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JUNE 2013


Price 50p

The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans


Strathyre Music Festival Goes With A Swing!

The first Music Festival at Strathyre took place in warm, sunny weather over the weekend of 1/2 June - and it proved to be something of a wonder! Over fifty acts representing many different genres of music played to enthusiastic visitors and locals alike, in seven venues throughout the village. Something for everyone from jazz and rock to folk and traditional. Congratulations to Strathyre’s own band Balvaig for a truly remarkable piece of organisation! Watch out for the full report in the next edition of The Villagers.

Stuc a’ Chroin Hill Race 2013 ‘May the Fourth be agin you...’ ‘Usually blessed with good weather’ is how the website puts it. Not this day. On this year’s Hill Race day the weather got as bad as it has ever been since its inception in 1988. It was a good start to the Scottish Championship and Scottish Hill Runners Championship day though, with a record 206 runners for a non-British Championship race. Conditions on the morning of the race were ideal, cool, no wind and sunny. By the time kick off time arrived it was cloudy, but certainly nothing out of the ordinary. By the time 15:30 arrived, the elements had closed in.... Read the full report on page 9.

Race start

Winner - men Brave marshals

Winner - women

Editor’s Bit Looking back on the month I can honestly say we have experienced the extremes - from ladling out hot soup to frozen runners in Stathyre to attempting to dance the Argentinian tango in the heat in Balquhidder - and then relaxing listening to incredible folk music at various venues last weekend. All great fun and showing the amazing talent around all the villages. We also had the “great clean-up” of Balquhidder Hall, a different form of community event and one very well organised by all members of the Ramsay-Claphams including a BBQ lunch and car wash by the enterprising younger generation, obviously Balquhidder is in safe hands with this dynasty! Events further afield in both Lochearnhead and St. Fillans reflect similar community spirits and I hope the sun shines for the Highland Games - a big commitment for the Lochearnhead village. Readers who have been missing ‘Rusty McD’ and all those furry/ feathered friends might have some good news to look forward to in our next edition, which hopefully will be with you all at the beginning of August, so please send in any articles you wish us to include. On a personal note I am very glad to report that baby Hamish went home from hospital two days before he was supposed to have been born, medical science can do amazing things. Thanks to so many of you who have asked after him. JJ

I just had to send this photo of - what I think is - a mink, in our garden this evening at Lochearnhead. We’ve only been in our house for just coming up on three years - and this is the first time I have had this visitor to my garden! Pat Gilmartin

The St Fillans Bit Join us for a do-it-yourself PAINT & CREATE day at Balquhidder Hall on Thursday 20th June from 10-4pm Congratulations to Andrew Howells and Angus Leishman of Stirling County for winning the Scottish Under 18 National Youth Cup. The final was played on the national pitch at Murrayfield Stadium against Gala Wanderers. It was a hard fought game but Stirling came out on top winning 29 points to 5 with Angus scoring the final try. Well done boys! Wishing you both every future success.

An opportunity to set time aside to do some painting or craft work.

Bring your own lunch Tea& coffee provided Cost: up to £5 depending on numbers!

Contact Jean Hicks (01567 830359) for more info.

Lochearnhead Village Hall Race Night



The following readings were taken at ‘Bramblings’, Auchtubh, Balquhidder for the month of APRIL 2013

Average max temp Actual max temp Average min temp Actual min temp

5.8 ºC 12.3 1.3 -4.9

42.4 ºF 54.1 35.4 23.2

Rainfall 18.9cms 7.4ins Strongest wind gust 41mph on 14 April


An enthusiastic crowd gathered to enjoy the Race Night in the Lochearnhead village hall on Saturday 27th April. From the off, the MC managed to keep the proceedings on track and betting was brisk on each race until the the horses were under starters orders then the roar of the crowd was unstoppable. As always there were winners and losers – but all in a good cause. The best ladies hat prize was won by Kim Proven for a fetching bonnet decorated with spring flowers (and my she did look a treat!). The Village Hall Committee would like to thank all those ‘punters’ who came along on the night and went home minus the contents of their wallets (and in some cases the shirt on their backs!). A big thank you is also due to all the local businesses that provided generous sponsorship for each race. By the end of an exhausting evening, over £650 pounds had been raised, some of which was used to purchase a projector to be used for future community events in particular the Hall 25th Anniversary celebrations which will take place on 7th September 2013 (more information to follow in future Villagers editions).

For a tiny village like St Fillans it is surprising how much charitable fund raising takes place. I mentioned last month the hill climb by kids and adults to raise funds for the proposed Play Park and am told by Catriona (apologies for my Russian spelling of her name two issues ago) that the climb has raised a very impressive £400. Meantime Lauren Allen, trainee Retail Manageress at the Village Store (OK, Dogsbody) is going to have her head shaved on her 16th birthday on July 13th in aid of Cancer Research, in particular the Teenage Cancer Trust. This is Lauren’s third fund raiser in the past year, having raised money for the Starlight Foundation and Breast Cancer Research – the later by organizing a Onesie day in the shop. For those older folk like myself a Onesie is a one-piece item of night attire, bit like a clown’s outfit – and I’ve no idea if the spelling is right! So some youngsters have more interests in life than electronic games – well done Lauren. Many of you know that Lynda Pryde is now Assistant Manager in the Crieff Cancer Research Shop and along with her day to day role she was tasked with organizing and delivering a Fund Raising activity. Being married to shy and retiring husband Dave it seemed logical that a Quiz Night would fit the bill – with a target of £300 to raise. Dave co-opted Johnston to assist and the event was held on April 13th at Crieff Bowling Club with 20 teams of 4 competing. With a raffle and Irish Bingo adding to the evening’s entertainment the final figure raised was a staggering £852! The achievement was helped by the winning team, Crieff ’s ‘3+1’ donating their prize money to the pot, as did Bingo winner Ken Scott-Brown. Quiz master Dave is in the process of starting up a new and very interesting business based in St Fillans of which I hope to be able to report more next month. And whilst on the topic of the generosity of locals it’s fitting to include verbatim Kay Naitby’s thanks after their rather traumatic period of illness – “Kay & Dave would like to sincerely thank villagers for all of their help and concern shown during our recent illnesses. We already know that we live in a fantastic village – that’s why most of us moved here, and that has been shown beyond a shadow of doubt” – says it all really. And adding to the attractions of life in St Fillans is the arrival of the new Head Chef at the Four Seasons. Didier Nemesien is a ‘young 45’ from the Bordeaux region of France Continued overleaf

Lauren Allen, fundraiser extraordinaire!

Welcome to Didier Nemesien, new Head Chef at the Four Seasons


(Continued from Page 3)

(with a fascinating accent – JM) and having a typical French chef ’s passion for food but without the dubious temperament to go with it! Having spent 6 years cheffing on a private yacht in America and the Caribbean – what a nightmare – Didier has worked for the last 15 years in Scotland, most recently at Peebles Hydro. He was responsible for the creation of an Organic Farm Shop, Restaurant and Gallery in the Borders but has been seduced by the location and peaceful lifestyle of St Fillans – and, of course, of the 2 AA Rosettes reputation of The Four Seasons. Ably assisted by sous chef Chico (didn’t he win the X Factor or something a few years back?), Ben the Chef de Parti and new Commis chef David they should make a formidable team. Why not put them to the test in the Restaurant or Tarken Bistro and give your feedback on the comments cards? Brief mention whilst on the topic of hostelries locally, of our having enjoyed two good ‘pub grub’ meals in the Golf Club recently under the new catering stewardship of Patricia and Ian Dick. It is well worth a visit for those who bemoan the death of the Drummond. And, if you fancy a bit longer walk, The Stags Head at the caravan site (still known to us oldies as Korky’s) offers a warm welcome and simple wholesome grub courtesy of Mark and Louise. I know this after breaking down on my buggy (more anon) outside the place and being helped by Mark and rescued by Richard Steventon. To those of you awaiting an update on the horrendous dilemma of our homeless frogs, reported last month, you can now sleep peacefully. Oodles of spawn were decanted into 3 buckets and rapidly dozens of wee tadpoles hatched. Worried that they might starve I dispatched my Pond Builder and Estate Manageress to buy fish food to keep them all alive whilst said pond builder dug, somewhat slower than I’d have liked, a massive hole to sink the new pond liner into. The pond now contains water and the little frogs-to-be were transferred using a kitchen sieve. There remains landscaping around the new pond to complete but progress is slow and the position of Pond Builder & Estate Manageress might be advertised here next month. (A voice from over my shoulder says “suits me fine!”) It bears repeating here the plea sent out by the Community Council and by residents of Shoemaker Lane that villagers desist from dumping rubbish both in the field behind the Drummond and at the top of the lane. The heap in the field has been burned by Geoff Harman-Carter after being an eyesore for months, and the new fence at the top of the lane might hopefully deter random 4

tipping. Across at the caravan site is a full public recycling/waste disposal facility including two skips, so it’s just about as quick to dump stuff properly there as to despoil our village. Many of you will have spotted me travelling around the village on my new mobility scooter. As my long abused legs have slowly succumbed to the rigours of a life on building sites and motor bikes and ceased to perform with any reliability their intended function, I have refused the suggestions of my good wife to get a ‘wee buggy’ to assist in moving around locally. Pictures of a shopping trolley like device with 4 tiny wheels and 19 stone of elderly male perched perilously on it came to mind – until I found that

The ‘new lease of life’

there was a new generation of mobility scooters now which not only looked the part but were designed to be used off road as well on forest tracks and the like. My purchase really has given me ‘a new lease of life’ and I would recommend anyone with restricted mobility to go and try these things. They are road legal, albeit restricted to 8 mph by law so a Sunday trip to Comrie on the A84 is not recommended, and go well along the old railway. Can’t wait for the new footpath to Lochearnhead to be operational – but meantime many thanks to the volunteer villagers who have removed fallen trees from the track and cleared saplings so that I and two happy spaniels and many others can again enjoy an hour ‘in the hills’. A side effect of buying such a device is a sudden awareness of problems which folk with mobility devices, including walking aids, experience – things I’d never thought of before. Wheelie bins in the middle of the footpath, cars parked on the footpath etc. really do create difficulties. The former mean climbing off the buggy to remove the obstacle, the latter mean a trip into the centre of the road to get round them. It is, of course,

an offence to block a footpath with a car – but many of us have done it without thinking. I was wrong last month in thinking that The Drummond had reverted to ownership by The Clydesdale Bank, but by the time you read this I’m assured that it will have. Ideas are being formulated locally, more of that when I know details, but I can say that Kay and Dave are very hopeful of obtaining permission meantime to operate their boat hire business from the slipway/jetty which will have the added benefit of the area being maintained and vessel launching controlled.

