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The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

A Very Merry Christmas - and A Happy New Year!

Loch Lubnaig - photo Š Alistair Barclay


Editor’s Bit The first point to make this month is to give you the date for our AGM! It’s Wednesday 11th February at 7.30 at Mhor 84. We would like to invite all our readers to come and give us your views on what we are currently doing and your ideas for future articles. As ever we need more people to come and help in a number of roles, even if you could only help for a couple of times a year or be prepared to act as a “reserve” for emergencies! This month being an example where Gill rose from her sick bed to enable us to get this to the printers, so thanks from us all Gill. I am pleased to say that we have actually had one person already getting back to us with more information about local people involved in the First World War. He has promised to come and see us in the next few weeks so we will have more stories in the New Year. More information and stories would be appreciated. Finally I’d like to wish you all a lovely Christmas - and a hectic New Year if you are going to all the dances and parties that are happening in all four villages! You’ll find all the details for them here. JJ

Callander Brass with

Strathyre Village Hall

Callander Brass Band Come for Carols with

Choir Occasional and

Mel: 384668 or Sarah: 384654

on Thursday 18th December at 7.30pm

Ba l q u h i d d e r

Enjoy some mulled wine and mince pies too!

New Year’s Day Dance with the Stuart McKeown Ceilidh Band Back by popular demand!

Thursday 1st January 2015

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

Hogmanay Dance December 31st 2014


will be playing in Lochearnhead Village Hall this Hogmanay!

Tickets £10.00 (including Stovies) Licensed Bar (9.00-1.00)



The following readings were taken at ‘Bramblings’, Auchtubh, Balquhidder for the month of OCTOBER 2014. Average max temp Actual max temp Average min temp Actual min temp

13.3 ºC 56.3 ºF 15.1 59.2 5.9 42.6 2.3 36.0

Rainfall 28cms 11.5ins Strongest wind gust: 43mph on 19 Oct. 2

Prize raffle Tickets available from local shops Or telephone

01567 830458 Help us raise funds to maintain our Village Hall!

The St Fillans Bit

by John Murray

How the years fly by. Did you know that it is exactly 50 years since the Beatles stayed at The Four Seasons Hotel in St Fillans? The tale has been resurrected by Travel & Drinks writer Mike Gerrard who recently visited the Four Seasons (and wrote very favourably about his stay). It seems that the group were performing in Edinburgh and young photographer Fraser Ballantyne was sent by the Daily Record to photograph prize winners who had won a visit to the Beatles dressing room before the show. After the show the group made a rapid departure through the rear exit to avoid the hordes of screaming teenies and it was assumed that they were staying in an Edinburgh hotel. But the intrepid Fraz had discovered, he can’t remember how, that they were headed off to The Four Seasons. He phoned his editor who climate culture shock is on the way. Their instructed pursuit and an exclusive. Fraz intention is to run the hotel much as Alan set off for St Fillans and arrived at 2 a.m., and Jane have, what they call a Boutique by which time The Beatles had retired for Hotel. I have not been in the hotel for the night into the chalets. He was further a while but met Alan and Jane there instructed to stay put and spent the next and I have to say that they have made three hours in his very cold car. He was a superb job of renovating the public relieved at 5 a.m. by another Record areas. The breakfast room, lounges and photographer so Fraz recently refurbished bar never did get a chance to are all immaculate and photograph the Beatles in so different from my St Fillans – but he did finish ownership days – but up with four autographs then again the Achray of the boys from the operates in a very different dressing room shoot. market nowadays. When writer Gerrard Alan and Jane visited the hotel he stayed commence work on a new in the same chalet in which home close to Armadale John Lennon and Paul on the Isle of Skye in McCartney had stayed, January. The architect complete with Beatles involved has many RIBA photos, and he met up with Fraz. The two awards and the house will be split level of them are pictured under the Tarken built into the hillside, heavy on the glass sign at the hotel. 50 years ago Fraz had and timber. Whilst the house is being but a vague idea where St Fillans was – he built the couple intend to travel and just could not have imagined that he would finish up living just a couple of hundred yards away from his ‘almost scoop’. In December the Four Seasons closes for a week from 14th to 21st December and is then fully open over the Festive Season with a few tables left for Christmas Day and heavy bookings for weekend nights – so booking recommended. Andrew and Mary send season’s greetings to their many loyal customers and look forward to seeing everyone again in 2015. Whilst on the topic of village hotels I am now able to give an update on the Achray House sale. The hotel is sold to a South African couple – Bradley and Zelda – who arrive in late January 2015 to take over. Alan and Jane will be staying on for four weeks whilst the new owners find their feet. Bradley and Zelda are selling up a business in South Africa which, I gather, was a wholesale supplies to smaller grocery shops and mini supermarkets. They had considered relocating to Florida, Dubai or Scotland and finally chose Scotland – methinks a

The Fab Four

let the architect and builder get on with it – a very sound idea, there is nothing worse for a builder than having the client looking over his shoulder every day. I remember my building days when clients asked “is that a fixed price?” – My reply always was “it is until you start changing things half way through”. They always did. Alan and Jane hope to move in in early 2016 and the house is designed with a B&B operation in mind for a couple of years then retirement. It is good to see ongoing media coverage of the proposals by the National Park to resolve the various problems arising from inappropriate use of the lochsides. I do not know how many saw the piece on BBC’s Landward programme last week but it was well presented and keeps up the awareness of the problems and pressure on the NP. What I found interesting were comments from a lady representing the Ramblers Association. When she started me, cynical as ever, expected a diatribe about restriction of rights to roam, no

(Continued overleaf


The St Fillans Bit

(Continued from p3)

by public bodies, whether governmental or local, is to tackle problems by first setting up an ‘enquiry’ which takes months or years to report, by which time we have forgotten the problem or it has sorted itself, or alternatively to bring in ‘new laws’ when existing laws are just not being enforced. Governing bodies, of all colours, seem to think that the more laws and enquiries they instigate is a measure of their effectiveness. I would hate to think that the powers to solve our lochside problems have been there for years and that said problems could have been solved ages ago with no consultation periods or new byelaws? Yesterday I belatedly got around to meeting relative village newcomer Val Woolley. Wife Daisy and I are both lovers of dogs and Daisy has pressed me to go and meet a real dog lover with a tribe of Cocker Spaniels. Val originates from Nottinghamshire and her early life was in Life Assurance, Banking and then Libraries. Then in 1988 her husband took up a new job in Scotland and the family relocated to Crieff where they lived for 10 years. A brief sojourn back to England did not last long and Val couldn’t wait to return to Scotland. Her mother was living in Comrie and Val needed easy access to the countryside for her dogs so St Fillans fitted the bill perfectly, particularly as Ardchatten has a large garden for use of said dogs. Val’s life with Cockers started 40 years ago and she commenced breeding them in the late 80’s and then showing them in 1990 and progressing to become a show judge herself. Her home is filled with pictures of the numerous cockers she has reared or owned and she can reel off all their names effortlessly. Her successes in showing her dogs is well reflected by what seems like hundreds of rosettes displayed on the walls. She no longer breeds for profit or shows her dogs, as she points out showing involves serious work, many miles of travelling and considerable expense with travel costs, hotels etc. So she now lives happily with her six remaining cockers in a lovely home which she has fully redecorated herself (and you’ll work out that she is no spring chicken) as well as having many renovations done. She maintains her large garden herself, and a treat it is. As you would expect Val is very knowledgeable about dogs and she is fascinating to listen to. She has her own beliefs in the ways to feed and look after her cockers and I was surprised that her vet’s bills are minimal. She tells me that if you follow a few simple rules in dog care you will seldom need a vet. Pictured is Val with 4 of her dogs going mental because it was dinner time – the other 2 were in the utility room and I 4

Fraz and Gerrard

Val and her dogs

got big cuddles off them before I left. Apologies for the standard of the photo – my long used camera of which I proudly sing the praises decided to do silly things – nothing lasts forever nowadays. Remember the Village Burns Supper on January 24th! Tickets are £25 a head from John Bennett or myself. This year’s supper has the added aim of, apart from enjoyment, raising funds for Help for Heroes and, appropriately, Ali Spearing will be proposing the Toast to the Lassies. Bob Livermore thanks The Villagers for the £138 donated to the annual poppy appeal in November. I watched the Festival of Remembrance on TV and found it still very moving after all

these years. I also felt it sad that modern generations have no idea of the real suffering experienced by so many in those two world wars. It is to be hoped that all those who died cannot see the way in which our national standards and pride in our nation are being devalued by the day. Last bit – did you know that the Sandison Hall is available to hire for private functions? Seems some villagers do not. Kid’s parties, adult parties, whatever. If you plan an event why disrupt your home when a large hall with tables, chairs, kitchen, toilets and so on is all on your doorstep for not a lot of money. Contact Elspeth Smylie if you are interested. John Murray

Lochearnhead Carpet Bowls After a very successful Traditional games night the village Carpet Bowls has started again on a Tuesday evening starting at 7.30 in the village hall. We have had 20 people attending so far from beginners to past team members. It is a fun night - so why not come along and see for yourselves! Keeping fit in both body and mind. Recent research has proved that a long life isn’t ALL in the genes but lifestyle has a significant part to play. We are told that keeping the mind and body active can add many years to one’s longevity. The current older generation has benefited hugely from the advance of medical science and is consequently living considerably longer than its forebears but it is also true that as one gets older, the draw of the armchair and telly is strong, especially as winter draws in, but it can also be a health hazard! So what can we do about it? The U3A movement was set up in the UK back in the eighties to address this very question. There are now 944 U3As in the UK as a whole and 46 here in Scotland. In Callander and West Perthshire U3A, as in all U3As, learning for pleasure gives exercise for body and mind in a friendly environment whether it be learning a language, learning to play bridge or country dancing. Where there is an interest, a study group will be explored. The main problem for members appears to be finding sufficient time to fit in the household jobs between the many groups drawing members in! We welcome new members at any time of year. Please look at our website (just Google Callander and West Perthshire U3A) to see the list of groups and to contact the committee. We offer two taster sessions before a commitment to membership. With best wishes for a happy festive season to all our current and future members. Barbara Legg, Chairperson


Tuesday 6.30-7.15

Lochearnhead Village Hall

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas We have been meeting since February this year to support each other lose weight. We have an average attendance of 10 people. We have developed a small lending library of recipe books. We simply weigh in and chat about something that will encourage us to keep going. We welcome new members so if you feel a need to lose weight, you’ve had advise from a health worker or just want to get into those smaller size clothes why not nip in and see for yourself (there are men and women attending and no one records your weight). We will be closed December 23rd, 30th and January 6th, 13th 2015.

