greatly loved”, “she enriched the lives of those with whom she came into contact”, “... for her writing and artistic talents which have given so much pleasure to so many people all over the world”. There’s no question that Betty was a “one-off ” and she will be greatly missed by her sister Beatrice, nieces, nephews and all family and friends. We won’t forget that lovely smile and twinkle in her eye. P Perkins


Annual Country Show 2014 The show was held at Strathyre Village Hall with the aim (this year) to keep the show going, and that was certainly achieved. It was well attended and plenty of fantastic exhibits, many from people who had never entered before. Hopefully they felt encouraged to keep growing, baking and crafting to enter again next year. A big thank you to all who entered, the winners in this year’s show are as follows: Pot Plants Karen Knett Cut Flowers Clare Hunter Fruit & Veg Rosanne McWilliams Strathyre Rosanne Cleansings Cup McWilliams Floral Arts Margaret Galloway Handicrafts Alison Seminoff Art Maureen Hamilton Photography Edward Chadfield The prizes were awarded by our very own Catherine Menzies. The overall points winner was Rosanne McWilliams, and best in show went to Alison Seminoff for her excellent cushion cover depicting the Ryder Cup Theme. The judges felt a lot of time and hard work had gone into making it. Once again thanks to all who helped, exhibited and supported. I will announce further developments and next year’s classes in the new year. Janet Richards 7

Church News BalquhiĐĐer Reg. Charity No. SC012316

A Note from

St Angus’s

The main event of note this month apart from the referendum- has been the recognition of our Rector’s hard work and commitment by the wider church by making her a Canon. In a lovely service in St Ninian’s Cathedral, Perth, tribute was made to the wonderful work and dedication of Paddy, not only to the Parish of Strathearn and Killin but also to her work in training ordinands to the priesthood at the Theological Institute in Edinburgh. A very well deserved honour as far as we are concerned. There has been much joking about this led by her husband Bruce who asked if she could now be “fired!” I asked her if she was likely to be a “loose Canon” to which she replied “probably” which is no doubt true for she is a very independent-minded lady and won’t hesitate to stand up for what she believes (all power to her I say, any institution hidebound by tradition needs a shake -up from time to time!) There have also been several comments about her being “canonised” (i.e. made a saint)! I mentioned the referendum. On the eve of the referendum it was ecumenically agreed that the churches would be open for prayer before the voting. St Angus’s was open from 4.0pm until 8.0pm with prayers on the hour every hour. In case you are wondering this was NOT to influence the outcome but to pray for those who would be disappointed and feel let down by the result and for reconciliation. It should be a matter of national pride that only a tiny handful reacted aggressively and that so many accepted the result, many with great disappointment, so peaceably and respectfully. There are sceptics reading this I’m sure but I am certain that the prayers of the churches helped to bring this about. Perhaps we should now be praying that Westminster honour their promises! We are finally about to start on the installation of our new heating system in the church and, as a consequence, there will be NO services on Sunday 12th and Sunday 19th October. Everyone is being encouraged to attend St Fillan’s in Killin at 9.45am. Please note that when British Summer Time ends on 26th October our services then and thereafter will be at 9.45am at St Angus’s and 11.15am at St Fillan’s Killin. 8

It was a sad day on 3rd September when we heard that Mrs Betty Beauchamp had died, aged 97. She was a much loved school teacher here and a stalwart supporter of the church and community at large. Our church life was enhanced by her work as Clerk to the Congregational Board, an elder and also Session Clerk from 1981 to 1994. Most of all, I recall her gentle voice and lovely smile that welcomed us into church on Sundays. She had a long and happy life which you will read about elsewhere in this month’s Villagers. 20 years after moving to Tain to be closer to her family, we were glad to welcome her back to Balquhidder which she chose as her last resting place. Her funeral service was conducted by Revd. Douglas Horne and Revd. John Lincoln and, after Kieren MacNicol had piped her coffin to the cemetery, we met many folk in the Village Hall, including former pupils, who all had very happy memories of their friendship with Betty. Our thoughts and prayers are with her sister Beatrice, her family and friends. There is little news regarding the ministerial vacancy here. The refurbishment of the manse is under way and will need to be extensive. Until that work is done and approved by Presbytery we are not allowed to advertise for a new minister. Meanwhile, we are waiting to hear if a prospective locum is prepared to take on the job of coping with 2 parishes and a manse like a builder`s yard! Revd Stuart Fulton’s time as our Interim Moderator is due to end on 28th September and we thank him for all he has done for us since the end of March. His prayer for the autumn following the Independence Referendum is for us to remember how important it will be to bring hope and unity to this very special part of the world and to continue to care for one another and the society in which we live.

Jean Edwards

2014 Callander Film Festival and Callander Film Society: New Season It’s an exciting time for Callander Film Society! We have a weekend of Scottish films from Friday 10th to Sunday 12th October and a new season of 17 Contemporary and Classic films that we will show from October to March.

The Film Festival starts at 8pm on the Friday evening with a screening of short film The Balance by Ben Thomson who grew up in Callander. Ben will join us to answer questions about film-making. This will be followed by For Those in Peril, the debut feature from acclaimed Scottish film maker Paul Wright. On Saturday afternoon we will show Brave at 1pm. At 4pm on Saturday there will be a selection of short films from the Aesthetica Short Film Festival. Admission to the short film session is free of charge and you’ll see films that won’t be screened anywhere else! On Saturday evening at 8pm we’ll be screening The Angels’ Share, the bittersweet comedy about a group of friends who find some meaning to life in the world of whisky. Parts of this movie were filmed at the Deanston Distillery and they have offered us two free tour tickets to give away as a door prize. On Sunday afternoon, we’re proud to welcome Ian Rintoul, a Scottish film maker who has also worked in television as a film editor and producer. A free screening of two of his short films Derek Do you need a new home in Cameron’s Dominion and The Magic Lochearnhead, Strathyre, Umbrella will be followed with the chance Killin or Callander? If so, to ask questions. At 5.30pm and 8pm we’ll Rural Stirling Housing Association round off the festival with Sunshine on may be able to help Leith, based on the sensational stage hit The Association’s aim is to support rural communities featuring the music of The Proclaimers. by providing affordable good quality homes for All festival films are at St Kessog’s in people in housing need. We currently have 450 rented homes and around 30 Ancaster Square. Tickets are £5 for adults, of these become available for re-let each year. £3 for children or £10 for a rover ticket We also build some new homes each year. Book in advance at St Kessog’s or at For more details and a housing application form contact us at: 07583 634036 or Rural Stirling Housing Association The Film Festival would not be Stirling Road, Doune FK16 6AA possible without the support that Telephone 01786 841101 we have from Stirling Council’s Email Community Pride Fund, Callander Enterprise, Women in the Trossachs, Registered as a Scottish Charity No. SCO37849 Waverley Hotel, Mhor Fish, Deanston Please note that we encourage all applicants to also apply to Stirling Council’s housing list Distillery and Callander Jazz Festival. (Tel 0845 277 7000) It’s still not too late to join Callander Being on both lists is the best way to maximise your chances of being re-housed. Film Society we will be screening 12 Contemporary movies and 5 Classics. The Contemporary season screenings are at McLaren Leisure Centre on Saturday evenings at 7:00pm. From October to December we will show Sunshine on Leith, Captain Phillips, Philomena, Like Father Like Son from Japan and The Book Thief. The New Year starts with Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine - then we go on to show The Past from Iran, and The Lunchbox set in Mumbai, India. The Railway Man, the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis and Rush, the exciting story of Formula 1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Our classic programme is screened at The Waverley Hotel on Friday nights at 7.30pm. We start in November with The Count of Monte Cristo. In December we feature Roman Scandals a 1933 musical comedy. Niagara is our January movie and in February we will show Seven Days in May. Rounding off the season is a hard-hitting crime drama from 1942, The Glass Key. Membership fees remain at £22 for the contemporary programme, £10 for

