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The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

Balquhidder Bike Fest Strikes Again!

the dfield leads Edward Cha arade P d Gran

On Sunday 30th August Balquhidder held its second Bike Fest. The weather looked dodgy at first - but we needn’t have worried - the sun came out just at the right moments and everyone had a fantastic day. There’s more on page 10!

Having fun in ‘Zorbs’

Grand Parade in full flow!

Photographs © Two-Worlds Images

Editor’s Bit Balquhidder’s in the spotlight this month with the Bike Fest being yet another great community occasion and another example of people being prepared to give up so much of their time. Thanks go to Iain and Gillian Ramsay-Clapham and all the marshalls, burger flippers and coffee makers on the day; also the volunteers involved before and after the actual event. Another article looks back a few years to when Balquhidder’s school was a very busy place. It was lovely to receive the article and photos from a family who still have a great love for Balquhidder, even if they have reservations about some of the changes. We would love to have more tales from people who have moved away from the area but still have history and stories to share. Balquhidder and Strathyre now have some shiny new road signs which will hopefully help unsuspecting drivers who are following their satnavs in an attempt to get to ‘the Glen’! Hopefully now they will avoid the turn off at Strathyre and the very narrow back road to Balquhidder - meaning that not as many cars will need pulling out of the floods in winter. The big Church debate continues. We would welcome more debating points/personal accounts to further expand our thoughts and experiences. JJ

Traditional Games Night Lochearnhead Village Hall

Saturday 14th November 2015 7.30pm till late H H H H H Carpet bowling (no need to bring a team and no experience necessary)

Play dominoes and cards or just come along for a blether! Free entry 2

H Bar H Supper

BALQUHIDDER COMMUNITY BROADBAND Local Stuff Slow but steady, tending towards frantic, best sums up this month: Having agreed funding with Community Broadband Scotland, we still have three potential suppliers in the frame, two of which are proposing wireless solutions for our broadband, but we’ve put a lot of effort into trying to make the installation of fibre broadband to every property (or as near as possible) not only financially viable but a community project. So, once we’ve got final costs refined with all three, we’ll be able to make a choice about just what is doable and practical. Right now, various technical surveys of the glen are taking place, so do try not to run down blokes in hi-vis jackets - they’re trying to help! In the meantime, we’ll be coming out to talk to businesses in the glen, with the intention of having a public meeting later in October. At that point we’ll have a good idea of when things will be happening and what it will cost. Broadband Voucher Scheme We’ve also met with the folks administering the broadband voucher scheme, and… PAY ATTENTION AT THE BACK THERE! …thank you - if you have a business in the area we’ll be servicing, you’ll likely qualify for a grant of up to £3,000 to help get you connected to our network. Now this is where it gets important: you don’t have to be a limited company, or even an incorporated business. You do have to demonstrate that your business is properly accounted (with accounts, a tax reference or similar), at which point we’ll be able to get you a quote for connection, from which you can apply. And, as soon as we have all the costs worked out, we’ll be in touch, in any case in the next couple of weeks - the timescale on this is really quite short. As always, if you’ve any questions, please contact us at or check the web site ( for semiregular updates. RH


Balquhidder Christmas Market! If you’d like a stall contact Janet on 0781794808 or

Sunday 6th December Balquhidder Hall £7 small table

£14 large table

Could you make a Christmas tree? Out of (practically) anything? Take up the challenge - and come along to a great afternoon of seasonal celebrations, with music, mulled wine and festive food. All proceeds will go to a very worthy cause - so please, if you can, add your support. Watch out next month for more information about Balquhidder’s new Christmas event.

Making Music Again Eileen Fashae, Gill Allan... and a rather large chocolate cake!

Choir Occasional met for the first time this year on 24th September with a spectacular ‘Hooray’ cake. It was decorated by Eileen to celebrate our heroic choir leader, Gill, who has had a rubbish nine months of cancer treatment. She bore her treatment with grace and humour and we are so thrilled that she’s feeling well enough to start the choir again.

Murph’s Mumblings

incorporating The St Fillans Bit... by John Murray

I have been producing this column for many a year now and have found it more and more difficult to fill my space each month as not a lot really happens in St F and what does is a repeat of a year ago. Thus last month I decided to ditch the column and I had an invite in my last column for a volunteer to take over. This invite was revoked when several folk told me how much they enjoyed ‘my bit’ – especially when I was wandering off the St F track with my more general views on life. So, to refresh my column it will be henceforth titled Murph’s Mutterings –giving me scope to fill my two pages. If you don’t like it please do contact the editor or myself. You might know that I am an avid follower of politics but by editorial rules I cannot promote any party. However I can give my opinions on the parties and policies by which we are governed. This I will do. It might incite healthy debate in our pages. We started this year with three cats and two dogs. Sadly all three cats have succumbed to old age and our wonderful

King Charles went far too soon when his ticker gave in – a common problem with KCs I gather. I really miss him; he slept with me and could tell meal times to within fifteen minutes - and was not slow in reminding us. Our last cat, Zsa Zsa, died aged eighteen. In her youth she used to disappear for days on end then return immaculately clean and obviously well fed. She must have had a second home, but we never did find where. As she got older she became very much a house cat and her regular habit was breakfast at 7.30, then twenty minutes cuddling with me, then off to her favourite chair for the day. What this is building up to is ‘Murph’s Meecey Killer’ (MMK) – pictured above. Our collection of moggies did not fully understand their role in life – to track down and kill meeces. What they did do was to go and find a wee field mouse on the hillside and bring it into the house to play with. When bored with playing they simply let the mouse free to run about the house. Trying to catch the wee things was a nightmare - so I invented my Meecey Killer. Mice run in two ways – across the room or, more often, round the skirting boards. The MMK is no more than a heavy block of wood on a sloping handle which can be used to kill a mouse running across the room with a simple downward blow, but, more importantly, the little devils running around the skirting board

Meecey Killer

could despatched easily with a sideways swing of the MMK which crushed them against the skirting with no damage to the skirting board. I did not patent the design, so feel free to copy it. What I actually found, was that by putting two of these clever little electronic vermin repellers in the house, we haven’t seen a mouse in six years. Don’t know if anyone wandered along to The Four Seasons on the 20th of the month, but if you did, you would have witnessed an amazing gathering of what I guess was about two hundred Classic Bikes. (Bikers are not favourites in St Fillans because of their antisocial screaming through our village at weekends.) The gathering at The Four Seasons showed the other face of bikers – guys (and gals) who love their machines and ride them responsibly. Sure they are noisy but that is what bikes sounded like in the 50s. A great sight to see and to listen to. Continued overleaf

Lochearnhead Hotel Coffee Morning I would like to say a massive ‘thank you’ to everyone who came along to my MacMillan Coffee Morning. I really could not have done it without you all! I made a total of £516 which will be appreciated by MacMillan cancer support. It was a lovely experience and I would like to thank you all again. Grace Kerr 3

Murph’s Mumblings

(Continued from p3)

Also pictured this month is the amazing progress in three years of the “30,000 visitors a year” brewery and visitor centre, promised by Arran Brewers three years ago. The sorry state of the place (pictured right) made the sign in the window, also pictured, seem very ironic. I mentioned last month the excellent dear, where have you been all my life?” I’ll care I have been receiving in recent months never forget it. All my sympathy, David. from Perth & Kinross Council. In the past One of St. Fillans’ self-effacing four weeks they have had contractors install ‘characters’ has passed away. Alexander for me a superb new ‘limited mobility’ (‘Alec’) Kerr of Westerdundurn died within bathroom – changing the bath to a big hours of having to be relocated to Ninewells shower with no lip to trip over, changing Hospital in the early morning of the 18th the loo to one 4” higher to make it easier August. Until the day before he died he for the old legs, relining the bathroom was in his ‘loading’ and gunrooms. A with maintenance free ‘wet wall’ and even major figure in the ‘shooting world’, Alec redoing the floor with altro safety flooring. was internationally famous for his handThey also built me a ramp to access the front loaded cartridges and was director of the door more easily. It seems that the Scottish renowned gun and fishing tackle shops in Government made it mandatory on local Hamilton, Auchertarder and Crieff and the authorities to give grant aid to SOGs (Sad ‘high end’ outfitters Kerr Brothers and Kerr Old Gits) to ensure that they could remain & Company. At his height Alec was also the in their homes rather than clutter up biggest retailer of shotgun cartridges in the United Kingdom. hospitals or care homes. I was required He was also an international clay pigeon shot on behalf of his to make a contribution to the costs of the country, and a very fine game shot.   works but it is minimal. So I take back the On his retirement to St. Fillans his many visitors included various derogatory comments I’ve made princes, dukes and other ‘magnates’ and so many others in in these pages about P&K Council. And, the shooting world, and he treated all the same, ‘high or by the way, the contractors they employ low born.’ His very many friends in the shooting world and are faultless – and that’s a retired builder outside appreciated that to the last he was ‘his own man.’ A redoubtable figure in his professional and private lives, Alec speaking. What I will make adverse comment on is survived by his wife, Rose, his sons Gordon and David and is the Scottish Government’s stirring things his grandsons, Louis and Adam. up for another referendum. In the months   Alec was a ‘quiet’ supporter of community efforts over before the last one our own company and these years, and enjoyed his retirement to St. Fillans. His many others saw a serious drop of orders elder son David (who freely admits he is ‘a chip off the old because our potential clients feared a YES block’) was with him to the end at St. Fillans and wishes on Vote and the real uncertainty that would behalf of the family to thank the community for expressions bring to our country. The day after the NO of sympathy. vote our phone lines were hot with orders. Now we look like going through it all again. When will politicians ever realise that the only way they can fund their welfare state is by taxes paid by businesses – and businesses need stability to be confident and invest. If I were Cameron I would pass a bill ASAP giving Nicola and her crew full independence. Withdraw the Barnett Formula. Move Trident to Sunderland (who would love the 7,000 jobs and many millions the base produces for the local economy). Cancel the recent multi ship contract awarded to Rosyth and place in England. Then say “OK, hen – get on with it!” As soon as it became apparent that Scotland simply cannot fund itself, especially with oil revenue half of what Salmond predicted, methinks that the hatred of The Union would rapidly disappear. I am the lowest form of life nowadays – an English Tory. But with fifty years in Scotland I consider myself a Scot – and still a citizen of the UK. Feedback welcomed! I was sad to hear of the death of David Kerr’s father. I leave David’s words to speak for themselves. David is what is known commonly as ‘a character’. The first time I met him was in The Drummond, many years back, and his first words were “Oh, my 4

‘30,000 visitors a year’... hmm...