Kenny and Barbara

Strathyre Surprise 60th Birthday Party Jan and I had the absolute pleasure of attending Barbara Higgins surprise 60th birthday party in the Village hall on Saturday 1st November and what a night it turned out to be. Fancy dress was optional but as can be seen from the very scary photos, most of us dressed for the occasion. It was an evening of song and dance and LOTS of fun from the word go, enhanced by the music of “The Deadly Winters” on stage. Barbara`s family did a fantastic job of keeping the whole night a secret and they had the hall looking sensational. Well done to them and well done to all who came along and took part in a lovely evening. Happy birthday Barbara, you’re too young looking to be 60!!!!! Wullie D

For Sale

Boys’ bedroom furniture wardrobe; 6 drawer chest; small chest and bedside cube - in walnut, blue and lime by Next. Good condition £250.00 Study/office furniture - light oak; modern base units and tall cupboard. £45.00 each cupboard. 01877 384799 Beth and Jan

Greg and Davy


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

5 minutes with... Libby, Keely, Seamus, Mel, Jura and Belle This month I met Libby & Keely Brydie, their Mummy, Mel, and little brother, Seamus. Everyone was getting ready for the Halloween party in Strathyre and the house was looking suitable spooky! Hello girls – can you tell me who we are meeting today? Our dogs - Jura and Belle. Lovely names - who thought of them? Daddy gave Jura the name and Auntie Candice got Belle from her friend. She was 6 months old and her owner didn’t want her anymore because they had another dog and they didn’t get on very well. Jura came from Nyree’s (who also lives in Strathryre). We saw her at one day old. Does Jura still see her Mummy? Sometimes we meet Nyree and she sees her Mummy, Daddy, Uncle and brothers. Do you walk the dogs every day? Yes….but now Mummy needs to walk them because Daddy is on a boat trip.

Yes! There’s going to be face painting. musical statues and pass the parcel.

Where is their favourite place to go? Out in the woods where we go to tennis then up to the memorial then right around the village.

What are you dressing up as? Zombie Elsa.

What is their favourite food? Chocolate – Jura steals it at Christmas. Last year she ate both the advent calendars on the 1st December. (Mel) Maybe we’ll keep them upstairs this year and keep the gate closed!

Will the dogs be getting a Xmas present? Yes a chewy toy and a squeaky toy – the ones that dog like.

Can the dogs do any tricks? When Jura was young she used to chase her tail. Belle doesn’t have any tricks – she just chases sticks. Well… they both do fetching – Jura is quicker than Belle – she gets the stick, I throw it, she gets it and I throw it. Are you looking forward to the Halloween party tonight?

And Seamus? A pumpkin, No, actually a Minion.

Do the dogs have a costume? We have a dog cape! (We attempt to get a photo of Jura in her cape but it all gets a bit too much fun and she won’t stay still enough for the photo). Do you think you’ll ever get any more dogs? Not at the minute but we would like a guinea pig, a bunny and chickens and a goldfish. Mel: Keely loves looking after chickens.

Real Ale - Real Music


Keely and Belle, and below, Libby with Jura

She feeds them and puts water in their bowl and collects the eggs and Libby likes to give them a wee cuddle (if we can catch one). What is your favourite thing to do with your dogs? I like walking them…even when it’s raining. Keely and Libby have nominated Ava and her bearded dragon for next month’s interview. Looking forward to that one – my first reptile!

Save the Planet! (If we’re open for business, that is...)

Recycling. We’re all being encouraged to do it - to “save the planet”, and we have a local authority that is heavily committed to doing it properly. In fact, although it has been expensive to get their systems in place, there is every expectation that their recycling processes might actually start to earn money in the near future! So, rest assured that all that fiddling about with different coloured bins and boxes might actually be worthwhile. However, in my experience, every silver lining has a cloud. When I escaped from a big city about eight years ago, I had been seduced by a state-of-the-art recycling facility. When we moved out of our house, it was apparent that the new occupants might actually want to use the garage to house their car, rather than our accumulated family detritus of halfmended bikes, cardboard boxes stuffed full of “useful things I might need one day” and an impressive array of redundant electrical goods and broken toys. So I discovered the local recycling centre. They had skips for everything. It was a high-tech operation with slots and holes and yawning chasms for anything and everything that I want to throw at them. I lost count of the number of car-bootfuls of rubbish that they absorbed from us. Absolute magic! At the end of it all, seeing the windows at the back of the garage for the first time ever, I was a man renewed - liberated - re-born! Then we moved to Lochearnhead. Of course, we had nothing of our own that I Recycling in Callander Lagrannoch Depot Geisher Road FK17 8LD

needed to dispose of, but we did discover one or two bits and pieces that the previous occupant had tucked away to surprise and amuse us as we settled in. Before long, a visit to a recycling centre was called for. Our first experience was in Killin. Not too far away, but it never seemed actually to be open when we called there to visit folk or do some shopping. We wondered if it was some sort of special game that been set up for people: trying to throw your recyclables over the high fence into the appropriate bin - presumably with some recorded applause if you actually got it in the right place? However, it soon appeared that rather too many people were not playing the game as they should have been, when the facility was promptly closed down. That left us with the “Callander Household Waste Recycling Centre” (HWRC). This is a round trip of forty minutes - on a good day - but with opening hours carefully designed to dissuade all but the keenest and most ardently environmentally committed of us from using it. We managed it once, but then I resumed my life of hoarding instead. The community council queried this arrangement last year - the opening hours not my hoarding - but was told that there were insufficient funds in these straitened times to have it open any longer than the current hours. But lo...! I bring you glad tidings and good news - a little early for Christmas, but welcome nonetheless. Stirling Council is now holding a consultation exercise on the opening hours for the Callander HWRC. At the moment, it is open Mondays to Fridays, from 5pm - 8pm, and on Saturdays from 11am - 2pm. Sundays, quite rightly, are a day of rest. This is fine for those who live on the doorstep, but more awkward

for those twenty minutes up the road. At the latest community council meeting, some interesting proposals were made. For example, how about suggesting to the Council that, instead of being open six days a week, they make it only four instead... BUT have it open twice as long on two of those days? For example, it could be CLOSED on two weekdays, but open for six consecutive hours on one week day, plus open for an additional three hours on a Saturday. This could actually decrease their costs slightly, but make it more convenient for those who live some distance away. What do YOU think? If you can come up with some creative alternative that would not push the Council into having to cut some other service in order to pay for an increase to this one, but - at the same time - could make the current service more relevant and useful to us all, please let me know! You can bend my ear by emailing me at or writing to me at 14 Vorlich Close, Lochearnhead, FK19 8QG. Any and all serious suggestions that I receive before the end of the year, I will collate and pass on to Stirling Council on your behalf. Many thanks. Paul Hicks

Opening Hours (all year): Monday to Friday 17:00 - 20:00; Saturday 10:00 - 14:00; Sunday closed. Christmas and New Year’s Hours Closed on the Public Holidays of 25, 26 December 2013 and the two public holidays at New Year in January 2015. Otherwise they are open as normal What Materials Are Accepted for Recycling? A wide range of household materials can be taken directly to these recycling centres, including fridges and freezers, fluorescent tubes and low energy light bulbs with mercury, motor oil and children’s good and toys. Here’s a full list of the items accepted at each HWRC. Furniture can be taken to Lower Polmiase (only) where the Salvation Army takes what is usable. General household waste (black bags of refuse, etc) also can be placed in the appropriate skips. This material is then sorted and processed to remove as many recyclable materials as possible.


Celebrating 20 Years of LETI - Tourism Collaboration in ‘A Place For All Seasons’ November 2014 marked 20 years since the Loch Earn Tourism Initiative (LETI) was formed to promote Loch Earn as an all year round visitor destination. LETI members honoured their anniversary with a cake and coffee planning meeting hosted by Andrew Low at The Four Seasons Hotel, St Fillans. Members were treated to a chocolate and Guinness celebration cake baked by outside caterer Matt Duncan of Lochearn House B&B, Lochearnhead. Two decades ago, tourism business owners joined forces around Loch Earn to promote multiple services and attractions. A website was launched and a leaflet printed with the strapline ‘A Place For All Seasons’. This sparked interest from neighbouring villages and now Lochearnhead, St Fillans, Balquhidder and Strathyre business owners collaborate on tourism projects to promote four villages, around four

lochs, as a four seasons’ destination. Today LETI businesses contribute 6.5 million pounds to the Scottish economy, working together and networking with external partners from private and public sectors. The newest addition to LETI is The Loch Earn Brewery and Hotel in St Fillans. Members look forward to tasting and promoting Loch Earn Beer and Cider when they go into production on the banks of Loch Earn next year, during VisitScotland’s Year of Food and Drink 2015. If you are not aware of LETI’s digital marketing activities, check out www. Find, e.g.; a local accommodation enquiry service, where to eat and drink, a local events guide, travel and transport information, archives of The Villagers, history and heritage stories and some lovely photographs by food and hospitality

photographer Melanie Lewis of Wester Achraw Croft B&B in Lochearnhead. LETI is also active with social media campaigns promoting the area via Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. Villagers can help to promote local tourism messages with “re-tweets” and “likes” or by posting local landscape photographs to @robroycountry on Twitter. LETI has achieved much within two decades. Today its business volunteers are as dedicated to continuous improvement investment as ever and they enjoy promoting collective reasons to return to the naturally beautiful “Place For All Seasons”, that they are proud to share. If your local tourism business would like to find out more about joining LETI, contact Kim Proven (Chair), email:, Tel: 01567 830 443 or talk to any other member listed on the website.

Christmas Fun Mhor 84 & Monachyle Mhor Hotel

On Christmas Eve come and join us in the courtyard at Monachyle Mhor Hotel for our Carol Service at 5.30pm, where everyone is very welcome for mince pies and mulled wine. There will be a Boxing Day Bash at Mhor 84 at 3pm, featuring a great live band Twist of Fate - a five-piece function band playing covers of popular songs from the last 60 years.


Strathyre Primary School News

December is such a busy month for us: making things, rehearsing, going to pantomimes, Christmas lunches and parties! How can we fit in school work as well? But we do! Christmas Companies Every week Class 1 have been getting letters and parcels from Santa. Santa has asked them to make up a company to make things so that they can sell them at the coffee morning. They decided their company was going to be called Ho, Ho Ho! He then sent them things to make - magnets, decorations, wreaths and lots more.  When the letters and parcels arrive there is great excitement in Class 1.   Class 2 have set up an enterprise company called S.S.C.S (Strathyre Super Christmas Store). They have got managing directors, advertising teams, production teams and finance teams. Setting up a company and everyone having different positions is a great way to learn how things work  in  real companies.  Everyone is busy making tea towels, decorations, candles and lots more to sell at the fair.

