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Editor’s Bit Ho ho ho it seems like a relief that everything is going to revolve around a funny old man with a big white beard for the next few weeks. It will make a welcome change from the machinations of an elderly man with a dodgy ginger hairstyle. Hopefully we have covered all the dates of the Christmas and New year festivities from the Carol services to the traditional New Year’s day dance. Have a lovely and peaceful time and all the best for 2017. Thanks to all our advertisers, contributers and, of course, our readers. I am looking forward to the full colour issues from February. The AGM will be in March in St Fillans - the date and venue still to be confirmed.

Carols with

Callander Bass Our annual Christmas Carol Concert will be held on

Thursday 22nd December in Strathyre Village Hall at 7:30PM Mulled wine and Mince Pies All Welcome

Ba l q u h i d d e r

New Year’s Day Dance Sunday 1st January 2017 9pm until 1am Tickets £10.00 Available at the door or book in advance! Contact Andrew or Fiona Leishman at Dunwhinny’s Coffee Shop Bridge Sreet, Callander. Telephone 07745 198854 or 01877384752

Hogmanay Party Lochearnhead Village Hall 9pm-2am

The Lochearnhead Village Hall will be hosting a Hogmanay party once again on the 31st December 2016. Live band Raband are back and guaranteed to have you on your feet (so bring your dancing shoes!). Refreshments (bar and home-made stovies) will be available and there will be a chance for you to try your luck in the raffle. Tickets will be on sale in the Lochearnhead village shop from 1 December at £10/adult and £5/child. But if you want to be sure of getting a ticket why not pre-reserve yours by calling 01567 830458 leaving your name, number of tickets and a contact telephone number. As always proceeds of the event will go towards the maintenance and upkeep of the village hall facility.


The St Fillans Bit Bonfire Night drew a large crowd to the playing field this year to witness what has now become a very impressive and professional display of fireworks. Gone are the days when a traditional box of Standard fireworks would be the evening’s entertainment and the highlight would be watching the Catherine wheel unpinning itself from its post because somebody hadn’t nailed it on properly and it would go spinning off into the night like a whirling dervish – always a highlight during my childhood. (My dad was also a dab hand at making rabbit hutches out of wooden bread trays but that’s another story). Word must have got round that the village puts on a good display because, I’m advised, there were a good number of folks from outside the area enjoying the evening (as well as lots of locals). As usual, the event was free, with spectators left to make donations at their own discretion on the evening. I think we should always have a bucket collection in the dark because a remarkable £570 was raised through generous donations of those who “ooh’d” and “aah’d” their way through the display. Thanks to everyone who helped on the evening and/ or donated firewood, donated money, spectated and drank mulled wine which may have had something to do with the large amount of cash been given, or else been responsible for starting the fire. (I’m told it was very good mulled wine!) And so on to the next festive event that is Christmas. Whilst some of us might be thinking, with some trepidation, about visits from the in-laws this festive season, spare a thought for those living here over four hundred years ago. T’was during Christ’s Mass in 1612 when Neish Island, on Loch Earn, was raided by the MacNabs of Killin. I don’t think they were intent on bringing gold, frankincense and a pot of myrrh to their neighbours, the Neishes, as they arrived unannounced on a cold winter’s night. The attack had been provoked by some of the Neishes who stole some of the MacNabs’ cans of Tennent’s as they made their way home after a night out in Crieff (they’d probably been celebrating their office party at “The Ghurkha’s”). The Neishes, who’d been enjoying their loot a bit too much (and a few snowballs, no doubt – always in my Christmas drinks cupboard), hadn’t heard the MacNabs approaching because they’d been in a post-alcoholic slumber. The sad outcome, it’s said, is that only one of the Neishes (a boy) survived the brutal

by Isobel Howell

St Fillan’ Garden Group at the Field of Hope

attack, and lived to carry on the Neish name. And so, the moral of this cheery Christmas tale is please share your drinks with your neighbours and take a taxi home if you venture out. Without wanting to wish this season out, here is something to look forward to seeing in the village during spring. In October the Garden Group were busy planting a thousand new daffodil bulbs at The Marie Curie Field of Hope on the corner of Station Road – this is the grassed area just inside the entrance to the village from the east, where the Christmas tree stands (hopefully still with its lights on, unless they’ve been blown off). As well as the new daffodils, come spring, a

new sign is being installed, which Marie Curie are very generously donating to the village (the current sign is somewhat tired and worn – I know the feeling – I own a puppy!) New shrubs have been planted to try to screen off the unsightly dilapidated bus shelter (I can recommend ivy – I’m sure it’s the only thing that stops some old buildings from crumbling apart). Eric Kennelly, from the Garden Group, tells me there will be some kind of “event” to mark the unveiling of the new sign which I look forward to hearing about in due course. Well done to Eric and everyone in the Garden Group who were involved. It is fantastic how groups of people in villages like ours carry out deeds like this

Continued on next page


The St Fillans Bit (Continued from previous page) without any fuss or wanting to draw any attention to themselves – it truly makes me appreciate what a generous, caring community we live in where people go out of their way for no personal gain. (I must stop now, at the risk of sounding too smug). The Achray House hotel will be closed for two weeks from 5th December and will reopen on Thursday 22nd December in time for Christmas. The Four Seasons hotel informs me they are open the first two weekends of this month and then from the 22nd for Christmas and Hogmanay. They are open for Christmas Day lunch and will then close on 2nd January 2017 until March. One of their employees, Bree Murdoch from Glenbeich, is leaving to become a volunteer in South Africa for eight months, working with Project Trust. The hotel wishes her a fantastic trip and looks forward to hearing all her stories when she returns. Good luck Bree! Finally, Andrew and the team would like to wish all of their customers a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2017. On that note, the same goes from me – I wish you all a safe and healthy Christmas and I look forward to being back on the other side - or as they might say in these parts, “the back of 2017”.

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 in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diaries!

December 2016 Wednesday 7 Dec 09:30 Ramble: North Third & Sauchie Crags (7 miles) contact 01786 841240 Wednesday 14 Dec 09:30 Stroll: Dunblane Dander (4 miles) contact 01786 825249

January 2017 Mon 2 Jan 11:00 Stroll: Town Walk (4 miles) contact 01877 330444 Sat 14 Jan 06:30 AGM & Dinner (at Golf Club) contact 01877 330446 Wed 18 Jan 09:30 Ramble: Alloa & Clackmannan Towers & Gartmorn Dam (10 miles) contact 01786 850209 Sat 28 Jan 08:30 Hill: Arthur’s Seat (251m, 6 miles) contact 01786 825198

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. Thanks!


Pin-Feathers* *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 contemplates of ‘privy’ matters. Everyone will recognise my lead photo (Photo 1), or will they? Perhaps only those of certain age group will have memories of this type of structure. This type, sometimes called the Privy or Wee (Forgive the Pun) Hoose were always positioned in a discreet place, usually at the bottom of the garden. It was usual in those days to always put the firewood log pile nearby so that when the ladies had to make the journey they could return with a few logs, just to make it seem that that had been the purpose of the outing. It was not always an easy expedition on a winters night with a candle, and newspaper was not in great quantities in those days. For children out in the fields it often had to be a handful of grass or perhaps a large Dock leaf and mindful of nettles too. Talking of difficulties, the young lady out on Safari in my picture (Photo 2) is not going to need any laxative if she happens to look over her shoulder. Whilst still thinking of Safari, another interesting picture (Photo 3) shows the ingenuity of using the tusks on a Hippo skull to keep the Ants and Scorpions from hiding away in that most necessary of articles. Now take a close look at the picture of the High Rise structure (Photo 4), this is an example of sheer luxury, overlooking the Zambezi river and safe from any four legged intruders. A wonderful view and all the latest glossy magazines. NO not for that!! The glossy sort is no good. When trekking in the bush it was always the first thing that the camp boys would do was dig a small hole in a discreet spot and place a specially made stool over the hole. A small hand trowel was provided to sprinkle sand over the offering. On some oversubscribed tourist viewing places there would be what was called a “Long Drop”. As the name implies this was not where one should have anything that was likely to fall out of a pocket or handbag. One can also imagine the need in Victorian times for smelling salts. Moving on to more modern times and facilities, those male readers who have staggered through Schiphol airport in Amsterdam may have encountered the interesting idea of a very realistic ceramic ‘fly’ as part of the urinal bowl. The idea

Photo 2 (Find the Lion)

being to provide a sort of target to encourage the user not to err their aim. Another interesting thing seen here in our local National Park is where someone with a sense of humour had scratched off the letter ‘A’ on a Passing Place sign and stuck on a piece of black insulation tape to make a letter ‘I’. Perhaps foreign visitors would take it seriously. Some of our readers may recall an interesting TV programme years ago featuring Bernard Miles. He was playing the role of a consultant in the building of wooden privies’ and how the design of the ventilation holes in the door could be shaped to indicate the profession of the owner. Amongst other things he would recommend multi seating for the larger family. In his description of the necessary excavation his advice was always given in that lovely warm Devonian accent - “Dig er deep and dig er wide” Old Nyati.