Rotary Club

of Callander & West Perthshire

Voting opens for National Park Authority Board Member On behalf of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, Stirling Council will shortly write to households in Breadalbane and the Trossachs inviting people to vote for a new Board Member for the Ward 2 area of the National Park. The seven candidates standing for nomination are Alistair Barclay from Lochearnhead, Sheila Gordon from Loch Katrine, Jack Black from Callander, Drew Pringle from Brig o’ Turk, Billy Ronald from Crianlarich, Jane Fifield from Kinlochard, and Adrian Walters from Strathyre. Residents can expect ballot papers to arrive in the post around 8 October and voting forms must be returned to Stirling Council by 4pm on 29 October. Alongside ballot papers you will find information relating to the seven candidates and what they hope to achieve for the National Park.   The National Park Board meets regularly to make strategic decisions about how the Authority fulfils its role in delivering the four National Park aims, including balancing the requirements for conservation and economic development within the Park area.   Individual members will also get involved in other activities such as:  • Achieving the Park’s objectives in conservation, visitor experience and rural development • Taking decisions on planning and development • Financial monitoring • Representing the National Park Authority externally • Acting as champions for the Park and the Authority • Overseeing the development, approval and monitoring of the Corporate and Business Plans • Contributing to the leadership and strategic direction of the National Park • Appointments commence immediately following the election and the term of   office is until 4 July 2018. Residents are being reminded that they must have registered to vote. If you are not currently registered to vote or wish to change your details you should contact   You can find out more information about the by-election on the National Park website or on Stirling Council’s website www.

The Rotary Club of Callander & West Perthshire is a group of more than thirty men and women, from all walks of life, who meet on Tuesday evenings in The Waverley Hotel in Callander’s Main Street to enjoy food, fun, fellowship, interesting speakers and to plan future activities. Our members come from Callander and beyond - and we are particularly eager to increase our membership from the rural areas, as we currently only have a few members from Brig o’ Turk, Gargunnock, Dunblane and Deanston, and none, currently, from the Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre areas! We are a friendly bunch of people, who gain a sense of fulfilment from ‘giving something back’ to society and supporting our local communities. Anyone who wishes to come along to find out more about our Club, and about Rotary International - the global organisation under whose umbrella we carry out our work - will be assured of a warm welcome. Interested in learning more? See our website: , for more information about our Club, and you can also contact us in one of the following ways: by email to enquiries@ ; or by telephoning: 01877 330446 or 07710 232908; or in person, simply by coming along to the Waverley Hotel shortly after 6pm on a Tuesday evening. You’ll find us at the back of the bar, where you can enjoy chat with members over a drink, make your menu choices for our evening meal (cost for two courses is £9.50), and get to know us a bit better during dinner, which is generally followed by a speaker. NB It would really help us if you could please email or phone in advance, to check that we are not off on an outing that evening, and also to ensure that we set enough places at the table! The Rotary Club of Callander & West Perthshire looks forward to welcoming YOU!


Rangers’ Review By Gareth Kett

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

The days are shortening. Dew covered cobweb curtains adorn the foliage. Soon the stags will be rutting and the land will be awash with blazing oranges, yellows and reds. Already the dance of the bird migration is in full swing as millions of birds are leaving us for southern European and African wintering grounds while millions more join us for the winter from the Arctic Circle, northern Europe and Greenland. But imagine that you couldn’t see any of these changes. Imagine you couldn’t hear the wind, rain, bellowing stags or bird calls. Imagine that you could neither see nor hear any of these things. The Ranger Service has been working with Deafblind Scotland, the association of deaf, blind and duel sensory impaired adults in Scotland, to deliver events which allow deaf or blind people to experience the scenery, cultural and natural history of the National Park in as full a way as possible. Towards the end of July an event for Deafblind Scotland was held at Balmaha Visitor Centre, which included guided walks around the area. I was fortunate enough to have been asked to lead a walk up Conic Hill – a reasonably steep climb up to 361m on an uneven path. It was humbling to witness the courage of the participants and the skill of the Deafblind Scotland guides in tackling the climb.

Red Squirrel

Tyndrum Community Woodland is a great example of how woodland habitat can be created through planting of natives species, allowing natural regeneration to occur and managing pressure from deer. Following a fire in 1995 the area was replanted with Scots pines and broadleaves in 1999. It is now a great resource for people and wildlife. Each summer the Ranger Service runs a bush-craft day for the Saplings summer activities programme for children in the Strath Fillan area. The bushcraft days include wild foraging, identifying animal tracks and signs, fire-lighting and campcraft. I’m always impressed by the knowledge and enthusiasm of the children taking part. Hopefully some of them will go on to be involved in conservation later in their lives. So what causes leaves to change colour in autumn? During summer the pigment chlorophyll, which is used for photosynthesis (converting sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into sugars and oxygen), gives the leaves their green colour. There are already yellow and orange pigments in the leaves, known as xanthophylls and carotenoids respectively, but these are masked by the chlorophyll. Shorter days mean that there isn’t enough sunlight for sustainable sugar production in the leaf, so the tree grows layers of cells cutting the flow of nutrients to and from the leaves (abscission).

Pine Marten ‘making itself known’!

The chlorophyll then breaks down revealing the yellows and oranges (1). Sunlight and cool nights hasten the breakdown of chlorophyll and cause sugars trapped in the leaves at abscission to be turned into red and purple pigments called anthocyanins (2). Frost destroys the mechanism needed for anthocyanin production. Cool, but not freezing temperatures and bright days are likely to produce the most dramatic autumn leaf displays. Eventually the red, purple, orange and yellow pigments break down leaving only the brown pigments, known as tannins. Late summer/autumn is the time of year when squirrels can most easily be seen, as their population is at its highest following the breeding season, they are busy building up food caches to see themselves through the winter and young squirrels are dispersing. Sadly, squirrels have no road sense at all, so all too often squirrel sightings are of road casualties. Please watch out for squirrels when driving through wooded areas over the next few weeks. Another woodland resident, although one that squirrels will be trying to avoid, is the pine marten. Pine martens are increasing in number in suitable habitat across much of Scotland and, anecdotally at least, this seems to be the case across the National Park. In fact, recently pine martens have been making themselves known through antics in some residents’ gardens. Bird feeders have been visited in Strathyre, a peanut dispenser used by pine martens in Balquhidder Station has been used as a stash for dead mice, dustbins have been raided in Brig’ o’ Turk and in Lochearnhead a pine marten managed to trap itself in a wheelie-bin when it pushed open the lid to investigate, but lost its balance and fell in, the lid closing behind it. Fortunately the residents kindly released the embarrassed pine marten. Thank-you Duncan, Eleanor and the lady with the pine marten in her bin for these mustelid tales. As usual if you have any wildlife sightings to report or any queries please contact me on my email address, or on my office number 01389 722044, or drop into the Lochearnhead Office for a chat. If I’m not in the office please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Please note that the old Lochearnhead Office number (01389 722040) is no longer in use. REFERENCES

1. The United States National Arboretum: The Science of Colour in Autumn Leaves FallFoliage/ScienceFallColor.html 2. Science Made Simple: Why do autumn leaves change colour?


Pin-Feathers* by

Old Nyati

*Once in demand by Victorian miniaturists, the tiny pin-feather comes from the leading edge of a woodcock’s wing and only two such feathers occur on each bird (one on each wing). This month, Old Nyati recounts an unfotunate incident involving a consignment of clay pigeons...

There must be more than one of our readers who can recognise the subject of this month’s photograph.   Yes, clay pigeons! Non-edible, moulded from a mixture of chalk and pitch, and very easily broken, but not always in the way intended (with a shotgun)...   Old Nyati was using in excess of one million of them each year. That is why he is deaf! There was once a 10 ton delivery being unloaded on pallets with a fork lift truck, whose driver lurched the machine into reverse by mistake. The record still stands: two thousand with one shot! Yes, the whole palletful fell off and was smashed. Old Nyati was not pleased - with the new record, the driver, or the cost of the clays.   It was always a good idea to arrange for the fall of the clays that were missed by the shooter to land on soft grass. They could then be picked up and used again. A mercenary thought, but even 1% of a million was worth having, and it was usually far more than that. Some people’s shooting was “Rubbish’ - couldn’t hit a barn  when standing inside it!”

Clay pigeons - looking nothing like the real thing!

It was one wet winter’s day long ago, when there was little else to do but turn one’s thoughts to storytelling and composing verses, that this poem was created:  


If you were formed to face my Purdey You chalk and pitch constructed birdie Then may your flight be short and fleeting, Journey’s end in leaden meeting! But if your doom is to fly for Barry, Tom, Dick or even Harry, Then why perish to improve their standings? Fly on, my lad, and happy landings. It was when it stopped raining that we had to go out and pick up a few more, and think of the money saved!

The House of Haigh The House of Haigh is a new business to the Comrie area and offers: • Clothing and soft furnishings at manufacturing prices (e.g. skirts from £35) • Alterations (from £5) • Mobile Hairdressing (from £15) • Over twenty years’ related experience Please visit or ring us for more information. Opening hours Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 4-30pm Tullybannocher, Comrie PH6 2JY

Tel: 0797 985 7931

                            OLD NYATI

Real Ale - Real Music


Church News

BalquhiĐĐer •bls Reg. Charity No. SC012316

A Note from

St Angus’s

First of all a big thank you to the two people who took the time to respond to my request to know “why people don’t go to Church.” As both replies are anonymous I’ll just refer to them as Big Letter and Little Letter- i.e. Big L and Little L.  Let’s start with Big L:  there’s certainly no apathy there but your letter saddens me because it makes me think your experiences of the Christian religion have been very negative.  The “great dictator” you refer to doesn’t bear any resemblance to the God I am familiar with, the loving Father who cares so much for each and every one of us and who keeps His wonderful creation in balance.  Frankly if God is as you describe then I don’t want anything to do with Him either!  I’m guessing you would claim to be an atheist?  Well you can’t prove there isn’t a God and I can’t prove that there is so one of us is wrong.  With the odds at 50/50 maybe you should hedge your bets and maybe even look for the loving God!  I’ll keep a seat warm for you here in St Angus’s Church!!  On a serious note, thank you again for writing and I truly hope you find Him - your life would be so much richer.  Since you gave me a poem, here’s one for you written by John Ferguson a Scots poet of the late 19th Century. I think he would sympathise with many of your sentiments.  They call Him the Good Shepherd and the Lamb, The Rose, The Prince of Peace, Emmanuel; And yet, half-vaunting, of His vengeance tell On all who traffic in deceit or sham; They boast much knowledge of the dread I AM, And babble of a Book whose pages swell With record of men’s faults since Adam fell Nay, He inscribeth every muttered “Damn.”

