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APRIL 2013


Price 40p

The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

A change at Kings House Come on in...

The new bar

Tom lights the candles

Dining with a view!

The new sign - complete with sunset!


Tom and Lisa Lewis were determined to open their latest venture MHOR 84, Balquhidder’s first motel, in time for Easter. The photos taken at 6pm on Thursday 28th March prove they just got there and what a transformation they achieved in a very short space of time! Hopefully we will hear more next month when Tom has got his breath back.

It’s that time again...

STUC A’ CHROIN HILL RACE 2013 ...whether you’re up the Stuc, doon the Stuc or running the Stuc! The Stuc a’ Chroin Hill Race is celebrating its 25th Anniversary on Saturday 4th May 2013. See page 23 for more details!


EDITOR’S BIT First, The Good News... It’s great to be able to report that The Villagers could be in safe hands in a few years’ time when the ‘Young Writer’ of the year will be able to take over! Connor Ramsay Clapham (see photo, right) won this award at the Community Newspaper Awards in March for his account of being Aladdin in our December edition. A well deserved award - opening up another career if he decides not to ‘tread the boards’(or ski... or play rugby for Scotland...). It was interesting at the Awards Ceremony to discuss with other papers how everyone was approaching the problems caused by the endless recession and the challenges of new methods of communication. Some issues were universal in that everyone seems to be looking for more helpers, particularly to replace people who had been doing tasks for a long period. Cutting back the number of issues was a solution several had adopted and The Villagers, coming out 11 times a year, was the most regular; some are only quarterly or even twice a year. This was one factor we discussed at our own committee meeting and, at the moment, we felt that part of the role of the paper is to publicise events each month - and to report back on things that have just taken place. With fewer issues coming out we would lose these important features and the immediacy we currently have. So we will attempt to continue on a monthly basis whenever possible. Another issue that arose was the fact that some do not ‘do news’ - a concept for a newspaper I personally found rather extraordinary. Again we discussed this and decided that we wish to continue debating/reporting on issues which are currently affecting our communities both on local and national levels. Please feel free to send in all your own opinions. Now, The Bad News... The Villagers is also one of the cheapest papers: on which topic, regretfully, we have decided we will have to increase the price - to 50p - as of next month. We really hope you will all continue JJ supporting us.



The following readings were taken at ‘Bramblings’, Auchtubh, Balquhidder for the month of FEBRUARY 2013 Average max. temp. 6.6 ºC 43.8 ºF Actual max. temp. 14.1 57.0 Average min. temp. 2.1 35.0 Actual min. temp. -5.7 21.0 Rainfall: 8.6 cms 3.4 ins Strongest wind gust 42 mph on 15 February


Well done, Aladdin... er... Connor! Connor Ramsay-Clapham receives his award for Community Newspaper Young Writer of the Year

REMEMBER... Advertising must be paid up before publication. This also applies to adverts on a 6 month discount which are coming up for renewal. We are sending out invoices a month ahead to give people plenty of time to pay - but if no payment is received by Deadline Day (21st) then the advert will have to be removed. Sorry!

Congratulations to Ruaridh Leishman who was selected for Scotland’s Under 20 squad for the recent 6 Nations Tournament. Their opening game was against England - always a challenging match - and one in which Ruaridh was fully involved. Ruaridh is now hoping he will be included in the squad to take part in the World Cup in France later in the year. We wish him every success and hope for more photos - and an interview - in the future.

The St Fillans Bit “A proper gent.” Sounds like a line from Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, but it’s used here as a very apt summation of Bob Watson, long time villager, who passed away peacefully in February. Bob was born in Montrose in 1928 and retired to St Fillans with wife Sally in 1984. He had behind him 18 years of Army service, culminating in the rank of Major, during which he met Sally (also an army officer) and they were married in Singapore in 1956. Sally was an experienced recreational sailor and Bob took up the sport so that they could share the pastime – a hobby which they continued in retirement in St Fillans. After his service years Bob moved on to management and spent 18 years with John Player & Sons – during which he had use of a company aeroplane and became a qualified pilot. A man of many talents. During his retirement in St Fillans Bob became a stalwart of village life, teaching sailing, heavily involved in the Community Council (including a spell as Chairman), Clerk to the Board of the Church and a regular supporter of virtually all village activities. He was a great believer and practitioner of doing things ‘by the book’ – no doubt a result of his service career - and I doubt if anyone understood the Constitution of the CC better than Bob. Our photo, courtesy of Fraser, shows Bob and I on a very happy evening in our roles of umpires during a village cricket match. As it was a fun game I had tinkered somewhat with the Rules of Cricket which Bob, a lover of the game, saw as sacrilege – in his mind the Rules were there to control the game and not for a numpty like me to tinker with. I knew Bob all my 22 years in St Fillans and his manner in private or public was always very ‘proper’. I can’t ever remember him swearing even though he could get a bit agitated when things weren’t being done to his satisfaction. Yes, “a proper gent” is the way that I, and so many others, will remember Bob. With the present spell of seriously unseasonable cold weather as I write, you’d be hard pressed to realize that St Fillans Golf Club starts the new season in a couple of days time. Taking over catering and some of the day to day admin duties this year are Ian & Patricia Dick, pictured here. Their plan for the catering side of the club centres around offering traditional ‘pub grub’ style food, with non golf playing visitors very welcome. They will be serving lunches from 12 noon till 2 p.m. and Afternoon Teas from 2 till 5 (and no doubt bacon butties in the morning). They will be open for evening meals on Fridays & Saturdays with last orders at 8.30 p.m. The Club will be hoping (continued overleaf)

Bob Watson, right, with me on ‘umpire duty’

Tricia and Ian Dick - catering for the golfers


(Continued from Page 3)

to attract more villagers to use the facilities for casual eating and for general gathering - an attractive proposition with The Drummond now seemingly closed long term (see later). I know that there are plans afoot to have the bar open one night a week as a venue for the ‘lads night’ for those who used to gather in The Drummond for a weekly pint (and anyone else who’d like to partake), and I assume that the Ladies’ Supper Club will continue to use the golf club as one of their venues. I had reported a couple of months ago that Andy, the previous tenant of The Drummond, intended to reopen the hotel in late March, which, of course, is upon us. There are no signs of life at all on the premises (despite an indication that there are still plans to open). This points towards the possibility that we no longer have in the village a ‘pub’, a place for locals to go for a few pints, a blether, a light meal or whatever. Neither of the two remaining hotels in St Fillans have a pub operation in any sense of the word so it might well be that The Golf Club can provide that service for the admittedly limited demand in the village. Worth a try? No doubt you will have seen from last month’s Villagers that the Great Loch Earn Boat Race will be staged again on Sunday 21st April. Russell has retired from the captaincy of our village team (to pursue other sporting ambitions, I understand) and his place is taken by Richard Steventon whose sporting achievements are legend. The team is renamed DEMEN Cha Cha Cha (think about it, you’ll get there, it took me a while) and the other members are Harry Burnett, Steve Howell & Richard Graham. They will be racing in the Veterans’ Class - which requires a minimum total team age of 220 years - and hoping to raise money for The Salvation Army, a charity chosen by Sally Watson. Sponsorship sheets are in the Village Store, or contact any team member if you’d like to contribute. Support on the day will be much appreciated by the athletes, and Richard. At the recent Community Council meeting Russell’s plans for a village kids play park were approved and the first village fund raiser to support the venture will be held on Saturday 20th April, taking the form of a sponsored Kids’ Hill Climb. Entrants will gather at 11am outside the Drummond. Each will collect a stone from the foreshore which they will carry up the hill to the Cairn where the stone will be swapped for an Easter Egg to carry back down. Sponsors welcome – either direct to the kids if you know them - or to Katrina on 685424 or Liz on 685717. A cause well worth putting your hand in your pocket for. Included here on this page is a photo 4

The amazing and mysterious slowly emerging structure!

of an amazing structure slowly emerging from the ground at the east end of the village. My first impressions were that it was surely a support column for a much needed St Fillans slip road connection to the new Forth crossing. But, alas, the reality is that the steel and stone erection is the support for a new National Park sign. It is good to see that the spirit of Brunel lives on in the NP, though I dread to think at what cost. So far many men have toiled for many days on the structure, with diggers, scaffold, reinforcement and a fleet of vans to raise the thing this far. When the UK is struggling to keep afloat and public spending cost cutting is the rage it seems a nonsense that public funds are ‘invested’ on such a vastly over engineered and unnecesarily costly structure. By the time you read this the Tarken will be open daily again at The Four Seasons for lunch & supper and the restaurant for dinner. Mary reports really busy Sunday lunch trade already this season so bookings are advisable. Afternoon Traditional Cream Teas are back for those without a weight problem or, like most of us, past caring about a bit of insulation around the middle. New Head Chef Didier Nemesien takes over, backed by the returning chefs from last year and has made a few changes but nothing too drastic. A date for the diary – the full 3 Day Festive Weekend returns this year on 9th to 11th August. The full programme is yet to be finalized but will include the family BBQ on the Saturday with bouncy castles, races, silly games, chariot race and bar etc. Sunday is the ever popular Jazz Lunch with a new band The Rhythm Kings playing. Friday evening looks like maybe a fun sporting event but more details will follow. Offers of help before or during the event are more than welcome – just give Russell a ring on 685383. Finally, it looks as if the village Carpet Bowling Club might well close its doors

after some 20 years of activity due to declining interest and support from the village. I gather that several bowling clubs in other nearby villages have suffered the same fate, which is pretty sad. In St Fillans the Drama Group (The Players) has found it next to impossible to get new members to replace retiring ones and has not been active for some time and the once very popular Ladies’ Lunch club has suffered from declining numbers, especially noticeable at the Christmas Lunch. It is inevitable that villagers get older and cease to participate in village activities but in the past these have been readily replaced by younger incomers. Not now, it seems. Maybe it’s due to a national trend which focuses more on electronic pastimes, including high quality TV programmes, computers, tablets etc... but it’s sad still. It’s a simple fact that you don’t miss things till you lose them (e.g. The Drummond). John Murray (As a quick PS – having made use of NHS emergency services last month it reminds me how lucky we are in the UK to have such a service. It might be a bit creaky in everyday procedures but when the chips are down and it’s emergency time, the system is superb. Many thanks, PRI).

