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Price 40p

The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans O wad some Power the giftie gie us - To see oursels as ithers see us!

Burns Night 2013

There were Burns Suppers a-plenty this year in the four villages. Here are some images from the proceedings!

EDITOR’S BIT I have two main tasks this month: the first is to wish you all a very Happy New Year! Whether you are readers, contributors or advertisers - your support is essential and greatly appreciated. The second is to remind you of the AGM on the 20th of February when all are welcome to give their views and ideas for the future of The Villagers. I would also like to thank Andrew and Joe for starting a new section entitled Travellers’ Tales. The account of their journey in Alaska, complete with some great photos, will be serialised over the next five editions. Hopefully by then others will be inspired to contribute further ‘tales’ for following months. Finally a brief mention of three great concerts in Balquhidder that we were lucky enough to go to. The first was Whiterose, a duo who came highly recommended by people who had seen them in Strathyre. They arrived complete with their fan club - and a great night’s singing was enjoyed by all who were there. Then came Hogmany masterminded by Iain Ramsay-Clapham and showcasing amazing local talent! Finally there was the concert in the kirk where the range from opera to banjo tunes proved again how fortunate we are to have such talent in the villages. I hope we can get a really good audience when the RSNO (well, three of them) are performing in Balquhidder in March. They are looking forward to the concert in the church, which is always a special venue. Could I just say thanks here to Penny Hannah who proofreads every month and so politely points out my errors - well most of them! JJ



The following readings were taken at ‘Bramblings’, Auchtubh, Balquhidder for the month of December 2012 Average max. temp. 5.0 ºC 41.0 ºF Actual max. temp. 10.8 51.0 Average min. temp. -2.5 29.7 Actual min. temp. -7.2 19.0 Rainfall: 39.4 cms 15.75 ins Strongest wind gust 48 mph on 7 December


Your Community needs YOU! Why? To support the Ambulance Service! How? By becoming involved in your

Community First Responder Team soon to be established in the three villages of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre. But I don’t have the time! A little time is better than no time at all. What’s involved? In our community, where lengthy distances to incidents exist, it is not always possible for an Ambulance to arrive in time. This is where a volunteer Community First Responder can help not only the Scottish Ambulance Service but be a direct benefit to their own community by reaching a friend of neighbour within a few minutes of a 999 call being made. A community First Responder Scheme is a locally managed group of volunteers linked in to the Emergency Services, all we need is a minimum of 5 volunteers to get the scheme going. Please help us achieve this. To find out more, please come to a meeting hosted by the Scottish Ambulance Service, who will tell us more about what is involved and how we can get started. Watch out for details on forthcoming posters near you!

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Travels with my Great Grandfather is an illustrated talk by Mary Bates, the daughter of our oldest member. Mary’s Great Grandfather did his highland trip during the Glasgow Fair July 1871. Mary went on a reconstruction exactly 140 years later in July 2011. Mary writes: “Why he did he do it? I suspect he realised that his was his last chance to go on a boy’s trip as a single man, since he got married the following year. The trip follows his (and my) tours 140 years apart, from Glasgow to Inverness via Oban & Fort William, then back through the Highlands via Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. It developed from the discovery in the loft of a journal he kept of his trip in 1871. I should maybe mention that he was a staunch methodist and did a lot of good through his church in Glasgow but I will expand on that on the night!” Tickets are only £5 per person for this event. Do please come and support this event - which you will find fascinating!

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

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The St Fillans Bit I must be one of the few, kids excepted, who welcomed the serious snow falls of the past few days (last week in January). Readers might recall my mention recently of the fitting of winter tyres to our 2 wheel drive car – done after the recommendation of the Daily Telegraph motoring writer, and independent tests which indicated at least twice the grip over ordinary tyres. I can now confirm the recommendation as the grip of the car in snow and slush vastly exceeds ‘summer’ tyres. This morning the car pulled out of our driveway easily in about 6ins of snow – a feat I would never have tried before – and easily climbed the sloping lane beside the Achray on my return. I did get stuck finally on the 1 in 3 ramp up to the hall carpark, which was hardly surprising. Jim Brierley, after getting stuck a few days back on summer tyres, replaced them that day with winter tyres and confirms a vast improvement. So the things do work and give far better grip and security in the snow. Worth a thought for next winter (or even this one). On the subject of weather, the annual Carols Around The Tree before Christmas at the Field of Hope had to be cancelled on the day as the torrential and continuous rain had turned the Field of Hope into a Lake of Despair. As Mark and Jackie had already laid in mince pies and mulled wine a depleted group of carolers enjoyed an impromptu sing along at Neish. The horrendous spell of weather however did not stop Santa making a visit to the Ladies Christmas Supper Club and our picture shows an excited Cathy Moncrieff telling Santa her secret wish for Christmas. I gather from Ian that the wish was unfulfilled. Johnston Brown tells me that the CC will seek opinion on the Field of Hope being the permanent site for the tree, in which case P&K Council will be approached for a permanent power supply. He also mentions that if

by John Murray

The Village Players

anyone has access to a ‘cherry picker’ the lighting could be installed right to the top of the tree. The Ladies Lunch Club Christmas lunch, husbands invited, was an excellent session with good food and with entertainment provided by villagers rather than the normal ‘bought in’ artists. The highlight has to be the superb poem about village life composed and recited by John Bennett in the style of McGonagall; it was seriously funny and very skilful. It was sad to see the reduced number at the lunch compared with just a few years back, but it is a sign of the times. The same John Bennett has unearthed a fascinating booklet Life in a Perthshire Village written by Janey G Bryce and recording her war years of 1939 – 1945 in St Fillans whilst the family stayed in Port Mor (yes, that is the way it was spelt then, the ‘h’ must have appeared later). Well worth a read. I was surprised that The Village Players were active way back then and include a picture here scanned from the booklet. If you look closely I think you will see a young Cathy Moncrieff seated in the front row. When I get time I will scan the booklet and can email it to anyone interested. (Or we could include excerpts? Ed.)

Continued overleaf


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Johnston has asked me to mention that the Sandison Hall has now purchased its own LED projector which can be hired by any user of the hall. Previously speakers at events had to bring their own or borrow from the Comrie Church. He also reports a fun night at the hall for the Hogmanay Gathering and thanks Ken and Maggie for their DJing. I mentioned last month that I had been unable to get any news about the future of The Drummond Hotel. Thanks to the efforts of Fraser, Andy who ran the hotel for the past two years came across to update Fraz and me on the situation, which we appreciated. Much of what we learned was, as proper reporters say, ‘off the record’ at Andy’s request and I need to respect that. However there appears to be far more to the events of 2011 & 12 at The Drummond than appeared and I can confirm that the owners remained the Sancto family and that Andy was leasing the hotel. Though the situation is now ‘fluid’ Andy has expressed his intention of reopening the premises at the end of March. If he does achieve that it will be a remarkable effort considering the steady deterioration which is pretty obvious now. We look forward to seeing the place open again. During the winter break Mary and Andrew at The Four Seasons have been busy upgrading the chalets and improving facilities in the bedrooms. They reopen on 1st March from Thursdays to Mondays then full time from the end of March. Their first Wine Tasting Dinner is on 8th March followed by Mother’s Day Lunch on the 10th with free fizz for the mums.

Over the Christmas period the Village Store was the venue for a fund raising event in support of the Philippine Community Fund (PCF) which operates education and health programmes for under privileged children in the poorest of slum areas in Manila and Baguio. The event arose from a chance conversation between our local artist David Kerr and Frank at the shop. David has visited the areas where PCF operates and says, “The PCF does wonderful work which I know makes a difference to the lives of so many, particularly the children living in awful conditions, giving some chance in life.” The event took the form of the display (and very rapid sale) of small sketches and studies of the Loch Earn area and of The South China Sea – all by David of course. Frank at The Store says that previously no-one locally had seen such a number of David’s sketches and that there was a real ‘wow’ factor when the collection was revealed. David and Frank were very impressed by the response,

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air your views... Strathyre Broch I have been observing the gradual deterioration over the last two years of the Broch erected on the commission, and decided to make enquiries as to who was supposed to maintain it, as it is now an unsightly mound of weeds and rubble and hardly a tourist attraction for the village. So I contacted the Drystone Walling Association who were responsible for its construction and after more than two months I received a reply with an apology for the delay as they had been investigating who was responsible for its up keep. It turns out that the Association had passed this on to the Forestry Commission two years ago along with the keys of the gate so maintenance could be carried out. I then contacted the recreation manager Mr. Will Huckerby and advised him of my findings and I received the following e-mail from him: 4

and the generosity, of local residents and have ideas for follow up events. (Thanks to Lorna Milne for the photo, above.) A diary date - the first meeting of the Community Council in 2013 will be on Wednesday 13th February, 7.30 in The Sandison. All welcome. Can I, finally, kick off 2013 with my usual request for input from villagers to this column. There has been a notable increase in emails to me over the last few months but the more the better. This month I have received an excellent report from Eric Kennelly on his day at Nick Nairn’s which I was reluctant to edit to fit ‘My Bit’. This will appear as a stand-alone article either this month or next. PS – An update to my soup maker saga of last month. Said device is well and truly mastered and producing copious quantities of soup – albeit with far more complication than a pan on the stove.

