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The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

A Very Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!

Tennis on the Road fun at Strathyre Village Hall See also Page 6

Editor’s Bit

Tennis is not something that we would normally associate with November/ December but, having just watched Andy Murray winning the Davis Cup, I did think our front page was quite fortuitous and the balloons helped add the Christmas effect! David and I would like to wish you all the very best for Christmas and New Year and thank you for all your support over the last few months. As some of our regular features were not going to appear this month we had originally thought we might have lots of space but in fact so many things happened in the last few days I am hoping we have not missed anything out. David has been re-organising as more articles arrived with pleas to be “squeezed in if you can” which we are delighted to do but apologies in advance if we have missed any. There are lots of events happening over the next few weeks and you will have plenty of time to send in reports and photos of them all (good quality photos please so we can include them). A reminder that our AGM will be held in St Fillans in February on the 25th where we will welcome all suggestions for new features, reporters and general helpers.


New Year’s Day Dance with the

Stuart McKeown Celeidh Band

Friday 1st January 2016 Back by popular demand

9pm to 1am Tickets £10.00 Available at the door or book in advance! Contact Andrew or Fiona Leishman at Dunwhinny’s Coffee Shop, Callander. Phone 07745 198854 or 01877 384752


“Ae fond farewell to Balquidder”

Edward & Jane Chadfield

We arrived with tears in our eyes. Such was the most touching welcome we received from the people of Balquhidder. Love, help and kindness, offers of temporary storage of boxes. Lots of neighbours called in to give a warm welcome. The Minister,(Jim Benson) took us on a tour of the Glen to meet everyone, if there was no one at home then he gave points out of ten. We had fled a Village after farming there for three generations, where there was jealousy, hatred and a vendetta just because we chose to be different. At an emotional time this welcome in Balquhidder was so wonderful for us, so many cards and offers of help and kindness. We have spent 22 of the happiest years of our lives with all you good people and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and with a prayer for the ones who are gone. And now we say a sad farewell to all our friends, but memories will not fade and we shall return as old friends and not strangers. We leave for Dumfries and

Galloway, as we came, with a tear in our eyes. Once again so many cards and messages to wish us well, a renewed measure of the love and kindness of our friends in Balquhidder. Yes, there may be an exception but that is overwhelmed by all of you. To those who left cards through the door, thank you so much, we sadly could not say it in person, but it is not forgotten. Those kind invitations to a farewell lunch and supper, emails and calls and a final hug and handshake. We leave with sadness for a new era in our lives and to be nearer to our three wonderful daughters. Bal` will live in our hearts for ever because of all of you. “Go well dear friends may you be as happy as the happy years you have given to us.” Edward and Jane.

The St Fillans Bit

incorporating ‘Murph’s Mumblings’... by John Murray

The more observant of you will have noticed the change of the column heading back to The St Fillans Bit. This is in response to the representations of a villager reflecting a ‘consensus of opinion that the column be retitled and reflect village life in St Fillans’. For reasons I know not the approach of the unknown consensus group was made above my head to the Editor. God knows why. Everyone knows my contact details so I would have appreciated direct contact. As I have pointed out to the representative of the group my aim has been for 10 years to run the column on the lines they want – but to do that I need input from villagers on upcoming events, past events, concerns etc. – despite regular pleas for such input it has been minimal. One idea, apparently, from the group was that they write the column every now and then. I have pointed out that this is not practical – you either take responsibility for the column or you don’t. So ‘consensus group’ it is up to you now. I am not a Humphrey Bogart reporter in a long mac with a trilby and smoking a Capstan as I search for news. You will see from the back page that I am a St Fillans Contact – you feed me the info and I can write about it. I have made it clear that if anyone wants to volunteer to take over the column I will happily stand down. Rant over. Last Sunday we attended a superb evening laid on by Brad & Zelda at the Achray to celebrate the end of their first season of trading. A fantastic buffet and multiple cocktails – all FOC! I am not a cocktail drinker but really enjoyed a wide range of multi-coloured drinks, no idea what they were but tasted brilliant. It is quite amazing how Brad & Zelda have transformed the Achray both decoratively and in terms of welcoming villagers. I wish them all the best for the 2016 season. Thanks to Sally for reporting on the social evening held in The Sandison on 24th October to christen the fine new chairs and to thank villagers for their cash contributions. In particular John Forty was thanked for masterminding the purchase which arose from his attending a village coffee morning when the topic of the terrible old plastic chairs was discussed – John undertook to source funding to replace the chairs. Trish scoured the internet to source suitable new chairs. A sample was placed in Liam’s shop and the village was emailed to get a sponsor for every chair – with excellent response such that 80 good quality chairs were purchased. Sally reports a good evening with food provided by ladies of

the village and wine by Johnston. Thanks to Haley for this next input On Saturday the 31st of October, the children from the village gathered together for a spooky Halloween party, held at Sanderson Hall. The children made a brilliant effort with their fancy dress costumes, there were lots of witches, ghosts, ghouls, a werewolf, and even a dog! The party kicked off with spooky face painting by the talented Kay Naitby and Rebecca Hardman-Carter. Great fun was had with a series of party games such as zombie musical bumps, dooking for apples, as well as a Pumpkin Piñata, which the children had great fun trying to crack (not as easy as it looks), which was brimming with treats. The children

refuelled with lots of party food ready for some dancing and more party games until it was time to head off for a bit of guising around the village. It was lovely to be able to bring all the children together, since the lack of a village school means the children are scattered between Comrie and Crieff, and rarely have a chance to socialise with each other. This means a huge thank you needs to go to lots of villagers, without whom funds for the party could not have been raised, especially Liam Cayless and Claire Allen from the village shop, who offered to display the Luxury Hamper and sell the raffle tickets. They also donated a lovely bottle of Single Malt and boxes of Chocolates to start the hamper off. The rest of the items were generously donated by the other parents within the village. Special thanks to Richard Graham who lent his height, and his ladder to help

Halloween Party

Continued overleaf


The St Fillans Bit

(Continued from p3)

decorate the hall, along with Kay Naitby and Jean Milne. Also thanks to Catriona Cunningham who helped with the big clean up the next day, and last but not least everyone who brought along donations of party food, bought raffle tickets or generously donated money towards the party fund. The raffle prize was drawn by Liam at the end of the party and was won by a very surprised Kitty. Enough money was raised to be able to hold a children’s Village Christmas Party, which will hopefully be as much fun for all involved as the Halloween party was. I was pleased to hear from Eileen Livermore who has now relocated to Comrie after the sad loss of Bob. She tells me of 27 very happy years in St Fillans after moving from Kent. She became involved in the Drama Group, The Sew & Sews, and Patchwork & Country Dancing. She also designed a superb garden (though I suspect that Bob did the heavy work). I will remember Eileen & Bob as very regular diners when I ran the Achray. Eileen says she will be back for village events. As you know I am always putting in bits of advice on consumer purchases based in my buys and my mistakes. The continuing deterioration of my lower limbs required last year the purchase of a rise and recline chair. I bought a cheapie off the internet and it was the most uncomfortable chair I had ever had. I sent it back. Then this year I realised that I had to get a decent one. The result was a superb chair from HSL – cost 3 times the internet cheapie but has transformed life. It is simple – you get what you pay for. I have been asked not to rant on about The Drummond or Arran. So I won’t – except to say that the removal of the derelict caravan in the car park promised a month ago at the Arran AGM has not happened. Surprise! There was on odd sighting of seemingly pixies at the war memorial. A very odd group but well intentioned. You will be happy to hear that the Sandison will be open again at 10 p.m. on Hogmanay for villagers to gather and see in the New Year. Not sure if it is the previous £5 entry or a voluntary bucket collection. Finally, another great fireworks display organised by the Festive Committee. Hot dogs & mulled wine thrown in. We attend these events then drift off home but how many folk realise just how much work has gone into the organisation – building the fire, erecting the marquee, producing the food and drink, then afterwards dismantling the marquee and tidying up the field. Well done to all. John Murray 4

The Black and Yellow Fields of Strathyre Emergency Meeting re Land Sale A meeting was convened in Strathyre on Monday 23rd of November to urgently discuss 27acres of land on the east side of Strathyre being listed for sale by the Order of St John through CKD Galbraith. This area has been historically called the Black and Yellow fields and currently contains the route of the Stuc A Chroin Hill race, the Rob Roy Trail and Strathyre’s War Memorial. It is also used for orienteering and by the primary school for outdoor activities and educational walks. The land was originally owned by Miss Buick from Strathyre and she had gifted her land to the Order of St John apparently with the objective of it being kept as an open space which the children may use as a playground and would not be built on or otherwise developed. The meeting was very well attended including Bruce Crawford MSP and Alycia Hayes Councillor from Stirling Council and was conducted generally in a constructive manner with the promise of no tomato throwing on either side. The desired outcome was stated by Kenny Higgins to be “to ask the Order of St John to work with the Village of Strathyre to find a way to allow them to protect this land, respecting the agreed wishes of Miss Buick-through goodwill, in whatever way is possible-favourably commercially or otherwise, for the retention of this land for the benefit of future generations of Strathyre and allowing us continued, unhindered right of way for all that access this land for recreational purposes.” Representing the Order of St John Douglas Dow, the Chancellor and Registrar, explained their position in that they hold the title deed for the land signed by Miss Buick. They have charitable status and as such have a duty to make sound financial decisions about the assets they currently own and this parcel of land is just one of the ones they are currently looking to sell. He explained that they had consulted and instructed Galbraiths to put the land on the market as this was the only way to discover what any prospective buyers would be willing to pay for it given the planning restrictions that would be in place. Various views and suggestions were forth-coming from the floor and were debated by the representatives of the two sides. One of the main arguments was seeking to establish a figure per acre which would be acceptable to both sides

and enable the matter to be taken further. As the village had not received prior notice of the sale (although apparently a man in a suit and wellingtons had been spotted previously walking on the field area) a strong representation was made that the land should be withdrawn from sale at the moment to allow the village to form a management committee and see if funds could be found to make a mutually acceptable bid. Kenny Higgins stated that “the land referred to as the Black and Yellow fields of Strathyre, may be close to worthless in true residual value, but to the people of Strathyre, it is priceless. The village will do all possible to secure the land in deep respect for the widely known wish of the Miss Mary Buick, that she wished the land to be provided for the children of Strathyre as recreational area never to be developed. The people of Strathyre want to make Miss Buick’s wish come true” Latest Up Date - The latest situation is that we have agreed as a representative committee through the Strathyre Village Association to appoint a solicitor to work with us and to prepare an offer, which we will submit within the short time frame provided by the Order of St John.