Bittersweet comedy

the classic or you can join both for £25. We are on Facebook and Twitter and membership forms are available at our web site The Callander Film Society programme would not be possible without the support of Stirling & District Arts Forum, The British Federation of Film Societies, The Waverley Hotel and McLaren Community Leisure Centre. See you at the movies! Eammon OBoyle


Scottish Wildlife Trust

The Tayside Beaver Group Project Officer, Helen Dickinson, got our season off to an excellent start. Unrelated to the controlled introduction of Norwegian beavers in the Knapdale trial, these Bavarian beavers escaped/were released from private collections. Beaver facts: Eurasians, smaller than the N American species, weigh 20kg on average, are up to 1m long, and are the world’s second largest rodent and semiaquatic, active at dawn and dusk. Their dense pelt has soft hair for insulation and outer guard hair for waterproofing, enhanced by grooming with castoreum oil. They are herbivorous, eating grasses, roots, aquatic plants and bark/shrubs. They do not hibernate but build underwater food caches for winter. Eurasians build fewer dams, as most watercourses are deep enough, often living in burrows in riverbanks with territories up to 3km. Living for 8-10 years, they give birth in April/May to 2 kits on average that stay in the family group until yearlings. The Tayside Beaver Project: in 2006 the Scottish Government set up the TSBG consortium, led by SNH, to monitor their

Scottish Wildlife Trust Callander Members’ Diary AUTUMN 2014 14 October

Black Grouse in Central Scotland

11 November

Native Plants That Catch Insects Talks start at 7.30pm Waverley Hotel, Main Street, Callander Admission £2 members, £2.50 non-members, free to full-time students. Includes tea/coffee & biscuits. Please book with Lesley Hawkins 01877 339080 or 10

Beavers are well known for their considerable building skills

health and impact and to resolve conflicts. ( A 2012 survey showed the main populations along the rivers Earn & Isla and their catchments with fewer in the Tay & Tummel. 22 beavers have been trapped (then released) for health and genetic screening showing all are Bavarian and healthy with no non-native parasites or diseases that could be passed to other species. Monitoring of 40 lodges suggests a total population of 150-200. The conflicts: river dams could be a barrier to salmonid migration and lead to silting of spawning beds but higher water levels offer beneficial over-wintering sites. Dams in agricultural drainage channels can lead to problems if they raise the water table. Where some water level increase can be tolerated, drainage pipes in the dam can control flow and grids can protect road culverts. Trees can be protected by

simple chicken wire or a special paint but barriers around some agricultural crops may also be needed. An advisory service is available to landowners, along with a website and demonstration sites for mitigation measures. Decision time: Beavers became extinct in Britain by the 16th century due to hunting for pelts, meat and castoreum oil, used as a medical cure-all and perfume base. Is there a moral obligation to reinstate them or is there no longer room for them in densely populated and agricultural areas? Results from TSBG and the Knapdale trial will be submitted to the Scottish Minister for the Environment in early 2015. Possible decisions include their removal, retaining the current situation, management plans or further licensed reintroductions for genetic diversity. Or will the beavers have their own Lesley Hawkins ideas?

DOCTORS Drs Strang & Scott and Drs Mathewson & Gibson Community Nurses The surgeries and community nurses take part in various training programmes throughout the year. This is to meet the educational and training needs of all members of the practice and nursing team. The next training afternoons will be on: Thursday 23rd October 2014 Wednesday 26th November 2014 On these afternoons, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments. Both practices and community nurse clinic will close at 12.30pm. Emergency cover will be provided by NHS24 for nursing and GPs. In the event of an emergency, please telephone 111. Bracklinn Practice Our next patient group meeting will be held on Wednesday 29th October at 7pm in the Medical Centre. The group discusses issues which affect our patients such as signage to the hospital, ambulance transport etc. If you would like to attend the meeting, please contact the surgery beforehand and we will add your name to the list of members. Monday 13th October is a Bank Holiday. The practice will be open as usual in the morning, but will close in the afternoon for a staff meeting/training session. Christmas and New Year Holiday arrangements – Bracklinn Practice will close at 1.30pm on Christmas Eve and re-open at 8.30am on Monday 29th December. We will also close at 1.30pm on New Year’s Eve and re-open at 8.30am on Monday 5th January. One of our doctors will be on-call between 1.30pm – 6pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. If you require urgent medical attention when the surgery is closed please contact NHS24 on 111. Make sure you have enough medication to last you over the holiday period, and if you think you will run out, order your medication early or ask for 2 months supply.


ANNUAL FLU VACCINE OPEN DAY – 10th OCTOBER Bracklinn AND Leny Practice OPEN DAY for flu vaccinations is on Friday 10th October. Flu vaccines will be available from 9.00am – 5.30pm. We would encourage everyone eligible for the vaccination to attend the open day as we will have limited clinics following this to offer the vaccine. Please note Bracklinn Practice will be operating emergency appointments only on that day and Leny Practice will provide a limited morning and afternoon clinic. Repeat prescription requests will not be processed. The flu vaccine is available to everyone aged 65 years and over as at 31 March 2015 or under 65 if you 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, Diabetic, stent inserted, No spleen, receiving Chemotherapy or Steroids or if you are an unpaid Carer. Immunosuppressed patients and children under the age of 5 years with health problems. All children 2 to 5 years (born between 2 September 2008 and 1 September 2012). Pregnant ladies. If you are under 65 years and do not have any of the above conditions but would like the flu vaccination we would advise you to contact providers such as Boots or Sainsbury’s Pharmacy who offer this service. If you are unsure whether you are entitled to the vaccination, or cannot attend the surgery on 10th October, please contact us on the following numbers: -

Bracklinn Practice 01877 331001

Leny Practice 01877 331000

CHARITY FUNDRAISING We will be showing our support and fundraising on our Open day for Bowel Cancer UK – full details of the charity can be found on


Lads Fun Football Team

Highland Games ‘Clear Up’ October 2014 There has been a social event often referred to at the Games ‘Clear Up’ on the Sunday after Highland Games Day. It may start slowly as we shuffle into the park, the men grunting their acknowledgement a of a hard night’s celebrating, the girls silently donning their Marigolds. Five minutes into the job, everyone finds an unspoken task and we are litter picking, taking down tents and stalls, packing up fence stobs and ropes and folding flags. Decades ago the outcome of the day’s clearing up morphed into a football match and a fund raising raffle for local good causes. So it is today and by 3 pm we are ready, sponsored strips now, not just auld claes, for the annual joust of Marrieds’ versus Singles both men and women. Jimmy McS and Cathy B had the barbecue fired up and the hot dogs and burgers

were at bargain prices. The beer tent stood there selling cool drinks and offering free sweeties to the kids as the Ref ’s whistle blew. This year a closely contended men’s game was opened up by a sudden scoring spurt by the lads as the older guys stamina flagged and the Singles ran out winner by 5 goals to 1. The match was marked by one extra ordinary feat. An Angus Cameron goal right at full time. Angus has played in this game since Moses was a lad and at last he found the net. Mind you all his other appearances had been as goalie! Our ladies then applied their version of the game and after much hilarity the Married bested the Misses by 2 to 1. The sun was shining on our spectators who generously bought every raffle ticket we could come up with, for the chance to take home the many prizes and surprises

Older Guys Fun Football Team

donated by so many of the kind people of the Villages. Your amazing support helped us to raise over £1000 again this year, treats in store for the primary schools and Tommy McGregor’s cancer charity work amongst others. Thank you all for making the day so enjoyable. Alex Gargolinski

Ladies Fun Football Team

The new manager of our struggling football team is strict and won’t stand any nonsense. Last Saturday, he caught two fans climbing over the stadium wall and was angry with them. He grabbed them and said: “Get back in there and watch the game until it finishes!”


