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APRIL 2012



‘La Périchole’ . . .

Music, drama, spectacle. . .

Scene outside the Golden Salamander

The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

Périchole and Piquillo entertain the crowd

Notaries Heather and Janet Serafina and Doña Inez, with Gonsalez

Piquillo, alias James Cassidy

The latin dancers!

. . . and a big hit for CAOS!

At ‘The Three Parrots’

Read about it on Page 8

The opening scene, Act II

EDITOR’ S NOTE If you are reading this at the beginning of April it will be due to the rest of “the team” doing sterling work yet again as I have disappeared to the other side of the world to babysit. I still take responsibility for any errors that creep in, particularly when the spellcheckers do funny things with some of our more unusual vocabulary. As I am doing this in March at the moment all the photographers amongst you are being far too modest and not submitting your photos of our wonderful villages for our new feature - so I hope you will all be out at Easter and that the May edition will be full of images. Please remember this is the April edition as you are reading one of the articles; it certainly made me smile, which is always good to do with all the doom and gloom around. If you are quick you also have the chance to show off your musical/ gardening knowledge and win a handsome prize, thanks to our new gardening expert Jonathan. (I didn’t take advantage of having longer than anyone else to work out the answer honest!). Have a lovely Easter and may the sun shine on you. JJ

Piano Tuition Professional musician offering lessons in Strathyre

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

Robin Versteeg ATCL


07835 737905 / 01877 384736 Email:


Thanks... From Tommy MacGregor

Tommy wishes to thank, most sincerely, all family, friends and neighbours for all messages of support following his tragic loss. Special thanks to the Rev John Lincoln for his comforting service, to Andy Anderson for handling the funeral arrangements in such a caring and professional manner and to all services who attended the accident. Finally, thanks to all who paid their Ewen respects at the church and graveside and so generously donated £1054.75 to the Community Newspaper Awards Killin Mountain Rescue. The Annual Community Newspaper From Katie, Ally and Andy Awards took place on the 23rd March We would like to express our sincere at The Raploch Community Centre, thanks to everyone for all their messages and was very well attended! of support following the devastating Host Pauline Roberts from Stirling loss of our Dad. It has been extremely Council took us through the awards comforting to hear how people held him which ranged from ‘Best Paper’ to with the same high regard as we did and ‘Young Writer’. we were overwhelmed at the amount of Representing The Villagers on the people who came to pay their respects at night were Gill Allan, Production the funeral. It is so difficult contemplating Manager and Marguerite Kobs, life without him as he was not just our Dad our recently retired Editor. The but our best friend. But we take strength Villagers won in the category ‘Best from so many great memories and take on Photograph’ with Rusty McD’s lovely Dad’s attitude that ‘life goes on...’ shot of farmer David Hendry and his dog Maid. Congratulations, ‘Rusty’! From Fiona Steadman There were special mentions to I would like to thank everybody for all the Young Writers and our own their help and support. I have been Sophie Jardine was awarded a overwhelmed by the kindness everyone certificate. Well done Sophie! has shown my family and I and it really Marguerite herself received an means a lot to me. Ewen made such an acknowledgement for all her years impact on so many peoples’ lives and of hard work as Editor. Here she is I have received cards and letters from people I don’t even know with so many thanks, Marguerite! good things to say about him. I know that my life, along with my children, Andrew and Laura, and my grandson Liam, wont be the same without him. We will miss him so much and know that wherever he is, he is somewhere dancing and smiling like he used to. That is how we will remember him. Ewen, Love you lots, always. Fiona, Andrew, Laura and Liam Special thanks also to Nicola, Kenny and their staff at the Kings House Hotel for Rusty’s winning photo: providing food and refreshments. David and ‘Maid’

Choir Occasional for one night only! Singing Workshop



Alycia Hayes

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

7.9 ºC 12.9 4.9 4.0

46.3 ºF 55.2 35.7 24.8

Rainfall: 6.9 cms 2.8 ins Strongest wind gust 43 mph on 22 February 2

Thursday 19 April 7.45pm Balquhidder Village Hall

g is Singin u! for Yo d o o G

A graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, Alycia has performed in opera all over the world. She has kindly agreed to join us for one session - to give us all some coaching. It promises to be a lively evening! All welcome. For details call Gill Allan 01877 384203

The Village Store St Fillans

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

7.30am - 5.30pm Mon-Sat Sunday 8.00am till 4.00pm

01764 685309

The St Fillans Bit We often hear of the problems which top national athletes in the UK experience in finding training facilities to bring themselves to a peak for major sporting events. Alas, our own village athletes have been experiencing the same problem. With the rapid approach of the annual Great Loch Earn Boat Race (on Sunday 15th April) our stalwart rowing team, The Village Idiots, have been hampered by the necessarily late opening of The Drummond. Coach and rower, Russell, makes no secret of the fact that their considerable success in recent years is in no small part due to intensive sessions of arm exercises and motivational talks in The Drummond. It was therefore with some relief that The Drummond bar opened for the season on 21 March, after a false start last week when the bar opened for a day, only to experience plumbing problems. I popped in to see Rebecca at The Drummond yesterday and was surprised by the amount of work done over the winter. Some 15 rooms are well advanced with renovations; new bathrooms are completed and a there is a real push on to get them ready for the Easter weekend - when the hotel is close to fully booked! The main vestibule & stairs are resplendent in new carpeting and look very impressive. The bar will now be open through to October and will be serving bar food from, hopefully, the start of April. Good news for the Village Idiots - and the village. (By the way - the Idiots are seeking sponsorship for the Boat Race. See the form in the shop or

contact Russell, Harry, Richard or Steve. (It’s worth mentioning that the team have raised well over £2,000 for CHAS in recent years). Meanwhile, by the time you read this the Four Seasons will be open fully for the season. Sadly the 2 course Blackboard Lunch Special rises to £11.99 as there is only so long that any business can go on absorbing cost and tax increases. Mary advises early booking for Easter Sunday Lunch in the restaurant - which is always a busy day - and she hopes to avoid turning folk away as happened on Mothers Day. No news from the Achray this month but judging from the number of cars in the car park (one of my habits as an ex-hotelier) business looks to be

good. Hopefully visitors and villagers, will no longer have to endure the regular flooding of the main road through the village after the intensive works currently being carried out to the road drainage system. Very welcome progress. As a real sign that the Winter is over, St Fillans Carpet Bowling Club held their AGM and prize giving last week. Ronnie Shaw was elected Captain and Ena Bennie Secretary/Treasurer. The prize winners (see above pic) were Ena & Brian Perks (Pairs), Gray Brock (Points), Martin Bennie (Singles) and Ena, again, (League). Fraser reports a successful and enjoyable winter season and the club welcomes newcomers who fancy a bit of (Continued overleaf) light sport when 3

(Continued from previous page) the season of 2012/3 starts on Monday evenings at the Sandison in October. With the better weather comes the start of the fishing season, an event which used to be greeted with dread 10 years ago as it signalled hordes of overnight fishermen camping on the lochside opposite the village, with copious drink, bonfires and raucous noise, into the small hours. The night time exclusion zone around the village has made a massive difference, although one villager has pointed out that the problem might just have been shifted along the loch - and the shanty towns which adorn the shores between here and Lochearnhead do bear some witness to that, and can’t exactly give tourists, on whom our local economy is heavily dependent, much of an impression of the ‘unspoilt beauty of our surroundings’. Glad to see in Pc Andy Ward’s bit last month that Operation Ironworks (involving both local police forces) will be active again this year, it does help control behavior around the loch in the summer. As a ‘founding father’ of the event I was sorry to learn that the Festive Weekend will not be held this year. In its place is the May Ball at the Four Seasons and a Village BBQ & Daft Games on August 11th. Sad to see it go after many happy memories of both organizing and, latterly, attending the 3 Days, but nothing lasts forever as they say. In a little place like St Fillans with a permanent population of only about 140 you might be surprised to learn that some 23 residents are self employed and run their own businesses. I can’t imagine many other places with that level of entrepreneurs, villages or towns or cities. With this in mind I thought that over the coming year a wee profile of some of those folk and their business might be of interest. Kicking off with Dave Naitby. I first met Dave when I owned the Achray and he used to come up from Cleveland at weekends to fish the loch and do his part in ensuring my healthy bar profits. Dave had actually been coming to St Fillans since he was six years old and thinks that his parents honeymooned here. For years the family used a caravan across the loch for their visits and then Dave stayed in the Coach House at Neish for his trips when Di Parrish owned the house before moving on to Achray. So he was pretty familiar with the village before he moved here in 2006 after being medically retired from the Police Force in Cleveland with long term back injuries. Dave bought his first Arran fishing boat in 2000 and used to tow it up to Achray to use over the weekend. Dave was very impressed with the boat and found that the owner of the Arran business made a great boat but wasn’t much good at selling them. So Dave helped out on the sales side. When the owner retired in 2006 Dave took over the business with the fiberglass moulds etc. The moulds went to Glenrothes, where the hulls are now manufactured, then transported to St Fillans for fitting out. Fitting out can vary - from the very basics to a complete ‘bespoke’ service - to produce a boat which exactly fits the buyer’s criteria. When I visited him a couple of days ago he was fitting out an Arran to ‘top spec’, which included a ‘Down Rigger’ – a device totally new to me, with a boat mounted winch which lowers a baited and weighted hook to any constant depth 4

Dave Naitby

so that the fisherman can trawl the loch with a hook at a known depth for Ferrox Trout (hope I got that right), impressive. All of Dave’s marketing is done online or by word of mouth, and as well as selling complete boats he offers an online parts service and is happy to take part exchanges against new Arrans. He reckons to shift at least a dozen new boats a year plus second hand ones as available. He has currently fitted an inboard diesel engine to his own boat since diesels are making a comeback; users realise the advantage of a solid reliable engine positioned amidships rather than an outboard hanging its weight off the stern. A very successful wee business, particularly as wife Kay (featured here last year) runs a boat hire business on the loch based at the Drummond jetty and using Arrans made by Dave. So if you want a boat or the hire of one see Dave or Kay at Heatherlea. As a final bit of trivia, did you know that the biggest trout caught in Loch Earn in about 2008 weighed in at 27 pounds! It took 2 men to hold the thing for the ritual photograph. Sadly Dave, who is still a keen fisherman, didn’t catch the beast but he lives in hope. Remember – keep me informed about events you are involved with for coverage in The Villagers. Without that there is no column. John Murray

Strathyre News

Apologies from Wullie D this month: I have been inundated with work over the last month, not complaining...! but unfortunately it has not allowed me to submit any articles for April. I’ll be back for May edition with lots of news - see you then!