Strathyre News

I was speaking with Janet who runs the Village Shop and thought I should pass on some of the conversation! Firstly, I was astounded when she said that on the 1st April it will be a YEAR since the shop was taken over by the Richards family. Where did that year go?! Janet is trying to promote the shop this year and has asked me to pass on some ideas to help improve the service that they offer, for example, possible home deliveries (locally) or phoning in orders which will be ready for collection (stock permitting) etc. If you have any ideas as to how the shop can improve their service to you please feel free to pop in and have an informal chat with Janet or any member of staff. Could be a cuppa in it! Please remember - like all amenities, the shop is there for our benefit, and as always, it’s the old story of ‘use it or lose it’. This is one service we most definitely would not like to lose! Another point of interest was the fact that since the lottery became available the shop has raised an amazing £2485 for good causes.This The new floral display at Immervoulin sum will have increased by the time this goes to print - so there’s another reason to doing their bit as well with the wonderful and both places are trying so hard to continue with your support. new signs and floral displays at the put the ‘BONNIE’ back into Strathyre. On top of all that they now have a main entrance. Once again I find myself It would be wonderful if this were to lovely floral display at the entrance. I congratulating Barrie and Karen who continue throughout the Village. I’m sure believe that will ‘grow’, knowing Barbara. produced the lovely signs. It so enhances you will join me in wishing both premises The folk at the Caravan Park have been the approach to the Village from Callander a good year.

Russell, Pool King! Russell Duncan was the winner of the Gary Smith Memorial Shield Pool tournament played at the Inn in February. He defeated our very own Strathyre correspondent Wullie Dalziel in the final.


Just a reminder to anyone interested about the forthcoming race. If you wish to offer your services in any way, all help would be greatly appreciated, especially on the Friday prior to the race when a lot of work will be going on in the ‘START’ field. Just come along - and I`m sure there will be something that you can help with. I think committee members will be on site from 9.00am but you may want to check that out. Also on the day of the race, after all runners are in and prizegiving is completed, any help available to take down and store away the equipment would be appreciated. You can contact me (or any committee member) if you wish - but just turning up is all we ask! See page 23 for further information.

I have asked Jan not to bother with dinner for me a while due to the fact that I will be rather full of Humble Pie, probably enough to keep an anaconda going for a month... Reason: You may recall an article I did after the Race Night when I was raising funds for The Stuc hill race. Unfortunately when doing my thank-yous I missed out a VIP in the shape of Elspeth Jenkins who had given her time on the night to help the Bookies. My apologies, Elspeth - I’m sure you know that it was just an oversight on my part and one that will not happen again. I should point out that since becoming a member of The Stuc committee I have been given an insight as to what goes on behind the scenes and there is an awful lot of hard work and organisation that go into the success of this race. Elspeth is very much involved in these ‘behind the scenes’ activities. All the more reason for my humble apology. Must go now; I’m away to get some cream to see if this pie will taste any sweeter. But I hae ma douts. ‘Woeful Wullie’

APRIL is Community Pub Month -

ignore all previous notices!

1st April - “Burger and Beer” night 12th April - Bingo Night in support of Balvaig fundraising for Strathyre Music Festival - 7.30pm 19th April - American folk/celtic band As the Crows Fly - 8.30pm Also this month is the launch of our new menus and lunch specials. 5


air your views...

‘The Wall’


I received this e-mail, pictured right, in response to my article in last months issue, and another e-mail a few days later to say Mike had now instructed his solicitor to reopen the case. I will keep all updated. Next port of call will be the National Park, regarding new signs for the cycle path - and then the Forestry Commission, Wullie Dalzeil re: The Broch!

Quiz Night

There will be a chance for us all to give our brains a work-out and support a very good cause on

Friday12th of April

at the Watersports Centre Lochearnhead Teams should assemble at 7pm. Further information from Alistair and Mary Barclay 01567 830452.


Thanks to Clare Workman of Thistle Threads Textile Arts and Crafts studio, Aberfoyle, for kindly coming to show us how to make paper (and be creative with it) at Balquhidder Hall one Saturday in March. It was a fun day! It didn’t take the participants long to get the hang of it and soon we were literally churning out some masterpieces. Thanks also to Jean Hicks for organising the day and for the wonderful half-time soup!


in aid of the

Community Defibrillators





music festival 1/2 June 2013

Well Done, CAOS!

Congratulations to Callander

Amateur Operatic Society for their 2013 offering - the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes. Concert goers were treated to a colourful and lively show packed with great songs - and some wonderful central performances. The fantastic set, featuring the deck of the SS American, was perfect for showing off the action - and some amazing sparkling costumes. Well done to all who took part. We look forward to next year’s show: Brigadoon!

Keep up to date with the festival at

For further details email

...and see next month’s VILLAGERS

for full Festival schedule!

In December 2011 Kenny Higgins had a chance meeting with Cliff Uney at the Strathyre Inn. They discovered a mutual interest in music and agreed to meet up at the Strathyre Inn on Sundays. Kenny brought along his guitar and Cliff brought his ukulele. After a few songs in the pub to a bemused audience, they thought they would repeat the exercise. Along came Tommy Anderson, Mike Keeney, Stevie Black, Owen Uney and Mikey Higgins and the music group Balvaig was formed. One day Jane Booth popped in to the pub and this took Balvaig to 8 members who now meet every Sunday for a few songs. Over time, tourists and local people would come along to listen and a few suggested that the band should consider playing a live gig. From this idea and after some practice, research, imagination, enthusiasm and courage, the idea of a Music Festival was born. The first Strathyre Music Festival takes place at various venues in the village on 1st & 2nd June 2013, opening on the Saturday at 12 noon. No less than 130 musicians have now committed to attend, including a band from Italy and a folk band from Algeria. The Festival will feature solo artists, duos, bands and choirs playing a range of traditional and modern folk, blues and jazz. There will be an outdoor market area displaying crafts, spinning & weaving with storytelling and a busking station at the Victorian Gardens. Kenny Higgins is the festival committee chairman and states that “the Festival is pitched at presenting the musical talents of the local area with Balvaig being supported by bands, choirs and musicians from Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Callander. “We have also deliberately positioned the Festival to attract tourists and visitors to enjoy our beautiful area and to see what it has to offer - and importantly, to benefit the local economy. “All musicians taking part have agreed to do so for no cost or expenses - and for this we are extremely grateful; it helps deliver our first Festival, that will hopefully become an annual event in the area calendar.”

Out and About in the heart of Scotland The Phoenix Wind Trio Balquhidder Church, Wednesday 6 March To all those who didn’t manage to make it to the concert.... You missed something very special. To be able to watch - and listen, in such an atmospheric and intimate setting, to three perfectly complemented instruments in the hands of three such talented musicians, was a pleasure not to be missed! Three of RSNO’s principle musicians: David Hubbard (bassoon), Katherine Bryan (Flute) and John Cushing (clarinet) performed a varied programme including Mozart, Bizet and Elgar. (See photo, right) A wonderfully spine-tingling moment was when Katherine played a solo piece by Debussy, from the back of the church, with the lights dimmed. An evening of pure pleasure!


An Appeal... for a ‘Re-Peal’

Church News BalquhiĐĐer Reg. Charity No. SC012316

I thought I should let you all know that our bell and belfry are in need of a lot of attention, as are many other aspects of the church.

Balquhidder Church: west end gable wall showing belfry – it’s a long way up to the bell!

Inner bell showing corrosion

Bell rocker very insecure in belfry stonework. The whole bell and housing could fall out and do a lot of damage!

Basically a complete overhaul of the belfry is required, because the bell and housing are likely to fall out if we do nothing. This could prove very dangerous if someone is walking beneath! If the bell is rung, then it could fall through the roof of the building - causing a lot of structural damage. We therefore do not ring it any more. I’ve included some photos showing the damage. The Congregational Board has agreed that repairs should be made as soon as possible. It has had been inspected (at a cost of some £420) and the quotation for the repairs will be in the order of £12,000. We can just about afford it with a generous donation (by ‘The Friends’) of £6000, so work should start shortly. We feel it is important that the bell should still ring out on a Sunday summoning folk to church. The sound carries for miles up the glens. Already people have noticed that it hasn’t been ringing, but I have to say that when it was rung it didn’t encourage any more people to church. We are a very dwindling elderly congregation and at best we might get 15 locals to Sunday services. The summer season helps, with visitors attending our services - but in the long term we, the congregation, still have to pay for everything and with the current support that we have the church will not be able to continue for many more years. So I am asking that if you read this article and have fond memories or enjoy the occasional visit to our beautiful church please make a donation to help with repairs. And to those of you who are locals, please support us - or risk losing this wonderful, peaceful building. Any donations should be sent to our Treasurer: Mrs. J. Edwards, Carnmore, Balquhidder, FK19 8PB. P Perkins Beadle & Property Convenor

Rope pulley could fall out of stonework

Corroded bell axle and pulley wheel.

Corroded bolt holding bell could fracture any time soon.

NEW ‘LOCAL’ TELEPHONE DIRECTORY LETI is producing a new local telephone directory, and would like people to check their entry and phone if it is incorrect - or not there at all! Please check your entry on the list in the local shop (Strathyre and Lochearnhead), and to add or correct an entry, phone: Mal on 01877 384208 for Strathyre entries, Pam on 01567 830238 for Lochearnhead entries or Alan on 07765789354 for Balquhidder entries 8

One of the Region’s Most Famous Historic Sites to Re-open Inchmahome Priory in the Lake of Menteith is closed during the winter months. However, it reopens annually each spring to welcome visitors from around the world.

Inchmahome Priory

The Priory, which dates from 1238, was an Augustinian Monastery and much of the 13th century church remains. Famously, it sheltered Mary, Queen of Scots, as a child, in 1547. Susan Loch, Head of Visitor Operations and Community Engagement at Historic Scotland, who run the site, said: “We are working hard to get the site ready to welcome visitors on the 29th March. Inchmahome Priory is one of a number of Historic Scotland seasonal sites across Scotland that re-open to the public over the Easter weekend. “Spring is a great time to enjoy the sites, particularly this year - the Year of Natural Scotland, and we have lots of great things going on across our estate of properties this year - from nature events to costumed performances - to keep visitors entertained.” For further information please visit

Callander & West Perthshire


Two of our committee members attended a workshop organised by U3A Scotland where they met delegates from many other U3A groups to discuss matters of finance, communication and development. The opportunity to share ideas and to learn how other groups function was very valuable especially as both large and small U3As from all over Scotland were represented. Members of Callander & West Perthshire U3A met at the Callander Youth Project on 14th March for our second members’ social meeting. Our guest speaker was Les Slater, who gave an entertaining talk entitled “Busy bees – a sting in the tale”. From this we learnt that there as many as 250 different species of bee in the UK alone. Les concentrated on the well-known honey bee, which is, apparently, the only creature other than man that can tell its fellows where to find something without taking them there, which it does by using its waggle dance. We also learnt the origin of the term “bee line”, which describes how bees head for a new home – in a dead straight line, one after the other. Our next social meeting is planned for 5th June, again at CYP, when Frank Park will be talking to us about the Callander Community Hydro scheme. Keep up to date with our news by checking our website.