Photo 3

Photo 1

Photo 4

For the inspiration behind this piece follow the link below. Its worth it. 5

Remembrance Sunday

Strathyre News FAMILY FUN NIGHT Village members and visitors had a wonderful evening in the Village hall on Sat 19th Nov when the Stuc Committee held a fund raising Quiz and fun night. Jan was organiser and question master over the 50 question Quiz and a fantastic job she did of it with a whole variety of categories to be dealt with. This was followed by a raffle and then concluded with Whisky curling and a few auction lots which were not planned. The sum of £427 was raised and will go towards the ongoing refurbishment of the recreations grounds which is being undertaken by the Stuc Committee just now and will continue into 2017 . We would like to say a special thank you to all who contributed to the raffle prizes and who turned up to support us on the night,it was very much appreciated. Wullie D Work on the Recreation Ground Work continues on the Recreation Grounds and the digger and dumper truck are now operational.The pathway has now been widened and all the old tree roots have been removed [see photos].It now remains to do some “tiding up” which we will do as time and weather allows but we are very much on track for completion in spring for the Championship race in May `17 Fingers crossed!!!

A FINAL WORD FROM OUR WULLIE By the time this goes to print 2016 will be all but over so I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all our readers who have supported this wonderful little paper throughout the year. A year that has had its highs and lows, where we have lost some very dear friends and made some new ones.Strathyre has a new lease of life just now with new residents in the Village and the reopening of the Ben Sheann and the Munro Inn and I am sure you will join me in wishing them well for the future. On behalf of Jan and myself can we wish you a merry Christmas and all the best for 2017 Wullie D

Beginning to look good!!!





Drs Strang & Scott and Drs Mathewson & Gibson Community Nurses CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR CLOSURES – Bracklinn Surgery will be closed Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th December. Also, Monday 2nd and Tuesday 3rd January. If you require medical attention during this time please contact NHS24 on 111. Make sure you don’t run out of medication over the Christmas and New Year holidays by ordering early. We would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and New Year. FLU CLINIC Thank you to everyone who attended the open flu clinic on the 21st October. We gave over 400 vaccines, and raised a record total of £413 which will be split between Strathcarron Hospice and the Ripples Retreat. It was a very busy day for us this year, and we would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding. Lessons have been learnt by us to help us speed up the process next year. One of the reasons we were a little slower this year is the number of vaccines available and who should get which one. We would rather you wait longer than be given the wrong vaccine. We would also like to thank everyone for the treats they gave us to sustain us during the day. We look forward to seeing you at the open clinic next year. If you are eligible and not had a flu vaccine yet, please contact the surgery and arrange an appointment. In the event of an emergency, please telephone 111.

Callander & West Perthshire U3A We are still a fairly new U3A, only in our 5th year, and as we look back and assess our development it is pleasing to see how the membership has increased slowly but surely, both in number (now 262) and in distribution. Our catchment area from the base in Callander is very large, encompassing a great many villages in all directions and sometimes we find potential members who just cannot travel to the groups they have signed up for. This has been an incentive to move some groups out and also to run parallel groups in the most outlying village, which is Killin. Thanks to the dedication and enthusiasm of our group leaders this has proved a success and all participating in the venture were thanked at a Group Leaders’ meeting held in The Broch tearoom in Strathyre in November. Two new groups which were started in the autumn are flourishing and both Theatre Visits and ‘Out and About’ have been judged a great success. We have news of the two courses which did not re-start in September - ‘Maths in Art & Literature’ and ‘Geology’ are always popular and will take place in the New Year. Details will be put onto our website – Callander and West Perthshire U3A. Since many of our groups make their own arrangements for festive celebrations the Sunday Lunch Group has issued an open invitation to all members to join together at a New Year Lunch in the Roman Camp on 8th January 2017. We wish all our members a Happy Christmas and another New Year full of ‘Learning for Fun’.

Ba l q u h i d d e r

New Year’s Day Dance

Sunday 1st January 2017

9pm until 1am Tickets £10.00 Available at the door or book in advance! Contact Andrew or Fiona Leishman at Dunwhinny’s Coffee Shop Bridge Sreet, Callander. Telephone 07745 198854 or 01877384752


Church News

A Note from

St Angus’s

We can’t help wondering how fast this year has gone – and what a year it has been in our personal and community lives and in the tumultuous events on the national and international scene. Sometimes when we look at world events at the moment there seems to be a level of perverse evil that seems quite immovable, and it is at these times that it can be helpful to look again at the great events of 2000 years ago, in a world just as bewildering and violent and difficult for people as ours is for us. And there we see how the weakness of a child, in innocence and love, can dissolve that cloud of darkness, for person by person, silently and gently and completely irresistibly. After all the noise and bustle and glitz of our Christmas celebrations only this remains. The words of that song of John Rutter’s seem particularly important today: When the song of the angels is stilled When the star in the sky is gone When the kings and the princes are home When the shepherds are back with their flocks The work of Christmas begins: To find the lost To heal the broken To feed the hungry To release the prisoner To rebuild the nations To bring peace among the people To make music in the heart.

Dates - St Angus’s Lochearnhead Tue 13 Dec - 7pm Community Carols in the Village Hall (date tbc - see notices (mulled wine, fruit punch and mince pies) Christmas Eve - 5.30pm Crib Service Christmas Day - 10.30am Christmas Communion

Dates - St Fillan’s Killin 11 Dec - 7.15pm Carols, Candles and Christingle (and mince pies) Christmas Eve - 4pm Crib service Christmas Day - 10.30am Christmas Communion with St Angus at Lochearnhead


BalquhiĐĐer •bls Reg. Charity No. SC012316

Hi Folks, Greetings from the Manse! Let me introduce myself. Obviously with the name Moffat I’m a lowland Scot who has now come to live amongst the clans of the Highlands! I was once a Policeman way back in the 1970’s but have been a Church of Scotland Minister for 30 Years. This is my fourth charge having previously served in Buchan, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. I am married to Brenda and we have three grown up children David, Laura, and Peter – none of whom stay at home, although they all seem thrilled at the prospect of visiting for Christmas. Brenda and myself are slowly settling in although there are many boxes still unpacked. We have been struck by the warmth of the welcome we have received so far and we look forward to getting to know you in the time that lies ahead. Village life is very different from the city and we will need a period of adjustment to a new way of life! Christmas is a special time for families and friends and for reflection on things that really matter and which are often either overlooked or forgotten. I look forward to celebrating with you this happy event. May God Bless you and yours this Christmas time. Russel Moffat (Rev Dr) Jean Edwards has kindly asked me to write this article as she is quite poorly at present. So I apologise in advance, if it’s not up to the usual standard. Great News! We have a new Minister, the Rev. Dr. Russel Moffat. Following his induction at Killin Church on Thursday 17th November, he was ’Preached-in’ at Balquhidder on Sunday 20th. He and his lovely wife Brenda are now safely ensconced in the refurbished, very modern, Manse at Killin. Hopefully by the time you read this they will have a landline and have internet access. Rev. June Johnston, who has been our wonderful Locum Minister for almost 2 years has completed her work here and has now moved back to her own house and Presbytery in Midlothian. We owe her so much. A small presentation was made to her from the congregation after her last service. We are still trying to sort out an insurance claim for damage caused by water ingress which brought down part of an archway following one of the horrendous storms a year ago. I suspect it will be in the New Year before work commences. You really ought to come and hear our new Minister... maybe you could manage to join us at the Christmas Eve Service on the 24th December at 8.30pm. A warm welcome awaits you and we would truly love to see you there. I think you would find Russel’s rhetoric so different from what we have had in the past. We look forward to a new start. Let’s try together. The doors are open! With Love and hope, dare I say, blessings to all, I wish you a very Happy and Joyful Christmas. Pauline Perkins Beadle & Property Convenor Balquhidder Parish Church

WANTED 2 bedroom accommodation wanted in Balquhidder, Strathyre or Lochearnhead. Please call 01877384362 Or send text 07706917857

Glenorchy Farm Free range pork

rare breed

for sale

Available in: Greedy Pig Box: £180.00 Small Family Box: £80.00 Taster Box: £30.00 Sausage and Bacon Box: £20.00 Joints and cuts can be changed to suit individual preferences, more information on box contents available on request. SPECIAL CHRISTMAS BOX Includes a ham, mince, festive sausages and bacon (streaky and back). Please contact us to order for December. Can arrange drop off points in the local area

Now at Venachar Lochside

Contact: Fiona Maclennan t: 07783116399 e: facebook: Glenorchy Farm



by Beverly-Claire Wainwright Holly and spice and all things nice this Christmas! It’s hard to believe that it will soon be Christmas and winter will truly be upon us. I have to admit however, that I have a soft spot for Christmas music and have even been known to play the stuff in midsummer, as my friends will testify…those that I still have left! We never had a real tree as children and in fact our Christmas tree didn’t much resemble a tree more like a collection of green toilet brushes on twisted wire stuck into a wooden block. If we didn’t get the decorations on evenly it used to topple over and smash the precious glass baubles that were to me like treasure unearthed every year. I must admit though that there’s nothing like the look and smell of a real fir tree, put that together with cloves and cinnamon and I instantly start to feel warm and cosy. If you are going for a real tree this year, then some are better than others at holding onto their needles and one of the longest lasting is perhaps the Nordmann Fir (Abies Nordmanniana). This is my favourite Christmas tree because of its two tone colour, the needles are a glossy dark-green on top with two blue-white bands of stomata underneath. As well as all the usual spiced Christmas goodies, one of the most comforting drinks at this time of year for me is ‘chai latte’ a spicy black tea made with frothy milk. Learning how to “peel cinnamon” in Sri Lanka was fascinating, not that I was very good at it, my cinnamon “sticks” were short and uneven not like the 2-3’ perfect quills that the peelers could achieve. Cinnamon grows as a bush and

isn’t made from the bark, as I used to think but the next layer down. The stems are cut a couple of times of year, the bark scraped off and the underlying sapwood loosened by rolling a copper rod along its length. This layer is then “peeled” off and left to dry and curl naturally. It’s quite a skilled process that is still only done by hand, which is why cinnamon can be pricey. Bringing a sense of warmth and wellbeing into our homes is important at this time of year. Druids believed that holly was a magical plant onto which the sun always shone and so brought it indoors to brighten the dark winter months. Evergreen trees have been used since the Middle Ages during the Advent season to symbolise fertility. Bringing evergreens into the home was thought to ensure that nature would return in the springtime, especially important for farming communities. Wreaths also have a long history, the circular shape with no beginning nor end symbolising eternity. There is no doubt that bringing a bit of greenery indoors and decorating your door with a beautiful wreath is sure to brighten the gloomiest of days. Happy Holidays!