We have taken one small step towards possibly attracting a new minister. The list of vacancies posted by the Church of Scotland has brought one enquiry! Nothing much more can be done until the work on the manse is completed. It is now hoped to be finished by early October. Time will tell. Last month’s Villagers published responses to the query as to why people do or do not attend church. The one that concerned me most was the one that said that Balquhidder Church was quite formidable! To me, and I have to say a lot of our visitors, it is far from that. It is a small, country church with an interior of warm woodwork. Yes, it is otherwise quite plain but we like it. There is often a lot of laughter in church as well as more serious moments. Communion once a month is more serious perhaps, but it is also joyful. We all lead busy lives, but not to find time to come to church now and again to thank the Lord for all His blessings and for His support in times of trouble is sad indeed. On a happier note, you might like to note the inauguration of another long distance walk, this time called after the three saints: St Fillan, St Kessog and St Serf. It forms part of the pilgrimage route from Iona to St Andrews and passes through Killin, Lochearnhead, Comrie and Crieff. Lastly, a reminder that there are plans for a concert to be given by the Edinburgh Renaissance Singers in Balquhidder Church on October 24th at 7.00 pm. (Read about it on the next page!) Notices nearer the day will confirm the time. The programme will include sacred and Scottish music. We hope plenty of folk will come to enjoy some truly lovely singing. Jean Edwards

They have not seen the Lord who tell such things They have not touched His garment in the throng, The foolish folk who know not what they say... No book of doom is hid beneath His wings, And when men stumble in blind paths of wrong How often doth He look the other way! And now to Little L: Thank you for being so honest.  I think you represent quite a wide ranging opinion and you are far too honest to call yourself a hypocrite.  After all there is no compunction to go to Church and its buildings are available for all the occasions you mention so why not use them?  May I suggest that since you appreciate the presence of the Church in your area that you do what you can to support it financially.  Small rural congregations are in dire need and I imagine any contribution would be most welcome and also do please support any fund raising events for your local Church.  If you feel like going to the occasional service you shouldn’t feel embarrassed because you don’t go regularly - surely in the 21st century everyone realises that life is hectic and folk have all sorts of family commitments.  I’m sure any Church would welcome you on your own terms, St Angus’s certainly would! I would like to think the debate doesn’t end here.  Do make your views known, especially if you think the Church needs to change to meet the needs of today’s folk. (Read another offering on this debate on page 16!) 8

FIRST RESPONDERS I’m pleased to say there is a young enthusiastic team of First Responders up and running in Strathyre.  BUT, please note, it takes only 4 minutes for someone to die of a heart attack if they are not resuscitated so if you have a heart attack in Balquhidder or Lochearnhead it’s not much use relying on the folk in Strathyre!!  PLEASE... if anyone is prepared to train for this worthwhile service get in touch with me on 01567 830233 or text me on 07849862305.  If it is responsibility you are worried about don’t be - if you are asked to go and help anyone you will be in constant touch with the Scottish Ambulance Service and they take full responsibility.  We all know how long it takes to get an ambulance up here and the job of the First Responder is simply to sustain life until the paramedics arrive, it may be just giving reassurance or perhaps oxygen if necessary but, occasionally, you may save a life.  Please think seriously about it.  Thank you.  Fiona Martin (Patient Representative with the Scottish Ambulance Service)


Edinburgh University Renaissance Singers Director: Noel O’Regan


Music for the Senses - an exploration of Renaissance and Reformation music by Scottish and other European composers, including Palestrina, Lassus and Victoria, along with more recent arrangements of songs by Robert Burns

Entry at door: adults £7; concessions £5; children/students free On Saturday 24 October, Edinburgh University Renaissance Singers make their first visit to the historic church of Balquhidder with a programme that is itself steeped in history. While the tumultuous battles between the MacGregors of Glen Dochart and the McLarens were taking place in Balquhidder, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was composing the most sublime of sacred music in Italy and Tomás Luis de Victoria was starting out on his journey to become the most famous 16th century composer of Renaissance Spain. In a programme which reflects the choir’s theme of The Five Senses for its 2015/16 season, Music for the Senses explores music from the time of the Renaissance and the Reformation by Scottish and other European composers including Palestrina, Lassus, Victoria and Guerrero. From more recent times, they sing favourite arrangements of songs by Robert Burns. Edinburgh University Renaissance Singers started out as an early music group affiliated to the University’s Music Society in the mid-1960s and began performing in public in 1967-68. It currently numbers about thirty singers, made up of students and staff of the university, as well as people from the wider Edinburgh community. It has introduced Scottish audiences to many works, such as the Requiems of Victoria and Cardoso, and regularly mounts reconstructions of major ceremonial occasions in collaboration with members of the Scottish Gabrieli Ensemble and the Squair Mile Consort, performing on period instruments. Tours have been undertaken to Armenia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, France, Switzerland, Germany, the Scottish Highlands, Estonia and Spain. The Renaissance Singers are directed by Dr Noel O’Regan, Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Edinburgh. Dr O’Regan specialises in late 16th and early 17th century sacred music, particularly in Rome, and has published articles on Palestrina, Victoria and Lassus. In 1995 he was awarded the prestigious Palestrina prize by the city of Palestrina, in recognition of his research into the composer and his music. Further information from Carol Main:

0131 332 2110

Drs Strang & Scott and Drs Mathewson & Gibson Community Nurses The surgeries and community nurses take part in various training programmes throughout the year. This is to meet the educational and training needs of all members of the practice and nursing team. The next training afternoons will be on: Tuesday 20th October 2015 Wednesday 25th November 2015 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 If you require urgent medical attention when the surgery is closed please contact NHS24 on 111. Make sure you have enough medication to last you over the holiday period, and if you think you will run out, order your medication early or ask for 2 months supply. Public Holday Monday 12th October Bracklinn Practice will be open in the morning as usual, and closed in the afternoon for staff training. Flu Vaccine Clinic Friday 2nd October This year’s open flu clinic is on Friday 2nd October. Leny and Bracklinn Practice will be available for vaccines between 9am – 5.30pm. Come along at any time during the day. If you are unsure whether you are eligible please contact your surgery beforehand. Due to the staff concentrating on the vaccines on the 2nd October, there will be emergency clinics only and no repeat prescriptions printed.


Iain R-C!

The Balquhidder Bike Fest 2105 was a roaring success, thanks to many who volunteered to help - but chiefly, thanks to Iain and Gillian Ramsay-Clapham, who headed up the organisation. This letter, from one of the participants to Iain, captures very well what the day was all about! Big thanks also to sponsors Braes Venison and Mhor Bread.

Hi Iain I just wanted to send you a wee email to let you know how much we enjoyed the bike festival at Balquidder. We were hugely impressed by it!  It is an inspirational community cycling event, and I suspect it is pretty unique in its format.  The noisy bike procession behind the pipers was absolute genius!  It must also be somewhat unusual to have a mountain bike course that is both challenging enough to entertain the 2015 SXC female youth champion but with alternatives that allow complete newbies to take part without fear.  There had obviously been a lot of work put into trail building to create the x loop for this year’s race.  It is just the sort of event that could encourage people of all ages to get on their bike, get fit and have a go, and I spoke to some that had made efforts to get fit especially for this year’s event.   Recently, there has been a focus on getting more women and girls into cycling with women only events springing up all over.  It was very heartening to see that you attracted a good mix of women, men and children.  I think this might be down to the relaxed, fun and sociable mix that made up the festival. Being very child and family friendly makes it much easier for parents to take part and to share their interest with their kids.  I loved the community spirit that was at the heart of things. There was a very friendly vibe to the day and I was most grateful to be on the receiving end of the generosity of one of the participants. A volunteer at the sign on tent recognized me from events earlier in the day and called me over to see why my name wasn’t down for the duathlon.  I explained that I had no bike for this race as I would be lending mine to my husband so that he could have a go. Apparently this was no sort of excuse in Balquidder! On overhearing this, a kind lady that had never met me before, immediately offered up her mountain bike so that I could take part.  There must have been a great deal of planning and preparation behind the scenes to make everything run so smoothly and safely on the day.  The way that events ran to time, riders were set off at safe intervals and traffic was well managed all added to the experience on the day. When looking for a contact on the festival website to enable me to express my thanks, I was delighted to see that there were already full listings for all of the day’s race results! Please pass on my sincere thanks to everyone who played a part in making the Balquidder Bike Festival the success that it was.  If you need any testimonies in support of any grant applications or sponsorship, then please feel free to send them this email. Hopefully see you all again next year (with a fully operational tandem)! Kindest regards



For all race results, please visit

McLaren High School

50 Years at Mollands Road Events were held on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th September to celebrate the 50th anniversary of McLaren High School moving from its previous location at what is now Callander Primary School to Mollands Road. On Friday 4th September former pupils joined McLaren’s new S1 pupils and Student Leadership Team to re-enact the procession from the school’s original location in Bridgend to the current school building. The procession was led by the school’s newly formed pipe band. A programme of events was organised for Saturday 5th September to mark the anniversary. The day started with football, hockey and rugby matches between former and current pupils. In the afternoon there were tours where former pupils were shown round the current school. Classmates from forty, fifty and even sixty years ago met in the school corridors and classrooms, reminiscing and catching up. The celebrations finished with a ceilidh in the school where generations of former teachers, Headteachers and pupils (some travelling from all over the world to be there!) danced with current and yet to be pupils. From top: Procession re-enactment; Former pupils join with current students for games of rugby... football... and hockey; Below right: Everyone joins in for the ceilidh!