Christmas Fair and Coffee Afternoon

Our Christmas fair and coffee afternoon is on Friday 5th December in Strathyre Primary School from 1.30pm to 4.30pm. Admission is £1.00 per adult and 50p per child this will include your coffee/tree.  If you would like to give a raffle, tombola prize or home baking please hand into the school. Come early to avoid disappointment.  

Christmas Show

This year we are performing Mr Humbug Sees The Light. We are busy learning our words and

songs at the moment. It is on Wednesday 17th December in Balquhidder Hall at 10.00am. All welcome.

Our Forest

Class 2 have started to go out to the Forest every Thursday. It is great fun exploring the woods, looking for signs of wildlife and fungi, flowers, changes in the woods and playing games and doing exercises. Learning outside is fun.  

Christmas Lunch

Our Christmas Lunch is straight after our Christmas Show all the boys and girls who are due to start school next August will be invited in to join us for that day. They will get dropped off at school and picked up after their lunch. This is the start of introducing the pre-schoolers to school life. Everyone looks forward to having them in and showing them around and playing with them.

Strathyre Primary Christmas Fair is on 5th December from 1.30pm-4.30pm at

Strathyre Primary School There will be a range of different stalls: Christmas Decorations (made by the pupils), Tea Towels (made by the pupils), Gardening Club stall, kids toys & books, baking stall, tombola, raffle, teas & coffees. All proceeds go towards the school funds.

Enrolment Day

For all children who are due to start school in August 2015 please come along and enrol them at the school on Thursday 15th January 2015 between 9.30 and 11.30am. Please make sure you have all the relevant documents, letters etc. when you come. If you are unsure what to bring please phone Christine before you come and she will tell you what to bring.


A Christmas Message The Rector, Paddy Allen, the members of the Ministry Team and Vestries of St Angus’s, Lochearmhead, St Fillan’s, Killin St Columba’s Crieff and St Serf ’s, Comrie wish you every blessing for this Christmas season. It seems to come quicker every year (something to do with advancing age they say!), and a welcome glimpse into the light that is the truth behind all the darkness in this world. You know how it is when you fly. You take off from Glasgow or Edinburgh on a dreich day, rise into ever wetter darker mist and cloud, the suddenly you burst through into a wonderland of sun changing everything to diamonds and pearl. And that’s always there, regardless of what it’s like on the ground. And in all the darkness, sadness and anger of our muddled world, it’s good to remember sometimes that above that is ALWAYS the light and peace, waiting for us to want to rise to it, and to want to share it with each other. Christmas can be a dress rehearsal for that!  You are welcome to join us in our CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS FOR 2014 Wed 10 Dec 7pm: Community Carols at Lochearnhead Village Hall, with the Killin Choir: looking for light in this universe...and ending with mulled wine (and fruit punch) and mince pies Sat 13 Dec 2pm: Held in Mind Service at St Columba’s for all to celebrate the lives of people precious to us Sun 14 Dec  10am: Joint Service of Carols St Angus’s, St Fillan’s & Killin Parish Church with Killin Choir, at Parish Church in Killin. All welcome to celebrate with us! Thurs 18 Dec 6pm: Carols by Candlelight at St Columba’s Sun 21 Dec 6.30pm: Carols in Comrie Start in St Kessog’s Square, then   7pm: Candlelight Carols at St Serf ’s with Parish Church Choir CHRISTMAS EVE 6pm Crib Service: St Angus’s for children and young in heart – your chance to tap in to the real Christmas spirit as the celebrations begin 8.30 pm Carols/Communion: St Columba’s CHRISTMAS DAY 10.30am Christmas Communion at St Columba’s, St Serf ’s, St Angus’s, and St Fillan’s PS... If by February you need some cheering up, on February 14 at the Academy Hall in Crieff, St Columba’s is organising a bumper version of STRATHEARN’S GOT TALENT.  Anyone, aged 2–102 (and negotiable above and below) as individuals or groups can try (almost) anything – join us for a merry day of heats and eats, with the cream going through to the Grand Finale at 7pm. Cash prizes and lots of fun. Leaflets in the Killin News, available from all our churches and from Paddy Allen (01764 655389 – stcolumbacrieff@ and booking online through www.  10

Church News BalquhiĐĐer bls Reg. Charity No. SC012316

Undoubtedly, 2014 has been a year of change for the church here, but as it draws to a close the uncertainties are gradually being resolved. The big news for 2014 was that the Revd. John Lincoln retired at the end of May after 17 years as our minister. In that time we have dealt with the problems of an aging building, enjoyed the successful alterations to the Friendship Room and Gaelic in some of the services! Our Interim Moderator, Revd. Stuart Fulton has helped us through the early stages of the vacancy, and we are pleased to announce the arrival at the end of November of a locum minister. The Revd June Johnston will be caring for Balquhidder parish and Killin with her first services in both churches on 30th November. This is the first Sunday in Advent and we are looking forward to a happy partnership with her. She will be staying in the manse in Killin while refurbishment goes on. Quite how she was persuaded to consider living on a building site for what may be a year is beyond me, but work is being done to make it feasible. Also resolved now is the news that our Interim Moderator will be handing over to Revd. Terry Ann Taylor on 1st December. She is minister in Aberfoyle and will combine that full time job with overseeing the ministry here and Killin and Ardeonaig of course. Revd Stuart Fulton has cared for us well, arranging a variety of pulpit supply plus taking services himself. The main change introduced by him has been the earlier time of Sunday services which now start at 11.30 am. There has been nothing but positive response to this and we hope that gradually more folk will take advantage of it to renew their connection with the church here. Remembrance Day was commemorated in all three villages with good attendances at the wreath laying ceremonies. Now we look forward to Advent and the lighting of candles each Sunday culminating in the Christmas Eve service of readings and carols. This year it is our turn to have it at the early time of 8.00 pm. As in previous years, the collection will be for Borderline, a small charity caring for Scots down on their luck in London. We wish you all a very happy Christmas, full of peace and love. We pray that 2015 will be a year when we deal with whatever comes our way with kindness and hope. In the words of the Gaelic prayer: God of hope who brought love into the world, be the love that dwells between us.

Message from Revd. Stuart Fulton, Interim Moderator Since before the Revd. John Lincoln retired, I have served as Interim Moderator to the Church of Scotland churches at Balquhidder and Killin. I now know the roads particularly well and have got to know many wonderful people. Truly this is one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland and I am sure that a colleague will think so also. I hope that she, or he, will apply and be called to serve the community. There is a lot of work to be done to begin a new chapter in the life of the Church, but also the community. I believe the two can and should, grow together. When they grow apart I believe no one benefits. As you will know the time of the Sunday service has changed in Balquhidder, (11.30 am now) and this should make it easier to get there. There may be things you feel the church can, and should do, and it may help if you share these things with the office bearers of the congregation so that they can be discussed with any prospective candidates. As I prepare to stop travelling and pass the baton over to Revd. Terry Ann Taylor, I leave you with every good wish, and hope the festive season brings joy and hope to you all. I hope you will all feel free to share that joy, in a world that seems to have many needs and many troubles. I also hope you feel free to join the congregation at Balquhidder as they endeavour to make this time of year special for the whole community.

Stuart Fulton


Bracklinn Practice Christmas and New Year Closure: The surgery will be  closed  from  1pm on Christmas Eve until 8.30am Monday 29th December, and from 1pm on New Year’s Eve until 8.30am Monday 5th January 2015.   If you require urgent medical attention when the surgery is closed please contact the surgery between 1pm - 6pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and after 6pm please contact NHS24 on 111.    If you  think you  will  run out of your medicine during the Christmas and New Year holiday period please order them early or ask for two months’ supply.   The surgery would also like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Flu Vaccines Thank you to all our patients who came for their vaccines on the 10th October.  We vaccinated 370 patients on the day.  If you would like a flu vaccine and were not able to attend the open day please contact the surgery.  We are currently taking names and will add extra clinics to our schedule when required.    We would also like to thank all the patients who sustained us during the day by bringing in cakes, soup, sweeties and biscuits.    A big thank you to all our patients who donated to our chosen charities this year.  We raised £147.80 for Bowel Cancer UK and £147.80 for Breast Cancer Awareness.   Many thanks, and thanks for all your support throughout the last year.  It is very much appreciated.   Margaret A Davis Practice Manager, Bracklinn Practice Callander Medical Centre Geisher Road, Callander FK17 8LX T: 01877 331001 E:

Strathyre Village Association Race Night On the 22nd of November the SVA held a race night in the Inn & Bistro to raise much-needed funds for the refurbishment of our wonderful village hall. There is a lot of momentum for this since Jan held a recent music night, which set the ball rolling. Although there were not a huge number of people in attendance this did not reflect on the generosity of those who were there. The amazing amount of £753.27p was raised, which is a very generous contribution towards the Hall funds and everyone must be congratulated for their input. Once again I find myself in a state of disbelief at the kindness of the Villagers when required. Some thank you`s are definitely required and the first goes to all who attended. Also to Steve and staff at the Inn who worked so hard keeping everyone suitably served. To the sponsors of each race who are: Strathyre Stone, Highland Glen Travel, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, The Village Shop, Ochill Accounting, Strathyre Cleansing, The Broch Café and Thomas Allan & Sons Plumbers To our “Bookies” on the evening Jan, Janet and Emma. Tommy Anderson and Kenny Higgins in charge of “The Telly” Jim Heron for setting up and dismantling the PA system. It was, as always, a very enjoyable evening, so a final thank you to everyone who came along. Just a wee reminder that the next fund raising will be any profit made from the Hogmanay dance organised by Ron and Maggie, so if you do not have tickets I strongly suggest you get them asap, before they sell out.