Janet Richards at Strathtre’s Village Shop and Post Office

BLS – Where Business Does the Talking Janet Richards and her father David run the Village Shop and Post Office in Strathyre. Located on the main street in the centre of the village, the shop is a popular stopping place for tourists in the area, a hub for the community, and famous for its delicious homemade sandwiches. Speaking with Janet I got a glimpse of what it is like to run the business, as well as having the chance to meet Jess the post cat! How long have you lived in the area? I’ve been here for thirteen years; my parents David and Barbara and my sister Emma have been here for fifteen. When did you first start running the Strathyre Village Shop and Post Office? Two years ago in April. What brought us to Strathyre originally was we bought the caravan park Immervoulin. Then the shop just happened to come up for sale and we got the opportunity to buy it, so we did. Now, my sister runs the caravan park, while dad and I run the shop. Also, my mum makes all the sandwiches, which are legendary. Everybody loves them! Are the shop and the post office two parts of the same business or are they completely separate? At this moment in time the post office is completely separate from the actual shop. What the Post Office is doing at the moment is they are undergoing a transformation scheme, where over the next twelve months the post office will

become an integral part of the shop. But they are two clearly different businesses. Are the majority of your customers locals or do you mainly get visitors to the area coming in? I’ve actually noticed a change recently. I used to work in the shop before, when the previous owners used to have it, and it was mainly passing trade that came through. I’ve noticed a difference since we’ve had the shop though, as more locals are starting to use it. But we do still get a percentage of passing trade visitors. Concerning the tourists that you do see, where are they mostly from – the rest of the UK or abroad? Usually they would be from the UK, but this year has been different. And I think that this is mainly due to the Commonwealth Games. I’ve felt this year that we’ve had more French, German and Dutch people passing through. That might be because people came to watch the Commonwealth Games and then possibly extended their stay and decided to holiday in the area. So, this year has been different. During which months of the year are you at your busiest? During July and August. What does the general day-to-day running of the business involve? Dad opens up first thing in the morning. He opens up and does all the newspapers, setting up all the papers as well as the lottery terminal. When I start I have to come in and set up the post office and generally do things that need doing such as temperature control, the usual health and safety things, cleaning. Then we just settle into serving, as well as having the odd cup of tea! What are the most popular products that you sell? I think that the highest proportion of things that we sell is probably cigarettes. Irn-Bru too! Overall it is cold drinks, cigarettes and chocolate. How do you think that running a business such as yours in a rural community like Strathyre is different to if you were in a town or city? I think you need to rely a lot more on passing trade coming through. You’ve got to encourage the likes of the lorry drivers who tend to stop. It’s different in that way. I just think you have to market things a little differently. You’ve got to stock absolutely everything because you don’t know what people are going to want. Whereas, if you were in a town for example, people have got more opportunity to go to a bigger shop or somewhere different. That’s why you literally have to stock everything. How often do you restock? We normally get a cash and carry delivery once a week. And then mum and dad usually

go to cash and carry once a week as well. So, at least twice a week we get new stock. And then other things come in on a monthly basis. The cakes, biscuits, things like that, they come in once every six weeks. Once a week we get frozen food delivered. Therefore on the whole something new is coming in every week. What’s the hardest part of your work, if anything? I don’t think that there is a hard part of it. Sometimes, it’s not so much the long hours, it’s just having to work every single day that can be hard. It is a family business, and we are a very close family. I think that in business nowadays that is one of the ways to survive. It is hard work, but worth it in the end! With all of the uncertainty in the country leading up to the referendum, did you notice any effect on your business? Not really. I think that as we’re a small village shop, obviously the community was still coming in so it didn’t make any real difference. Apart from the fact that people were just generally talking and chatting about it all, including their own feelings of uncertainty. What, in your opinion, is the best part about living and working in a community like Strathyre? I think it is the close-knit community. It’s got a good feeling about it. It was strange when I first moved here actually. I had moved from a town down south where I didn’t know my next door neighbours. Then after I first moved here there was one time when people were concerned because I was unwell and they hadn’t seen me for a couple of days. So they came knocking on the door, which I found a bit odd, until I realised that that’s what a community is about, and that’s great! It’s exactly as it should be. I feel safe going anywhere here. I feel as though I can go to the pub on my own and I can have a conversation with anybody. There is just a really good sense of community spirit. It’s lovely to run a business here. As you can see, everyone comes in to have their tea in the morning. And I do feel that the shop is the centre of the village. I also think that the fact that we help out in the community is a part of that. Everybody should feel they are able to come to us. Interview by Iona Mchedliani Janet & David Richards can be contacted by phone at the Strathyre Village Shop & Post Office on 01877 384275. Jess the Post Office Cat!


No Broadband for Balquhidder... There are two publicly funded projects to improve the reach of superfast broadband in rural Scotland. There is the government’s Step Change 2015 programme (albeit recently renamed after they realised that the 2015 target just wasn’t going to happen). BT has been gifted more than £400M of public money plus a local top-up of about £670,000 from Stirling Council for this contract. Then there’s Community Broadband Scotland (CBS), which exists to help remote communities get connected. CBS appears to work well for communities who KNOW that they aren’t getting anything from BT, ever. The problem lies with communities that just don’t know if they’re going to be part of the BT rollout and who therefore can’t make sensible bids for community funding to CBS because they don’t know where they’ll be able to connect into the fast BT ‘backbone’ network and therefore how much it will cost. Locally, Strathyre will receive fibre from Callander in the first half of 2015 and Lochearnhead will get it from Auchterarder in the second half of next year but Balquhidder has been in the position of not knowing what, if anything, it would be getting. Following BT’s and Scottish Government’s deeply unsatisfactory performance at their meeting for community councils earlier

in the year, a meeting was organised for 29 September, chaired by Bruce Crawford MSP, to bring together BT, CBS, The Scottish Government and representatives of the Balquhidder community. BT, via the government representative (BT were a no-show at the meeting apparently their representative’s car broke down) stated that they will not be putting fibre into Balquhidder as their calculations show that putting a cabinet in the village would not significantly ‘uplift’ (their term) the speed of connection to most properties in the area. As previously noted, it likely means that, once the upgrades to Strathyre are complete, some properties in Balquhidder may well lose even their existing broadband provision. If the residents and enterprises of Balquhidder wish to be part of the connected world, then it appears that we can: - lobby hard through our MSP and MP (telecommunications funding still comes from Westminster) to have this ludicrous decision reviewed. If this concerns you, please do it! - engage with CBS to put a project together to get Balquhidder connected, now that we know where fibre is and isn’t going to. This is already under way. The big issue here is that BT is basing their calculations purely on whether

properties in Balquhidder would be able to get superfast broadband using their own extant and ancient infrastructure. They completely ignore the existence of both CBS and other local initiatives that can take over at a cabinet and provide fast, reliable and cheap local connections. If there was ever an example of a major public contract comprehensively breaching the spirit of the agreement and intent of the whole project, this is it. We are now in a position where a lively, active community and a whole range of businesses are being denied costeffective (or indeed any) modern internet access, despite huge sums of our money being spent on a programme designed to provide just that. BT’s own Corporate Social Responsibility Statement includes the line, “Our aim is to help create a better world by tackling big issues where better communication can make a real difference”. Changing it to, “Take the money and run” would more accurately reflect their approach. This is a quite astonishing situation and one I feel that reflects very poorly on both the Scottish Government’s contracting and contract management and on BT’s corporate short-sightedness and lack of concern with delivering on the commitments they should have been asked to give. Richard Harris

Help! Aargh!