Strathyre: Your Village Needs You! Our village could have its own hydro electric scheme earning money for the community. To make this happen everybody must get involved and so we need all of you to attend the SVA AGM on Thursday the 26th April 2012 at 7.30pm in the village hall. The development officer for Community Energy will be there to tell us all about it. This is an opportunity not to be missed so come along and make it happen. Other decisions relating to the future of the hall and the war memorial will also be on the agenda, be there and make your vote count. The result of the election of the new board members will be announced on the night. Voting papers are available now from the Village Shop. Closing date for nominations is 19th April 2012. A special resolution will be proposed to alter the articles of association 12 through 15 to change membership from subscription to free for all village residents. Please contact Rosanne McWilliams for further information on Closing date for nominations to SVA board: 19th April AGM 26th April Village Hall Strathyre 19.30

There’s always something on at the Inn. Call us for details of events. See you soon!

British Heart Foundation Scotland delivers lifeline to Strathfillan Three remote communities have taken delivery of a vital piece of life-saving equipment, thanks to funding from British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland. Strathfillan Community Council has been provided with three Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) for the communities of Inverarnan, Crianlarich and Tyndrum. The new defibrillators have the potential to save the lives of people who go into cardiac arrest in these remote, but popular, tourist locations. They have been partfunded by BHF Scotland with the rest of the money coming from a local fundraising effort. Energy group SSE has provided a grant of £2,500 to the community council and The Green Welly Stop at Tyndrum raised £2,000. These funds have helped purchase the AEDs and the surplus funds will buy replacement parts, such as batteries and pads, in the future. Gwenn Hunter from Strathfillan Community Council explained that in such remote areas, which are also very busy with tourists and visitors, the AEDs could save lives. She said: “There have been accidents and incidents here where an AED would have been helpful while the ambulance was on its way.” The AEDs will be placed in The Green Welly Stop, The Crianlarich Hotel, and The Drovers Inn, Inverarnan, with the latter also covering the Ardlui area. Notices will go up advising the public that they’re there, and the Scottish Ambulance Service is training local people to use them. Lisa Stafford, local Fundraising Volunteer Manager at BHF Scotland, said: “We’re always delighted to provide funding for life-saving equipment, and it’s great to see three new AEDs in these remote, but very popular visitor spots. “We’re only able to provide funding for this equipment thanks to donations and fundraising by people in Scotland, so I’d urge locals to support BHF Scotland to help save lives. Call me on 07920 088318 to find out more. “We know that most cardiac arrests happen out of hospital. When someone has a cardiac arrest, time is crucial so having a defibrillator on site - with people trained to use it - gives a person the best possible chance of survival.” 5

Church News BalquhiĐĐer Reg. Charity No. SC012316

The A.G.M. or Annual Stated Meeting was held on 11th March. The annual accounts for 2011 had been approved by the Board and were presented to the congregation for information. We continue to depend on donations from visitors and friends to cover basic running costs. A property report gave details of work planned for this year which include much needed improvements to drainage outside the Church and the annual roof inspection which will deal with a few loose tiles etc. Reserves are available to pay for this work. We were delighted with the success of the new music group, led by Gaylor MacNicol, which is helping us with worship on the last Sunday of each month. We are sincerely grateful to Gaylor, Gill Allan, Callum Convoy, Alice Eastland, and not forgetting our Minister, John Lincoln. Finally it looks as though we shall have another innovation before long when we have a “Messy Church” before the usual service at noon once a month. This will be a different way for children to enjoy Church without the restraints of the adult service and the need to be quiet. Anyone with access to the internet can Google Messy Church and see the type of activity which, I am told, is already happening in many Church of Scotland parishes. It looks like a very nice play group. We do not have the resources of many larger Churches but I am sure we could produce the mess! I have been assured that all will be cleaned up in time for the service at noon. Jean Edwards

Easter Sunday at Balquhidder Kirk

As ever, all are welcome! On Easter Sunday the kids will be enjoying egg decorating and rolling and an Easter egg hunt in the churchyard Also for the kids - a look at the new ‘Messy Church’ format Then a welcome cup of tea and biscuits 12 midday till 1pm

A Note from

St Angus’s Church

Here we are now officially into Spring and Easter is within sight. We are very much looking forward to welcoming everyone to our early morning service by the lochside on Easter Sunday which will be taken by our rector Paddy Allen. The service takes place at 8am at the Watersports Centre and afterwards there’s a chance for a bacon roll, tea or coffee and a natter. So please put it in your diary 8am at THE WATERSPORTS CENTRE ON EASTER SUNDAY 8TH APRIL. We look forward to seeing you there and, by the way, please pray for a dry morning! A good friend of mine - an elder in the Church of Scotland in South Ayrshire said to me the other day “why does the Episcopal Church in Scotland advertise itself as being ‘in full communion with the Church of England’ thus giving the impression of being an ‘English’ Church?” I’m not sure my answer was very adequate but I made the point that the Anglican Communion is worldwide and we are no more part of the Church of England than we are part of the Church of Wales, the Church of Ireland, the Episcopal Churches of Canada, Australia, New Zealand... not to mention the many “anglican” churches of India and Africa. Each one is autonomous but all look to the Archbishop of Canterbury as the spiritual head. So maybe we should advertise ourselves as part of the “Worldwide Anglican Communion but leave out the reference to the Church of England” which is maybe misleading. I was brought up in the Church of Scotland and locally the Episcopal Church was always referred to as the “English” Church and it wasn’t until I became a part of it that I realised what a misnomer this is. And having got that off my chest.... For those of you who find it difficult to be up in time for the early service you will be most welcome at our usual service at 11.15am in St Angus’s Church (you’ll miss out on the bacon buttie but you will get coffee and biscuits)!

Fruit • Veg • Jams • Preserves • Gifts


Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of Meeting held at the Kingshouse Hotel on 22 February 2012

Present: Malcolm McNaughton (MM); Richard Eastland (RE); Marguerite Kobs (MK); Karen Methven (KM); Alastair Barclay (AB); Rosanne McWilliams (RM); Paul Hicks (PH). Apologies: Sara Hesp; Angus Cameron (AC); Adrian Squires; Suzanne Player, Stirling Council. In attendance: Erica Mackenzie (EM), Balquhidder; Cllr Fergus Wood (FW), Stirling Council. 1) Approval of Minutes The minutes of the previous meeting were reviewed. It was proposed by RM and seconded by AB that the minutes should be accepted and this was approved unanimously. 2) Police Report PC Ward reported on some recent organisational changes within Central Scotland Police that affect our area. A new inspector, Pat Scroggie, has been appointed. The majority of his previous service has been in CID so he will, doubtless, be keen to tackle criminality in our area as a priority. A new superintendent, Gordon Dawson, has been appointed as area commander for Stirling and Clackmannanshire, also with significant previous experience in CID. The operational manager for our area, Chief Inspector Kevin Findlater, continues in post, providing some continuity. A change in the current shift patterns has been proposed and this may affect rural areas particularly. At present, local officers perform both community and operational policing rÙles. The changes may require them to respond to calls further afield but senior officers have given an assurance that operational officers will always be available to respond to the rural areas. Finally, PC Ward reported that there have been numerous burglaries and thefts during the last six weeks. In particular, the thieves are targeting metals, especially copper. Itís very important that, if people see anything suspicious, they should contact the police immediately. 3) Approval of Accounts (2010-2011) AB presented the accounts from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011, duly examined and approved by RAL Gilchrist. These were considered by the members and approved unanimously. 4) Matters Arising 4.1) Bin Collections MK wished to propose that Stirling Council (SC) be asked to review its policy of collecting grey bins after a prolonged holiday period such as Christmas and New Year. This arose as a result of an incident in Balquhidder on 16th January 2012. A collection was scheduled for 3rd January. A refuse lorry duly called but the grey bins from at least nine residential properties were not emptied. The next designated collection was 16th January and this meant that these residents had not had refuse uplifted for four weeks and, due to the Christmas period, at least two of them had extra waste in black bin bags. At EM’s house the waste operators said they were not uplifting extra refuse and maintained that they had collected on 3rd January. An altercation ensued after which they did remove the black bags. MK made a formal complaint, on behalf of the local residents whose bins had not been emptied and also proposed that Stirling Council should consider sending a caged lorry behind the main collection vehicle after a long holiday weekend. EM added that she had also made a formal complaint. Roz Smith (Waste Projects Officer) rejected both complaints. MK asked FW to assist in resolving this issue, to which he agreed and said he would contact David Hopper, the council officer in charge. AB added that he had experienced similar problems at Glenbeich (Lochearnhead). He asked if he could link his complaint to the others and this was agreed. Action: FW to contact David Hopper. 4.2) Playground at Strathyre The equipment is now in place, opening officially on Friday 24th February. 4.3) Toilets at Strathyre RM reported that the National Park had been slow to respond to those applying for planning permission to re-develop this area and has not been helpful in dealing with them. FW offered to assist with this process but made it clear that, as head of the SC planning committee, he could not play an active rÙle in the situation. Action: FW to ask for further information about the delay. 4.4) Road Drains at Lochearnhead AC had reported a problem with road drains at Auchraw Terrace, Lochearnhead. FW mentioned that the Drainage Team had been in that area recently but that this particular problem was probably a matter of clearing culverts. 4.5) Nursery School Minibus RE reported that insufficient parents had offered to help with the escort roster so, for the time being, no further progress could be made. 4.6) Telephone Kiosk at Balquhidder PH reported that an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can be fitted in a vandal-proof cabinet, protected by a lock with a numeric code. The code can then be supplied in response to a telephone call to the emergency services. An electricity supply is required but should cost no more than £25-30 per annum. It was agreed that the information should be passed to the BLS Trust with a proposal that the telephone box be used for this purpose. Action: PH to contact BLS Trust. 4.7) Modular Fuel Stations PH reported that two attempts had been made to obtain further information from the company that had advertised this facility, but no replies had been forthcoming. It was decided that there was no expressed need for an additional fuel station in our area so no further information would be sought. 5) Correspondence 5.1) A82 - Pulpit Rock The construction phase of the project to upgrade the roadway at Pulpit Rock on the A82 beside Loch Lomond is about to begin. It will last for several months and is likely to lead to an increase of traffic in our area. However, it was agreed that this was a necessary evil and would be of greater benefit to everyone once it was completed. 6) Planning Matters 6.1) Auchtubhmhor Forest Plan Scottish Woodlands Ltd is clearing the area and has provided a plan (although they have not notified everyone in the area). MM suggested that a ìscoping meetingî is required because there are a number of issues to consider in relation to the development of a new roadway. Agreed: that the CC would respond to the plan and ask for a scoping meeting. Action: RE to request a scoping meeting from SW Ltd. 7) Matters From Local Councillors (FW) 7.1) Cllr Tony Ffinch is very unwell. He is awaiting a surgical procedure but, regardless of the outcome, will be standing down as a councillor at the forthcoming election. 7.2) At a recent meeting of Stirling Council, there were insufficient votes in support of the budget that had been set for the coming financial year. A further meeting has been arranged when, hopefully, the budget will be approved. FW reported that no serious cuts or changes in current funding were anticipated but significant savings have been made by reducing the levels of middle management throughout the administration. 7.3) The most recent building at Viewforth will be sold but what was previously the Forth Valley campus at Springkerse has been bought instead and many council staff will be moving there. The municipal buildings have been modernised. The new Forth Valley campus is an excellent facility. 7.4) A new motto (Steadfast As A Rock) has been adopted by Stirling Council. 7.5) The last obstacle to clearance for the gold mine at Crianlarich has been resolved and work there should now commence. The Strathfillan CC is dissatisfied with the way in which the National Park Authority has distributed the ìplanning gainî from this project and is likely to ask for this to be re-considered. 7.6) SC has agreed as a matter of policy that sports fields will have their grass cut more frequently, thus reducing considerably the amount of mess that this process tends to produce. 7.7) A pilot scheme has been launched in Killin to find local people who might be willing to provide council services in that area. 8) Any Other Business 8.1) Additional Member of CC RM proposed that Sue Crammon from Strathyre be co-opted to join the BLS community council. This was seconded by KM and approved unanimously. 8.2) Removal of Waste from Glen Ogle AB reported a problem regarding a caravan that had been discarded and set on fire in a lay-by at Glen Ogle. Only the burned-out shell remained and it was a significant eyesore. FW agreed to follow this up with a view to arranging for its disposal. Action: FW to contact appropriate department. 8.3) Broadband Facilities MM highlighted once more the poor state of broadband provision along Balquhidder Glen. It is having a particularly adverse impact on businesses with agencies such as HMRC penalizing those that do not complete their tax returns online. Employees are reluctant to re-locate to an area without proper internet facilities and the tourist trade is suffering with more and more people demanding such facilities in holiday accommodation. It was agreed that the CC would write to Bruce Crawford, MSP, to draw attention to the ongoing problems. Action: RE to write to Bruce Crawford regarding broadband provision. There was no other business and, at 9:30pm, MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting is planned to take place at 7:30pm on Wednesday 4th April 2012 at the Village Hall, Balquhidder.