The Broch, Strathyre

Wullie, Thanks for the comments, in particular I do agree with your comments about the Broch. I have informed Strathyre Community Council that we do have the key and will soon need to carry out essential work on the Broch. Sorry this has been left to get to this point and we do intend to carry out work early in 2013. Not sure who Strathyre Community Council are but I assume it is a clerical error. I hope after two years of neglect he will keep his word and do something positive with this interesting construction very soon. We have a couple of huge events lined up for 2013 IE the Stuc a` Chroin Scottish championship hill race in May and the proposed music festival in June which we hope will attract a lot of visitors to the village and it would be nice if this was put in order. I will certainly be keeping a close eye on it and will have no hesitation in reminding Mr Huckerby of his e-mail, which I have filed. Wullie D

Can I start with wishing all our readers a belated happy and prosperous 2013. Strathyre was absolutely booming during the festive season with children’s parties, carol singing, pub quiz and Hogmanay parties. It was one of the best Christmas and New years I have spent in the village for some time. Let me recap on some of the occasions: To begin with we had our very own Santa’s Grotto in the village hall, which was wonderfully decorated for the occasion by Greg and Nyree Watson, reindeer and all. This set the scene for a beautiful nights carol singing which Jan organised and was supported by Callander Brass and Choir Occasional. Well done to all who attended on such an awful night. It was then back to the Inn where we were treated to mulled wine and mince pies so a big thank you to Jan and the Inn staff for taking care of everyone. Jan was also responsible for organising and presiding over the pub quiz on the 28th Dec with the proceeds (£82.50)going towards raising funds for the defibulators for the three villages, a very worthy cause and one we shall be pursuing with future fund raising events (watch this space). It was a very enjoyable and wellattended evening and well done to Jan for compiling such an interesting and varied

Strathyre News

array of questions. The children’s party and follow up ceilidh were a huge success and the Ladies of the village who work so hard all year round for this are to be congratulated for their never ending efforts. The look on the children’s faces when Santa arrives and gives each one their present is something money just can’t buy, keep up the good work girls, we are all behind you!! The Hogmanay party in the village hall was fantastic with the hall filled to capacity with food; music and dancing till the bells and more. We had a wonderful band entertaining us in the shape of The Tin Men, with a very traditional interlude by our very own Stevie Black on accordion and the multi-talented Kenny Higgins on guitar which meant you could rock and roll and strip the willow all on the same night! Not to mention the free raffle as well with prizes being donate by the kind people of the village. While the festive season is a magical time for all, the events highlighted do not

happen by “magic”, these only happen with the very hard work of a select body of people and although I have mentioned some of them there are some unsung heroes I would like to mention as well. David Richards for erecting the village Christmas tree, lights and all and for standing in for Santa at short notice. Ron and Maggie Milne for organising and running the very successful and enjoyable Hogmanay village dance. To Chris Shrimpling for the very professional job he did designing and producing the dance tickets. To everyone who supported all the festivities in very bad weather conditions. To the bands who entertained us throughout. To the hard working staff at the Inn for the long hours they put in so the rest of us could enjoy ourselves. And a special thanks to whoever cleared up the hall after the new years party, you are worth your weight in gold! Wullie D

Core Path I have been in consultation with the NP for most of the summer of`2012 with regards to the footpath which is the access path to the back of the houses in Old Station Court where I live. The reason for this was the fact that it was becoming dangerous to exit using the back gate due to cyclists passing often at speed. I felt this should not be happening and was an accident waiting to happen particularly given that children access this path and parents walk their children to school on it giving me several reasons for concern. I thought that cyclists just used this path because it was there so imagine my disbelief to discover that the NP and Sustrans had actually given the path Core Path status. What this means is the path can be a right of way for cyclists, walkers, horse riders and canoeists. This got my back up a wee bit so I did more investigating and here is a summary of events as per the documentation I received. How were core paths chosen? Over the last five years the NP authority has gathered local knowledge and opinion at community drop-in consultations and informal consultations during the summer of 2007. You may have attended one of these events. ---I would be interested to know if anyone in the Village did, as I knew nothing about them!! The initial information was collated to produce a list of paths for assessment using agreed selection criteria. The selection criteria were developed in consultation with the NP Local Access Form and using national guidelines. There are quite a few, but I would highlight the ones I thought were important which were Identified by the local community; Balance Landowners interests with access rights; I have spoken to the residents concerned and Rural housing who own these properties and no one was consulted on these issues!! I could go on for pages with this but the bottom line is this path was put in place without the consultation of the people most effected and I am led to believe, through a meeting I had with two NP officials, that the consultation was in effect conducted through Community Council Meetings and the boxes were ticked in the right places and this project went ahead. I pointed out that the cycle route depicted on Sustrans cycle map clearly shows that the route should go along Keip road past the school and on to Balquhidder, and, if access was required to enter the Village, then it could be done so via the Balvaig Bridge. This was rejected and I was informed that it would lead to cyclists entering the A84 and could be a danger to the cyclist and this was the case if they came in via the swing bridge and through the commission. I then pointed out that they could enter and exit the village centre via the path that passes the swing park and was informed that it was to steep for a cyclist to negotiate!! “WHAT” However, through my moans and groans and working with a very helpful gentleman from the NP, some progress has been made and new signs will be erected soon warning everyone that they are entering a pedestrian area and to proceed with caution. This core path status will legally be in force till 2015 when it will be reviewed and you can bet I will be there to oppose it and if anyone else objects to this situation I would appreciate their support. Wullie D 5

Below Inflation Rise for Scottish Water Customers

Balquhidder Hall Whist A Wine and Savoury Whist (or Scrabble)

will be held in the hall on

Friday 22nd February at 7.30pm.

This is a fun evening - and not to be taken too seriously! For all ages. As the name implies - wine and savouries will be served and there will be a raffle.

Cost £3.00



The caged bear was released by Andrew Drysdale from Lochearnhead. Due to everyone’s generosity I |was able to send a cheque for £95 to Care For The Wilde International for their programme in rescuing bears and releasing them in their bear sanctuary. Thank you everyone. Edna Haydock

Scottish Water’s charges will rise this April for the first time in four years - but below the rate of inflation. The combined water supply and waste water collection charges for the 2.4 million households across Scotland will increase by a below inflation 2.8 per cent, the first increase since 2009. The level of increase in charges is based on the RPI (Retail Price Index) in October of 3.2 per cent and is agreed with our economic regulator the Water Industry Commission for Scotland. Annual council tax bills being delivered through letter boxes will include combined water supply and waste water collection charges that come into effect from 1 April 2013. The average Scottish Water charge for households across Scotland in 2013/14 will be around £334. Crucially water charges in Scotland are expected to continue to be around £50 below the average household charge for customers of the private water companies in England and Wales. With charges in England and Wales expected to rise by more than inflation the average household charge in Scotland will continue to be less than the average household bill in England and Wales and lower than the average in most of the companies south of the border. It is also considerably lower than other utility charges. Household charges had remained unchanged since April 2009. This increase of 2.8 per cent, our first increase in four years, is 10 per cent less than the rise in inflation over the same four year period. This below inflation rise signals continued stability in water and waste water bills for Scotland, at the same time as Scottish Water is delivering one of the largest investment programmes per household in the UK. Douglas Millican, interim chief executive, said: “We are working hard to ensure that in the next few years, charges remain stable while we continue to deliver vital investment. That’s why I’d encourage all our customers to have their say on our consultation on the future of water services, which runs until February. “Our customers are benefiting from Scottish Water’s continuing strong financial performance and its focus on delivering further efficiencies. That is why we have been able to restrict this price rise to only 2.8 per cent - delivering benefits to our customers. “Our customers are continuing to see value in the charges they pay and improved service. The quality of our drinking water is the best it has ever been, we are continuing to improve the natural environment across Scotland, cutting water leaking from our pipes and customer service is continuing to improve. “We believe these charges are a fair deal for our customers in these challenging economic conditions. “These charges are helping to pay for the current £2.5 billion investment programme which is delivering the investment that Scotland needs in its water infrastructure while providing thousands of construction jobs. Millions of people are turning on their taps to clearer, fresher drinking water, enjoying a cleaner environment and receiving improved customer service as a result.” Council Tax Band A B C D E F G H

Household Charges 2013/14 Water Supply Waste Water Collection £ 124.80 £ 144.84 £ 145.60 £ 168.98 £ 166.40 £ 193.12 £ 187.20 £ 217.26 £ 228.80 £ 265.54 £ 270.40 £ 313.82 £ 312.00 £ 362.10 £ 374.40 £ 434.52

Customers are being invited to have their say on the future of water and waste water services in Scotland through an ongoing consultation which can be found at


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Mountain Rescue Team receives commendation Left to right: Chief Inspector Findlater, Callander, Killin MRT members, Rob Scott, David Luti, Calum Menzies, Central Scotland Chief Constable Derek Penman, Killin MRT members Mike Kreis, Andrew Leishman, Mark Nicols.

Six Callander Members of Killin Mountain Rescue Team received a commendation from The Chief Constable of Central Scotland Police at a ceremony held at Police Headquarters Stirling recently. Called to Ben Ledi on the evening of 2nd January 2012 Killin Mountain Rescue Team went to the aid of a solo hillwalker, lightly equipped, stranded on the summit due to the sudden onslaught of blizzards and storm force winds. Unable to see or make any headway in waist deep powder snow. the hillwalker called for help on his mobile phone and was told to shelter and remain near the Ben Ledi summit cross until help arrived. Six Killin Mountain Rescue Team members reached the casualty on the summit, battling waist deep powder snow and wind speeds gusting 50 mph. They assisted him down the summit ridge, where they were joined by the rest of the search party and led safely down the hill to his wife who was waiting at the foot of the hill. Had he not been located he may well have perished as the storm continued overnight and throughout the following day, causing

serious disruption and damage throughout Central Scotland. The storm conditions would have seriously hampered any attempt to continue the search, until conditions improved. The 6 Killin MRT members who reached the hillwalker on the summit, and received the commendation are shown in the picture along with the senior Police Officers of Central Scotland Police who made the presentation., The Chief Constable’s Commendation contained the following statement: “On the 2nd January 2012 Andrew Leishman along with 5 other members of the Killin Mountain Rescue Team displayed outstanding bravery and dedication to duty in effecting the successful rescue of a person who had become lost in severe winter weather whilst walking on Ben Ledi. The Killin Mountain Rescue Team was alerted to the dire predicament of a walker on Ben Ledi who had been caught in severe winter weather and white out conditions. Fearing for his life, the walker managed to contact his wife and subsequently the Killin Mountain Rescue team were mustered. At

great personal risk, the Team utilised their mountain rescue winter navigation skills and extensive experience to locate the stranded walker and effected his successful rescue in extremely challenging conditions.” Many thousands take to the hills in this area each year, and thankfully very few get in to difficulty. The team was called out 26 times in 2012, and the pattern for incidents was similar to previous years. If you do get in to difficulty on the mountains and require emergency assistance contact the POLICE who are responsible for calling out Mountain Rescue Teams, and other resources which may be required to provide assistance to people in difficulty in the mountains. Many Thanks To Callander Rotary, Callander Round Table, and the many local businesses who have supported our voluntary work in 2012. Safe Trekking in 2013! Bill Rose Angus Cameron Co-Ordinator Deputy Team Leader Killin Mountain Rescue Team


A Note from

St Angus’s Church... So here we are with another year stretching ahead....It seems as if the hurly-burly of all the Christmas celebrations has only just passed and yet, as I write, Lent is just around the corner - just three weeks away - and that begins the build-up to a very early Easter. Our Christmas services were well attended. Thanks to the Killin Community Choir our Carol service in the hall got us off to a great start. So a big thank you to all who attended the Carol Service, the Crib Service and the Christmas Day Service. As a minority Church in such a scattered rural area our congregations are inevitably small so we very much appreciate it when we have community support - there will always be a warm welcome for you at St Angus’s events/ services. Easter Sunday this year falls on Sunday March 31st but more about that in the March issue of the Villagers. The “Home Group” continues to meet on Wednesday evenings and some lively discussions come out of our Bible study. This is very much an ecumenical group and a valuable way of exploring our faith as it relates to contemporary life. We don’t all agree with one another but I believe we all have great respect for each other’s opinions and there are no serious fall-outs! If anyone would like to come and join us or even just come for a “taster” you are invited to contact Jean and Paul Hicks on 01567 830359. If it encourages you the evening begins with delicious puddings and tea and coffee! For most of us there are huge gaps in our knowledge of the Bible, this is a great way to help our understanding so don’t be shy. Finally, a very Happy New Year from all at St Angus’s.