Finally, here is a dark and moody photo taken by Nice Muir one evening of the crane presently being used to rebuild the burned down Treetops but being borrowed by Sandy to remove tree cuttings (slight case of overkill?). The photo was ‘snapped’ on a mobile in very unsuitable light conditions so the resultant effect was unintended but I think well worth a few column inches. John Murray

Dundurn’s Tearoom & Restaurant at St Fillans Golf Club. Open 7 days, from 9am to 5pm April to October inclusive

g You don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy lunch or afternoon tea in the delightful surroundings of Dundurn’s Tearoom and Restaurant at St Fillans Golf Club. g 

Strathyre News

“Oor Dougie”

A conversation took place one evening in the Inn, which resulted in “Oor Dougie” being challenged to participate in the gruelling Stuc a’ Chroin Hill Race. Dougie, being a man of substance, took up the said challenge. For the next three months he followed a vigorous training routine, aided and abetted by his self appointed ‘trainer’ in the shape of Big Mike, and, as anyone who knows Mike will tell you, he made the correct choice! Mike is a man who has obviously had a lot of experience in hill running - and is known for his regular training ‘sessions’ which keep him in such fine shape!! Dougie, I must admit, surprised everyone who knows him by his dedication to getting fit to do this race - no mean feat for anyone! He stuck to his training rigidly, became an ‘alcohol free zone’, and actually ran the Stuc a few days before the race just to test his fitness. Anyone who has had any involvement with this race will tell you that this is the toughest race in Scotland, if not the UK - and on the day we were faced with the worst weather conditions that have been recorded since the race began, which tested all the runners to the max. I am delighted to say Dougie did complete this awesome task in about 3.5hrs, a very respectable time even by experienced runners’ standards. So well done to “Oor Dougie”! The Village is very proud of you - and indeed, of all local runners who took part. However, the story does not end there! Dougie felt that some benefit should result from his efforts - not for him, but for deserving causes. So ‘Mike the trainer’ now became ‘Mike the fundraiser’ as well (is there no end to this man’s talent?)and I am delighted to announce that the fantastic sum of £1500 was raised (if everyone pays up) which will be distributed between McMillan Nursing (who looked after Lennie, and do a wonderful service in any community) and the Village Christmas Party. A wholehearted well done to Dougie and Mike for all their hard work. Wullie D


air your views...

I have just driven in to Old Station Court and was disgusted to find the “LITTER”left lying on the road and pavement by your recycling vehicle, also the way in which they left the bins on the footpath. I have taken photographs, which I would be happy to email to you if you can give me an address that I could send them to. Given that we have a tenants’ association in this Court which works very hard to keep it tidy at all times and we have elderly people who need to negotiate these footpaths, I find it most annoying that the Council should treat it with such

After some lengthy negotiations and meetings I am now delighted to say that information signs have now been put in place warning cyclists of the impending danger to pedestrians on this stretch of the path. One can only hope that they will be responsible enough to adhere to the signs and respect them. This is just a stepping stone on my part to reach a conclusion where this will no longer be part of the cycle route and the PROPER path will eventually be used when the core path status runs out sometime in 2015. Can I take this opportunity to thank Douglas Stewart of the NP for all the hard work he has done to reach this stage and point out how helpful his department has been through the whole issue? I know the NP get a lot of knocks and I freely admit to being one of their critics but they have kept their word completely on this important safety issue, so well done!!

disrespect. If a member of the public were to drop this kind of litter they would most surely be liable for prosecution, so is Stirling Council absolved from dropping litter on public highways, or is there a local bylaw that the public are not aware of? What happens to the litter that has been left? Is it now up to the tax paying public to pick it up and whose bin do we put it in? A very disgruntled council tax payer Can you please advise!

Real Ale - Real Music

Choose from a wide selection of hot and cold dishes - and our home-baked cakes, pastries and biscuits... followed by a choice of select teas or coffees. g We are on the south Loch Earn Road, 300 metres past the road bridge in St Fillans.


B ALQUHIDDER S UMMER M USIC Our Season for 2013 starts

Sunday 14 July at 7pm

Balquhidder Church with


Chamber Orchestra from Edinburgh A new season of Balquhidder Summer Music, the 28th, is rapidly approaching. We hope it may continue to flourish for a long time to come. Last year’s audience numbers were down quite considerably, but we hope and trust that with the competition of the London Olympics now out of the way, we can return to previous form. We hope you will continue to support this long-standing event, and go on to welcome this year’s artists as warmly as ever. The warmest welcome being a capacity crowd in the church! The programme is as varied as ever, from piano recital to chamber orchestra. The economic situation continues to be dire, and the arts are continuing to have a hard time. Without your presence and support, Summer Music will not be able to continue. Six-concerts are once again lined up for this season. It all begins the first weekend after Wimbledon ends, i.e. 14 July. Yet again, ticket prices have not been put up, so they remain steady at £8 (concessions £7), and children under 15 are free. A season ticket is kept at only £36 for six concerts. Please note, that these really consist of six separate tickets giving admission to any of the concerts, so they can be used over the entire season at will. They aren’t personal, so they can be transferred. These rates provide exceptional value for professional concerts, and we hope you agree! We are very happy to be able to restore the tradition of having an opera evening incorporated in the season. This year, Killin-based Frances Morrison has rounded up friends and colleagues from Scottish Opera to give you an evening of operatic highlights that promises to be a big event. Last year, the concert series made an overall loss. It was possible to cover this by eating into the reserves, but as a trend it is very unfortunate, and we need to return to black figures quite urgently. Artists have to make a living, and we will not water down the quality of the concerts being put on. Inflation and recession hits you, the audience, as well as the artists, so costs inevitably rise. After this season, evaluation 6

will follow to see how the non-Olympic year turned out. A price increase for next year may be unavoidable, after a very long time of stability. It’s a balancing act all the way! With this background in mind, we ask you to consider, first of all, attending as many of the concerts as you can. If you feel able to help us further by becoming a local Patron, then that will help ensure the series’ future. And, as always, spread the word! Nothing is as inspiring for the players as a packed concert venue! You can find more details of the concerts on our website: Do visit this to get the latest news and see pictures of the performers. You will notice that during the first two concerts, the stage will be remarkably well filled, first with a chamber orchestra, and then with the largest wind player ensemble yet seen. The Tim Kliphuis Trio will explore the borders of what’s classical, and an evening of exclusively British classical music for piano and violin - Scottish composers featuring prominently - is likely to be a winner. Add a bold piano recital and the aforementioned operatic evening, and variety is surely well served! You can also use the website to order season tickets or become local Patrons. You may wish to reserve tickets in advance (although this has never been necessary) for collection and payment at the door, and you can do this by sending us an email via the website. Instead of the tea-room at the old library in Balquhidder, which will not be open this year, pre- or post-concert refreshments are available at Mhor 84 (formerly the Kingshouse Hotel). We look forward to seeing you this year, and to join you in experiencing a pick of the best of what Scotland has to offer in chamber music playing. Very many thanks for your continuing support. Yours sincerely, Wouter van Doorn, Balquhidder Summer Music Chairman

Changes to Bus Routes There has been considerable concern over changes announced to the running of bus routes when subsidies are withdrawn in August. The following information gives the affected routes as far as can be ascertained at the moment. The relevant services that are affected are: Sunday C60 - Crianlarich/ Tyndrum to Callander ( one journey to Callander and two back - one of which operated from October to May. Sunday c59 Service Callander/ Stirling - 7 return journeys a day. NOTE: First Bus Ltd are very likely to continue to run a Sunday service as the route is commercially viable if less than seven return journeys are scheduled each day.

C59 - Monday to Friday - 0707, 2047 and 2237 from Callander and 0620 1957 and 2149 from Stirling. The affected services contracts from the Council ends on 19 August 2013, although it is understood that First Group may well continue to run them until October to assess commercial viability. All other 59 Service buses run from Callander are commercially operated by First Group Ltd and are not affected. The C60 Monday-Saturday Service is not affected.

“Help Me”...The Secrets of using 112 on a mobile phone in an emergency/accident The telephone number 112 has been programmed into every mobile phone SIM card and allows you to make an emergency call, using your mobile phone, anywhere in the European Union. When using this number the phone initiates the call in a different way which gets around the problem of having no signal from your service provider. If you find yourself in an area with no signal from your service provider you will be unable to make a call in the normal way but by dialling 112 the phone will search for a signal from any service provider and allow the connection to the emergency services to be made. The use of 112 will also prioritise your call if the network is busy. Dialling 112 also overrides any security or PIN number set on a mobile phone. This allows you to simply dial 112 to make the call. This could be particularly useful if you need to use someone else’s phone. It will also work with a ‘pay as you go phone’ which has run out of credit. As well as the European Union 112 also works in 70 countries around the world including America, Canada, Australia and India. In making a call it is suggested that you type of emergency and number and type of first try with your back to the wind so that injuries, if any. Once sent you should wait once connected you will be clearly heard by for 3 minutes to get a text back from the the emergency services operator. You should emergency services. allow at least 1 minute for the phone to You have to be pre-registered for this text attempt a connection. If this does not work service to work. To register you phone simply try turning 180 degrees, or swop the phone text the one word ‘Register’ to 112. You will to your other ear, and try the same process receive an automatic response and you should again. This allows the phone to search for an read all of the response sent. You then send a available mast in the opposite direction. text, as instructed, with the single word ‘YES’ If none of this works, and you are in the and your phone is registered. United Kingdom, you can still attempt to There is a useful video by Lyle contact the emergency services by sending Brotherton of outlining a text to 112. Text uses a tiny packet of data all of this information which can be found at: and has a better chance of getting through than a voice message particularly if the Further information on the text service signal is intermittent. Your message should described can be found at: contain the service you require – ‘Police’, ‘Fire’, ‘Ambulance’, ‘Coast Guard’, - the location,

SULA’s 1st Birthday

Sula has celebrated its first year at the Tryst! I would like to thank everyone who attended the birthday party and for all the lovely gifts and presents received on the night. Thanks also to Mhor 84 for supplying the fantastic drinks and canapés and to Kenny Higgins and Stevie Black for providing the music. Finally a huge thanks to everyone who has supported the business over the past year - it is very much appreciated.


A Note from

St Angus’s Church...