Do you need an affordable home? Rural Stirling Housing Association aims to support local communities by providing quality homes at affordable rents for families, couples and single people in housing need. We currently have over 550 rented houses and flats. Around 50 of these become available for rent each year. We hope to have new properties in Strathblane and Balmaha soon and currently have properties in the following communities

Aberfoyle Deanston Gartmore Lochearnhead Balfron Doune Killin Strathyre Buchlyvie Drymen Kinlochard Stronachlachar Callander Gargunnock Kippen Tyndrum

We may be able to build in other communities in the future – please let us know to if you want to live in a village that is not listed above. Information on local housing need and demand helps us plan for the future. If you are interested one of our properties become available please

in renting when they contact us:

Rural Stirling Housing Association Stirling Road, Doune FK16 6AA Telephone: 01786 841101 Email:

Registered as a Scottish Charity No. SC037849


Free To Try Yoga Session Balquhidder Try something different in the New Year. Join Anne Cobbett and the regulars at Balquhidder Village Hall on Wednesday’s at 11am for an hour of yoga. Anne has been practising and instructing yoga in our region for over 30 years. All ages and abilities welcome and no previous experience is necessary. Your first session will be free to try out. Each class varies from week to week incorporating classic yoga moves, balance, stretching, strengthening, breathing and relaxation. Anne’s class starts back on 25th January 2017. Block book 10 sessions (9 plus free trial if you have not attended before) £5 per class when you block book or pay £6 for each session that you attend. To find out more or if you have any questions or concerns contact Anne 01877 376291


McLaren High School

New York 2016 This year 20 pupils and three teachers from the Humanities Department at McLaren High School embarked on an educational excursion to New York City. During our time in New York City we saw many of the sights and tourist attractions whilst also experiencing the cultural differences between the rural town in which we live and the busy metropolitan city. During the first day of the trip we spent the morning on the ‘Top of the Rock’ at the Rockefeller Centre; where we were able to have a beautiful view of the entire city. We then took a look around the New York City Public Library and had lunch in Grand Central Terminal. After a wander round Times Square we got a tour of Madison Square Gardens; unfortunately they wouldn’t let us stay in the $20,000 dollar booths. We did get some excellent seats and some foam fingers to watch the New York Knicks vs the Brooklyn Nets play basketball. The highlight of the night was when our school’s name was displayed on the score board for everyone to see! The next morning we were again up really early and got pancakes in a diner for breakfast. We then got the subway for the first time to Harlem. We had a really great tour of Harlem – even the rain from Hurricane Matthew didn’t dampen our spirits. Our afternoon was spent in a mansion on 5th Avenue dedicated to the Jewish experience in America and exploring Central Park. That night we all rushed back to our hotel to eat takeaway food and watch the Clinton-Trump debate. During the third day of our trip we were fortunate enough to visit the 9/11 memorial, the experience was very emotional and made us reflect upon our own experiences. Whilst walking through the Financial District we met some police officers and got our pictures taken with them. We then made our way to the Brooklynn Bridge where we were able to get some group photos with the Manhattan skyline behind us. We then received a guided tour of the famous UN


With the NYPD

The New York Skyline

building where we were able to see all of the different chambers that the debates and famous speecheS take place in. We even got our passports stamped as we had officially left the USA and entered the U.N.’s neutral territory. Our evening was spent in Hard Rock Café for dinner and shopping in Times Square. On the fourth day of the trip we visited Ellis Island and Liberty Island where we learnt about immigration to the US and were able to take photos of the famous Statue of Liberty. After our

Winter Clothes Appeal for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon “What difference can a small agency like Edinburgh Direct Aid make in the world of misery that is Syria and its refugees? The answer is ”not much overall. But in Arsal quite a lot. 70,000 Syrian refugees camping in and around the small Lebanese border town of Arsal, surrounded by militant hideouts and army checkpoints, are dreading a 4th winter in sub-zero temperatures. 6,000 children have not been to school for 3 years. McLaren High School parent Karin Helwig contacted the school to find out if we would be interested in coordinating an appeal and of course we agreed. The response was overwhelming! We accepted donations during the week beginning 24 October and on Monday 31 October Edinburgh Direct Aid filled over 2/3 of their lorry with our bags and boxes. We would like to say a huge thank you to all parents, carers and friends who helped make this such a successful appeal. Also thanks to our senior pupils who formed a ‘human chain’ to transfer all the donations from the school to the

Appeal helpers At the Statue of Liberty

trip to the islands we were able to visit the Tenement Museum where we were able to learn more about immigration to the US and how this links to our own sense of identity. On our last night we had dinner in a Forest Gump themed restaurant and then went up the Empire State Building. The art deco façade and interior was even more beautiful in real life. When we finished climbing the last 6 floors (the lift only took us to floor 80) we walked out onto the observation deck and were stunned by the view. New York at night is truly spectacular and it was such a fantastic way to end our trip. Natalie Smith S6

Appeal helpers

Appeal helpers

lorry. Kwik Fit Event Thank you to the Kwik Fit team who visited the school last Tuesday to give our S6 pupils some basic car maintenance lessons. Pupils found the event very useful – here are some of their comments: “The Kwik Fit car maintenance event was a really useful experience for S6 as many of us are currently learning to drive and so need to be confident in checking tyre tread, oil levels and other car maintenance basics. We also learnt about some of the free services Kwik Fit offer new drivers and the importance of keeping tyre tread depth at a healthy level, not just above the legal minimum.” Finn Manders

Learning tyre maintenance

Art at McLaren The Art & Design department recently celebrated Halloween and the beauty of autumn through colour. S1 were developing their understanding of colour theory and exploring various painting techniques to produce studies of juicy pumpkins and crunchy leaves. S1, S2 and U16 Rugby – Away to Wallace High School On Wednesday 5 October Stirling County RFC played host to Wallace High versus McLaren High in the sixth round of the Central Schools Conference. Both teams managed to field teams at S1, S2 and U16 level, ensuring more boys across the local authority were getting the opportunity to play rugby. The S1 team maintained their 100% winning start to the Conference with a hard earned victory. The S2 team won their respective fixture 57-37. The boys have now won five out of their six fixtures. In a tough match, the U16 team came up against a well organised Wallace team who ran out well deserved 73-38 winners. McLaren never gave up and kept playing until the final whistle. Well done to all the boys for their efforts over the past six weeks to help make it a positive start for the newly formed McLaren Rugby.

Transformational Funding Package £5 million funding transforming access to the outdoors in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park There is change afoot across the lochs, hills and glens of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. Residents may have spotted signs of it in their area, like a new section of walking route or a bridge adapted for horses; and visitors may have found their favourite cycle path now goes further or discovered new places to put their canoes in the water. But few may have realised the scale of transformation that has been taking place across the National Park in the past three years. The driver of this change is the National Park Authority’s Outdoor Recreation Plan 2013-2018 - a five-year action plan, which identified gaps and opportunities in the National Park’s recreation provision. The Plan set out 69 actions and 88 aspirations that give focus and direction for the Park Authority and its many partners involved in the development and improvement of access and recreation opportunities in the National Park. Since the Outdoor Recreation Plan was published in 2013 £5 million has been invested and more than 450 miles of routes have been opened up, through 29 projects delivered in collaboration with and funded by 72 partner organisations. Major long-distance walking and cycling routes have been opened up as part of the programme. The 134-mile John Muir Way has been connected through the National Park with the completion of the missing link on Gouk Hill. The community-led project to open up the Loch Earn Railway Path completed its second phase in August 2016 on the mixed use path between Lochearnhead, St Fillans and Comrie. When complete the path will help to form part of the cross-Scotland Pilgrim’s Way from Iona to St Andrews – a priority route within Scotland’s National Walking and Cycling Network. Upgraded paths are making the outdoors more accessible for people of all abilities. A key aim of the Outdoor Recreation Plan is to improve the health of people living in and around the National Park by working with projects that improve opportunities for people who would not normally get out in the Park to do so. Catering to over 100 walkers, the National Park Health Walks

project has seen the development and growth of this healthy walks programmes for the inactive. Free group walks are offered weekly by the Countryside Trust and people can sign up themselves or be prescribed these walks by GPs. A paper for the National Park’s Board meeting on Monday 24th October outlines the many projects, big and small, that have been delivered. In addition to the 29 projects that have been completed, 23 more are currently underway. Gordon Watson, Chief Executive Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park said: “Each one of these projects in itself is making an important improvement to how people can enjoy the National Park, but taken together the scale of change is significant. When we published the National Park’s Outdoor Recreation Plan in 2013 our aim was to transform access across the Park and get more people active in the outdoors, and it is fantastic to see that happening. “This year has been significant in the delivery of these goals, as we see the work of the first few years of the Outdoor Recreation Plan bearing fruit on the ground. It has also been significant in helping improve the health and wellbeing of both residents and visitors. There are activities and routes available for recreation at any level, whether its flying along mountain bike tracks in Aberfoyle or joining in GP-prescribed health walks on some of the new and improved paths close to home. “Improving and expanding the ways that people can enjoy the stunning landscape of the National Park is a key role of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, and a priority for so many communities, businesses and organisations across the Park. Creating new and improved paths provides fantastic experiences for visitors and residents, protects our fragile habitats, helps land managers and boosts the economy. This work is only possible through collaboration with many partners, and we thank the communities, landowners, agencies and organisations for collaborating with us to deliver this ambitious plan.” The £5 million in funding has come from a variety of funding sources including larger scale Heritage Lottery and Sustrans bids and smaller grants from Trusts and donations. The Park Authority has so far directly contributed £870,000 in the form of grants and contributions which have been used very effectively to secure additional funding. Many projects have also been initiated and delivered through local Community Development Trusts. 13