La Périchole - CAOS Scores a Hit! 14th - 17th March, McLaren High School, Callander

Bob Johnson as ‘Don Felix’ with members of the Chorus

What a pity our front page this month is in black and white! The pictures cannot convey the sheer colourful spectacle of Callander Amateur Operatic Society’s wonderful offering for 2012: La Périchole by Jacques Offenbach. It’s not a well known operetta; most of the cast and production team knew nothing about it and had certainly never heard any of the music before. So it’s all credit to them - the show is packed with songs (with lyrics evidently far from easy to learn), and each one was delivered with great musicality and infectious enthusiasm. The chorus was on stage and singing for much of the time, demonstrating the immense volume of hard work done by all. It paid off! The stunning sets and costumes were a revelation. At the start of Act II there was an audible gasp from the house as the curtains drew back to show the ladies of the chorus in full crinolinical (is there such a word?) splendour. Full marks to the ladies and gentlemen Peter Rickard as ‘The Aged Prisoner’ of the Orchestra too for their splendid and spirited accompaniment under the masterful direction of Musical Director Ian Milligan. It would be hard to single anyone out for special praise, the whole cast being on top form; but the two leads, Lorna Gallacher (Périchole) and James Cassidy (Piquillo - and also the Producer!) shone out like the stars they were, bringing strength and charm to their rôles. The Chorus in full swing The whole cast and crew are to be congratulated on what turned out to be, in the opinion of all I’ve since met who were there, their best production yet. The proof of a memorable evening’s entertainment is the feeling that you have been transported to another world for a few hours, with all the cares of the day left behind. CAOS definitely achieved this for me; I came away with a head and heart full of song - and more than a spring in my step. GA

Calling All Photographers... Villagers Calendar 2013 Photo of the Month Just to remind everyone: The Villagers team is planning to organise the production of a calendar for next year, to showcase the beauty and character of our four villages. Every month we’ll be choosing one photograph from all those submitted, for inclusion in the Calendar. Look at these lovely images of the beautiful sunset we had at St Fillans on Saturday 17th March. A shame they can’t be shown in colour - they are simply gorgeous! (Remember to buy a calendar when they become available and see for yourself). They were taken by Shauna McDiarmid of Vorlich Road, Lochearnhead - with a Fuji Film Fine Pix Camera, at the Four Seasons Hotel, St Fillans. She was working at the time, but all the guests and staff were busy looking at the sky changing colour dramatically, so she ran out and took some pictures of it. Thanks to Mary McDiarmid, Shauna’s Mum, for sending them in. 8

Request for village articles to be published on-line Can we have your stories? The Loch Earn Tourism Initiative group is focused on promoting all that is great about our four villages in the hope that a constant stream of visitors will want to experience all that we have to offer, time and time again. The website www. represents local member tourism businesses; developed with the help of volunteers. Given the magnificent stories that appear in The Villagers, we wondered if anyone would like to email articles to us for on-line publication, whether new or old. We would consider anything that would fit with LETI’s aim of attracting more people to its website. The stories may be about village life, clans, lochs and mountains, wildlife, farming, characters, folklore, favourite walks or car journeys, history, outdoor sports, flora and fauna... the possibilities are endless. You would be credited with the story and we can offer a direct link to your own website as relevant. Please view existing articles on LETI’s website and consider where your stories would fit. Please forward any articles to kim.proven@btinternet. com with any photographs in JPG. Format. If you are a local tourism related business and interested in joining LETI contact secretary Jan Spencer for more information: jspencer655@btinternet. com Kim Proven 01567 830 443

does your COMPUTER run slowly? need SOFTWARE updating? VIRUS PROTECTION? General System overhaul?

Do you need a new home in Lochearnhead, Strathyre, Killin or Callander? If so,

CALL SHAMMI on 01877 384715

Rural Stirling Housing Association may be able to help

The Association’s aim is to support rural communities by providing affordable good quality homes for people in housing need. We currently have 450 rented homes and around 30 of these become available for re-let each year. We also build some new homes each year. For more details and a housing application form contact us at: Rural Stirling Housing Association Stirling Road, Doune FK16 6AA Telephone 01786 841101 Email Registered as a Scottish Charity No. SCO37849 Please note that we encourage all applicants to also apply to Stirling Council’s housing list (Tel 0845 277 7000) Being on both lists is the best way to maximise your chances of being re-housed.


Highland Glen Travel

Local couple Helen and George Cunningham are starting a new venture from March 25th 2012. Highland Glen Travel is a new local business which is about to open its doors - or in our case hit the road. Have you ever fancied a day out but want to see the views? Instead of driving why not book a tour and let us take the strain. Highland Glen Travel is a small Scottish tour company offering local day tours to surrounding areas. We are also registered for Private hire to anywhere in mainland UK with competitive prices in a comfortable 6 passenger seat car. What can we offer to you? • Half day trips • Full day trips ranging from our east and west coasts to Inverness in the north and the Borders in the south • 26 planned tours as well as the opportunity to plan your own. • Day tours start from £20 up to £65 • All tours are planned in consultation with you from a vast list of options • 3 – 5 day tours using this area as a base with airport or train pick up and drop off and days out all for an inclusive price (accommodation and entry fees to attraction are not included) • An experienced tour driver with a vast knowledge of the area, its history and folklore. • Loyalty scheme take 5 day tours and your 6th tour will be at a reduced rate • Friendly admin to take your calls and deal with bookings For information and brochures please call 07879789320 or 07554195446, email on or you can visit our website at www. Offer for local residents We would also like your help. Do you have time to spare? For only a share of the fuel cost and any entrance fees would you like to come along with us (while George trains Helen) have a lovely day out and help with feedback on your experience. Timetables for these trips will be displayed in Lochearnhead Village shop and post office or be available via email. Seats are limited so book quickly for this never to be repeated offer. We look forward to hearing from you – your business is important to us!


Callander Rambling Club

Sponsored by Caledonian Country Wear

The Club consists of a group of enthusiasts who meet regularly throughout the year to participate in a programme of strolls, rambles, hill walks and a Long Distance Path. Details are published on http://www. a m b l e r s . h t m in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diary: APRIL • Sat 21st 8:30am Ramble: Twixt the fintries & Gargunnocks (7 miles) contact 07970 509911 • Wed 25th 9:30am Stroll: Hermitage Woods & University (5miles) contact 01877 330446 • Sat 28th 8:30am Hill: Beinn Dubh & Mid Hill (657 m) contact 01877 339080 MAY • Sat 5th 8:30am LDP: CtoC(5) Glenbranter to Lettermay (10miles) contact 01877 330032 • Wed 9th 9:30am Stroll: Leannach Forest (5 miles) contact 01877 376236

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!

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 helps to revive a very special kind of craft.

“Is it Old Nyati?” came the question. “Someone told me you know about hedge laying”. Well it was a long time ago but a bit like riding a bicycle, it is easy to remember the way of it.” Are there any hawthorn hedges around here?” “Yes, I have about half a mile or so which I think is about ready - could you come and show me how to start?” So it was the next day that at the appointed time a visit was made to a place not far from Stathyre where there was indeed half a mile or so of young hawthorn hedge at just the perfect stage for laying or ‘pleaching’ as it is called in some parts. It can only be done during the winter months, because once the sap starts to rise in the spring the bark will peel away from the back of the pleaches at the point where it is split to allow the laying and the whole thing would die. The skill lies in carefully cutting through just enough at ground level to allow the pleach to bend over and lie flat but not to break off. Stakes are knocked in at two or three feet intervals to hold the layer pleaches and then hazel or willow ‘withies’ are plaited along the top of these to bind everything together. A back fence of wire is needed to prevent cattle or sheep from eating the new growth that will ‘burge’ from the base line and ‘stools’ of the work, where within two years the new vertical growth will bind it all together to form a solid living stockproof fence. It is now very unusual to see this rural craft in these parts as there are very few hawthorn hedges remaining, so it is good to see someone taking an obvious pride in reviving this technique of fence management. Long may it continue... the hedge certainly will! Old Nyati