McLaren High School World Challenge Project Ghana After a year of preparation, everyone was excited when the day arrived for the expedition to Ghana to begin. The team were dropped off at the school on Sunday afternoon and said goodbye to their families – Build Up Day had begun! After a full kit check, tent pitching and an overnight stay in the school library, we headed to Glasgow airport for 5am. As soon as the team arrived at the airport, the expedition was their responsibility. They had to organise check in, collect money and lead us to the correct departure gate. A couple of plane journeys, a successful navigation through Amsterdam airport and we arrived in Ghana. The heat and humidity were instantly apparent. Before the tired team could make their way to the guesthouse we had booked for the night they had to change money into Ghanaian Cedi, buy a couple of mobile phones and try to haggle the price for a bus to our accommodation. The next morning we drove through the capital, Accra, on our way to the project site. We made a stop on the way so that the team could pick up food and cooking supplies for the rest of the week. The market was mobbed and the team had to navigate through the masses, decide what to buy, negotiate a fair price and generally try to fit in to life in Ghana. Once we arrived at our project we were greeted with the biggest welcome any of has had ever experienced. The children at the school had obviously been told we were coming and were jumping with joy when our bus arrived. They had no reservations and immediately ran over to hold our hands and hug us and help us with our bags. The teachers were so friendly and welcoming and happily showed us around their school. Cooking that first evening was quite an experience, we had one pot and some charcoal to make a meal for thirteen people. We ate a lot of rice and vegetables over the course of the trip! The teachers very kindly cooked for us on a few occasions, a popular dish being ‘Banku,’ a traditional Ghanaian dough which was served with a delicious tomato stew. The next morning the real work started. Our task was to build another classroom block at the school. The team had to go and buy their own building supplies and arrange delivery. Once the materials arrived everyone got stuck in, bricklaying, making cement, plastering and generally helping out. We paid a couple of Ghanaian builders to help and they worked extremely hard and were helpful in showing the team what to do. We managed to finish everything but the roof, but with the extra money we had left, paid the builders to complete the job. The school was in the grounds of a church, and we got to experience various church services whilst we were there. Including an overnight service which involved singing that went on to around 5am!!! The teachers measured the whole team and on the last day presented us with dresses and shirts that they had had specially made for us. They showed us some Ghanaian dancing and we got them up Ceilidh dancing too. The kindness they showed us was amazing. It wasn’t all work, though. We had a couple


McLaren in Ghana

of trips to the beach at the weekend. We also visited two old slave forts and learned about the history of Ghana. We took a trip to Kakum National Park where we slept in a treehouse

and conquered the canopy walkway – a series of rope bridges suspended 50m above the ground! Miss Wood, teacher in charge

McLaren: Awards

Tara and Luke - Dux Ludorum winners

McLaren High School Awards Ceremony

An Awards Ceremony to build new traditions. The trophy winners

Heads and Deputes

Clockwise from top left: Our project hosts made us skirts and shirts to wear; Smiling school pupils; Young students pose in the playing field; Sports Day; Playing football with the local children; The Team at ‘Stumble Inn’

Thursday 3 September saw the whole school join in a celebration of pupils’ successes. This year the event moved to Callander Kirk as extra room was needed to accommodate the community of celebrants and their families and friends. The platform party were piped into the church by Callum Hall and Connor Ramsay Clapham with further musical pieces by Ailish Duthie (voice) and Morag Beaton (flute McLaren has a long history of musical, sporting and academic achievement. In addition to hearing of the remarkable successes of Dux Ludorum recipients Tara Leishman and Luke Maher a total of seven pupils represent Scotland in international competitions: Catie Warburton (sailing); James Wray (bowls); Conner Clark (rugby); Skye Campbell (water polo); Dan Hesp (triathlon); Emily Field (mountain biking) and Jenny Holl (cycling). Jenny was unable to attend the ceremony as she was competing in a three day event at Manchester. In addition to representing Scotland Jenny recently won the British National Youth Championship which has led to her selection onto the Olympic Development Programme and a possible place in team GB at the Rio Olympics 2016! There was quiet contemplation as Kirsty Crawford was called forward for the inaugural presentation of the ‘Liz Youngson Memorial Trophy’. Liz had been a teacher at McLaren High since August 1972 and was well known to all present. She met an untimely death just weeks into what should have been a long and happy retirement. Her life partner Mr Bill McColl presented Kirsty with the cup for her work, back of stage, pulling the school show together. There followed an uplifting photomontage made by the pupils who have recently returned from Ghana where, in addition to trekking and a little teaching, they helped build a classroom. The climax of the evening came with the announcement of this year’s Proxime Accessit Sophie Conroy and Dux Alasdair Murphy. Just before the closing of the official ceremony the new Head and Deputy Head boys and girls were installed. This year however there was a twist. The newly elected Heads and Deputies pinned the new McLaren High FP lapel badge on last year’s team officially marking them as part of the growing band of former pupils.


Class of 1957/8 with their teacher Miss Stewart. You can just see Pixie peeping through from the second row, between Gillian Perks in the dark jersey and Joan Ferguson with the bow in her hair. Janet is fourth from the right, front row, and Andrew is second from the right.

Balquhidder Village School One thing you will notice when you visit Balquhidder is that it is missing something – the village school. This was not always the case.

In Autumn 1957 there were school children - sometimes running, sometimes dawdling, some with shoes, some without, some by taxi going to Balquhidder Primary School - to Miss Stewart; the tiny teacher and headmistress, who welcomed them at the door with her neat wavy hair, buttoned up blouse, full pleated skirt and shiny brown and white court shoes. At that time five Renshaws: Andrew, Pixie, Janet, Helen and Quintus, were pupils of hers. Observant, clever and empathetic children, they noticed the incongruity of such a tiny figure ringing the heavy brass hand bell. They were aspirational for themselves and for her. Aware that she was not married and was pretty and that Davy McDiarmid, local farmer and taxi driver was not married and was handsome, they believed that they were lovers! After all, once he threw the football back over the fence. Instead of being cross, she caught it! They gasped when Davy married 14

Molly and so their small world gradually widened. Reading aloud was a daily activity. Once Quintus refused to continue reading, explaining later that he didn’t object to reading the first part of the word out loud, but he would not be persuaded to read the second half. The word was ‘quantities’. Boys and girls lined up separately. The boys saluted, girls curtsied. “Good Morning, Miss Stewart, Good Morning, Mrs MacDonald,” (the dinner lady with her pinny off). In the porch there was a pile of soup plates. They were filled with water and placed in the classroom on the window sills. Next to the sink sat a large cake of carbolic soap. It was rubbed on boys’ tongues if they swore. Once Pixie told Miss Stewart that John swore - such a bad word she “couldn’t possibly repeat it”. Asked to whisper it in her ear, Pixie whispered “shut up!” The classroom had high windows, bare walls, wooden desks, a blackboard with wooden pointer, a piano and teacher’s desk. In the top drawer lay other instruments of punishment - the taws - one solid, one with one slit and one with two. You were ‘given the belt’ for not doing homework and for being late. Now in jest, the Renshaws still recall

by Jan Renshaw Miss Stewart’s favourite warnings: “Woe betide you!” and “I’ll come down on you like a ton of bricks!” In the 1950s, Balquhidder was busy with haystacks, fields of golden wheat on the loch shore, barley, potatoes and turnips. It was harvest time. Miss Stewart played piano and on account of their sympathy for her ‘plinkety plonking’ the Renshaws sang with gusto. Jesus Loves Me and Oh What Can Little Hands Do To Please The King of Heaven? followed by The Lord’s Prayer. Once Pixie related that Jean, who was the minister’s daughter, had her eyes open during the prayer! The Renshaws did all they could to back up Miss Stewart. She was their ‘Miss Jean Brodie’. Physical exercises took place every morning - as if on the deck of a great ship - slapping thighs, rolling shoulders and flinging arms out wide and back around the body until everyone’s fingers tingled. Mental exercises followed - oral arithmetic, reciting times tables, names of days and months; then written sums vertical addition and subtraction, always with the proof clearly written. Neat presentation was the key to getting them right. At playtime skipping was popular. Often, while two cawed the rope, the

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

Five Renshaws standing outside Tom-na-Mhargaidh, 1957/8. From the left: Pixie(Caroline) 8yrs; Quintus, 5yrs; Janet, 7yrs; Helen, 6yrs and Andrew, 9 yrs, with Nimrod the dog.

others chanted: “Christopher Columbus was a very brave man, he sailed the ocean in an old tin can! The waves grew higher and higher and o..v..e..r...” ‘Tig’ was also popular and played by the whole school in one big game on the grassy area up as far as the church yard wall. Here children bonded with little rituals. “Pinky to pinky, thumb to thumb, make a wish and it’s sure to come.” Here they persuaded each other they were telling the truth - “Cross my heart, never tell a lie” and chose leaders by holding out fists and chanting: “One p’tatty, two p’tatty, three p’tatty, four; five p’tatty, six p’tatty, seven p’tatty more, until only one was left. Handwriting, grammar and spelling were priorities. To improve, proverbs were carefully copied. Miss Stewart’s favourite one was ‘Silence is golden.’ Hands were checked front and back before lunch. In the small building, known as the ‘Sugar Lump’ Mrs MacDonald dished out beef casserole or mince with a layer of pastry on top and mashed potatoes, iced sponge with custard or meringues. Afternoons were taken up with art, singing, dancing, nature walks, making patterns with wooden beads and shapes and forming letters in sand or with chalk. Boys practised their salutes – ‘the long way up and the short way down’. They made place mats with raffia and knitted pan handle holders with string. Girls sewed by hand, making aprons, and used Banca to make decorative mats. A highlight of the Autumn term was Hallowe’en. All thirty children walked to Kirkton Farm to choose a turnip. You took it home, cut off the top, scooped out the inside, cut holes for eyes, nose and mouth, placed a candle inside and put the top on with string to form a handle.