Where Business Does the Talking

With Christmas fast approaching, I spoke to Balquhidder resident Kasia Sujanova about her handmade soaps and lip balms. Kasia prides herself on making all-natural products that are both kind to the skin and environmentally-friendly. Here she explains the story behind her business, what goes into making the products, and where it is possible to buy them if one is thinking of a Christmas present or stocking-filler. When did you first start making soaps and lip balms? It was about six years ago, when my daughter Karin was tiny. She was still a baby and so I had enough time to read books. One of the books I found in the local library was about soap-making. As I read it I thought: “This is really amazing and beautiful!” And I felt that if I could ever make something like that it would be great. I already enjoyed buying natural soaps, so I started gathering all the ingredients and equipment, which took a long time – a few months in fact – and then I gave it a go. It was so exciting when I produced my first batch! What is the meaning or history behind the name of your products – “Siabann”? The name “Siabann” is a Gaelic word that means “soap” or “to wash”. I really like languages, and I had my first contact with the Gaelic language a few years ago when I started coming to Balquhidder Gaelic Playgroup. I felt it was a really interesting language and because I live here, in this special place, with its own special language, I wanted to find something to do with Gaelic and the country’s history. I found “Siabann”, then I asked Leslie [Arkotxa, a local Gaelic-speaker] how to pronounce the word, and I liked it. I then made the logo of my company which is actually a Celtic peacock. The peacock traditionally symbolises something clean and pure in mythology. What is involved in the process of making the soaps and lip balms? Making soap is quite a complicated process. There is a lot of chemistry involved. It takes a few hours to prepare. First of all, the process of mixing all the 14

ingredients takes a while, then the longest time required is during the process to ‘cure’ the soap. Once I make the soap I have to leave it to dry for one or two days. Then I can cut it into bars. After that, it needs four to six weeks to cure. At the stage of cutting the soap into bars, I can’t actually touch the soap because it can still burn the skin when it is very fresh, so I need special equipment – goggles and gloves – and I have to cut it very carefully. Then I leave it to dry and cure for the designated amount of time. Making lip balms is a very rewarding process. It is all about choosing the right oils, butters and scents and gently melting them. I made some with the children at Strathyre Primary School and they turned out lovely. Does the soap ‘cure’ faster in the summer with the warmer, (slightly) drier weather? Yes, it does dry a little bit faster, but you still need to wait a long time for the soap to reach the right PH level. I check it with special strips of papers called litmus indicator strips to ensure the PH is right. I always enjoyed chemistry at school; the whole process is beautiful really. I use some nice oils and butters as the bases of the soaps, such as coconut oil, olive oil and jojoba oil, as well as shea butter and cocoa butter. So, with the ingredients at the right temperature, I have to mix the components together. They both have to be exactly the right temperature, so that’s really difficult to get right. After I mix them, it gets to the stage where the oily mixture turns into soap. It’s really magical in a way – it’s lovely seeing the moment that oil turns into soap. Were you completely self-taught? Yes, I never undertook any course or had any formal teaching. I learnt from different books which explained how

to make soap. I also used the internet initially as a good source of learning materials. Are the ingredients that you use natural? They are all natural ingredients in both the lip balms and the soaps. I try to use as many organic ingredients as possible too. I also search for sustainably sourced oils. I like everything to be really natural, so I don’t add any artificial scents or colours. I always use essential oils and I like to use Mica to give the lip balms colour. It’s all natural and that’s my aim. Are your products suitable for people with sensitive skin? Yes. Many people who use my soaps have said that after trying many different soaps which have been harsh to their skin, they have found that my soaps are really nice to use. Especially the soap I make from goat’s milk, that’s particularly good for sensitive skin-types and for children. What guidelines do you follow to ensure the safety of your products? Before I sell any of my products I need to have prepared a Cosmetic Product Safety Report for every kind of product I make, every recipe I use, and this needs to be done by a government-approved chemist. So every time I make a new soap I need a new report. There is quite a lot of paperwork involved therefore. I need to use a Cosmetic Product Notification Portal to register each batch of soap or lip balm I make. Then I prepare PIF (a product information file) for each batch, where I am required to list all the ingredients, names of suppliers, and all the relevant information regarding the methods and health and safety I follow. What are the combinations of scents and flavours that you use for your soaps and lip balms, and which are the most popular? I like to make mint and chocolate

lip balm. In terms of the soap, I think my personal favourite is the rose and lavender. Also, grapefruit and lemongrass – that’s another combination that goes really nicely together. Around Christmas time I think the most popular scent of soap that I make is orange and cinnamon. I also make chocolate and orange soap – that’s something I always make in the run-up to Christmas. And rose is of course always popular, throughout the year. Do you take part in any local fairs or festivals in the area? I take part in a few local Christmas fairs – both in Balquhidder and Callander. This month I’m going to be in Fort William for their Christmas market, which is going to be a big event. As well as that, in the summer I take part in various festivals; I sell my things at the Monachyle Mhor Festival and the Strathyre Music Festival. I also had a stall at Crianlarich’s fun fair for the first time last summer. If someone wants to buy your products then where would be the best place to find them? I’m going to be selling my products at the Christmas Tree Festival in Balquhidder on Saturday the 10th of December. I sell my soaps through the Achray Farm shop in Callander, in MacGregor’s Market in Killin, also in the Country Mumkins Café in Tyndrum. In addition, they are also available at the Enchanted Cottage Magical Pop-Up Shop in Balquhidder. So my soaps are available for purchase throughout the year as well as at stalls at specific festivals and special events. Do you make anything that is particularly Christmassy – something that could be suitable as a present or stocking-filler? I always enjoy making up little sets before Christmas. I put a bar of soap and a tin of lip-balm together in the same packaging and wrap it up nicely with Christmas ribbon. Again, orange and chocolate is a favourite combination. So I make little hampers of products that go together and could be ideal as a present for a loved one or something to put in a stocking. What sort of packaging do you use – do you wrap your products yourself? I do all the wrapping of the products myself – I think it’s probably my favourite part of the process actually. You need to use your imagination a bit, which I really enjoy doing. And I use packaging that is recyclable. So for lip balms I don’t use plastic containers, I use aluminium. And I like to use cellophane instead of ordinary plastic for external wrapping. I also use natural ribbons. What’s more, this year I’m going to be using cardboard boxes to package my soaps. Then of course I have my logo and the name of the soap on the outside, along with all the information that needs to be printed on the packaging.

Are you able to cater to large orders or individual commissions, for example if a local business wanted to stock your products? Yes. I would just need at least six weeks to make the batch of soap. Therefore I would need to know in advance, but yes I’m open to receiving large orders. What is the average price of your products? It’s about £4 per 100 gram bar of soap. And the same, equivalent, price for the lip balms. Are there any other types of products you plan to make and sell in the future? I’m quite limited in terms of spare time at the moment, what with having three young children at home. I only make soap at night, after their bedtimes. But hopefully in the future I will have more time and will be able to make more than I currently do. And I’m planning to make scented candles in the near future too. I would like to make them naturally scented with essential oils, so that people can receive positive benefits from using them. That is my plan for the future. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all my friends from Balquhidder and beyond that have bought my

products. They have really supported and encouraged me by recommending my products to their friends and relatives. Thanks to them I am able to sell much more and my soaps have travelled very far-afield indeed! Baskets of my soaps have found their way to different places around the world, including Germany, Austria, Spain, Poland, the Czech Republic, and even Madagascar! Interview by Iona Mchedliani For enquiries or orders, Kasia can be contacted on 07706 917857, or at Her Siabann products can be found at the Achray Farm Shop in Callander, MacGregor’s Market in Killin, Country Mumkins Café in Tyndrum, and the Enchanted Cottage in Balquhidder.