As this will be the last edition before the holiday period can I take this opportunity to wish every one a very merry Christmas and a very happy New Year, and say thank you for your support through the year, speak again in Feb`15 Wullie D

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First Responders - Call for Volunteers! Have you ever wondered what it would be like to suddenly become so unwell that you needed an ambulance? It can be a very frightening experience - particularly for those of us who live far away, comparitively speaking, from a hospital - and it can seem like a very long time for the ambulance service to reach you when you are unwell. A ‘First Responder’ (or FPOS - First Person On Scene) is a member of the public who volunteers to help their community by responding to medical emergencies while the ambulance is on its way. They are trained to provide early intervention in situations such as a heart or asthma attack before the professional ambulance crew arrives. This improves patient survival and recovery - and can make a very real difference. Here’s how the First Responder scheme works. A Earlier this year in Callander a group of volunteers for the Community First Responders local volunteer co-ordinator organises an ‘on-call or course completed their initial training. It proved to be a pretty full-on weekend - but very ‘on-duty’ rota between all the volunteers in the area. rewarding. The volunteers came from a wide radius around Stirling. A volunteer has a large packbag containing basic but potentially life saving equipment, and makes a commitment to be on call for the agreed period, taking the bag wherever they go and keeping to the designated area of cover.

Each scheme aims to have 24 hour cover seven days a week, but sadly, our four villages are a long way off from being able to provide this level of support. So...

Could you be a First Responder for your area? To become a volunteer first responder you must be: • at least 18 years old • able to demonstrate and maintain a level of fitness to meet the role • an effective communicator with good interpersonal skills • able to demonstrate logical approach • able to work under pressure, yet stay calm • residing or working in the area in which the scheme is based • able to respond without delay to incidents • prepared for an Enhanced Disclosure Scotland check • in possession of some first aid knowledge (though not essential) • prepared for a long term commitment to the role.

If you would like to find out more about the scheme please contact our co-ordinator in Strathyre, Lindsey Revie, on

07837 586366


Highland Glen Travel would like to say ‘Thank You’ for all your support during 2014. We have had a wonderful year! The DRT has again been very well used although still slightly misunderstood. We have started to get bookings for our Bespoke Tours and Private hire usage has increased. We are getting enquiries regarding Christmas and New Year.

The course included a wide range of emergency skills, using specialised equipment such as automatic external defibrillators and oxygen.

DRT does not operate on: 25/26 December & 1/2 January Private Hire will be available on: Christmas Eve......... Up to 12 noon Hogmanay............... All day (last booking 1am on 1/1/15) Christmas Day / Boxing Day / New Year’s Day ................... NO PRIVATE HIRE AVAILABLE We would like to explain about DRT (Demand Responsive Transport) for those who are still unsure. This service operates between 07.00am and 21.30pm 7 days a week (360 days a year). We cover Strathyre, Balquhidder and Lochearnhead. You can book up to 8pm the previous day. Everyone can use this service.! Fares are comparable with bus fares and you are charged per mile or part of. The minimum fare is £3.00 for up to 2 and a half miles. People with Scottish concessionary bus passes can use them on the DRT. Please telephone 07554 195446 if you have any questions. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OUR CUSTOMERS!

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of Meeting held at Mhor 84, Kingshouse on 29 October 2014

Please note that these minutes have not yet received formal approval and should be considered as a draft version only. Present: Malcolm McNaughton (MM), Alistair Barclay (AB), Paul Hicks (PH), Adrian Squires (AS), David Johnston (DJ), Loraine Telfer (LT), Susie Crammon (SC), Roseanne McWilliams (RM), Karen Methven (KM) and Richard Eastland (RE). Apologies: Ruth McLusky (RMC) and Angus Cameron (AC). In attendance: Cllr Alycia Hayes (AH), Stirling Council. PC Will Diamond (WD), Police Scotland. Richard Harris (RH), Balquhidder. 1) Approval of Minutes It was proposed by AB and seconded by DJ, that the minutes of the meeting on 24th September 2014 should be accepted, and this was approved unanimously. 2) Declarations of Interest No declarations were made. 3) Police Report WD started by explaining that there had been a change of policy in Police Scotland with regard to community officers attending meetings. In future, officers will not be able to attend meetings unless they happen to be rostered for that evening, and will not be allowed to vary their shifts to attend meetings, unless at least one item on the published agenda directly requires their personal input. Members expressed concern at this loss of personal contact with local police officers and it was agreed that this should be raised with the Police Commander. Between 24 September and 29 October 2014, there were eleven (11) offence reports raised. These included one crime of dishonesty: the theft of a caravan from Immervoulin between 17-18th October. In addition, an assault was committed ñ for which an offender is being prosecuted ñ and a vehicle was vandalized at Auchraw Terrace in Lochearnhead between 27-28th September. During this period, eight (8) traffic offences were detected. Routine foot and mobile patrols continued through the period, and police attended meetings with regard to problems of anti-social behaviour and indiscriminate parking around Loch Earn. Operation Bionic was launched to look at bogus workmen operating in the area, and this resulted in further enquiries being taken up with Trading Standards and the Department of Work & Pensions concerning two males in Balquhidder. WD also mentioned that he had attended a focus group at St Fillans regarding the alcohol bye-law. They had received some negative feedback from Perth & Kinross Council, but WD is hoping that this can be overcome. MM highlighted the question of coordinating boundaries between different authorities for the alcohol bye-law, with particular reference to the boundaries used by the National Park (N-P). Following some discussion regarding the need for the community to be seen as leading in this matter, DJ suggested that this should be a standing item on every agenda until it has been resolved. It was also proposed that Graeme Archibald (or a suitable representative from the N-P) should be invited to the next meeting. This was agreed. Action 1: PH to write to police commander for our area, to advise of concern at this change in policy. Action 2: Alcohol bye-law to be included as standing item on future agendas. Action 3: Someone to represent N-P to be invited to next meeting. 4) Matters Arising 4a) Stroneslaney Road. PH reported having written again to Donna Lawson, Environment Services, on 30th September but, to date, he had still received no reply. DJ commented that he had come across a visitor’s car trapped in flood water during the past week. Visitors are following satellite navigation devices to use this road, despite its problems and dangers. He suggested that comprehensive warning signs should be placed at the ends of the road to try and prevent such problems. Action: AH offered to write to Donna Lawson to progress matters. 4b) Cycle Path Crossing Point. PH reported having received an initial reply from Philip Kearney of SusTrans. He had then written on 1st October to set out in detail the queries of the CC regarding the new cycle path at Kingshouse and at Strathyre. To date, no further reply had been received. 4c) Childrens’ Playground, Lochearnhead. AB reported that the owner of the adjacent property had agreed to erect an appropriate fence, and to organize some flower boxes to be placed in such a way that children would not be able to run directly into the road from the playground. 5) Schedule of Meetings, 2015 This had been circulated previously and was approved for circulation to all interested parties and general publication. 6) Recycling Site, Callander PH introduced this matter and referred to documents previously circulated to members. RMC had offered some comments by email and PH summarized them as follows. The hours at present are unhelpful in the extreme to those outside Callander. The situation is exacerbated by the recent removal of recycling bins in the Meadows car park. Because the site is not open during the day on weekdays, disposing of waste usually means a separate car journey (which is not environmentally friendly) instead of just taking waste in the daytime, on a shopping or other routine trip. In winter, people have to poke around in the dark, which isn’t safe, especially when larger, heavy items have to be handled. Does the inconvenience of the whole thing at present mean that some people simply bin their rubbish indiscriminately? Briefly, if the council is serious about recycling, and reducing landfill, the hours at the Household Waste Recycling Centre either need to be extended, or adjusted in some way so that the facility is available during the daytime. RMC suggested that an article in ìThe Villagersî, inviting people to express their opinions on this, might be useful, together with a short questionnaire that could be collected from and returned to the shop or some other suitable venue in each village. MM commented that a recycling facility in Perth seemed to be open more or less continuously, but AH replied that Perth & Kinross Council has a very different policy. S-C has put a lot of effort into developing comprehensive sorting and recycling procedures that should reap greater benefits in the long term. However, in the short term, less money is available for facilities such as the one in Callander. MM then referred to the fact that, whilst S-C did not have the resources to increase opening hours in Callander, it might be possible to vary the current opening hours, provided that the same number of hours was worked. Currently, the site opens between 5-8pm on Monday to Friday and between 11am and 2pm on Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays. After some discussion, members proposed that it might work better for many people if the facility was closed on two days of the week, but open for twice as long on one weekday and on Saturdays. It was agreed to submit this proposal to S-C. Action: Proposal to be submitted to Waste Management. 7) Broadband MM welcomed RH to the meeting and thanked him for taking the time to brief the CC on progress to date. RH stated that British Telecom had now published its intentions with regard to the Step Change initiative from the Scottish Government. In 2015, the fibre link between Callander and Strathyre will be upgraded. Later the same year, a fibre link from Auchterarder to Lochearnhead will be established. As a result, both communities will receive a substantial improvement to their broadband service. For Balquhidder there will be nothing. Providing a fibre cabinet in Balquhidder would, apparently, not be cost effective for BT. In fact, when the changes are made, some people in Balquhidder may even lose their existing broadband altogether. Now that this is known, RH has put in an application to Community Broadband Scotland to fund an independent survey of the needs and possibilities in Balquhidder. This will investigate the feasibility of providing fibre or radio connections locally, if some link to the BT ìbackboneî network should prove possible. At the same time, he has applied to three other internet service providers for costings in relation to the use of facilities in Callander. This will establish the commercial viability (or otherwise) of connecting to the ìbackboneî network there. RH concluded by saying that the situation is deeply unsatisfactory, and the only recourse may be to involve members of parliament (both at Westminster and Holyrood) to seek redress. AH confirmed this, pointing out that telecommunications is an area that is reserved to the Westminster government. It was agreed that letters should be sent to the local MP (Anne McGuire) and the local MSP (Bruce Crawford). It was also agreed that it would be helpful to form a sub-committee of concerned residents in Balquhidder to seek to change BT’s intransigence. DJ offered to represent the CC on this body, and RH agreed to be a member also. Action: Letters to be written to MPs and sub-committee to be formed. 8) Priority Based Budgeting PH reported that he had attended a public meeting at Killin on Monday 27th October at which a ìconversationî took place concerning three areas where savings have been identified in the light of the priorities previously highlighted. The areas are: Education and Children; Environment (Roads and Waste); and Community Life and Business. The proposals that affect rural communities most closely are: i) The introduction of a ‘road end’ collection policy. Collections will only be made on adopted roads, or private roads whose surface is equivalent to that of adopted roads. Consideration will continue to be given to the elderly and others who cannot be expected to move their bins to a designated collection point. ii) A pilot scheme to collect brown bins only once every four weeks. It was suggested by residents at the meeting that consideration might be given to differing weather conditions and times of the year ñ allowing more frequent collections when more garden waste is being generated. Nonetheless, the national thinking here is that people should compost their own garden waste, and one or two councils (such as Highlands) have already stopped collecting garden waste. iii) A revision of the qualification for ìPriority 1î treatment of roads in winter. The ìPriority 1î status is geared to the number of vehicles that use a given road. The change is likely to lead to rural roads no longer qualifying for urgent treatment, leaving it to local communities to make their own arrangements. AH pointed out that, of the 300 submissions made by local residents and communities in the previous round of consultation, not one had been implemented. AB agreed that this left the entire process in danger of being ignored and ridiculed by residents and local communities. Particular concern was expressed as to whether routes covered by school buses would continue to be treated as a priority. It was agreed that this concern should be expressed in feedback from the CC. Action: Feedback to include concern about school bus routes. 9) Correspondence 9a) Fintry Development Trust had written to MM on 29 September regarding the use of wind turbines for communities. This was discussed briefly but no positive interest was expressed. 9b) Wanted Posters. MM had also received some posters of wanted criminals for local publication. AB commented that there appeared to be nothing of local interest amongst the matters featured, but it was agreed to ask local shop-keepers to display them. 10) Planning Matters No new items had been received. 11) Matters From Local Councillors 11a) AH had recently attended a meeting of the Education Committee. School roll projections show that Strathyre is likely to increase by 65% in the coming year, (from 34 to 56 pupils) whilst Killin will go down by 53% (54 to 25). There is a big demand for support teachers, but a corresponding lack of supply, especially in the rural areas. 12) Any Other Competent Business 12a) PH reported on a proposed 50mph limit for Glen Ogle. AC had responded earlier by email that the problems on the A85 at Glen Ogle were as much to do with vehicles travelling too slowly as with vehicles travelling too fast. Frustrated drivers were taking foolish risks, but he thought it unlikely that speed limits would prevent further incidents. If anything, things might be worse. AH then mentioned that she had been contacted by a new person at Transport Scotland about putting in a road crossing at Balquhidder Station, with an accompanying speed restriction. 12b) Election. PH raised the possibility of holding a further election for Richard Eastland and Loraine Telfer who, at present, are both co-opted members. After some discussion, it was decided that this seemed overly bureaucratic and wasn’t really necessary. The current arrangements were entirely satisfactory. 12c) Minutes. PH pointed out that he would be unable to attend the next CC meeting on 10th December, but had been unable to find someone willing to take minutes. DJ offered to take on this rÙle for that meeting and this offer was gratefully accepted. 12d) Letter of Thanks. RM drew attention to the recent email from Suzanne Player regarding her intention to seek a disability pension with immediate effect, owing to a further deterioration in her health. It was unanimously agreed that Suzanne had shown enormous enthusiasm and commitment in serving our local communities. She would be sorely missed and a letter of thanks was the very minimum that she deserved by way of recognition of her service. It was suggested that her name be put forward at the next opportunity for consideration of a Provost’s Award, although it was recognized that this might not be for another year or more. There was no other business and, at 9:15 p.m., MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting is due to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 10th December 2014 at Mhor 84 (Kingshouse).