Church News BalquhiĐĐer Reg. Charity No. SC012316

All good wishes for 2013 to everyone. Let`s hope the wintry weather doesn’t outstay its welcome. The service on Christmas Eve was well attended and as a result we sent £180.00 to Borderline. This charity is well known to many of us now, and it was good once again to be able to contribute to the work done to help homeless Scots down on their luck in London. Despite the cold, ice and snow, our concert in January raised at least £300.00 for Church funds, with more donations promised from folk who were unable to come. It makes such a good start to the year financially for the Church, when ordinary income is often very low. We certainly have a lot of local talent and sincerely thank the performers and audience alike. Special thanks of course to Charlie Hunter who kindly organised the evening so well. What with the pantomime, concert and Burns Night, it is clear that there really is a wealth of talent in all three villages. Congratulations all round. Lastly, we have advance notice of another concert in the Church, on 6th March at 7.30pm, when there will be a recital by a wind trio from of Royal Scottish National Orchestra. This is part of the orchestra`s outreach programme and will surely be worth a note in your diaries. Watch out for details on posters nearer the time. Jean Edwards

Members’ Lunch!

Callander and West Perthshire U3A Do you know what a cordwainer is? If you do, you would have been very welcome on one of the tables at the Dreadnought Hotel at Callander and West Perthshire’s University of the Third Age (U3A) New Year lunch. The competition devised by Eleanor Malcolm between the tables was an added bonus to an excellent lunch enjoyed by members who were able to meet new U3A friends who belonged to groups other than their own. Many more opportunities to meet new people and tackle new subjects are presenting themselves this New Year. So great is the demand for Maths in Art & Literature and Geology that duplicate groups are being formed. Photography, Singing for Pleasure, Bridge, Yoga, European History and a Lunch Group are all attracting numbers of interested members. The 28 groups previously established continue to thrive, the only problem being the lack of an eighth day in the week! Barbara Legg 8

Players from the RSNO are to visit Balquhidder as part of the orchestra’s Out and About Week, a week of music making and workshops taking place throughout Stirlingshire from the 5 – 9 March. The Phoenix Wind Trio, an ensemble composed of Principal musicians from the RSNO, will be performing at the Parish Church The Phoenix Wind Trio: David Hubbard, Bassoon; Katherine Bryan, Flute; John Cushing, Clarinet. on Wednesday 6 March at 7.30pm. The evening will showcase the very best wind repertoire and will feature music from a variety of composers including Mozart and Ibert. John Cushing, RSNO Principal Clarinet and Katherine Bryan, Principal Flute, are both Stirlingshire residents and speaking about the concert, John revealed, “We’re really looking forward to performing in Balquhidder. It will be great to play music in an area we know and love so well”. The trio is completed by David Hubbard, Principal Bassoon, and have been performing regularly across the UK for more than eight years. The RSNO’s Out and About Week is a chance from the orchestra to get away from the concert halls of Scotland to present a series of more intimate performances in smaller spaces and community facilities. As well as the visit to Balquhidder, the RSNO will also be performing in Strathblane, Brig O’ Turk and Stirling where they will present an afternoon Tea Dance on Thursday 7 March and perform a full symphonic concert on Friday 8 March at 7.30pm, both at the Albert Halls. In between these performances they’ll also be visiting sheltered housing and care homes as well as visiting every Secondary school in the region. Nursery pupils will also get a chance to hear members of the orchestra as ‘Mini Monster Music’ concerts visit Stirling, Balfron and Callander. For further details of all the RSNO’s activities throughout the week you can visit their website at

Panto Dame gets a mention...

Linlithgow Palace to stage ‘A Satire of the Three Estates’ This June, Linlithgow Palace and Stirling Castle will provide the historic settings for David Lyndsay’s renowned Renaissance drama, A Satire of the Three Estates. People are invited to come along to a public meeting at Linlithgow Burgh Hall on Thursday 7th February 2013 at 7pm to find out how to get involved in community activities regarding the play. Alison Stalker, Assistant Events and Filming Manager at Historic Scotland said: “Everyone is welcome to come along and find out more about the play and how they can get involved. “We are looking forward to all types of community involvement from local schools to community groups to explore questions in the play such as its relationship to the culture of Renaissance Scotland and the nature of historical heritage in contemporary society.” A Satire of the Three Estates is a comic and epic masterpiece of Scottish literature which was performed in 1552 and 1554. The performances of the play in June 2013 are part of a two year project run by Edinburgh, Oxford Brookes, Southampton and Glasgow Universities with support from Historic Scotland.

Here’s an interesting cutting from a December newspaper - The Times, no less! Fame at last, Alan!


Scottish Wildlife Trust In December we combined an excellent buffet at the Waverley Hotel with members’ talks. Kevin Duffy spoke of his involvement in the 1990’s sea eagle reintroduction in Wester Ross following the first phase on Mull. This area offers an ideal combination of freshwater, sea, woodland and carrion from feral goat and red deer. Young eagles from Norway were fed initially by keepers, through a sleeve to avoid imprinting. Releases reared their first chick was in 1998 and sea eagles are still seen in the area.

Sea Eagle

Mike Hawkins reported on monitoring squirrel feeder boxes as a volunteer for SSRS. Over 6 weeks ‘visitors’ to 4 peanut feeder boxes were recorded on a camera trap. Sticky pads under the lids catch hairs for later identification. Encouragingly, reds and pine martens visited daily with no greys. However, in the Crags Lower Woods there are still both reds and greys. Please report all squirrel sightings to www. Recently grey squirrels have been reported causing damage in roof spaces. If you have problems then traps are available from Lewis Pate or Mike Luti, contact

In January Gareth Kett gave an intriguing overview of the realities of conservation projects in Madagascar, one of the world’s top 25 hotspots for conservation. TV often conveys an ideal conservation island; full of fluffy lemurs, habitats ranging from rain forest to dry savannah and a huge range of flora & fauna, 80% of which is endemic. Reality imposes the complexities of corruption, poor infrastructure, communication and education, not to mention cyclones. 80% of the population are subsistence farmers so ‘bush meat’ is an important source of food and ‘slash & burn’ is prevalent, destroying rain forest and encouraging invasive (but useful) species such as guava and wild ginger. Wood removal by individuals is a minor problem compared with illegal mechanised export, ignored by police and government. Gareth and his wife worked with the Madagascar Flora & Fauna Group (MFG), a NGO funded by an international association of zoos, botanical gardens and conservation groups. Ivoloina is Madagascar’s premier zoo, housing animals rescued from the pet trade and running captive breeding programmes. Its Environmental Training Centre and model Agricultural Station train environmental groups and locals in conservation and sustainable farming

methods. A Saturday School for presecondary school students supplements a generally poor educational system, recognising that the future lies with the children. However, change is slow, especially when it is considered an insult to ancestors! Ivoloina also has a role in protection of National Parks and Wildlife Reserves, notably the Betampona Reserve; classic primary rain forest including over 850 plant, 11 primate, 87 bird and 150 amphibian & reptile species including 76 frogs! Access is by a gruelling 8-hour journey via well-used vehicles, across dubious bridges (steel removed to make machetes), hiking rough terrain and wading rivers. One project is replacing native trees around the edge of the reserve. Tree seedlings from village nurseries are supplied free to locals, combining native trees with commercially useful species that, once removed, leave natives to recolonise. Local people are employed and inter-village competitions, with prizes such as a new classroom, are a great incentive. Conservation in such areas is feasible but must be supported by tackling political issues such as land ownership and putting an end to the illegal logging and pet trade. Lesley Hawkins

Scottish Wildlife Trust

Callander Member’s Centre Diary Tuesday 12th February

Wildlife Around the Port of Menteith

by Keith Graham, local naturalist and contributor to The Voice Tues 12th March 2013

The Ups and Downs of Basking Sharks

by Mauvis Gore, Marine Conservation International


7:30pm at The Waverley Hotel, Main Street, Callander Cost £2 members, £2.50 non-members, free for full-time students. Our full programme and more details on SWT can be found at

Barn Owl

Mike Steward gave an update on the fluctuating fortunes of barn owls in Central Scotland. Barn Owls are not very adaptable, relying heavily on field voles as food so in severe winters, when snow covers vole runs, or in years when vole populations crash, owls may starve or fail to reach breeding weight. The severe winters of 2009/10 & 10/11 reduced the number of breeding pairs from 74 to 24 but vole population trends suggest that 2014 will see barn owl recovery. 10

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of Meeting held at Lochearnhead Village Hall, 16th January 2013