A Hallowe’en Party organised by the Ladies’ Social Club took place in the evening in the village hall. Children dressed up - mainly as witches. There were prizes for the best guise and the best turnip lantern. One game was ‘Dookin for Apples’. You knelt on a chair and let a fork drop from your mouth into the apples floating in a tub of water. Another game was ‘Treacle Scones’. Dipped in black treacle, the scones dangled on strings hanging from a rope tied to cleeks on either side of the hall. Blindfolded and turned around 3 times, you tried your best to take a bite. Faces were covered with treacle. Then the witch came, pushing a trolley full of saucers laden with mashed potatoes. Each hid a silver sixpence wrapped in a twist of paper. Once the lucky charm was pocketed, the potatoes scoffed and the children smiling, the witch screamed, cackled, shook her broom and rattled the trolley. The children rushed her, noisily chasing her out into the darkness. Her howls and wails could be heard getting fainter and fainter. Afterwards there were musical games like ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’, ‘Here we go round the Mulberry Bush’ and ‘I sent a letter to my love’. Later one of the ladies came in with the trolley, this time laden with saucers of jelly. It was usually Lottie McDiarmid, but if she was the witch, she never let on! Another highlight of the Autumn term was, ‘Collecting Rosehips’. The Renshaws could be found all along the hedgerows picking rosehips. They knew that between Hamilton’s and Love’s Corner the rosehips were long thin hard and orange. Beyond the Calair Burn they were bright red and soft. At school they were weighed. For every pound a section was coloured in red on

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

the outline of a large rosehip syrup bottle on the classroom wall. For each pound you got 3d. Sometimes the Renshaws would find a string sack of rosehips belonging to a certain boy, tied to a stone, dangling in the river to make it weigh more. Quintus played fair and he was the ‘Rosehip King’. The five Renshaws later became six with Edward attending the school in the 1970s. Their memories of school are inextricably linked to the strong sense of community in the glen. The thoughtfulness, goodness and kindness that went into the care of the pupils of Balquhidder Primary School inspired a lasting confidence and love of life. For the rest of their long lives Miss Stewart and Mrs Beauchamp corresponded with their pupils and with the Renshaws. To both Head Teachers, The Ladies’ Social Club and all the locals, thank you for the happy memories of Autumn term at Balquhidder Primary School in the 1950s. 15

Why people no longer go to church... Having been away over the summer, we missed August’s edition so I’ve arrived at this particular party a wee bit late, but the question seems to have prompted some interest, so perhaps it’s not too late for me to add my twopennyworth. Why do people no longer go to church? For me, it was put very well in a song by Peter, Paul & Mary back in the Sixties. The song was called “Hymn” and appeared on the album Late Again, published in 1968. Let me quote from a couple of verses: I visited some houses where they said that You were living. They spoke a lot about You, and they told me of Your giving. They passed a basket with some envelopes; I just had time to write a note, And all it said was, “I believe in You”. I visited Your house again at Christmas or Thanksgiving, When a balding man said You were dead, but Your house could go on living. He recited poetry and, when he saw me stand to leave, He shook his head and said I’d never find You. The church in Britain has, for the most part, contrived to become hugely irrelevant to many people. In our society as a whole, we’ve been beguiled by “stuff ”. I’m no exception. I love electricity, and central heating, indoor toilets, refrigerated food, washers, driers, microwaves; all the stuff that helps me avoid the boring, tedious and repetitive chores that are necessary for basic living. I love shiny gadgets: TVs, CDs, DVDs; all the plugged-in, switched-on, pumped-up, shrink-wrapped instant world of information that floods my every waking moment. I love to travel: by car and train, and ship and ‘plane; discovering new places and people and cultures. But I also know that life is more than stuff. It’s about people, and love, and beauty, and the sheer, awesome awareness of being so small in such a big place. I look at the hills and feel small. I look at the stars on a clear, dark night, and feel small. I think over the breadth and experience of my own life, and my place in history, and feel very small. Of course, this is nothing new. People have had such thoughts since human beings first appeared. Coming to terms with such things is what “religion” is all about. It takes many forms but, around the world, only about 1.1 billion people - some 16% of the world’s population as at 2010 - say that they have no religious affiliation whatsoever. On a global scale, then, “religion” is alive and well and flourishing. So, why have people stopped going to church in our own country? I think that a big part of the answer is about “stuff ”. In our society today, we are consumers. Our modern-day cathedrals are our shopping centres. We are captivated by choice, knowing the price of everything but the value of nothing. We live to be entertained - by whatever floats our boat. And, because there are so many choices available, we tend to look for slick, packaged solutions. We want neat, easy answers that can be quickly assimilated, and worn as stylish labels that reflect our place in society: not standing out too much, but still marking us as cultured individuals. In such a world, churches are difficult places. Many are still entombed in history; intoning the language of Shakespeare’s time in arcane and archaic rituals that seem designed as some mystical process to conjure up the faith of a bygone era. And, for me, that is the other part of the answer to our question: faith. Our forebears were very comfortable with the concept, but post-modern humanity struggles with any kind of faith. We’ve lost our faith in people (politicians and bankers, obviously, but pretty much anyone in any position of responsibility or influence). We’ve certainly lost our faith in institutions: from the Church down even to the much loved and still much revered National Health Service. So, the very idea that we might have faith in some supernatural being that cannot be weighed, or measured, or photographed, or recorded in MP3, is fairly preposterous. Yet, I have to confess, that getting to know this supernatural being has been an integral part of my life’s journey and, for all the mystery and unanswered questions, still makes more sense of life to me than any of the facile ideologies and philosophies put forward as alternatives. I guess that’s why I’m still going to church. Like the person in the song, I still struggle with the form and presentation, and my instinct is to “stand and leave”. But, having discovered that “He” is very far from dead, I cannot let it go. It’s become a matter of faith: always moving forward into unknown territory, but based on a map that has proved, this far, to be wholly and entirely accurate. Paul Hicks 16

My favourite recipes...

Raspberry Cake with Custard Filling This delicious cake can be made with raspberries, blackberries or blueberries. The filing is soft and spongy, made with custard powder. Raspberries give the fresh hint to the cake. The cake is very special, and will disappear very quickly! Ingredients: 2.5 cup of plain flour (a cup=250ml) 250g butter 2 tsp baking powder 3 tbsp icing sugar 5 egg yolks Mix the ingredients together to form a dough. Add few spoons of water if dough is too crumbly. Divide it into 2 parts around 60% and 40%. Chill in the fridge. Line 33x20 cm tin with baking paper. Grate the bigger part of a dough, place into a tin, press slightly and bake for around 20 min in 190C. Cool it down. Filling: 5 egg whites 1 cup of caster star 16 g vanilla sugar or 1 tsp of vanilla extract 40 g custard powder 6 tbsp sunflower oil Beat/mix the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add sugars, one spoon at the time, mixing the mixture until stiff. Slowly add custard powder and mix, then add oil and mix gently. Place the mixture onto the baked cake base, add raspberries, grate the rest of the chilled dough on the top. Bake in 190 C for 30-40 min. Sprinkle with icing sugar. Enjoy! Kasia Sujanova

Erudite Muse

“The marvellous thing about a joke with a double meaning is that it can only mean one thing.” Ronnie Barker, quoted in the Daily Mail

A Scotsman, an Englishman and an Irishman were in a bar and had just started on a new round when a fly landed in each glass of beer. The Englishman took his out on the blade of his Swiss Army knife. The Irishman blew his away in a cloud of froth. The Scotsman lifted his one up carefully by the wings and held it above his glass. “Go on, spit it out, ye wee devil.”


Minutes of Board meeting – 27th August 2015, Lochearnhead

Changes to your DRT

From October 1st 2015 Stirling Council are now taking bookings. Please telephone

08452 777 000

between 9am and 3pm Monday to Friday. Alternatively you can book online 24 hours a day at

However online bookings must be received by 3pm the day before you wish to make your journey or by Friday 3pm if you wish to travel on Saturday, Sunday or Monday. If you wish to use your National Entitlement Card you will need the details when you phone and a post code for your start and end of journey. Please direct any questions to Stirling Council. Highland Glen Travel will still be providing the service.

Private hire TAXI and Tours 07554 195 446 Airport transfers at competitive rates Distance no object Contact Stirling Council for DRT

08452 777 000


Present: Fiona Martin; Jan Dalziel, Sarah Gibson, Mel Brydie, David Johnston 1. Apologies: Malcolm MacNaughton; Owen McKee; Emma Richards 2. Minutes of last meeting These were passed as a true and accurate record, proposed by Jan Dalziel and seconded by Mel Brydie. 3. Matters Arising Sara H has still to do a formal handover, but will do this when the accounts are up to date. 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 2 years. We need to check with Sara if the electrician’s bill has been paid for the installation of the defibrillators. Mel to give the defibrillator signs to Fiona. 5. Financial update Sara not here to give these details, but the last bank statement: balance was £5854.26 6. Communication and membership drive Sarah G needs to update the website, Facebook & Twitter. Emma is happy to take this on later in the year. We continue to encourage new members. 7. Projects 7.1 Tennis court Tennis Scotland have been in touch and are keen to help us try and find funding. We are just waiting to hear back from them. The summer tennis coaching sessions went well and were well attended. 7.2 Defibrillators Mel has signs for the location of the defibrillators which need to be put up in Lochearnhead. 7.2 First Responders We have now left the Scottish Ambulance Service and joined The Trossachs Search and Rescue Team. The Ambulance service were struggling to carry out regular training sessions, so now the First Responders regularly meet with The Trossachs Search and Rescue Team and they also get to use their vehicle. Strathyre first responders are still doing regular training and they are signed on as often as possible. Mel Brydie will do a write up in The Villagers about First Responders and also try to set up a meeting at MHOR 84 for a recruitment drive. 7.3 Strathyre Playground Mel to email Stirling Council and look at funding so we can move on with phase 2. We also need to email Stirling Council to complain how messy the playpark is and to see if they can come out and tidy the area up. 7.4 Immervoulin Footpath So far, no funding. Looks like it would cover the path but we are still looking and we are in contact with the National Park. We will need to apply to Sustrans again next year. Stuart Paterson is also looking into what can be done to help with the path. We need to chase up Bruce Crawford. 7.5 Benches We now have £415 to spend on benches for the play park and war memorial. Sara to order from and Emma to take the delivery. Mel to try and organise Ian to tie the bench down at the play park – waiting for an update from Sara Hesp. 8. Community Action Plan 8.1 Balquhidder Action Plan Free Library David is still trying to organise a book exchange in the old phone box. Lily Pond - David would also like the lily pond to be cleared so David is trying to organise an autumn clear up day where the National Park Rangers could come to help. He will apply for funding from the Stirling Council Community Grant Fund. First Responders - David will also ask to see if anyone is interested in becoming a first responder. Broadband – a community interest group has been setup. Mobile signal – O2 are upgrading the mast to 4G and longer reach. Bin Collection - The Villagers has previously printed a list of dates and which bins will be collected. Improve Village Hall – The hall committee have projects ongoing. Stone walls – This still needs to be looked into. Sports Events – Balquhidder Bike Fest was a great success. 8.2 Lochearnhead Action Plan Fiona to set up a sub group for Lochearnhead. Village enhancement – Water sports centre is in the hands of a Lawyer so not sure when that will be back up and running. The old 45 site is still ongoing. The garage across from Cameron Court is up for sale. First Responders - Fiona will also ask to see if anyone is interested in becoming a first responder. Cycle Path - this has been postponed until next year. Village Allotments – a sub group needs to be setup. 8.3 Strathyre Action Plan Hydro Scheme This is still on going and in the hands of the SVA. Village Hall – The SVA are looking into what can be done with the Village Hall. The Primary School will be getting an extension in 2017, so hopefully this hall could be used for community events. Road Signs – We still need more road signs for Strathyre and more tourist information signs. The public toilet sign needs to be taken down. Music Festival – As part of the Music Festival there is a village cleanup day. Recreation ground – Funding is being applied for the tennis court. Strathyre Outdoors are making a huge difference to the activities available in Strathyre. 9.0 Any Other Business David said he would do a write up about the BLS Trust in the next issue of The Villagers. 10.0 Next meeting Scheduled for 30th September at Sarah’s house from 8pm, so we can prepare for the AGM in October/November.