My favourite recipes...


by Kasia Sujanova

Christmas baking is a wonderful thing to do. This time I would like to present 3 traditional recipes from the Czech Republic. 'Cukroví' is a big part of Christmas in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia, but you can see it on many other family celebrations like birthdays or weddings. 'Cukroví' are small biscuits, cookies or petit fours, all hand made and beautifully decorated. 'Cukroví' give the wonderful smell around the house while baking and can be used to decorate Christmas trees. They keep fresh for a long time, some people keep them for months, but in our house... they disappear very quickly... When you look at the Christmas table in the Czech Republic, the plates with 'Cukroví' are like a miniature art gallery. They are usually very small, filled with jam, nuts, cream, covered with chocolate, very often scented with vanilla or rum. It is not uncommon to see (and try of course) ten different types of 'Cukroví' on one plate. I am amazed by the look and taste of those little biscuits. Every year I try to make some, and they are a nice decoration of the Christmas table. Some of them are very complicated to make. The recipes I have chosen are my favourite, they are not difficult to make at all. The recipe for 'Rohlicky' and 'Šohajky' are from the very old recipe book that belong to a granny and a great granny of our children. 'Perníčky' are from www. Enjoy!

‘Vanilkové Rohlicky’ - Vanilla moons

One of the most traditional 'Cukroví', simple, very nutty, with vanilla hint. Everybody's favourite! Ingredients: 280 g plain flour 70 g icing sugar 50 g ground nuts 210 g butter 2 egg yolks Mix all ingredients together to form a dough, put into the fridge for 30 min, roll the dough into few long pieces (about 1 cm in diameter), cut into 4 cm long pieces, and form small moon-shape biscuits. Bake in 180C for 10 min. Sprinkle with icing sugar mixed with vanilla sugar.

'Šohajky' -'chocolate tiny baskets'

These 'pettit four' don't require baking, they are very quick to make and are truly irresistible... Ingredients: 100g ground nuts 100ml of rum 150 g icing sugar 100g sunflower oil 250g dark chocolate 125 g butter or oil Nuts to decorate and Mini muffin paper cases Mix the nuts, rum, icing sugar and oil in a bowl. Melt the chocolate with butter in a separate pan/ double boiler. Place 1 tsp of chocolate mixture into a paper case, add 1 tsp of rum mixture, add another tsp of chocolate mixture, decorate with nuts. Leave to set. Ready!

'Perníčky' are tiny gingerbread biscuits made with a wonderful mixed spice. Ingredients: 300 g of plain flour 100 g wholemeal rye flour 2 large eggs 130 g icing sugar 100 g butter, melted and cooled 100 g honey 1 tablespoon of mixed spice* 1 tablespoon cocoa powder 1 teaspoon baking soda Mix all ingredients, roll out the dough to a thickness of 4 mm (not thinner), adding a small amount of flour if needed. Cut shapes out, bake in 180C for 8-10 min. Cool on a wire rack. Decorate with melted chocolate or icing.

The source of photo: www.

*Mixed spice is the best if made at home (this load will be sufficient for many cookies/cakes) 25 g cinnamon bark 10 g dried ginger 7 g cloves, 7 g seeds of cardamom 5 g nutmeg 5 g allspice 1 g black pepper 2 g of star anise All the ingredients grind in a coffee grinder. To make the perfect icing mix one egg white from a small egg with a cup of icing sugar. The icing has to be thick, so the biscuits can be decorated using a bamboo skewer.


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 we have part one of Old Nyati’s account concerning the ancient history of the lie of our land - and the people that passed through it.

My story begins around 10,000 years ago. The peaks of Stobbinian and Ben Vorlich were just showing above the ice cap, which rises 3000ft above the Highland glens. The ice sheet extended down as far as southern England and across much of the continent. With so much water being locked up in the polar ice cap, the sea levels were much lower than they are now. The British Isles were joined across to the continent where what is now the North Sea. Then came a dramatic climate change which began to melt the ice: glaciers went into retreat and the meltdown began. As the melt of the glacier in Balquhidder glen receded, a huge moraine plain was forming as the rivers from other glens joined, to form the estuary and flood plain of Flanders Moss. A massive block of glacial ice carrying huge rocks and gravel which had been carried from the slopes of the hills around Inverlochlarig became grounded near the village of Balquhidder. This was to become the centre of my story. By now deer, wolves, boar and many other animals had travelled across from the continent to colonise the exposing areas of clear ground which was becoming covered by birch scrub and eventually oak and pine forest. Man, over many thousands of years, was also part of this slow progress of migration and movement north. That block of ice slowly melted down and left its load of debris in a heap, not far from the newly formed River Balvaig whose level slowly lowered as the ice melt decreased - and it formed into oxbows, meanders and seasonal flood plains on its way to the sea - the levels of which were now rising to something like the present levels. There is much remaining evidence of changing river levels along the source of the Calair Burn in Glen Buckie where it starts from the watershed known as The Meeting of the Waters.

Tom na Fhaidreach, ‘The Hill of the Fair’ from the east

It is at this spot where, if one cannot resist a call from nature, it is said that half will eventually go to Glasgow and the other half to Edinburgh. Man continued to migrate and populate the Highlands, coming from the north and from the south to the borderlands, and bringing Christianity from Ireland. As the melt water receded, fertile soil was deposited in the glen bottoms, and crops could now be grown so that small communities sprang up, building rudimentary bothies of stone with roofs of timber, heather and bracken. Traces of these are still to be seen along the old drove roads in every direction. It must have been an interesting time when the travellers came by, bringing news from far and wide. Cattle were being reared and crops grown. Inevitable superstitions developed and rivalry broke out between families. The weather was critical for survival and any crop failure was a matter of life or death; if springtime was late this could mean starvation. When the cattle were running short of winter feed and could be turned out into the fields again, the relief can be imagined. The time for this would of course be variable and was called Lather an togiel or ‘the day of uplifting’. Not of the spirits, though this would surely be the case, but of the need to actually lift some of the cattle that were so weak that they had not got the strength to walk out of the shelter themselves.

Examples of melt water erosion - how long did it take for a handful of gravel to cut these pots?

This was sometimes due to the fact that they had been regularly bled from the neck to provide blood to mix with porridge to help sustain the starving family. A tragic story goes that some of the cattle on Loch Tayside began to die of what we now know was Rhinederpest, but in those days the suspicion fell upon a gangrel who was travelling with the drovers and stayed behind for a while, receiving hospitality. It was believed that he had brought the disease to the area. He was captured and tied down in the bed of a stream and the local cattle were then driven over him until his death, in the belief that this would defeat the plague. There was always secret rivalry between belief in the church and in the fairies, depending on which suited the occasion. Superstition was rife. But now let us go back to that moraine mound in Balquhidder. There is still evidence here that the local people engaged in iron smelting. They constructed a primitive means of smelting the local iron ore. There was oak wood for charcoal and a large clay pot was made to fit over the hearth with bellows made from animal skins so that iron tools and weapons could be made. A large rock has marks which were clearly used for sharpening edged weapons. The heaps of clinker and spoil from the hearth are now known as Bloomery Mounds. As the population has developed and trading has begun it became necessary for surplus cattle to be moved around the country and for trading in other commodities. Trysts and markets were organised at various places and at regular intervals throughout the year. There was one such place in Balquhidder - it was on and around that moraine mound. This place has the Gaelic name Tom na Fhaidreach (The Hill of the Fair). H H H In February’s Villagers, you can read about the drovers, travellers and their animals who made their marks on this ancient and mystical land. 15

The northern end of Balquhidder Station showing the Callander to Oban line curving off to the left before climbing Glen Ogle - and a train approaching along the branch line from Crieff.