Present: Malcolm McNaughton (MM), Paul Hicks (PH), Alastair Barclay (AB), Rosanne McWilliams (RM), Susie Crammon (SC), Karen Methven (KM), Angus Cameron (AC). Apologies: Sara Hesp, Richard Eastland (RE), Adrian Squires. In attendance: Cllr Alycia Hayes (AH), Stirling Council (S-C) 1) Approval of Minutes The minutes of the previous meeting were reviewed. It was proposed by SC and seconded by RM that the minutes should be accepted and this was approved unanimously. 2) Police Matters No police officers were able to attend in person, but MM had received a letter from Chief Inspector Findlater regarding Operation Ironworks that will be circulated to members separately, and PC Ward had submitted the following report. ‘There has been virtually no crime reported in our own area recently, other than the theft of a pressure washer from Balquhidder. There has been nothing of note in Killin but, near Crianlarich, a break-in to a van and isolated farm was reported. Local community officers have been reassured that there should not be any changes once the new policing arrangements start in April; everything will remain the same. Please note that the CC has an opportunity to contribute to the “Police and Communities Together” model (PACT) through which local policing priorities will be set. There will also be ward-level policing plans as a sub-set of the local authority’s strategic planning arrangements. During the past two months, I have been looking at vehicles travelling through Strathyre as the school hours start and finish. I have also been paying regular visits to licensed premises. I carried out an operation in Callander just before Christmas that resulted in ten premises being reported to the Procurator Fiscal for various offences. We are continually asking for people to call in when they see or hear something suspicious or unusual. I am pleased to say that this is happening and I would like to thank the CC for its efforts in spreading this message so successfully. Nonetheless, we must continue to be vigilant!’ 3) Matters Arising 3.1) Parking at Primary School, Strathyre A further letter had been written to Brian Roberts on 17 Dec 2012 but, to date, no reply has been received. 3.2) Pharmacy Application, Killin (Walter Davidson & Sons Ltd) A letter in support of local views against the proposed new pharmacy had been sent to NHS Forth Valley Pharmacy Practices Committee (PPC). The period for public consultation closed on 7th January but no date has yet been published for when the PPC will meet to discuss the application. 3.3) Dart Energy Planning Application for Airth RM and PH had planned to attend a meeting of the Forth Estuary Forum on 17th January, but a meeting specifically to discuss the Dart Energy application has since been announced in Stirling on 28th January and they are now planning to go to that instead. Action: RM and PH to attend meeting on 28th January. 3.4) Kendrum Burn Hydroelectric Scheme A supportive letter was sent to AMEC on 13th December, stating that the community welcomes the project itself but has concerns over the potential impact on traffic and asking if there might be some consideration given to recompense by AMEC. To date, no reply has been received. 4) Access to Forth Valley Royal Hospital, Larbert AB had received only one response to his local questionnaire about problems experienced in travelling to Larbert. That response was very positive, so it appears that there is no significant problem. 5) Strathyre Village Association Hydroelectric Scheme RM stated that the Strathyre Village Association (SVA) is preparing a tender application and needs a letter from the CC in support of the overall project. Three companies have submitted a tender to do a feasibility study. It was agreed that an appropriate letter should be written. Action: PH to write a letter in support of the project. 6) Local People Local Paths Grant Paths For All is an organisation that offers grants of up to £1500 for projects aimed at providing walking routes in local communities. RE has suggested that this might be suitable for the Memorial Path at Forest Lodge, Strathyre. We last considered this in November 2011. Following the death of Don MacCaskill, Chief Forester of Strathyre Forest, in 2000, the Forestry Commission created the Coille MacCaskill Path at Tighness Burn with stones from Kilmartin Glen, as a memorial to his life and work. This path is now in urgent need of repair and maintenance. It was agreed that we should obtain further details from RE with a view to applying for a grant. 7) A85 Road Improvements - Leskine TranServ has advised the CC that it will be re-surfacing the A85 at Leskine from 18th February for about two weeks. The work will involve reducing the carriageway to a single lane with traffic light control and a convoy escort vehicle. The restrictions will apply Monday to Friday, from 07:30 to 17:00 hours. 8) Correspondence 8.1) Jayne Baxter, new MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife. Ms Baxter had contacted the CC, offering whatever help and support she can. It was agreed that her contact details should be circulated to all CC members. Action: PH to circulate contact details. 8.2) Dementia Services Development Centre Cllr Martin Earl had written to notify the CC of the work of this organisation that is based at Stirling University and is regarded as one of the leading groups within the UK working in this field. 8.3) Questionnaire on Sports Pitches S-C is devising a strategy on the provision and maintenance of various amenities for sports and, as a first step, has circulated a questionnaire to all CCs on existing facilities. The only one in our own area is the Tennis Court at Strathyre that the SVA is seeking to refurbish. RM will supply details for inclusion in the questionnaire. MM and others then raised some concerns about the situation with the proposed development of sports facilities in Callander. AH was able to clarify some issues and provide background information as to why the matter was complex and progress had been delayed. There are legal questions regarding S-C’s responsibilities and obligations but work is now under way to resolve them. 9) Planning Matters There were no current applications for consideration. 10) Matters From Local Councillors 10.1) AH endorsed Cllr Earl’s comments regarding the Dementia Services Development Centre, stating that this is now a main priority for S-C. 10.2) The Education Committee has discovered that the cost of renting a portacabin at Strathyre School for the past ten years has been exorbitant and is looking for alternative premises. RM said that SVA is considering applying to buy the former care home, Sir Andrew Murray House, that is up for sale. They should have enough support to implement a ‘right to buy’. If successful, this might offer a solution. 10.3) AH reported that courses in rural studies at McLarens High School are working extremely well and are held up as an exemplar throughout Scotland. 10.4) AH stated that Council Officers are very concerned about the potential impact of the Welfare Reforms on education. Often, financial cutbacks impact primarily on children, resulting in problems from poor diet, cramped sleeping arrangements and lack of adequate clothing. 10.5) The Forthside Development in Stirling is progressing well. 10.6) MM raised a concern about telephone calls from public agencies and organisations (such as S-C and the Police) where the originating number is ‘withheld’. This was discussed at some length and AH offered to look into matters from S-Cís point of view. 10.7) MM then mentioned road maintenance. Hedging and ditching needs to be done regularly. The present system is costing far more than it should because water overflows on to road surfaces and causes immense damage, resulting in major costs for re-surfacing and drainage. He pleaded for a review of such operations by S-C. AH commented that the recent change in administration had resulted in some of the recent agreements regarding local intervention being rescinded. The Winter Resilience Plan was particularly affected. 10.8) AC asked about the situation regarding the lack of pavement beside the A85 on the southern side, from Auchraw Terrace to Auchraw Brae in Lochearnhead. AH promised to make further enquiries about this. 10.9) It was noted that the BLS Trust is currently preparing a Community Action Plan and all members were asked to give it their full support. 11) Any Other Competent Business 11.1) Five Lochs Management Plan AB reported that the National Park will be providing a mobile display and presentation on the Five Lochs Management Plan, and also on the proposed cycle path from St Fillans to Lochearnhead, in April. Their caravan will be situated in Strathyre (16th), Lochearnhead (17th), and St Fillans (18th), with plans for all nineteen locations that are to be upgraded. The plans for the cycle track will also be available. There was no other business and, at 20:55 p.m., MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting is planned to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 27th February 2013 at the Lochearnhead Hotel, Lochearnhead.


Strathyre Primary School News Burns Lunch On Wednesday 23rd January we went to Lochearnhead Hall to celebrate the life and work of Robert Burns. We had a lovely lunch of haggis, neeps and tatties for those that wanted it which was washed down with Scotland’s other national drink - Irn Bru. Kieran MacNicol Piped in the Haggis which was carried in by our own Poosie Nancy - Stephanie Lau. Charlie Hunter addressed the haggis and sliced it open with much gusto. Kieran MacNicol toasted the lassies even admitting to males hogging the tv remote and watching sport on the tv. Gillian Ramsay Clapham gave a tremendous reply. Charlie Methven was asked to perform Tam o’ Shanter - he’s a busy man and we didn’t think he was going to manage - but at the last minute he rode up on his trusty grey mare and delighted the children with his performance. The afternoon was filled with song, dance, and poetry; Rosie Cooper playing her harp, Lottie Hesp playing the Bodhran. Robbie Burns would have been delighted with our celebrations!

Lochearnhead Valentines Supper Party Get out and have a bit of fun at The Lochearnhead Water Sports Centre

Valentines Supper Party

on Friday 15th February from 7.30 -12pm Enter the romantic party spirit whether you arrive with a valentine or not. A £10 ticket includes a 2 course buffet supper, candle lit tables, dancing and reasonably priced drinks. Tickets must be purchased in advance from Fraser Proven Tel: 01567 830 443 or Martijn and Laura 07795 472 985 email with any queries. Kim Proven 12

There was plenty of dancing - and lots of tartan! Kieran piped in the Haggis...

... and Charlie was Tam o’ Shanter!

Drs Strang & Scott and Drs Mathewson & Gibson Community Nurses

The surgeries and community nurses are taking part in a training programme. This is to meet the educational and training needs of all members of the practice and nursing team. The next training afternoon will be on: Tuesday 26th February 2013 Both practices and community nurse clinic will close at 12 noon. Emergency cover will be provided by NHS24 for nursing and GPs. In the event of an emergency, please telephone 08454 242424. On that afternoon, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments.

Callander Photo Club for 2013

A small but committed group of about ten photography fans would like to invite others to join us for our spring activities. At the moment, there is no formal membership, so please come along to any meetings that interest you. Each meeting will include an opportunity to share and discuss your photos, so bring them too. Our meetings are held at 7:30 pm on the first Wednesday of each month in the breakfast room at the Waverley. 6 February Photographic Equipment

Bring your gear for a share and learn session on what we own and how we use it. Photo Share Topic – winter scenes There will be a logistics and organizational meeting to follow.

6 March Night Sky Photography

Douglas Cooper will present his photos and experiences with photographing at night. A Q&A session will follow. Photo Share Topic – signs of spring

3 April Technique Workshop

Member Andrea Khan will share information on using your camera, Learn about aperture and shutter speed setting, ISO, white balance and more. Photo Share Topic - night sky photos

First week Spring Photo Trip

Join other members in the scenic countryside of May (possibly Loch Ard) with an opportunity to upload and process photos after the outing. Dates and actual location will be announced later as this trip will be weather-dependent. Photo Share Topic – shots from the day

Confident driving

Some valuable advice from Angus Maciver Chairman, Forth Valley Advanced Motorists

Driving on rural roads can be a hazardous affair. The main route from Stirling to Lochearnhead and beyond is classed as one of the most dangerous in Scotland due to the number of accidents over the years. One of the main ways to drive it safely is Effective Observation which is the foundation of good driving. Good information from what you see ahead allows you to plan your driving actions. As well as looking ahead, one needs to scan all around to make sure that no other road user is presenting themselves as a hazard to you (tailgaters come to mind). How we look is a critical skill for drivers - and understanding what you see and how it may affect you and your driving plan is important. If another vehicle ‘suddenly’ appears it may well be that you didn’t look properly in the first place. Better observation stimulates higher attention to what is around you. It is common to find someone ‘looked - but didn’t see’. In recent research into road accidents, ‘failure to look properly’ was one of the main causation factors, particularly at road junctions. So next time you’re out driving, look out for road signs which tell you that a road junction/crossroads are ahead - and take extra care.

5 June Photography Viewing

Members will work to choose photos for a small public display. AGM to follow Photo Share Topic – best from the year

Contact Susan at 01877 339 323 for more information.