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 describes a strange sight - to be seen on our upper slopes...

It is called Atmospheric Phenomena. What a wonderful name! And in this case it’s an apt description of a local appearance of the Brocken Spectre. What is that, you may ask? Read on and all will be revealed. We were looking for ptarmigan on the high slopes between Ben Vorlich and Stuc a Chroin. It was mid-morning in late November; the sun was just rising over Stuc a Chroin and Loch Earn, and the lower glen was filled with mist, whilst we were in bright sunlight. As we breasted a ridge with the sun bright and clear in the south, our shadows were cast over the mist below. This was indeed ‘Atmospheric Phenomena’. What we were looking at is known as the Brocken Spectre, named after this same phenomena in the Brocken mountains in Germany. The shadows were enormous and my companion’s shadowed head had a rainbow coloured spectrum halo around it (was he of some saintly origin?)... It is not uncommon to see this when on a high ridge which lies from east to west and with a combination of clear sun to the south - and mist in the valley below to the north. Read the attached account of a similar event near Comrie, taken from the book Gallery of Nature, circa 1840. It is interesting to read the recollection of witnesses walking on Dunmore. There are some good images of this on the internet too if you explore “Brocken Spectre”. Quite a few local people have seen this on the high slopes on the south side of Loch Earn - and it is a good place - if you get the coincidence of morning sun and mist below to the north. If you are energetic and up that hillside anytime do not forget your camera. It would be good to have a local photo of this for The Villagers. I was there - but I forgot mine! Old Nyati


Excerpt taken from the book Gallery of Nature, circa 1840.

Gardening A P R I L by Jonathan MacDonald

Having recently planted a lengthy copper beech hedge using bare root whips I was reminded of the benefits of manuring your ground prior to such work. The soil is the lifeblood of good growth - and to improve nutrient uptake, water holding capacity, ease of rooting, drainage and stability incorporation of any organic matter is a fundamental law of good gardening. Research work done at Rothamstead research station, which is where many good gardening practices are scientifically tested, showed that this practice has some very long term benefits. We tend to think that manuring will give Mmmm... lovely stuff! a welcome boost of nutrients but this is actually rather slow to get going. It is the long term improvements in structure that is the key benefit. Plants grown in manure the wool and silk mills) and is pretty high soil really needs humus as well as nutrition showed improved growth 60 years after in nitrogen. Cotton was not used. Guano - that’s why, on a good spring morning in being planted, compared to untreated soil! (Andean for ‘dung’) was mined on a large arable areas, you hear the splatter of the This stunning and seemingly supernatural scale in the Americas in the 19th century muck spreader... which will last for years to effect on growth is a clear reminder to get and is still available from the Caribbean come. as much organic matter as possible into any islands; it’s a high phosphate fertiliser with Add to this the old stubble being turned new plantings. Incorporation therefore helps fungicidal properties and unlike the night in, and ground is being looked after. In the both drainage and water holding sharpening soilman’s wellies, odourless. We will skip garden green manures are a great way of the classic double edged horticulture over candlestick makers’ waste, human hair, growing in organic matter; mustard, vetch, dilemma of the ‘free draining moisture pond mud, feathers and whale blubber - all and rye all cover the ground, giving back retentive soil’. I find that term rather tricky long gone, and replaced by the discovery more than they take. to get my mind around but actually both are (by Fritz Haber in the early 20th century) To finish off, and on the same theme, the achieved with manures and composts. of synthesized fertiliser, made literally debate whether to pee or not to pee on your Under cultivation, plants utilise available from thin air. The Haber Bosch process compost heap is a long running one (excuse plant nutrition far more quickly than nature today fertilises half the world’s crops by the pun). Carol Seinfeld’s aptly named can replace, and so further fertilisation the synthetic production of ammonia. The Liquid Gold book on the subject extols its will be required. Here the possibilities following simple equation for the scientific undeniable nitrogen giving properties. are endless. Fertilisers contain little or minded reader is N2+ 3H2→ 2NH3 - a very Gents’ is better than ladies’, being less acidic no humus - which is the bulky part that simple illustration of a high energy, high and thus won’t burn the grass. Anyone with improves the structure of the soil - but pressure process. Air is 78% nitrogen - the a female dog will know this, with flying further supplementary nutrition can bring nutrient which most limits plants growth. saucers of dead grass in the lawn. It is a fine along great results. If you ever fertilise your Haber ‘fixed’ the nitrogen to become balance. What kills the grass are nitrates lawn with a high nitrogen fertiliser you very ‘bioavailable’ and we have been using it in and too much kills it - but a little enhances quickly see the results in a greening of leaves. huge quantities ever since. Some plants do growth. Putting your bitch’s water through High phosphate and potash fertilisers are it naturally themselves: legumes (the pea a purifier (before she has drunk it) will instrumental in flowering and subsequent family) and one notable tree common here help lower nitrate levels in her urine and fruit and vegetable production. They are - the alder, which collects small nodules of may prevent burning. As a fertiliser it has widely used in that industry. nitrogen in the root using a bacteria called some merit; peeing outside saves water and energy in water shortage areas. Some swear Some fertilisers have, over time, died Rhizobium in the process. out, that were once commonplace. Take Haber uses 2% of the world’s energy by fertilising their greenhouse tomatoes for example ‘night soil’. This is a strange resources to produce this plant food and this way. Imagine yourself therefore with euphemism for human excreta, which was there are of course the various adverse a decent mouthful of your friend’s finest once collected in large cities prior to a proper environmental consequences. One problem home-grown, home-made Greek salad when system of sewers. It was collected by what which goes back to the beginning is that your you are told of their love of this technique! were called the ‘night soil men’ and taken out to the surrounding farmland. These gong farmers”, as they were known in Tudor times, were only allowed to work at night - hence the name ‘night soil’. I think pong farmers would be more apt! And is it not surprising this occupation is today regarded Open 7 days a week: 9.30am -5pm as one of the worst jobs in history. If you have ever had to grin and bear the clearing of a blocked cesspool pipe I can honestly Visit us for inspirational ideas confirm this accolade. Soot is another fertiliser now seldom used, and professional advice but if left to become less acidic it acted as a fairly light nitrogen feed. It is also a good On the main road A85 going East just before Comrie slug deterrent and might be worth a try if Contact: Jonathan MacDonald you have both soot and slugs. It also darkens soil thereby heating it up more quickly and getting growth going earlier. You may even Tel: 01764 670800 have used “shoddy” (being the waste of 11

View from the Park by Owen McKee How come the Park Authority can give itself planning permission without telling the community what it is proposing to do? ...was the question I was asked the other day. On enquiring I found that, much to my surprise, the bone of contention was the development at Loch Lubnaig. So let’s explain firstly that the Park Authority has to go through exactly the same procedures as everyone else in applying for planning permission - except that its applications can not be decided by a planning officer under delegated authority; its applications must go before the Planning Committee. All the normal regulatory bodies such as the Roads Authority, SEPA, SNH etc have to be consulted. The relevant Community Council is informed, and they have the right to speak at the planning meeting if they so desire. No special treatment. Indeed in the case of the Loch Lubnaig development there was a flooding objection from SEPA which meant that we had to revise our plans on the first application to exclude the camping pods, as they were in the 200 year flood plain.

I may add that the SEPA objection was the only one we had. Not a single objection was received from the general public but then that would not be surprising if they were not aware of the development beforehand. Did we let them know what was proposed? Yes, in many ways. Over the past couple of years the Five Lochs Project has been featured in articles in the Stirling Observer and has also received some attention on television. The Villagers reaches most homes in the area and I have included details in my article. Indeed in the November 2012 issue I highlighted that the Planning Application for Loch Lubnaig would be going before the December Planning Committeee meeting for consideration. Knowing how important it was to get the local input from the very start we invited the Community Councils in the area (BLS, Callander, Trossachs and St Fillans) to each nominate a representative to the Five Lochs Management Group. We also brought the Police , The Forestry Commission and Stirling Council into the group. I think it can safely be said that we tried to involve all those that would be affected by the proposals. Loch Lubnaig is the first of the Five Lochs developments. And we are not finished with that task. This month we will be in attendance at Strathyre (16th) Lochearnhead (17th) and St Fillans (18th) with our information trailor with full details of our proposals. Teenagers - who would have them? I’m delighted we do. Four years ago we introduced a National Park Schools Debate to promote the understanding of the benefits of National Parks - and last week I was delighted to listen to pupils from four high schools debating the motion Tourism benefits Conservation. Since all those taking part in the debate lived in or around the Park it is not surprising that the destruction brought about by some visitors to the Park featured prominently. I was very impressed by the standard of the debate and amazed at the depth of the research by the combatants. Clearly the schools have risen to the challenge - and that augurs well for our National Park. There were a number of prizes but the overall winner receiving the Cantlay Trophy was Our Lady’s HS, Dumbarton who spoke in favour of the motion. Owen McKee As always I can be contacted as follows ; Taigh Na Bhuth Lochearnhead 01567 830214


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

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.

Scottish Wildlife Trust

Scottish Wildlife Trust

Callander Member’s Centre Diary

The Ups and Downs of Basking Sharks was a fascinating talk by Dr Mauvis Gore of Marine Conservation International.