Aargh! Oh Nooo! Aeeeeii!






Pin-Feathers*by Old Nyati

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

edge of a woodcock’s wing and only two such feathers occur on each bird (one on each wing). This month, Old Nyati writes of the dangers of travelling, horse-drawn style...

Sometimes it is good to see and support good things and in this case it was for the Macmillan Nurses and in total after tremendous hard work and logistics the total sum raised was £4,175.00. It was Old Nyati and the Mimsaab`s privilege to be a small part of this. But how did this all happen, you may ask? Let me tell a little of the story. Between the 1st and 16th of August there was organised a relay of horses with a huge team of drivers, grooms, horse transport and road escorts to re-create the journey of the Edinburgh to Gretna Mail Coach of the 1800s, taking the original route for most of the way. The old main turnpike it was said was so full of holes as to be extremely fatiguing and irksome to travellers. (The back road from Balquhidder to Strathyre still is!!) We can still find wooden cobbles at The Old Crown Inn at Penicuik. These were intended to deaden the sound of the horses’ hoof beats as they were leaving in the early hours under the guests’ bedrooms. Near Tweedshaw on the high road is the ‘Postie Stone’ which bears the inscription: Near the head of this Burn on 1st. Feb. 1831. James Mcgeorge and John Goodman, driver, of the Dumfries to Edinburgh Mail, lost their lives in the snow after carrying the mail bags thus far.

The story goes that a terrible blizzard was encountered on the high road leading up to the Devil’s Beef Tub; the horses and coach became so badly stuck in the snow drifts that the two men decided to continue on foot in an effort to deliver the mail. They released the horses, who in two days managed to find their way back to the stables, but the two posties perished in the storm. The Devil’s Beef Tub, at the head of Annandale, is, as the name implies, a huge, deep and terrible place. It is the place where many a border Reiver is supposed to have hidden stolen cattle. This is Johnston territory and fantastic scenery. Old Nyati joined the coach on the last leg of its journey from Kirtlebridge to the triumphant arrival at Gretna and the presentation of donations to the Macmillan representative. Riding on top of the coach makes one think of how the old saying “He has just dropped off ” came to be... well, if you were sitting at the back, it would have been very easy. Old Nyati was at the front - and didn’t!

The Devil’s Beef Tub a huge, deep and terrible place!


On the road

The Driver

The Cheque!


View from the Park


by Owen McKee They’ve practically all decamped and a sullen hush engulfs us. One group breathes a sigh of relief whilst the other wonders whether they will survive another winter. No I’m not referring to the big topic settled on 18th September but to the fact that the tourist season is all but gone. It is safe to say that the weather was kind but I venture to suggest that there are mixed reports on the event driven tourism bonanza that was forecast. Accommodation numbers for the Commonwealth Games, Bannockburn, Armed Forces Day and the International Fishing Festival don’t seem to have been all that great outwith the cities. On the other hand, the indications are that the Ryder Cup visitors have boosted the late season bookings. Ah well, there is always ... Next Year bodes well on the visitor management front. The community councils for The Villagers area are collaborating with Callander and Trossachs community councils to progress the proposed byelaw restricting the outdoor consumption of alcohol. With that and the camping management plans in place the prospects for next year are hopeful. Work is also progressing on the feasibility study for the footpath from Immervoulin into Strathyre with a report due from the consultants by the end of October. If there is a viable proposal from the consultants the target will be to get applications in for the 2015 round of funding.


In the last issue I highlighted the problems that sometime arise because of the lack of communication. I have since been asked how somehow can find out what development is proposed in an area. It is a straight forward process. All planning application are open to public scrutiny. When an application is received the planning authority notifies immediate neighbours i.e. residents within a 50 metres radius of the proposed development. In addition the community council for the area is advised as a statutory consultee. And anyone can access the information online @ www. . Go to the Planning page. When there, scroll down to planning list which will show all applications for any given week. Each application has a reference number and all relative papers are open to the public. It is always heartening when a project produces the desired results so I am particularly pleased to report that the Glen Dochart Waders project has over a three year period seen an increase of 90% in breeding pairs and as a consequence has been nominated for the RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards. And although not due for a formal survey until the spring of next year reports from land managers suggest that the Callander Black Grouse Project is also heading for success. Owen McKee As always I can be contacted as follows: Taigh Na Bhuth, Lochearnhead 01567830214

Branch Lines of Strathearn – Tourists, Tatties and Trains

by John Young Here is a book for any railway buff and historian. The book brings together John Young’s original work from 1963 augmented by much additional material gathered over the last 50 years along with extensive research conducted locally by David Ferguson and the late Lindsay Horne. The book covers in great detail the branch lines between Crieff and Balquhidder, Crieff and Gleneagles and Crieff and the Almond Valley Junction. Drawing on many original documents and contemporary accounts it traces the development of these branch lines. Illustrated with nearly 300 photographs, many never previously published, and over 200 other illustration. Published this year it coincides with three significant anniversaries for the local railways in Strathearn. It marks the fiftieth anniversary of the closure of the Gleneagles to Crieff and Comrie line in 1964, the centenary of work starting on Gleangles Hotel in the spring of 1914, and the ninetieth anniversary of the opening of the hotel in 1924. Published by The Caledonian Railway Association and Lightmore Press it is a book to dip into and enjoy.

Rangers’ Review By Gareth Kett

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

By the time you read this article the National Park visitor season will have drawn to a close. Overall it’s been a good season. Of course we have had the usual littering and general camping related anti-social behavior issues, but by and large visitors have been friendly and well behaved. The caravans on Loch Earn were a cause for concern, but the Police and Drummond Estate have done a great job in addressing the situation. Joint Police and National Park Ranger patrolling through Operation Ironworks has continued to discourage anti-social behavior. Loch Lubnaig is now a very pleasant place to visit; in the course of the season I’ve personally received many comments from visitors praising the development and the new friendly atmosphere. Each year, at this time, I mention red squirrels and their seasonal plight as dispersing squirrels and squirrels taking advantage of the autumn bounty to fatten up for the winter, fall victim to our roads. Our red squirrels mainly live in plantations of spruce, pine and larch, often with roads running through or alongside them. The roads can be lined with beech, oak and hazel. While conifer cones are key constituents of local red squirrel diet, the lure of trees baring larger seeds can tempt squirrels to make a made hell-for-leather dash across roads, often with tragic consequences. However things are looking up for our red squirrels and those in many other parts of the Highlands. We are all familiar with the historic plight of red squirrels following the introduction of the grey squirrel to Scotland from Canada between 1892 and 1920 (introduced to 3 sites) (1). Grey squirrels have out-competed reds across much of Scotland, with the southwest of Scotland, Argyll and the Highlands being the final refuges for reds. Squirrelpox virus, which was brought to Britain through the introduction of grey