View from the Park by Owen McKee Spring is just around the corner and with it comes the start of a new tourist season with its promise of hope for the business community. And yes, the scourge of antisocial behaviour will surely raise its head again. The latter not only blights business prospects but also makes life for the whole community less pleasant. That was why the partnership with Central Police and our Rangers under Operation Ironworks came into being. I am pleased to say that this arrangement is to continue with the blessing of the new unified Police Force. This need to have a National Park that benefits visitors and residents alike meant that the Park Authority had to pay particular attention in managing our visitors. Starting with East Lomond -an area even more dramatically affected than ours by anti-social behaviour - the Park Authority, with the encouragement of the local community, set about establishing designated camping areas with supporting facilities like toilets, fire pits and car parking. Other areas were restricted. East Loch Lomond is now a haven for families and anti-social behaviour is minimal. From there we rolled out the Five Lochs Project and over the past 18 months we have been consulting with community groups and land owners to establish similar facilities in The Villagers area. Scottish Government, having seen the success of the East Loch Lomond experiment, have sanctioned funding to progress the Five Lochs Project and with Planning Permission in place for both Loch Lubnaig and Inverlochlarig work is now ongoing to get some of the facilities operational this year. With other funding becoming available under the Barnet Consequentials (That weird system whereby monies fall due to the devolved authorities when Westminster allocates additional funding elsewhere) the Park Authority made a successful bid to fund some “shovel ready” projects and was successful in obtaining funding for work on the West Highland Way and new permanent signage for the St Fillans entrance to the Park. As I mentioned in the December issue, this year sees us start on the preparation of the new Local Development Plan. To get things off to an official start Derek McKay, MSP the Minister for Local Government and Planning will be visiting our HQ at Balloch on 4th February to launch the Charrettes which will be centred on Arrochar, Drymen, Strathard (Aberfoyle 14

and area) and Strathfillan (Tyndrum and Crianlarich). The Charrette is a type of master planning which was tried out in Callander last year and involves all the agencies working with the local community looking at an area’s need over a 25year period. Yes, what most people would call “joined up thinking”. There is little point in providing housing if there are no jobs in prospect or if the local school cannot cope with an influx etc. And jobs and the Scottish economy are very much a concern. It is now over a year since planning permission was given for the Gold Mine at Tyndrum with the hope for an employment boost for the area. Funding to get the mine operational has been a problem with Banks reluctant to provide the necessary finance. However I am informed that negotiations are well advanced and work at the mine should be starting around July time. Here’s hoping that 2013 brings some good news. Owen McKee Taigh Na Bhuth, Lochearnhead 01567 830214

Susan Stewart

Mobile Local Hairdresser

07712 047149

From our Beijing Correspondent... One of the great things about being in the Army is the ability to go off and do stuff sometimes. Which is how I found myself halfway up an unclimbed mountain in Sichuan. With three guys from the RAF admittedly, but then you can’t have everything. A very helpful Japanese photographer called Nakamura has logged most of the remaining unclimbed mountains in China; one of them is called Baihaizishan (White Lake Mountain), just under 6000m in height. It sounded good, so we went off to try and climb it. These things are never that easy, so we hired a local fixer called Lenny, and he hired a Tibetan cook called Bandi. The six of us, plus a pile of food and mountaineering gear needed twelve horses to get up to basecamp, but the weather was great, and the mountains were snowy, so all seemed well with the world. A lot of effort, rice and yak butter tea later, we were brought to a grinding halt at about 5500m by a gaping cleft in the ridge we were trying to climb. Sugary, useless snow and steep slabs put an end to that route. So we regrouped in basecamp, in freezing fog (it was -22º at night; - chilly!) and thought about what else we could do. There was another peak called Wupingfen just next door, and it was unclimbed as well. So that seemed a goer. Only problem was traversing through the scree fields of house-sized boulders and forests of mini azaleas that guarded its flanks. But we managed that, and the moraines beyond, and the glaciers after that, and found ourselves again in an area that no-one had ever been to. Not just no Westerners - no anyone! It was great. So we camped in a bergschrund, and the next morning set off in a howling gale. The rest is anti-climax really; we got up, took the photos, got down, and got back all in one piece. Discovered that the peak is 5640m high. And had a few gallons more yak butter tea. Now it’s back to work! And Tania? Well, she could have come and made basecamp more attractive, but she got a better offer, and went off to go and stay with some friends in Japan who have toilet seats with hot and cold running air and water. Duncan Francis

Breaking new ground in China. From top: Duncan claims the peak of Wupingfen for Britain; Base Camp; four-legged helpers.

(I’d like to see these toilet seats... Ed)

Try our Takeaway Pizzas!


McLaren High School News by Yvonne King

Mufti Day – Children in Need On Friday 16 November the school held a fun-filled day of fundraising in aid of Children in Need. The Charities Committee organised a staff car wash in order to raise money and committee members along with other 6th year pupils gave up their study periods and lunchtime on Thursday and Friday to go out - in the rain! - and wash cars. On Friday we held a Mufti Day and pupils donated £1 towards Children in Need to come to school in non-uniform. We also had the traditional S6 fancy dress. At lunchtime we organised leg waxing and Mr Vaughn-Sharp and Mr Woods bravely took part along with some of the S6 boys - their pain proved great entertainment for pupils and staff and managed to raise a lot of money! We are grateful to Amy Gray from Look Good Feel Good Beauty Salon in Callander who kindly gave up her time to do the waxing. I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part in the day and those who donated money. The day was a great success and in total we raised £815 which will go to Children in Need. Siobhan Cattigan S6, Secretary and Vice Chairperson, Charities Committee S1 Scottish Parliament Visit On Thursday 8 November, 22 S1 pupils took up the opportunity from local MSP Bruce Crawford to attend First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament. All S1 pupils are currently learning about the Scottish Political System  and after a small competition the 22 winners (pictured below) were able to experience the workings of the Parliament first-hand.  As well as seeing Alex Salmond answering a range of questions from all MSPs in the debating chamber, the pupils also had a question and answer session with Bruce Crawford which ranged from local issues including the proposed all-weather pitch for McLaren High School to the design of the Parliament building.


Amy Gray from Look Good Feel Good gives Angus Leishman a hard time with some wax!

Archery Success Well done to Kristina MacEachern S5 who shot at the Scottish Indoor Junior Archery Championships in October and became the Scottish Overall Junior Lady Champion and Junior Lady’s Under 18 Champion. Following this event she was selected to shoot in the Scottish Junior Archery Team at the British Junior Indoor Archery Championships at Coventry on 1 December. Here the team beat Wales and Northern Ireland to claim second place in the Home Nation competition, with England claiming the trophy. Kristina MacEachern with coach Moira Taylor

Kyle cruising around the Velodrome

Callum Hall. left, and Connor Ramsay-Clapham show off their piping skills at the Christmas Concert

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McLaren’s Cycling Supremo! On Monday 3 December we spoke with Kyle Petrie: McLaren’s very own Jens Voigt! What started out as a huge appreciation for the sport is now flourishing in to the makings of a strong career. In a very short space of time Kyle has gone from a complete novice in cycling to representing his country at prestigious racing events. In just 2 years Kyle has successfully made his mark in the Under 16’s (Youth A) category competing in criteriums – short intense races – and is now competing at Junior level where he faces a higher level of competition against more experienced riders. Kyle has only been racing competitively for just over 18 months; but in this time he has achieved remarkable success. He won silver in the Junior Madison event at the Scottish Track Championships in October 2012, where he raced in the new Chris Hoy Velodrome. Kyle has also competed in local races, such as The Battle of The Braes, in which he turned in a very promising performance placing in the first group of riders. The highlight of Kyle’s season however was his summer trip to the Basque Country, where he was riding for Scotland on the national squad. He placed 68th out of 177 riders in the Premio Ayuntamiento Amorebieta Race – sounds impressive we know – which is one of the most prestigious races Kyle has partaken in. Being part of a team is nothing new to Kyle as he is an effective member of Stirling Bike Club and speaks with the highest regard about them. Following his dedication to the club Kyle was nominated for the Stirling Young Sports Person of The Year 2012, in which he attended a ceremony at the Grand Hall of Stirling Castle. Although narrowly missing out on the award itself, being nominated was still a fantastic feat and a great representation of the success he has achieved this year. Cycling is a sport which comes at a great financial cost. Kyle has done superbly to this point to raise his own capital to finance his career, through addressing companies and applying for sponsorship. Even with this he has had to rely largely upon the generosity of the community. In the future Kyle intends to move abroad to race in countries like Belgium at a professional level. Kyle is a fantastic ambassador for McLaren High School and we all wish him a successful future in the sport! Dawn Primrose and David Wallace S6 Christmas at McLaren! Christmas week got off to a great start with the 42nd Annual Christmas Concert on Monday evening. Once again the orchestra, bands, ensembles, groups and choirs did not disappoint. The audience were treated to a festive extravaganza! From Santa Claus is Coming’ to Town and Pachelbel’s Christmas, to carols including O Come All Ye Faithful, the music was second to none. This year’s concert had a Scottish twist with a brilliant accordion solo from Cameron Burns S1 and some amazing pipe and drum tunes from Connor RamsayClapham, Callum Hall and Callum Convoy, all S2. One of Miss Hardie’s S1 music classes showcased some new instruments, Boomwhackers, and played a ‘not so traditional’ version of Silent Night! Well done to everyone involved in the evening for making it such an enjoyable start to Christmas. The Assembly Hall has been turned into a Christmas wonderland by the Events Committee who worked extremely hard during the run up to this week of parties and dances. Well done to all those involved.


Travellers’ Tales

North to Alaska! A Road Trip - Spring 2012 Joe La Piazza and Andrew Drysdale have been friends for many years and share a fascination for long distance motor travel in interesting places. Joe, from Strathyre, is married to Suzanne and has worked in the licensed trade for over 35 years, currently managing the Avonbridge Hotel in Hamilton. From 1992 to 2004, he and his sister-in-law Rosanne McWilliams ran the Inn at Strathyre. Joe is known in the area for enjoying his golf and sport in general. Whenever time allows however, he enjoys nothing better than getting behind the wheel of a trusty vehicle and heading off into areas new with someone who shares a similar sense of adventure,such as Andrew Drysdale. Andrew comes from Lochearnhead where he lives with his wife Joanna and their two young daughters Kay and Jennifer. He is Managing Director of Bronze Founders and Engineers Drysdale Brothers(Larbert)Ltd and Chairman of Glasgow based pump and valve manufacturers Rainer Flow Technology. Cars have always been more than just a hobby with Andrew and the Toyota FJ Cruiser used on this trip is just about his favourite. It has been at the heart of several cross country and off road adventures in the States over the last few years. One would imagine that on such a journey as this conversation would grind to a halt. On the contrary, these two kept up a daily range of onversations which were only disrupted by frequent stops to take photographs. A seasoned veteran of 1000 mile a day driving sessions, Andrew seemed relaxed and at ease after covering 8250 miles in just 12 days!