The basking shark, cetorhinus maximus (big nose!), is the second largest living fish, after the whale shark, and the second of three plankton-eating sharks, with the whale shark and megamouth shark. It is a slow moving (and generally harmless) filter feeder, scooping water into its huge mouth and filtering out plankton via highly developed gill rakers. Megaplanktivore is such a descriptive word for something that can grow to 8m on such small food! Amazingly, the brain is only the size of a golf ball but the nose is full of sensory pits and neurons, almost acting as a second brain. While they are thought to live to 40 years this is very hard to verify. Being slow to mature and with a low reproductive capacity, even an unexploited population would only grow at 2-10% p.a. and it is estimated that only 8200 breeding females exist worldwide. Across the world’s temperate oceans, it has long been commercially hunted for the squalene in its liver, still used in cosmetics and as a carrier for vaccines. Totally unacceptable is the trade in shark fins - used in traditional Chinese medicine and as an aphrodisiac in Japan, but predominantly to add tasteless ‘noodles’ to soup as a demonstration of status! Over the last 20 years this has reduced the global shark population by 95%. Some species have disappeared and others need protection. More locally, fishing off the west of Scotland during 1983-94 recorded reduced sightings in the Firth of Clyde and Inner Hebrides from 1025 to 342. Even Gavin Maxwell, better known for his books on otters, spent four years hunting the basking shark! Basking sharks can be seen off the west of Scotland from April to September/ October, mainly sighted within 1 km off shore when feeding (basking) near the surface, with dorsal fins visible. Satellite tagging of seven sharks off Coll showed that individuals moved widely around the West Coast, both N-S & E-W. They feed in large clusters, often in major currents, moving against the current to feed, but with it to travel between feeding sites. Tagging has also shown that they spend up to 90% of their time feeding in deeper water. This makes counting them virtually impossible so models using data on re-sightings of identified individuals have been used to estimate the total population. Fin shape, size, colour and

Tues 9th April 2013 Short AGM &

Kestrels for Company Basking shark

features (e.g. seal bite damage) were photographed and analysed ‘by hand’. Off Coll and Tiree, results suggest some local recovery following legal protection. However, sightings in the Clyde have not recovered, although six caught in creel nets in a single weekend suggests they could be feeding at deeper levels. Satellite tracking is also revealing amazing migrations; a 7m shark tagged off Coll in August 2010 had reached the Azores by December. Two sharks were tagged off the Isle of Man in June 2007; one 6.5m shark travelled 1807km in 41 days to Girvan while an 8m female had enough resources to cover 9589km in 82 days. This was the first recorded crossing of the Atlantic ridge off Canada - not only an amazing distance - but it also dived to 1264m! There is still a lot to learn about these ‘sea monsters’. You can help by reporting sightings of basking sharks, preferably with a photo, to mauvis.gore.mci@gmail. com, tel 0131 319 1042. Lesley Hawkins

by Gordon Riddle

Scottish Raptor Group & Author


7:30pm at The Waverley Hotel Main Street, Callander Cost £2 members, £2.50 non-members free for full-time students. Our full programme and more details on SWT can be found at This is our final talk of this season. We restart Sept 2013 – watch this space!


Rangers’ Review By Gareth Kett Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

The 15th March heralded the start of the brown trout fishing season and within hours some hardcore fishermen had braved the icy weather to set up camp on the shores of Loch Earn. It is good to see the fishermen and campers who are using the Breadalbane loch shores responsibly, but undoubtedly the new season will bring challenges for the Ranger Service and land managers alike. You will almost certainly have seen the work going on at Loch Lubnaig north and south car parks as infrastructure is put in place to create semi-formal campsites. This is the first step on the ground to the Five Lochs Project which aims to manage the anti-social element of visitors that have troubled our loch shores in past years. Developments are also planned for sites on Loch Venachar and Loch Earn and at Inverlochlarig and Glenoglehead. Over the winter months the Ranger Service has been carrying out monthly surveys on Lochs Earn, Voil and Doine as part of the UK wide Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS). WeBS is run in partnership by the British Trust for Ornithology, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Joint Nature Conservation Committee and the Wetlands and Wildfowl Trust. The data collected from the surveys are used to monitor population dynamics and to assess the importance of individual sites for water birds conservation as required by international conservation Conventions and Directives. The UK lies on some of the major flyways for Arcticnesting water bird species, which are attracted by our relatively mild climate and extensive areas of wetland. The following species were recorded on Lochs Earn, Voil and Doine over the winter (birds of prey are also recorded):

Loch Earn: Mallard, Goldeneye, Tufted duck, Goosander, Little Grebe, Mute swan, Canada goose, Greylag goose, Pinkfooted goose, Grey heron, Cormorant, Dipper, Grey wagtail, Coot, Oystercatcher, Woodcock, Great Black-backed gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Black-headed gull, Common Gull, Common buzzard, Red kite and Osprey. Loch Voil: Mallard, Goldeneye, Goosander, Little Grebe, Whooper swan, Mute swan, Canada goose, Greylag goose, Grey heron, Cormorant, Dipper, Grey wagtail, Oystercatcher, Common Gull, Common buzzard and Common kestrel. Loch Doine: Mallard, Goldeneye, Goosander, Little Grebe, Mute swan, Canada goose, Greylag goose, Grey heron, Cormorant, 14

Dipper, Grey wagtail, Oystercatcher, Common buzzard and Common kestrel.

Please get in touch if you have seen any other species on any of these lochs over the winter. From life on and around water to life in the water. Over the past couple of months the Ranger Service has been working with the Tay Foundation and Crianlarich Primary School in delivering the Salmon in the Classroom Project (sitc) to pupils at Crianlarich Primary. The abundance of salmon in Scotland’s rivers has declined steadily since the 1970s due to factors such as unsustainable fishing, netting by-catch, pollution and sea lice linked to fish farming. The sitc programme teaches pupils about and involves them in, salmon conservation work. It is coordinated by the Tay Foundation and delivered by ranger services to schools across the Tay catchment area. Following an introductory session to discuss the salmon lifecycle, fishing, threats, economics and conservation the Crianlarich Primary School pupils were given around 100 salmon eggs from a female salmon caught near Crianlarich and kept at the hatchery at Almondbank. The pupils looked after the eggs in a fridge until they had hatched into alevins. They then created an artificial redd in the Benmore Burn, near Crianlarich, on a bitter afternoon and released the alevins. The children will return to Benmore Burn in June with an ecologist from the Tay Foundation to go electro-fishing in the hope that they will see the later stages of the salmon life-cycle. I was among three National Park Rangers to attend the 20th Scottish Police Wildlife Crime Conference in March, which focused on the persecution of raptors. The National Park is one of the partners in the Partnership for action against Wildlife Crime (PAW). Statistically 2012 was a good year for Scottish raptors with fewer incidents of illegal killings of birds of prey than in any other year between 1989 and 2012. However the crimes that are detected are the tip of the ice-berg and the absence of birds of prey where habitat is suitable indicates that the problem persists and continues to discredit Scotland’s international reputation as a country taking pride in its natural heritage. To the credit of land managers within the National Park there have not been any confirmed incidents of illegal killings of birds of prey within the Park boundary in recent years.

Goldeneye frequently appear in WEbS surveys

Unfortunately, following Graeme’s move from the Ranger Service, Rangers’ Review will be a bimonthly feature in The Villagers in future. As usual if you have any wildlife sightings to report or any queries please contact me on my e-mail address: or on the Lochearnhead Office number 01389 722040. If I am not in the office please leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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:// a m b l e r s . htm in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diary: APRIL • Sat 6th 8:30am CtoC(11) Callander to Doune (8.5 miles) contact 01877 330032 • Wed 10th 9:30am Ramble: Glen Lochay (9 miles) contact 01877 339080 • Sat 13th 8:30am Hill: Mellock, Carmodle and Cloon (479m) contact 01786 825877 • Wed 17th 9:30am Stroll: Thornhill Loop (4 miles) contact 01786 850237 • Sat 27th 8:30am CtoC(12) Doune to Menstrie (9 miles) contact 01877 330032 MAY • Sat 4th 8:30am Hill: The Stob, Monachyle Glen (753m) contact 01877 339080 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!

Campervan - with a view

Friendly neighbours

Musical seal pup!

From Our Beijing Correspondent... If you were able to improve the weather in Scotland; extend the amount of open land; add more golden, white or black sandy beaches; surround it with turquoise seas; get rid of midges (though you’d need to exchange them for a few sand-flies down the west coast); reduce traffic considerably, and elongate the whole country...then you will have moved to New Zealand!! We took three weeks to travel around both the North and South Islands in a campervan. We had the most fabulous holiday...and fell in love with the place. The campervan allowed us to park just about anywhere we pleased at night and spend the days exploring beaches, rivers, waterfalls, jungles, mountains and the occasional village or town. We played in the sea with seals and dolphins (worlds’s

smallest Hector’s dolphins – they are so small that they were able to surf past us whilst we were standing) with no tourist trappings! And on land with keas, seal pups, rare yellow-eyed penguins, horses and sand-flies (well, there had to be some catch)! A real bonus was that nothing wanted to eat or kill us... apart from a visiting shark, and that was a long way out. Oh, and skinny-dipping was almost a necessity, everywhere, with no one around. After a week in the north, we took the ferry across from Wellington to Picton and, with a new friend (easily gained there!), we were taken out fishing for our supper, in the Queen Charlotte Sound. My first ever fishing trip! We were after snapper and fortunately our host caught the first one... as Duncan then caught the next five! I did of course catch the largest one... so there was no point in my catching any more. Barbecued fish... whilst sipping on crisp, cold white Marlborough wine…well, we had to taste the local produce. We managed to go riding on both

Islands: we galloped along white sandy Pakiri Beach, on really good-quality steeds, with my cousin and one guide, with the surf rushing in beside us. Unfortunately for Duncan, there was not enough snow or guides in Queenstown to allow him a longed-for climb in the Southern Alps. So we went for another ride! in Glen Orchy... this time wading through rivers and galloping through woodland. Fantastic! We did avoid just about all the touristtraps, though on the last day, had a great whale-watching outing at Kaikoura, with Maori guides. Two magnificent male sperm whales obliged us, as did a pod of dusky dolphins. We chose not to try the thrill-seekers’ bungee-jumping, though did do something neither of us had tried before (and I hadn’t ever planned on doing): we went caving. The signage said it was an hour’s route underground and as there was no one else there, I decided to join Duncan... very hesitantly! Each flashing a head-torch, we had a great adventure, even having to climb our way around a pool. I would do it again!! Tania Francis

Riding on Pakiri beach

Catch of the day

New Zealand idyll

Duncan relaxing in a ‘hot tub’


McLaren High School News by Yvonne King

Chinese New Year Though no dragons were in attendance, on Wednesday 20 February the canteen was decorated with Chinese lanterns and the dinner ladies wore conical hats to mark this special day in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese meals of chicken noodle soup and sweet and sour chicken were enjoyed with a relaxing backing of oriental music. Lorna Leckie, Catering Manager, stated that “both staff and pupils thoroughly embraced the theme, so much so that themed lunches should be a more regular occurrence.” She then went on to add that “Friday 8 March will be an American themed menu” ... so we looked forward to exposing our taste buds to the tantalising treats of our neighbours across the pond! David Wallace, Dawn Primrose and Harry Milligan S6 Blood Transfusion Talk On Thursday 21 February S6 pupils attended an afternoon assembly where Julie Morley from the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service talked about giving blood. Julie explained to pupils the benefits of giving blood and who we would be helping. It was a real eye opener to be told that as little as 3 teaspoons of blood can save the life of a premature baby. This emphasised to us the importance of giving blood and how we can help those in need. We were told how to donate and due to the high number of pupils willing to donate in previous years the school has arranged for a blood transfusion bus to come to the school in March. This is a great opportunity for pupils to give something back and really make a difference, and if that doesn’t seal the deal then maybe some juice and a free biscuit will! Dawn Primrose S6 GeoBus Visit On Tuesday 26 March S1 pupils were given the opportunity to participate in a Monitoring Volcanoes workshop run by GeoBus. This is an educational outreach project developed by the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of St Andrews. The workshop involved hands-on experiments looking at how real geologists measure and monitor active volcanoes across the world. Lots of squeals and screams could be heard as pupils created their own volcanic eruptions, using party poppers and plastic cups! Pupils then looked at the time required to evacuate people from volcano zones in order to minimise casualties…with some pupils seeming more compassionate than others! The day was a great success, with pupils commenting on how interesting it had been to see real life data and videos from the UK’s only active volcano. Our thanks to Kathryn Roper and all the GeoBus team for a great event. Litter Pick Last Friday, S1 and S2 pupils took part in Callander’s Spring Clean Litter Pick as part of our current partnership work with Forth Valley Environment Link. Callander and Community Development Trust have expressed their appreciation of the contribution that McLaren pupils make as responsible citizens in this community effort.