Apart from the sad incident of the felling of the elderly Scots Pine in the church garden there is little news from St Angus’s this month. Instead I’m going to tell you a story.... There once was a coach load of inmates from an open prison heading for a day’s beach cleaning in a little seaside town which lay at the bottom of a tortuous and steep descent. Suddenly the driver realised his brakes were failing and he was rapidly losing control of the coach.  At the same moment, round a steep bend there appeared a young boy with a bicycle.  He was held fast by the leg of his trousers which had caught in the bicycle chain.  The driver had to make a choice - swerve to avoid the boy and take his 60 passengers to a certain death down a precipitous cliff or hold to the road as best he could and risk running over the child.  The driver made the latter choice and a little further on the coach came to a safe standstill.  The driver immediately left the coach and raced back to the boy.  He was cradling his body in his arms when an irate passenger challenged him saying “How could you do this?  We have made our mistakes - but you have killed this innocent little boy! How can you face his father?  He could be an only child!”  Lifting a tearstained face to his accuser he looked him in the eye and said “I am his father and I did this for you.” Can you see the analogy?  It’s something of a modern parable and something to think about. (If you read it as no more than a depressing story here’s a clue  - try putting God in place of the driver and think of the passengers in terms of “us”). Finally a question - if you had been a passenger how would you feel?  Angry, grateful, confused, shocked, amazed...?

‘May the 4th be agin you’

Church News BalquhiĐĐer

Stuc a’ Chroin Hill Race, 4 May 2013

Reg. Charity No. SC012316

I hope lots of people heard the Church bell on the 5th May. We were not only celebrating the May Day Weekend holiday but the restoration of the belfry, making it safe to ring the bell again. It was good to see that we now have a proper, waterproof bell rope instead of blue bailer twine! The steeplejacks took photos at every stage of their work and we now know that the bell has the date of 1898 on it. Our appeal for funds has raised £7,360.00 so far, and our own savings made up the shortfall of £4,880.00. We are most grateful for all the interest shown and for the generous donations towards the cost. Replenishing at least some of the savings used will be our next goal in order to be ready for the next lot of repairs needed. On 9th June, we shall be welcoming a guest speaker, the Revd. Ross McLaren. He has clan connections of course, and is looking forward to introducing his son to the land of their ancestors. We hope they will both enjoy their visit here. Revd. McLaren is planning to preach on the theme of eternal life from the New Testament text 1 John 5:11-13. Jean Edwards

Callander & West Perthshire


The new Sunday Lunch group met for the first time on 21st April at Abbotsford Lodge in Callander and enjoyed a mouthwatering meal at very reasonable cost. Any other members interested in joining should contact the group leader, Eleanor Rey. Come and join our celebration


Entry is free so come along and bring your friends to enjoy the live entertainment by the ‘Singing for Pleasure’, ‘Scottish Country Dancing’ and ‘French’ groups. There will be video presentations by the science groups and an all-day Bridge Championship. ‘Painting for Pleasure’ together with ‘Creative Stitchery’ will stage an Art Show. Bruce Crawford MSP will formally open the event and all the Group Leaders will be present to answer your questions about U3A.

Callander & West Perthshire U3A

Summer Fest on Saturday 15th June

in Callander Kirk Hall from 10.30am - 4.00pm Refreshments served all day 8

As our front page reveals, the weather on the day was less than perfect! By the time kick off time arrived it was cloudy, but certainly nothing out of the ordinary. By the time 15:30 arrived, the elements had closed in; near zero temperatures, gale force winds, heavy rain and sleet. Grim conditions on the summit led to some runners and a marshal suffering from exposure requiring aid. The Mountain Rescue helicopter couldn’t land because of weather conditions so the two runners and marshal in difficulty near Stuc a’ Chroin summit had to go down on foot and there were several other runners suffering from varying degrees of exposure. The front runners came in sporting a with the top 3 in each category grateful number of injuries and strains caused to receive their winning bottle of Whisky mostly by the low temperatures and or Vodka from Lomond Distilleries and high winds. Hector Haines of Hunters Vouchers from Tiso Stirling, as well as their Bogtrotters came in 1st (2:11:11), an Scottish Athletics Championship medals. excellent time for the conditions. Findlay Some of the marshals also got spot prizes of Wild of Lochaber was 2nd (2:18:30), whisky from the Green Welly Stop, Thomas and Andrew Fallas of Carnethy was 3rd Allan & Son and Kingshouse Travel. (2:19:40).   Normally there’s a long list of people we’d Front runners for the females came in like to thank, all of whom contribute greatly as follows; 1st Charlotte Morgan (2:46:33) towards making the race a little bit special. of Carnethy, Eilidh Raistrick Hunters This year though, in these conditions, Bogtrotters (3:00:49) was 2nd and Ciara those thanks don’t quite seem enough. Largey of Cosmics Hillbashers was 3rd We’d like to thank the runners for their (3:02:05)   resilience, participation and help when Last year’s winner, Prasad Prasad, was needed; the mountain and base marshals our leading local runner from Callander, for their dedication to the but he failed to get close to his previous welfare of the runners and best, finishing at 2:36:05, still a major feat ability to withstand atrocious in the conditions and sporting an injury. conditions (and evidently The 3 Strathyre runners all finished, in good cheer as well, you Robin Versteeg (just missed under 3hrs crazies!); mountain rescue for at 3:02:34), Dougie Aitchison (3:34:11) their ‘Just Do It’ ability to save and Adrian Walters (3:35:05). Dougie the day in whatever way was Aitchison decided to do the race after his necessary; the nurses and also dad, Lenny, who had marshalled the race for the Inn for caring for the sick over 20 years, died last year and he wanted and infirm, the police for their to raise money for the Macmillans Nurses direction and everyone else and Strathyre Christmas Party. Dougie who helped in whatever way raised over £1,000. Congratulations to all they could.   To all our main sponsors, our runners.  This wasn’t the way the 25th anniversary Lomond Distilleries, Asda, of the race should have been celebrated, Booker (Stirling), Graham but weather on the Scottish mountains Tiso (Stirling), Pete Bland doesn’t run to script. Having said that, Sports, The Green Welly Stop, Thomas Allan the runners maintained focus, assisting & Son, Kingshouse Travel, a big thanks for other runners and marshals if needed. Our your invaluable donations. To all our local ‘stoic and heroic’ marshals often sacrificed sponsors, Sula Furnishings, The Inn & their own clothing and received many Bistro Strathyre, Stirling Stoves,  Strathyre commendations from the runners who were Cleansing, Village Shop Strathyre, Crystal extremely grateful for their assistance when Tea Room Crieff, Aitchison Independent required which was frequent. (See www. Traders, S. Carmichael & Sons, Roll On marshals page for Flooring, The Braes Farming Co. KPs DIY, a roundup of grateful runners comments). Ian Brydie Building Services, Heroncraft Mountain Rescue sent in teams from Scotland,  RTA Doune, we’re immensely Callander and Killin and they had a busy grateful for your continuing contributions. day performing admirably and assisting o the army of people that carried, dragged, some of the runners who struggled. Thanks served, dressed, recorded, cheered, to magnificent help from Mountain Rescue, organised, set-up and took down, the race Police, the runners and marshals, the race wouldn’t be what it is and we thank you. eventually concluded. A hot bowl of soup   supplied by the Inn at Strathyre was not only Stuc a’ Chroin Race Committee welcome but necessary for the runners after   the race. Prizegiving was a popular affair



Gardening JUNE/JULY

Scottish Wildlife Trust

Our local SWT talks always start by asking whether anyone has wildlife sightings to report; what birds are in gardens, when migrants arrive or depart, when the first primroses and butterflies are seen. This month warblers, black-caps, wheatears and cuckoos have been seen, black grouse have been heard lekking and one day it was even warm enough to see butterflies and bees. Some are more unusual; a beaver spotted in the Teith or a sea eagle over the Mollands. However, we were a tad sceptical when a raccoon was reported in Callander at the beginning of May – surely it was a pine marten! How wrong we were to mock! It emerged that it was one of three that escaped from Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre, Comrie in January when a fallen branch damaged their enclosure. Two were recovered quickly but the third apparently spent winter travelling along Glen Artney to visit Callander. Quite a shock for the resident who found it in the garage! It had entered through the cat-flap to eat the cat’s supper - is this where the other story of a badger entering through a cat-flap was born? By now it has probably moved on but if you do see a racoon, do not approach it as it could bite if cornered, call the police immediately. Is it really true that police were seen chasing it down Main Street at 1am? A visitor also asked about black squirrels but, unless another escapee, this was almost certainly a very dark red one as their coats vary widely in colour and tails can be almost blond. Black squirrels, yet another North American ‘import’ are related to the larger greys, and are present in some southern English counties but not this far north. Another non-native that is being seen more often in these parts is the north American mink, posing a major threat to the successfully re-introduced water voles. Water voles make a good, chunky meal for many predators and can fill the gap when field vole populations decline. They often escape by high tailing it back to their burrows but the female mink is their only predator that can swim and is small enough to follow them inside where it may take a full litter of kits. If you see a mink then please report it to Katy Anderson on Continuing the theme of unwanted introductions, in July we plan to tackle areas of Himalayan Balsam by the river in Callander, particularly at Geisha Pool. It has pretty flowers but completely smothers native plants. It is non-toxic, easy to pull up and is best removed when just starting to flower but before it seeds. If you can help, please contact me on mlhawkins@tiscali. and I’ll confirm details nearer the time. It would be very helpful if as many people as possible could report where they see Himalayan Balsam, Japanese Knotweed and Skunk Cabbage so we can report it to the Forth Invasive Non-Native (FINNS) project for removal. Details of these and many other invasive plants can be found on http://www. Finally, we have a walk to Glen Ogle on Sunday 30 June, leaving 9:20am from Ancaster Square, and 10am from Lochearnhead car park. There are 4 and 10 mile options and we hope to see lots of orchids, other flowers and butterflies, weather permitting. Please let me know if Unwanted and invasive - from top: Himalayan you are interested. Balsam, Japanese Knotweed, Skunk Cabbage Lesley Hawkins 10

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.