Branch Lines of Strathearn By John Young

Continuing our extracts from John’s book. This month we look at Balquhidder Station.


rior to 1905 the modest station here, known as Lochearnhead, was a small wayside station of little significance. The arrival of the Lochearnhead, St Fillans and Comrie Railway changed all of that. A completely new station with three platforms, two signal boxes and an engine shed was built. To achieve this the main road was diverted and a hefty retaining wall was built to allow the land to be built up to provide sufficient space for the new station to be renamed ‘Balquhidder’. The ‘down’ platform ran along the top of this structure and the island platform served ‘up’ trains, the branch line and housed the main station buildings. Access to the main station was, like Lochearnhead, by a subway beneath the line leading to steps up to the island platform. The layout at Balquhidder required

Looking north towards Callander, showing the Balquhidder East signal box.

two signal boxes: Balquhidder East and Balquhidder West - although geographically they were actually north and south. These two signal boxes remained in use after the closure of the

Balquhidder Station shortly after it was rebuilt and renamed, having been originally called Lochearnhead. The two tracks shown were the Callander to Oban ‘up’ and ‘down’ lines while the branch line from St Fillans ran on the far side of the island platform. The wooden structure to the right of the main building covered the steps leading down to the subway access to the A84.


Crieff branch line in 1951 to serve the main Callander to Oban line. The finally closed in 1965 a few months before the complete closure of the Dunblane to Crianlarich section of the Oban line.

View from the Park by Owen McKee The search has started. With Fiona Logan on her way to pastures new we are now looking for a chief executive. Since the role is a high profile and challenging one I am confident that there will be a substantial number of candidates and that this will produce a short leet of contenders from which a worthy replacement will emerge to fill the post. The assessment and interview programme for the short leeted candidates is scheduled for 15th and 16th December and the hope is that the new GEO will be able to take up the post early in the New Year. And in the New Year the consultation on the lochside management plan will come to an end. At the time of writing we are half way through the consultation which has enjoyed considerable exposure in the media with articles in the Scotsman and the Herald and broadcasts Radio Scotland’s Out of Doors programme and BBC1’s Landward. And so far there seems to be a balance in favour of the proposals. However it is early days and objectors may well be gathering material with which to strike just before 12th January when the consultation ends. We shall see. I recently attended a Scottish Government event which brought together from both the private and public sectors people who were in the business of providing housing and housing services for the whole range of needs. The aim was to develop ways  which could better deliver the Scottish Government’s housing targets. Builders  highlighted that in order to build more thermally efficient houses which contributed to the Scottish Governments CO2 reduction target  they were deserting  masonry and  embracing

new construction methods with offsite prefabrication producing much higher standards of insulation. The constraints on them were market demand, access to funding and planning but they were generally optimistic that demand was improving. They also said  that the pension funds were happy to provide funding for schemes where capital needed was in excess of half a billion pounds with the proviso that  they (the pension funds) could get the security of government guarantees of the loans. I don’t think we need worry that any such schemes will see the light of day in the National Park but clearly more thought will have to be given to the impact of offsite prefabrication and how this may impact on design.  Away from the conversations on what we in rural areas would call massive developments there were discussions on empowering community groups to develop for local needs. To what extent, for instance, could public land be released for less than best value when the relevant housing was not only for social rent but for community sustainability?  A group will now gather together the various suggestions from the day and put these before government with possible timescales. Again we shall see. And it is that time again when we all look forward to a celebration or two so may I wish you all well and hope that you ,your families and your friends all enjoy a peaceful and merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year. Owen McKee Taigh Na Bhuth, Lochearnhead 01567 830214

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T. 07595 356 369 9am to 6pm Mon-Sat 86 Main Street, Callander L’oreal & Paul Mitchell stockist

Wedding packages available 17


Lest We Forget...

emembrance Sunday reminds us of the sacrifice of those named on our War Memorials. Published below is another extract from Letters from Flanders by the Gillespie brothers named on the right. Do any of our readers have any information on any of the others named on the Balquhidder Memorial? We would like to hear from you.

Trenches: July 25, 1915. Many happy returns of your birthday. I’m glad to think you will spend it at Rhuveag, and I hope you will have a tea-picnic to celebrate it, I was just thinking that I had no present to give you, and behold a present has been provided, for this morning I was pulling down my dug-out, a very poor one, which had been half knocked in by a shell before I came to it. In a corner underneath some rubbish, I found a pouch for revolver ammunition, left there by some officer, and in it, besides some cartridges, was a cigarette holder, and this gold ring; at least it seems to be 9-carat gold, and an Irishman in my platoon swears that he has sold many rings, and that this is genuine. I wonder what its history can be—had his lady hardened her heart and jilted him for one of Kitchener’s army? or did it belong to a French girl? or was it destined for someone before he left home, and never presented? Anyway it shall be yours now . . . . There’s nothing very striking about it except its strange history, but I think the emerald is genuine. We came back into trenches two nights ago. We left our corn-fields and farms about 4 o’clock, and marched five miles first of all, over a bridge broken and repaired, and past a church, ruined and gutted by fire as usual. It was pave most of the way, but a fresh summer afternoon. Then we all halted in a large field, where the men had their tea from our traveling kitchens, and we ourselves went on a little farther, to a crossroads, where the forces of good and evil were drawn up facing one another—an estaminet on the one side, and the priest’s house on the other. We had tea in the latter; the reverend gentleman was gone, but he had left his clerical furnishings behind him, portraits of His Holiness the Pope, and of his own family, his sisters mostly nuns, and his brothers priests like himself. We marched on at dusk, down a long straight road with farms on either side, which gradually became more battered and deserted as we came nearer the firing line, and, finally, we had a laborious half-mile through a very narrow winding communication trench, where you had in places to turn sideways to prevent the pack on your shoulders from sticking fast; subalterns usually carry packs and equipment 18

just like the men now. We found some very nervous Territorials in our trenches, their first experience, and they had been shelled heavily one evening. I think it just as well the Germans had not attacked, for I don’t think many of their sentries dared to look over the parapet even at night. As a rule, the Territorials are now just as good as any other troops, but these had left the trench in a terrible mess, and we have been cleaning up ever since. We are about 150 yards from the Germans; we blew up a mine underneath their parapet some weeks ago, which hustled them a bit, but otherwise I think this trench has been an island of comparative rest, though some of the bloodiest fighting in the war took place on either side. It’s very flat, low meadowland, with tall, waving grass, and rows of pollard willow stumps, a regular swamp in winter I should think, and even now a deep trench would gather water in the bottom, and the weather has been broken lately. Almost every regiment in the British Army seems to have been here in turn’— Scots Guards, Devons, Irish Rifles, Lancashire Fusiliers, Cameronians, Royal Scots; you can see their wooden crosses standing here and there among the grass. Last night I was patrolling out in front, and actually saw a lot of Germans working on their parapet, and also a patrol who came within 30 yards of us. Two of them stayed beside a tree, and we lay there for a couple of hours, just about 20 yards away, waiting for clouds to come across the moon, for it was too bright to go forward or back. I hoped the two of them would come forward, for then the two of us would probably have made one a prisoner; but perhaps they spotted us, for they fired two shots, and after that never moved. We were so close to the German trenches that I could smell the smoke of a German cigar — quite a good one too — not poisonous gas. The photos came last night; some of them might have been clearer, but they are not bad, and I shall want a lot of prints presently. The Round Table, F. S. Oliver’s book, and one or two other things have also come; thank you very much for them . . . . This letter may be too late now to reach you on your birthday, but anyway it will bring you my love.


Donald McLaren

Councillor Martin Earl

Pauline Nominated for Health Award

Pauline Cameron moved to Allt Beithe, Strathyre in April 2000 with her daughter Hannah and her husband Duncan. Pauline’s originally from Yorkshire and she joined the  Woman’s Royal Naval Service  reaching the rank of Petty Officer. This is where  Pauline first met Duncan - who was an ex Royal Marine Commando.  Leaving the service to raise Hannah full time she developed  her passions  of horses, gardening and cooking. She also loves to dine out and regularly visits Mhor 84. Pauline took a job at a nursing home and was distressed by the poor standard of care being given. She then enrolled at Stirling University for her degree in Mental Health Nurse qualifying with distinction. Her proper work title at DSDC is Training Officer (not associate trainer as per Daily Record) and her nomination for the award was for delivering Best Practice Training Programme to over 7000 UK trainees through the facilitator programme. She is deeply committed and passionate about improving care for persons with dementia. We are all extremely proud of her.

Stirling Castle to welcome the Great Tapestry of Scotland Visitors to Stirling Castle will be able to witness over 42 million years of Scottish history as the castle plays host to the Great Tapestry of Scotland. The castle will welcome the tapestry – which depicts key scenes and events in Scottish history — when it opens to the public on the 31st  January as part of its national tour.   The 143m-long tapestry, officially the largest embroidered tapestry in the world, takes visitors on a journey through Scotland from the turbulence of the last ice age to the present day.    The brainchild of author Alexander McCall Smith, the 160 panels of intricate stitching illustrate a people’s history.   It is Scotland’s largest community arts project and was completed by more than 1000 volunteers of all ages located across the country.  To date, the tapestry has been visited by more than 200,000 people with many thousands more expected to visit Stirling Castle to see the exhibit.   The Great Tapestry of Scotland will be displayed in the castle’s Great Hall, due to its size and scale.   Apart from the Castle itself (which features in the Bannockburn panel and in the panel depicting William Wallace and Andrew Moray), a host of other Historic Scotland sites feature  including Calanais  Standing  Stones, Iona Abbey and St Andrew’s Cathedral. 19