Gardening APR IL

by Jonathan MacDonald

There is a true story of the Horticulture lecturer, who only demonstrated fertilising plants whilst wearing a wide brimmed hat, from which a beer can hung from a short piece of string. He explained that by wearing it the plants would take up the fertiliser more effectively. We know this is irrational but it cleverly exposed his students to something less obvious than fertiliser uptake in plants. The dangling beer can became a mental prompt to question everything in their studies and is a good approach to learning in general. If you did not challenge the beer can theory you would assume it to be true. Perhaps this was done on a recommendation by Socrates who said all he really “knew” was the extent of his own ignorance. Is this perhaps a definition of an educated person? I will therefore sport my woolly bonnet adorned by Rhododendron praecox flowers - the earliest to appear this year. Gardening Myth #1 : A heavy crop of berries on trees will foretell a harsh winter ahead. The berries cannot possibly foretell mean average winter temperatures when, since 1854, the Met office has had considerable difficulty in predicting the week ahead. The berries, and in particular a heavy crop, give us a weather report not of the future but of the past. It tells us of an earlier moist, warm and sunny summer when wood ripened and many dormant buds were produced that then sat quietly clutching their ‘Spring Show’ season tickets. Almost certainly, and even more crucially, was a mild Spring that followed when late frosts did not decimate these delicate flowers which in turn would go on to produce the bumper crop of berries. Flowers make berries (seeds) and this is so often overlooked. So next time you see a heavily laden tree you can be allowed to look forward to the past. Myth # 2 : Buying carrots with their tops (green parts) still attached makes them more delicious. To a certain extent this will be true as they are a good indication of ‘freshness’ and carrots with tops indicate a recent harvest. The myth is leaving the green tops attached once you get home in the hope of improving the flavour. Remove them straight away, perhaps not in the shop but I would do mine walking back from the vegetable shop or even in the car. The reason for this is that once the carrot is pulled it continues to respire (produce CO2) and uses up its stored water and sugar content within the edible part. This rate doubles 12

in carrots with tops still attached, so non removal will result in less sweet and less crunchy carrots. Myth #3 : Always stake newly planted trees. More research has been done into tree planting and management in the last ten years than many other gardening areas. A small tree if planted correctly will quickly overtake a larger tree that is undergoing transplant shock. This larger tree was probably staked to overcome wind rock. If it rocks in the ground the microscopic root hairs get rubbed off and it can sit for years in limbo. The aim is to keep the root ball steady but to allow the trunk and crown to sway in the wind thus generating buttressing at the base. Staking up to near the top of the tree disallows this and therefore it struggles to get established. Low down staking and removing the stake after one year when rooting is well established is a good practice and will ensure the tree is not dependent on its man-made wooden relative. Myth #4 : Gravel in the bottom of pots helps drainage! To disprove this theory carry out an experiment in your bath using a rectangular sponge. Submerge it in water, hold it up in the horizontal position until the water stops dripping

out. This is your pot with the gravel in and represents a certain amount of held water. Now without squeezing it turn the sponge on its side into the vertical position and observe how much water pours out. So a pot, made ‘shallower’ with gravel holds more water than a deeper one with no gravel. Myth #5 : Now stay focused on the string of Rhoddy flowers for this one. Plants prefer... which kind of music to any other style based on laboratory experiments? If you know the answer you could win one of two free gardening books worth £7.99 each. The first two correct or closest answers will be announced next month. (Send to: mail@ by noon 15th April) Jonathan MacDonald is a Horticulture lecturer and grower who runs the Riverside Garden Centre in Comrie. Next month: The naming of plants and why we love to forget them.

Open 7 days a week: 9.30am -5pm

All you need for the garden, Friendly advice and delivery on bulky items to your doorstep with a wide range of pots, compost, summer bulbs and accessories for the garden or allotment. Fruit trees, large Rhoddy’s, Magnolias and Azaleas at superb prices, rare perennials and grasses. Seed potatoes, strawberry sets etc.

NEW: Gardening evening classes start 17th April. See website for more details or call to book a place:

17th April 24th April 1st May 8th May 15th May 22nd May 29th May 5th June 12th June 19th June

Introduction to garden design and maintenance Weeds pests and disease. Organic control. Lawn-care Pruning and planting Theory and techniques of Propagation Plant classification, structure, and function Basic Plant biology Plant nutrition and the root environment Perennials, alpines and water features Visit, review of learning and end of term quiz

On the main road A85 going East just before Comrie Tel: 01764 670800

Rusty McD is back with another 5-minute interview on the subject of furry, feathered or scaly friends in our community!

5 minutes with...

Ollie Cameron, her Guinea Fowl, her husband Angus... and Meg! It is a lovely Friday afternoon when I head in the direction of Lochearnhead to visit Dundhu, home of Ollie and Angus Cameron and family. Ollie was nominated by the lovely Yvonne Spearing from St. Fillans and I am very much looking forward to the visit. Dundhu is a super place with a gorgeous garden and various animals roaming around. On Arrival Ollie and Gus are busy in the garden. Ollie and I go inside and Ollie admits she wasn’t really in the mood for gardening that day but once started was quite enjoying herself. We have a seat at the kitchen table which overlooks a very busy birdfeeder with a variety of birds having a feast. Ollie is a very easy going person and within no time she’s got me talking about all sorts but herself- subjects ranging from food that is in season in the month of May to dogs having pups and other stuff... until Gus arrives in the house to keep us on the straight and narrow - and we start the interview.

The Guineas discuss philosophy

Ollie, how long have you stayed in Lochearnhead?

Too long! Ha-ha, only joking. I love living here and have been here for nearly 23 years now. I married Angus Cameron in 1989. Gus is a born and bred local.

Tell me a bit about yourself.

O: Well, what can I say? I used to teach but now I am a mature student. I study art, media and design in the city of Perth! I do this in between helping Gus with the chalet and cottages. I am also the mother of two teenagers and a “twenteen” year old! I’ve got a scooter, a campervan, various pushbikes - and I am an out-of -work Munro bagger; I am also a gardener and a cook. We like to have friends over and socialise. Oh yes! I’ve done the boat race three times (twice in a girls’ team, once in a mixed team) and a few charity challenges like Rob Roy’s Challenge, The Saddlebags and the Caledonian Challenge. I am also involved in local organisations like the Lochearnhead Games and The Fête - and I have been the treasurer of the Lochearnhead Village hall for 22 years now. Did I mention that I am a part-time actress??!! Well, first time recently - and I loved it.

Ollie - I don’t know how you do it - it makes my life seem so boring! Any funny stories or anecdotes you can tell me?

Well, this one is quite a funny story from a while ago. When Maureen and Ronnie Hamilton still lived at Craobhach, Strathyre, we invited them over for a get-together. At the time we had two dogs, a deerhound called Arnie and a black lab called Rory. Maureen and Ronnie also had a black lab and her name was Purdie. We had a very jolly evening and when it was time to go home, Ronnie opened the boot of the car and Purdie jumped in. Gus and I put Arnie and Rory in their kennel and we went to bed. The next morning we got a phone call from Maureen. She asked us if Rory was alright? We said, yes, Rory is fine, but strangely he had been doing a bit of howling overnight... Maureen told us that something very strange had happened to Purdie. She had been outside in the rain that morning and Maureen decided to dry her with a towel before letting her into the house. But what was that?! Purdie had grown some “tackle” overnight! Turns out that our Rory spent the night in Strathyre, whilst poor old Purdie ended up in a kennel with our deerhound Arnie! We met up with the Hamiltons and exchanged dogs at Kingshouse!

Your Guinea fowl?

Yes! We had some lovely guests from Cornwall in “The Smiddy”. I am not very good at imitating the Cornish accent but they were really lovely people who also had a small holding

Angus feeds the brood

at home and we were comparing animals until they said: “Eh? You don’t have any Guinea fowl?” Soon after they had left we received 12 eggs in the post. Three hatched, of which two were helmeted Guinea fowl – one grey and two white. I actually quickly brushed up my knowledge about Guinea fowl before you arrived(!) and can tell you that there are about ten different colours of Guinea fowl but mine are ‘pearl grey’ and ‘pearl white’. They are called keets up to 8 weeks and after that they turn into Guinea Fowl. Guinea Fowl are native to Africa. They are highly adaptable. Ours go right up to the end of the branches and on windy days you see them whizzing up and down in the wind quite happily. They make the most wonderful sound and chatter all day long. Apparently they have very small brains. I have noticed this as they manage to get into the vegetable patch and run up and down in it but never seem to manage to get out of it again! They also like to admire themselves in hubcaps. Ollie’s Guinea Fowl have decided to go on a wee expedition in the pony field.... We could just about see them in the distance having a great time. Ollie promises to send a photo of her Guinea Fowl to me which was taken in the snow. In the meantime Gus and Meg are happy to pose with Ollie instead. If all is well, Meg will have pups around the 11th April. Ollie and Gus, thank you so much for your hospitality! One final question: who are you going to nominate for next month’s five minutes with? Fiona Leishman and her ferrets! So we are off to Balquhidder next month. Fif - brace yourself!

Angus and Ollie... and friend! 13

Rangers’ Review By Gareth Kett

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park With the upcoming visitor season just around the corner the ranger service has been working hard to bring the national park up to scratch, carrying out task such as litter picking, site maintenance, fallen tree clearance, planting spring flowers, grooming the squirrels and deer so that their coats shine, carrying snowing snow to the peaks for that spring Alpine look, putting leaves back on the trees and sprinkling glitter on the lochs and rivers so that the park twinkles for the tourists. Well the site maintenance, tree clearance and litter picking parts are true anyway! And the tourists will be here soon… More seriously the Breadalbane rangers have now completed all the wetland bird survey (WeBS) counts for the winter. March’s count on Loch Earn saw curlews and oystercatchers moving in while the large numbers of grey heron which tend to accumulate around the Drummond fish farm during the winter months have reduced dramatically in number; the herons now spending most of their time in breeding colonies away from the loch, although they will return to feed. The winter bird list for Loch Earn and Lubnaig this winter is as follows: buzzard, Canada goose, common gull, cormorant, curlew, dipper, goldeneye, goosander, great black-backed gull, grey heron, kingfisher, little grebe, mallard, mute swan, oyster catcher, pied wagtail, red kite, teal, tufted duck and whooper swan. Numbers were generally slightly lower this year compared to the previous two years, probably due to the mild winter meaning that there has been a greater availability of unfrozen water over the winter months. Loch Earn is a deep loch so remains open when most shallower local lochs freeze over. With the WeBS counts complete we will