I have the Chelsea blues. What other show on earth can make us despair as we admire all those dreamy gardens built by the best in the world?  There is a price tag associated with this living drama that our own meagre budgets can never quite stretch to.  The longings generated from this week-long fix on the box can make you wish without compunction you lived in a flat - or maybe you will be racing to your RHS Encyclopaedia of Plants to see just how much agapanthus and those lovely new terracotta verbascums cost.  I have the blues now - but I had them much worse in the year 2000, in those heady days of the new millennium. All great journeys and expeditions to the poles and across the great oceans are often marked by good omens at the outset.  We had negotiated the complex process of gaining Royal Approval (Horticulture Society, that is) for our design itself and managed to get enough sponsorship. If you go to Chelsea to build in the one week, you are allowed in you think the world is flat.  If it’s your first time, which it was for all of us, you are nervous and as you drive your van through the gates of this Dante’s inferno you realise how small the place really is. Then finding your slot will take a whole day, in the long queues of cranes, machinery, diggers - all going hammer and tongs.  You are quickly aware of security guards barking orders, tired sweaty labourers grabbing quick breaks between moving the next two ton boulder on the Daily Telegraph waterfall garden... designers staring wildly into plans drawn up a year ago, wondering why the heck they decided to plan eight full size olive trees into their garden, (three of which have turned up dead) on the phone to Greece. We got down to it.  By the end of the first day it seemed like it would simply never happen - all we had managed to do was unload the lorry. Day two and the bare bones of the garden started to appear after a slow start. Day three poured with rain and the place turned to mud, hampering progress.  Day four - and there was a sudden realisation that you would need more stuff, which would need a three hour sit in a traffic jam in the centre of London to get to the more useful suburbs. All the while the clock was ticking.  It’s the deadline that is the constant stone in your shoe.  Plants had failed and were not looking good... this was a huge problem.  It seemed other participants only used a fraction of what they brought - ‘but their budgets were much bigger,’ we muttered.  Finally the last day arrived and, as is often the case, it was the girls to the rescue.  Judging hinges on the quality of plants - and the planting - as well as the overall design and concept. It should look like the garden has been growing there for years.  We soon

by Jonathan MacDonald

One of the immaculate exhibits at the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show

learned the tricks of the trade, as underneath the flowerbeds they are rammed tight with old pallets and plastic boxes, all in a rather magical illusion act, created by a steady stream of scrounging of materials from around the show. This, in fact, probably takes more skill than real gardening, and as luck would have it all the girls (half the team) were soon expert in the technique. Planting densities were correct, mulching was not overly aggressive and by lunch the boys had chilled out a little, handing the girls the plants as the team really got moving into an impressive rhythm. It really is a team sport! For this I think the RHS should award medals to all the players on the build.   During these last precious remaining hours the blood pressure is starting to hit new levels; although the noise all around seems more distant, it has increased in ferocity.  Armies of human ants barrowing beautiful plants into huge marquees are everywhere. Cockney swearing can sometimes break the muffled London heavy air but by now you are oblivious.  An irate beeping bin lorry driver passes by: “Cor blimey mate, get that flipping tree out the way, me old cake.”  We are now polishing the leaves, weeding the grass by tweezers, dusting off flowers with shaving brushes and slowly retreating off the garden. Late in the evening we were all collapsed

in a heap in the minibus, off to the hotel to await our fate. Sentence is pending for a crime against gardening!  Secretly all the students are praying for gold, but by now, most are too tired to care.  Chelsea gold is like an Olympic gold - the difference being it’s judged to a standard.  You can therefore have 10 gold medal winners in each race.  To get one it has to be pretty special and, although I dislike the term ‘it has to work as a garden’ you know when you see one working and one not.  The judges deliberate, vote, revote and take a good while on each exhibit.  You are banished from the show at this point.  Some people guess the awards privately with remarkable accuracy and, if you do shows long enough, you soon take up this pastime. “Well, that disaster will be bronze if she’s lucky...” “using broken glass and coal as a mulch, pah!”  Everything must be perfect; one half dead plant can drop you below the water line. So the lovely moment arrives, when we all trot along in our best clothes after judging has finished, when all the press are in and the Royal party has moved through.  The girls race on ahead (the boys are too cool for that).  We hear screams of excitement, jumping in the air, hugs and tears.  Silver Gilt!!  A tree in the wrong place, we later found out... Jonathan MacDonald

Open 7 days a week: 9.30am -5pm Visit us for inspirational ideas and professional advice Tullybannocher, Comrie Contact: Jonathan MacDonald Tel: 01764 670800 11

View from the Park by Owen McKee The Scandinavians are coming later this month. Planning Aid Scotland, a charity which provides Planning Training and Advice to our communities, is hosting a delegation of elected members and planning professionals from Norway and Sweden who are anxious to see how we integrate the demands of tourism into our National Parks. There will be a two way exchange and I am sure that we will benefit from learning from what they have done. August will see Planning Aid Scotland again hosting visitors from Europe. This time it will be the European Youth Camp. During their visit they will be  investigating how Scottish Youth gets involved in community development. Again I have no doubt the exchange will be mutually beneficial. Where do they get names from?  One with which we are familiar  is “Operation Ironworks” and this  was generated by the police computer system. Another which  is occurring regularly now is “Charrette” and this  refers to a type of master planning crammed into a short period of time. The term is French for cart and reflects the fact that, in times past, students being picked up for schools/colleges in the cart would often still be completing their projects while being transported to educational establishment. Recently we have had Charrettes  for Drymen/Balmaha, Aberfoyle, Tarbet/ Arrochar and Tyndrum, all of which will feed into the next Local Development Plan for the National Park. What these Charrettes have highlighted is that there is mistrust on what consultation means. In the Charrette process outside consultants come in to facilitate discussion on what development communities would like to see take place and to float ideas on what developments master planners may think would improve  the relevant villages. Most of the master planning ideas are around giving villages more cohesion and drawing the community towards a central attraction. For example in Tyndrum the consultants felt that the village would benefit from the proposed Gold Mine Interpretation Centre being positioned  on land adjacent to the old Tourist Information Centre.  The re-action to this has been the fear that the master plan idea becomes imbedded in the Local Development Plan without even the landowner being consulted. Let me allay those fears. In the Local Development Plan process, stage one sees land owners invited to put up land for potential development. If the landowner  does not put the land up for development, it cannot be included 12

in the Local Plan. Where land is offered for development, the Planning Authority looks at its potential and takes into account any constraints such as flooding, access, etc. before including it any draft plan. Only then is the community consulted on the proposal. I am delighted that all the work put into the St Fillans to Lochearnhead Path  by the St Fillans community in particular is bearing fruit and real progress is being achieved. Well done to everyone concerned.    Owen McKee Taigh Na Bhuth, Lochearnhead 01567 830214

Callander Rambling Club Sponsored by Caledonian Country Wear

The Club consists of a group of enthusiasts who meet regularly throughout the year to participate in a programme of strolls, rambles, hill walks and a Long Distance Path. Details are published on http://www. a m b l e r s . h t m in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diary: JUNE • Sat 8th 8:30am Ramble: The Mell (11miles) contact 01786 825198 • Sat 15th 8:30am Hill: Beinn an Lochain (901m) contact 01877 339080 • Wed 19th 9:30am Stroll: Mystery Stroll (5 miles) contact 01786 822912 • Sat 22nd 8:30am CtoC(14) Cast. Campbell to Tonguey Faulds (8½ miles) contact 01877 330032 • Sat 29th 8:30am Ramble: round Loch Ossian (& Beinn na Lap) (9miles) contact 01786 823265 JULY • Sat 6th 8:30am Hill: Buchaille Etive Beag (958m) contact 01877 331067

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!


Central Scotland Police

There when you need us

New Sheriff in town! As most of you will have no doubt heard, I am the new police officer who has been appointed to Lochearnhed. PC Ward has moved on to pastures new, and I am sure you will join me in wishing him all the very best in his new role. I was previously based in Dunblane where I worked as a community officer for the past year, and prior to that, I spent over three years working the Balfron section, so I am well used to rural policing and issues associated with the lochsides, having spent most of my police service within Dunblane Sub Area Command. I was once told that rural policing is not something that everyone can, or wishes to do, and I am a very firm believer in that. I have been working here since the beginning of April, and in my opinion, this has to be once of the best jobs in the Forth Valley Division. I am looking forward to serving my new local communities. I am slowly finding my feet in the area and am meeting new people on a daily basis. If I have not yet met you, please feel free to stop me and introduce yourself (I don’t bite – honest!) I look forward to working in and with the local communities and would encourage people to contact me with any issues or questions they may have. The contact number for Police Scotland is now 101 and for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at or alternatively via which is the community email - that is monitored by the whole team and the supervisors should I not be available. I would like to finish by thanking each and every one of you who has popped in for a visit, or stopped and spoken to my wife and me in the passing. You have really made us feel welcome in the villages and we have settled in and look forward to becoming part of the community over the coming months and years. Regards, PC Will Diamond

Police Scotland Since 1st April this year, Central Scotland Police, along with the other Scottish Police Forces, joined to become the Police Service of Scotland, which is commonly being referred to as Police Scotland. On the ground, other than some new items of uniform, and the old “Central Scotland” badges being removed, we have seen very little changes. The job still remains the same, with us dealing with the same incidents and the public continue to expect a high level of service from ourselves. Since the creation of Police Scotland, the practice of “beats” has been replaced by wards which run in line with the existing electoral wards, with the Trossachs and Teith ward covering our local communities. Each ward has its own dedicated community team and is headed up by a local Community Sergeant and Inspector. Our community team is staffed by seven officers, and is covering one of the largest wards in the division, stretching from Blair Drummond in the South and extending to the North of Tyndrum. Over the past few months, there have been several changes to staffing, including Inspector Gerry McMenemy and Sergeant Iain Denham who are now responsible for the local community team. Each community team now has in place a Multi Member Ward Plan which outlines the priorities that the communities have raised and for the

Trossachs and Teith ward, these are Antisocial Behaviour, Theft, Road Safety and Community Engagement. Over the coming months, I will be tackling each of these issues using a variety of methods and I would welcome any feedback from the community as to what we are doing well or areas in which we could improve. Thefts Over the last month, there have been two reported thefts, one of which was 250L of diesel stolen from a building site near to Strathyre, and the second being a Landrover stolen in Lochearnhead. Now that the nights are a bit lighter, we generally see a reduction in the number of thefts reported to us; however that does not give us grounds to be complacent. Often with items that are stolen, the monetary value is not the worst part to bear, it is the sentimental value that the items hold, including the Landrover mentioned above which was a family heirloom. To give generic advice, I would say make sure windows and doors are kept locked, even if only popping out for a short while. Should the worst happen, house insurance could be invalidated. Security lighting is also a good idea, particularly in this area where properties are isolated and street lighting is at a minimum. If anyone wishes to discuss security with me, please contact me and I can advise as to possible options to consider.