squirrels carrying the virus to England and Wales between 1876 and 1929 from America (introduced to 30 sites) has spread to some areas of southern Scotland, hastening the displacement of reds by greys. Yet around the National Park and in some other areas of Scotland and Ireland, over the past few years, there have been anecdotal reports of grey squirrel numbers decreasing and red squirrels recolonizing areas previously dominated by greys. There have been extensive measures by conservation groups to control grey squirrels, but this phenomenon has been reported from areas outside of control programmes as well as within them. The theory put forward has been that increasing numbers of pine martens have caused the grey decline through predation; the greys being easier to catch and a bigger meal than the reds. To investigate this, student Emma Sheehy of the University of Aberdeen undertook a PhD, Population crash of an invasive species following the recovery of a native predator: the case of the American grey squirrel and the pine marten in Ireland, the findings of which were published last year. Sheehy discovered that, while pine martens do predate more grey squirrels than reds, predation was not significant in the grey squirrel population decline. The significant factor was found to be stress caused to the grey squirrels by the presence of pine martens. This predator-induced stress was shown to suppress immunity, reduce breeding activity, cause shifts in feeding patterns and changes in habitat preferences in grey squirrels, leading to reduced breeding success and a subsequent reduction in numbers (2). This is all good news for the red squirrels, who don’t suffer these effects due to their evolution with pine martens. Not wishing all the credit to go to the pine martens, I should add that a separate study has suggested that foxes can also be significant in controlling grey squirrels in conifer plantations (3).


As many of you will have noticed from the abundance of butterflies in your gardens, the summer of 2014 has been a good one for butterflies. This has also been evident from Glen Ogle squirrel transect survey carried out each year by Rangers and National Park volunteers. The large numbers of butterflies we have seen this summer are probably due to the fine weather of last summer as well as this year’s good conditions. Our transect figures weren’t good last year, but this was thought to be due to poor weather in the previous few summers. Good breeding conditions last year have seen a boom in numbers this year. The highlight though was the recording of a comma butterfly. According to Butterfly Conservation this record marked a range extension for the unusually shaped species; the nearest previous record being from near Stirling. Please let me know if you have also seen one of these striking butterflies. Commas are moving north - an indicator that our climate is warming. As usual if you have any wildlife sightings to report or any queries please contact me on my e-mail address, or on the Lochearnhead Office number 01389 722040, or drop into the Lochearnhead Office for a chat. If I’m not in the office please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. References 1 - Harris, S & Yalden, D.W. (2008) Mammals of the British Isles: Handbook – 4th Ed. Impress Print, Corby, UK. 2 - Sheehy, E. (2013) Population crash of an invasive species following the recovery of a native predator: the case of the American grey squirrel and the pine marten in Ireland. University of Aberdeen. 3 - Kenward, R.E. et al. (1998) Comparative demography of red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) and grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) in deciduous and conifer woodland. Journal of Zoology, 224, 7-21.


Pre-race preparations

Abby off-roading!

KXC1000 podium

BIKE FEST FUN Opening the curtains on Saturday 6th September you would have been forgiven for thinking it was early August! A lovely sunny morning blessed the village with a perfect Indian summer’s day for Balquhidder’s first Bike Fest.

A celebration of sporting spirit, community effort and all that Balquhidder has to offer to the budding cyclist, the Balquhidder Bike Fest delivered a fabulous variety of pedalling antics, activities and good old community fun for all ages! Greeted with sunshine, music and the smell of a sizzling barbeque, around 200 people, “wheeled or otherwise”, rolled into the buzzing hubbub of the “tented bicycle village” in the hall car

in Balquhidder!

park, over the course of the day, where they could enjoy all day food including Inverlochlarig venison burgers and lots of home baking. On the race front: first up it was the chance of the keen mountain bikers to test their skills on the Kirkton Glen Cross Country 1000ft Ascent race (KXC1000) – an exciting 10k white knuckle ride round the forestry tracks of Kirkton glen. Nineteen racers took on the challenge and mention must go to category winners Thomas McLaren, Gregor Nixon, Karen Methven and John Harvey. Racers started and finished the race to the claxons, horns, whoops and whistles of our very own team of supporter team – a great source of atmosphere, excitement and motivation for everyone. At one o’clock everyone joined in a


Big Noisy Bike Parade across the river Balvaig. With Rod Blain on his Harley at the front and KXC1000 race winners on a float with their own piper and drummer, it was a sight and sound to behold, with the whole community pedalling behind! Treasure hunts, face painting, bike decoration and bike clinics (by Wheels Cycling Centre) amused many and Kirkton field offered all the U16s a chance to try their skills on specially designed bike agility course, as well as some fun “Short ‘n Sweet” races for the wee ones... The afternoon provided excitement for the keen road cyclists as they entered the “NAT7” a 12k loop race down to Strathyre via the new Sustrans cycle path. The fastest time for this 12k loop was an incredible 20mins 42secs by Scott Denny and other winners in their categories

Youth Competitors

Big Noisy Bike Parade! Donald - will the legs hold out?


Open Sprint Duathlon Scott Denny - Open Winner

Mini Duathlon starters

Sheila Johnston - Duathlon Winner



Albert on the obstacle course

Event: 2k Sprint Duathlons Location: Balquhidder

FEMALE MASTERS (40yrs+) 1 Sheila Johnston 2 Helen Lobb MALE MASTERS (40yrs+) 1 Mark Klimek 2 Adrian Wilburt 3 Alasdair Johnston MALE OPEN (17-39yrs) 1 Richard Findlay 2 Gavin Miller MALE YOUTH (13-16yrs) 1 Dan Hesp 2 Gregor Nixon Mark Klimek 3 Calum Cameron

Adrian the Official

were Sophie Rose, Dan Hesp and Gordon McReath. Following the racer group were the community “Mellow Pedallers” – an open invitation to all, to pedal in their own time around the same Nat7 loop. Well done to Lottie Hesp for being first mellow pedaller back over the line! At 3.30pm Kirkton field hosted the kids “run and ride” duathlon races with much hilarity in the late afternoon sun before the final event of the day which was the Sprint Duathlon Race, over 2k, which incorporated a 400m run followed by a 1600m cycle. Winners in their categories were Sheila Johnson, Mark Klimek, Richard Findlay and Dan Hesp. (Full results and more photos on centre pages)? A great day was had by all and an evening party allowed for racers, families and

organisers to all let their hair down to the sounds of Alpine Road and Stuart Mckeown’s ceilidh band, with food provided by Mhor Fish’s mobile fish ‘n chip trailer. Many thanks go to everyone who helped pull this event together. Once all the monies are in and bills paid, we hope to be in a position to make a substantial donation to the Air Ambulance and have sufficient left to purchase a projector and screen for the Hall. Billy Whizz!

Conor finishes the Youths Ascent Race in third place

Event: NAT7

Location: Balquhidder Entries: 20

Female Youth (13-16yrs) 1 Sophie Rose Youth (13-16yrs) 1 Dan Hesp 2 Charlie Allardyce 3 Jamie Nixon Open (17-39yrs) 1 Scott Denny 2 Tom Wallace 3 Thomas McLaren Masters (40yrs+) 1 Gordon Mccreath 2 Kenny Thomson 3 Mark Klimek Dan Hesp

Event: KXC1000

Location: Kirkton Glen Entries: 19

Female (40yrs+) 1 Karen Methven Youth (13-16yrs) 1 Gregor Nixon 2 Jamie Nixon 3 Connor Ramsay Clapham Open (17-39yrs) 1 Thomas McLaren 2 Scott Denny 3 Phil Lee Masters (40yrs+) 1 John Harvey Ms Methven 2 Mark Klimek 3 Ronald McKenzie

Kirkton Field Events

Micro Duathlon 5-8yrs 1 Eilidh Menzies 2 No name given! 3 Jack Scrivenor Mini Duathlon 9-12yrs 1 Ethan Thomson 2 Drew Lobb 3 Abigail Todd Eilidh Bike Agility Winners 0-9yrs Holly Ramsay-Clapham 10-12yrs Euan Wilbert 13-16yrs Gregor Nixon

Charlie romps home in fine form!