Scottish Wildlife Trust The iconic Black Grouse is one of our readily recognised but rarely seen native birds. Although widespread in Europe, it is one of the most rapidly declining birds in the UK, with a few strongholds only in Scotland, N England and N Wales. The decline is mainly attributable to loss of habitat but climate change could lead to a mistiming between chicks and food sources. Doug Shapley, RSPB’s black grouse co-ordination officer and an enthusiastic fan, described surveys in Central Scotland, recording 60 lek sites in 2014 compared with 100 in 2011. Local conservation work by LLTNP, FCS and TGTF is increasing habitat and recording a good number of sites. Black Grouse ‘lekking’ It lives in moorland/woodland edges, Probably the most common insectivorous Sundew feeding on a wide range of shoots, grass, plants found locally are butterwort and berries and invertebrates. The best time to sundew, although there is a thriving colony Other plants trap insects to prevent them see them is in spring when the black males, of introduced pitcher plants on Rannoch stealing nectar, needed to attract pollinators with distinctive red whattle above the eye, Moor! Butterwort (shiny yellow leaves look eg sticky catchfly traps ants on its stems. can be seen strutting their stuff on gathering like butter) trap insects with globules of Tobacco plants secrete nicotine vapour grounds called leks. Issuing a burbling call, ‘instant grab’ glue on the leaves. The internal to kill moths trying to lay eggs next to its they fan out their lyre-shaped black tail, parts of the insect are digested, leaving ovary and the related native henbane makes raising it to show white under-feathers, the exoskeleton. Typically, the relatively its invaders drowsy with hyoscine, used as challenging other males and courting large flower is held on a long stem to avoid a pre-med sedative and for travel sickness. females. The females are a duller brown trapping pollinating insects. The sundew An absolutely amazing topic! for camouflage since they alone incubate (looks like it is covered in dew that does Lesley Hawkins the 6-11 eggs and raise the chicks. Being not dry in the sun) also uses sticky ‘glue’ on ground-nesters, the chicks are at risk of tentacles that manoeuvre an insect into the predation from stoats, weasels and corvids centre of the leaf where it is digested over Scottish Wildlife Trust so can walk immediately and flutter at a few 2 days. Bladderworts are water plants with days to escape danger. tiny yellow flowers and underwater leaves Callander Members’ Diary Insect-trapping plants are often thought with bladders, ingeniously adapted to trap 2015 of as tropical jungle plants but Roy Sexton insects. gave a fascinating insight into species that The cuckoo pint (aka Jack in the Pulpit or 13 January are native to the UK, many in Scotland. Lords & Ladies) is an example of trapping Tawny Owls in Central Scotland Many ingenious experiments to identify insects to aid pollination. The spadix is purple by Katy Anderson, the various mechanisms were carried out to attract insects and slippery but also gets hot FCS Habitat Manager by Darwin; this summary really can’t do it to evaporate an attractant. Insects trapped justice! within the plant will collect and deposit 10 February Plants trap insects for 3 main reasons; to pollen so the male and female parts develop SSPCA’s Role in Wildlife Crime digest them for nutrients when growing in at different times to avoid self-pollination, Prevention soil that lacks vital nutrients, to use them cross-pollination generating much stronger by Mark Rafferty, for pollination or to prevent nectar raids by offspring. The ladies’ slipper orchid and SSPCA non-beneficial insects. geraniums employs similar tactics. Talks start at 7.30pm Waverley Hotel, Main Street, Callander EVERYONE WELCOME! Admission £2 members, £2.50 non-members, free to full-time students. Includes tea/coffee & biscuits.

Please book with Lesley Hawkins 01877 339080 or

Karen and Barrie tie the knot

Saturday 8th November was a VERY special day in Strathyre. It was the day that Karen Mckenzie became Mrs Karen Trainer and made Barrie a very happy man indeed. Jan and I had the honour of being among the many guests in attendance on what was a wonderful and emotional day. The service was a very informal but a very sincere one, with both partners taking their selected vows, and performed by Anne Roberts, who is an ordained humanist minister. A moving service, which was injected with much humour from the bride and groom and a few tears from the guests, myself included. A day of good food and a wee bevvy, of old friends meeting again, of stories of old events in the hall, of singing and dancing along the way, but most importantly, a day of LOVE when these two wonderful people became man and wife. I think I can speak for the whole of Strathyre and surrounding districts when I say that we wish this lovely couple all the luck in the world and hope everything they wish for comes true all through their married life. Good Luck! Wullie D 20

Gardening Having just parted with my TV licence fee (that rather annoying annual tax on pleasure) I wondered about the value for money I was receiving on matters horticultural. I struggle to watch gardening programmes but I have a weakness for a weekly fix of Strictly, The X Factor and Downtown all in one sitting on a Sunday night with dinner on lap. Bliss. Yet I was pondering why no gardening programmes are aired during the winter; more sensible, surely? But then some things just don’t make sense. Take, for example, bungalows for when you retire. These should be for young party animal students who would find it much easier to get to bed after a party. The older generation would benefit from three storey houses, to keep them fit in their old age and save them having to go down to the gym! Now Jim McColl (The Beechgrove Garden), probably no stranger to the gym as he must be about 108, is a lesson in TV longevity rivalling the greats like dear old Brucie. One feels a little freshness and youthfulness is required - after all, I feel a certain interest, as I do pay their wages so to speak. I recall watching Beechgrove after bombing home from scouts as a young teenager on a Friday night and I used to think Jim was ancient then - and oh boy, the arguing that seemed to go on between George Barron and McColl, Scotland’s great gardening Neptune. It has not changed really since 1978 when it started with Barron leaving in the 80s. Off course longevity can be cut short by lawyers. Did anyone else suffer a childhood trauma when Percy Thrower was sacked from the BBC’s Blue

DECEMBER by Jonathan MacDonald Peter garden for advertising Levington’s compost (having been already sacked as the presenter of Gardener’s World for doing TV commercials for ICI)? He just disappeared. How could a parent explain to a child the intricacies of contract law and public broadcasting? And then of course Geoff Hamilton’s career was cut short while he was still in his prime, when his contract with the planet, so to speak, expired. An old friend cried for a whole evening over that; I am sure Geoff was regarded as the best even by today’s standards. Gardener’s World has always suffered from the accusation of “dumbing down”. Today Monty Don’s reappearance doing real gardening in a real garden is what the viewers call for. My own favourite copresenters back in the day were Geoffrey Smith, (the Yorkshireman with a voice like a Dalek in whom you had complete confidence when it came to cuttings and seed sowing), and Stephen Lacey, The Telegraph’s wonderful writer, who had that posh antiques road-show air about him that went with the territory. He would visit all sorts of wonderful gardens and describe them in the most elegant language: “.....naturalistic grasses taking their cues with bright burgeoning space creating mood, harmony and the camellias being the perfect foil for the......” whit tha heck’s he on aboot!? The Beeb though has a good record of flogging dead horses and after seven years of Ground Force (with the braless wonder Charlie Dimmock) they axed it. Sales of decking slumped. Titchmarsh would apologise years later for the timbering of the shires with sales of decking in B&Q going from £5,000 to £16.5 million by the time the show ended. I still have an allergic

Christmas trees - Top Quality! Burning Peat £7.95 per 30kg bag.

December opening: Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun 9.30am - 4pm Huge selection of plants and stock

On the main road A85 going East just before Comrie Contact: Jonathan MacDonald and the Riverside Team

Tel: 01764 670800

Best wee garden centre we’ve ever been to!” Mabel MacKay, Perth

Percy Thrower

reaction to blue crushed slate - another commercial spin off in the many pseudo Japanese gardens that appeared around then. The Black Dyke Brass Band theme tune eventually grated on every nerve “delololodelololodedelolo.....” the most excruciating part was the “Titchmarsh fast Warbler” which was the fast tempo piece that was played as Tommy Walsh and Charlie ran around like headless chickens to finish it off before the lucky couple came home. Perhaps the gardens all blew away after the first gale - they were all so rushed!

Remember ‘Ground Force’?

Landscape firms would now spend years explaining to customers that they would be charged for more than 30 minutes to transform their garden. The makeover format never ceases to lie down and one calamity using rehabilitating drug addicts nearly had me reaching for the pill bottle myself - it was so painful to watch. Bring back some crusty old gardener with a cloth cap and pipe (which reminds me to write to Julian Fellows to complain of there being no gardener in Downtown Abbey). They were by far the most important servants - and it is a shame that role cannot be brought to life in what is a brilliant series. If you are seeking real gardening pleasure on screen, check the online ‘webcajan’ with Big Donald the ‘Bayou gardener’. His deep south Louisiana droll is incredibly relaxing and I am mesmerised by his steady calm chitchat... probably the closet thing I will ever come to a Yogic experience. This winter I’ll be tuning into him. “Lache pas la patate,” as he would say. 21

McLaren High School News Ski Race Report Following on from their success last year, the McLaren High ski team (Lachie Fingland, Drew Galloway, Daniel Hesp and Ross Ronald) have returned to the slopes. On Thursday 2 October the McLaren High ski team took part in the first race of the season. With around 4 rivalling teams with students as old as S6 we didn’t really think that we had a chance. As racing went on we ended up in second place after the first round, winning all the races apart from one. In the second round, lightning struck again with an identical result. All race points added up - McLaren High took joint Silver, in second place to Balfron High School. Overall we were happy with our result and we are all looking forward to the next race in the New Year. Lachie Fingland S3 Cycling for Charity On Sunday 7 September my family and I cycled from Glasgow Green all the way to Murrayfield, Edinburgh as part of the annual PedalforScotland - a challenging 48 miles!   I’m not going to say it was easy because it wasn’t, but it was worth it. The scenery was amazing, the weather was glorious and we even overtook Mark Beaumont (who cycled around the world - twice!)  The best thing about it was I raised nearly £800 for my chosen charity Calum’s Cabin. Calum’s Cabin is a holiday home for children with cancer on the Isle of Bute.   I am so grateful to everyone who donated and I thoroughly enjoyed the day. Lottie Hesp S2  Central Schools Swimming Gala   On Saturday 8 November five McLaren High pupils (pictured left to right: Laura King, Rebecca More, Skye Campbell, Amelia Bawden and Dan Hesp) participated in the Central Schools Swimming Gala. They travelled to Grangemouth Sports Complex where the gala was to take place. It was a great event with teams participating from Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannan - and the McLaren team, although small, acquitted itself very well.   Rebecca More was first up and competed in 100m back crawl gaining a new personal best (PB) and coming 11th overall. Next up was Skye Campbell who did very well in the girls 100m back crawl, earning a bronze medal for her age group. Dan Hesp followed and competed extremely well getting a winning time in his 100m back crawl and winning a gold medal. Dan continued to do well throughout the day and will attend the Scottish Schools Finals in January 2015. Amelia Bawden also got a new PB in the girls 100m freestyle and came 19th overall with Laura King gaining a new PB and coming 9th overall in 100m breaststroke.  


Fun at the Ghana trip Ceilidh

Ski Team

need to budget for and purchase their own food from local markets, prepare their own meals and ensure their accommodation and transport is booked. The group will also be doing some travelling in Ghana.  They will visit Kakum National Park and walk on the canopy walkway (a rope bridge suspended 40m above the ground), visit the famous Dixcove Fort and Elmina Castle.   The team are working hard to raise funds for their expedition as you will see below. This will give them a real sense of achievement before they even step on the plane. 