Marking Chinese New Year in style!

Red Nose Day On Friday 15 March we held a Mufti Day with pupils donating £1 to Comic Relief for wearing non-uniform. We had a bake sale at morning interval. Thanks to everyone who baked and who bought cakes and helped support this great charity. At lunchtime we held an Onion Peeling Competition! The Top Team and some teachers took part in the competition. They competed in pairs and each had one hand tied behind their backs. The first pair to peel all of the onions was the winner. Mr Vaughn-sharp and Mr Robertson were swiftly disqualified for not correctly following the rules! The next pair to finish were Mr Imrie and Mr Carrol who collected their Easter egg prizes. I would like to thank everyone who took part in the competition. The day was yet another massive success and we managed to raise a fantastic £1054.43 – around £200 more than last year! Siobhan Cattigan, S6 Charities Committee Skiing Report - 2013 Schools Alpine Series We are delighted to report that the McLaren Ski Team of Regan Dingwall, James Ronald, Craig Fingland and Connor Ramsay-Clapham all skied really well on Friday 15 March and secured second place at the finals of the 2013 Schools Alpine Series. They were narrowly beaten by Cults Academy with the combined times of the two schools only 2 seconds apart! Gordonstoun School were third. A great achievement for the team – well done!

Tomorrow’s geologists at GeoBus

McLaren Ski Team

Litter Pick

visit our website:

Red Nose Day onion peeling and cake baking. Well done to all who helped to raise cash for Comic Relief!

Teachers v Pupils Charity Football Match In typical McLaren fashion, we decided to do our bit for Comic Relief and ‘do something funny for money’ with our Teachers v Pupils star-studded football match. And funny it definitely was. Mr Vaughn-Sharp and David Wallace’s “run-in” was particularly amusing, but with the teacher’s “bulky” defence quickly being broken down with Andrew Howells (S6) scoring the first goal for the pupils, Mr Johnstone certainly wasn’t laughing. However, the teacher’s fought back with fierce passion as Mr Younger, our Student PE teacher, scored a penalty bringing the score up to 1-1. The teacher’s (despite their age!) managed to successfully show the pupils’“who rules the school” with 2 more goals scored by Mr Robertson and an honorary member of the teacher’s team, Scott Anderson (Leisure Centre employee and former pupil). When the referee, our very own Harvey Anderson (S6) – who received more heckling from the sidelines than the players – blew the whistle at full time the score stood 3-1 to the teachers. Despite being disappointed with the result, pupils gave generously throughout the match to Comic Relief and everyone enjoyed themselves. So, when’s the rematch!? Dawn Primrose S6

Forth Valley Cross Country On Friday 8 March a small group of McLaren pupils ventured to Bo’ness to represent Stirling Schools at the Forth Valley Cross Country Event. No one really knew what to expect from the other competitors and nerves were high. First up was the S1/2 girl’s race. Representing McLaren in this race were Jenny Holl and Madeleine Woods. Both girls ran well in difficult cold and windy conditions. The race was run at a very quick pace and Madeleine finished in a well run 4th place. In the S1/2 boy’s race the only representative from McLaren was Conor Ryan. After some jostling at the start line for a good position Conor found himself at the back at the starting gun. However, his running pedigree shone through and by the second big corner of the course Conor was up with the leaders fighting for a medal. Unfortunately, Conor was just beaten out of the medals in the final straight and also finished in 4th. Madeleine and Conor’s placing both counted towards the overall team scores. They both received winning certificates for their part in a successful Stirling Team which won 1st place in the S1/2 Boys and S1/2 Girls races. All the McLaren runners should be very proud of their performances. Each of the runners had set themselves personal targets before the race and these were all achieved. Well done! Scottish School Meals Week 4-8 March 2013 McLaren High School celebrated Scottish School Meals Week with a variety of tasting tables every day and a Zero Waste Initiative on the Thursday. International School Meals Day was celebrated on the Friday with an American Themed Menu. Hot Dogs, Southern Fried Chicken, Loaded Potato Skins, Chowder and Blueberry and Key Lime Muffins were enjoyed by all. Catering staff entered in to the spirit with Starts and Stripes in abundance, there was even a glimpse of an American footballer! Below and below right: getting into character for School Meals Week


DOCTORS Leny Practice

Farm Forum: Winter of discontent Farmers are always expected to talk about the weather but I must say I always try to avoid doing so – on this occasion however I feel justified in mentioning it! We have seen it all before but not often quite so severe and with no real end in sight, at this time of year. Many areas other than the hills are in the middle of lambing and this will undoubtedly cause severe losses. In the hills where lambing is perhaps a to member states to vary the policy month away as I write, ewes do require to suit their own situation within the a decent level of nutrition at this time overall budget. This has to be right as and this could do a lot of damage. The there can never be a “one plan fits all” little dry snow cover that we have on policy when the twenty seven member the hill in this area could do more good countries are so different. The rub here than harm as it does protect the grass is that we do not know if Scotland will below - such as it is. However in some be able to tailor the policies to suit our areas it looks as though there could be particular problems - or if this will serious losses of breeding stock – even be a decision taken by Westminster cattle. Another major problem is the ministers, whose detailed knowledge cost of feeding. We all had hopes that of the Scottish situation is scant ie. Spring was in sight but this spell has put Whether or not decision making at that an end to that dream. stage is one of the devolved issues. As I write, the CAP (Common There has undoubtedly been Agricultural Policy) negotiations are unnecessary friction between proceeding at speed and it looks as England and Scotland at the Brussels though a deal could be completed by the negotiations. Whilst it is accepted end of June which is the end of the Irish that Westminster leads the British Presidency. This was always deemed negotiating team, Mr Lochhead, the to be the target because of Simon Scottish Minister, was apparently Coveney’s agricultural knowledge and left out in the cold at one of the most diplomacy. However this does not important meetings when he could mean that everything will be favourable have perhaps influenced the outcome for Scotland. Firstly the overall budget for Scotland and probably England. has not to be decided for another week This is completely contrary to what and secondly, at this time of austerity happens during the fishing talks, when there are bound to be cuts, but where our position and experience are both they will be is the big question. It looks valued and listened to. We can only wait as though more autonomy will be given and see. Agricola


Drs Strang & Scott Drs Mathewson & Gibson Community Nurses The surgeries and community nurses take part in various training programmes throughout the year. This is to meet the educational and training needs of all members of the practice and nursing team. The next training afternoons will be on: Wednesday 22nd May 2013 Thursday 20th June 2013 Both practices and community nurse clinic will close at 12.30pm. Emergency cover will be provided by NHS24 for nursing and GPs. In the event of an emergency, please telephone 08454 242424. On that afternoon, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments.

Bracklinn Surgery Ordering medication We would like all patients of Bracklinn Surgery to know that nothing has changed and we still take repeat prescriptions over the telephone. There are lots of ways to order your medication, either by phone, e-mail, local Pharmacies or handing in your repeat slip. A decision was made a few years ago that we would not stop patients from ordering their prescriptions on the telephone as we appreciate that for some patients it’s the easiest way for them. Margaret Davis

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of Meeting held at The Inn & Bistro, Strathyre, on 27th February 2013

Present: Alastair Barclay (AB), Paul Hicks (PH), Rosanne McWilliams (RM), Susie Crammon (SC), Angus Cameron (AC), Sara Hesp (SH), Richard Eastland (RE), Adrian Squires (AS). Apologies: Malcolm McNaughton (MM), Karen Methven. In attendance: Cllr Alycia Hayes (AH), Suzanne Player (SP), Stirling Council (S-C); PC Ward, Central Scotland Police; K McLean (KM) and L Hopkins (LH), Lochearnhead. 1) Note from Chair MM was unable to attend and had asked AB to chair the meeting in his stead. He had also asked for a short note to be read before the start of the meeting. AB read the note in full. It concerned a circulation of emails regarding the impact of the recent budget set by S-C. MM asked that all those attending CC meetings should refrain from taking an overtly political stance as this was not appropriate, nor conducive to meeting the stated objectives of our constitution.

2) Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the previous meeting were then reviewed. AH referred to item 10(vii) and asked that the wording of the second paragraph should be amended to read: ìthat the recent change in administration may have resulted in a change of policy...îIt was proposed by RM and seconded by SC that the minutes, duly amended, should be accepted and this was approved unanimously.

3) Police Report

PC Ward reminded everyone that, on Monday 1st April, Central Scotland Police would be replaced by Police Scotland ñ the new, national police service for Scotland. In our area, this would coincide with the retirement of several officers and the transfer of others, including himself, leading to changes in local staffing. He commented that the closing date for applications to his post was 4th March. Several officers had applied and he expected that his own transfer would follow the appointment of the successful candidate, in time for the transfer of authority to the new police service. In the meantime, he was pleased to report that there had been no crimes or incidents of note recently.AB took the opportunity to express thanks and appreciation on behalf of the entire community for the whole-hearted commitment shown by PC Ward during his time in our area, and wished him well for the future.