The Strathyre War Memorial is situated on The Black and Yellow Fields

Strathyre Social Events Quiz Night - Friday 4th December - The Inn and Bistro 8.30pm....

Be Aware!

This letter came through the post recently and to say I was confused would be an understatement. I have been driving for over forty-five years and have NEVER driven any vehicle without road tax, yet it seems I was. I phoned as requested to be told that I would need to pay a fine of £40 immediately and one month’s back tax which was due. When I explained that I had not received the usual reminder for tax renewal and I was ALWAYS aware about being legal on the road, I was stunned to be told that DVLA HAD NOT BOTHERED to send out reminders to, and I quote, “Quite a lot of people”!! It was pointed out that I was responsible for keeping my tax up to-date. I said that I had something on my vehicle that reminded me every time I used it called a “TAX DISC” but they, in their wisdom, took it away and THEY can’t be bothered sending out reminders. Not, I may add, that they no longer send them out, but just could not be bothered. I put it to them that they must be receiving a lot of calls from worried people like me who are being forced to pay this fine and they just said, “Yes, there are”!!I find this incredible to say the least. These reminders are your documentation for the renewal of your tax as not everyone has Internet access or wishes to pay by direct debit. I was told I can appeal but if the appeal goes against me then the fine would be more expensive and I risk the chance of being prosecuted. So what chance does a workingman like me have against this kind of authority, in a word ----- NONE? This made the normal cost of six months tax increase by over £60 by the time I came off the phone While I agree that the responsibility lies with me to keep the vehicle taxed, surely they must take responsibility for supplying the necessary paperwork? The implications of their laziness are frightening to people like me who rely on their vehicle to make a living. Had I been involved in a serious accident which required police involvement then I would have been put in the position where my vehicle was illegally on the road and would probably have been charged, but it would also have nullified my insurance and I would have been liable for all cost of repairs, not to mention if there was serious injury or loss of life! All because DVLA “could not be bothered”. So you would be well advised to check your tax renewal date and watch the post for a renewal notice, just in case you suffer the same fate, as I have had to endure. A very angry Wullie D

Carols for all with Callander Brass Editor’s Note Thursday 17th Dec 7.30pm... Strathyre We by coincidence had listened to a radio programme on this subject. Village Hall followed with mulled wine One lady had been to the Doctors and and mince pies discovered her car had been clamped so Jan she had to pay the fine and £90 to remove the clamp. She was informed that the DVLA do not have a legal responsibility to “remind” people. Continued overleaf

Wullie’s Letter

Real Ale - Real Music


Strathyre Village shop Festive Opening Times

Charity Clothes Collection

in Aid of Global World Challenge (raising funds to help community projects in the developing world) Dan and Lottie Hesp from Strathyre hope to travel to Malaysia with a team from McLaren High School in 2017 to work with Global World Challenge. They will be collecting spare clothes and shoes from Strathyre on the afternoon of Saturday 5 December 2015. They will be delivering a red bag to you beforehand for your unwanted clothes and shoes. Please leave it by your front door for collection. All contributions gratefully received. Any questions, please ring 01877 384799. Thank you.

The House of Haigh

Ladies Clothing, Soft Furnishings and Alterations services. The business was established in 1992 when we realised that ladies have difficulty finding garments that are comfortable, flattering and priced to suit their budget. Developments have continued to the present day. Please contact us for a brochure or visit us for more information. Winter opening hours Saturday & Sunday 11-30 to 15-30. Tullybannocher, Comrie, PH6 2JY Tel: 0797 985 7931 FOR LADIES AND THEIR HOMES TO LOOK AND BE THEIR BEST

Sat 19th Dec Sun 20th Dec Mon 21st Dec Tue 22nd Dec Wed 23rd Dec Thur 24th Dec Fri 25th Dec Sat 26th Dec Sun 27th Dec Mon 28th Dec Tue 29th Dec Wed 30th Dec Thu 31st Dec Fri 1st Jan Sat 2nd Jan Sun 3rd Jan Mon 4th Jan Tue 5th Jan

8am Until 4pm 9am Until 3pm 8am Until 4:30pm 8am Until 4:30pm 8am Until 4:30pm 8am Until 3:30pm CLOSED 10am Until 1pm 9pm Until 2pm 8am Until 4:30pm 8am Until 4:30pm 8am Until 4:30pm 8am Until 3pm CLOSED 10am Until 1pm 9am Until 2pm 9am Until 3pm 7am Until 5:30pm


07554 195 446 Airport transfers at competitive rates Distance no object Contact Stirling Council for DRT

08452 777 000


Tennis on the Road Judy Murray has a team travelling round various venues in Scotland in one of her attempts to encourage more children to play tennis and hopefully produce more Scottish champions. This particular scheme is actually aimed at parents as it is to show and involve them in playing games with balloons and racquets and developing basic ball skills at the same time as having great fun as seen in the photos! The concentration on the faces says it all and the children seem to be having fun too. There was initial disappointment when Judy herself could not attend but her team certainly did a great job of enthusing all ages and, hopefully, they will all be back in spring for more tennis fun.

The Inn at Strathyre Saturday the 12th - music with Strumalele, mulled cider and hot pork rolls. Sunday the 13th - Christmas party roasts and music with Dave Allen. December the 26th - Box O’ Bananas play from 7:30pm. Merry Christmas to All.


DOCTORS Drs Strang & Scott and Drs Mathewson & Gibson Community Nurses The surgeries and community nurses take part in various training programmes throughout the year. This is to meet the educational and training needs of all members of the practice and nursing team. The next training afternoons will provisionally be on: Thursday 18th February 2016 Tuesday 15th March 2016 On these afternoons, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments. Both practices and community nurse clinic will close at 12.30pm. Emergency cover will be provided by NHS24 for nursing and GPs. In the event of an emergency, please telephone 111. Bracklinn Practice There will be a GP on call both 24th December and 31st December in the afternoon, and if you require urgent medical attention please contact the practice up to 6pm. At all other times please contact NHS24 on 111. CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR ARRANGEMENTS Bracklinn and Leny Practice will be closed from lunchtime on Thursday 24th December until Tuesday 29th December, and again from lunchtime on Thursday 31st December until Tuesday 5th January. FLU VACINE UPDATE Bracklinn Practice raised a fantastic sum of £261.00 to be divided between Breast Cancer and Bowel Cancer Charities. Lenny Practice raises £161.52 to be divided between Pancreatic Cancer Scotland and Alzheimer Scotland.


Church News

BalquhiĐĐer •bls

Reg. Charity No. SC012316

2015 has been a year of little change to our situation of being without a new minister, but we have been very happy to enjoy the services of our locum, Revd June Johnston together with our Interim Moderator, Revd Terry Ann Taylor. At last, the refurbishment of the manse is nearing completion and we are due to advertise more widely for a new minister in 2016. We hope and pray that there will be a good response to the advertisement. For your information, I have resigned from the Vacancy Committee for health reasons, but Pauline Perkins is very happy to take my place and we are grateful to her for that. To remind you, please note that our representatives on the committee now are Eleanor Bell, Maida MacLaren and Pauline Perkins. Remembrance Day was commemorated in all three villages in the traditional way, despite truly horrendous weather at times. Now we look forward to Advent, leading up to the Christmas Eve service of readings and carols. Please note that Killin have changed the time of their Christmas Eve service to 6.30 pm so that ours this year will be at 8.30 pm. As in previous years, the collection will be for Borderline, a small charity which cares for Scots down on their luck in London. More immediately, on December 13th, our usual Sunday service at 11.30am is cancelled and we are invited to join Killin at a special Christmas service at 10.00 am together with the Community Choir. We wish everyone a very happy Christmas and pray that 2016 will be peaceful and provide us with a new minister as well! God of hope who brought love into the world be the love that dwells amongst us. Jean Edwards

A Note from

St Angus’s Hogmanay Party Lochearnhead Village Hall 9pm-2am The Lochearnhead Village Hall will be hosting a Hogmanay party once again on the 31st December 2015. Live band Raband will be back and is 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 21 November 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.

Strathearn Episcopal Churches Welcome you to celebrate Christmas with us Sunday 13 December 6.30pm Community Carols at Lochearnhead Village Hall with mince piess, fruit punch and mulled wine. Thursday 24 December Christmas Eve - 6pm Crib Service at Angus’s, Lochearnhead. Friday 25 December Christmas Day - 10.30am Christmas Communion at St Angus’s, Lochearnhead.


Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of Meeting held at The Broch on 28rd October 2015

Please note that these minutes have not yet received formal approval and should be considered as a draft version only. Present: Alistair Barclay (AB), Paul Hicks (PH), David Johnston (DJ), Ruth McLusky (RMC), Adrian Squires (AS), Loraine Telfer (LT), Richard Eastland (RE). Apologies: Malcolm McNaughton (MM), Angus Cameron (AC), Rosanne McWilliams (RM), Karen Methven (KM). In attendance: Cllr Alycia Hayes (AH), Stirling Council, PC Will Diamond (WD), Police Scotland. 1) Approval of Minutes: AB welcomed everyone and explained that, owing to a clash of meetings, MM was unable to be present so he would chair the meeting. It was proposed by RMC and seconded by AS, that the minutes of the meeting on 23rd September 2015 should be accepted, and this was approved unanimously. 2) Declarations of Interest: AB stated that he had written a letter to The Herald regarding the proposals from the National Park for a bye-law in respect of camping. 3) Police Report: Between 23rd September and 27th October, forty-six (46) offences were reported. Most of these (43) were road traffic offences but two people had been found in possession of controlled drugs and were reported to the Procurator Fiscal. There was an offence of theft reported at Glen Ogle, where a farm gate was stolen some time between 6-20th October. There were also several thefts reported in the Killin area, mostly where tools were taken from parked vehicles, but including a motorcycle stolen from an outhouse. Routine patrols were carried out, as well as attendance at the trunks road meeting. PC Diamond was also involved in a number of wildlife crime operations and Firearms Licensing enquiries in the local area. 4) Matters Arising: 4a) Traffic incident management. A meeting had been convened by Cllr Martin Earl on Tuesday 20th October in Lochearnhead to discuss the growing number of serious incidents taking place on the trunk roads in our area and beyond. It was attended by representatives from the Police, Transport Scotland, Stirling Council Education Department and from Strathfillan, Killin and BLS Community Councils. AB gave a brief summary of the meeting. He stated that several specific incidents had been discussed, and there had been useful inter-action between the different agencies as to how responses might be improved. In particular, communication issues were discussed at some length. The overall meeting lasted about two hours and proved to be very positive. One specific proposal concerned warnings of traffic diversions. BEAR is responsible primarily for managing diversions and signs. It was agreed that pre-prepared signs would be placed in boxes at strategic locations, to be used by BEAR or emergency services staff where appropriate. This should improve the speed with which diversions can be put in place. 4b) Resignation of Susie Crammon. PH reported that a bouquet of flowers had been delivered to Susie who had responded with a letter of thanks to everyone. 4c) Community Council Connect Fund. PH reported that he had prepared a draft application and liaised with the editor of The Villagers magazine, but had then been away on holiday abroad and could not get an internet connection so had been unable to complete the process. The terms of the application had now been agreed with The Villagers, and would be submitted by the end of the current week. 4d) National Park Community Champion Awards. PH reminded members that the National Park Community Partnership holds an annual event to celebrate the various aspects of community life across the park. As part of this, several awards are made to individuals and groups that have made outstanding contributions to community life. This year, BLS CC nominated Cameron Hendry from Balquhidder for the ìYoung Championî award, and the results will be announced at this year’s event on Saturday 7th November at Gartmore Village Hall. PH said he was planning to attend and anyone else would be most welcome to go along with him. The CC is entitled to send two representatives, but this could be open to negotiation if more wished to attend. 5) BLS CC Schedule of Meetings: PH had previously circulated a list of suggested dates and venues. The dates were agreed, but there was some discussion as to which venues should be used during the winter months. It was agreed that there should be more variation if possible ñ although there were no suitable premises in Lochearnhead. Action: PH to arrange for a greater variation of venues over the winter. 6) Bye-law and Clearways: There was no new information from official sources. There have been some recent articles in The Herald concerning the bye-law proposals from the National Park, but the government minister is not yet in a position to make a decision concerning this legislation. The clearway legislation is also progressing, but nothing positive has been heard. AB mentioned that there would be a ìFive Lochsî meeting on 19 November and more information might be available then. 7) Correspondence: No other correspondence had been received. 8) Planning Matters: Nothing new had been notified. 9) Matters From Local Councillors: There had been a full council meeting on 8th October and three significant motions were passed. A further motion, proposed by our local councillors (AH and FW) had been rejected. 9a) The project to share some services with Clackmannanshire Council is to be discontinued. This is due primarily to problems with the administrative and financial details of the joint working scheme. 9b) The question of refugees and the various consequences involved had been discussed, including how it might affect the existing housing list, education requirements, and so on. It is estimated that about twenty families will be received in the Stirling Council area. 9c) A photovoltaic energy (solar) power station is to be developed at Polmaise. This should assist the Council in generating an alternative income stream. Consideration is also being given to how greater flexibility might be applied to business rates in different communities, in order to stimulate business activity in certain areas. 9d) Cllr Hayes and Cllr Wood had put forward a proposal to reintroduce Village Officers in our area, but this was rejected. However, there may yet be some scope for working with external agencies (such as the Fire & Rescue Service) that maintain their own properties in rural settlements. AH and FW hope to pursue this in future. 10) Any Other Competent Business: 10a) Broadband. DJ gave a brief update on progress to date. British Telecom is the only company that can supply ìbackhaulî (a connection to the national network) and it should be possible to complete this by the Spring of 2016. A potential supplier for data services has been identified and a reasonable level of costs established. Exploratory talks have also taken place with local farmers with a view to providing equipment and labour to lay fibre down the Glen. 10b) Demand Responsive Transport. DJ referred to an earlier email from PH regarding the need to make a formal reply by 18th December to Stirling Council on how this service is operating. PH apologized for omitting this from the agenda, and said that he would raise it again at the next meeting, when any feedback on how things are running could still be collated in time to meet the deadline. AH added that the cost of the DRT service had risen considerably in the current financial year, mainly due to the additional layer of administration that had been introduced. She feared that this would render the service no longer viable. There was no other business and, at 8:45 p.m., AB declared the meeting closed. The next meeting is due to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 9th December 2015 at the Inn & Bistro, Strathyre.


Scotland’s ‘chamber-folk quartet’ to visit Balquhidder Tues 15th December

7.30pm, Balquhidder Village Hall

‘RANT’, an award winning group of Scotland’s finest fiddle players, will visit Balquhidder Village Hall on 15th December as part of their acoustic winter tour. The quartet comprises Shetland sisters Jenna and Bethany Reid, Highlander Sarah-Jane Summers, and Lauren MacColl, who has lived in the glen for two years now. Since the launch of their debut CD in 2013 they have gone on to win a ‘Herald Angel’ award for exceptional performance during the Edinburgh Festivals, and were nominated for best traditional track in the BBC Radio 2 Folk awards in 2014. Their music has been compared to exhilarating contemporary string quartets and the most traditional of musicians. Highly skilled specialists in their local traditions, RANT arrange traditional material and compose melodies for the group, and use just their fiddles to weave textures and harmonies into a sound the Herald described as ‘Hypnotic’ in a review of their first performance at Edinburgh’s iconic Queen’s Hall. They have performed internationally and were invited to contribute string parts for the latest album by renowned Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis. For their December tour they will include specially arranged pieces of winter-inspired music In Balquhidder RANT will perform entirely acoustically in an intimate candlelit setting for an hour-long concert. This is a great opportunity to hear them in a small hall. Tickets £10 on the door including a glass of wine and festive nibbles. Visit to hear their music.


McLaren High School

McLaren Rugby Team

Megan Pease, Rebecca Bryce, Rhys Wykes, Laura King and John Paterson. Pupils who provided musical entertainment were: Charlotte Scott, Megan Milligan, Natalie Klaes, Fergus Walker and Callum Convoy.

McLaren Ski Teams

Skiing McLaren High School ski teams recently achieved both 1st and 2nd place in the Autumn Dual Slalom Series and are all set for the final on 29 October. In order to compete well in the final, we will be attending sessions at Tillicoultry where we will fine tune our racing order and starting technique. The teams for the qualifier were: McLaren A: Lachie Fingland, Drew Galloway, Dan Hesp McLaren B: Craig Fingland, Connor Ramsay Clapham, Ross Ronald, Cameron McLay Hopefully both ski teams will keep up the good work in representing McLaren in the final! Craig Fingland S6 Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Plate McLaren High v North Berwick Academy On Tuesday 27 October the McLaren High U18 rugby squad travelled to North Berwick to play their third match of this year’s national competition. North Berwick started the game strongly and capitalised on some uncharacteristic mistakes from the McLaren boys to move into an early 15-0 lead. McLaren responded well to their slow start and Luke Maher scored a fine individual try. When Logan Trotter converted the score it was now only 15-7 to the hosts. However, another two well-constructed team scores from North Berwick made it 29-7 at half time. At the start of the second half both teams exchanged early tries, with Charlie Allardyce touching down for McLaren making the score 3612. In the end North Berwick proved too strong an opposition and ran out 55-12 winners. The score line does not reflect the effort and commitment shown by the McLaren boys, even when they were up against it. The coaches were extremely proud of the boys 'never give up' attitude right until the final whistle. Well done for the excellent season so far. 12

Park Stars & their Certificates

Park StarsAward Ceremony On Thursday 29 October pupils from McLaren High School were invited to the Park Stars Awards Ceremony at Cameron House Hotel. The evening was organised by Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Community Partnership’s Skills Partnership Park Previews Project as a way of saying thank you to the many partners who have supported the project over the past year and to celebrate the achievements of all the young people who took part. McLaren pupils were involved in 3 days work experience earlier this year at Monachyle Mhor Hotel, Balquhidder, and were filmed and photographed by the young trainees while they were taking part. The films that the pupils produced were premiered during the evening and pupils received certificates from their work experience employers. Everyone had an enjoyable evening and special thanks was given to McLaren pupils who provided the musical interlude at the start of the evening. Pupils who received certificates were:

Musical Entertainment at the Ceremony

Senior Leadership Skills Day Earlier this year a group of the Senior Leadership team, along with Mr Fleming and Dr Gorman, went on a training day with teamwork and communication in mind. After a minibus journey we ended up at Ardeonaig Outdoor Centre. We were split into our two groups and started a day of activities and fun with our instructors from the Abernethy Trust. The activities were all based on teamwork and about us trying to learn the different leadership styles. We learned of the different ways to communicate and lead groups through a situation whether that be one person taking complete charge or working with the entire group to solve a problem. We worked in small groups of six for the day and started off the morning on low ropes. We had to work in a group to move a full bucket of water around an obstacle course. Wherever we went the bucket went: over a cargo net and through tunnels, this helped us identify each other’s strengths and weaknesses. After a lot of spillages and laughs we made it to the end. The session was helpful to us for our next task as we had an idea of who had certain attributes and how to use them in a group. We finished off the day heading in a small bus to Loch Tay where we had a session of raft building. After years of outdoor trips in our High School years we were all experienced raft builders and knew how to construct a stable raft. We all took to the water and our two groups learned how to control and steer the raft allowing us to take part in a race along the perimeter of Loch Tay.