Joe and I had travelled in the States before. In 2005 we left Iowa, travelled through Minnesota, South Dakota, and on to Montana. That’s where my old Porsche 911 developed alternator problems. Having flown a new unit up from California we were to find that this also was defective! Our plans were in tatters but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Though we had finally reached California via Utah, Nevada and Arizona, our time ran out, and we agreed that someday we would do a rerun. In 2012 my Land Cruiser was sitting over on the West Coast near Los Angeles - so we decided that we would take the long way home via Alaska. Having flown in to Los Angeles at 12am on Friday the 25th, we were collected at the airport by my brother in law Dave Williams. Many of the older generation in Lochearnhead will remember Dave from his younger years and his water skiing activities on the loch. He left 16 years back to pursue a career in engineering in Santa Clarita, California. Something he has done with a great degree of excellence and success.

Dave and his wife Janet live in a gorgeous house high in the mountains north of Los Angeles. They were our hosts for the night of the 25th and the morning of the 26th of May which we spent motorcycling on 18

the mountain roads between Green Valley and Gorman. Before leaving we were treated to a marvelous Mexican brunch at a local hacienda - too short a visit, but that is life! 26th May The next stage of the journey took us to Pleasanton, south east of San Francisco. In 2005 we had missed out on a visit to Joe’s cousins there, and it was time to put that to rights. It was at their picturesque house that we spent the night of the 26th of May. The following morning we were treated to a guided tour of the town and golf resort, followed by a visit to an Air Show.

Several Second World War bombers and fighters were on display - a B17, a B 29 and a P51 Mustang fighter, as well as several Korean War Corsairs. For those interested, $2500 would have bought half an hour flying in the P51. This was tempting but with a queue of about 2 hours, this was ruled out for us due to various other commitments. We decided that if we could not get a flight in the P51 then the best thing to do was to drown our sorrows, which we did most effectively in an afternoon of wine tasting in the beautiful Livermore Valley. Joe is quite a wine expert but for me this was a new experience. We were taxied about from winery to winery and were sorry to leave as late afternoon approached. Joe’s cousin Pat related a lovely story concerning a jade plant, more commonly known as a money plant, which his mother had presented to Pat’s mum on a visit more than 50 years earlier. At that time, Pat’s family lived in

Long Island, New York and her mother nurtured the plant from its infancy until Pat and her husband Art moved out West to California, and took the plant with them. Joe asked Pat if he could have a cutting as a fond reminder of the long friendship between their respective mothers and then he proceeded to nurse the cutting across 8250 road miles and on to the plane back to the UK and ultimately, Strathyre. Joe’s wife, Suzanne, then started to work on growing fresh roots from the cutting and it is now re-planted and doing well. 27th May Later that day we met up with friends from San Raphael, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Reed and Marge Kathrein are great folks and their sons Jonathan and Eric joined us for an afternoon of great conversation and a memorable evening barbecue. They were pure delight to spend time with and we were absorbed by the quality and diversity of the conversations. Jonathan had made headlines in August 1998 when, at 16 years, he was attacked by a great white shark at nearby Stinson Beach. Fortunately he survived this horrific incident and made a full recovery. Since that desperate time he has worked ceaselessly to make people aware of the risk of shark attack. His recently released book Surviving the Shark is skilfully written, and I can only recommend this as a great read for anyone interested in the survival of these remarkable creatures. He is now married to Ashley and they have a gorgeous young daughter, Madison. Marge wrote a literary wonder in her book Far from Shore, her heartrending account of those desperate days following the attack, and the happier times that followed. 28th May - North to Alaska We set off at 10am on our journey ‘proper’.... Part Two follows in next month’s issue of The Villagers.

Farm Forum: Weathering the storms... and slumps The “contributors’ holiday” seems to have flown by and here we are all trying to put ‘pen to paper’ once again. On second thoughts there may be younger ones amongst us who do not understand that phrase - so I should probably say ‘fingers to keyboard’! The new year has started rather like the old one ended and although the weather is dryer and colder and indeed more seasonal as I write, we seem to have been able to collect almost two and a half inches of rain in the first fortnight of 2013. The countryside is still in a sorry and sodden state following the awful year we have been through; it will be quite a while before it recovers. It seems no time since the authorities in parts of England were imposing hosepipe bans! One of the main concerns in the livestock sector just now is the price of winter feed for obvious reasons – the shortage of fodder due to the weather and the exorbitant price of transport due mainly to fuel costs. The other major concern is the slump in the price of lamb - it has been dropping almost on a weekly basis since October and this has had a knock on effect on the store trade. Most hill farmers have sold their lambs as stores (lambs for further fattening) but if the fattener gets a poor price after keeping these lambs for some time it does not augur well for next year’s sales. It is understood that the price slump has been compounded by the ‘drying up’ of the export market for light weight lambs – the type we in Scotland

produce in abundance. There are reports that export orders to the likes of Spain and Italy have been cancelled because of the uncertainty of payment guarantees from those countries. Another factor hitting the home trade is that New Zealand lamb prices are back about 30% on the year, with the result that the product is flooding into European markets. I read an interesting piece by a well known agricultural correspondent, Andrew Arbuckle, the other day. As part of a New Year resolution he decided to mix more with the non agricultural community. I quote: “Not surprisingly, the informal discussion commenced with the weather, which even in non farming company appears to be the starter for ten. The general consensus was that the weather was “bad” and tales were told of getting wet going to the office or having to drive through flooded roads. The state of the national economy came up. “Bad” was again the universal view. Then for some reason, the lady next to me moved the chat on to the price of food. “Rocketed” was her description of how much more she was having to pay, and this assessment was greeted with nods of agreement... Now I had kept mum while the weather was being discussed, however, I could not keep quiet when the company failed to see any great connection between the weather and the price of food. In their non-farming eyes food was something that was on the shop shelves and there was no link between some poor sod ploutering about in the mud gathering

in the raw produce of the food stacked up for sale. I then commented that food now only cost about one tenth of the family income whereas a couple of generations ago, it accounted for about one third. So food was still cheap. There does seem to have been a bit of Euroscepticism in the room... I mentioned that the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) was born when Europeans still had memories of post Second World War hunger and the supply of good, healthy, cheap food was a priority. I volunteered that since then no one had gone hungry, so it could be considered a success. ‘What about the butter mountains and wine lakes?’ asked an old buffer who had just woken up, as if they were still a feature of the European landscape. He did not seem sturdy enough to be around in a couple of decades time when food supplies might be short, so I limited myself to assuring him there were no such food surpluses now. In moving out of my comfort zone I also thought of the truth identified by Robert Burns, who said a long time ago... to see ourselves as others see us.” Agricola


Rangers’ Review By Gareth Kett, Loch Lomond

and the Trossachs National Park Christmas seems but a dim memory already, but the snowy landscape (at the time of writing) would do any Christmas card proud. But the snow brings problems with its beauty – not just for farmers, land managers, drivers etc, but also for our wildlife, as anyone who has been watching Winterwatch recently will have seen. Locally deer are coming into closer proximity to people as the red deer come down to lower ground seeking shelter and Female buzzard food and some roe deer, driven by hunger enter gardens. Road verges are a good place The National Park Authority has just for deer to find food in winter months as come through a period of restructuring, vegetation is cut regularly back, favouring which has provided Graeme with an grass, which even in winter has some value opportunity to join the National Park Land for deer. Please drive carefully and watch out Management Team full time. Over the past three years Graeme has been working half for deer particularly from dusk until dawn. Things have also been difficult recently of his time as a ranger and the other half as for birds of prey that rely on small mammals a land management officer, concentrating for food, such as buzzards, kestrels and on the Callander Black Grouse Project and owls. The covering of snow means that more recently on invasive plant control in mice and voles can move around in tunnels the Killin and Loch Earn areas. While he out of sight of birds of prey. Birds see in will be missed in the Lochearnhead Office, ultra violet so birds of prey can track small Graeme’s new full-time land management mammals through drops of urine, left in a post will allow him to concentrate all trail for communication, but this amazing his working time on key conservation ability is useless if the voles and mice are projects. We wish him all the best in his under snow. In times of snow you’re more new role and I look forward to continuing likely to see kestrels hovering, or in a more to work with him from time to time on time efficient strategy, buzzards sitting on conservation projects. posts in areas where snow has cleared or As always many thanks for all your is thin as they have to spend more time reports of wildlife sightings. As mentioned hunting in areas dictated by snow cover in above, deer are coming into gardens in search of food. It would be good to hear order to survive. The ranger service has continued from you if deer are coming into your regular patrols of car parks and trails garden as it allows us to build up a picture through the winter checking for damage of how common an occurrence this is to infrastructure and for fallen or unsafe in our area. We’re always keen to hear trees. The exceptionally wet weather prior about any other unusual wildlife sightings to and over the Christmas period damaged too. As usual if you have any wildlife sections of the West Highland Way. These sightings to report or any queries please have been repaired and the lower branches contact me on my e-mail address gareth. of spruces overhanging the trail in some, or on forested areas have been removed. The the Lochearnhead Office number 01389 maintenance of the West Highland Way is 722040. If I’m not in the office please leave an ongoing battle for rangers and National a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Park volunteers.


Your Park, Your Plan Are you a resident, landowner or business owner in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park? How would you like your town or village to look in 5, 10 and 20 years’ time? The National Park Authority is starting the process of preparing a Local Development Plan and wants to hear from you. The Local Development Plan guides all future development and use of land. It will act as a strong driver for changes and improvements in the area and will shape the environment of the National Park. The Plan will provide clear guidance on what development will or will not be allowed and where. Speaking about the need for communities to have their say, Stuart Mearns, National Park Forward Planning Manager said: “Early public input is key to us developing a plan that fits with the challenges ahead, while meeting the aspirations of the National Park Authority, our communities, businesses and visitors. ‘Your Park Your Plan’ is a year- long initiative starting in December which focuses on engagement and participation from everyone with an interest in the National Park. Your input is important from the earliest stage possible and we want to hear what you think are the big issues for planning in our towns and villages. Whether you have views on how to provide more affordable housing, where we should safeguard the environment or how we can provide more support to businesses to create better visitor facilities or more jobs, your views are important and really can make a difference to National Park communities.” Landowners are also being encouraged to come forward if they have land or interests that could support the growth, wellbeing and conservation of the National Park and are being urged to identify potential development sites and submit them during this consultation. Sites and opportunities that will support economic development, particularly opportunities to support and enhance tourism are welcomed. Sites for housing development of a significant size (at least five units and 0.2 hectares only, will be considered for an allocation in the development plan). All proposals and issues submitted will be considered and assessed if appropriate for inclusion in the Local Development Plan. To have your say and click on the Your Park Your Plan button. Details of the timescales and stages for preparing the Local Development Plan can also be found on the website. Forms are also available by emailing the Forward Planning Team ldp@

Scotland’s Battlefields Inventory completed The initial stage and development of Scotland’s Inventory of Historic Battlefields has been completed. A total of 39 sites have now been officially recognised since the Scottish Historic Environment Policy was amended to include battlefields in 2009 to help in their protection and management for the future. The battlefields added to the Inventory in the most recent batch are: Blar-naLeine (1544); Dunbar I (1296); Dunkeld (1689); Glen Livet (1594); Inverlochy I (1431); Langside (1568); Loudoun Hill (1307); Roslin (1303); Sauchieburn (1488); Skirmish Hill (1526) and Tippermuir (1644). Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said: “It is a real achievement that we have managed to research so many of Scotland’s most famous battles to the extent that we can provide a level of protection to 39 battlefield sites. This will ensure that their history and significance is considered in any planning application within an Inventory site.