Rangers’ Review By Gareth Kett

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

With fresh greens, vibrant floral colours and constant comings and goings of nesting birds we can probably allow ourselves to believe that spring has at last arrived. The recent fine weather has also attracted increasing numbers of visitors to our area of the National Park and to Loch Earn in particular. Ranger Service patrols have been out on most days of the week, encouraging responsible camping and, together with the Police and bailiffs, trying to minimize anti-social behavior. Spring is also a busy time with respect to biodiversity work for the ranger service and also for local National Park Black grouse compete for female attention in ‘lek’ sites Conservation Volunteers who have provided invaluable assistance in black grouse and squirrel survey work. Following guidance from that in the Breadalbane and Trossachs area the RSPB and Central Scotland Black the status-quo has been maintained over Grouse and Capercaille Group, rangers the winter period with greys only being and volunteers have surveyed three 5x5km seen around Callander. This is in part squares across Glen Dochart for black due to grey squirrel control work being grouse lek sites. Lek sites are areas where coordinated by the Scottish Wildlife Trust male grouse gather and display against each around Callander and between Comrie and other, vying for females who gather around St.Fillans. the site and choose males, based on their In 2009 the Glen Dochart Wader Project display. As black grouse lek mostly during began with National Park staff surveying the three hours after dawn and before dusk, numbers of curlew, lapwing, oystercatcher, this work involves being on site at around red shank and snipe along the floodplain 0500. Any weariness from the early start through Auchlyne Estate. Further surveys is soon brushed away by the beauty of the were carried out in 2010 and 2011 to establish early hours of the day. While we didn’t baseline data, accompanied by groundwork find any new lek sites this year, the annual across the project area including sluices and Wader Project: oystercatcher on the nest programme of surveys is allowing us to build scrapes to improve the habitat for the target up a good understanding of the distribution species mentioned above. The project area programme. We had been concerned that, of black grouse in the area. In addition to was then left for a couple of years to allow following the long winter and periods of the lek searches the Ranger Service also the groundwork to take effect and for the significant flooding around Aberfoyle, the carries out lek counts at a number of known vegetation to reestablish. During this time water voles may have suffered heavy losses established lek sites across and around land managers also reduced pressure on the since last autumn. However, at this early the National Park. These counts provide project area from livestock. We are now in stage in the season the signs are good. Our a means of gauging population dynamics the process of re-surveying the project area fingers remain crossed for the rest of the across the area. The Breadalbane team to see if there has been any increase in target season. With the initial phases of the monitors three south Loch Tay sites in species numbers. I’ll keep you updated. partnership with the Environmental Action Another conservation project that Lochearnhead to St. Fillans cycle-way Killin (EAK) local environmental group. has been going for a few years now is the project having received approval, back in Black grouse numbers have declined across Trossachs Water Vole Project, which began April rangers cleared the access route to the these sites in recent years, but over the same back in 2006 before a series of water vole Glen Tarken crossing from the St.Fillans period numbers have risen on lek sites on releases into the Loch Ard Forest, near side in preparation for bridge installation the Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve Aberfoyle, took place between 2008 and work. Further access preparation work (NNR), raising the possibility that perhaps 2011, numbering around 1,000 water voles. will be continuing during July. This black grouse are crossing Loch Tay as the Since 2009 National Park Rangers and the project represents a great success to habitat in the NNR improves as a result of Project Officer have lead conservation date for communities of St. Fillans and on-going habitat restoration work by the volunteers in surveying around 25km Lochearnhead as well as for the National National Trust for Scotland. Our thanks go of water courses in order to monitor the Park. The Ranger Service is keen to assist to all the landowners and managers who spread of the water vole population. The in the implementation of the project where have permitted these surveys on their land. survey season runs during the water vole possible. There are twelve walking transects around breeding season, which in our area of the As always you’re welcome to drop into the National Park in or near areas where country is between late March and early our office in Lochearnhead if you have any red and grey squirrels both exist. These are October, depending upon the weather. queries or would like to report any wildlife monitored by rangers and volunteers each This year the season began late due to the sightings. Gareth spring and autumn as a means of monitoring cold early spring period. Having trained 01389 722040 red and grey squirrel population dynamics. some new volunteers in April, we are now Results from the spring surveys suggest well underway with this seasons’ survey 14

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of Meeting held at Balquhidder Village Hall on 22 May 2013

Please note that these minutes have not yet received formal approval and should be considered as a draft version only. Present: Malcolm McNaughton (MM), Alastair Barclay (AB), Paul Hicks (PH), Karen Methven (KM), Susie Crammon (SC). Apologies: Angus Cameron, Adrian Squires, Sara Hesp, Richard Eastland, Rosanne McWilliams, Owen McKee (National Park). In attendance: Cllr Alycia Hayes (AH), Stirling Council (S-C), Kathy McLean (KM), Lochearnhead. 1) Approval of Minutes It was proposed by AB and seconded by MM that the minutes of the meeting on 10th April 2013 should be accepted, and this was approved unanimously. 2) Police Report MM welcomed PC 879 Will Diamond to the meeting as the new community beat officer for our area. PC Diamond briefly introduced himself and outlined his previous service and experience. He then reported that, during the past month, 109 offences had been recorded, the majority of which had been related to road traffic legislation. Three offences of public disorder had been detected and one crime (the taking of a land-rover) was still under investigation. PC Diamond also gave brief reports on two ongoing operations: BikeSafe (to deal with road safety matters) and Operation Ironworks (to deal with problems of disorder and litter, particularly in loch-side areas). MM raised the question of whether signs could be posted to warn people of the legal penalties for depositing litter. PC Diamond replied that this was a matter for the Local and National Park authorities. Finally, PC Diamond reported on the situation regarding police amalgamation in Scotland and stated that, in practical terms, nothing had changed so far as patrol strength and duties were concerned. He referred members to the Multi Member Ward Plan, 2013, outlining policing priorities for our area. (Full details are available on the police website.) 3) Matters Arising 3.1) Pharmacy Application at Killin The dispensing service based at the GP surgery in Killin does not amount to a ‘pharmaceutical service’ according to the National Health Service (Pharmaceutical Services) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations, 2011. Consequently, the NHS Forth Valley Pharmacy Practices Committee has concluded that the current provision of ‘pharmaceutical services’ in the area around Killin is inadequate and has approved the application by Walter Davidson & Sons Ltd to open a new pharmacy at Eastmost Shop, Myrtle Grove, Killin. It is not clear whether the dispensing service provided currently by the surgery will be able to continue. Members believed that many in the local community at Killin and further afield did not support this change, but recognized that we had no power to intervene ourselves as the premises in question are outwith our area. It was agreed that we would monitor the situation and continue to offer such support as we could to the CC in Killin. 3.2) Community Emergency Plan for Severe Weather PH reported that he had liaised with David Johnston, a local resident who is an ex-police officer with experience of emergency planning, and who is willing to assist with this project. So far, nobody else has shown any interest, but plans are in hand to circulate every household with more information about what is involved, and to seek further help. Action: PH to publicize the initiative further. 3.3) Post Office, Lochearnhead KM reported that the proposed move of post office services to the Village Shop had not been approved by the Post Office, owing to the unsuitability of the premises there. KM said that she cannot afford to continue running the post office herself, and is proposing to retire later this year. She would be willing to have the premises used as a local sorting office but this is still under discussion with the Post Office. It is likely that a mobile service (comprising two hours per week) will be arranged for the village once she has retired. CC members were not happy about the situation but recognized the impossible, economic situation in which KM was caught and the reason why she could not continue. AH stated that she and MSP Bruce Crawford are due to meet with a representative from the Post Office next week in order to see what other action might be taken. 4) Business for Annual General Meeting 4.1) Presentation of Accounts. AB presented the audited accounts. It was noted that two cheques paid to Kingshouse had never been cashed, and had now expired, but little could be done as the premises had since changed hands. It was proposed by MM and approved unanimously that the accounts should be accepted. 4.2) Appointment of Office Bearers. PH explained that, in line with the constitution, there is an opportunity at the AGM to review the posts of Chair, Treasurer and Secretary. No other members wished to apply for these posts so the following were re-appointed: Malcolm McNaughton: Chair. Alistair Barclay: Treasurer and Deputy Chair. Paul Hicks: Secretary. 5) Community Council Elections 2013 PH advised members that the four-yearly elections for community councils would take place in October and November this year. All current members of the CC would be required to stand again for election. Full details had been circulated to the current members who will be required to seek nomination by Friday 25 Oct 2013 to continue in post. This was discussed briefly and it was noted that, if all current members stand for office again, there will still be one vacancy for Balquhidder and one for Strathyre. It was agreed that suitable candidates should be canvassed and encouraged to apply for nomination. Papers will be circulated in due course. 6) Local Transport Strategy AH confirmed that no consultation had taken place but, far worse in her opinion, no thought had been given to matters of connectivity and the likelihood that commercial services will also suffer if subsidised services are withdrawn because people do not travel exclusively on subsidised services but use a combination of both. She had received numerous letters regarding people who will be unable to get to places of work or education when connecting services are no longer available. AB suggested that some rationalisation of schools services might be possible, particularly where operators are using unnecessarily large vehicles, and KM queried whether the public could travel on school buses. It was thought that they could. AH undertook to follow this up and will endeavour to find smaller operators who might be willing to provide connecting services when the present subsidies expire. Action: AH to liaise with Bruce Crawford and smaller bus operators. 7) Timber Harvesting Operation ñ Glen Ample The CC has been notified that uplifts of timber from Glen Ample forest will continue through May to October this year. Altogether, some 65-70 trips will be required, with up to ten loads per day on some days, but none on others. Following discussion, it was agreed that such operations were necessary; their impact had been successfully minimized in the past so there were no objections to this operation continuing. Action: PH to respond to agent, Andrew Dixon 8) Rural Broadband PH reported that Richard Harris (Stronvar Farm, Balquhidder) had been nominated for the Rural Broadband Advisory Group. Another local resident, Fearghas McKay, is working closely with Richard and PH to research the best way of upgrading broadband provision for all three villages. A questionnaire is being prepared for delivery to every house. It will seek to update our picture of the current situation, and to establish what people would be prepared to pay for if it were available, and how much. AH added that the Advisory Group includes three councillors of whom she is one. She will also be visiting a satellite company in June and may invite Richard Harris. PH confirmed that all options would be considered, but noted that a fibre network still offered the best future proofing that is currently available. 9) Correspondence 9.1) Forestry Commission Sale. The Commission is proposing to sell an area of woodland (647.6 hectares ñ 1,600 acres) known as the ìMonachyle Areaî and has invited the community to express any interest in acquiring or leasing the land. This was discussed, but it was noted that the fencing of the area is in very poor condition and that access, particularly for extraction of timber, is difficult. It was thought highly unlikely that this would be an attractive proposition for the local community. 9.2) Swing Bridge, Strathyre. MM had received notification that this will be closed for a month for repairs. This was acknowledged by SC on behalf of the Strathyre Village Association. 9.3) War memorials. MM had received a letter from George Burnett (previous resident of Balquhidder) to advise us of the War Memorials Trust in the UK. This organisation provides funds for repair of memorials, and our local monuments are in need of some attention. AB stated that the Scottish Government is also offering funds for this purpose and that he is awaiting further information from them. He will coordinate these options and report back to the CC once the situation is clearer. Action: AB to report further to CC when funds become available. 9.4) Notice of a public procession on 20th July in Lochearnhead for the annual Games had been received. This was noted. 9.5) Stirling Carers Centre had sent an invitation to the CC for a representative to attend its Carers Week event in June. Details were passed to KM. 10) Planning Matters No notifications had been received. 11) Matters From Local Councillors 11.1) S-C is holding a ‘Fostering Open Day’ on Saturday 25 May 2013. Details were noted. 11.2) S-C has appointed a new deputy chief executive: Stuart Caruth. The council has also appointed an artist to create branding for the 2014 celebrations. MM queried whether it was appropriate to fund such things in the current economic climate. AH replied that she could not comment on behalf of the Council but understood his concerns. 11.3) The Health & Sport Committee of the Scottish Parliament will be coming to Stirling on weekend of 20th-23rd June. This was noted. 12) Any Other Competent Business 12.1) Litter bins in Strathyre. PH had received an enquiry from Jim Fisher, Land Service Protection Officer for S-C, regarding the ownership of some litter bins in Strathyre. Members were able to confirm that none of these belonged to the CC or Strathyre Village Association. It was agreed that it would be good if some of the bins could be re-deployed for dog waste in the North and South of the village. Action: PH to advise Jim Fisher accordingly. 12.2) Scottish Government’s Communities Conference. PH distributed information regarding a regional communities conference to be held in Stirling on Saturday 22nd June 2013. The subject will be: ‘Understanding and Influencing Your Parliament’. The CC is entitled to send up to two delegates and costs will be funded centrally. 12.3) A84 Road Widening. Richard Eastland had been unable to attend in person but wished to propose that the CC should query the possibility of having the A84 improved at the point, about three hundred yards South of Mhor 84 (Kingshouse) where there are two awkward bends and the road narrows significantly. MM replied that it might be best to consider this matter in conjunction with the next item of business. 12.4) National Park Community Plan. A ‘Launch Night’ is being planned, to take place at Mhor 84. Each village has put forward a number of matters for improvement and MM suggested that we should wait until these have been considered and discussed together. Once a joint, prioritised list has been agreed, it will be clearer what action is needed from the CC. 12.5) Strathyre Music Festival. SC reported that 170 musical acts would be performing at seven venues over the weekend of 1/2 June. 12.6) Cycle Way from St Fillans to Lochearnhead. AB reported that funding has now been secured for the construction of a bridge at Glen Tarken. Work will now continue on planning the rest of the route. There was no other business and, at 9:20 p.m., MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting is due to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 3rd July 2013 in Lochearnhead Village Hall.