Susan Stewart

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be focusing on monitoring black grouse over the coming couple of months. The black grouse is one of 26 British bird species for which a UK Biodiversity Action Plan has been produced, due to their rapid decline in recent times. However there is cause for optimism in some areas of the country where `numbers are recovering due to projects like the Callander Black Grouse Project, which Graeme has been working on over the past couple of years and will be described in a future issue of The Villagers. Through systematically searching for new leks, carrying out lek counts of existing leks and gathering information from land managers and interest groups the ranger service is trying to build up a picture of black grouse distribution and abundance across the national park. The information will be passed onto the Central Scotland Black Grouse and Capercaille Study Group. It is commonly thought that black grouse only lek during the spring, but groups of males lek throughout the year, mostly during the early mornings and evenings, except during the moult of July and August. We survey during spring as this is when females attend and (not surprisingly) lekking is at its most vigorous. Probably historically a species using woodland clearings and edges, black grouse have been forced to adapt to less optimal habitat, but still need relatively dense vegetation for roosting, nesting, chick rearing, protection from predators and an abundance of invertebrates (associated with damp areas) for the chicks. After mating the female raises 6-11 chicks. They will only eat invertebrates for the first 2-3 weeks of their lives but can already fly after a fashion by two weeks and soon start eating high protein plant material such as rush and sedge seeds, blaeberry and heather. Chicks become independent after two to three month with the cock poults leaving first, early in September and the hen poults staying with their mother until October or November. You may remember back in the October 2011 Ranger Review Graeme wrote about nuthatches and their movement into our area. In response to Graeme’s article, late last summer we had a report from Alec Murray at Drummond fisheries of a nuthatch in his garden and recently Bob and Jean Kelly from Lochearnhead let us know

about three nuthatch sightings on their bird feeder. They do like peanuts! Many thanks to Bob, Jean and Alec for these observations. We are definitely up on the northern Highland limit of the current nuthatch range so we would like to continue to monitor their movement into the area. If you have any nuthatch, black grouse or any other wildlife sightings that you would like to share with us or have anything else you would like to chat about feel free to call in at the Breadalbane area office in Lochearnhead, e-mail or call us as normal. I can be contacted on the Lochearnhead office number 01389 722040 and my e-mail address is Graeme’s number is 01389 722115 and his e-mail is

Bruce Statue to be returned to original glory The familiar sight of the green Robert the Bruce statue at Bannockburn will be restored to its original bronze finish as the battlefield’s historic monuments are repaired. The 1960’s statue by Pilkington Jackson, the rotunda and flagpole will be restored as part of the £9.1m project to provide a new visitor centre to mark the Battle of Bannockburn. National Trust for Scotland Bannockburn project director David McAllister said: “From the start of this project it has been crucial for us to balance the commemoration of the site alongside the telling of the story of the battle. “This site has attracted memorials and tributes for centuries. Our plans will use three dimensional technology to create an unrivalled experience, but the essence of what we are doing is part of a wellestablished tradition. “Now that we have confirmation of £4.1m funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £5m from the Scottish Government we can finalise our plans for

the repairs to the monuments.” Residents of Bannockburn will be given a preview of the work to come at a community event held at the current visitor centre on Tuesday March 13 at 4.30pm. The project team will be able to show artists impressions of the new visitor centre and landscaping work. Chris McGregor, Historic Scotland Head of Major Projects added: “The current centre sits directly in the line of sight between the entrance to the centre and the monument so we have deliberately planned the new building to sit off to the side to open up the view to the monument from the road and focus the visitors attention as it was intended to do. “The feedback we had the last time we met with the community was overwhelmingly positive and I really hope they are as impressed with the progress we have made since then. “Work will start on the rotunda, flagpole and the Bruce statue as part of the main building contract. Due to corrosion over the decades most people immediately assume that the statue was always intended to be green but the specialist conservators will return this beautiful sculpture to its original bronze finishes.” This month the Battle of Bannockburn visitor centre opened for the final visitor season using the current building. Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage

The Bannockburn statue of Robert the Bruce

Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “The soldiers that fought at Bannockburn were the ‘armed forces’ of their day. They fought for a cause they believed in and many thousands died as a result. These monuments commemorate those efforts and it is only right that they are restored to reflect their individual and collective sacrifices, and our nation’s respect.” The new centre will open in time for the 700th anniversary of the battle in 2014, the second Year of Homecoming and the year that Scotland will host the Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games.

Have you tried our takeaway pizzas yet?


Euroscola Trip 2012 As part of the Euroscola programme, in January I spent a week in Strasbourg, France where I improved my cultural, linguistic and communication skills. I was selected to participate in the programme by the Rotary Club of Callander and West Perthshire, who sponsored my visit. The Euroscola day was the pinnacle of the visit, when we visited the European Parliament itself. There were 27 different nationalities who spoke a variety of languages. What amazed me most was that many of the other nationalities spoke near perfect English. I feel that we should strive to achieve such proficiency in a second language in our country too. In the morning there was a question and answer session with MEP’s. Despite making up just 6% of the people in the Parliament, 25% of the questions were posed by Scots. I was one of those who asked a question and it was a great honour for me to speak in such a special place in front of so many people. In the afternoon we split into 6 working groups, who each prepared a report for the EU Commission. In our group of 80, I was elected as President, but unfortunately was not allowed to fulfil this role as two different nationalities had to fulfil roles and the role of Rapporteur had already been allocated to a Scot. This was typical of the Scottish dominance on the day. Half of the Rapporteurs were Scottish, as were a third of the Presidents. This was a fantastic achievement and made us proud of the way we had represented our country. Ross Henderson S6 CfE Challenge – Model Making As part of the S1 CfE Challenge 14 pupils were offered the opportunity to make a mini model of a scene from the opera La Perichole. This model was to be used to advertise the opera which Callander Operatic Society is performing in the school from 14 -17 March. On the first day members of the Callander Operatic Society group came to explain what the opera was about. They told us about the scene that we were to create. It was to include two inns, a street party and the main characters. We started to think about how we were going to design the scene. They let us try some of the costumes so we could get a better idea of what they wanted, this was a great help to us all. We met most Wednesdays during our CfE Challenge periods and also came in some lunchtimes to work on the model. I could see the project growing but when it came to the last day to finish it we were all wondering where the time had gone. When the model was finished it looked very good - all the figures were dressed in bright 16

Ross Henderson

Judo Action!

Judo Experience

colours and together with the buildings it looked like a busy street scene. On Friday 24 February the Operatic Society came to collect the model. It was great to see their reaction and I think they were very impressed. Our model is now on display in the window of the National Park Office on Callander Main Street, it will be there until the 17 March. Skye Bending S1 S1 CfE Judo Experience On Wednesday of last week McLaren High School was visited by two of the Great Britain Judo Team, Louise and Kimberley Renicks, from Coatbridge. Louise and Kimberley explained to the group how they initially became involved in the sport and their pathway to the Great Britain Team. Although fighting at different weight levels both girls had achieved their status through winning Scottish, British and European events. They touched on the need for personal qualities such as determination and drive as well as dedication and those were just as important

as the fitness requirements for the sport. In addition to the question and answer opportunity, the ‘judo square’ was laid out and the S1 pupils were given some instruction in how to ‘pin down an opponent’ and to have a go at some judo moves and holds. This was real fun for everyone. The morning concluded with the highlight of watching Louise and Kimberely going through a rehearsed fight, able to demonstrate a range of ‘moves’ and ‘holds’ as well as some really spectacular throws. Senior Rugby – Alloa Academy v McLaren High School On Thursday 1 March the Senior Rugby XV travelled to Alloa to play Alloa Academy in the first round of the Forth Valley Schools Cup Competition. Late arrival by the McLaren team caused by traffic congestion around Stirling meant the boys not only being deprived of any warm-up but also having to field a XV without recognised props! Fortunately Alloa won Model Making

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McLaren High School News by Yvonne King

the toss and opted to kick off. The resulting possession led to some good rucking and quick thinking and while play was frantic it did lead to McLaren opening their account with a try by Angus Leishman after only 30 seconds. By then the remainder of the team were in position and, while still being a little rusty after a winter without competitive activity, the McLaren team dominated the half. Play was by far from flawless but the Callander boys did enough to keep the ball and run in another two tries, another from Leishman and one from Adam Wood, before the end of the first quarter. The second half began much as the first had ended, punctuated by scrappy forward play but still keeping the ball and making some strong individual runs. Angus Leishman remained the McLaren talisman, constantly beating a path through the flailing tackles of the Alloa pack. Ryan Williamson also showed a lot of determination in his runs, but all too often the final pass was being delayed with the wingers wondering if anyone had any ‘vision’! By now the home team had lost a bit of heart and they had certainly had seen enough of Angus Leishman. Angus, however, relishing the conflict made a final burst for his fourth try. Harry Milligan was, as ever, accurate with the boot taking the final score to 7 points to 45 for McLaren. Regional Giant Heptathlon at Grangemouth A group of S2s recently took part in the Regional Giant Heptathlon at Grangemouth. They took part in 6 activities: 60m sprint, 60m hurdles, shot putt, long jump, triple jump and a 100 bean bag endurance challenge. It was a close fought competition. Competitors were: Logan Trotter, Rory Abernethy, James Ronald, Hamish Malcolm, Geordie Perrie, Gregor Nixon, Andrew King, Claire Craig, Fiona Semple, Gracie TaylorThoumire, Tara Leishman, Kirsty Galloway, Hannah Brisbane and Jane Donald. All the pupils really enjoyed their day coming second overall. Well done!

“Troom” Second to None!

Forth Valley Schools Dance Competition On Thursday 1 March four teams of dancers represented the school at the Forth Valley Schools Dance Competition held at The MacRobert Arts Centre at Stirling University. As ever all the girls had prepared tirelessly for the event honing their pieces to perfection. Hours spent in choreography working on timing, music interpretation as well as technique and variety saw each of the McLaren teams presenting some top quality performances. Over the two nights this was a fantastic performance by all girls involved with over 100 girls from the school contributing to the entertainment of two ‘sell out’ nights at the MacRobert. “Well done girls!”