Higher Geographers Senior Leadership Skills Day

Overall the day taught us a lot about how to work in a team and use each other’s strengths and weaknesses to our advantage. This will help us for the rest of the year to work well together as a Senior Leadership Team and lead our houses well for the remainder of 2015/16. Gregor Nixon and Amber MacLean S6 Higher Geographers On a windswept Monday the Higher Geographers embarked on a field work study of the sand dune system at Lunnan Bay near Montrose. We had arranged to meet Alison O’Hara of the Scottish Wildlife Trust who is based at Lunnan Bay and had excellent local knowledge of both the immediate and surrounding areas, allowing for a greater insight into the fieldwork that we were undertaking. Before long, the Higher pupils began their fieldwork, measuring slope, angle, and sedimentation and identifying plant species on the dune system, looking for similarities and differences along the dune network. A few lessons were learnt about watching out for waves when sampling from the area where the waves were breaking. A few soggy wellies later samples were collected and the study continued. After a brief pause for lunch we then pulled all of the information together and finished off a few odds and ends where people had to finish off their data collection. When all the pupils were finished, samples collected and data shared, the geographers were climbing back into the bus and the rain began to fall. Perfect timing some may say, or would it just be the excellent planning of the geography team... The next destination for the Higher pupils will be a study of Edinburgh city centre. More to come on that soon! Royal Highland Educational Trust Careers Event On Friday 6 November, 30 S2 pupils attended a Royal Highland Educational Trust Careers Event at United Auctions in Stirling where they had the opportunity to experience different aspects of careers related to farming and agriculture, butchery and food production, outdoor learning and veterinary services. This is Emily Fraser’s report on the day:

Careers Event

We left the school at 9.30am to go to United Auctions Livestock Market. When we arrived we dipped our feet into pink disinfectant then went inside. We split into groups and went to our first event. Robert Bryce from a company called Genus gave a presentation all about Genus and ABS. He told us some of the jobs you can do such as technician, stockman, sales advisor and loads more. We then moved on to our second event which was veterinary. Charles Marwood from Clyde Vet told us all about his job and how to become a vet in the agricultural business. He told us about some of his experiences and how he has been to some of the best farms and delivered lots of calves. The third event we moved on to was Agricultural Finance. Marion Bayne, a manager from the Clydesdale Bank, talked to us about how farmers need banks. One thing they do is lend money to farmers so that they can buy tractors or more animals. Butchery was next and Willie Crawford talked to us about his role while demonstrating some skills you need to be a butcher. Then we went to our next event where agronomist (‘crop doctor’) Jim Warnock from WN Lindsay, an independent grain merchant, told us about some of the crops they sell. Barley is a big cereal crop in Britain along with wheat and oats. They also do soil tests for farmers with a Kubota buggy which plots soil type using GPS to give farmers a detailed map of their fields. Our final event was machinery. Colin Duthie from Agricar showed us around the shop and told us about how to become a good salesperson or engineer. He showed us some of the machinery such as tractors and quad bikes and explained what farmers would use them for.

I had a great day and learned so much about all the different sectors on show. Children in Need On Friday 13 November we held a mufti day to raise money for Children in Need – pupils had to pay £1 to come to school in casual clothes. S6s paid £2 to come to school in fancy dress and compete along with the teachers for

the titles of ‘best dressed’. The junior Pupil Council were in charge of judging at the costume parade at break time. The Numeracy & ICT team dressed as the cast of “Despicable Me” and won the prize for the best dressed teachers. Skye Campbell, S6, won the best individual costume dressed as “Day of the Dead” from Spectre and Connor Clark, Gregor Nixon and Logan Trotter won the best S6 group dressed as fairies! At lunch we had a raffle with various prizes and an auction of members of the Senior Leadership Team. Rebecca Edwards, S6, raised money at lunch time by doing makeup and nails. It was a great day and we raised £921.55 for Children in Need – well done to everyone involved! Tara Leishman S6

Tennis on the Road

Tennis on the Road Judy Murray visited the school recently as part of the national Tennis on the Road (TOTR). Judy came to the school with a team of coaches who led a session for our Sports Leaders in S3, S5 and S6 as well as a class of primary 4 children from Callander Primary School. The coaches spent the afternoon delivering a session on Tennis Fundamentals to the P4s with the Sports Leaders assisting with the session. This was a fun session for the P4s and provided a great training opportunity for our Sports Leaders. Continued on page 18 13

My favourite recipes...

‘Piernik’ a polish traditional Christmas cake Piernik is a cake bit like a gingerbread always made with good quality honey and a lot of mixed spice. Piernik has been baked for centuries in Torun, the polish medieval city. The oldest records date from the fourteenth century. The traditional piernik should be made weeks before Christmas, so the dough ‘ripen’ before baking what gives the cake very unique taste. Once baked ‘Piernik’ needs to be kept for about 1-2 weeks in a cool place to become soft. I have chosen the recipe for quick ‘Piernik’ that doesn’t need to ripen. This cake can be made, baked and eaten the same day :) It has a layer of jam and marzipan in the middle and chocolate on a top.

3. Add sugar, milk, egg yolks and then flour with soda. Mix well after addition of each ingredient. 4. Whip egg whites until stiff, gently mix into dough with a spoon. Add dried fruit or nuts if using, mix gently by hand. 5. Place dough into a form about 14 x 26 cm. Bake for 1 hour at 170ºC or until a toothpick comes out dry. Take out of an over, leave to cool. 6. Cut horizontally, spread jam and marzipan, fold together. 7. Melt chocolate, cover the cake. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Ingredients: 250 ml honey 200g sugar 250ml milk 450g plain flour 4 eggs 100 g butter 20-30 g mixed spice 1 tbsp baking soda 1 tbsp cacao powder 100g raisins, nuts or dates (optional) 100g marzipan (optional) Plum or apricot jam 50g dark/plain chocolate Step by step instructions: All ingredients need to be at room temperature. 1. Sieve flour and soda into a bowl, set aside. 2. Honey, butter, spice and cocoa cook until all ingredients dissolve.

Glenorchy Farm

Free range rare breed pork for sale

We sell fresh pork as 1/2 pigs (20kg) and 1/4 pigs (10kg) every 3 months, next available - early 2016. We also sell frozen sausage and bacon packs - £25. We can arrange drop off points in the local area.

Contact: Fiona MacLennan t: 07783116399 e: facebook: Glenorchy Farm 14

Torun - a Polish Medieval City

A recent promotion by C&WP to raise awareness of the U3A coincided with the NHS using the media to promote awareness of ill health due to loneliness and our display stand at Callander’s GP surgeries on the day of the Flu Vaccinations drew much interest. Members of our U3A took turns to answer queries and hand out leaflets, timetables and membership forms. The pharmacy staff initiated the idea of putting small information flyers in with every prescription bag for older patients and as a result we have recruited new members. Other village surgeries were leafletted on their Flu Vaccination days and the Buchlyvie Pharmacy is also adding flyers to prescriptions. Spanish conversation is a new group recently started and well attended, as is the newly re-formed ‘Singing for Pleasure’ group. A Yoga Group will begin in the New Year. Details will be posted on our website ‘Callander and West Perthshire U3A’. The Scottish History Group organised an outing to the Battle of Bannockburn Experience and the Poetry Group went to see the new film of ‘Under Milk Wood’. At the time of writing we are looking forward to a talk on ‘Winter Driving’ by Angus Maciver of the Institute for Advanced Motoring and plans for the Christmas Lunch at Venachar Lochside have been finalised. Details of the menu have been circulated to members but the nature of the musical entertainment on the day is to be a surprise. We would like to wish all members of C&WP a very happy festive season and look forward to new ventures in 2016.