McLaren High School News by Yvonne King

Eilidh Graham and Jenny Holl Accordion Masterclass On 22 April we were very lucky to be visited by a student from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Lana Elaine gave an Accordion Masterclass to 5 pupils who varied in ability from never having picked up an accordion before to pupils who already play. It was an enjoyable 2 hours for all involved and by the end everyone was able to play a tune together!! Thanks to Lana Elaine for her time, help and expertise.

Senior Ski Course, Mayarhofen, Austria April 2013 One of the highlights of the school year is the Senior Ski course. This year travelling to the Austrian Tyroll, Mayrhofen in the Ziller Valley gave a good range of ski slopes as well as easy access to the glacier at Hintertux. Our hotel, the Sidan, was of a traditional Tyrollean style and we were very impressed with the quality and also the quantity of the food. Overall the week was another fantastic experience for all those involved and Mr.Martin, who was enjoying his very last School Ski Course, made mention of how the group had really gelled and reflected on the ORCA values in a final address.


Zoolab On 22 April Zoolab came to talk to us about all the animals he had with him – all of which he kept in his house! The first animal was an African giant land snail and the others were a tarantula, a white tree frog, a rat, a few cockroaches and a corn snake. We all got to handle them and learned lots of facts about them, including the fact that cockroaches can live for 4 weeks without a head and that snakes cling to objects using their scales! Zoolab was a great experience! Hamish Duff S1


McLaren Pupils in Rugby Tour Stirling County RFC Under 15’s embarked on their Annual Tour to Orthez and Madrid competing against top sides in France and Spain. 7 McLaren High School S3 pupils attended the tour: Logan Trotter, Keir Hail-Brown, Connor Clark, Duncan Hendry, Gregor Nixon, Geordie Perrie and Scott Fleming. One former pupil Alasdair Sewell also attended as part of the coaching team. The squad played some great rugby throughout the 10 day tour. Stirling finished overall 12th out of 24 teams in the Orthez Tournament and won the award for Best Skills and Style of Play. ‘Our team bonded really well during the tour and we all felt this experience will be something we will remember when we are older.’ Duncan Hendry S3

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Samba Band Friday 19 April was such a lovely sunny day that Miss Hardie decided to take her music class to Rio... well... we used our imaginations a little! Photo above shows pupils in S1 marching whilst playing the samba kit.

Having a go at traditional crafts S2 Traditional Skills Day On 16 May a group of S2 pupils went to Forth Valley College to attend a Traditional Skills Day hosted by Historic Scotland. We were shown a PowerPoint by Moses Jenkins about all the traditional skills and how they have slowly become less available. We learnt that nowadays not many people know how to preserve and look after buildings. The main skills he concentrated on were; stone masonry, lead work, slating, joinery and bricklaying. After lunch we were kitted out in PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). This consisted of; steel toecap boots, a white boiler-suit (like the CSI people wear!), safety glasses, gloves and a dust mask. We all looked very funny! We had been split into groups and the first traditional skill my group tried was joinery. Our next skill to learn was the art of bricklaying. We were in pairs for this and we were to make an archway. Most of the archways had already been started and we had the job of

S3 Monitors During exam study leave S3 monitors maintained ORCA values in the school at lunchtime by maintaining good order in the lunch queue. 5 of the monitors are pictured left to right: Back Hannah Michael, Sophie Conroy, Marjory Martin. Front Eden Parkes, Gregor Flynn.

Connor Ramsay-Clapham finishing them off. We were shown where to put the mortar and how to place the brick to make sure it didn’t move about. It looks quite hard at first but by the end of the session we were all pros! Then the supporting arch from the centre was pulled away from the arch that my partner and I had been working on. We all had our fingers crossed that it would remain upstanding….and it did! We then moved on to working with lead, then to stone masonry. The last one was slating. This was very funny because some of us just couldn’t get the hang of it! We used a tool called the slate ripper. We were given a slate and we had to square it off and punch a hole in it. Sounds easy enough but it was very hard. Sometimes the slates just smashed to smithereens! One person in the group I was part of went through 4 slates before she managed to do it correctly! We had to break the slate in small pieces using the slate ripper so that it didn’t smash and then punch the hole using a sharp point on the slate ripper. It was very funny watching people doing it and was a useful skill to learn! The whole day was very interesting and great fun. It helped some of us think about a career in engineering or architecture or becoming a professional at some of the skills we learnt. Each one of us thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and learnt lots of new things. Thanks to Historic Scotland and Forth Valley College for the great day we had! The event was funded by Callander Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme. Eilidh Graham S2

Callum Convoy


Fruity Grants Announced!

Stirling-based environmental charity Forth Environment Link has announced the launch of a fourth round of funding of its Central Scotland Green Network Orchard Grant Scheme 2013 / 2014. The scheme, supported by the Central Scotland Green Network Development Fund 2013, aims to encourage anyone with an interest in orchards – including communities, schools, public agencies and landowners - to plant and manage orchards, use them for learning or celebrations, or use the fruit more productively.  Forth Environment Link Project Co-ordinator, Diane Alderdice, said, “We are delighted that we are able to run this grant scheme again.  In the past three years, over 24 hectares of new orchards have been planted across the Central Scotland Green Network area by over 130 communities and landowners in community open space, schools, community allotments and gardens. Derelict or unused land has also been brought back into productive use and open spaces have been improved.  We are looking forward to receiving applications that create and look after orchards, and bring people and children together to have fun in events to use and celebrate orchards.”  Forth Environment Link Executive Director, Jane Cullingworth, said, “There are many benefits to be gained in getting outdoors to enjoy the fresh air, socialising, exercising, and learning how fresh fruit contributes to a healthy diet.  We know that creating orchards has given communities a renewed sense of pride in their community.  Successful applicants will join a growing network of orchard activity in the Forth Valley and Central Scotland Green Network area.”   Mike Strachan, Forestry Commission Scotland, said, “Forth Environment Link is leading the revival of orchards across Scotland.  They have a very dedicated team always willing to help and provide impartial advice.  Their success has been down to a lot of hard work, forging partnerships and an inclusive approach to everybody.  We are very pleased to be able to support them not just for this coming year, but for another year after that.”  The Central Scotland Green Network Orchard Grant Scheme 2013/2014 is open to all groups and individuals in the Central Scotland Green Network area, as long as they can demonstrate wider community involvement in the design, creation and management of the project, and can provide evidence of landowner approval.  Grants of between £100 and £500 are available for designing and creating new orchards, managing traditional or other existing orchards, enhancing orchard biodiversity, and developing orchards as a learning ground.   Up to 100% of project funding is available, although applicants are encouraged to find match-funding from other sources either in cash, or in-kind.Priority will be given to applications that meet the Central Scotland Green Network geographic and thematic priorities, including: areas of multiple deprivation; vacant and derelict land; enterprise and regeneration, and stronger communities.  Applications should be completed online via the Forth Valley Orchards’ Initiative website at, where the full application pack is available. The deadline for the receipt of applications is 9 am on Monday, 30 September 2013.For information about the scheme, please contact Amparo Echenique, Project Assistant, Forth Valley Orchards’ Initiative, at or phone 01786 449215.

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

Young talented musicians on tour On Thursday 4 July (American Independence Day) there will be a concert in the Macrobert Centre, Stirling, given by the Long Island Youth Orchestra from New York who are touring this summer. Their programme includes Scottish music as well as some familiar classical compositions and of course, the work of two American composers George Gershwin and John Philip Sousa. Tickets, price £12 (concession £9) are available from the Macrobert box office on 01786 466666 or online: The concert is hosted by The Rotary Club of Stirling in aid of Strathcarron Hospice. On Tuesdays 9th and 16th July, there will be a concert in the Callander Youth Hub given by the Feis Fhoirt Ceilidh Trail, a group of young local musicians who are touring this area. In last year’s Summer Events series of concerts held in the VisitScotland theatre, they delighted a capacity audience with their performance.. Their talent, musicianship and presentation are well worth catching on this summer’s tour. Tickets are available ( £5) from Callander Youth Hub, members of Callander Community Development Trust ( CCDT) or on the door each evening. These two concerts are presented by CCDT to raise funds for Callander Festive Lights and Pet Fostering Service Scotland.


Pin-Feathers*by Old Nyati

*Once in demand by Victorian miniaturists, the tiny pin-feather comes from the leading edge of a woodcock’s wing and only two such feathers occur on each bird (one on each wing). This month Old Nyati addresses a tough subject: cruelty of nature.