4) Matters Arising

4.1) Dart Energy Planning Application for Airth RM & PH attended a public meeting organised by Friends Of The Earth in Stirling on 28th January. There was a useful presentation on unconventional gas extraction around the world. It is well developed in USA, Australia and Western Europe but only just coming to the UK. It offers relatively cheap supplies of gas and governments are likely to embrace it for economic reasons but there are serious concerns regarding the potential environmental impact. It is unlikely to affect our own community directly, but any damage caused may have a knock-on effect to the entire region. The best means of limiting the impact is likely to be through use of the planning process and CCs were invited to support each other in making representations through Stirling Council, and through the national government. AH commented that there are two very different points of view about the value of this technology, but confirmed that much would depend on the planning process when it came to protecting the environment. The national government and local authority rely heavily for advice on the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) who are regarded as the independent experts in this field. 4.2) Memorial Path, Forest Lodge, Strathyre PH reported that insufficient information had been available in time to submit an application to Paths For All for a grant this year but this should not deter us from pursuing it in future. RE added that it would be helpful to liaise with the Forestry Commission and mention was made of the Community Action Plan being prepared in conjunction with the National Park by the BLS Trust. However, it was pointed out that the action plan was generic in nature and might not be appropriate for this. AB also pointed out that applying for financial grants was something that was more appropriate for the Trust to undertake and it was agreed that a request should be made to MM to see if the BLS Trust would be prepared to take this on for next year. Action: Request to be passed to MM for BLS Trust.

5) Post Office, Lochearnhead

KM, who currently runs the post office, stated that the national Post Office is reviewing the viability of many of its smaller outlets and, where possible, wants to move post office counters into other shops or premises. The business at Lochearnhead is no longer viable, but the Post Office is prepared to fund its transfer to the Village Shop and Owen McKee has agreed to take it over. There will be a consultation period of six weeks but local opinion is broadly in favour of the move. Some existing services will be lost including large, international parcels (which will have to be processed at Strathyre); financial services such as premium bonds; Transcash payments without a barcode; and any payments by cheque. The new contract will last only one year at a time, but the opening hours will correspond to those of the shop and, therefore, increase slightly. A question was asked about the community notice-board outside the current post office. After some discussion, it was agreed that the whole matter of such notice-boards should be raised as a separate item at a future meeting. Action: Agenda item to be tabled at future meeting.

6) Upgrade to A85, Lochearnhead

LH related briefly the history of the proposal to construct a footpath beside the A85, between the Water Sports Centre and the Clachan Cottage Hotel, and to widen the road and improve the drainage along the adjacent section from the Clachan to the point where the speed restrictions finish. He highlighted the undertaking given by an earlier minister of transport, but noted that the national administration did not press on with it, and other priorities then took precedence. By 2007, the overall project had been divided into two phases, the first incorporating the pavement and the second referring to the road widening and drainage. Agreement was reached regarding Phase 1 but strenuous objections were made by local landowners concerning Phase 2 and it was shelved at that time. AH stated that she had corresponded with Bruce Crawford, MSP, regarding this and he had been under the impression that Phase 1 would be going ahead. He has now taken it up with the current minister of transport with a view to reinstating it as soon as possible. LH expressed grave disappointment that both phases were not being pursued, but AB stated that the objections to Phase 2 had been vociferous and determined, given the loss of amenity to businesses and private dwellings that the upgrade would entail. BEAR Scotland is due to be replacing TranServ very shortly, and may be persuaded to take a more proactive view. It was agreed that we needed first to await the response from the minister of transport, but that we should continue to argue for the upgrade as a matter of urgency.

7) Refurbishment of War Memorials

The Scottish Government has made money available for the refurbishment of war memorials, in advance of the centenary to mark the outbreak of the Great War (1914-1918). It was agreed that the current memorial at Lochearnhead would benefit from some restoration. It was also noted that residents in Strathyre would like to see a new memorial erected closer to the centre of the village. The National Park had already made a tentative offer to supply some stone for this purpose, but a central, granite slab would also be required and more funds would be needed for that. It was agreed that AB should investigate further what funds are available and how we might go about submitting an application. Action: AB to research further.

8) Correspondence

8.1) Community Emergency Plan for Severe Weather The BLS Trust is preparing a Community Action Plan in relation to developments within the National Park, but the CC has also been invited to prepare an Emergency Plan for contingencies such as severe weather or utility breakdowns. This will supplement the action taken by S-C in the event of any local problems. PH suggested that a small group of interested people would be needed to take this on, ideally representing each of our three communities. It was suggested that an article in The Villagers might help to foster interest and PH agreed to write something. Action: PH to write article for Villagers. 8.2) Stirling Reducing Doorstep Crime Partnership BLS CC will now receive minutes from the meetings of this partnership and any items of interest will be circulated to all members. 8.3) Rural Broadband PH reported that S-C has held meetings to encourage local communities to apply for grants, and now The Trossachs Area Network has organised a meeting in Callander to consider what is available. He and Richard Harris are attending these meetings. The Balquhidder initiative is progressing well and an application for funding has been submitted to Community Broadband Scotland. 8.4) Advertising (through Community Council) Two local companies had recently sent letters advertising their services to the CC, for circulation within the community. It was agreed that it would not be appropriate for the CC to endorse such advertisements.

9) Planning Matters

There were no current applications for consideration but SP reported that McClaren Rugby Football Club has obtained the permission it had sought to proceed with its plans for new sports facilities, and this work will now go ahead.

10) Matters From Local Councillors AH commented that it could be difficult to exclude political convictions entirely when personal feelings ran high, but assured members that she had the utmost respect for the other local

councillors who served in our area and that they were all committed to maintaining a good, working relationship, despite their political differences and the likelihood of ìturbulent timesî occasionally.

11) Any Other Competent Business 11.1) Meeting Venues PH commented on the recent change of venue for the CC meeting and the problems caused by having to re-advertise, not only the CC meeting for local residents who wished to attend, but also for the ìsurgeryî held by the local councillors that is generally timed to take place just beforehand. The unavailability of the Kingshouse had necessitated these changes but it was hoped that this venue would be available again by Easter, 2013, and could be used next winter. 11.2 Five Lochs Management SH reported that there is now concern amongst residents at Strathyre about the potential for campers to move into the village area, with the works taking place at Loch Lubnaig. AB replied that a recent meeting had noted that some displacement was inevitable. He himself believed that most visitors would decamp to Loch Earn until the sites were finished. The park rangers and police have undertaken to provide additional patrols to try and prevent any problems. The National Park is also in discussions with Transerv with a view to making the A84 a clearway. SC responded that this was also a concern to residents in Strathyre because it could lead to the village becoming the first available place for stopping, creating a problem where none had previously existed. RM mentioned that Grant Moir had talked of using the provisions of the Land Reform Act that created a restriction on camping within a certain distance of a highway. Nobody was able to confirm whether or not this was the case. LH added that the funding of the changes was still not absolutely certain, and that the CC would need to continue to campaign for its full implementation, in order for the necessary finds to be ìdrawn downî. AB commented that the police had expressed a willingness to enforce all relevant legislation and that everyone should be encouraged to report any problems to them without delay. 11.3) First Responders Unit It is hoped that a team of ìfirst respondersî can be set up in this area under the auspices of the Scottish Ambulance Service. A meeting has been arranged on Monday 18th March at Balquhidder Village Hall for all those interested in taking part. There was no other business and, at 9:15 p.m., AB declared the meeting closed. The next meeting is planned to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 10th April 2013 at Strathyre Village Hall.


Travellers’ Tales

North to Alaska!

A Road Trip - Spring 2012

Joe La Piazza and Andrew Drysdale have been friends for many years and share a fascination for long distance motor travel in interesting places. Here’s the next excerpt from their diary as they traverse the Trans Alaska Highway...

30th May From Lake Louise we drove on to Prince George along the banks of the Fraser River through place names we remembered from school days. In real time it was even more thrilling than we could have imagined. Our next destination was Fort St. John, then on to Dawson Creek. In light winds and gorgeous sunshine we felt we could drive forever in these lands - so far North, that darkness was as rare as sunshine would be in winter. The journey Joe and Andrew since crossing the border had taken us through much of British Columbia and mosquito infested, their progress was backs between their shoulders. Grizzly on towards the Yukon Territories, leaving both rapid and effective. Bear in mind bears are far less common than their the Rockies far behind us. We sensed that that many of those involved had never black cousins. we were going to see some very different experienced the intense cold of winters at It is interesting to note that bears are countryside from now on. The roads minus 60º or the humid heat of summer members of the pig family, the males were excellent, and surprisingly, virtually with 100º + temperatures, a seasonal known as boars and the females are free of traffic. It had taken us on the first variation of a staggering 160 degrees. known as sows. leg of our journey up the Trans Alaska Constant attack by mosquito and Our journey over those 19 hours took Highway, a road I had wanted to travel for black fly in spring and early summer us North for a further 1000 miles to Tok over 40 years. I was a young immigrant was responsible for many cases of Alaska. At mile 1169, 90 miles short of to Canada back in those days and I never hospitalization. In winter frost bite and the Alaska border, we chanced upon an found the time to go that far West. snow blindness accounted for many more RV camp where we spotted a collection of old military vehicles. These, we found out casualties. 30th / 31st May There are quite a few memorials to The Trans Alaska Highway goes for 1500 the dead along the way for those less miles from Dawson Creek in British fortunate members of this stalwart team. Columbia via the Yukon Territories to Our weather was outstanding as we Fairbanks Alaska. This land is remote and progressed in our modern air conditioned spectacular. vehicle but we were reminded from time The road, constructed between 1942 to time that it was not always this way in & 1943, was a joint Canadian/American this far-flung part of the globe. military initiative. The objective was Travel in this area is just outstandingly to prevent attack from Japan, whose beautiful. Snow covered peaks and domination of much of the Pacific posed endless Sitka forests, rivers and beautiful a real and deadly threat to Alaska and greenish blue lakes come and go almost Northern Canada. Oil and mineral rich, endlessly. The winter past was one of the it was a prime target. coldest recorded later, had been recovered and restored The construction was carried out since the turn of having been used in the construction of by 9000 military personnel and 6000 the last century the Alaska Highway. Dodge 3/4 toners, civilian contractors over a period with huge snow Deuce and a halves, Ruston Diggers, of 9 months. No mean task by any fall and extreme Diamond “T”s. Caterpillar Tractors and standards! cold. As a result, several more. On completion of the In contrast the new road, built the poor black and highway the military were instructed to progressively over the past 50 years, grizzly bears were bears little resemblance to the old struggling to gather Highway. Most sections have been berries and ground completely renewed and only a small nuts and other foods essential to their number of bridges from the original river survival. We spotted and photographed crossings are still in existence. In certain dozens of them along the wide road areas signs are posted indicating sections margins. Most were black bears which of “The old Alaska Highway”. tend to be small and can vary in colour It takes quite a stretch of the imagination from pure blond to almost total black to conjure up the hardships experienced in colour. The grizzly bears are instantly by those road builders. Penetrating this recognizable with their light brown Tundra region, part Alpine and part colour, long noses and humps on their 20