MSP warning over cold calling scam

Scottish Wildlife Trust Callander Group – Otters, Toads and Yellow Bumblebees The speaker at the October SWT meeting in Callander was Paul Yoxon, CEO of the International Otter Survival Fund based in Broadford, Skye. Of 16 otter species worldwide, 13 are in decline. IOSF works on conservation of otters and their habitat from the UK to Asia, covering exotic species such as the Cape clawless otter, Chilean sea cat and the Vietnamese hairy-nosed otters. The Eurasian otter, now only found in Europe, is the UK’s largest land carnivore: males are up to 1-1.2m long and 9-11.8kg. With territories up to 50km, their population is difficult to estimate but is believed to be ~10,000 in the UK, 8000 of those in Scotland. They are classed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red list and a protected species so it is illegal to kill them or disturb their habitat. In Czechoslovakia and Germany they can live up to 15 years but in England only 10% of dead otters analysed are more than 4 years old, road deaths being the major cause. The 2-3 cubs stay with the mother until maturity at 18-24months so population recovery is slow. To suit a semi-aquatic lifestyle, they have a thin layer of blubber and incredibly dense fur (50,000hairs/cm2) to trap insulating air – the cause of their previous demise. This must be kept clean so they are badly affected by water pollution and coastal otters wash in fresh water. Scat analysis shows that fish make up 75% of their diet but they also eat crabs & amphibians, more surprisingly the odd bird and mammal, including rabbits on Pabbay! There is a wealth of information on the IOSF website www.otter/org, including tips for spotting otters. Please help by reporting all sightings. In November James Silvey, Nature Recovery Officer in Scotland spoke about RSPB’s All Nature programme. Founded as the Plumage League in 1889, the original members of the RSPB were all women who campaigned against the fashion for exotic feathers in hats. RSPB has since widened its scope, its 213 reserves (140,000 acres) being home to a high percentage of the UK’s non-avian species. The All Nature programme has identified 83 priority species, 59 of which are found in Scotland with 10 unique such as the diminutive purple Scottish Primrose, now restricted to Orkney and Caithness. The Natterjack Toad has been studied by RSPB for 30 years in which time development has drastically reduced its coastal dune habitat, restricting them to small areas such as Mereshead Reserve

Yellow Bumble Bee

on the Solway Firth. This small toad, with its distinctive yellow stripe, is a pursuit hunter so runs rather than jumps. To protect the small tadpoles they breed in ephemeral ponds away from predatory fish and amphibians rather than returning to the same pond annually. To then attract a mate the males have the loudest call of any amphibian in Europe. This makes them easy to find but to estimate adult populations individuals are being identified by photographic comparison of their unique pattern of warts. A second example is the Great Yellow Bumblebee, identified by the single black stripe in line with the wings. It is a longfaced bee so feeds from deep nectar plants such as clover and knapweed but reduced meadows and threatened machair habitat now restrict it to the Hebrides, Orkney and Caithness. Its demise is not fully understood but future surveys will determine the success of wild flower habitat restoration. More positive highlights include the northernmost chequered skipper butterfly seen in Ardnamurchan, water voles at Insh Marshes for the first time in 20 years (following mink clearance) and, on Oronsay 196 spikes on Oronsay of Lady’s Tresses were found, Europe’s rarest orchid. Lesley Hawkins

Scottish Wildlife Trust Callander Local Group Diary 2015

Bruce Crawford MSP for Stirling Constituency is warning people in the Stirling area about cold callers targeting households claiming Scottish Government legislation states they must replace their existing heating system with a new A rated boiler. Mr Crawford is urging people seeking heating help to call the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Scotland advice service on 0808 808 2282. The energy efficiency advice service , which does not cold-call out to homes, has helped thousands of households with grants, loans and advice and support on how to keep their homes warm and save money. More than 28,000 people have contacted the advice service in the past nine weeks alone. Anyone concerned about nuisance calls should contact the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) which is responsible for the regulation of unsolicited live calls, recorded calls and texts and can take action against companies. The ICO helpline number is 0303 123 1113. Commenting Mr Crawford said: “It is fantastic news that so many people can access the Home Energy Scotland advice service, and be supported to make changes to their homes that will ensure they are warm and energy efficient.“What is not acceptable, however, is the number of nuisance callers profiteering from this, and pressurising householders to replace heating systems when they don’t need to. To be clear: Home Energy Scotland will never call households that haven’t asked them to call. “Other calls which are unsolicited not only undermine the trust and support for the energy efficiency sector, but they also cause many householders to feel intimidated and distressed. “I want to reassure people that there is no legislation requiring anyone to replace or upgrade their heating system.” Bruce Crawford MSP

Talks start at 7:30pm

Kirk Hall, South Church Street, Callander Tuesday 8 December John Muir Trust: Giving Wild Land a Voice by JMT Tuesday 12 January ‘Close Encounters with Wildlife’ by Dave Anderson, FCS Conservation Manager

EVERYONE WELCOME! Admission £2 members, £2.50 non-members, free to full-time students. Includes tea/coffee & biscuits.

Please book with Lesley Hawkins 01877 339080 or


AGM Minutes – 17th November 2015 at MHOR 84, Balquhidder from 7.30pm Please note that these minutes have not yet received formal approval and should be considered as a draft version only. Directors Present: Jan Dalziel; Owen McKee; Fiona Martin; Emma Richards; Sarah Gibson; Mel Brydie; David Johnstone; Malcolm MacNaughton Attendees: Nancy Coppock; Kelly Clapperton-Bates; G Johnston; Janet Richards; Sara Hesp; Kathleen Wenham; Trevor Wenham; Brian Ogilvie; Jason Allardyce; Andrew Poulter; Andrea Poulter; Tom Lewis Apologies: Roel Van der Vliet; Kenny Higgins Declaration of interest: Sarah & Emma declared an interest in the Immervoulin to Strathyre path. Minutes of last meeting: These were passed as a true and accurate record, proposed Mel and by Sarah. Benseconded Lui Matters Arising: We will need to apply for an admin grant via the National Park to pay for web site hosting etc., this will need to be done within the next year. Directors Annual report: Malcolm read through the annual report then went on to talk about the Projects. Strathyre Tennis Court – We are in discussions with Tennis Scotland to see where we can go for funding now we have been turned down by Sports Scotland. Tennis Scotland came and held a Tennis Coaching Session in Strathyre which has been organised by Judy Murray, this session was fantastic but unfortunately Judy Murray did not show up. We are hoping they will return in the spring with Judy Murray to do another tennis sessions. We also talked about the land around the Tennis Court and behind the houses in Strathyre which is now up for sale so this needs to be looked into more deeply. First Responders Unit and defibrillators – We explained we are no longer with the Ambulance Service and now with Trossach Search and Rescue. Trossachs Search and Rescue have also taken on the maintenance of the 3 defibs and we will continue to collect donations to help with this maintenance. There is now a lot of interest in Balquhidder about more people joining the First Responders so Mel & David will organise an open night in the new year. We also discussed a possibility of a defib being put down at Monachlye Mhor. Strathyre Playpark – We still need to contact Stirling Council to set up a meeting with Colin MacKay. It was also mentioned getting in contact with the Rob Roy Way to see if they can help in anyway. Immervoulin Path – We have just had a meeting with Kenny Auld from the National Park and it was very positive. Kenny has just applied to Tactran on our behalf to get the path shovel ready which means getting funds to cover planning permission and engineers designs. Kenny was also very positive about reapplying to Sustrans either next year or 2017 and if the path is shovel ready then you have a better chance of getting funding. Stirling Council are letting us keep £1500 grant as the project is still on going and we just need to keep them updated. We discussed asking local businesses/residents to make a donation towards the path as this looks really good to the funders. Benches – There will be 1 bench at the war memorial and 1 picnic bench at the playpark both in Strathyre. These have now been ordered and there is money left over so we need to go back to the National Park to see if this can be spent on basketball nets for the tennis court to make it a multi-use facility. Book Exchange – The idea is to change the old phone box in Balquhidder into a book exchange. Funding has been applied for from Stirling Council Community Grants to cover the cost of painting, shelving and signage. There will be a donation box which will go to Balquhidder Village Hall as they will be maintaining it. Financial update: Mel read the summary of account – Notes: 1. The Trust had a bank balance at 31st January 2014 of £4069.79 and at 31st January 2015 of £3870.06. 2. Grants from Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and SUSTRANS in the sum of £7000.00 are restricted to use for the Immervoulin Path. Any unused grants will require to be repaid. 3. Fundraising and donations raised a further £920.00 for public access defibrillators for all three villages. This funding has already been used to site a defibrillator in a cabinet outside Balquhidder Village Hall. Funding will be used to site defibrillators in external cabinets at Strathyre Village Shop and the National Park Rangers’ Office in Lochearnhead. 4. Funding for administration expenses has been made available by Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. A reminder that the website is available at blscommunity trust. 5. A set of fully-accrued accounts have been prepared by Sara Hesp, according to the regulatory standards. They have been independently examined by D McIver FCA of Killin, and found to be correct. These will be submitted to Companies House and OSCR. Copies can be made available to members if required. 16

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

December Wed 2 Dec 09:30 Ramble: Strathyre Forest Loop (6.5 miles) Contact 01877 384227 Sat 5 Dec 08:30 Hill: Cort-ma Law (531m) Contact 01877 339080 Wed 9 Dec 09:30 Stroll: Dunblane Donder (4 miles) Contact 01786 825249 January Sat 2 Jan 11:00 Stroll: Town Walk (4 miles) Contact 01877 330444 Wed 20 Jan 09:30 Ramble: Loch Katrine Aqueduct Towers (6 miles) Contact 01877 330059 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! Visitors and non-members welcome.

BLS Trust AGM After the official business was concluded Tom Lewis proceeded to both entertain and instigate several lines of thought as he reminisced on Tom Lewis his thirty years in the glen but also put forward ideas for the future for the area in general. He confessed to not being fully aware of some Stac Polly of the issues raised during the meeting and went on to think about how the three communities could work together more to be of mutual benefit. He felt there are opportunities to not only attract more visitors but to give them more to see and do to encourage them to stay for longer in the area and not just pass through in one day or night. Signs, stories and information about activities and events on-going were some of the ideas he tossed around before going on to develop the concept of the villages trying to coordinate and share the dates of social events to avoid clashes of dates which obviously restricts numbers attending.