Senior Hockey: McLaren High v Wallace High After months of dedicated training the senior hockey team secured an outstanding victory in their first match against another Stirling council school. The team beat Wallace High School 3 goals to 2 and showed tremendous team effort throughout. Determination to succeed secured the victory in the last five minutes with the winning goal. Team captain India MacLean (S5) kept spirits high and has demonstrated consistent dedication to hockey both at Senior and Junior level. Everyone at McLaren is delighted with this victory and the team should be proud of their success! We look forward to the next match… Well done McLaren! Edinburgh Music Festival Guitar Winners We had a really successful day at the Edinburgh Music Festival competition on Friday 9 March. Graeme Platman S5 won the level three competition. Lewis Walker S4 was second in the level two competition and his brother Fergus Walker S2 was third. The guitar quartet, ‘Highly Strung’ which included Katie Allen S4 and Rory Abernethy S2 won the group competition. Second and third place weren’t allocated in the group competition but the judge was particularly impressed with the Plectrum Guitar ensemble, ‘Blazing Guitars’ whose members included Graeme Platman, Lewis Walker, Fergus Walker, Euan Meikle S2 and Rory Hannah S3. He informed all the competitors that he judged all over the country and thought their ensembles were the best he had seen. Photo (left) shows Highly Strung having a last minute rehearsal before the competition! 17

View from the Park by Owen McKee We all have those moments when we think to ourselves - sometimes out loud - ‘is there something I have misunderstood?’ I certainly had that experience recently on the question of consultations. My bemusement arose when someone berated me and the Park Authority about a particular policy in the Park’s Local Plan and I enquired whether they had raised the point during the Local Plan consultation. The reply was “Of course not you numpty, you lot do nothing but consult and never do anything off your own bat.” Needless to say I was a little lost for words . This is the time of year when budget and business plans are prepared and we have now set ours in place for 2012/13 taking into account the indicative grant monies allocated by Scottish Government. Oh that that was the end of the problem. Where to start?. The Park Authority is responsible for preparing a Park Plan which is there to guide all the activity required to achieve the National Park Aims . All government agencies, whether local or national, must take into account the Park Plan whenever they contemplate

any activity in the Park.So far so good particularly as all the agencies are actively consulted during the preparation of the Plan and sign up to the finalised Plan. So what’s the problem. Quite simply getting everyone to agree when they are doing what especially when different projects require input from different agencies. As a consequence the Park Authority takes the rather unusual step of budgetting for an overspend in the certain knowledge that there will be slippage which will avoid an actual overspend in contravention of government regulation. Although there are hopes that the Olympics will provide a tourism boost for Scotland (The theory being that UK Staycationers and overseas visitors will avoid an overcrowded and fully booked London) plans are being laid for a bumper year for tourism in 2014 . In that year we have not only the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder cup in Scotland but also The Gathering . Tied into this has been The Winning Years events which are focusing on ensuring that businesses take advantage of training facilities for staff. The aim being that employees are

Strathyre Primary School - Tearoom Weekend As a local resident of some 19 years, I would like to congratulate all those concerned in the ‘Balquhidder Tearoom’ takeover over the weekend of 24/25th March to raise funds for a school trip to Ardmay Activity Centre in June. (Special thanks to Lisa Lewis of the Monachyle Mhor for making it happen!) The service from the children was first class and of course to go with that the ‘home baking’ which I understand was done by the children just made for a special occasion. It actually took me back some 20-odd years when I first walked from Brig o’Turk to Balquhidder, one very hot summer’s afternoon. Having completed the walk somewhat quicker than anticipated I arrived in Balquhidder gasping for some liquid and so I visited what was then the village shop, purchased a couple of gallons of milk and sat under the tree at the back of Keeper’s Cottage and took my ease for an hour or so until my lift back to Brig o’Turk arrived. Of course in more recent times, I and members of the family have regularly had the pleasure of visiting the tea-room to either sit outside and enjoy a coffee and cake or on one occasion on a Friday evening to partake of a ‘fish supper’ with other local friends, so the visit over the weekend to support the school quite brought back the enjoyment of a lovely relaxing venue where one could watch the world go by whilst greeting other locals and enjoying a bit of local ‘craic’. On a number of occasions I’ve even cycled with my grandson from Lochearnhead to the tea-room to enjoy a refreshing cuppa. Days like Sunday 25th March, where we could sit outside and enjoy the fayre in lovely sunshine, make us realise what a terrific asset to the community the Library Tearoom is. Alistair Barclay Four of the hard-working staff clear up after a long Sunday! Photograph by Richard Harris


up to date with everything that is on offer for the visitors to their areas. Work continues on the Five Lochs project. There has been some slippage due in part to a change in ownership of some of the sites involved. However we are hopeful that the consultants report will be available in April. I did notice the surveyors at work at the Loch Lubnaig carparks in mid March. The Park Authority has committed over £400,000 to the project for 2012/13 and with further capital monies for infrastructure projects promised to us for the following two years this area will benefit from those monies too. As always I can be contacted as follows: Post: Taigh Na Bhuth, Lochearnhead. Phone: 01567 830214

Strathyre Primary School News Cross Country by Jamie Nixon On Tuesday 7th February Dan and Lottie Hesp, Gabriel Taylor Thoumire, Stephanie Lau, Lewis McKenzie and myself entered the Cross Country at Stirling Rugby Club. We had to run a mile around the rugby field which was twice around it. The weather was kind to us just a little misty. The P6 boys had their race first, then the P6 girls then it was the P7 boys and last was the P7 girls. Everybody did their very best and completed the course, Dan came 6th and I came 4th in our group. Dan and I were put forward to run in the Forth valley championships which were at the beginning of March at the Queen Victoria School in Dunblane, I came 6th and Dan came 10th.

our choreographer. We are looking forward to performing at the MacRobert and hope you will manage along to the MacRobert to see us perform. Football by Lottie Hesp For a couple of weeks we had the privilege of getting football training from the Active Stirling staff. We learnt how to dribble, pass and we even played a few games of football. The coach who came told us that there was a football club in Callander where we could go and train with other people from other schools. We all really enjoyed it and though that it was a great opportunity to learn football skills.

Litter Trophy by Lauren Wilbert On Friday 10th February we were presented with the Litter Initiative Trophy by Jim Fisher from Stirling Council. All schools in Stirling take part and the school grounds get inspected throughout the year. We also got £100 and a Golden Litter Pick.

Hockey by Freya Stewart Earl During February P4-P7 had hockey lessons with Active Stirling coach Alex. He was a really good coach and was very funny. If we got something wrong he made us do a forfeit which was something funny. I hope he comes back again to teach us more hockey as we all enjoyed it.

Think Dance by Dan Hesp Since January P4-7 have been doing Think Dance. This is an activity that all the school can participate in if they wish. We last did it two years ago when we were doing the Highland Clearances. This year we are doing the Victorians. We will be performing this in the MacRobert Theatre after the Easter Holidays. At the moment we are practising twice a week with Mrs McDonald who is

World Book Day by Dan Hesp On Thursday 1st March we celebrated World Book day. We dressed up as our favourite characters from our favourite book. We had Barbara Anne Wilson who was a local author from Aberfoyle who came to the school and read us part of her book ‘Fairie Hill’. We also had a book swap where we put our old books on the table and took a book that someone else had put in.

Pancake Day by Lauren Wilbert The p1-P3 class made pancakes for the whole school on Pancake Day. We got them served with butter, jam, and syrup or lemon juice. They were yummy! Victorian Day On Thursday 15th March we all dressed up as Victorians and we had a Victorian day at school. We lined up at the door, boys in one line and girls in another. We got handwriting, tables, proverbs and geography. We had dunces hat which we had to put on and stand in a corner. In the afternoon we had sewing, painting a still life, making toys, jewellery and baking. We got to move around the tables choosing what we wanted to do. It was a fun day. Stanley Mills The whole school went for a trip to the Stanley Mills near Perth. All children were dressed up by the people at the mill and we were shown how a mill worked in Victorian times. There was an exhibition that we went to see after the workshops. We had our lunch at the mill before we came home. It was a very interesting day and we learnt a lot about children working in the mills. They had a hard life!


From our Beijing Correspondents...

This correspondence is one of the more difficult ones to write…… as we have been in Beijing for most of the past month, which is somewhat of a novelty. We did get down to Hong Kong for a week, but as it is now a bi-annual trip, it doesn’t seem so special… gosh, am I jaded? Fortunately, the people we meet from the HK Ex-Servicemen’s Association and the Cadet Forces are a lovely crowd and we always enjoy their company. Living and travelling around China gives one a different perspective on Hong Kong. The ‘country’, made up of quite a number of islands, is definitely bigger than I had thought, much more mountainous and retains a large section of jungle. Duncan had a wonderful time when not at meetings, by making the most of the mountains (he still misses those from home!), though on this last visit, the hills had a Scottish feel about them …… as it rained every day and was not very warm. Another downside for me is the humidity – without a de-humidifier going, the house walls are pouring within 20 minutes! I don’t mind that – not always pleasant, but ok – however, my mass of hair can’t and it seems as soon as we go down to areas such as Malaysia, Singapore and HK, my curly locks take on a life of their own and become unmanageable… I am the redheaded version of ‘Monica, from Friends’ in Hawaii’. The reverse is Beijing, where the air is so dry during the winter that everything cracks up. Skin moisturisers are a must, as are humidifiers. The streets in HK are cramped with vehicles and people, with massive buildings towering above, and when not faced with a wall of towering, ostentatious, glass-fronted structures, the streets seem so old Chinese – with thousands of hanging signs competing for visual space in front of tiny shop fronts and millions of intertwined cables cascading along the walls and across the streets, hoping to keep the electronic-hungry population entertained. One minute, with the sights, smells and mingling crowds yelling in Cantonese, you find yourself in China, then turn to see vehicles driving past on the left side of the road past Louis Vuitton or The Body Shop, and wonder again! There is still a feeling of the Colonial, especially when around the Cricket or Jockey Club, but these seem to rub alongside the street vendors and shop-houses with surprising acceptance. Although now part of China, Hong Kong retains a lot of its independence and island Laws, suffering Mainlanders when necessary. There is always an on-going debate as to how much they are willing to integrate – British rule generally had a good impact of this little, wealthy country and they are not willing to give it all up. Tania & Duncan Francis


A photo taken in the depths of the Borneo jungle, in Sarawak. The Villagers: entertaining reading anywhere!

A Hong Kong Cadet Force, resplendent in their tartan, proudly playing the Bagpipes at the Hong Kong Ex-Servicemen’s Association Dinner.

A world class welcome for National Park visitors

A brand new customer service programme to help tourism businesses provide a world class visitor welcome to Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is being launched. The aim of the programme, developed by Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park in partnership with Scottish Enterprise, is to support people working in the tourism industry to help visitors make the most of a visit and it comes as a result of feedback from local businesses. A series of training workshops will be held in locations across the National Park and will be offered to all tourism related businesses. The training will include understanding the different types of customers, identifying ways to deliver outstanding service, dealing with challenging customers, how to engage with social media, encouraging good teamwork and how to become great ambassadors for the National Park. There will also be training on the special qualities of the National Park to help businesses to advise visitors on what to visit, where to go and what activities they might enjoy. There are some outstanding tourism businesses in the National Park, including award-winning bed and breakfasts and cruise operators, pubs and hotels of the year. However to meet the expectations of ever more discerning visitors consistently and professionally there is a need to continuously raise standards across the board. The target is for 400 people to take part in the training ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Speaking about the new initiative, Mairi Bell, Tourism Manager for Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, said: “This training has been developed in response to feedback we have received from businesses. We are fortunate to work in a stunning part of the world and the level of service we all give our visitors deserves to be world class. This is about investment in and development of the most important element of the destination, people. This vital training will create that world-class customer service and support businesses to grow by investing in their people.” Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: “The Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park has so much to offer visitors, from the

spectacular landscape to the wonderful wildlife. They also have another major asset and that’s the people who work in the tourism businesses there. “Skilled people are at the heart of a successful tourism industry and I’m pleased that the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park is making this investment in training. It will help people involved in one of our most vibrant industries develop their careers and increase professional standards.” Scottish Enterprise project manager, Sallyann Tindall: “Building on the success of previous service initiatives in Glasgow, this tailored programme has been developed as a result of findings from a recent survey we undertook of around 120 businesses in and around the National Park area. Scotland’s tourism industry attracts over £3 billion spend annually by tourists from the rest of the UK and overseas and by building on our customer service within key destinations such as the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park we can further enhance Scotland’s reputation as a world class tourism destination.” Tourism operator Stuart Fraser added: “Here at the Oak Tree Inn we want to offer visitors the best experience of the area that we can. The new service excellence training will help our staff exceed our visitors’ expectations. If you would like more information about the training sessions or would like to register, contactbusinessinthepark@