The Trust needs your active support!


The Trust is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity, established on 23rd January 2007. Unlike BLS Community Council, the Trust can apply for grants. It can own property, employ staff, and operate community-based businesses. Working with elected bodies such as Stirling Council, the Community Council and the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority, the Trust can be the organisation to turn the desires of the community into reality. It is not just a Lobbying Body! Directors: Malcolm McNaughton, Owen McKee, Melanie Brydie, Sarah Gibson, Jan Dalziel Fiona Martin, Emma Richards, David Johnston Company Number: SC315209 Charity Number: SC037831


The Trust’s aims and objectives are to benefit the communities in the Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre area by: • Providing facilities for recreation and other leisure time activities. • Preserving, restoring and improving the environment in the community area by provision of public open space and other public amenities and regeneration projects. • Managing community land and associated assets for the benefit of the community and the public in general, for sustainable development of the Scotland’s natural environment. • Promoting education and opportunities for learning for the benefit of the general public, and in particular to raise awareness and interest in the local environment and heritage. • Relieving the needs of people who are elderly or who are otherwise in need of care within the community.


Here are a few of the projects that the Trust is working on: • The setting up of First Responder units in Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre. • Making a Defibrillator available in all 3 villages. • The renovation of the Strathyre tennis court. • The upgrade of the Strathyre Playpark. • We have set up a Sub Group to put together a new Action Plan for all 3 villages. Do you have any project in the area that you would like to see implemented: Something new? Something to renovate? A heritage project perhaps? Or a leisure project?


The Trust needs members to make things happen and joining only costs £1.00. Join the Trust! Have your say! Help make things happen!


Do you normally reside in one of the communities in the Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre area? Are you on the Electoral Register in the area? Do you support the aims and activities of the Trust? Then if you are 18 or over you can become a Full Member, and if you are between 12 and 17 you can become a Junior Member. Your joining fee is £1. As a member, you are entitled to attend the Trust AGM and any extra ordinary General Meetings. As a Full Member, you can vote on motions, select directors, or become a director yourself through the democratic process. Please complete and detach the form below, and send it to: The Membership Secretary, BLS Community Trust, Shian View, Main Street, Strathyre, Perthshire, FK18 8NA.


I hereby apply to become a Full / Junior* Member of the BLS Community Trust and agree to pay the fees set by the Directors. (*Delete as appropriate) Name(s)................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Address................................................................................................................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Postcode............................................................................ Tel No................................................................................................................... Email Address..................................................................................................................................................................................................... Signature(s)......................................................................................................................................................................................................... I enclose £1 joining fee, or a donation of £.................................. which includes my membership fee. o Cheques made payable to “BLS Community Trust”. As a registered charity we can claim Gift Aid relief on donations, if you pay UK Income Tax. Do you pay income tax and agree to the Trust claiming this relief from the Government? o (Tick box if yes) If you’re applying for Full Membership of the Trust, please tick the box below: I further confirm that I am at least 18 years of age o

Callander Film Festival See You at the Movies! Callander Film Society’s new season kicks off on Saturday 16th October, so there is still plenty of time to sign up for one of the best bargains in town: 11 contemporary films for £22 and 5 classics for £10. Or join both for only £27. You can join at any of our screenings or contact Eammon on 01877 339323 or Our opening film, the acclaimed The Theory of Everything is based on the book by the wife of astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, telling the story of their life together. On October 24th we’re screening Boyhood which uniquely follows the same cast over 12 years as the main character, a child called Mason, grows up. Kumiko on November 7th is the story of a Japanese woman who goes in search of the satchel of money buried in the film Fargo ... and on November 21st Selma chronicles three months in 1965 with Martin Luther King on the equal rights march from Selma to Montgomery. The November classic is The African Queen on Friday 13th November, one of the best loved adventure movies, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn as two completely opposite personalities thrown together on a river journey in WWI. We’re delighted to be back in the former St Kessog’s (Rob Roy Centre) in Ancaster Square for the contemporary programme on Saturday evenings, thanks to the Clanranald Trust. Classics are once again in The Waverley Hotel on Fridays. All screenings start at 7.30 and visitors are always welcome for £4 at the door. On Sunday 27th September at 2pm we’re screening the 1926 Buster Keaton silent classic The General with live piano accompaniment from expert silent film improviser Mike Nolan. The rest of the programme is being developed by Callander Film Society and will also feature short films, feature films and archive material on the Callander and Oban Railway. The Festival has been made possible with funding support from Callander Enterprise, Stirling Council and Regional Screen Scotland. Look out for posters and leaflets in August! Or contact Eammon O’Boyle for details 01877 339323. 19

Season round-up from Sandy Point


Loch Earn Sailing Club began the new season with a traumatic event. Some of the St Fillans’ locals may recall the Scottish Charity Air Ambulance circling the loch in search of a suitable landing site on Sunday 12th April. This was in response to an emergency call following an incident during an early season race where sailor, John McDonald (73), received a blow to the face from the boom of his yacht, The Hooligan. He was catapulted into the water unconscious. He was rescued by his grandson, Aaron Murray (17), who managed to pull him aboard the RIB and get him safely to shore where first aid assistance was on hand. First responders, police and ambulance crews attended to John who was then whisked off to Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, in the SCAA helicopter. Thankfully, due to the rapid actions of all involved, John has made a full recovery and The Hooligan has re-joined the cruiser fleet to contest the remaining club trophies. By way of thanks to the SCAA helicopter team, John’s daughter-in-law and granddaughter, Karen and Louise McDonald bravely abseiled off the Forth Rail Bridge this summer raising just short of £1,000 in sponsorship donations for the SCAA. A further £129 was collected at the club, being the proceeds of tea, coffee and home-baking sales and other fundraisers by members throughout the season.   With a 25% increase in Club members for 2015, there has been a great deal of activity on the loch this year. The First Fling open regatta kicked off the official start to the sailing season in late April. LESC welcomed travelling sailors from the Enterprise and Laser classes for a series of six closely contended races over the two-day event. In June, the club hosted its annual youth coaching weekend event, immediately followed by the Scottish Schools Brown Cup Trophy. Over 100 sailors from all over Scotland competed for the title which was finally taken by McLaren High School. A new addition to the social calendar for 2015 was the summer solstice sunset cruise on Loch Earn. Thankfully the Scottish summer weather held out enabling several well-laden yachts to enjoy a most memorable longest day of the year on our spectacular loch. The club’s annual training week event in July was another resounding success for LESC, closely followed by a well-attended, if a little too breezy, Family Week event. Great fun was had by all, both on and off the water. Regular Sunday morning training sessions also continued in popularity with members of all ages spending time with experienced instructors, improving and developing their sailing skills. A number of LESC members took time out to compete at Travellers events at sailing clubs throughout the UK. Amongst the great achievements: 20

Heroes in a Year of Gardening Disaster

‘New Dawn’

Cold, wet, windy and dreich: barring a few glorious days in early April and September, this has been a disastrous summer for gardens in the Balquhidder, Strathyre and Lochearnhead areas. The only plants to flourish were the weeds. No sooner had one lot been removed than a fresh crop sprang up within days. And everything was so late this year: plants that flourished in late June only made a feeble show in August. What to do – and what gardening lessons to learn from the 2015 debacle? I’ve certainly come close to giving up. Our garden at Lochearnhead has a variety of shrubs and trees – and more than 60 roses of different varieties – floribundas, dwarf roses, ramblers, standards and hybrid teas. The “summer” took a terrible toll. The lack of warm sun meant small and grudging blooms. And when they did come out, the rain soon spoilt them. But there were glorious exceptions round the garden. Hostas did well – till the stags munched them. Wild geraniums have flourished. Nepeta (catnip) – a tidier and hardier alternative to lavender – came bursting through. Young trees that looked to have died in the winter burst with life in the (very) late spring. And, for the first time in 14 years, our Rowan tree brought forth berries. And what of the roses – always a risky venture in the wet climes of the northern Trossachs? I’ve kept a careful note each year of their performance. Pride of place is a floriferous ‘Dorothy Perkins’, planted by the previous owner, Mrs. McEwen. This exuberant pink Wichurana Rambler, bred in the US, was hugely popular in the 1950s and 1960s due to its ease of growth. It flowers late in season but is well worth waiting for. We didn’t have to wait long for ‘Awakening’, another Wichurana climber, its pale pink blooms flowering through from late June to September, oblivious to the weather. The ‘Rambling Rector’ has rambled more than ever, and a clambering ‘Albertine’, often one of the first roses to bloom, finally made it into flower in late July. It has a superb scent, worth the garden room for this alone. For those nostalgic for the 1950s, the rambling ‘Francis E Lester’ with its open single white and pink flowers stood up well to this year’s poor conditions. Alongside it there is a hard, brick-red ‘Parkdirektor Riggers’, a modern climber that has defied all that this miserable summer could throw at it. And after years of timid growth, our off white, purplish-pink ‘Ayrshire Splendens’ ran rampant over the road wall. Two other classics that stood up well to the test of 2015 were the classic ‘New Dawn’ and the wonderful pink and powerfully fragrant ‘Zephirine Drouhin’. As a general rule, the classic floribundas and hybrid teas have stood up relatively well to the near constant rain, the more delicate ‘David Austins’ less so. Finally, two magnificent additions this year that otherwise deterred new planting. I am grateful to Jonathan MacDonald of the Riverside Nursery by Comrie (a climatic Gobi Desert compared with Lochearnhead) for two stunning roses with colour you could see at a hundred yards: a flame orange ‘Wild Fire’ dwarf standard which had a powerful second flush; and a bloom-laden ‘American Pillar’, a classic carmine pink, white-eye rambler. This rose snatches attention from a far distance. Such is the summer we’ve endured, we have planted it close to the veranda just a few feet away from our back door. Bill Jamieson In an otherwise gloomy summer, it has cheered us up immensely.