The Missing Lynx It was with interest that I read the Farm Forum article “Wild Scotland?” in October’s The Villagers in which concerns were raised about the potential impact of proposed Eurasian lynx reintroductions in Scotland. Here are a few facts to add some perspective. There is currently no likelihood of wolves and bears being reintroduced into Britain. Therefore the following information concerns lynxes only (the “Wild Scotland?” article lumps data from Europe for livestock losses due to wolves, bears and lynxes together). Lynxes are medium sized predators weighing between 20 and 40kg. Their main prey is roe deer. While they may take sheep in the vicinity of woodland, they pose little threat to calves. Depending on habitat and food availability lynxes occupy territories of around 100 square kilometres, so we wouldn’t be seeing many in Scotland. Sheep losses to lynxes in Norway are high, but this is due to the fact that Norway is unique in that sheep are kept, unshepherded, in wooded habitats, where lynxes live and hunt. The table below shows sheep losses to lynxes in other European countries (as well as Norway), where sheep are kept on primarily open ground – as is the case in Scotland. Overview of lynx predation rates on sheep in Europe As shown in the table, the recorded number of sheep killed by lynx is zero in most countries in Europe. This statistic is supported by other studies, which have found that livestock damage is almost unknown in natural lynx populations in central and Eastern Europe (1). According to the environmental services consultancy AECOM, if sheep losses were to occur following lynx reintroductions, farmers could expect to receive in the region of twice the market value of the sheep (2). While not yet quantified, it is likely that lynxes would in fact reduce the overall losses of sheep due to the fact that they predate on and compete with foxes. Research from Sweden (3) and Switzerland (4) has found an annual decrease of up to 10% in local fox populations following lynx reintroductions. A reduced fox population would also be good news for game birds. A report by AECOM calculates that the rural economy in areas where lynxes were reintroduced would be boosted by millions, essentially due to ecotourism. Aberdeenshire, for example, could expect a hypothetical annual lynx generated income of around £16,800,000 (2). Not bad. Perhaps it’s not surprising that in a




Sheep loss

Lynx pop. (1995)**

Kill per lynx p.a.











































Czech Rep.


















FR Yugoslavia


















FYR Macedonia












































Average excluding Norway


* Excludes countries where there was no data on sheep kills. ** Adopting a conservative approach by using lowest estimates of lynx populations


recent survey of people living in rural areas 84% (of 9,530 responses) voted in favour of lynxes being reintroduced to the UK as part of a controlled and monitored scientific trail within the next 12 months (5). References 1/. Breitenmoser, U. et al. (2000), ‘Action Plan for the Conservation of the European Lynx (Lynx lynx) in Europe’, Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention) Nature and environment, No. 112 2/. 3/. Helldin et al. (2006), ‘Lynx (Lynx lynx) killing red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in borral Sweden – frequency and population effects’, Journal of Zoology Volume 270, Issue 4, pages 657-663, December 2006 4/. Jobin et al. (2000), Prey spectrum prey preferences and consumption rates of Eurasian Lynx in the Swiss Jura Mountains’, Acta Theriologica 45 (2): 243-252, 2000 5/. html 17

Rangers’ Review

As usual if you have any wildlife sightings to report or any queries please contact me on my e-mail address gareth., or on the Lochearnhead Office number 01389 722040. If I’m not in the office please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Finally thanks to Ian and Sylvia Ramsey for an interesting record of an albino chaffinch visiting their bird feeders recently. References 1. the-costs-and-benefits-of-hibernation/ 2. Halfpenny JC & Ozanne RD (1989). Winter: An Ecological Handbook. Johnson Books, Boulder, Colorado, US. 114 3.

By Gareth Kett Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park This year’s flaming autumn almost made up for the disappointing summer, but with the current barrage of wind and rain autumn too seems like a distant memory. Yet, perhaps surprisingly 2015 is on course to be the warmest year since records began back in 1880, beating 2014. Because of the mild autumn and its unseasonal bounty of insects some of our birds have been delaying their seasonal migration. Swallows and house martins stayed around longer than usual and our regular group of overwintering whooper swans arrived from Iceland a bit later than usual. With global warming (13 of the 15 warmest years on record globally have come since the year 2000) we can expect to see noticeable changes in the migratory behavior and distribution of a range of terrestrial, aquatic and marine wildlife in the coming years. Winters remain cold though and rather than migrating to warmer areas some animals adopt an alternative strategy to see them through - hibernation. While it is often considered that a range of animals including squirrels, mice, frogs, snakes and badgers hibernate, in fact in the UK only hazel dormice, edible dormice, bats and hedgehogs hibernate. Hazel dormice aren’t found in Scotland and edible dormice are only known from the Rathillet area near the Firth of Tay, so within the National Park only bats and hedgehogs hibernate. Fattening up and sleeping through the winter in a safe cozy den or drey sounds ideal so why don’t more of our wild animals do it? There are clear advantages to hibernating; energy expenditure is very 16 low during hibernation due to the need to maintain a low body temperature and there is reduced exposure to predators, but there are also disadvantages. During hibernation animals lack the ability to respond to any predators or pilferers of food stores. Their immune system is also compromised during hibernation and memory retention is reduced rendering them more vulnerable to predation immediately after hibernation. If they are woken during hibernation the energy cost and disorientation would probably kill them (1). Perhaps surprisingly hibernation isn’t a continuous state of torpor, but rather several bouts of torpor punctuated by periodic arousals when shivering raises 18

Hibenating Hedhog

the body temperature to normal levels for a short period of time. This allows hibernators to process accumulated toxins (ketones) and maintain muscle condition. Animals with food stores, such as dormice, feed during these periods while bats sometimes emerge from hibernacula if the weather is favorable. Most energy expended during hibernation is during periods of arousal (2). In evolving strategies for negotiating the winter the bottom line is to only hibernate if there isn’t sufficient food available to see you through the winter in a normal state. Therefor hedgehogs that feed mainly on invertebrates and bats that rely on insects are compelled to hibernate by a lack of available food. Dormice have a mixed diet of flowers, pollen, insects, fruit and nuts, which are bountiful in the summer and autumn but scarce in winter, so for them making a winter store and hibernating is the best strategy. All animals not hibernating have adopted a strategy based around finding enough food to see them through winter. Reptiles and amphibians are ectothermic (using the environment to control their body temperature) and do not need to maintain a body temperature higher than the surroundings. In cold conditions they enter a hibernation-like state called ‘brumation’, which can last the entire cold period without any periods of arousal at an extremely low energy cost (3). The Ranger Service won’t be hibernating over the winter though! The emphasis of our work has shifted from visitor management to education, training, maintenance, access and conservation. In a recent local project it has been rewarding keeping up our grounds improvement work with Strathyre Primary School. It’ll be good to see the new path completed.

McLaren High School Continued from Page 13

Three Stirling secondary schools have been recognised in the Sunday Times list of the Top 50 Scottish State Secondary Schools. McLaren High School is a new entry at 36th and Headteacher Marc Fleming believes this is down to the focus and determination of senior pupils: “I am delighted that McLaren High Schools strong academic success has been recognised. As a small rural school with a very wide catchment, our academic performance is something our community is really proud of. This achievement has been down to focus and determination on the part of our pupils in the senior phase, furthermore, to the exceptional support provided by their teachers over the academic session. I am very proud of all of our pupils; both in terms of their results, but also the life experiences and co-curricular enrichment activities they have gained whilst here at McLaren High School. “As Headteacher, it is my aim to unlock the full academic potential of each individual but, more importantly, to encourage every pupil to discover him or herself and to make the most of the opportunities presented, so that he or she can go out into the world and make a meaningful and fulfilling contribution. With 93% of our pupils in positive destinations after leaving McLaren High School, I am certain that we are providing the best possible grounding for a successful future for our young people in whatever career path they chose.”

BLS - Where Business Does the Talking by Iona Mchedliani Alison Inglis runs her magical gift shop “The Enchanted Cottage” from her home Dunollie in Balquhidder. As well as selling fairtrade treasures and traditional handicrafts, she also provides and teaches the Indian head massage technique “Champissage” from a studio in her cottage. Along with her daughter Hannah she runs their popular shop, selling a range of fairtrade and unique hand-made items and Neal’s Yard Organic beauty products– where one can find the perfect gift for someone special this Christmas. Here, Alison explains the history behind her business, the services and treatments she provides, as well as her plans for the future. What is the history behind Enchanted Cottage, and how long have you been based in Balquhidder for? I’ve been here since 1993. When I was younger we used to holiday in Perthshire and used to come walking here quite regularly. One day I was out walking with Ian Inglis; we were both living in Falkirk at the time, when we saw this house being renovated. A couple of years later it was on the market, and we were looking for somewhere here, somewhere beautiful and rural. This was before we were married and the idea was that one of us would keep our house in Falkirk and just buy a country place for the weekends. But when we saw Dunollie we decided to sell up both our houses and move here. I felt very drawn to the place and I love it. You provide the Indian head massage therapy “Champissage” – how did you first become introduced to that? I’d always been interested in Buddhism and had attended the Glasgow Buddhist centre for years when I moved to Balquhidder and realised there was the Buddhist retreat centre along the road – Dhanakosa. So I decided that as a practising Buddhist I would like to learn a therapy. A lot of Buddhists do therapies because it helps them practise generosity and kindness. I’m also a lecturer. I’ve been a lecturer in management & business since 1989. I’d been used to lecturing, using the left side of my brain, and I wanted to try something that was more right-side; more touchy-feely, more practical. I thought I’d