After enjoying three weeks of leave, it is well and truly back to the grindstone for me! I must admit the time off could not have come around quickly enough after what has been a busy few months. The summer brought us fairly good weather, which in itself brings me additional work with an increase in the numbers of people on the roads and the loch sides, as well as the abstractions for several weeks owing to the Commonwealth Games. Over and above my day to day duties, I still had the ongoing enquiries in relation to the Wilful Fire-raising which

The Watersports Centre

occurred on the evening of Saturday 5th April 2014 at the Lochearnhead Watersports Centre. After five months of investigations, I can advise that a 35 year old male has now been subject of a report to the Procurator Fiscal in relation to the incident. I would like to thank everyone within the local community for their patience and assistance during what was a lengthy investigation. Over the last month there have been a small number of opportunistic thefts. Overnight on the 29th-30th August, an insecure mountain bike was stolen from a garden in Auchraw Terrace, and between the 1st and 2nd September, a quantity of lead was taken from the roof of the old garages opposite Cameron Court. Also during that week, a quantity of building materials was taken from a building site in Lochearnhead. We have also had other thefts in

the surrounding areas. There have been several thefts of fuel and heating oil from both unattended vehicles and tanks. The thefts have occurred particularly in Killin, but also a bit further afield in Comrie. A stolen bowser was also found in the area over the last week and given the quantities of fuel taken, there will be a vehicle involved. Can I again ask that people remain vigilant and contact the Police with any suspicions? Please think about your security and keep anything valuable under lock and key. Given that winter is quickly approaching, and the nights are drawing in, we all must be more vigilant. If you want security advice, get in touch with me and that can be done quickly and at no cost. Road safety is again being highlighted this month after a fatal collision occurred on the A85 near to Lix Toll involving a vehicle and a pedal cyclist on Friday 12th September. Please be mindful of other road users and remember that courtesy costs us nothing, but road rage can! I have been made aware of a couple of incidents of workmen “cold calling” at addresses in the area, as well as bogus workmen carrying out work below the expected standard, but charged excessively. Again, if in doubt, contact the Police or Trading Standards and don’t pay any money. Keep an eye on any vulnerable neighbours who are likely to be victims of these people. I will be working closely with DWP and Trading Standards in the coming weeks in order to target this issue. As always, I can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at william.diamond@ Regards, PC Will Diamond

SCISSOR SISTER HAIR & BEAUTY SALON Full range of hair and beauty services

T. 07595 356 369 9am to 6pm Mon-Sat 86 Main Street, Callander L’oreal & Paul Mitchell stockist

Wedding packages available 20

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. 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 2014 • Wed 8th 9:30am Ramble: Strathyre to Callander (9miles)contact 01786 850626 • Sat 11th 8:30am Hill: Beinn Trilleachan (840m) contact 01877 339080 • Wed 22nd 9:30am Ramble: Brunton to Newburgh (FGP) (9miles) contact 01786 850209 NOVEMBER 2014 • Sat 1st 8:30am Hill: Uamh Bheag (665m) contact 01877 330930 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!

Ben A’an improvement project starts next week

A significant Forestry Commission Scotland improvement programme on Ben A’an in the Trossachs starts next week that will conserve the landscape for walkers and other users for years to come. The year-long project means that the popular hill path and car park will be closed to the public from Tuesday 7th  October to allow the contractors to carry out the works, including essential tree felling and upgrades to the Ben A’an hill path, safely.   A temporary stone route is being created for the harvesters to access the hillside area to carry out the work. This will significantly reduce the amount of mud that reaches the public road.   It is expected that there will be an increase in timber haulage traffic along the A821 between Ben A’an and Stirling via Callander as a result of the improvement programme. Temporary traffic lights will be in operation on the A821.  Up to date information on the project will be available on http:// queen-elizabeth-forest-park/ben-aan/ improvement-programme  throughout the project.

Gardening Autumn is a time for slowing down; on a mellow evening, applewood bonfire smoke provokes high minded gardening thoughts. It is too early to predict what the 21st century will gift to garden history - but we know that the 20th century was hugely benefited by the legacy of the Arts and Crafts movement’s Vita Sackville-West, at Sissinghurst, who took nature as a source of inspiration, and saw art in nature itself. Using naturalistic planting, and planting flowers to grow naturally in large drifts, she said “I believe in exaggeration,” and tore the rulebook up on colour. Christopher Lloyd at Great Dixter, (‘King of Clash’, the ‘Bad Taste Gardener’), rebelled against stuffy horticulture creating his garden ablaze with colour. Vita, the first to plant in single colours, introduced the ‘White Garden’ in 1951, when celebrating the Festival of Britain. Now copied endlessly, the Castle of Maye, Caithness is equally dramatic at night. The trick, a mixture of contrasting texture of foliage and white plants creating 3D images. If a naughty pink lily intervenes then leave it. Liberty prints always contain a rogue colour bringing a touch of humour. Contrast is the key. Often mistaken as a monument to Englishness, Sissinghurst is not really that. Vita redefined 20th century garden design as colour, space and mood. Many letters on the design were exchanged between herself and her husband Sir Harold Nicolson. He wanted it grander - a Versailles-style fountain in the rotunda, and busts of his friends along a plain dignified wall. She refused, but he paved the avenue with red, yellow and green concrete slabs. (The National Trust has now replaced this with York stone paving). Tension between the two created a garden full of energy, bigger than both, a passionate exchange of

O C TO B E R by Pauline Jenkins


ideas. Romantically, placing delicate next to the strident, complimented by scent and movement of grasses or small fluttering leaves, Silver Birch, Poplar and Katsura. Contrasts of formality and semi-wilderness provide the beginnings of wild areas. Vita also wrote notes to her two Head Gardeners, Pam and Sybil, ‘don’t prune the Witch Hazel’, that slow growing luxurious winter fragrance. They opened Sissinghurst to the public in 1937 as suburban gardens set in, where colour is most controversial in the garden. Colour is not frightening, as flowers don’t last as long as paint. Neighbours peep through knotty holes in 6ft hoardings seeing our garden’s atmosphere reflecting us. Are we colourful, or the opposite - dull? Originally low fences divided suburbia where our

grandparents could chat. Moved from denser housing, they craved a blether, whatever the weather. Reds and yellows were cosy, comfortable and sociable. Now we chat on screen or not at all. Freedom is the name of the game according to Fergus Garrett, Christopher Lloyd’s succeeding gardener. Freedom is a frame of mind. Take a leaf out of Margaret Dudden of Bournemouth’s who was the winner of ‘Garden in Bloom’ two years running. Her latest theme is ‘The Red Arrows’, flyers over the Commonwealth Games. Her husband crafted red metal arrows piercing hanging baskets, which Margaret flowered in dare, I say it, red, white and blue. “She can spend the whole evening watering her hanging baskets”, he lamented, “but she loves it.” Some tension there, creating a winner! Article by guest garden writer Pauline Jenkins. (Jonathan is away this month!)

Light up your garden next spring! Bulbs now in stock - lots of rare varieties.