Calum Tait - Scottish Laser Champion 2015 Alex Orr - Scottish Laser Radial Champion 2015 Mhairi Orr - Scottish Laser 4.7 Champion 2015 Aaron Murray/Lewis Marr - UK 29er Nationals 11th GBR finishers / 29er World Championship 49th and fastest 29er in the world 2015 (recorded speed of 20.73 knots) Becky Orr - selected by RYA Scotland to compete in her Topper at the Invitation Only Eric Twiname regatta at Rutland Water

The Final Fling regatta at the end of September attracted a sizeable fleet of cruisers and dinghies with all proceeds from entry fees etc. raising funds for RNLI. October will see a return to dry land for the cruisers, currently moored off the shores of Sandy Point, for winter storage. Racing will continue for a few more weeks for the hardier club sailors, culminating in an end of season Prize giving ceremony for all members on 24th October. For more information about LESC visit

Gardening Gardening Chat... “Oooh, Jean... look at the colour of this one here. Isn’t that the most striking orange colour! Mum always liked a good show of snapdragons...” “Yes - but Mary - they tend to get a big leggy, and I prefer the purple ones.” “Eee... look at these pink ones! Now that’s one our Sally would go for. These ones here, Jean. She’s just mad on pink everything has to be pink with her! You should see her bedroom.” “Gee whiz! Check these out...” “Noooo... I don’t like those, the yellows are quite nice though. Over here, Jean, look at this Monkey Puzzle....Tam’s next door is getting huge!” “No, Mary, I think they’re a bit weird.” “Well I quite like them, but I’ve no space, and Derek would kill me if I came home with one! He’d say we have enough daft things in the garden.” “Oh your Derek makes me laugh... is his back still playing up?” “Flipping back! It’s his front that needs sorting! No, seriously - he’s hopeless. He’d not last five minutes in a place like this. Mind you, he’d probably want a set of those big garden loungers over there so he could sleep all day outside in the garden, picking his horses.... “Not this year, eh Jean?” “You’re right there, Mary!” “Shall we have a look at the indoor plants?” “Yes - but I’m hopeless with indoor plants. Kill everything, I do!” “Oh, Jean. I’m the same. But they are lovely... just a quick look. Oh now these are gorgeous! What are they called again....?” “Oh... now you’re asking. I think it might be the rubber you think that’s where they get rubber from?” “I think so - but I might be wrong mum always had a big one in the porch. I remember we used to write our names in the dust on the big leaves.....mum never liked dusting!” “Who does, Mary? Wow, look at this.... do you think it’s real, what is it? I can’t read the label and I’ve not got me glasses - can you read it?” “Mmmm... it says here it’s some kind of orchid, ‘Cat-a-lay-ah...’? never heard of it! Have you?” “I’d probably kill it by the time I got home, Jean. Fabulous colour. Our Sandra’s keen on orchids now she’s away at college...” “Is that so, Mary?” “Yes! She’s got a lovely wee flat in Edinburgh now and doing really well. We


were up there last week - and by heck it’s a super place! All orchids in the kitchen ... she shares it with a hairdresser - big hunky chap. He loves plants. Apparently he worked backstage on the X Factor!” “Is that right, Jean?” “He had us in stitches trying to put this lamp up he had bought from IKEA. Mary - I kid you not - it was called a F-AR-T-Y-G... so funny in his French accent. I swear I was ready to die when he broke wind while straining on this kitchen stool putting it up. Sandra shouts out ‘now I know why it’s called that, Mum!’ “Hey - come and check this out, Jean. Wait the now... these don’t look real! How bizarre, Mary, they just look like wee bits of dead grass. ‘Airplants - £4.99’. ‘Doesn’t need soil.’ Well, I never!” “Shall I buy your Derek one?” “Oh, Jean... you make me laugh! Check out these wee Saintpaulias, now that’s a bonny wee plant. We always had some at home. Mum had one for years, and hyacinths - I can still smell them wafting down the stairs. Aye, she was good with her plants - real braw show she would have each year. Mind, she always used to say she could switch off when she was in the garden.” “It’s true, Mary! My mum was the same. You see, they didn’t have a lot back then and the garden was a big thing.” “That’s right, Jean. Our Tommy’s vegetables were the talk of the street! He

by Jonathan MacDonald

used to always win prizes... check this little thing, Jean, isn’t that weird... I have never seen one of these before. Looks a bit like a dead cactus!” “You’re right, Mary - it says here it is a cactus!” “Now, Jean - that’s a nice plant here. I always get confused, are they geraniums?” “Well I think so... they’re lovely and fresh... and I love those purple ones, only £3.99...” “That’s ok Jean! What do you think? I might get one! They look really healthy...” “They do, Mary... what colour do you like?” “Well, I like the purple ones - but then the pink one is lovely. I’m not sure. Are you getting one?” “I think I could get one for Lorna next door... Ok. I think I’ll get that dark purple...” “Good, Jean... oh heck, I can’t decide... well I think I’ll get the same.” “Come on, now - let’s pay before we miss the bus. We’ll just take these geraniums please....” “Are they both together?” “Yes please.” “They are actually pelargoniums, ladies!” “Ahh... that’s them, Jean!” “Right, Mary. Let’s just sit up at the front - this driver thinks he’s Lewis Hamilton!”

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

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

Tel: 01764 670800 21

BLS - Where Business Does the Talking After forty years of living in the area and running the Golden Larches restaurant, Loraine Telfer decided to come out of retirement this year and set up her own cake business called “Cupcake Heaven”. Here she tells us more about what is involved in the baking business, and how she manages it all from her base in Lochearnhead. What made you decide to start Cupcake Heaven? I retired, but then I got fed up of not working. I’ve always worked. Once our house was built, I thought “what on earth am I going to do with myself all day?” So I decided to start a baking business. It’s called Cupcake Heaven but I can make every type of cake, including birthday cakes. I don’t only do cupcakes. Apart from your experience of running the Golden Larches, have you ever done any other food-related work in your past? I used to be a nursing sister, actually, but I always enjoyed baking and cooking. So when we had our children we decided to move to the area and look for a tea room or something similar. We bought the old village shop here. We ran it for five years as a village shop before we extended the building and made it into a restaurant. That was in 1982. What was the reason for your decision to retire from running the restaurant? I worked seven days a week, sometimes finishing at 10 o’clock at night. So it was very long hours that I worked. Although I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was just a case of time marching on. I went into the cupcake business because it means I can do it in my own house, and there’s no pressure on me at all. It’s also nice when people I know come by to make an order, because then we’ll sit and have a cup of tea together. I enjoy it. And I have to do something. I’ve never been one to sit around not keeping busy! When exactly did you start your cupcake business? It was in June this year. And it has moved quite quickly since then. How did you learn to bake? I’m self-taught, after having the restaurant and baking for all of these years. Do you do all the baking yourself? Yes, just myself. What are the different flavours of cakes and cupcakes that you make? I do raspberry cupcakes; chocolate cupcakes; chocolate orange cupcakes; and lots of other different flavours. I can make anything that someone asks for. I bake 22

by Iona Mchedliani

things according to individual customers’ requests. What are the most popular flavours with customers? The most popular flavour of cupcake that I do is chocolate orange. I also do what we call a “booze range”, with Bailey’s and Cointreau, which is actually quite popular! Apart from cupcakes, what else do you bake? I bake anything. For example: apple tarts; birthday cakes; any type of celebration cake; gingerbreads; shortbreads; anything at all. Can you cater for private events such as weddings or birthdays? Yes, and christenings too. Where do you order or source you’re baking materials from? It’s quite straightforward - just the cash and carry for all my flours and things like that. And I use Lakeland a lot as well. Do you hand make the decorations that go on top of the cakes? Yes, I do. I don’t source those from anywhere. I actually make them myself even though they are very intricate. Most of the decorations are done in fondant icing, like roses, petals, leaves and all sorts. They are usually harder than the rest of the icing. It just depends how you make your fondant. You take part in Stirling’s Farmers’ Market and also the Strathyre Music Festival. Are there other similar events that you participate in? I do farmers’ markets, and I plan to be involved in more in the future. Obviously, I’ve only recently started up the business, so I’m still sourcing other farmers’ markets at the moment, other than Stirling. I’m planning to do the Blair Atholl Horse Trials next year. I’m booked into that, and that’s a four-day event. I like doing farmers’ markets because you see the same people every month, which is really quite good. I do source orders from them as well. It’s just about getting my name known. There’s a lovely atmosphere there with all the other stallholders - it’s like one big happy family. How long does it take for you to prepare for events like that? It takes a few days to prepare for the farmers’ markets. Anybody who wants an order though should probably phone me a bit more in advance. It depends what they’re wanting. If it’s for normal cupcakes or birthday cakes, then I need three days’ warning. If it’s just a half dozen cupcakes or something small, then I can do them if I’m phoned the day before. But for a special event, like a christening or a wedding, I’d need a good week because I have to source different things for that.

How do you transport your goods? I deliver them by car myself. I have all the containers that the cakes and cupcakes sit in so they don’t move around on the journey. Do you advertise at the moment? Not particularly, at the moment it’s just by word-of-mouth. I do have business cards, and I’ll think more about advertising as time goes on. Do you plan to expand in the future? Possibly, although I do have other businesses as well, and they’re not all foodrelated. They keep me busy. Is there a time of year when you imagine you will be at your busiest? Hopefully Christmas! I bake Christmas cakes and mince pies, so I’ll take orders for anything like that. Do you have a favourite thing that you like to bake? I like the artistic part of baking something. I like the decorating that’s involved, so I like it when I get an order that involves doing something creative. How does living in Lochearnhead affect your kind of work? It affects me in that I have a lot of travelling to do to get to farmers’ markets. But even if I was living in, for example, Stirling, I might still go to a farmers’ market in Perth, in which case I would still have to travel. So our location here isn’t really a disadvantage. Not that I would ever move anyway! I’ve been here a long time now. After living here for 40 years, what would you say is one of the best things about the area? I never tire of the scenery - I think it’s superb! Every day it’s different. That’s the biggest plus for me. I love waking up in the morning and looking at the scenery. It’s just lovely! For enquiries or to make an order, Loraine can be contacted on: 01567 830368, or emailed at:

Singing is Good for You!