like to do a therapy that helps practise generosity and mindfulness. I wanted to learn a technique that I would really enjoy doing, and that would bring benefit to people. And I wanted to learn from the best. I did a bit of research and realised that I quite fancied Indian head massage. It was then that I found out about Narendra Mehta, an Indian man who had been blind from the age of one. He died a couple of years ago now, but he was the first person to be called the Guru of the British Indian Head Massage Movement. He was the first person to take head massage (which Indian families do to one another) and create a therapy from it. So he developed the technique called Indian Champissage, and he was the leading light for that technique. It’s very much his technique, and I wanted to learn with the best. He taught all over the world; based from a centre in London. I really liked the fact that he was the originator of it and also the fact that it was quite a rigorous course. As an academic, I didn’t want to just go for a one-day course. I wanted to be really well trained. So I went down and trained with him for a weekend. Then I came back and did case studies before sitting my written and practical exams. I got my diploma in 2004 and then I just did it on some friends and family, and provided occasional treatments to others. It was a hobby more than anything else. But then, because I’m a teacher, I thought it would be quite nice to teach it. And I knew that there was nobody in Scotland that taught this particular technique. Are you the only person in Scotland qualified to teach Champissage? There are tutors all over the world, but I’m the only one who teaches this technique in Scotland. Any tutor had to have been trained by Narendra, he wouldn’t allow otherwise. Now that he has died though his wife tutors and his

godson runs the centre. It’s really nice to teach it because it’s a lovely therapy. What are the benefits of Champissage therapy? It basically works on three levels; it works on the mental, physical, and emotional level. It’s very good for breaking down tension and knots. It’s good for headaches, tinnitus, sinusitis, migraines, back and neck problems. But it also helps to rebalance your energy and relax you. It gives you a great feeling of calmness and relaxation and helps to relieve tension. People come to me because of neck and back problems, but also if they’ve got difficulty sleeping and headaches. It helps with all of that and also for general relaxation. There’s a whole range of conditions that it can help with. If people suffer from insomnia it’s very good for that – it’s great for helping you to calm down. Most people who’ve come for a treatment will say that they sleep very well afterwards. Immediately after a treatment you feel very relaxed and ‘spaced out’ but after 30 minutes very energised and full of vitality. Are there any risks or contraindications? If you come to me for a treatment I’ll ask about your medical history. There are certain conditions where you wouldn’t treat somebody; for example if someone has a fever, or has had recent major surgery or an illness. On the whole it’s generally a very safe treatment. Is Champissage something one needs to have many sessions of to see results, or are one-off treatments also worthwhile? If you’ve got a particular condition that you’d like to alleviate, like stress, neck or backache then I would normally suggest five treatments, one a week, to help alleviate the condition, followed by maintenance treatments, every four to


anybody can do it. The course is useful for complete beginners but I also get a lot of therapists who already offer other therapies like “Reiki”, aromatherapy or reflexology and who want to learn this as well. I’ve had people who are complete beginners who just want to do it as a hobby.

six weeks. But people also come for one or two treatments if they want to relax. You’ve got to remember that 90 percent of tension is carried in the upper body. So this doesn’t just work on the head; it works on the upper back, shoulders, arms, neck, head and face. We also do some work on balancing the top three “chakras”. They’re the seven energy centres each corresponding to a different part of the body. Every chakra has a different colour and sound associated with it. The base chakra is red. The sacral chakra is orange. The solar plexus is yellow. The heart chakra is green. The throat chakra is sky blue. The third eye is midnight blue. And the crown chakra is violet. The idea is that these are vortexes of energy in the body that sometimes get blocked. By chakra balancing I work on the top three, helping to unblock and release negative energy. The crown chakra is the master chakra, and because we work on the crown chakra, it opens up all the other chakras as well. When did you set up the studio where you teach people Champissage? I qualified in 2004 and then I went back and trained with Narendra as a tutor in 2007. I delivered two workshops with him down in London. What I do here is an outreach of his centre. All of the certificates that people get from me come from his centre. When he was still alive, all the certificates were signed by him personally, while now they’re signed by his wife. So when you’re learning with me it’s like you’re learning with the centre in London. I’ve had lots of different people come and train with me from all over. I’ve had somebody from Finland and Chile as well as a number of people from the north of England and from around Scotland. They stay with Lesley Blain along the road. She’s a lovely lady and I know they’ll be looked after there. Are there any particular skills or character traits that you need to become a head massage therapist? Anybody can learn this lovely therapy – you just need to be kind and want to help others. You don’t need to be Buddhist, 20

Are you busier with teaching the practise, or providing treatments yourself? I’m busier with the teaching side of it which I really enjoy. How do you balance your tutoring with the “Enchanted Cottage” pop-up shop that you also run? The whole idea of the enchanted cottage is that it’s a magical place where you can come and relax. You can get therapies when you’re here if you want to, but you can also buy some magical fairies angels, ethical, holistic and fair-trade products. I’m in the middle of getting it organised for Christmas. It’s something I was always interested in and Hannah and I thought it would be a good idea to start it as an enterprise project as she is home schooled. I’ve always thought it would be nice to do something ethical, so a lot of the products are fair-trade. It’s also something that’s a bit unusual. Balquhidder Glen is a very magical place. There are a lot of ley lines running through the glen and it’s called a ‘thin’ place where the division between heaven and earth is minimal... So the idea is that Enchanted Cottage is a place you can come for fair-trade, magical stuff, as well as holistic therapies to help you. Which are your most popular products? It varies. People do like the Neal’s Yard products. When I was looking for a beauty and health range I wanted an ethical company and I knew that they were particularly good. I met a lady at a fair and she was recruiting for Neal’s Yard consultants so I became one. All of their products are almost 100 percent organic and they have a lot of fair-trade suppliers. The angels, fairies, dreamcatchers, mobiles, chimes and suncatchers are popular too, as are the healing pebbles and stones. We also stock buddhas, fair-trade jewellery and oracle cards – something a bit different and unusual for everyone really. As Christmas time is approaching, do you have any particular products that you would recommend people buying as presents for their loved ones? We’ve got lots of nice Neal’s Yard gift boxes. I’ve actually just had a whole range of Christmas stock delivered. I’m going to be doing the Balquhidder Christmas Fair

in the Village Hall and I’ll be opening most Saturdays and Sundays leading up to Christmas so people can stop by here for a browse, a taster treatment and some mulled wine. I’ve got lots of magical and festive angels and fairies and some nice little things for children; fair-trade toys and lots of stocking fillers – things that don’t cost very much. They could be something you might want to add to a present or a stocking. I’ve also got some handcrafted Scottish things - unusual Scottish organic chocolate shards from Aberfeldy and soap hand made in Balquhidder Glen. And there’s an artist in Edinburgh who makes lovely cards, tea towels and mugs with stags and highland cows – something that’s a wee bit different. So if you’re looking for something that’s really unusual then this is the place to come. And they’re not too expensive at all. Apart from Balquhidder Christmas Fair, what other fairs or festivals do you take part in? I sometimes do holistic fairs in Perth, Glasgow and Edinburgh. And when I do those I do massages along with my stall. I was at the Mhor Festival this year for the first time which went really well. I do local fairs, including the Strathyre Music Festival, Highland Games and the Trossachs Festival. I’ve had a stall at Edinburgh Waverley Station a couple of times – but it’s quite a trek though to go all the way to Edinburgh for the day. What we really need to do now is get online – that’s our next project. I’ve bought the website shop, and we’re just getting the stock uploaded onto it. We do have a Facebook page which showcases some of our things. What are your plans for the future? The whole idea is that the Enchanted Cottage will encompass everything. There’ll be the products part of it; the therapies part of it; as well as the teaching part of it. It’s all going to be together. At the moment I’ve got a separate website for Indian Champissage and a Facebook page for the Enchanted Cottage. Another initiative I started was “Between Heaven and Earth Therapies”, because as well as the head massage I’ve trained in other therapies. I do Neal’s Yard facials as I’m now fully qualified to give proper facials using their products. I’m also currently doing case studies for Natural Facelift Massage. Narendra Mehta’s wife trained me and I’ll be able to offer that in the New Year and I’d like to become a tutor for this therapy too as its wonderfully relaxing and very effective. It involves massaging all the muscles in the face to lift and reduce wrinkles using a range of Ayurvedic techniques. I’m also now qualified in Kvanti Ayurvedic

foot and lower leg massage taught by Narendra’s godson.

Balquhidder Community Broadband

With Christmas coming can people come to you in advance and pre-order a therapy as a present for someone else? Yes, I’m keen to offer gift vouchers – for a head massage, facial or other therapy – as I have done this in the past. I could even organise a gift voucher for the shop. That’s something I plan to set up along with the website. Are there any particular challenges that you find in your line of work? For me Enchanted Cottage is mainly a hobby. It is a business but it’s part-time as I still teach at Perth and Edinburgh Colleges. The difficulty is trying to balance that life with this. That’s my professional life but what I would really love to do is move into The Enchanted Cottage full-time. I think it’s now time to leave my other life behind. Interview by Iona Mchedliani

Alison Ingkes

To enquire about a therapy or to visit The Enchanted Cottage, Alison can be contacted at Dunollie Cottage in Balquhider on 07796 327765, or emailed at: enquiries. You can also visit www.indianchampscotland. com or TheEnchantedCottageBalquhidder

The first community meeting in relation to bringing ‘ultrafast broadband’ to the glen was held on the evening of Friday 20 November 2015. The presentation outlined progress to date and the services which it was hoped would be brought to the Balquhidder community. It was emphasized that this was an opportunity to use the grant funding available to invest in the infrastructure of the glen and provide a future proof broadband facility to all properties. Broadband services are becoming more and more important to everyone and this is only going to become more critical in the future. The quality of broadband connections is already affecting property values and this is becoming an essential criteria on how potential purchasers value their offers. For this project to succeed and become an ongoing concern it essential that sufficient households sign up for the service and in order to reach the hard to get to places like Ballimore, Immeroin,

Muirlaggan, Tuarach and Inverlochlarig, within the available funding, the assistance of the many residents with diggers will also be required. The feedback from the meeting and other contacts has been extremely positive with sign up nearing our critical number and offers of help with the dig to those hard to get to places and other duties coming from the majority. We are working on an information leaflet which we hope to deliver before Christmas and future meetings will be arranged as the project progresses. There is information on our website at We do not have everyones contact details and if you would like to be added to the list so we can keep you informed please drop us an email to At this stage we are only seeking your intentions regarding sign up and we will only be seeking a firm committment once the final contractual details are known.