‘What awful photos...’ some would say, others may look a little closer at these horrors and question what happened. We are still waiting for the end of this cold wet spring as I write (13 May)... there is fresh snow well down the hills... and this late winter weather causes a lot of stress for all the wildlife in the glens. Everyone hears the birds singing and we enjoy seeing the first spring arrivals, but if we look behind the scenes, what is happening there? Our tv wildlife programmes never seem to feature death and suffering - the one exception being David Attenborough’s recent programme about Africa where an elephant calf died of starvation and had to be abandoned. That caused a bit of an outcry from some viewers. Everything has to die in one way or another: at the  hands of a predator, disease, parasites or starvation. Never a very pleasant thing to see, but then usually these things happen out of sight. Man has interfered with nature in many ways and now has the responsibility of being the managing predator, but not always in the most compassionate way. The wolf or big cat will always run down the weak or old, who are unable to escape - that is nature’s way. But what happens to our large animals in the absence of predators (except man)? One of my photos shows a roe deer kid which got its back leg snared in the top strands of a wire fence. It must have been a miserable end. How often does this happen in places we do not see? A stag in another photo (not shown) had recently lost an eye fighting during the rut. It was seen to be moving around in an unusual way before it was shot. Look closely at the close up of the head of the cock pheasant, its beak smashed in pieces. It’s the result of a Kamikaze strike into our window chased at high speed by the resident dominant cock bird. Like the stag this is an example of a very serious challenge over territory in the mating season. The other pheasant photo shows a cock bird worn out with the rigors and defence of defending his territory. During March and April the food supply is at its lowest. This is when the weak, injured or old, in the absence of predators or the compassionate man, die a cruel lingering death which few people see. The oldest deer have worn out their teeth and cannot browse and chew the cud properly, they become loaded with parasites such as liver fluke which infest and destroy the animals liver. Flukes are not a pretty sight when the liver is seen at the time of gralloching. They look rather like living finger nails creeping about in the liver, quite a nightmarish thing to see. It is always a mercy shot when the deer is found low down in the glen, too weak to follow the others up the hill and quietly waiting for the end. The last picture shows ants which have raided a termite nest, each carrying a living termite. The termites are stung by the ants with only enough venom to immobilize them, then they are kept and slowly drained of body fluid to feed the other ants. What do we make of the young chicks of our predatory birds? When food is very scarce the weakling chick is eaten by its stronger companion... Nature can be very cruel, but it is the way of ensuring that only the strongest survive to continue the species. In most cases self-regulation works quite well. But then what of the human race? Overpopulation, famine, wars, disease and the Old Nyati destruction of habitat... this is surely nature’s natural culling too.

A very sad end for a roe deer kid

Cock pheasant with beak damage

Exhausted cock pheasant

Ants carrying their victims


Monachyle MHOR FESTIVAL It might have seemed rather foolhardy to imagine you could have sunshine two years running for a Festival - but fortunately the sun shone to allow happy campers and day trippers to enjoy the various events Tom and Lisa had arranged. These varied from a fun science demo for the children to a Tango dance inspiration and culminating on the Saturday evening with a five-chef special feast, including Michael Smith’s prize winning dish “I love kids but I couldn’t eat a whole one” from a recent BBC competition. It was fun to see all the chefs running round serving too; hard to tell whether they had known they were going to double up as waiters after their hard work in the kitchen! The raft race was hilarious and there seemed to be some skulduggery going on between various competitors, but everything seemed such fun that many of the spectators were already planning their rafts for next year. Tom, please take note! Sunday evening finished with a great ceilidh in the barn - the only complaint being it didn’t go on for long enough. Midnight next time!

JJ gets an exclusive from ABC TV’s presenter Richard

Richard Wiese The big Feast!

Tom Lewis of Monachyle Mhor explains the madness of the Raft Race to ABC TV

Famous chefs take a well deserved breather after the Grand Feast... One of the perilous Raft Race creations!

Tango lessons


...chef doubles as waiter!

Shooglenifty rocks out at the evening ceilidh

“Born To Explore” Richard was filming the famous raft race at the Monachyle Fest and readily agreed to chat about how an American film crew had come to Balquhidder. He explained that his programme Born to Explore, which goes out on American ABC and on the National Geographic channel, is all about discovering the natural world and creating a positive understanding of the many cultures that make up our planet. The programme’s production team were in Scotland for nine days in all, having already made programmes ranging from the Sahara to Iceland. Richard spoke about how he chooses locations that have beautiful landscapes and potential for adventures - but ultimately what most fascinates him are the people of a place, particularly characters who are “the salt of the earth” and who see life definitely as “a glass half full”. He felt this philosophy was certainly in evidence in some of the personalities he had met so far in Balquhidder. He found the tolerance and friendly casual attitude very disarming, particularly as the emphasis seemed to be on the community spirit and not on the normal goal of money making at every opportunity. The scenery too had been a big plus; the levels of green were such he had never seen before (obviously all our rain must have its plus points!) and he did realise that seeing everything on a sunny day was a bonus. He had purposely chosen Scotland and claimed he felt so welcome and safe he would really love to return with his family and explore more. Many thanks to Richard for being so friendly and approachable, particularly when I had a chance later to look up his CV and discover all he has done in the world of exploration and film - and yet was so willing to be interviewed for The Villagers. 21

Strathyre Primary School News

Balquhidder Hall Thursday 27th June 2013 7.30 pm

Farm Forum: Looking One’s Best

First Aid Class By Mike McLaren

Paramedic from Killin

This is a must for as many people as possible! It could help you to save a life.

Class 2 make their ‘Changing Earth’ frieze

Topics Our topic this term is Rocks and Minerals. We are learning all about the earth, its surface and all rocks and minerals. Our topics are always very interesting and great fun. Class 1 are studying our local area. They have drawn pictures of Balquhidder Church and painted landscape pictures. Patrick Cook New Homework From Monday 28th January 2013 we have had a continuous amount of exuberant, beautiful homework to do. Everybody in Class 2 has done their homework with enthusiasm. We have learning targets which are reading, maths, I.C.T, topic and spelling. Some of the homework jotters are works of art and are very bright and colourful. I asked Madeleine what she thought of it and she said “homework is great” and Rosie said ‘”I liked it so much.” In Class 1 the P3’s have now started to do the same as us. On a Friday our jotters are put out on the tables and we go round them all and we stick a little note on the ones we think are really good and leave positive comments on them. Georgina Mattsson P4-5 Swimming P4-5 have started getting swimming lessons every Tuesday at the McLaren leisure Centre. We have two teachers called Mrs Brown and Mrs Brisbane. We will get ten weeks of lessons. On our first day we took it in turns to swim across the pool this was so the teachers could assess our abilities in the water, we were then divided into two groups. Swimming is great fun. Adam Harvey Music – Freya Stewart Earl Mrs Cantlay left last term and we now have a new music teacher called Mrs McLean. She has taught us some new songs and we play some games to music. The next time she comes we will start learning the songs for our summer show – Snow white and the 7 a side football team. I think it will be very good as the 22

New location for Callander Jazz Club

New homework

name of it suggests something that is going be fun and really enjoyable. We are all waiting to find out what it is all about and then we will be auditioning for the parts. Date of our fantastic show will be confirmed later. Freya Stewart Earl Farewell Today April 26th is Jake’s and my last day at Strathyre Primary School. We are moving to Berkshire and going to a new school. I have had a good time here. I have enjoyed playing sports like hockey, dodge ball, tag, P.E and net ball. I have learned a lot, maths, spelling, writing and my times tables. I especially enjoyed doing all the topics, my favourite one being WW2. I have made lots of friends and I enjoying playing with them and I will miss them all but hopefully I will be able to stay in contact with them. I am really going to miss the school and everybody in it. Thanks to everyone for making my time at Strathyre Primary School a happy time. Harry Barker

From June, the monthly Jazz Club live performances are moving to a new location in McNabs Bar in the Dreadnought Hotel which offers more space for both band and audience. Performances are held on the last Sunday of the month, 3pm-6pm, featuring the Jazz Club House Band and guests, great music and great fun. Everyone is welcome to be part of this free monthly musical event. Food and drink are available for purchase on the premises.


Sheepdog Trials

The annual sheepdog trials will be held on Saturday 27th July 2013 Commencing at 9am All visitors welcome 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!

Harry and Jake have their last day


Offers Training Opportunities to Young Scots

A thousand new training and volunteering places are to be made available to help young unemployed Scots gain valuable employment skills and work experience as part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games Legacy programme.  Scotland’s Best – backed by £2.4 million from the Scottish Government’s Legacy 2014 Young Person’s Fund – will see 1,000 jobless Scots, aged 16-24, offered a place on a part-time employability programme. Many of the volunteering opportunities will be at sporting and cultural events such as the World Pipe Band Championship, the Gymnastics World Cup and Celtic Connections.     The Scotland’s Best programme, which will give participants a qualification at SCQF level 4, will be administered by Skills Development Scotland and delivered by five training providers: Barnardo’s; Action for Children; the Princes Trust; Volunteer Development Scotland; and Jobs and Business Glasgow.   Not only will these 1,000 young Scots get the chance to volunteer in some globallyprominent sporting and cultural events, they will be making active progress on their own futures – undergoing training that will help them get, stay or progress in education or employment.  Scotland’s Best will build on the extremely encouraging progress being made on youth unemployment, with official statistics released last week demonstrating that the number of jobless young people in Scotland is continuing to fall and the number entering employment is rising.   The Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 promises to be a fantastic sporting spectacle, but it will be much more than that. As well as the regenerative benefits to Scotland symbolised by this magnificent sporting venue, initiatives such as our Legacy 2014 Young Person’s Fund are offering lifelong work opportunities for the next generation, giving them the start they need to get going on a successful career.   More information on the Commonwealth Games legacy can be found at the following website: what-is-legac y/legac y-programmes/ flourishing; or by calling Skills Development Scotland on 0800 917 8000.