Scottish Wildlife Trust Spring has arrived! On 13 March a round up of local sightings included earlynesting crows and crossbills collecting material, skylarks, frogspawn, primroses and even bumblebees. A beautiful great grey shrike has also been seen at Milton, Kilmahog. A fascinating talk on The North Sea Bird Club was given by its recorder, Andy Thorpe. Formed in 1979 by a few individuals in the oil industry and Aberdeen University, the NSBC records ‘birds, bats & beasties’ to assess the impact of the offshore oil industry on wildlife. With 300+ structures in the 250miles between Aberdeen and Stavanger, the majority of records are from ~150 miles offshore, reported by individuals on oilrigs, gas platforms and supply vessels. Since 1979 over 30,000 records from 700 observers have identified more than 250 bird species. Many seabirds resting on rigs are not where expected eg a sunbathing little auk, a storm petrel in someone’s bunk or a passing black-browed albatross of the southern oceans! More predictably gulls may just ‘sit around with their mates’ while opportunistic gulls are now nesting on ‘inshore’ platforms. In 2011, kittiwakes raised 100 chicks on a Morecombe Bay gas platform ~15miles offshore! The majority of birds sighted are

migrants affected by bad weather, blown off-course or ‘grounded’ by storms. Such falls of migrants can be spectacular; on 6&7 November 1984, a rig 180miles east of Aberdeen saw an estimated 300,000 birds including blackbirds, thrushes, lapwings, snow buntings and geese (rarely seen as they fly so high). 50 shorteared owls, several long-eared and a barn owl took advantage of this food glut! Many migrants are predictable eg swallows, black-caps and starlings but others are more surprising such as tiny wrens and warblers. Some birds had travelled amazing distances; a robin ringed in Poland, a blue-tit from Norway and a starling ringed in Estonia found in Gt Yarmouth! Rarities have included blue-throat, waxwing, hawfinch, beeeater, rose-coloured starling but a Pacific swift from Japan, the first recorded in Europe, eclipsed even the beautiful gyrfalcon from Greenland. Although rigs provide a resting-place there is no food so birds must be fit to complete their journey. A study of sick/injured/dead birds showed the predominant presumed cause of death is exhaustion making them easy food for birds of prey so kestrels, merlins, sparrow-hawks and owls are frequently seen. Beasties include seals, minke and killer whales, occasional basking sharks and rare leatherback turtles. Unsurprisingly, there are very few butterflies, moths or dragonflies although several Nathusius’ pipistrelle bats have been recorded, new evidence of this tiny creature in the UK. ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ included a rabbit transferred to a rig inside a pipe and an amazing number of birds visiting fruit hung in an old pine tree on

‘Open Day’ Event for Tenants and Home Owners April 14th, 2012

STIRLING Council tenants and residents are invited to the annual Housing ‘Open Day’ in the Albert Halls on Saturday 14th, April 2012. Stirling Council Housing and Customer Service is running another ‘Open Day’ following last few year’s successful events, which attracted nearly 1000 tenants. This year’s ‘Open Day’ is being held between 10.30am and 2.00pm. Stirling Council’s Head of Housing and Customer Service, Tony Cain said: ”The ‘Open Day’ will be both informative and entertaining so I hope lots of tenants and residents come along and enjoy the event”. 22

a dredger. In 1988 a young killer whale stayed behind for a year after the rest of the pod of 20-30 left. It ‘helped’ in manoverboard exercises by throwing the dummy back into the rescue boat and caused havoc leaping around among the water jets from hoses! Birds may be drawn to rig lights but few are actually burned in flares, those that land may well have died in the sea so do these oil industry structures help or hinder wildlife? TBA Lesley Hawkins Scottish Wildlife Trust, Callander

Member’s Centre Diary Tuesday 17 April 2012

Wildlife & Thirty Years of Brown Trout by Iain Semple Stirling University & Howiestoun Fisheries

All meetings are open to members and non-members and are held in St Andrew’s Church Hall, Leny Road, Callander at 7:30pm. Cost £2 includes refreshments, free for full-time students. SWT details can be found at including Members Centre pages

Walk: Sunday 15 April

10:00-14:00 Wildlife on the Braes of Doune Led by Kevin Duffy

Details & Booking

Drs Strang & Scott and Drs Mathewson & Gibson Community Nurses The surgeries and community nurses are taking part in a training programme. This is to meet the educational and training needs of all members of the practice and nursing team. The next training afternoon will be on: Thursday 22nd March 2012 Thursday 17th May 2012 Tuesday 19th June 2012 Both practices and community nurse clinic will close at 12 noon. Emergency cover will be provided by NHS24 for nursing and GPs. In the event of an emergency, please telephone 08454 242424. On that afternoon, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments.

Country Life –

Our Bread & Butter!

I believe in preserving the good that we have and I choose to live in Gartmore. Not Edinburgh, developing the good things – not over development not Glasgow, not Perth nor indeed Stirling, but and changing the nature of what makes us special and Gartmore - a small village community in Trossachs the place to be, but I do realise that we need to be given & Teith Ward – our ward, made up of a multitude of the resources that suit us and our needs. Local issues small communities. such as concern at the speed with which vehicles I made a positive informed choice for the tear up your road (in more ways than one) and local smaller community and not the anonymity of city school provision are but two issues that immediately life, which will be similar to many of you living spring to mind. I ask you to think of what you have, in and the local communities of Balquhidder, what brought you to Balquhidder, to Lochearnhead or Lochearnhead and Strathyre. Gerry McGarvey Strathyre…and what keeps you there... I write this because although I’ve lived and worked in cities throughout the UK, and indeed abroad, I It’s these unique qualities that you now ponder which make chose to move to the country - for community, not anonymity. our small rural communities so attractive. I am committed to However, country life has its own quite particular and ensuring that we preserve the all-too-rare qualities of real distinctive needs, and standing as the Scottish Labour Party community and co-operation should you elect me. & Co-operative Party candidate in this ward is my positive You’ll find out much more about me, what I represent, and what else I commit to, by visiting: http:// choice to address those needs. I know the frustrations that we experience – that sense that it’s all about what goes on in Stirling – and ne’er a thought for the rurals. Gerry McGarvey All too often there is a perception that the council invests Scottish Labour & Co-operative Candidate all its money and energy in the city and the larger urban for Trossachs & Teith Ward communities. I commit to putting the needs of the rural communities back to the top of the list of priorities in the Email: T: 01877 382 451 M: 07865 304 744 Stirling Council area.

Thousands could lose their votes Brian Byrne, the Electoral Registration Officer for Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Stirling is warning electors that if they have not responded to the voter registration forms sent to them since last October they have only a few weeks to register in time to vote in the local Council elections taking place on 3rd May 2012. Whenever the registration office is notified of a change in owners or tenants at an address they send a registration form to the new occupiers and delete the electors. As only 30% to 40% of the forms issued are returned this will result in 60% of the people who have moved address in the last 6-9 months losing their vote on May 3rd unless they apply to register by the 18th April at the latest. Forms to register are available in local libraries or can be downloaded from or you can phone his office on 01786 892289, fax 01786892255 or email to check if you are registered. Anyone who wants to vote by post at the elections is encouraged to apply as soon as possible by again obtaining a form from or collecting a form from their library. The last date on which the ERO can accept an elector’s completed, signed application to vote by post in time for the May 3rd elections is 5pm on 18th April. If you want to check if you are registered at your current address email ero@centralscotland-vjb, with your home address and details of who should be registered - or telephone his office. Find out all you want to know about Big Lottery funding – register early for the following event:

Big Lottery Information Days 2012 The Big Lottery Fund has organised a series of events to provide information on their range of funding programmes in Scotland. As well as providing an overview of the programmes available in Scotland, these half day events will give delegates an opportunity for brief signposting sessions with BIG staff. The event in Stirling will be on Tue 29 May at Albert Halls, Stirling 10am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm - 4pm To register for this event please contact If you have any questions about BIG Info Days please contact our Scotland reception on 0141 242 1400.

Welcome to Pedal on Parliament! Safer cycling and cities fit for people is an important issue for Scotland. Pedal on Parliament will be gathering cyclists (and anyone who wants to join them) from across the nation to gather on the Meadows, Edinburgh at 2pm on 28th April and cycle on Holyrood to tell our politicians that cycling matters. In February, up to 2000 cyclists gathered in London to cycle on the Westminster Parliament in support of safer cycling and cities fit for people. We’re asking everyone who cycles in Scotland – or who would like to cycle, or would like their families to cycle, but who doesn’t feel safe – to join us for a big ride of our own – and a big picnic. Young and old, keen commuter or weekend pedaller, fit or not – you don’t even need to be on a bike. You just need to show up and add your voice to help make Scotland safe for cycling. 23