Open 7 days a week: 9.30am - 4.30pm Huge selection of plants and stock

On the main road A85 going East just before Comrie Contact: Jonathan MacDonald and the Riverside Team

Tel: 01764 670800

Best wee garden centre we’ve ever been to!” Mabel MacKay, Perth

Vita Sackville-West


McLaren High School News

The Orchestra

McLaren High School Orchestra Tour 2014 After over a year of planning and months of rehearsing a party of seventy pupils and nine staff left for Spain on 27 June to embark on a week long tour playing four concerts on the Costa Brava. Arriving in Tossa de Mar the next day (Saturday) we were all struck by how pretty the place is with its beautiful beach and an old castle at the southern end of the town. Our first trip was on a glass bottomed boat around the coastline of Tossa where we were able to see the natural caves and beaches. The first concert in Lloret de Mar was going well until a thunder storm approached and we had to cut short the performance. Star Wars has never been played so fast, or with lighting (or was it lightning!?) effects. The pupils showed great professionalism in dismantling the orchestra and PA system and loading up all the equipment on the bus in less than ten minutes before the heavy rain came on. Thursday was beach day, where we all had the chance to chill out, play some beach games and visit a few of the little shops in Tossa de Mar. That night we played our best concert yet in the Placa Mayor in Platja D’Aro. On our last full day we travelled to Lloret de Mar again to one of the biggest waterparks in Europe. This was a terrific day trip and everyone really enjoyed themselves before our final concert on the sea front in Tossa de Mar. This was our best performance to a really big and enthusiastic audience which included some family members of the tour party. We were clapped and cheered to the echo. We followed it up with Auld Lang Syne which was the best possible way to finish a really successful series of concerts. For many of us, this was the trip of a lifetime. New friendships were formed, happy memories made, and everyone agreed it had been a wonderful experience all round for pupils and staff. Many people spoke to staff to compliment the pupils on the standard of their playing and behaviour. The McLaren community should be very proud of them: they have been great ambassadors for the school. Walter Hall, Music Teacher


Senior Awards Thursday 11 September was a night to remember. McLaren High School held its annual Senior Awards Ceremony celebration which brought the wider community together to recognise the amazing range of talents of the young people in the area. After our piper Callum Hall opened the evening and Mr Fleming, Headteacher, gave his address we welcomed our keynote speaker Fiona Logan, Chief Executive of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Fiona gave a powerful speech underlining how each of the young people present could and should take charge of their futures – ‘don’t be limited by other people’s expectations of you’. There were four new prizes this year: Riverside Veterinary centre donated a cash prize to promote female excellence in Science, and there was a particularly moving moment when the inaugural announcement of the Alexander Davidson Memorial Prize was made and the prize was presented to Ruaridh Maxwell by Mr Davidson’s widow. Mr Davidson was a former pupil of over 60 years ago and Mrs Davidson is supporting the development of environmental studies at the high school. There were also prizes for pupils obtaining five or more ‘A’ pass at both National 5 and Higher level. According to national benchmarking McLaren should have 62% of S4 achieving good passes at National 5 level and 33% getting 5 good Highers. The actual figures were 71% and 46 % respectively with a number of pupils achieving 5 or even 6 ‘A’ Pass Highers at one sitting. This year’s Dux - Ava Dinwoodie achieved a staggering 6 Band one Higher passes in August and is hoping to study music with languages at University once she has completed her 6th year at school. McLaren High is about community and so, after the Dux, the next top prize is the War memorial prize which is given to someone who consistently and quietly go out of their way to help others. This year Beth Scott won the prize for the girls

Ava Dinwoodie with Fiona Logan and Marc Fleming

due to her voluntary work with the Young Explorer’s Scotland climbing club and her practical support of her fellow pupils. Ross Paterson won the prize for the boys. Not only does Ross volunteer at Green routes - a charity that supports a range of young adults – but he is recently back from India where he was helping to build a wall around a Primary school in a very remote village to keep the sometimes dangerous wildlife away from the pupils. Dux Ludorum was won by Sophie Parsons, the new Head Girl for her athletics and volunteering. Just before the summer she broke her heel bone and lower leg when pushing off during the triple jump. Given the force she must have generated during her jump the local A&E doctor assumed she was a commonwealth athlete! Andrew Nixon won Dux Ludorum for the boys - a rugby player who has set a new javelin record and almost broke the long standing high jump and shot putt records. Andrew’s all round sporting ability coupled with his natural leadership and being a positive role model makes him the obvious choice for the top sporting prize. From UK Maths champions and poetry to Gold Duke of Edinburgh, merits and volunteering the young people of McLaren High have once again shown we can all be proud of the next generation of young adults living in our local communities. The evening was brought to a close by the outgoing Head Girl Samantha Boyle and Head Boy Daniel Speirs who shared their personal journeys from joining McLaren High in S1 as children to leaving now as young adults ready to take their places in the world of today.

Cameron Roxburgh - Battle of the Bands

The Ryder Cup came to McLaren! On 11 September we were extremely lucky to have The Ryder Cup in school accompanied by James Finnigan, Commercial Director Ryder Cup and Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland. Mr Finnigan spoke to some of our senior pupils about the Ryder Cup before they had a once in a lifetime photo opportunity with this wonderful trophy. Top: Senior students with James and Mike; right: Photo opportunity for Jack Steadman, S2

Battle of the Bands 2014 Excitement is slowly blossoming like a budding flower. It’s felt in each exuberant muttering, in every enthusiastic giggle. Here, the trials of real life are floating away, carried off on the wind. Tonight is the final of Battle of the Bands 2014. It’s then that Cameron’s climbing the steps. People wish him luck and gently lay encouraging hands on his shoulders as he ascends to the café area. I met Cameron Roxburgh on our induction day. I had no idea then that five or so years later I’d be attending several of his many live gigs at venues throughout the area. He’s come to let us know that the hall is open. We fill the hall relatively quickly, falling into familiar groups. Cameron’s up first. There’s a booming cheer from McLaren as he takes the stage. The first song he graces us with is named ‘Horizontal’. It’s a fairly laid-back track that catches the crowd’s attention. The moment he begins strumming, we’re held in place by his sound. Next up he plays ‘The Guttersnipe’, a track that’s available on his first EP, ‘Meliorism’. It’s faster than ‘Horizontal’ and it gets the crowd moving. Finally Cameron hits us with a cover of the John Butler Trio’s ‘Livin’ in the City’. Hunger and attitude, that desire to do an amazing job and rise above the rest – that’s very prevalent in Cameron’s set. After a short break we’re all back in the hall. There’s a drum roll going. We’re not long out from finding out who’s won Battle of the Bands 2014. When Cameron is announced as the winner, the noise is unbelievable. We flock to him like moths to a light. We take him in our arms and we jump up and down and Alex McCrorie S6 we cheer. Head and Deputy Boys and Girls

House Captains and Vice Captains

Student Leadership Team - Session 2014-15 After a rigorous selection process involving submission of a written application form, delivery of speeches at assemblies and voting by pupils and staff, we are delighted to announce that the following pupils will head up the Student Leader Team this session: Head Boy Craig Russell Head Girl Sophie Parsons Depute Head Boy Jamie Cox Depute Head Girl Kirsty Crawford House Captains: Bracklinn Captain: Amy MacDougall, Vice Captain Sport: Andrew Nixon, Vice-Captain Charities: Ava Dinwoodie Dochart Captain: Innes Bending, Vice-Captain Sport: Kieran Rennie Vice-Captain Charities: Elizabeth Seaman Leny Captain: Rebecca Millar, Vice-Captain Sport: Georgia Blair Vice Captain Charities: Megan Gardner


Strathyre Primary News Active Stirling Athletics by Euan Wilbert On Thursday 4th of September Active Stirling came to Strathyre Primary School to do athletics with class two. The weather was good so we went across to the field. They came to do three different things running, jumping and throwing. The jumping event was the standing long jump, the throwing event was the chest push, we had a basketball and we had to hold it at our chest and twist our hands so the top of our hands were touching our chest, and then throw it to the person across from us. The running event was the hurdles. We also had a hurdles relay which was where we had a team of four, the first person would run then the next. On Wednesday 17th September P5’s went to the McLaren Leisure Centre for a festival where they had to do obstacle races, relay races, speed bounce, chest push, triple jump, standing long jump and vertical jumps. They were teamed up with the P5 children from Crianlarich and Killin and they came 5th. They all had a great day.