Choir Occasional at

Balquhidder Village Hall Every Thursday evening &.30 - 9pm Come along and join in (even if you think you can’t sing!) Everyone welcome Gill Allan 01877 384203

The AGM and Enrolment Day at the end of August was very well attended by both new and returning members and after the short business meeting everyone enjoyed the tea and coffee accompanied by homemade scones with cream and jam. Details of the committee members for 2015-16 together with the timetable for all our courses can be found on our website (Callander and West Perthshire U3A). To date we have enrolled 37 new members, some of whom have come to us as a result of our recent extensive publicity campaign. Those of us who are old hands within U3A sometimes forget that there are many people who do not know about U3A and who might benefit from joining even one activity group. There are no restrictions on how many groups you can take part in but just one is also fine. A new group for this year is ‘Swimming’ at McLaren Leisure Centre and this is for anyone who can or can’t swim. The friendly members will help and encourage anyone who has misgivings about getting into the water. Our ‘Singing for Pleasure’ group is starting again in October ‘under new management’ and further details will be announced by the two group leaders (phone numbers on the timetable) or ring the Secretary on 01360 850722 for any information about U3A.

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 - Mid August. We also sell frozen pork, sausages and bacon and can arrange drop off points in the local area Contact: Fiona MacLennan t: 07783116399 e: facebook: Glenorchy Farm 23

Another busy month has been and gone! This month we have found two males in possession of controlled drugs in Lochearnhead and these males will now be reported to the Procurator Fiscal. One of the males was found in possession of so called “legal highs”, which is still an offence and anyone found in possession of these substances will face the same process as if they were found in possession of other drugs.   A female was traced driving under the influence of alcohol in Strathyre and she is now also facing the courts where she will undoubtedly face a mandatory disqualification and a fine.   In the past few weeks we have dealt with several very serious collisions on our roads network, which I appreciate has caused travel chaos on occasions. Given the severity of the collisions that we deal with in our area, and the fact that we are still routinely dealing with drink drivers and the like, there will be an increased police presence in our area for the foreseeable future. The roads policing officers and safety camera vans have all been allocated duties to assist us local officers in the North.

SWT News September:

In one week alone in mid-September, the safety camera van caught over 100 speeding motorists within the national speed limit areas on the A84 and A85 between Stirling and Tyndrum. Although not always the case, speed does often play an impact in the collisions we deal with.   A number of speeding motorists were also detected within our built up areas in Lochearnhead and Strathyre. On some occasions, speeds in excess of 50mph are being detected and there is just no excuse for those speeds!   Within the local area, we have seen a number of thefts. Overnight between the 17th and 18th September, 11 mountain bikes were stolen from the Strathyre Log Cabins. Given the number of bikes, there was clearly a degree of preparation and a large vehicle had to have been used.   There has also been a spate of sneak in thefts, whereby a male described as being mid 50s with thick white hair, has been

responsible for sneaking into numerous properties. The majority of the properties concerned were in Callander and were B&Bs or guesthouses. We know that the male has also targeted properties in Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and along the A85 up to Crianlarich. I have also been notified that similar incidents have occurred over in Crieff. This male arrives and will give an excuse about looking for a room or to use the bathroom, and once inside rummages around and steals items before leaving. On each occasion, the male has been disturbed within the property.   Can I ask that you remain vigilant and keep your doors locked and secure? Given the bike thefts, can I also ask that you consider the security of your property also? I can happily provide individual security advice and I still have a few batches of Smartwater available which are going free to a good home. If you are interested, drop me an email. As always, I can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at william.diamond@

Bearded Tit

Sea Eagle

Changes in Scotland’s birds over the last 40 years This time of year sees many obvious changes in flowering plants and trees as we head into autumn. Also, over the last couple of months migrating birds have left us for warmer climes, very noticeably the local ospreys and swifts. However, the speaker at the first of this season’s SWT talks, David Bryant, has been observing the changes in birds seen in central Scotland over a much longer period - the last forty years. Professor David Bryant was a lecturer in biology at Stirling University for many years, arriving there in 1970, and still lives in central Scotland. Having a professional interest in birds he has been able to monitor changes in the areas birds over that period. David first informed the group of some of the notable changes in bird populations from the 1970s to the present. When he first arrived, capercaillie still existed on Flanders Moss and corncrake could be heard at Carse of Lecropt (both species now missing from our area). In contrast ospreys were absent and other raptors extremely scarce. David told the group that the gauging the change in bird populations was only possible through a long tradition of recording birds. This includes long term studies on single species, and habitats such as wetlands. The national bird Atlases produced by a collaboration of conservation agencies every twenty years also provide a valuable record of the changes in bird population trends. In the last century several species of bird have arrived in central Scotland as part of 24

a wider expansion in Britain such as collared dove, Canada goose and nuthatch. Other species have declined such as the grey partridge, or disappeared, such as the corn bunting. So what drives changes in bird populations? There are many factors which include changes in agriculture, persecution, habitat management, reintroductions and now climate change. Changes in agriculture have driven the demise of grey partridge and corn bunting mentioned above. Professor Bryant outlined some possible outcomes for the future. Species such as the little egret, reed warbler and bearded tit could become established in our wetlands perhaps encouraged by climate change. Professor Bryant finished his talk by suggesting ways that bird populations can be helped to overcome the negative factors that may cause them to decline in the future. These include habitat management for species such as black grouse and managed retreat of coastal areas to help wading birds. Better enforced bird protection laws would help some raptors and addressing climate change could help a wide variety of species. The evening was very well attended, with people coming from as far as Edinburgh to attend. On 22 October we have a talk on Otter ecology and conservation and the work of the International Otter Survival Fund, given by IOSF’s CEO, Paul Yoxon, based at Broadford on Skye.

Osprey Black Grouse

Collared Dove

Scottish Wildlife Trust Callander Local Group Diary 2015 Talks start at 7:30pm

Kirk Hall, South Church Street, Callander Thursday 22th October Otter Ecology & Conservation: the work of IOSF Dr Paul Yoxon, CEO, IOSF, Skye Tuesday 10 November RSPB’s All Nature Programme: Not Just Birds! James Silvey, RSPB

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

Farm Forum: Wild Scotland? You will all probably have read about calls to “re wild” Scotland. My initial thought was that I had got the date wrong and it was really the 1st April, this thought was also borne out by the weather! However my initial fears were confirmed when I read an article by Eleanor Mackay of the Scottish Farmer, which I quote, about a group of forty five Norwegian farmers expressing astonishment at the call to “re-wild” Scotland by reintroducing locally extinct species like lynx. Norway, which has a significantly lower sheep production than Scotland, is home to around 350 lynx, 378 wolverine, 148 bears and 35 wolves, where the predators pose a particular threat to the country’s sheep population. The Norwegian delegation represented the Norwegian Farmers’ Union and were led by their vice president, Kristin Lanssen, who said that Scotland should investigate what works in other countries before reintroducing wild carnivores. Ms Lanssen said “Norwegians are worried on behalf of Scottish farmers if carnivores are to be introduced here. We worry for the future of their sheep farming and feel sorry for them.” “We have native animals in Norway: wolves, wolverine, lynx and bears and they have lived there for centuries. Wolves had disappeared for many years because people were shooting them but the Norwegian government decided we should have a certain amount - that was an agreement which the farmers had to adopt.” “We have a long border with Sweden to the east, so we will always experience roaming carnivores in our country - it would be impossible to control. But Scotland and the UK are an island; you can decide for yourselves.”

Callander Rambling Club Lynx

“What we are seeing is that they cause big, big problems in certain areas and it is extremely hard to live with them. They have free grazing out in the forest and the mountains, and many farmers have had huge losses to all kinds of carnivores, not just lynx and wolverine but also losses to eagles and bears.” She explained that large parts of Norway were zoned for species protection, and within these zones sheep farming was no longer possible. But sheep losses to predators outwith these zones were very high - 3895 ewes and 19,671 lambs in 2014. “In the worst affected areas, farmers have been forced to stop and move to areas that are less populated with the carnivores - but what happens then is the predators will also leave because they no longer have food there.” “To combat the problem some farmers have swapped from sheep to cattle, but calves are also a target for the predators.” Norwegian farmers are permitted to shoot the predators and receive compensation if they lose livestock. However, Ms Lanssen said the red tape involved in applying for permission to do this put many farmers off. The compensation scheme was only covering approximately three fifths of losses reported by farmers.

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:

October • Sat 3rd 08:30 Hill: Ben A’an Circuit (461m) Contact 01877 376212 • Wed 7th 09:30 Ramble: Cochno & Loch Humphrey (8.5 miles) Contact 01786-841240 • Wed 14th 09:30 Stroll: Mystery Stroll (4 miles) Contact 01786-841240 • Sat 31st 08:30 Hill: Ben Venue (727m) Contact 01877-382924 November • Wed 4th 09:30 Ramble: Doune to Callander (8.5miles) Contact 01877-330105 • Wed 11th 09:30 Hill/Ramble: Wether Hill & West Craigs (503m) Contact 01786-825877 • Sat 21st 08:30 Stroll: Blair Drummond circuit (6 miles) Contact 01786-825682 December • Wed 2nd 09:30 Ramble: Strathyre Forest Loop (6.5 miles) Contact 01877-384227 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.



We’ll send you or your friends The


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

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



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


Other Contacts...

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

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

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

Andrew Poulter Business Manager Coire A Chroine Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384784

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

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

Lochearnhead Contact: Ali Ferguson 01567 830 405 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

• 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 01877 384295 07508 595211 Wedding, Portrait, Social, Pet Photography

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) Summer Darts - The Inn & Bistro - 7.00pm


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

OC TOBER 2015 6 16 24

Carpet Bowls - Lochearnhead Village Hall - 7.30pm Ballroom Dancing - Lochearnhead Village Hall - 7.30pm Concert: Edinburgh University Renaissance Singers - Balquhidder Church - see page 9

NOVEMBER 2015 14

Lochearnhead Games Night - see page 2

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

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

Tv oct 2015 low res  

Village news and photographs for the villages of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St Fillans in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Na...

Tv oct 2015 low res  

Village news and photographs for the villages of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St Fillans in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Na...