Stirling Castle voted Best Historical Visit

Stirling Castle has been voted the Best Historical Visit by parents in Fife, Tayside and Central Scotland. The castle came top for a historical day out in a poll of parents of primary aged children for Primary Times magazine in the Best Stately Home or Historical visit category. The poll takes place annually as part of the Primary Times awards which looks at the best family friendly activities from eating out to holidays. Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s top tourist attractions, attracting over 400,000 visitors annually. Its palace apartments re-opened to the public last year after a £12 million refurbishment to return them to how they may have looked at the time of a young Mary, Queen of Scots. Gillian MacDonald, Executive Manager for Stirling Castle said; “We are thrilled that the castle has received this accolade. “The castle is a fantastic place to bring children for a day out, with costumed performers playing characters from the court of Mary, Queen of Scots greeting them as they enter the palace, transporting them back in time to the royal court. “We’ve also recently launched children’s tours which have been hugely popular and tell the castle’s story to young visitors in a fun, informal way.”

“Our historic battlefields draw tourists from all over the world and also represent a huge educational resource. Through them we can understand the evolution of Scotland and learn about key historical figures and their role in shaping our culture.” Inclusion in the Inventory means that local authorities must take the site’s significance into consideration when making planning decisions that might affect the battlefield. Dr Iain Banks and Dr Tony Pollard at the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology carried out the research and are in contact with some groups who had hoped their local site would be included but could not. Dr Iain Banks said: “The Inventory of Scottish Battlefields is the first time that Scotland’s iconic battlefields have been given any protection, and it has been a privilege to be involved in the creation of the Inventory. These sites preserve the last traces of historical events that shaped the nation of Scotland through history, and there is no substitute for visiting the battlefields for understanding what happened in each battle. “The battles of Scottish History have been preserved in legends, poems and songs, and they are a unique resource to get visitors to explore the Scottish landscape. “We have been really astonished at the high levels of enthusiasm for the preservation of battlefields at the local level – people are fascinated by them and want to see them preserved.” For more information about the Battlefields Inventory visit

Callander Rambling Club

Sponsored by Caledonian Country Wear

The Club consists of a group of enthusiasts who meet regularly throughout the year to participate in a programme of strolls, rambles, hill walks and a Long Distance Path. Details are published on http:// a m b l e r s . htm in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diary: FEBRUARY • Wed 6th 9:30am Ramble: Dollar & Harviestoun (7 miles) contact 07970 509911 • Sat 23rd 8:30am Hill: Bishop Hill (461m) contact 01577 862799 • Wed 27th 9:30am Stroll: Doune Ponds (4 miles) contact 01786 825249

MARCH • Wed 6th 9:30am Stroll: Cambuskenneth Pilgramage (41/2 miles) contact 07737 682426 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!


A Day with Nick Nairn 2oth December - the long awaited day has arrived! I am off to Nick Nairn’s Cook School at the Port of Menteith. The grim weather means an early start to arrive on time. We must do the trip again when the weather improves and we can enjoy the scenery more! Heeding the advice of the staff I arrange for Lorna to drop me off and Dave Pryde to collect me. It has something to do with the wine to be served at lunch. I meet my fellow cooks: three ladies and nine men from the four corners of the land. After coffee and shortbread Nick’s right hand men, Chefs John and Tristan, give us a tour of the venue and an explanation of the cooking stations. Everything we need for the day is provided, from aprons to knives, recipes - and of course all the ingredients. Best of all: we will not have to do any washing up! The great man enters and there is an immediate connection between Nick, his chefs and the students. The course is fun with a non-stop flow of useful information. We discuss kitchen hygiene; knives - how to properly sharpen them, and knife skills. Over and over the message PTH comes through: P for produce – only the finest quality to produce the best dishes; T for technique and H for harmony - enhancing and complementing tastes. We are told what we will be cooking, shown our cooking stations and, after checking out where and what could be found, we begin the lessons. Nick Nairn stands behind his counter and above his head is a mirror positioned at an angle allowing the students to look into whatever utensil he is using and to follow each step. We start with our dessert, a soft chocolate cake. I have never been interested in making desserts! Why would I, when Lorna does such a great job? We are given all the ingredients, precisely measured out. P-T-H. Now I am melting chocolate, separating eggs... soft peaks... and about an hour later my first ever cake lies before me. A heavy drizzle of caramel sauce over the top and it’s done. I am really pleased! The next step is to learn about how to shuck some of the biggest scallops I have ever seen. Not as easy as I first thought, in spite of the demonstration. Beautiful hand-dived scallops, so big that we cut them into medallions - and to accompany them an Oriental salad of spring onions, mango, shaved carrot, coriander and mint with a sweet chilli dressing. This is my kind of food! I love every minute of this. Scallops into the pan and ninety seconds later onto the plate - and off to the dining 22

Balquhidder New Year Dance

room to enjoy our starters. The tables are prepared, the wine chilled... and we enjoy our efforts. And then it’s back to the lecture/cooking area for the main course: Peppered Fillet of Beef with a Whisky Sauce, crushed potatoes with butter and parsley. As Nick roams the area after his demonstration he comments that I have hit the jackpot with the steaks. Enough to feed two - but I feel I will cope. I have always wanted to flambé a steak! This is the moment. The steak is cooked to perfection under the guidance of John or Tristan who are at one’s side, encouraging, teaching, showing the way. I am in heaven. It is delicious and so tender. Most of the students opt to take their desserts home. What an experience we have all had. I have learned so much and had so much fun. The informal manner and the genuine enthusiasm displayed by the staff made this a memorable occasion. My thanks go to Cecil and Elspeth, Ron, Dave and Lynda, Russell and Liz, Cathy and Ian Trish and Don, Francis and Johnston and Ulla for making this possible. Eric Kewnnelly, St Fillans

Jewellery by


Bespoke or off the shelf... Handmade sterling silver jewellery - made on the premises of Sula Furnishings, The Tryst, Balquhidder (next to the Kings House Hotel). All with my own hallmark - and until October, any commissions made can also have the Jubilee hallmark - an ideal gift idea. Open every day from 10 until 5pm. New website with on-line shop: Tel : 07768 593 581

I think it is right that I should use the columns of the foremost parish publication to thank those involved in making the Balquhidder New Year Dance one of the best ever. These things don’t just happen and require a lot of commitment. Firstly, those involved prior to the event in advertising and publicising, secondly, those that came to help on the night and kept the wheels turning (and the feet tapping) and then the most important of all – those who came to participate and enjoy the dance. There was a tremendous range of ages present, many local and lots from further afield, many of whom have supported us over the years and without exception they all enjoyed it, and many, in parting, said they would be back again next year with friends. The New Year Dance must be one of the original and long lasting events to be held in the hall – and the old hall. We are a community that depends more and more on tourism and the dance certainly does its bit in keeping Balquhidder on the map and giving everyone a super night. In conclusion, a very big thank you to all involved and I look forward to seeing you next year when the Stuart McKeown Ceilidh Band will be with us again on 1st January 2014. It is also worth mentioning that the hall committee run very few events themselves but the significant amount raised by the dance, which goes to hall funds, does allow us to keep our charges attractive to local users. John McNaughton

Lochearnhead Village Hall Hogmanay Party Once again the Lochearnhead village hall Hogmanay party was a roaring success and the party atmosphere was enjoyed by all. No sooner had the band The Session finished tuning up than the dancing started and it didn’t stop until the band packed up to leave well after 2013 had been welcomed in! No doubt there would be some sore feet (or is that heads?) later on that day! As usual the raffle proved popular and the village hall committee would like to thank local businesses and individuals for their generous donations of prizes. Thanks are also due to everyone that supported the party as the proceeds go towards the maintenance and upkeep of the hall which is an important community facility. Already looking forward to the Hogmanay party 2013 - so please save the date in your diary!


Central Scotland Police

There when you need us


It’s time for you to have your say. I am looking to update/renew the PACT (Partners and Communities Together) priorities for the area. If you want me to look at any specific issues which either affect you, as an individual, as a neighbourhood or as a community as a whole then contact me. Why not go onto the Central Scotland Police website and follow the links through ‘My Area’ to Lochearnhead. You will see what we have been up to. Remember if you don’t tell me what the issues are then I cannot address them.


Overnight on the 13th to the 14th December a large “industrial” pressure washer was stolen from a farm yard in Balquhidder. The chances are two people would have been required to move the machine and put it into a van or trailer. Unfortunately due to the position of the farm nobody has seen either the people responsible or the vehicle they have used. There is every likelihood that the thieves have seen the washer when they have been into the farm during daylight hours. If you see somebody on your property without a valid reason call us as soon as possible. If you can note the

vehicle registration number, the type and make and the direction of travel that would be a great help. Also if you are passing your neighbour’s property and see something unusual contact them and if you cannot get in touch with them call us. Being vigilant is the only way we can stop becoming victims. Unfortunately during November and December a number of thefts occurred in and around Crianlarich: an unattended trailer was stolen from a farm yard on the A85; a farm shed on the A82 was broken into and a number of power tools were stolen; a works van was broken into whilst it was parked on the owners drive with a number of tools stolen; a house was broken into. The house break-in is linked to a similar incident which occurred on the same night in Oban. It is clear that people are travelling through our area to commit crimes elsewhere and will, if the opportunity presents itself, help themselves to whatever is available. In an effort to detect the criminals as they pass through the area you may have seen me and my colleagues in a different police vehicle. This is fitted with up to date technology which helps us identify persons and vehicles of note.

various licensed premises I was asked to put together a similar operation and visit the premises in Callander. During one weekend before Christmas every licensed premise was visited. Unfortunately this resulted in more than 20 offences being detected which in turn has resulted in a number of people being reported to the Procurator Fiscal. The offences ranged from not displaying the correct signage, failing to present the necessary paperwork when required, employing untrained staff and not informing the licensing board of a change of licensee. Once again we received some criticism from those persons who were charged but the fact of the matter is that very strict guidelines, rules and laws are implemented when it comes to issuing a licence. We will continue to carry out visits during the coming months. PC Andrew Ward 01786 456 000

Licensed Premises

Following on from the work I carried out during the year where I visited

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.