Recipe from Kasia Linecké cukroví - Czech speciality for Christmas. These cookies are very often found on Christmas tables in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and also Germany. They have been known since the 17th century and have been very popular since then. They are small, very crisp and are made with redcurrant jam that gives sweetness and contrasting sourness to the biscuits. Wonderful taste and with a bit of imagination fantastic decoration for the table and perhaps also a nice stocking filler? Ingredients: 300g plain flour 100g icing sugar 200g butter 1 big egg yolk (or 2 small) 1 tsp vanilla extract 1/4 tsp of lemon zest Small jar of favourite jam (preferably redcurrant) Mix all the ingredients, except the jam, until well combined and smooth. Put into the fridge for 1 hour or longer. Using rolling pin roll the dough until it is 5 mm thick. Cut the shapes out (star, heart, circle or any other preferred), half of them with a small hole in the middle. Bake for about 8-10 min in 180 C on a form lined with the baking paper. Once the cookies are cool, place a small amount of jam on one biscuit and cover with another one with the hole in it. Sprinkle with icing sugar. Enjoy your cookies at Christmas time. Make sure you make few batches otherwise they will disappear too quickly and won’t last until Christmas. Kasia Sujanova 15

Rangers’ Review

By Gareth Kett Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Standing in front of The Broch in Strathyre watching our son practising football back on the 12th November I became aware of that familiar itching on my scalp. Then I saw the midges. Then came the glum realization that this was yet another sign that climate change is real. There are signs of it all around us. The first frost of the year in Balquhidder was on the 1st November. Wasps were still out well into October. Comma and speckled wood butterflies are extending their ranges north. Bird migration patterns are changing. Arctic char appear to be in decline in Loch Voil; the hypothesis is that increasing water temperatures are the cause. According to the World Meteorological Organization 2016 is set to beat 2015 as the warmest year on record. By the end of the year 16 of the 17 warmest years on record will have come in the 21st century (1). The Ranger Service works to raise awareness of climate change by incorporating it into work with schools and the general public and through supporting partner organizations in their work. Perhaps the best example of a project that mitigates climate change, addresses the effects of climate change and increases biodiversity is the Great Trossachs Forest Project, which began in 2009. Project partners Forestry Commission Scotland, the Woodland Trust and RSPB are working to restore a 16,500ha mosaic of woodland between Inversnaid and Kilmahog. Most of the original forest had been degraded or destroyed by overgrazing and commercial timber production. National Park Rangers and volunteers have assisted the project with activities such as invasive non-native species removal, tree planting and fence removal. The recovery of the forest so far, in just eight years, has been breathtaking. As well as benefitting rare wildlife such as black grouse and pearlbordered fritillaries, the forest acts as a carbon sink and reduces flooding by holding back water running off the hills. The project is set to continue for 200 years. Last year the Great Trossachs Forest was named as Scotland’s newest and largest National Nature Reserve. 16

An Unusual Visitor

One very unusual visitor to our area (that cannot be blamed on climate change) was the hoopoe mentioned briefly in the October edition of anger Review that turned up at Wester Lix. Hoopoes are residents of southern Spain, southern Portugal and north Africa. Some over-winter further south in Africa. In mainland Europe they are mostly breeding summer visitors. Up to 100 can end up in southern England in spring and early summer. They are amongst a suite of European birds predicted to expand their breeding range into England within the next

Good News for Eagles

few decades due to climate change. Records in Scotland are very scarce. Many thanks to Dave and Sandie Lloyd for this record. Nearer to home there has been good news for golden eagles. The fourth national golden eagle survey found that golden eagles numbers have increased by 15% from 443 to 508 pairs between 2003 and 2015(2). Numbers are still well below carrying capacity, but the results mark a significant recovery in Scotland’s golden eagle population. While it is likely that persecution remains a problem in some areas of the country (2), encouragingly numbers have increased most in the south-central Highlands area, which

encompasses Breadalbane and the Trossachs. The Ranger Service is working with the Central Scotland Raptor Study Group and Strathyre Primary School to encourage the school children to feel a sense of ownership of these iconic birds living so close to their school. While the focus of the Ranger Service work has moved away from visitor management for a few months we are continuing to monitor and maintain sites and trails. High winds and heavy rain can mean that a significant amount of time is spent on maintenance tasks. Rangers and volunteers were out on Ben Vorlich clearing features on the upper section of the path back in late October. We are also continuing to focus on education both for schools within the National Park and for groups visiting the Park. We are fortunate in living in a beautiful and relatively remote area and it’s easy to forget the impact that visits to the National Park can have on people from urban areas. Recently we led a group of teenagers from Dunbar around the Great Trossachs Forest as part of their John Muir Award. The impact on them was profound – none of them had experienced such an expanse of wildness. On completing the walk, one lad said that he felt inspired to pursue a career in conservation. Maybe some of the others did too? Many thanks for all your reports of wildlife sightings. There has been a lot of interest in the large flocks of fieldfares and redwings visiting this autumn. As usual if you have anything you wish to discuss or any wildlife sightings to report you are welcome to drop into the Lochearnhead Office, or you can contact me by e-mail at gareth., or call me on 01389 722044. If I’m not in the office please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Finally Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all from the Ranger Service! References: (1) news/warmest-year-on-recordearth-2016 (2)http://www.discoverwildlife. com/news/scotland%E2%80%99sgolden-eagles-soar-newheights?utm_source=Adestra&utm_ medium=Email&utm_ content=&utm_ campaign=WL_101116_ newsletter_48593_BBC%20 Wildlife%20Magazine_Newsletters

SEEING STARS by Keith Wilson 

Erudite Muse “Three things in life are important. The first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” Henry James, quoted in The Times “If a lie is worth telling, it is worth telling well.” Saki, quoted on The Browser “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.” Mark Twain, quoted in the New York Post “It is a good rule in life never to apologise. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them.” P.G. Wodehouse, in The Man Upstairs quoted in The Times “Money doesn’t talk, it swears.” Bob Dylan, quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle “TV drama is like the picture on the Quality Street tin, but less quality and nothing of the street.” Ken Loach, ibid

SEEING STARS - DECEMBER 2016 Hopefully this year you will have found ‘The Plough’, ‘The Great Square of Pegasus’ and the constellations of Leo and Taurus so you should have no problem at all this month finding the most distinctive constellation of them all, the spectacular constellation of Orion which climbs high in the southeast night sky. It is very easy to recognise - just look for the equally spaced three bright stars of Orion’s belt. The bright red-orange star marking Orion’s shoulder (above and to the left of Orion’s belt) is called Betelgeuse. It is a huge star, which has burned through most of its fuel, and in the next million years or so it will explode. This will be a supernova and should be visible from Earth - even in the daytime! The brighter of the two blue-white stars marking Orion’s feet (below and to the right of the belt is Rigel which is much younger than Betelgeuse but the real gem of Orion is the Orion Nebula. Look below the centre star of Orion’s belt and you will see three dim stars that appear to hang off Orion’s belt. The middle star appears fuzzy because it is actually a mass of glowing gas and dust where thousands of new stars are in the process of being born. Binoculars will show the nebula in a little more detail. Orion is a great signpost to nearby stars. Draw an imaginary line through the three ‘belt’ stars from right to left and you will arrive at the brightest star in the sky - Sirius, in the constellation of Canis Major, The Great Dog. If you reverse the process you will come to Aldebaran in Taurus which was featured in the November issue. Wishing you clear skies and happy holidays. Merry Christmas!

“Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” Eric Hoffer, quoted on The Daily Beast “Go out and face the world secure in the knowledge that everybody else thinks they are better looking than they are as well.” Sir Terry Wogan, quoted in The Daily Telegraph “Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.” Bob Marley, quoted on “One tries not to be an Old Git, but they don’t make it easy.” Alan Bennett, quoted in the Daily Mail “I don’t consider myself a pessimist at all. I think a pessimist is someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel soaked to the skin.” Leonard Cohen, quoted in The Independent 17

The September SWT talk on pine martensquirrel interactions attracted a record audience. The excellent presentation by Dr. Emma Sheehy (Research Fellow, Aberdeen Uni and Waterford Institute of Technology) summarized her initial findings in Ireland and more recent work in Scotland, including LL&TNP. Pine martens and red squirrels are native British forest species, once widespread but dramatic declines have left UK strongholds only in N & W Scotland. They have suffered persecution and habitat loss plus the red squirrel faces competition and disease from the introduced N American grey squirrel. Both are now protected. Projects to protect red squirrels by controlling the northward advance of the grey have had some success but the task is enormous. However, the pine marten may offer natural biological control. Pine martens appear to have made a slow and steady recovery over the last 10 years in Ireland and Scotland and anecdotal reports suggest that in areas where they re-established there was a decline in grey squirrels and a reappearance of reds. Dr. Sheehy set out to test whether this had any scientific credence. In central Ireland she studied three different area types; those populated only by greys, those only by reds and ones with both employing a variety of methods e.g. field signs, live trapping, sticky-pads for hair sampling at feeder points to assess which species were present and collection of pine marten scat with DNA analysis to identify their diet. Results showed a positive correlation between the presence of pine marten and red squirrel but a negative one between pine marten and greys. Areas where pine marten density was high saw a dramatic fall in grey squirrel numbers and subsequent re-establishment of reds. Red squirrels constituted only a small percentage of pine marten diet with greys much higher. Investigations in Scotland are ongoing but preliminary findings support the same conclusions. How do pine martens influence squirrel populations? In the UK pine martens and red squirrels have co-evolved since the last ice-age and had time to reach a healthy equilibrium, unlike the nonnative greys. It is suggested that greys fall prey to martens much more easily; they spend more time foraging on the ground and, being much heavier than reds, are 18

less able to escape to smaller branches. However, predation is unlikely to be the only mechanism. The stress induced by predator presence may also mean greys avoid potential contact with martens by retreating to areas with fewer or none. Stress may also affect reproduction by suppressing ovulation in females, the level of stress depending on the marten density. Eventually a point is reached when the grey population crashes. Much work remains to understand these relationships and also their effects on the wider ecosystem. ‘Biological control’ of grey squirrels by pine martens to reduce the £50m annual cost to commercial plantations may appear an attractive proposition. However, pine martens are opportunistic omnivores and whilst their main prey is voles they may also take, not only squirrels, but e.g. birds and their eggs, so are not universally accepted. Where biological systems are concerned there are rarely simple answers! Mike Hawkins October’s speaker was Ali Murfitt who works both for Borders Forest Trust and her own consultancy called Living Land. Ali’s talk on Scottish Fungi covered all the main groups of fungi and their role in the ecosystem. Fungi have been around for millions of years and are not plants or animals so have a kingdom of their own. Scotland’s woodland, grassland, mountains and coasts provide special habitats for over 12,000 species. The full scope of the talk cannot be covered here but more information and a good identification leaflet can be found on PLINKS_WAW_24024_funghi_leaflet. pdf Scotland is internationally important for the brightly coloured waxcap species that live in undisturbed grassland. 90% of green plants rely on a symbiotic relationship with fungi. Mycorrhizal fungi, which grow on tree roots, are essential for many tree species including Ash, Yew, Sycamore and fruit trees. Land that has not had forest cover for a long period struggles to re-establish trees because these essential Mycorrhizal fungi

have been lost. The best time for foraging in autumn, whether for edible fungi or looking for different species, is following a warm, damp day. Before gathering edible mushrooms check the SNH site for the Scottish Wild Mushroom Code. Kevin Duffy

Pine Marten with Grey Squirrel

Wavecap Mushroom

Scottish Wildlife Trust Meetings Tuesday 13 December 7:30pm, Callander Kirk Hall. Wild Park: Conservation in LL&TNP by Simon Jones, Director of Conservation & Visitor Operations. Tuesday 10 January 7:30pm, Callander Kirk Hall. Scotland’s Amphibians & Reptiles by Chris Catherine, Caledonian Conservation.