Central Scotland Police

There when you need us

Tyndrum man fails late night maths test QUESTION; What does 5 miles + 4 drinks + 1 car equal? (Read the following to help with your answer). In the early hours of Saturday 25th February a male (who lives near Tyndrum) was stopped whilst driving his works car; he was breathalysed and failed the test. As a result of that I arrested him and along with Pc Frickleton we went to Stirling where the male failed another breath test. The male thought because he only lived a few miles from the pub it would be OK to drive home. There is no doubt that being banned from driving will have a big impact on both his work and social life but it certainly will not be as big an impact as the one he would have had when, not if, he hit another vehicle. The crazy thing is he had someone waiting for a phone call to go and collect him. ANSWER; A night in the cells, not able to work, at least a 12 month ban and astronomical car insurance payments. Should we have sympathy for the driver? After all, he was only going a few miles, it was late at night, it was wet and windy, the roads weren’t too busy, and he was only about twice over the limit. Absolutely NOT. No matter what the circumstances are there is no excuse for drinking and driving. He did waste our time. Whilst I regularly encourage members of the public to call us when they see or suspect a crime is or has taken place or they see something suspicious happening I always say, don’t worry, you are NOT WASTING OUR TIME. However, there is always the exception to the rule. Last summer a Lochearnhead man reported that he had been the victim of a crime. He claimed he had a concert ticket stolen and named the person responsible. Following extensive enquiries which lasted for a few weeks I was satisfied that the theft did not take place. The male was detained and taken to Stirling. I then charged the male for wasting police time. During the following months the male had a number of opportunities to plead guilty prior to the case being heard in court, however he choose to go to trial. On Thursday 8th March I and 3 colleagues as well as 2 other witnesses attended Court only to see the male plead guilty before the trial started. A lot of time was spent investigating this theft; all the police were due to be on a rest day on Thursday, which was cancelled. The most important issue was that if we had not carried out a thorough investigation 24

at the start, an innocent man would have been detained, handcuffed, taken to Stirling and interviewed. So while we had our days off changed, I was very pleased with the outcome for the person who was wrongly accused. Sentence has been deferred to the start of April for background reports. First cast of the fishing season nets two As many of you will know the fishing season opened on the 15th of March - and I am delighted to say within 24 hours of the start, in a joint patrol with Pc Buchan from Crieff, I ‘netted’ our first catch of the season, 2 males on the shore of Loch Earn. They were the “Fife” fisherman variety and had in their possession more than £350.00 worth of cannabis. It is hoped that this will send out a clear message to those who think they can come into the area and commit crime and act in an antisocial way that we enforce a zero tolerance. I have no doubt that many of the fishermen would be glad to have such a success rate as we did. Unlicensed window cleaner caught As a result of information I carried out a joint operation with colleagues from Stirling Council Licensing Department where we were checking those engaged in “street trading activities”. A male was stopped in Strathyre cleaning windows and after a number of checks were made it became apparent this male was not licensed. He was charged with the offence and ordered to stop work immediately. I know some people may think he is not doing any harm, but the reality is this: 1) by not applying for a licence he has not been checked out by the various authorities to see if he is a suitable person 2) he has failed to pay the required fee 3) if he causes any damage to property, he is not insured 4) he can not be monitored. Think of it this way: when a person is in possession of a licence which has been issued by a local authority, you will know that they have complied and passed a number of checks. They are competent and legal. This means that if an accident occurs or damage is caused to your property you will be able to claim through their insurance. If they don’t have a licence the chances of getting anything back is slim. Ticket issued to local resident Once again I had to issue a fixed penalty ticket to a local. This time it was somebody from Crianlarich who thought it was OK to park and leave their car half on the pavement and half on zigzag lines of a zebra crossing. Not only had the driver parked near to a school but it was opposite a police office. The position of the car was causing an obstruction and could

easily have resulted in somebody being injured or killed. The driver only appeared after a member of the public informed them of my presence. The driver gave all the usual excuses, they had only been away for a few minutes, they were local, they should only be given a warning, they were a pensioner, they then went onto question my professionalism amongst other things. I make no apologies for issuing the ticket especially as there was a car park less than 10 feet away which was empty. The actions of the driver were utterly selfish and had a total disregard for other motorists and perhaps more importantly pedestrians. Pub visits Over the past few weeks, and in line with one of my PACT priorities, along with a colleague from Stirling Council Licensing Department I have visited several licensed premises between Strathyre and Tyndrum. As a result of these visits a number of training needs were identified to the various licensees. Apart from ensuring that the correct paperwork is in place for the premises the visits allowed me to talk to the staff about their individual responsibilities and how I and my colleagues can help them. We will continue to monitor the various licensed premises which also include shops and campsite shops. Wildlife Conference On Wednesday 14th March I attended the Annual Wildlife and Environmental Conference which was held in the Scottish Police College. The event is aimed at the many groups who have an interest in Scotland’s Natural Heritage. They included the RSPB, SSPCA, The Deer Commission, various Salmon Fisheries Boards, Marine Scotland, SEERAD, SEPA, SASA, The National Parks and the Scottish Gamekeepers Association to name but a few. The conference brought together a diverse spectrum of groups who all had one thing in common: the protection of Scotland’s Countryside and its animal inhabitants, no matter how big or small. What the conference showed was a unified front in the fight against Wildlife and Environmental Crime. People who are responsible for crimes such as egg theft, badger baiting, and hare coursing are generally involved in other crimes such as housebreaking, theft and illegal drugs. Remember most species of wildlife and wildflowers are afforded some form of protection at one time of the year or another, included in this is the land and the sea which are also protected against those who wish to destroy or dump illegally. If you see or suspect that a crime is being committed against Scotland’s wildlife and environment then REPORT IT. PC Andrew Ward 01786 456 000

Cuttings from Times Past...

Farm Forum: To Tag - Or Not To Tag You will no doubt remember me mentioning the Electronic Identification of Sheep (EID) regulations which mean every sheep requires to be electronically tagged on the farm and identified at the market or abattoir, and the fact that the EU requires 100% accuracy. Farmers can get heavily penalized if there are any lapses despite the fact that the technology is simply not that accurate – goodness knows how many tags will be able to be read after they have been wandering around the hill for five or six years! There has been much discussion about it at all levels but at the end of the day no real progress has been made except that other countries have suddenly realised that they should have supported Britain initially in opposing the legislation - they have at last discovered the stupidity of the scheme. The news now is that the German Association of Sheep Farmers is going to challenge the implementation of the scheme in the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The Germans have already cleared the first hurdle in their own National Administrative Court which has granted them permission to take the case to the ECJ. The German’s EID objection centres on the expense of implementing the new procedures in comparison to the questionable results that it will yield, particularly due to the unreliable nature of the tag readers. Interestingly they have also cited animal welfare problems, as evidence has been brought forward that show injury to animals’ ears after tagging. Numerous incidences of infection have been noted in this country also.

It is sad that our organisations, including Governments, have not seen fit to take a similar step. I heard something on the radio the other day that pleased me – and that’s unusual! – It was to the effect that over the last year or two the consumption of offal has increased considerably. I have always thought that “offal” was an unfortunate word to describe such delicacies as liver tongue and heart – They are sometimes referred to as the fifth quarter. These are particularly tasty products and it is strange that their consumption in this country has been traditionally low compared to, for example, Germany. Let’s hope consumption of these tasty and cheaper options continues to increase.

This interesting poem from Victorian times relates to the old Station Hotel being demolished and re-built. I assume the one that was re-built is the present Ben Sheann; does anyone know for sure?

Postscript... Over the years I have written about the unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy involved with the Common Agricultural Policy. My attention has been drawn to a short article in the recent copy of the Shooting and Conservation magazine which sums up the situation perfectly. It is headed “The power or not of words” and was published in an email newsletter by land agents Smiths Gore:- Pythagoras’ Theory has 24 words; The Lord’s Prayer – 66 words; Archimedes Principle – 67 words; The Ten Commandments – 179 words; The Gettysburg Address – 286 words; US Declaration of Independence – 1300 words; US Constitution along with all 27 amendments – 7818 words – and last of all the EU regulations on the sale of cabbages – 26,911 words: Surely that says it all!

Interesting facts about... Onions Onions are thought to have been used as a food source since about 5000 BC! The ancient Egyptians worshipped it, believing its spherical shape and concentric rings symbolized eternal life! In ancient Greece, athletes ate large quantities of onion because it was believed to lighten the balance of blood. Roman gladiators were rubbed down with onion to firm up their muscles! In the Middle Ages, onions were such an important food that people would pay their rent with them, and even give them as gifts! Doctors were known to prescribe onions to facilitate bowel movements, to relieve headaches, and to cure coughs, snakebite and hair loss. Dogs should NEVER eat onions - their stomachs can’t deal with them. It is widely thought that a peeled onion, topped and tailed, will ‘absorb’ any germs like cold or flu - and go a long way to preventing illness. Wow! 25



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We’ll send you or your friends

The Villagers

£11.00 for 11 monthly issues (£20.00 for Europe and £27.50 for the rest of the world). All you need to do is to post the completed form to: BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION, 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................................ 26

Cheques for advertising and mail order subscriptions should be made out to:

The BLS Newspaper Association


Winter Needs Salt, Snow Shovels, Sledges and Logs Free Delivery Call Lynda 01567 830 396 or 07792 779 662 David and Phil Mather Lochearnhead 27

• 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

Alistair Barclay Photographer & Advertising Coordinator Dalvaich, Glenbeich Lochearnhead FK19 8PZ 01567 830453

Other Contacts... Helen Clark Business Manager 07971 648743

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

BLS Lunch Club - Lochearnhead Scout Station - 12.30-2.30pm Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 -11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am - 12.30pm Contact Abbey Arkotxa 01877 384671 Badminton - Balquhidder Hall - 8.00pm


Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am-12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) 3 Villages Art & Craft Group - Balquhidder Hall - 1.00 - 4.00pm - Contact Ruth McLusky 01877 384309


Scottish Country Dancing - Strathyre Hall - 8.00pm Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00-9.00pm Upholstery Classes - 10am-1pm - Lochearnhead Hall - 07824 446024 ‘Choir Occasional’ - Balquhidder Village Hall - 7.30pm - 9.00pm


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

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

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

APRIL 4 7 11 14 17 19 26 28

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council meeting - Balquhidder Hall - 7.30pm Concert - Peter Longworth and The Astrid Quartet - 2.30pm Tolbooth, Stirling Ladies’ Lunch at The Golden Larches - Balquhidder Station SSPCA Dog Walk - Craggan Road - 2pm Scottish Wildlife Talk - St Andrews Church - Callander - 7.30pm Singing Workshop with Alycia Hayes - Choir Occasional - Balquhidder Hall 7.30pm (see p.2) SVA AGM - Strathyre Village Hall - 7.30pm - see p.5 Blow & Blast Workshop - St Andrew’s Church Hall, Callander

Copy Deadline Day is the 24th of the month. Send your contributions to: contac t@the Please help us to get The Villagers to you as soon as possible!

CHURCH CHURCH SERVICES SERVICES Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St. Fillans CHURCH OF SCOTLAND Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316 Sunday 12 noon Minister: Rev John Lincoln The Manse, Killin Tel: 01567 820 247 Dundurn Church, St Fillans Sunday11.30am Minister: Rev Graham McWilliams Tel: 01764 671 045

ROMAN CATHOLIC Callander, St Joseph the Worker Sunday 11.30am Killin, in the Episcopal Church Sunday 2.30pm Father Jim McCruden 2 Ancaster Square, Callander Tel: 01877 330 702

SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH St Angus’s Church, Lochearnhead First and third Sundays of the month: Holy Communion at 11.15am. Second and fourth Sundays of the month: Evensong at 6.00pm Fifth Sunday of the month: please see church noticeboard. Vestry Secretary - Mary Barclay Tel: 01567 830453 Printed by Graphics and Print Services, University of Stirling Tel: 01786 467209 email: Published by The BLS Newspaper Association

April 2012 The Villagers  

La Perichole, Music and Drame Balquhidder, Village Calendar, Lochearnhead, St Fillans, Strathyre, Balquhidder, Village News, National Park,...

April 2012 The Villagers  

La Perichole, Music and Drame Balquhidder, Village Calendar, Lochearnhead, St Fillans, Strathyre, Balquhidder, Village News, National Park,...