Life Saving Cash Boost for National Park Visitors and Residents The Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs conservation and heritage charity have joined forces with local coaching hotel group, Lochs and Glens Holidays, to provide funding to purchase several Public Access Defibrillators for siting at busy tourist hotspots on Loch Lomond side and in the Trossachs as part of an ambitious National Park-wide health and safety initiative being led by the Trossachs Search and Rescue Team. There are plans to site at least a dozen new public access defibrillators (PADs) in towns, villages and other key locations in and around the National Park to improve the life survival chances of Park visitors and local residents. There are also plans to kit out Mountain Rescue Teams in the area with lightweight mobile units. This initial batch of units is being funded through the Pictured handing over defibrillators to Stuart Ballantyne and Sion Barrington Friends of OUR Park visitor giving scheme with match (centre) from the Trossachs Search and Rescue Team against the backdrop of funding from Lochs and Glens Holidays who are the largest Loch Lomond are Neil Wells, Managing Director of Lochs and Glens Holidays provider of coaching holidays in the National Park. (left) and George Boyd, Vice-President of the Friends of Loch Lomond and The George Boyd, Vice-President of the Friends said: ‘’We are Trossachs (right) delighted to be supporting this life saving initiative which should help to make the National Park a safer place to visit and live in. We hope to be able to communities in the Park where speedy purchase of a lightweight mobile unit.’’ fund more defibrillators in the future with access to emergency services is limited He added: ‘’Sudden cardiac arrests are the UK’s biggest killer, and with the the help of visitors and businesses such as due to the distances involved.’’ Lochs and Glens Holidays who have helped Commenting on the funding boost Stuart move in recent years to centralise A&E us to make such an impressive start with the Ballantyne of Trossachs Search and Rescue Departments for the National Park villages Team said: ‘’ We have been impressed with to more distant locations in Larbert roll out of units.’’ Neil Wells, Managing Director of Lochs how quickly the Friends have responded to and Paisley, it is vital that lifesaving and Glens Holidays said: ’’Our company our approach for financial support for this defibrillators are easily accessible in hosts tens of thousands of visitors each year new initiative and their partnership with different parts of the Park. The current in some of the remoter parts of the National Lochs and Glens Holidays has enabled us survival rate for out of hospital cardiac Park and it is important we do all we can to to accelerate the purchase of two public arrest where CPR is performed is less access defibrillators and one much needed than 5% and with readily accessible ensure their safety and well-being.’’ ‘’This is a great initiative which we are training unit for use in some of the more defibrillation this can be raised to more pleased to support as it will be of direct remote and challenging parts of the Park. than 50%.’’ benefit to our guests as well as residents We are pleased they are also assisting the in some of the more sparsely populated Lomond Mountain Rescue Team with the

The year ahead

2012 was a special year for Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. We celebrated our 10th Anniversary and this gave us all the opportunity to look back at the many successes across the Park in the last ten years. So much has been achieved in our communities since the early days. We have an active Community Partnership, improved visitor facilities from paths to piers, as well as many great conservation projects including a thriving water vole population, rowan re-introduction and Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels. The successful delivery of these projects is undoubtedly the result of the enthusiastic participation from a wide range of partner organisations, National Park staff, volunteers and residents of the Park. Last year we launched the 2012 – 2017 National Park Partnership Plan which outlines our vision and priorities for the next five years, and by continuing to work together to deliver key actions, we can help protect and enhance this special place. Throughout 2013 and beyond, the recently launched Five Lochs Visitor Management Plan will improve facilities around some of the most popular visitor sites in the Park including Loch Venachar and Loch Lubnaig. Our aim is to create a visitor experience in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs that is on par with many of the other world renowned National Parks. Tourism continues to play a pivotal role in the rural economy of the Park and by enhancing the 24

visitor experience we can create strong, sustainable communities for years to come. Our professional Ranger Service is one of the largest in the UK which ensures the busy visitor hot spots in the Park are maintained and have presence all year round. In addition to this we doubled our volunteer ranger numbers for 2013. Volunteers are a real asset to the National Park, providing a warm welcome to visitors and out and about in the Park. Their dedication is inspiring. In 2013 we will undoubtedly see more Fiona Logan high-profile planning applications within the Park and our dedicated, highly professional Planning Service will inevitably have some tough decisions to make as they continue to balance conservation with vital growth in rural development. Our job is to ensure responsible enjoyment of the Park while protecting the many things that make it special, and I’m sure it’s something we all look forward to continuing to achieve throughout the year. 2013 sees the Year of Natural Scotland and there will be a whole host of events and activities to enjoy in and around the National Park. So why not get involved and explore somewhere new in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs in 2013? Fiona Logan

Leading wildlife author Jim Crumley

helps promote Loch Earn Tourism Initative for


The Loch Earn Tourism Initiative (LETI) group is proactively campaigning to play its part in The Year of Natural Scotland 2013 (an initiative coordinated by Visit Scotland and Event Scotland) to promote wildlife and nature attractions around mountains and lochs within central Scotland. With wildlife tourism forecast to doing things is transferable to other grow, accounting for 56% of visitors and landscapes, so that wherever I travel in bringing £276m per year into the Scottish Scotland and occasionally further afield, economy, LETI accommodation, outdoor I carry my writer’s territory with me in activity and hospitality providers are keen my head. I know my native country pretty to promote the wealth of bird and animal well, and it’s fair to say that whether you are species on their doorsteps and to direct a garden birdwatcher or mountain trekker holidaymakers towards wildlife guides and or something in between, there is nowhere in Scotland that is richer in opportunities specialists in the area. (See notes) Visitors to LETI’s naturally beautiful for getting close to nature than right here.” habitat surrounding Strathyre, LETI member Natural Trossachs (www. Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and St Fillans, offers its own (within Loch Lomond and The Trossachs version of Autumn and Springwatch National Park) regularly report sightings with cameras located in and around the of the iconic golden eagle, sea eagle, red Strathyre Outdoor Centre, capturing the squirrel, ospreys, ptarmigan, salmon, otter, behaviour of pine martens to red squirrels, pine marten, deer and many other species. from roe deer to badgers on film. Natural Trossachs attracts visitors LETI members live and work in the area. One of Britain’s leading wildlife authors, interested in wildlife, research and Jim Crumley, said: “This whole area has education and engages proactively with been at the heart of my own home territory the local community, whether through upas a nature writer for 30 years. It offers skilling local youngsters to help support such a diversity of habitat – and therefore activities or through working with local of wildlife – in such a compact area that businesses to ensure that tourists to the I never tire of constant exploration of its National Park enjoy the best possible mountains, low hills, native woodlands experience throughout their stay and will and plantation forests, wetland, and a visit this stunning landscape time and time remarkable diversity of lochs and rivers. I again. It provides an excellent location find that constantly re-working a familiar to explore and experience the scenery, landscape is the best way to understand history and wildlife of this breathtaking how nature works. It’s also true that the area of Scotland. knowledge you gain of nature’s way of Another member, Hidden Glen Safaris,

offers an off-road jeep experience in Balquhidder. The tour combines nature watching with access to incredible scenery that is off the beaten track, with ancient stories of the Glen told on route. Glenample Estates on the south side of Loch Earn attract many overseas visitors who have been returning to enjoy the hospitality of LETI members for years. In addition to land management and improvement projects, like re populating black grouse, the estate manager offers a range of unique and tailor made wildlife experiences. LETI’s wildlife specialists have extensive experience and work to promote and conserve local wildlife. A little known fact, implemented in the LETI area, is how the pine marten has been instrumental in enabling the iconic red squirrel to return to the area, as it preys on grey squirrels. Whether you are an enthusiast or simply enjoy wildlife in the setting of your holiday, the LETI community of four villages where Perthshire meets the Trossachs in central Scotland is a perfect spot to base yourself. For further information please contact: Shena Campbell, LETI PR on 07801 826478 or Kim Proven, LETI website marketing 01567 830 443 email:



We’ll send you or your friends The


£12.00 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



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

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

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

Other Contacts... Helen Clark Business Manager 07971 648743

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

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

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

BLS Luncheon & Leisure Club - 12.30 - 2.30pm - Scout Station, Lochearnhead


Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 -11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am - 12.30pm (Contact Abbey Arkotxa 01877 384671) Badminton - Balquhidder Hall - 8.00pm


Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am-12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291)


Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00-9.00pm Choir Occasional - Balquhidder Hall - 7.30-9.00pm


Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon Ballroom Dancing - Lochearnhead Hall

FEBRUARY 2013 12 SWT Talk ‘Port of Menteith Wildlife’ - The Waverley Hotel, Callander - 7.30pm - see p.10 15 Valentines Supper Party - Lochearnhead Watersports Centre 7.30-Midnight - see p.12 17 Valentines Night - The Inn & Bistro, Strathyre 22 Whist evening - Balquhidder Hall - 7.30pm - see p.6 MARCH 2013 6 RSNO Phoenix Wind Trio - Balquhidder Church - 7.30pm - see p.9 12

SWT Talk ‘Basking Sharks’ - The Waverley Hotel, Callander 7.30pm - see p.10


‘Travels with my Great Grandfather’ Illustrated talk - St Mary’s Episcopal Church, Aberfoyle - 7.30pm - see p.2

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

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

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

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


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

Mobile 07824 496 019

St Angus’s Church, Lochearnhead First and third Sundays of the month: Holy Communion at 11.15am. Second and fourth Sundays of the month: Evensong at 6.00pm Fifth Sunday of the month: please see church noticeboard. Vestry Secretary - Mary Barclay Tel: 01567 830453

The Villagers Feb2013  

Loch Earn Tourism Initiative Year of Natural Scotland 2013, Burns night, Village life, Strathyre, Lochearnhead, Balquhidder, St Filans, ente...

The Villagers Feb2013  

Loch Earn Tourism Initiative Year of Natural Scotland 2013, Burns night, Village life, Strathyre, Lochearnhead, Balquhidder, St Filans, ente...