The agricultural press at this time of year is full of reports of livestock shows and the associated hardy annual articles about cheating by means such as colouring and adding hair to improve the apparent shape of the animal. It is quite unfair to criticise all shows and exhibitors because at their best they allow farmers to illustrate their pride in their stock but cheating should be punished. I have never been an enthusiastic show person probably because in the hills the only sheep you normally buy are rams to put out on the hill to do a job in a harsh environment, and for that job you require an animal that has not be forced with too much food to make it look better than it would be if fed more naturally. As I write, about ten days before the end of May, we are just thinking about getting some cows and calves out to the grass. We must hope that the weather will be reasonable. When you read this the lambing will be finished for better or for worse. Farmers are renowned for complaining and indeed discussing the weather but when you consider that four weeks of bad weather at the wrong time in an otherwise good year can spell disaster you may realise why. The same applies whether you are a stock farmer or an arable farmer. The CAP negotiations are still going on but there appear to be a lot of differences to be ironed out between the member states before the end of June. As I have said before the relevance of the end of June is that it is the end of the Irish Presidency and it has always been felt that the agricultural experience of the Irish would create the best chance of getting an agreement. At the beginning of July Lithuania takes over and I don’t think the new President would relish having to take over in mid stream especially if the Irish have not managed to sort it out! One bit of good news is that should negotiations not be concluded in time to allow the new agreement to be implemented when planned, the EU has agreed that the existing arrangements will continue until a conclusion is reached. A new report has just been published by a coalition of leading conservation and research organisations which claims that the majority of native species are now in decline across the British isles and guess what – the report cites changes in farming as one of the key factors

for wildlife decline in Scotland, with intensive production methods blamed for habitat fragmentation and declines in many farmland species. Now I do not have a degree in conservation so have to go by experience and what my eyes see. We do not farm intensively and farming practice has not changed in a way that would harm wildlife – probably the opposite. Yet we used to have lots of ground nesting birds lapwings, curlews and also corncrakes, now we have none. We do however have mink and the remaining hens will back me up on that. Also we have more raptors than we have ever had but no rabbits – the air here is of excellent quality but I don’t think it will support raptors. Incidentally they also talk of a decline in sea birds – far be it for me to comment much on that as probably fish availability and all sorts of things are involved, but I was on an uninhabited island once and met a mum mink and her well grown family out for a stroll, no doubt on the off chance of being able to slip in a wee bit of education on raiding seabirds nests etc. Funnily enough I see that the environment minister Paul Wheelhouse apparently visited The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Scottish Grey Partridge Project in Midlothian this week. He heard how the researchers have been following the partridge population’s movements using radio tags to improve their understanding of the species’ habitat use. This tracking showed that a considerable number of tagged birds were predated by birds of prey (that is research jargon which means they had them for lunch –the birds of prey not the researchers.) Never mind, it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good. These incredible findings have prompted the research team to undertake wider monitoring of the resident raptors on the farm to gain an understanding of their habits. Don’t tell me that the researchers haven’t got a built in instinct for survival! Incidentally the next stage in this ingenious investigation might just be to check how many neighbouring friends of the raptors come for lunch every day, or indeed whether the ones from further afield come for their holidays! Agricola All at The Villagers wish Agricola a Happy 40th Birthday - for the second time!


Celebrating Loch Katrine People & Stories

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre

HIGHLAND GAMES (Member of the Scottish Games Association and Perthshire Highland Games Association)

May 9, 2013 Dear Games Supporter, With our elongated winter coming to an end and hopefully a glorious summer ahead, the Games committee are looking towards the Highland Games, which this year are on the 20th July. Weather permitting!! Last year we were so lucky, surrounded by foul weather, wet fields and twelve other games which had to be cancelled, we ran on a change of venue due to the other field being badly cut up and having had sheep in it within twenty one days of the games. On a field that was to say, the least “damp”, the days before the games were wet, we were then blessed with a fantastic day of sunshine which contributed to an overall great sporting event and good crowd numbers, who tolerated ankle-deep water. I will start on a very sad note. The games in the past year have lost two very dear friends, James Macnab, Chieftain of the clan sadly passed away a couple of months ago. James had been a follower of our Games for longer than most of us have been around!! Also, he has done us the honour of being Chieftain many times on the day. It will be very different not having James next to me on the march and I will miss his wit and advice. We also lost Dr. James Kinloch who owned the field, and in his short time in Edinchip I do believe he loved the Games. He acted as Games Chieftain twice, the first time not in his field due to foot and mouth which was rather ironic and unfortunate. In my position of President of your Highland Games I am blessed with a committee beyond reproach, without whom this great event in the Villagers calendar would not happen. They are too many to mention, but I would like to give special mention to Mike Holliday who never gets down, no matter the weather or what has gone wrong and bullies us all into getting it done. Also, Alex Gargolinski who has taken over a thankless task and does a great job especially with the new bureaucracy the Council is piling on us. A huge thank you must go to Alexander Bowers and Dave from Edinchip Estate, who must have spent about two days in the field with tractors cutting grass and shifting equipment from one field to another. I mention the council. They have discovered that we run an event, (it’s only been happening for over 200 years), that attracts more than three hundred people and we must now fill in a very large form in order to get a Public performance license. This is over and above a license for a public march and a drinks license. In this new license we must declare our risk assessment which we luckily have, our fire risk assessment for the bar and all 24

trade stands must produce their insurance, food safety certificates and safety certificates for all rides and machines, which they must send to us with their application at least one week before the Games which we must then send to the Council, and we pay the Council a fee of £150.00. Our dance platform cannot be higher than 600mm without a structural report, and what would that cost each year? Luckily if we take the wheels off we are about the 600mm mark. Unfortunately for Alex he recently had a very bad dose of the cold, fortunately for the games he stayed indoors for a few days and worked his way through the form and ticked all the boxes. So with everything applied for we are good to go. The committee have decided to run the games in the same field as we felt it very much added to the atmosphere being a bit tighter, not having many cars in the same field makes it safer and more passers-by see what is happening and come in. There are one or two things we will tweak including drainage, and a marked area for Chieftains and Patrons. With new events and new licenses to be paid for it is important for the games not to get complacent, we have enough money in

the kitty for only a couple of disastrous year. Overall, it cost in excess of £11,000.00 to put the event on, not a cheap day. We thank you for your past support without which this does not happen. So we are once again asking if you would like to become a Patron or again support your Games with some form of Sponsorship or Patronage. Cheques should be made out to B.L.S Highland Games. We will as usual put a list of our Patrons in the programme, even if you have taken on an event, this can be done by adding your business name or your name. The sum donated will not be listed. With this we will send you tickets for entry into the park and we will have some form of hospitality to which you will be invited to join the convenors for some refreshments. I look forward to hearing from you sometime in the near future. As always time is of essence as we have print deadlines to meet for our programme. Yours as always Angus Cameron, President Alex Gargolinski, Secretary & Treasurer

A very special cruise aboard the historic steamship Sir Walter Scott on Wednesday 26th June will celebrate Loch Katrine’s history and heritage. Join the Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Steamship Sir Walter Scott Ltd for the two-hour cruise in the company of storytellers, David Kinnaird and John Barrington, who will entertain with stories of the people in Loch Katrine’s past. This is a unique chance for a midsummer evening cruise which is generously supported by the Steamship Sir Walter Scott Ltd and the Heritage Lottery Fund’s All Our Stories Project. Places are limited so please book your tickets in advance. James Fraser, Chairman of the Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, said, ‘This is going to be a fantastic evening enjoying the special scenic and heritage qualities of Loch Katrine, in the company

of storytellers with a rich tapestry of stories about people who have lived and worked here. We are pleased to have the support of the Steamship Sir Walter Scott Ltd and the Heritage Lottery Fund to make this event possible and we look forward to welcoming residents of the National Park and others on board for this unique event.’ Gordon Allan, Managing Director of the Steamship Sir Water Scott Ltd, added, ‘The SS Sir Walter Scott was commissioned in 1899, the fifth steamship to ply Loch Katrine. The second, called Gypsy, launched in 1843 and threatened local rowing boat operators’ livelihoods. It sank mysteriously soon after on a calm day. There are many more tales from Loch Katrine’s past and we’re delighted to be supporting this cruise with the Friends to showcase the loch’s rich heritage.’ The cruise leaves Trossachs Pier at 7.00pm (arrive at 6.30pm for boarding)

and the ticket price of £11 also includes a welcome drink. Advance booking from Sandra Dyson, Friends of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs, 01436 677733 or info@ This event is part of a project by the Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs called Celebrating Park People and Stories. Other events in the project include a heritage storytelling conference on 8th June, a musical cruise of Loch Lomond’s islands on 21st August with the Lennox Literary Society, a railway journey on the spectacular West Highland Line on 11th September and a grand charity concert in Drumkinnon Tower, Loch Lomond Shores, Balloch, on 27th September. Further information on the cruise from Sheila Winstone, 07583 634036 sheila.

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Highland Games

Saturday 20th July

Spring brings us anticipation of a new Highland Games season in Perthshire. Our off season planning has all been done and we are beginning to dream of July sunshine, warm winds drying our field and crowds of spectators urging on our Heavies, marvelling at the grace of our Dancers, inspired by our Pipers and eager to take part in our races. The Badenoch and Strathspey Pipe Band will lead in our Chieftain, Sandy Stewart and his friends and fellow Chiefs and many of our stall holders have already reserved spaces ensuring fun for the kids and interesting exhibits. The beer tent will feature Pure Malt, with their rousing ballads, from 4 till 8pm. Last year the Games went ahead in Ben Ouhr field and many of you, Games supporters, commented on the beauty of the setting and the intimacy of the atmosphere. We plan to hold the event there this year. Prices will be held at £6 for adults and £4 for concessions. Bring your picnic rugs and have a great day! Alex Gargolinski


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

STRATHYRE. TEL 01877384248 07967143910

Are you a sole trader... a partnership... a small limited company or charity? a I can offer help with your: a VAT returns • Tax returns Book keeping • Credit control a Payroll • General office/paperwork a Helen Clark a 07971 648743 01567 830459 a 25




Laptop Repair Service All types of repairs carried out from physical damage to data recovery

Neil Law

laptop Technician

Tel 01567 830314 Facebook: NHL Laptop Repair

We’ll send you or your friends The


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


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

The BLS Newspaper Association


• 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!

The Villagers’ Photographer

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

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

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

JUNE 15 20 27 29-30

Callander & West Perthshire U3A - Summer Fest - Callander Kirk - 10.30 am - see p. 8 Arts & Crafts Paint & Creat Day - 10am - 4pm - see p. 2 First Aid Class - Balquhidder Hall - 7.30pm - see p.22 Lochearnhead Shearing Competition - see p.10


Balquhidder Summer Music - Balquhidder Church - 7pm - see p.6

20 27

BLS Highland Games - Lochearnhead - see p. 24 Sheepdog Trials - Inverlochlarig - see p.22

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 Mobile 07824 496 019

01786 443497

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


Monday Refuse Collections June/July 10th June: Brown bins 17th June: Grey 1st July: Grey 8th July: Brown

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.

24th June: Brown 15th July: Grey

22nd July: Brown 29th July: Grey

Vestry Secretary - Mary Barclay Tel: 01567 830453

The Villagers June 2013  

Village Life around Balquhidder, Strathyre, Lochearnhead and St Fillans within the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. This month i...

The Villagers June 2013  

Village Life around Balquhidder, Strathyre, Lochearnhead and St Fillans within the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. This month i...