Pine Martin

£2 to members, £2.50 nonmembers, full-time students free, includes tea/coffee and biscuits.

AGM Minutes – 15th November 2016 at The Munro Hotel, Strathyre from 7.30pm Directors Present: Sarah Gibson; Kelly Clapperton-Bates; Emma Richards; Mel Brydie; Jan Dalziel; Andrew Poulter; David Johnston. 1. Attendees: David Richards; Barbara Richards; Hilda Astbury; Janet Richards; Andrea Poulter; George Coppock; Nancy Coppock; Theresa Elliot; Alex Garyolinski; Liz Kelly; Ali Ferguson; Fiona Martin; Sarah-Lou Douglas; Suzie Todd; Jane Beaton; Catherine McGregor; A McGregor; Catriona MacGeoch 2. Apologies: Sara Hesp 3. Declaration of interest: Sarah declared an interest in the Immervoulin to Strathyre path. 4. Minutes of last meeting: These were passed as a true and accurate record, proposed by David and seconded by Mel. 5. Matters Arising: No actions. 6. Directors Annual report: Copies were passed around for people to read, then we ran through all the projects: 6.1 Strathyre Tennis Court: Not much change from last year. We have £352 ring fenced for the tennis courts so we are going to look for match funding to get a new fence so that the tennis court will be playable. We are having a clean-up day on Saturday 26th November 2016 at 11am, anyone is welcome to come along to help. We met with Tom Gebbie from Active Stirling and he suggested we arrange an open day for next spring, a date has to be decided. Tom Gebbie will arrange tennis lessons again for next year. 6.2 Setting up a sports club: Tom Gebbie from Active Stirling advised us to setup a sports club to help with funding. So far we already have a football club and the school is setting up a netball club next term so we are we are looking for volunteers to help start the sports club and to start a tennis club. Catherine McGregor suggested a Bowling club so she is willing to look further into that. 6.3 Strathyre Playpark: We have £933 ring fenced for the playpark so we are going to look into match funding. Stirling Council have cleared the area. The slide is broken but Stirling council do not have any money to replace it so they have cordoned it off. We are trying to build a mini bike trail around the playpark. Graeme Harley will do a land survey and then plans for a bike park by the middle of November so we can send to Stirling Council to get approved. We would also like to build a fairy trail and try and source an old tractor for the children to play on. We still need to order an outdoor money box from the Stirling Council grant. 6.4 Immervoulin Footpath: It has been slow progress since the last AGM. We looked into re-routing the path along the river rather than the road, however, it was agreed that it was just not possible for a variety of reasons. Therefore, we are progressing with the original route along the road as detailed in the feasibility study. After discussions with Kenny Auld, the NPA Access Officer, we were advised to undertake a road audit of the path and provide more detail on the community need. A road audit was undertaken by BEAR Scotland in August – no significant problems were identified. This will be paid for by the Stirling Council grant. A report of community need has been complied based on the results of the survey that was distributed this summer. The report looked at the economic, social and health benefits the path could bring. Next year we are going to ask the Caravan Park to undertake a survey of their customers to see how the path will benefit them. As well as this, using the community need report, the road audit and the 2014 feasibility study we can look into securing planning permission and funding to deliver the project. We plan to apply to LEADER, which will now be open until Brexit kicks in, and Sustrans for funding. 6.5 Three Village Plan: The 3 Village Plan project will benefit all 3 villages and we are also trying to include St Fillans. We are looking to bring all the small projects in each village together to make a 3 village plan which hopefully will make it easier to get funding. We will need to apply for funding to pull a project plan together along with costings and hopefully employ someone who will be able to do all this. 6.6 Village Notice Boards: This came about from the last AGM, as we have no information about what is on in the local area and what attractions we have for visitors to see within the 3 villages. We are hoping these notice boards will entice people to stay around this area. Each notice board will cost about £1700 which we will need to fund raise for via grants, public fund raising events and local business funding. 6.7 Christmas Parties: We applied to the Stirling Council Community Grant to help with the local Christmas parties. We were awarded £133 per village to help with entertainment and food but the grant cannot be spent on presents. 6.8 The Strathyre Village Association (SVA): We have been approached by the SVA as they could be folding and we were asked if we would take over the assets. We are waiting for the SVA to hold an EGM before moving forward with this. 7. Financial update for year ending January 2016 (summarised for The Villagers) Total income £3261.76 Total Expenditure £1880.53 Balance at start of financial year £3870.06 Profit (loss) during year £1381.23 Balance at end of financial year £5251.29 8. Communication and membership drive: The website is up to date and we are getting more likes on FaceBook. We have just got another 8 new members after doing a leaflet drop for the AGM 9. Community Action Plan: Andrew explained the community action plan. The book exchanged in Balquhidder is going really well and the tourists love it. The BLS Trust is not here to deliver all of the projects in the community action plan, people from the community need to take this on. But the Trust can help get funding for any of the projects. If anyone is interested in any of the projects in the community action plan, please get in touch. 10. Election of Directors: Jan resigned, David and Andrew stayed on as Directors. The following Directors are office bearers: Chairperson – Emma was re-elected, proposed by Mel and seconded by Sarah Company Secretary – Kelly was elected, proposed by Emma and seconded by Sarah Minute Secretary – Sarah was re-elected, proposed by Emma and seconded by Kelly Treasurer – Mel was re-elected, proposed by Emma and seconded by Andrew We elected 3 new Directors: David Richards, was elected, proposed by Mel and seconded by Sarah. Alison Ferguson, was elected, proposed by Jan and seconded by David. Sarah-Lou Douglas, was elected, proposed by Kelly and seconded by Emma 11. Any Other Business: Catriona MacGeoch from The Stuc a Chroin Committee came along to talk about the hill race. Lochearnhead residents said they would set up a sub group to take on projects in Lochearnhead. We were asked if there was any news on when the Lochearnhead to St Fillans cycle path would be completed but all we know is they are working on it right now. The next BLS Trust meeting will be on Tuesday 17th January 2017 at Mhor 84 from 8pm.


Over the past week or so, there has been a small rise in the number of thefts taking place within the local area, particularly around Callander. There have been some opportunistic shopliftings which have taken place and the offenders were traced nearby fairly shortly afterwards in possession of the stolen property. The perpetrators were found to be responsible for a number of thefts within the Stirlingshire area and as a result one of the offenders is now being deported from the UK in light of their part in this criminality. There have also been a small number of housebreakings this past week which will undoubtedly rise as winter sets in. Please remain vigilant and consider your own security measures. In the coming weeks, my colleagues and I from the Trossachs and Teith Community Policing Team will be out in the local areas in an effort to prevent thefts from taking place. We will be stopping vehicles and persons and patrolling around the communities. When we find houses that are dark and look vacant, we will post a leaflet through the door to highlight that they could be potential victims to housebreakings. Security Advice Given the few thefts locally, I feel it necessary to reiterate some security advice. Consider how your property looks to a would be thief. If you had the choice of a house that was well lit and looked “lived in” or one completely in darkness and clearly unoccupied, which would you chose? Given that we are approaching winter, and the hours of darkness are increasing, consider the lighting of your property, inside and out. Inside, leave lights on or leave a lamp on an electronic timer. Another good tip is to leave a radio or TV on when popping out and consider closing blinds and curtains also to make the house look like someone is in. Outside, put up lighting all around the house, and consider the use of security lights with PIR sensors attached. Bushes and shrubs can also be cut back to aid visibility and reduce potential hiding places for thieves. Try and put security lighting up as high as possible, along with alarm boxes. Consider taking a note of serial numbers of any expensive items of property in your house, and photographs are also a good idea. Ensure all sheds and outhouses are locked at all times, even if working in the garden. If you leave doors open on sheds and garages, it lets everyone see what is inside and gives them the opportunity to 20