£2,245 Raised Two Hospitals Emily celebrated her 1st Birthday at Monachyle Mhor on 3rd October. She was born 3.5 months premature and we wish to say thanks to the Simpsons Neonatal Unit and Forth Valley Neonatal Unit for the amazing care she received during her stay in hospital. We asked for donations for the Neonatal Units rather than Birthday presents so they can help other babies with an early start in life. We managed to raise £2,245.00, which was split between the two hospitals. We want to thank all our friends and family for all their support and very generous donations! Joanne, Niall and Emily

Emily 21

Rusty McD is back with another 5-minute interview about animal pals in the community - furry, feathered or scaly...

5 minutes with... Laura and her horses

Today’s interview was a fascinating insight into the elegance and beauty of the Andalusian horse and the impressive cost of pedigree horse semen with Laura Thompson who is a breeder and stud keeper in Balquhidder. So Laura, how many horses do you have? Well I have Vega an Andalusian mare in foal to Ebano and I have recently bought another mare in foal, Delicada, who is currently in Spain awaiting transportation to Scotland. We also have a Penny, the Shetland pony. She’s my daughter Madeleine’s pony that she’s had since she was 1 and she now has Merlin who is a highland pony cross. Finally we have an Andalusian Stallion called Ebano who has been with me for the last year and a half. That’s a lot of horses! Is it a big daily commitment? The horses have learnt not to expect food until 8.30am so they get fed after the school bus leaves then I put them out to the field, muck out and then ride or lunge Ebano every day – the exercise keeps him sane and sensible. He hated the hills to start with if we’re out for a ride but he always enjoys his outings. How do the Andalusian horses adapt to Scottish weather when they come over from Spain? Pretty well – they are always in the stable at night and wear ear to tail waterproof rugs in winter to keep them warm. Ebano doesn’t like the rain very much and when I put him in the field he will stand at the gate and ask to come back in. So is breeding Spanish horses a hobby or a business for you? I guess a bit of both. We will have two foals per year, which we bring on and sell after they are weaned and we also sell Ebano’s semen to other Spanish horse owners or mares of other breeds. Really? How does that work? Well… we wait until the mare is in season then I take Ebano to an Artificial Insemination centre in Edinburgh. He mounts a plastic dummy horse and the semen gets collected, cooled and shipped out to the recipient. He has fathered 58 foals so far. Why do people choose Ebano as a stud horse and how do they find out about him? I have a website (www. where I show all the details of Ebano’s bloodline. I also get out to dressage events and 22

compete in various classes so people see him there. He has a well-known bloodline – his ancestors were bullfighting horses. He also carries the ‘cream gene’, which is sought after as it results in some beautifully coloured foals. How do you keep a Stallion under control? I’m very gentle with Ebano but also firm. He’s is a gentle giant and has a very even temperament so I always feel safe with him. Andalusians are very kind and loyal animals – they are known as the ‘horses of Kings.’ I do have to make sensible decisions though – if there is a mare in season I have to make sure he knows I’m in charge. I never allow him to mate on his own territory – he always goes away for that. The handling is important too – the seretta (special Spanish bridle) is an important piece of kit because as soon as he has it on he becomes quite docile. Tone of voice is also important –he definitely responds to that, as he’s very sensitive. I am having Spanish lessons to help me communicate with the Spanish horse community so I do try speaking to Ebano in Spanish because it is the language he knows having lived in Spain for many years before he came to Scotland. Have you always been passionate about horses? Yes – since I was about nine years old.

Madeline loves the horses too - the whole family get involved in their care and everyone gets very excited when a foal is being born – last time they came rushing out in dressing gowns and head torches to watch the birth. It sounds like a wonderful hobby for your children to be involved with…. Yes it is. we all help out one way or another. Maddy and I are involved with BRA (The Balquhidder Riding Association) and we have been doing some fun things recently. This year we have gone on a fun vaulting, jousting and trick riding day, we went off for a beach ride weekend to Tentsmuir beach in Fife. We’re having a ‘pop up’ tack room on 6th December and we’ve also got a Christmas carol singing event planned with the Shetland ponies and children through the village on the 20th of December. Then the horses and hounds will be going out on 27th December – there’s no hunt but we do go to various houses for drinks – it’s more of a hoof cruise. And last year did a beach ride. And of course we have our annual BRA Festive Cracker Ceilidh and disco on the 28th, this year with live music and food. So a lot to look forward to. We rounded off our chat with a visit down to the fields to meet the horses who were magnificent. Many thanks to Laura for taking the time to have a chat.

Farm Forum: Any Light on the Horizon?

Well! Here we are near the end of another year and the only really bright thing about it is that in another month the days will start getting longer again! The rain gauge is showing 81 inches for the year so far - to make it more dramatic that translates to almost 7 feet of rain with six weeks still to go. This has not been a good year by any standards. After a moderate winter the lambing period was not good. In this area the tups are put out with the ewes as late as possible, so the lambing takes place in May - hopefully increasing the odds of better weather for the late pregnancy period and then the lambing. Unfortunately the weather in the month of April and May can make or break the results of the hill sheep farming year and we all know what it was like this year. All sectors of the agricultural industry are very dependent on short periods of good

weather at various times of year to dictate success or failure and there is very little you can do about it. Prices for virtually all products have been and still are very low, although this does not seem to be reflected in the price you pay in the shops. I don’t want to pick particular commodities because, as I have just said, they are all affected but there must be something wrong when a bottle of water can cost more than milk. I have mentioned the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) many times before and you will remember it has recently been renegotiated. “Common” is probably the least apt name as it applies to twenty eight different countries with vastly different requirements, not to speak of climates. It is supposed to come in to operation in December and there is now serious doubt as to whether it will in Scotland. The reason for the glitch is said to be the complication of the Scottish version of the new CAP and the new computer system which is said to have cost about £180m and employed an extra 200 people.

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 in renting one of our properties when they become available please contact us: Rural Stirling Housing Association Stirling Road, Doune FK16 6AA Telephone: 01786 841101 Email: Registered as a Scottish Charity No. SC037849


Steven Paterson MP writes.... Welcoming Syrian families to our communities this Christmas. Every single one of us was moved by the images coming from the Mediterranean and from across Europe as the Syrian refugee crisis unfolded this year. One image, that of a small boy washed up on a Turkish beach, energised people to act in any way they can to help with homing desperate people who have no choice but to flee their home country in search of a safe place to live. Since then, I have received hundreds of emails, letters, and phone calls from constituents who want to see the welcoming hand of support extended to refugees across Europe. We have seen the media and politicians alike have moved away from even using phrases like ‘migrant crisis’ and towards treating the situation for what it is: a humanitarian crisis. The public response was so strong that the UK Government have altered their immigration policy to make provision for 20,000 Syrian refugees coming to the UK over the next five years. On behalf of constituents who have been in touch with me, I have on-going correspondence with relevant Government Ministers and Stirling Council officials to keep up to date on the situation. I was delighted to have attended Stirling Council’s Refugee Summit alongside local representatives, the Scottish Refugee Council, and members of the public. It was a constructive discussion on how the Stirling area can mobilise to welcome refugees and I would like to thank the Council on taking the lead in this area. The Scottish Government’s efforts should also be commended. The First Minister has chaired similar summits alongside other Scottish political party leaders and the Scottish Government has collaborated with the Scottish Refugee Council to produce an informative website that aims to equip people who want to help welcome refugees to their communities. The website can be found at: The result of the hard work that has taken place behind the scenes comes with the news that the Stirling area is set to welcome the first Syrian refugee families before Christmas. This is a testament to cross-party support, to the dedication of those working on this issue, and to the voices of constituents who called for it. And as the hard work continues to ensure more families have the warmth of welcome and security of shelter in our communities, I would like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year. Constituents can contact me via: Telephone: (01786) 406 375; Email: 24



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

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

David Johnston Production Assistant Gardeners Cottage Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384227

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

Bowling - St Fillans Pilates - Balquhidder Hall - 9.30am (contact Abbey Arkotxa 0776 6407578) 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

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


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

Other Contacts...

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

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

DECEMBER 2015 4 6 12 12 13 15 17 26 31 31

Quiz Night - The Inn - Page 5 Christmas Market - Balquhidder Village Hall - Page 15 Music with Strumalele - The Inn - Page 5 Christmas Tree Festival - Balquhidder Village Hall - Page 11 Christmas Party Roast - The Inn - Page 11 Rant ‘Scotlands Finest Fiddlers’ - Balquhidder Village Hall - Page 11 Carols For All - Strathyre Village Hall - P5 Music with Box O’Bananas - The Inn - Page7 Hogmanay Party - Strathyre Village Hall - Page 6 Hogmanay Party - Lochearnhead Village Hall - Page 7

JANUARY 2016 1

Balquhidder New Year’s Day Dance - Balquhidder Hall - 9.00 pm

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 Every Sunday: Holy Communion at 11.15am. Second and fifth Sundays in the month: Evensong at 6.00pm Vestry Secretary - Mary Barclay Tel: 01567 830453


The Villagers ecember 2015 January 2016  

Christmas, Hogmanay and New Year celebrations in the villages of Balquhidder, St Fillans Lochearnhead and Strathyre. 2015 and 2016