destroy all vehicles in case of invasion from Japan, but in fact many were passed over to the civilian contingent and were used for ongoing upgrades even up to the 1970s. If one knows where to look, many are still to be found along the site of the “old highway” where they eventually gave up the ghost or were decommissioned. This display is a remarkable tribute to those fine old machines. As we flashed our cameras, we were approached by a delightful gentleman, the owner of the complex, Mr. Bob Beatty. He asked where we came from we were pleased to reply, ‘Scotland’. He spoke with great enthusiasm and mentioned that his mother came from Scotland... Lochearnhead! Joe and I were just staggered. This was another midnight adventure in broad daylight. We learned a few things that night about the Alaska Highway/Canada. Bob explained that one of his memories was that of his father and two uncles going to war in the 1940s, and the sadness when, of the three men, only his father returned. He was quite critical of the gung ho American tactics in Normandy which to us indicated a deeper meaning than expressed on that occasion. His words were as follows: “When the Germans shot, the Brits ducked their heads, when the Brits shot the Germans ducked their heads. But, when the Yanks shot, everybody ducked their heads.” It appears that Americans are soft targets! The building of the Highway was clear in his memory and he explained that the original cut bore little in common with the New Road. This was some 26feet wide and bridges were constructed of basic materials which served the purpose at the time. Drainage was of a similar nature but all in all, the road was fit for purpose. Apparently we had just missed a Grizzly sow and her two cubs an hour or so before. Bob recounted that for several years

this sow has brought her cubs to the RV Park each evening and leaves her litter to rest under a trestle table while she goes foraging. She even pushes chairs in front of the table so the cubs are dissuaded from roaming out. Late evening she collects them and heads out for cover and rest for the cubs. Bears do not sleep or rest much over the short summer season, constantly foraging in order to put on weight enough to survive the 7 winter months. Cubs are often born while the mothers are still hibernating and for up to 2 months they can suckle their mothers as they sleep. If the mother does not attain sufficient weight, she and her cubs can die of starvation. For this reason, visitors should not disturb bears. We looked at our watches at 12.30am and noted that the level of light was intensifying in the east, an indication of another day of brilliant weather.

Four minutes to midnight - and still light!

Discussions over for the day we said our farewells to Bob and his wife and set off again in the midnight sun, a further 180 miles to go across the Alaska border to Tok, where we gratefully checked in to a small motel... To be continued next month!

Balquhidder 2013 Community Action Plan 104 ideas were generated in the recent survey of which 67 were unique and were representative of 50 people. It will be interesting to see how the priorities of the different villages are reflected in the next few months. Here are some of the top ones in Balquhidder. • To cut back and maintain all roadside hedges and shrubbery for safety reasons • Improve the broadband • Improve mobile service right up the glen • Create a speed limit in the glen • Develop a new games pitch or reinstate the old games pitch at the east end of Loch Voil • Clean up the lochside of all litter • Put a community hydro scheme in Kirkton Glen • Reinstate cinema nights in the village hall • Build public toilets in Balquhidder • Form a community garden The next stage in the process is for all the ideas to be ranked. We hope to publish updates on these.

£1 Million Fund to Preserve Memory of Scotland’s War Dead War memorials across the Stirling area stand to benefit from £1 million in new funding designed to ensure the restoration and enhancement of war memorials ahead of next year’s 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. The Centenary Memorials Restoration Fund will pay for the upgrade and maintenance of memorials in villages, towns and cities in Scotland that pay tribute to those who gave their lives during both world wars and other conflicts. The new fund would help people in communities across Scotland to continue to pay their respects to those who fell during conflict through the upkeep of war memorials. The events in 2014 to mark the anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War will not be a celebration in Scotland, but a commemoration of the servicemen and women who paid the ultimate price in defence of our country. Scotland’s war memorials – from the magnificent to the more modest – pay tribute to those fallen and will be an important part of the commemorations in communities the length and breadth of the country during 2014. There are some memorials in Scotland in need of upgrade to get them up to standard for the commemorations. The Centenary Memorials Restoration Fund will offer grants to those who care for these important monuments for repair work to be carried out. Each memorial in Scotland reminds us of the sacrifice made by those who died during the Great War, the Second World War and other conflicts. They remind us of the futility of war and the necessity that we never forget the sacrifice made by those who fell in conflict. Any enquiries about grants should be sent to Historic Scotland Investment Team at Longmore House, Salisbury Place, Edinburgh EH9 1SH. Tel: 0131 668 8801 email: 21

Strathyre Primary School News Book Day On Thursday 14th of March we held a book day. We all dressed up as our favourite characters out of a book. We had class parades around the senior class and then we told everyone what character we were and why we had chosen to dress up as them. We brought books in and we had a book swap. We had Quiet Reading in the reading tent which was in the mobile; this was very peaceful and enjoyable. Our activities were: making Hobbit books, making note pads; the seniors in P6/7 did paired reading with the P3 children. We were given out Book Tokens for free books or to use to buy a book for a £1. Everyone had a great day! Georgina Mattsson Red Nose Day On Friday 15th of March we held a red nose day which was great fun. Everyone dressed up in red, some even wearing several layers of red. We had a competition to see who was wearing the most red and Eve Hatton won as she was wearing 23 items and was presented with a yummy bag of skittles which of course was in a red bag. We had this as a mufti day and we raised approximately £90 with people dressing up - and we sold red noses. Georgina Mattsson Cricket In February P4-7 did cricket with Active Stirling. Tony was our coach and he was from South Africa. He knew a lot about cricket and taught us a lot: how to bat, catch and bowl. He also told us about the wicket and the game in general. I think everyone’s favourite part was playing the matches. Tony taught us how to bat, throw and about what a wicket is. It is great that we get the opportunity to try all these different sports out. There is cricket in Callander every week for those that are interested. Harry Barker



Central Scotland Police

There when you need us

Official Launch of 101 Non-Emergency Number The new 101 non-emergency number was officially launched across Scotland on Thursday 21st February. The introduction of the 101 non-emergency number will give the people of Scotland a new way to contact the police to seek advice, speak to a local officer or to report a crime that does not require an emergency response. The 101 number will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will connect the public to a police service centre in their local area. Calls will cost a flat rate of 15p from both landline and mobile networks, regardless of the time of day or the duration of the call - in many cases this replaces previous higher charges. All change By the time this months issue hits the streets we will be into April. This will mean that Central Scotland Police in line with all the other territorial forces across Scotland will no longer exist. Don’t panic there will be a police presence which will now take in the whole of Scotland. The single force which will be known as the Police Service of Scotland came into being on the 1st of April. The new force has been divided into a number of divisions, we have amalgamated with Fife and Lothian and Borders and will be now known as the Eastern Division. This has also been sub-divided with the area previously being covered by Central Scotland now being referred to as the Forth Valley Division (FVD). Whilst there are a number of significant changes within the various departments in the police service both locally and nationally this should not impact on the public in anyway with regards to the service they receive or expect. Probably the only difference you may notice is that any correspondence you now receive, logo’s, uniform identifiers such as “Central Scotland Police” will have been removed. Mr House who is the Chief Constable for the Police Service of Scotland has decided to make our “old” headquarters at Randolphfield in Stirling the base from which he and the senior management will operate from on a day to day basis, this is a great honour for the people of the FVD. In line with the national changes the police have recently undertaken there have been a number of significant changes locally. Chief Inspector Kevin Findlater and Sergeant Gregor McFarlane having joined the service on the same day 30 years ago retired on the 31st of March. Both served for many years in the Dunblane and Callander areas and were very influential in the creation and running of Operation Ironworks. As a result of the retrials Inspector McMenemy has taken over the operational responsibilities for the area and Sergeant Denham will be responsible for the local community team.

All the best, Andy!

By now I would imagine everybody will be aware that I am also on the move. I am due to start my new role as a Schools Based Police Officer at Alloa Academy after the Easter break. Whilst Falkirk and Stirling have officers based in a number of high schools I along with a colleague will be the first to go to Clackmannanshire. Throughout my time here the welcome, warmth and assistance afforded me could not have been better which has made my decision to move very difficult. During the past few months a number of changes have taken place, I have become the primary carer for my parents who live in Fife; Liz has decided that after 13 years of seeing each other it was about time “we” took the next step and moved in together and everything else that brings!!!! (I have managed to dodge that bullet for a number of years but she eventually winged me). With the changes both locally and nationally taking place I felt that it was probably the right time to move on. I can honestly say that the past seven and a half years have been fantastic. Despite what some may think I have thoroughly enjoyed myself and cannot thank you enough. For those of you who know or have anything to do with the police will understand when I say “working in the Killin section IS the best job in the police”. However the opportunity to develop a brand new role has made my decision to move a little easier. In the best traditions of Hollywood there are so many people to whom I owe a great deal, who helped me during my stay, that I would probably forget to mention some. I would like to say thank you to everybody and wish you all the best in the coming years. I am not sure if you will see it as good news, but there will be a replacement for me. Unfortunately when I submitted this article the interviews had not taken place! PC Andy Ward

May the 4th be with you...

. ..whether you’re up the Stuc, doon the Stuc or running the Stuc! The Stuc a’ Chroin Hill Race is celebrating its 25th Anniversary on Saturday 4th May 2013. Coinciding with the first May holiday as

usual, we’re privileged to have been chosen to be the Scottish Athletics Championship event, and one of the two Scottish Hill Runners Championship races. Our race is one of the more popular races with the runners, and for good reason – stunning scenery, good timing (Bank Holiday), it’s well marked all the way to the summit, plenty of water stops, and our marshals always provide loads of encouragement for

the runners, not to mention plenty of energy boosts to the runners in the form of jelly babies, jelly beans and chocolate. We have a bumper year for prizes this year, over £2,500 worth, thanks to our sponsors both old and new. There are prizes for the first three places for every category of male and female (under 23s, adult, 40+, 50+, 60+ and 70+), as well as team prizes and Marshals’ spot prizes. The first three places of each category each get a bottle of spirits, but if that’s the reason you’re doing it, perhaps you should question your motives! We’re expecting a large number of runners for the race, probably in the region of 250 to 350. We’ll need more help than usual this year, so if you’ve been thinking about helping

out or would like to be involved, this is the year to do it. We’re always on the lookout for marshals to take water up the hill, keep the runners on track and dispense water for the runners. Marshals are usually out on the hill for a couple of hours plus walking time and it’s an immensely satisfying day. We’ll need people to help set up the field on Friday 3rd including to put up the marquees. For anyone interested in either coming to watch or helping out, a brief itinerary follows but more detail can be found on the website: Don’t forget to come to the Inn on Saturday night for live music to celebrate a great day out. Contact details can be found on the website.