plan a return visit! If you are going away for a few days, always consider leaving a key with a neighbour or friend/family member who will visit regularly, daily if possible. Do not allow mail to stack up behind doors. If it is possible, leave a car outside the house. If you are going on holiday, let me know by either popping into my office, or drop me an email. It means that where possible, I will try to keep a look out for your property when passing. Have good quality locks fitted to doors and windows and consider the use of an alarm. Some alarms will contact the police and we will attend along with a keyholder to ensure all is in order. This is not always the case so if you hear a house alarm sounding, think about phoning the police. Make sure you lock your vehicles at all times and remove the keys from the ignition. Do not leave vehicles unattended to defrost outside your house as they are liable to be stolen and your insurance will be void! Take any items of value out of the car, or if you have no choice, cover it with something to make it less obvious. The most important piece of advice is be vigilant and keep an eye out for your neighbours and the local community. Call the police immediately on 101, or 999 in an emergency, if you are at all concerned about the behavior of a person or vehicle. Festive Period We will also be beginning our festive visits whereby we carry out our routine visits to business premises and in particular our licensed premises to ensure all is well ahead of the festive season. As we move on throughout December, we will be highly visible on the roads network and will conduct our daily stops on vehicles in order to deter any criminals from the area, but also ensure that vehicles are roadworthy and we have no motorists driving under the influence. Can I ask that everyone has a look at their vehicles to ensure that they are fully roadworthy and that lights and tyres are in good working order and screen wash is kept topped up? We will be out checking so please don’t get caught out. Looking to the year ahead, I will

continue to be as visible and accessible as possible within the local communities. As most of you will be aware there will be some changes afoot at the beginning of 2017 within the National Park area as the “Your Park” proposals come into play on the 1st of March 2017. These new byelaws will give the National Park Rangers and the Police enhanced powers to deal with the issues that we encounter around our lochsides on a near daily basis. Hopefully once these measures are implemented, the lochsides can be easily accessed by locals and tourists alike for their enjoyment. Also in the pipeline is an Alcohol Byelaw which was proposed some time ago by the Community Council. The matter is in the hands of Stirling Council at present and again come the New Year, we would hope that it would be in place to give us even further powers to deal with antisocial bahviour. All that’s left to say is thank you for all the help and support throughout the year and I hope you and your loved ones all have a safe, peaceful and happy Christmas and New Year. As always, I can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at william. Regards, PC Will Diamond

OCCASIONAL CLEANER wanted for a Balquhidder Cottage 07885 10 33 53

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of Meeting held at The Broch on 26 October 2016

Please note that these minutes have not yet received formal approval and should be considered as a draft version only. Present: Malcolm McNaughton (MM), Paul Hicks (PH), Alice Duncan (AD), Loraine Telfer (LT), Karen Methven (KM), Adrian Squires (AS). Apologies: David Johnston (DJ), Ruth McLusky (RM), Angus Cameron (AC), Richard Eastland (RE). Dionne Gallacher and Theresa Elliot, Stirling Council. In attendance: Cllr Alycia Hayes (AH), Stirling Council; PC Will Diamond (WD), Police Scotland, Billy Ronald (BR), National Park. 1) Approval of Minutes It was proposed by AD, and seconded by LT, that the minutes of the meeting on 21st September 2016 should be accepted, and this was approved unanimously. 2) Declarations of Interest MM declared an interest in item 5, specifically the new camping bye-law obtained through the National Park. 3) Police Report PC Diamond introduced a new style of report, providing greater information than previously. On 3rd October 2016, a disturbance took place within the Ben Sheann Hotel, Strathyre which resulted in a male and female being apprehended and subsequently issued with Recorded Police Warnings for their conduct. On 19th October 2016, a disturbance took place in the early hours at Balquhidder Braes Caravan Park. An enquiry was conducted which led to a male being traced and subsequently arrested for the offence. He is now subject to a report to the Procurator Fiscal. On 22nd September 2016, a search warrant was executed at a property in Lochearnhead under the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. This led to a quantity of drugs being found to the value of four figures. A male and female were apprehended and have been reported to the Procurator Fiscal. On 1st October 2016, as a result of a routine vehicle stop on Main Street, Strathyre, a quantity of drugs was found within the vehicle and the male driver was apprehended and has been reported to the Procurator Fiscal. Overnight between 12th and 13th October 2016, a caravan was stolen from Main Street, Strathyre, from behind the Round House. The person(s) responsible overcame the security of a hitch lock and two wheel clamps. Two motorists have been reported to the Procurator Fiscal as a result of driving at excessive speed within the built up areas. A number of other motorists have also received fines and endorsements as a result of safety camera activations on the A84 and A85. A number of conditional offers of fixed penalty and 21 day VREC slips have also been issued to motorists for an array of motoring offences. One female motorist has been reported to the Procurator Fiscal for careless driving, with the recommendation that she undertake a driver improvement course as a result of a poorly timed overtake on the A85, whereby she forced two marked police motorcyclists to take evasive action to avoid her colliding with them. A further fatal collision took place on 18th September 2016 on the A85 between Lochearnhead and St Fillans, near to the fish farm. As a result of the collision, a male motorcyclist died at the scene. This is the third motorcyclist to die on the A85 between Lochearnhead and St Fillans this year so far. On 15th October 2016, a male walker became lost near the summit of Stuc-a-Chroin, resulting in a mountain rescue taking place. The male was subsequently located, safe and well, at the Arie Dam above Callander. AH commented on the last item and made reference to a recent incident in which someone went missing whilst walking on a local cycle track. Many local people turned out to help, but there was no communication available. Could a Twitter feed be made available? WD replied that mountain rescue teams have made a policy decision to stop using social media as it can have unintended consequences. Normally, local people are not asked to help with searches, owing to the potential dangers involved and the need for prior training and proper equipment. Mountain rescue teams are well equipped and should normally be used to provide additional communications and other resources. 4) Matters Arising 4a) Childrens’ playground, Lochearnhead. PH reported that, shortly after the installation of the new fence and gate at the bottom end of the playground, two local boys had been discovered kicking at the gate and causing it damage. Subsequently, the father of one of the boys had called to see him and to apologise on behalf of his son. The father had made a repair to the fence himself, and this was confirmed by Mr Saunders who originally built the fence. PH had then liaised with MM and DJ regarding whether or not to report the damage to the police. In view of the action taken by one of the parents, it was decided to ask PC Diamond to deal with the matter informally, and he subsequently spoke to both boys in the presence of their parents. 4b) Strathyre Eagle. PH reported that he had passed on the suggestion of commissioning a second carving to the Strathyre Village Association. 4c) Keip Road, Strathyre. AD reported that two signs had been placed by the gate that protects immediate access to the road, but they are really too close to the gate. Kenny Higgins, on behalf of SusTrans, will check and see if its possible to re-position the signs. 4d) War Memorials Trust. LT reported that the WMT does not want acid to be used in any restoration, so she had negotiated an alternative treatment, and submitted a revised application for a grant. This will be a considered at a meeting of the WMT in November. 4e) Cheque account – change of signatory. LT reported that this is still ongoing. All forms have now been completed and submitted, but nothing more has been heard. A formal complaint has now been made over the delay, but this could take up to nine months to resolve. Meanwhile, the annual grant from Stirling Council of £412.13 grant has been received. The situation was discussed at length, with various adverse comments about the poor service from Bank of Scotland. Eventually, it was decided that the quickest way of resolving things was to allow the present procedure to take its course. 4f) Interim vacancies – election to CC. PH reported that the next stage in the election will be for ballot papers to be issued (where required) by the end of the second week in November. Results should be published by the date of our next meeting (on 7th December). 4g) Pavement in Lochearnhead. PH reported that he had received a reply from George Fiddes, Area Manager for Transport Scotland, regarding the construction of a pavement beside the A85 in Lochearnhead. An objection had been made by one of the local landowners regarding the proposed widening of the Western section of road (between the Lochearnhead Hotel and the now defunct water sports centre). As a result the project could not proceed and there were currently no plans to resurrect it. Following some discussion, AH said she thought it would be worth submitting a new application. Thereupon, PH proposed that a new application should be submitted and this was agreed. AS asked about progress regarding the proposed new pavement in Strathyre. MM stated that the BLS Trust had been looking at this, but didn’t know what had happened. AH said that no agreement had been reached about which proposal to take up but Cllr Earl may know more about it as he had dealt with the project. Action: PH to write to George Fiddes. PH to contact ME to ask for more information regarding Strathyre pavement. 5) Bye-laws and Clear-ways. PH reported that he had not received any further updates, either positive or negative since the previous meeting regarding the alcohol bye-law or clearway legislation. MM said that he had a number of further questions following the presentation in September by Simon Jones (National Park) on the camping bye-law. He proceeded to detail these concerns. Firstly, he was not clear about which agency would have primary responsibility for enforcing the new bye-law. WD said that the police will not lead on enforcing the camping bye-law. That will fall to National Park Rangers in the first instance. MM then expressed concern at the lack of consultation with landowners thus far – other than the Forestry Commission. He specifically wanted to know whether landowners could give permission to people to camp on private land. He had spoken by telephone to someone at the National Park who indicated that this would be possible, but could not say how it might operate in practice. MM also wanted to know about camper vans using an established parking area on his land near Inverlochlarig. Finally, the Ramblers’ Association had pointed out that many of the proposed camping site areas do not have any public toilets attached. MM reiterated that further consultation is urgently required. AH agreed that conditions in our area are significantly different to those at East Loch Lomond Side. It was agreed by all that there appeared to have been insufficient planning for the specific needs of our area. Action: This should be addressed by the invitation to be issued under 9(c). 6) Correspondence 6a) Removal of telephone boxes. PH reported that the National Park had written concerning an application by British Telecom to remove two public payphones in our area: one at Balquhidder (outside Mhor 84) and the other in Lochearnhead (beside the public car park and toilets). Several people commented on the lack of any mobile telephone signal at this location, and it was agreed that the payphone there still served a useful purpose. The same is not true at Lochearnhead where there is a good mobile signal and the payphone is rarely used. Action: PH to reply accordingly to the National Park. 7) Planning Matters PH reported that the Planning Department at the National Park now included AS in its weekly circulation of updates on planning matters, which should enable advanced warning of any proposals of interest to be noted in good time. AS confirmed this and stated that no current applications had been officially notified to us for comment, but there was a brief discussion regarding a local application for temporary change of use to a field. 8) Matters From Councillors 8a) Waste Bins. Some people hadn’t yet received their allocation of new bins, and there had been some teething problems, but these are gradually being addressed. 8b) The City Deal is an appeal for £600M funding towards major investment in Stirling’s infrastructure. News is expected in November and, if granted, should translate Continued on Page 22


Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of Meeting held at The Broch on 26 October 2016

into significant additional funding for rural development. 9) Any Other Competent Business 9a) Signs on Stroneslaney Road. DJ had received a complaint from a local resident on Stroneslaney Road regarding the siting of a blue sign, warning of the lack of passing places on the road. The sign had been placed very close to a house, and the resident was asking if it could be re-located, about five metres further back, where it would be less intrusive. DJ is sympathetic to the resident’s point of view and suggests that the community council should make representation to Stirling Council on the resident’s behalf. Following discussion, it was decided that further information should be sought regarding the necessity of moving the sign. Action: MM and KM to investigate further. 9b) Surface flooding on Balquhidder Road. KM said that there is still a lot of water pooling on this road at various points. It has become a greater problem since the Forestry Commission resurfaced one of its forestry roads, and it appears that the ditches and culverts need urgent attention. AH offered to pass this on to Brian Roberts, Head of Infrastructure, and to arrange for a site visit. PH will supply some photos of the problem. Action: AH to liaise with Head of Infrastructure. 9c) National Park Presentation. PH reported that the National Park had offered to make a further presentation to the community council regarding the Camping Development strategy. This related directly to the matters raised under item 5 and it was agreed to invite them to the meeting on 11th January 2017. Action: PH to invite NP to attend BLS CC in Jan 2017. 9d) National Park Community Grant Scheme. BR reported that a “Capacity” grant of up to £500 to support organisational activities, and a “Moving Forward” grant of up to £5,000 to deliver local services were available from the National Park. Applications had to be submitted by 12th December 2016. This was noted. Action: PH to notify BLS Trust of these grants. There was no other business and, at 9 p.m., MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting is due to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 7th December 2016 at The Inn & Bistro, Strathyre.

Balquhidder Broadband Update Hopefully we are finally nearing the end of the long and winding road of obtaining state aid funding for the project. The delays have been caused, firstly by the early withdrawal of the Broadband Voucher Scheme, and secondly by the requirement to enter a new tender process, in order to obtain the additional funding needed from Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) and our new funders Stirling Council (SC). We have also received a funding commitment from Leader, match funded by SC, for a project manager / scheduler post. This will be advertised in the new year as we approach the start of the build. Early in 2016 we sat down with our funders, CBS, their consultants Farrpoint, SC and Leader. What became apparent was that the funding being offered, along with some community effort in building the local network, made the delivery of the project feasible and sustainable. The problem preventing us from going ahead in March was having to wait for Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Westminster’s broadband funding organisation, to renew its permission from the EU to provide state aid funding for broadband projects. This happened in May, BDUK announced it in June, and then went on to redraft entire documentation and rules for State Aid procurement projects. Draft documents didn’t appear until August and since then Scottish Government, their lawyers and 22

consultants have been adjusting them to meet with Scots law and passing the updated version to BDUK for approval. While this has been going on we have been developing the business case, drafting a network design, and developing a projected economic uplift model. So, where are we now? We should have a final draft of the new Invitation to Tender (ITT), and all the necessary, documentation from the consultants by the last week in November and have set aside 5 short days to review and return. We then need to allow 10 up to days for BDUK to approve the final draft. They already know, and have approved, what is being proposed so this should be achievable. If all this all goes to plan, we intend to issue the ITT before the Christmas break, in order to cut around 3 weeks from the tender process. This should allow us to be in contract with a supplier around April 2017. We have continued to work closely with Bogons Ltd, our preferred bidder from the first tender process, and know that they will bid again. There is a chance that other suppliers may also bid this time round, which could be good for the community, but we still expect that the best offer will come from Bogons. In the new year, once we have the new ITT process underway, we will hold further public meetings to keep everyone informed and to prepare for the network

build and community effort required. We thank you for your patience in this but be assured that we have been working extremely hard to make this happen. David Johnston



We’ll send you or your friends The


£15.00 for 11 monthly issues (£40.00 for Europe and £50.00 for the rest of the world). We are sorry about the increased costs to our valued overseas readers, due to the new postal rates imposed by the Post Office! All you need to do is to post the completed form to: BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION, GARDENERS COTTAGE BALQUHIDDER FK19 8PB, SCOTLAND Cheques should be made payable to: THE BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION Remittance enclosed £ .........................(do not send cash) Please send copies of The Villagers starting on ................................. for 11 months To: NAME .......................................................................................................................... ADDRESS: ........................................................................................................................ ........................................................................................POSTCODE .............................. SENDER’S NAME & ADDRESS IF DIFFERENT FROM ABOVE Please send copies of The Villagers starting on ............................... for 11 months NAME ................................................................................................................................ ADDRESS .......................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................POSTCODE................................

Cheques for advertising and mail order subscriptions should be made out to: The BLS Newspaper Association



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 Waugh Production Manager Stronvar Farm Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384203

David Johnston Production Gardeners Cottage Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384227

Other Contacts...

Andrew Poulter Advertising Coire A Chroine Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384784

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

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

Lochearnhead Contact: Ali Ferguson 01567 830 405 St Fillans Contact: Isobel Howell 07876 031768 Strathyre Contact: Wullie Dalziel 01877 384 384 Mobile 07768 221661 Mail Order Distribution: Hilda Astbury 01877 384 681

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

Bowling - St Fillans Lunch Club - The Scout Station, Lochearnhead - 12.30pm - 2.30pm


Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 to11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am to 12.30pm Country Dancing - St Fillans

Wednesday Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am to 12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00 to 9.00pm Thursday

Darts League - The Inn & Bistro - 7.00pm Choir Occasional - Balquhidder Village Hall - 7.30 to 9pm (contact Gill 01877 384203)


Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon (Contact Mel Brydie 01877 384668)



Strathyre Village Christmas Party - see page 2


Carols with Callander Brass - Strathyre Village Hall - see page 2


Hogmanay - Strathyre Village Hall - see page 2


Hogmanay Lochearnhead Village Hall - see page 2




New Year Dance - Balquhidder Village Hall - see page 2 Burns in the Barn - Monachyle Mhor Hotel - see page 4

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

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

Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316

Sunday 11.30am Minister: Vacancy Enquiries to Interim Moderator: Revd Terry Ann Taylor 01877 382391 Dundurn Church, St Fillans Sunday11.30am Minister: Rev Graham McWilliams Tel: 01764 671 045

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

SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH St Angus’s Church, Lochearnhead 1st Sunday each month: 11.30am Communion 2nd Sunday 5.30pm Evensong 3rd Sunday 11.30am Communion 4th Sunday 5.30pm Evensong 5th Sunday (if applicable) 5.30pm FOOD FOR THOUGHT

A reflective time to discuss contemporary issues in a spiritual context

(Check with Rector for venue: 01764 655389)

Vestry Secretary - Maureen Lipscomb Tel: 01567 830234


BLiSS Art Trail Teamwork Wins Regional Scottish Thistle Award BLiSS trail art installations has won the regional Scottish Thistle Award for Working Together In Tourism attracting more press attention for Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St Fillans villages whose capital letters make up the word BLiSS, including i to represent the international tourist information symbol.

Loch Earn Tourism Information (LETi) destination management group launched the award winning art and architectural installation trail linking our villages on the A84 and A85, in conjunction with Visit Scotland’s tourism theme “Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016”. LETi Chair Kim Proven accepted the award winner’s trophy sponsored by Edinburgh Airport - from STV presenter and former Miss Scotland Jennifer Reoch. Kim said, “We are delighted to receive this award recognising our achievements in Working Together For Tourism. LETi has proved that a small group can carry out an effective tourism campaign on a shoestring through local peoples’ skills, energy and enthusiasm. A huge thank you to our friends and collaborators, especially the artists and architects who lent us their time and magnificent art installations. And to the Villagers of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St Fillans who embraced #BLiSStrail

2016 and continue to support it.” LETi entered the Scottish Thistle Awards in the region covering Central, Fife and Tayside. As winners they will now go on to the finals in Edinburgh on March 16th. To follow the award winning #BLiSStrail visit www.


With less than two weeks to go make sure you have a firm date in your diary for this year’s Christmas Tree Festival, back by popular demand. Indulge yourself in the spirit of Christmas. Free entry and a glass of mulled wine await you. Why not have your tea here with Inverlochlarig wild venison burgers/sausages or veggie option. Cakes and Christmas fayre and quality stocking fillers on sale. Enjoy the sounds of Callander Brass and local live music. A thoroughly festive affair, not to be missed!! As for the trees, the inventors are off again, beavering away behind closed doors with all the secrecy of Theresa May’s Brexit policy, hoping to catch the judges’ eyes and win one of the fantastic prizes on offer! There is still time for you to give them a run for their money by entering your own tree inspired creation. Details to enter on and click on ‘events’, or contact Karen Methven on 01877384624. ENTRIES BY MONDAY 5th DECEMBER 2016


The Villagers December 2016 and January 2017  

Community news includes: BLS Villagers win regional Visit Scotland Scottish Thistle Award for "working together for tourism" on The BLiSS...

The Villagers December 2016 and January 2017  

Community news includes: BLS Villagers win regional Visit Scotland Scottish Thistle Award for "working together for tourism" on The BLiSS...