Lottie and Dan Hesp

Scary Movie Night

Swimming Team

All the pupils enjoyed the experience and hope to return in the future. We would like to thank Mrs Hesp for helping to organise the school’s participation and Mr Bawden for driving the school minibus. Laura King S3 World Challenge Ghana Expedition In June 2015 11 pupils and their teacher, Miss Wood, will travel to Ghana for a two week long World Challenge trip. They will be undertaking various tasks in a small community working beside local tradespeople. The project is likely to be centred around a school or community building and  this  could involve knocking down old constructions, helping to dig foundations, laying bricks and painting. The pupils will be expected to organise events for the community to take part in (e.g. sports activities, teaching English) and will also learn a lot about the local way of life. They will

Scary Movie Night Just before the summer holidays the senior pupils in the school were given the opportunity to sign up with World Challenge to go to Ghana in July 2015. The school now has a group of 11 pupils who have to fundraise over £2500 each for their trip. To do this we can work as individuals, in small groups, or as a whole group. So far as individuals we have offered to help neighbours and families with any tasks needing done, sold some of our old unused belongings and got ourselves summer jobs. As the first event from a small group, we held a Halloween Movie Night for pupils in the school. On the evening we sold snacks and drinks, had a small ‘guess the number of sweets in the jar’ competition and there were prizes for the best costumes to commend all those who made the night even better. Altogether we managed to raise just under £400 to go towards the costs of the night and our own funds. As well as our Movie Night a tuck shop is operating in school on a Friday, jam is being produced and sold... and the list goes on! Also as a team we have plans to hold a car wash for the teachers in the school and a bake sale.  Hannah Michael & Eden Parkes S5  

visit our website:

Balquhidder Hall AGM At the recent AGM for Balquhidder Hall John McNaughton was presented with a quaich and a fine bottle to mark the end of his amazing spell as chairman. John had joined the committee in 1963 and his talents must have soon been spotted as he became chair in 1969 to begin his reign of 45 years. John claimed he had not realised it was so long as the time had flown and he had enjoyed nearly all of it. He said he had always been supported by the different committees. He recalled the time in the 1990s when the old hall was needing drastic repairs and the decision had to be taken to try and build a new one and he paid tribute to the work done at that time by both the late Neil Barber and Bob Edwards. The best times had often centred on the New Year’s Day Dances and he remembered several bands who had played in Balquhidder and then gone on to even greater things! Gordon Strong has big shoes to fill, although he has not been spotted yet in high heels.

Above: Balquhidder’s Village hall

Left: John, on the left of the picture, allows Gordon to examine the contents of his fine bottle! Above: Handing over the reins.

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.


KP’s DIY & Builders Merchant KP’s would like to thank everyone for their support in 2014 and to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year

Go Nuts at KP’s 2-day Annual Sale

20% OFF CHRISTMAS SALE 23rd and 24th December (subject to conditions)

Sale Opening Times

23rd December 8am to 5.30pm 24th December 8am to 3pm Come and have a look round and enjoy a hot mince pie! Over 2014 KP’s has extended its product range so why not come along and see what’s new? Pick up a bargain or a few Christmas presents for the DIY enthusiast and Trades Person Logs, Coal, Peat, Kindling and Fire Lighters H Bird Food and Feeders H Rock Salt, Snow Shovels and Sledges H Timber and Sheet materials H Building Materials and Landscaping H Electrical Wire, Fittings, Light Bulbs and Batteries H Plumbing and Heating, Guttering and Drainage H Painting and Decorating H Fencing Materials for Garden and Farm H Ironmongery, Nails and Fixings H Gardening Tools, Compost, Bark, Weedkiller, Plant feed etc H General Hand and Power tools H And much, much more. Come and see for yourself! Christmas and New Year Opening Hours We will close 24th December at 3pm and reopen on the 2nd January 2015 at 8am Rob Roy Workshop, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead.

01877 384274 24

Farm Forum: GM Answers - in three years? Over the years we have heard much argument about the safety of Genetically Modified (GM) foods. In simplistic terms these crops are modified to be resistant to certain herbicides, allowing the herbicides to be used without harming the crop, resulting in a far larger crop than would  otherwise be possible. Production of GM crops is still banned in Europe but legal in America. It is reported by Alison Mann in the “Scottish Farmer” that a new international study is to be carried out to find discover whether a specific GM food and an associated pesticide is safe for human health. The whole GM

concept has initiated so much feeling and discussion over many years it is surprising this has not been undertaken long ago. The three year experiment will involve scientists testing thousands of rats fed with varying diets of Monsanta GM maize and the glyphosate / roundup herbicide that it is resistant to, and which therefore forms the basis of its infield management. The study is due to begin next year and the organisers say that there has never been a scientific investigation providing results strong enough to give interested parties a clear answer regarding the safety

for human health of any one GM food - but they intend to change that. The vital questions it aims to answer are: Is the GM food toxic to organ systems over the long term? Does the GM food reduce fertility or cause birth defects? Is the mixture of chemicals present in roundup herbicide more or less toxic than its active ingredient glyphosate?

Callander Rambling Club Sponsored by Caledonian Country Wear

The Club consists of a group of enthusiasts who meet regularly

throughout the year to participate in a programme of strolls, rambles, hill walks and a Long Distance Path. Details are published on http://www. in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diary:

BLS Trust Committee


Jim Crumley

The BLS Community Trust held their AGM on Thursday 13th November in the Broch Cafe. It was a well-attended event and there were many topics discussed and ideas put forward. The guest speaker for the evening was author and wildlife writer Jim Crumley, who gave an interesting and in-depth speech on the magnificent Golden Eagle with a series of questions and answers afterwards. We would like to thank everyone for their attendance and a special thanks to Jim Crumley for giving us so much of his valuable time. Please visit the website: or you can find us on Facebook and find out what is happening in your community. Jan D

DECEMBER 2014 • Sat 6th 8:30am Hill: Cort-ma Law (531m) – contact 01877 330930 • Wed 10th 09:30 Stroll: Banknock to the Wheel (6.5 miles) – contact 01786 825249 JANUARY 2015 • Fri 2nd 11:00 Stroll: Town Walk (4 miles) – contact 01877 330044 • Sat 10th 7:00pm AGM & Dinner– contact 01877 382924 • Wed 21st 9:30am Ramble: Around Loch Drunkie – contact 01877 376200 • Sat 31st 8:30am Hill: Blackford Hill & Braid Hills (Edinburgh) (208/164m) – contact 01786 825198 Walks for the rest of the year to be agreed at the AGM. We meet in Ancaster Square, unless otherwise indicated. Please bring wet weather clothing, appropriate footwear and a packed lunch. And please let the walk leader know if you plan to join the walk via the contact number given! Visitors and non-members welcome.



We’ll send you or your friends The


£14.00 for 11 monthly issues (£37.00 for Europe and £47.00 for the rest of the world). We are sorry about the increased costs to our valued overseas readers, due to the new postal rates imposed by the Post Office! All you need to do is to post the completed form to: BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION, GARDENERS COTTAGE BALQUHIDDER FK19 8PB, SCOTLAND Cheques should be made payable to: THE BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION Remittance enclosed £ .........................(do not send cash) Please send copies of The Villagers starting on ................................. for 11 months To: NAME .......................................................................................................................... ADDRESS: ........................................................................................................................ ........................................................................................POSTCODE .............................. SENDER’S NAME & ADDRESS IF DIFFERENT FROM ABOVE Please send copies of The Villagers starting on ............................... for 11 months NAME ................................................................................................................................ ADDRESS .......................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................POSTCODE................................

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




All types of tree work undertaken Removal of dangerous trees Crown lifting, Crown reduction, High pruning,Removal of deadwood. All types of fencing erected Mole trapping References can be given. Free estimates

STRATHYRE. TEL 01877384248 07967143910

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


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

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

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

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

Bowling - St Fillans Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 to11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am to 12.30pm Badminton - Balquhidder Hall - 8.00pm Country Dancing - St Fillans LEGS - Lochearnhead Hall - 6.30pm Carpet Bowls - Lochearnhead Village Hall - 7.30pm Pilates - Balquhidder Hall - 9.45am to 10.45am (contact Abbey Arkotxa 0776 6407578) Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am to 12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) Pilates - Balquhidder Hall - 6pm to 7pm (contact Abbey Arkotxa 0776 6407578) Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00 to 9.00pm Choir Occasional - Balquhidder Hall - 7.30pm to 9pm (call Gill Allan 01877 384203) Metafit Classes - Strathyre Village Hall - 8.00pm Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon (Contact Mel Brydie 01877 384668) Ballroom Dancing - Lochearnhead Hall

Other Contacts...

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

The Villagers’ Photographer 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


7 10 14 16 18 20 24 26 31

Strathyre Primary School’s Christmas Fair - Strathyre Primary School - see p.9 Balquhidder Christmas Market - Balquhidder Village Hall - 11am-4pm - see p.2 Community Carols - Lochearnhead Hall - see p. 8 Carols - Killin Parish Church 10am - see p. 8 SWT Antartica The Easy Way - see p.19 Carols with Callander Brass - Strathyre Village Hall - 7.30pm - see p. 2 Strathyre Village Christmas Party - The Village Hall - 3pm - 9pm - see p.2 Carol Service at Monachyle Mhor Hotel’s Courtyard - 5.30pm - see p.8 Boxing Day Bash at Mhor 84 with Live Music - 3pm - see p. 8 Hogmany Dance - Lochearnhead Village Hall - 9pm - 1am - see p. 2

JANUARY 2015 1 13

New Year’s Day Dance - Balquhidder Hall - 9pm - 1am - see p. 2 SWT Talk: Tawny Owls in Central Scotland - Waverley Hotel, Callander - see p.20

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

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

Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316 Sunday 11.30am Minister: Vacancy Enquiries to Interim Moderator: Revd Stuart Fulton 01786 463060 Dundurn Church, St Fillans Sunday11.30am Minister: Rev Graham McWilliams Tel: 01764 671 045

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

SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH St Angus’s Church, Lochearnhead Every Sunday: Holy Communion at 9.45am. Second and fifth Sundays in the month: Evensong at 6.00pm Vestry Secretary - Mary Barclay Tel: 01567 830453 SEE PAGE 10 FOR TIMES OF CHRISTMAS SERVICES

Tvdecember2014 lores (1)  

Merry Christmas from St Fillans, Lochearnhead, Balquhidder, Strathyre. 50 years since the Beatles were in St Fillans, Lochearnhead Carpet Bo...

Tvdecember2014 lores (1)  

Merry Christmas from St Fillans, Lochearnhead, Balquhidder, Strathyre. 50 years since the Beatles were in St Fillans, Lochearnhead Carpet Bo...