Fri 3rd May Hill Marking, Field preparation & marshals meeting Sat 4th May 08:30 Marshals’ muster and leave for hill 13:00 Race starts 15:00 + Anticipated first finisher 21:00 Music at the Inn Sun 5th May Field take down

For information on the race, visit or follow the marshals link on the home page.


Confident Driving

“How’s My Driving...?” How often have you seen that sign on someone’s vehicle in front of you and thought, “well, not very good actually, mate!” We all think we’re good drivers. We feel indignant if someone criticises our driving. “I’ve been driving for over ten/ twenty/thirty years, and I’ve never had a single accident!” Maybe that’s the case. But we can become complacent as the years go by, and maybe pick up some bad habits along the way. Since moving to The Villagers’ area in 2006 I’d become aware that, for me, driving took on a whole new meaning, as I found myself negotiating many more country roads, tight bends and single tracks. I witnessed a couple of near-misses and had one or two myself. I got to thinking that maybe I should sharpen up on my driving skills! So, eventually, I got round to enrolling in Forth Valley’s Institute of Adanced Motorists. It wasn’t long before I realised that I wasn’t quite the driver I thought I was. With my observer Angus’s help (see his piece, right) I addressed every aspect of my driving. From simple safety checks before starting up, to forward planning and overtaking more safely... there was a lot more to consider than I ever learned at the time of my basic test, way back in 1977! For example: applying a structured system when you approach a roundabout - gathering information/checking your position and speed/selecting the right gear/ accelerating away... and seemingly small


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things, like making eye contact with other drivers as they prepare to move out from a junction - can be the difference between a collision and a non-incident. It’s not just about improving your own driving - it’s about being able to anticipate the actions of others on the road and thereby making sure you’re elsewhere when they get it wrong. The best thing about my driving sessions was that I started to notice a change in my driving almost immediately. With just a couple of lessons I was more confident, more aware. Smoother, too. Fewer touches on the brake, gear changes more fluid. And most surprising of all, I was making better progress everywhere. A quick look at my mpg counter showed more economical consumption - great! I passed my IAM test - and it’s a very good feeling. Especially as there is such a small percentage of women doing the course. (Come on, girls!) And with insurance discounts for advanced drivers, it’s a winwin experience for everyone. To anyone out there who is thinking about their driving: maybe you’ve recently had one of those ‘near-misses’ or you know someone who has; or maybe you think you are simply a great driver who doesn’t need to improve. Think again! You owe it to yourself and all other road users to be the best you can be out there. I can’t recommend the IAM and their mission highly enough; everyone should do the course, whether you’re a new driver or if you’ve been driving for a lifetime. Whether you’re 21 or 81 there is always room for improvement - and Gill Allan it’s a skill for life.

Driving economically is an important factor for most drivers today. The average family now spends more money on cars and transportation than it does on food! So it pays dividends to drive with economy in mind. Here are some useful tips to cut your expenditure - and the CO2 you pump into the atmosphere. Planning ahead as you drive not only makes you more aware of hazards, it also helps you to drive smoothly and economically. Use acceleration sense. Do you go straight from the accelerator to the brake? Save fuel by planning ahead and gently letting the deceleration of the engine braking bring you to a halt. There’s no point in rushing up to a queue, then braking hard to a halt. Obey speed limits. Driving smoothly at the speed limit will use up to 25 per cent less fuel. In a traffic jam, let the car in front open up a gap then try to keep moving smoothly at all times, rather than stop/starting. Regular vehicle servicing maintains engine efficiency and economy. Poorly serviced cars can use 10 per cent more fuel. Checking tyre pressures regularly, minimises tread wear and fuel consumption. Always try to reverse into parking spaces. When you start off again, driving smoothly away without having to reverse out not only saves fuel, it gives much better visibility. Don’t fill your tank right up. You’ll be carrying extra weight, which will reduce fuel efficiency. There are many more tips on how to save money on fuel - but if you try the above you will be well on the way to being a smoother - and richer - driver! Angus Maciver Chairman Forth Valley Advanced Motorists

Planning For Emergencies

Most of us probably consider that we should be prepared for small emergencies in life. When I was learning to drive, I still remember my Dad telling me that I should always have a coat with me, and some coins to make a ‘phone call, in case the car were ever to break down. It wasn’t uncommon then for people to carry a blanket in the boot, plus a shovel, torch and welly boots in winter, and, as I recall, they were often needed! Cars broke down all the time - certainly the cars that I was driving then! Similar experiences led to most houses having a stock of candles (for the inevitable power cuts), plenty of tins in the larder (for days when snow and ice prevented a trip to the shops) and alternative means of boiling a kettle or heating a stove if the normal supplies failed. But when it comes to major disasters, most of us nowadays tend to expect the Emergency Services to come along and sort things out. Wherever we may be, and whatever we may be doing, we have come to expect that a blue light will materialize within a few minutes of things going wrong and magic wands will be waved. The mobile telephone is our guardian angel, able to summon up uniformed genies at our immediate beck and call. Well, for those who live in populated, urban areas, this may be not so far from the truth. But, for those of us living in a rural community, we cannot afford to be so optimistic. This is not to say that we are beyond the reach of help and must rely entirely on ourselves. Far from it! In some cases, we may even be better served, for example, by an air ambulance that can reach us and move us to hospital faster than any conventional ambulance in the town or city. However, it is only common sense to realise that there may be much we can do to make things easier for the emergency services when we do need their help. Local knowledge and resources can make all the difference in helping to prevent a drama unravelling into a crisis. With this in mind, Stirling Council has invited communities to think about

forming a small group that can put together a Community Emergency Plan for dealing with any kind of incident that is likely to put extra pressure on the normal emergency services. The idea is that local resources are identified that are willing to contribute some practical help and expertise when something big happens. We would need to work with the emergency services and other agencies involved, not treading on their toes, but supporting and helping them with local knowledge and resources. The sort of thing they have in mind is severe weather (such as snow or floods) leading to blocked roads or even damaged properties with people needing temporary rest and shelter. It could be a problem from widespread loss of power or communications, a severe outbreak of sickness, or just about anything out of the ordinary that starts to cause problems for us all. Preparing a plan would mean getting together a small group of half a dozen or so people, who would be prepared to work through the guidelines and suggestions from Stirling Council to come up with a list of resources, with contact details, and some basic procedures for bringing the community together and making the most of our resources in a difficult situation. Actually, local communities here have already shown that they can do this; just think back to the landslides a few years ago. But having a plan would make it a lot easier and quicker to provide a smooth response that is able to complement what the emergency services and council can do for us. It might enable us to save lives, and would certainly help us to bring comfort and relief to people going through what may be an unexpected and terrifying ordeal. If you are interested, and would be prepared to do a little work on behalf of the whole community to get something like this up and running, please get in touch and let me know! Paul Hicks Secretary, BLS Community Council 14 Vorlich Road, Lochearnhead 01567 830359

May will see the Scouts returning to Killin & District and taking boys and girls from anywhere in the Breadalbane area. An enrolment night will be held in

Killin School on Monday 15th April 7.15pm

Come along and get your child’s name down. The first meeting of the Scout section, will be Wednesday the 8th May at Tombreck at 7pm. until 9pm.This first meeting will be open to Parents, where they will be able to enjoy a BBQ and meet the Leaders. Beavers and Cubs report below. Age groups for our three sections are: • Beavers 6 to 8 yrs old (but we can start them a few months younger) • Cubs 8 to 10 yrs • Scouts 10 to 14 yrs • Explorer 14yrs to 18yrs (not looking at this age group at the moment, children have to be brought up in the movement, for this section to work. But “Be Prepared” is our motto and I have someone in mind as Leader, so, watch your back!) Section Dues - Beavers and Cubs £2.50 per week and Scouts £3. We have still to discuss how often we will collect the dues,weekly or monthly. All sections will present accounts annually at the Group AGM. The choice of the meeting place was taken after much discussion; some people thought it was too far away. But it’s only ten, fifteen minutes away from the village. Children attending groups in Stirling/Falkirk travel even longer in the same town, to get to their meeting places.The Big Shed people have been very kind to us from a financial point of view. The Scouts will have the Shed to themselves on meeting nights. We are ready to run with the Scout Section,but we are still looking for some Leaders in the Beavers and Cubs. So come and help get the Cub Section started! Contacts: David Robertson GSL. 2nd Killin & District Scout Group Tel 01567 829171 Scouts:Harriet Stevens Cubs: David Robertson - as above. Beavers: Marieke McBean 25


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• 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

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

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

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

APRIL 9 12 12 16 17 18 19

BLS Luncheon & Leisure Club - 12.30 - 2.30pm - Scout Station, Lochearnhead 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) Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00-9.00pm Choir Occasional - Balquhidder Hall - 7.30-9.00pm Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon Ballroom Dancing - Lochearnhead Hall

2013 SWT Talk Kestrels for Company - Callander - 7.30 Charity Quiz Night - Lochearnhead Watersports Centre - 7pm - see p.6 Bingo Night Fundraiser - Inn & Bistro, Strathyre - 7.30pm - see p.5 5 Lochs Drop-In Session, Strathyre 5 Lochs Drop-In Session, Lochearnhead 5 Lochs Drop-In Session, St. Fillans American Folk/Ceilidh Band - Inn & Bistro, Strathyre - see p.5


Stuc A’Chroin Hill Race - see p.23

JUNE 1-2

Strathyre Festival - see p.7

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

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

CHURCH SERVICES Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St. Fillans CHURCH OF SCOTLAND Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316 Sunday 12 noon Minister: 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 Saturday Vigil Mass 5.30pm from May through to September Killin, in the Episcopal Church Sunday 2.30pm Father Jim McCruden 2 Ancaster Square, Callander Tel: 01877 330 702


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

Mobile 07824 496 019

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

Tvapril2013 lo res  

Village life in Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St Fillans. Launch of MHOR84. Where to eat and sleep. What to see and do, communi...

Tvapril2013 lo res  

Village life in Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St Fillans. Launch of MHOR84. Where to eat and sleep. What to see and do, communi...