Speed bounce, by Abigail!

Brilliant Book Festival by Amelia Dennehy On Tuesday the 26th of August all the pupils and teachers of Strathyre Primary School went on a coach to the Edinburgh Book Festival. Class one went to see Mike Nicholson who wrote a book called Thistle Sands. He uses old Scottish words in his books and this makes them really interesting. Secondly they saw an author called Vivienne French who writes lots of books. The children and she made up a story called Percy’s Surprise, there was an illustrator there as well who was drawing all the pictures for their story. Class two saw an author called Emma Barnes. She wrote Wild Thing and Wild Thing Gets a Dog. The children made a play and acted it out on the stage. After Emma the children went to see a man from the Tattoo called Alasdair Hutton who had written The Tattoo Fox Makes New Friends. All children were able to buy books in the big book shops and an ice cream if they wanted. It was a lovely day and we had lunch outside. (See pictures, below and right)

Our P5s

Pupils of Class 1 meet Vivian French

Topics by Ethan Thomson Class 2 are doing two topics, one with Mrs Smith which is ‘The life and times of King Robert the Bruce”. David Smith from Tapsalteerie Theatre came out and we dressed up and acted out the Scottish wars of independence. We have also been learning how to do tapestry and have been making things. The other one which is with Mrs McDonald and it is friction, we have been making things with different materials and seeing which moves better on a smooth surface. In class one they are doing castles of all kinds, they are making their own models of castles, learning medieval music and dances. Class 2 are going to go to Bannockburn to the new centre and Class 1 are going to Stirling Castle. Tapsalteeri Theatre


Fun at the Book Festival

Farm Forum: Who Ate All The Honey? Now that the referendum is past let us hope that normal business can be resumed at Holyrood and the finer detail of the new CAP regime can be thrashed out. Lack of information about the new environmental rules (Greening) are creating problems in the arable sector where some sowing for next year’s crops has been completed, without the farmer knowing whether or not he or she is in full compliance. There is also still considerable clarification required in the livestock sector. This will all take time as there are three levels of negotiation to circumvent, Europe, Westminster and Holyrood - and the new regime commences on 1st January 2015. Just three months’ time! I understand a delegation of farmers representing all four countries within the UK (yes, still four!) are in Brussels as I write, trying to get clarification. So far as the proposed increased devolution for Scotland is concerned, it is important that we can achieve more autonomy from DEFRA, not least over our agricultural relations with Brussels and the 2017 decision on the allocation

of direct payments between the UK regions. The next referendum will be the one promised by the Prime Minister on the EEC. It is of critical importance to the farming community that we remain in. However a lot of water has to pass under the bridge before then. The other day I read that there is great concern regarding a drastic reduction in the number of Kestrels over the last few years. Surprise, surprise, it is reckoned to be caused by changes in “farming practices” which is the polite way of saying - as usual - that it is the fault of farmers. They believe it may be partly because of a shortage of voles owing to reduced field margins and for the same reason a shortage of song birds which for some obscure reason seem to be expendable! Well we seem to have fewer than in the past but as all the fields are grass there are limitless field margins. Also we have recently planted some areas of “native woodland” and because of the abundance of voles had to put vole

The excavation

guards on. I would have thought our farming methods make an excellent haven for raptors but this comes at a cost because they are all in competition with each other for food. Sparrow hawks are death on song birds and indeed can be seen raiding sand martin colonies while the buzzards wait for the leftovers. Herons and Mergansers are constant visitors and they aren’t there for their summer holidays. Recently I came across an interesting excavation at the road side where some animal, perhaps a badger, has dug up a wild bee nest in the ground, destroyed the lot and eaten the honey. See the above photo. Agricola 25


We’ll send you or your friends The


£14.00 for 11 monthly issues (£37.00 for Europe and £47.00 for the rest of the world). We are sorry about the increased costs to our valued overseas readers, due to the new postal rates imposed by the Post Office! All you need to do is to post the completed form to: BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION, GARDENERS COTTAGE BALQUHIDDER FK19 8PB, SCOTLAND Cheques should be made payable to: THE BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION Remittance enclosed £ .........................(do not send cash) Please send copies of The Villagers starting on ................................. for 11 months To: NAME .......................................................................................................................... ADDRESS: ........................................................................................................................ ........................................................................................POSTCODE .............................. SENDER’S NAME & ADDRESS IF DIFFERENT FROM ABOVE Please send copies of The Villagers starting on ............................... for 11 months NAME ................................................................................................................................ ADDRESS .......................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................POSTCODE................................

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

STRATHYRE. TEL 01877384248 07967143910


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

Neil Law

laptop Technician

Tel 01567 830314 Facebook: NHL Laptop Repair

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


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

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

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

Other Contacts...

Helen Clark Business Manager 07971 648743

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

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

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

Bowling - St Fillans Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 to11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am to 12.30pm Badminton - Balquhidder Hall - 8.00pm Country Dancing - St Fillans LEGS - Lochearnhead Hall - 6.30pm Pilates - Balquhidder Hall - 9.45am to 10.45am (contact Abbey Arkotxa 0776 6407578) Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am to 12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) Pilates - Balquhidder Hall - 6pm to 7pm (contact Abbey Arkotxa 0776 6407578) Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00 to 9.00pm Choir Occasional - Balquhidder Hall - 7.30pm to 9pm (call Gill Allan 01877 384203) Metafit Classes - Strathyre Village Hall - 8.00pm Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon (Contact Mel Brydie 01877 384668) Ballroom Dancing - Lochearnhead Hall

OC TOBER 10 10-12 14 25

2014 Flu Vaccine Day - Callander Practice - see p.11 Callander Film Festival - see p.9 SWT Talk Black Grouse in Central Scotland 7.30pm Waverley Hotel, Callander Games Night - Lochearnhead Village Hall - 7pm to midnight - see p.2

NOVEMBER 2014 1 1 13

SWT Talk Plants that catch Insects - see p.10 BLS Trust AGM - Broch Café, Strathyre 7.30 - see p.2

Councillor Martin Earl Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07881 310 922 Councillor Alycia Hayes Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07881 310 924 Councillor Fergus Wood Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07824 496 019

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

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

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

Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316 Sunday 12 noon Minister: Vacancy Enquiries to Interim Moderator: Revd Stuart Fulton 01786 463060 Dundurn Church, St Fillans Sunday11.30am Minister: Rev Graham McWilliams Tel: 01764 671 045

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

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

Thevillagersoct2014lores (1)  

Ryder Cup comes to St Fillans Golf Club, Bike Fest Balquhidder, Betty Beauchamp, History, View from the Park, Rangers

Thevillagersoct2014lores (1)  

Ryder Cup comes to St Fillans Golf Club, Bike Fest Balquhidder, Betty Beauchamp, History, View from the Park, Rangers