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MARCH 2012




The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

The Hard Work Pays Off

Our photos show the grand opening of the refurbished playground in Strathyre. Councillor Jim Thomson came along to see the work done by Paul Allan and his team and to congratulate Sara Hesp, Mel Brydie and Sarah Gibson for all their hard work in raising the funds needed to complete Phase 1. The ribbon was cut and the fun began... and the ladies started thinking about Phase 2!

EDITOR’ S NOTE The AGM in February was completed in a record time of 35 minutes - whether this was due to it being chaired by a female (see the St. Fillans bit) or whether this was my “honeymoon” period and next year’s will be stormier I have yet to find out. It could just have been that we could all smell the delicious pizza tastings we were to enjoy at the end. Thanks to all who did attend and in particular to the new member of the production team Helen Clark. Helen’s role will be to ensure the finances are kept in order and we thank her for “volunteering”. The finances for the last year had been audited for us by Rory Gilchrist and a big thank you to him for completing the task in the rather short space of time we had. It was a salutary thought to realise that each copy of The Villagers is currently costing virtually £1 just to print. We want, and need, to keep our circulation as high as possible and would really value any suggestions as to content, distribution etc. which will help us achieve this. ‘Photo of the Month’ One new idea we would like to start is to have a “Photo of the Month” section. We know there are enthusiastic photographers in all the villages and we would like to encourage anyone to submit photos on a subject of their choosing. To encourage participation we have purposely kept the subject open so this could reflect local landscape, wildlife, village activities or your travel and holidays etc. All you need to do would be send a digital photo to (jpeg if possible) with your name, contact details, camera used, location and a brief background note on the photo or photos submitted. We would then hope to produce a calendar of the best photos throughout the year.



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

6.2 ºC 10.3 0.7 -3.7

43.2 ºF 50.5 33.3 25.3

Rainfall: 14.2 cms 5.8 ins Strongest wind gust 53 mph on 21 January


Pancake Day...

St Angus’s Episcopal Church, Lochearnhead Parishioners, friends and local supporters were invited to the Annual Shrove Tuesday “Coffee and Pancakes” and this year the event returned to Earnknowe after an “away” year last year at Glenbeich. The four villages were well represented and with parishioners also coming from Comrie and Crieff, it was a busy time for the “tossers”. The pancakes and coffee were delicious and with interesting bric-a-brac items for sale, donations and a raffle, the event raised £400.00 for Church funds. We all are aware of the need to raise funds to keep our buildings maintained and meet the costs of our ministers and our mission. After Shrove Tuesday comes Lent and a reminder that, following lovely pancakes, a period of penance before Easter when sometimes we give up sweets, chocolate, cakes and all sorts of other goodies – all voluntary of course!! St Angus’s church reminds you that on Easter Sunday, with kind permission of the Lochearnhead Watersports Centre there is a lochside service at 8.00am followed by bacon rolls and coffee for those who miss breakfast! For details of this service and other service times and events, have a look at an interesting website that tells you about the three churches in the Parish as well as a history of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Fiona Martin shows off her tossing skills!

The St Fillans Bit St Fillans really can seem a dreary place during the winter months with the 3 hotels closed and rarely a sign of anyone out and about. So the first signs of spring are always welcome, especially the sun getting back over the top of the hills again after a few sunless weeks. Then, one by one, the various hotels open up, the visitors reappear and we’re back to normal. Achray House opened for the year at the start of February and will be open until the end of November. Evening meals for non-residents are served daily and lunches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Alan and Jane are also offering this year a six course taster menu at £45 a head (one day’s notice required) – so an ideal opportunity to splash out for a special occasion. The Four Seasons opens on Friday 2nd March and will be open from Thursday to Sunday evening inclusive until it opens fully from 29th March. All the usual favourites return – fishy Friday, Sunday Roast, 2 course £9.99 special etc. Worth noting that Mother’s Day lunch on Sunday 18th March is always heavily booked so book early – and Mum gets a complimentary glass of bubbly thrown in. I managed a chat with Andy at The Drummond last week and can outline his plans for this year and the future. The hotel will open mid to late March and Andy reports a good level of bookings

already for the year ahead. They are renovating several rooms to, as Andy puts it, “bring the Drummond into the 21st Century”. Meantime work will progress with the conversion of rooms into self-catering suites of 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen. From 2013 the business will run essentially as a selfcatering operation. Of interest is that the existing external coach houses/boat sheds are being converted into three disabled self-catering units – the only such accommodation on Loch Earn. A very welcome ‘first’. Meantime Fraser reports the shortest ever Golf Club AGM with no contentious items at all on the agenda. Welcomed by all present I gather. Maybe the fact that the meeting was run for the first time by a woman had something to do with the efficiency of proceedings? (Good one Ena). To matters more serious. Whilst we villagers go about our simple (?) village lives we are well shielded from the big bad world we see on TV and read about in the newspapers. That is until that world directly affects us – as it has done with the terrible injuries suffered by Ali Spearing in Afghanistan. The tragic deaths of so many young men and women fighting for their country are always noted by the media and in Parliament – but seldom the much higher number of these young folk so cruelly disabled. Yesterday I met with Ali and his story bears telling; it is an inspiration to anyone moaning about a wee cold or headache.

Ali Spearing

Ali, now 28, is the son of Robin and Yvonne Spearing. Ali was educated at St Fillans Primary, Crieff High and then graduated from Edinburgh University with a degree in Environmental Geoscience. After a break which included 5 months voluntary work in Pakistan after the earthquakes there, Ali moved on to Sandhurst for a year – qualifying as a 2nd Lieutenant – then undertook 7 months training as a troop commander in the Royal Engineers. He was then posted to Germany with the 28 Engineering Regiment. He trained as an R.E. Search Advisor, part of the IED Search Task Force, after which he was off to Afghanistan in charge of a High Risk Search Team. And high risk it proved to be. Whilst on patrol a hidden bomb exploded injuring 3 of Ali’s squad. He went to their aid armed with stretcher and dressings, only to set off a second device which exploded under him. The resultant damage to his lower limbs was catastrophic – as Ali puts it, having seen photos taken straight after the explosion, “it was a miracle they saved any of me”. His troop performed emergency first aid and he was transported to a field hospital and then to the specialized unit at Queen Elizabeth 2nd Hospital (Continued overleaf)

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(Continued from previous page)

in Birmingham (this has replaced the previous Selly Oak facility). Sadly, his legs could not be saved and both were amputated above the knee. Ali has nothing but praise for the care and attention he received, with a constant military presence to give support. Thereafter he was moved to Headley Court in Surrey to start his rehabilitation. Again he is full of praise for the help and support there with one to one physiotherapy, a dedicated rehab instructor and doctor and the company of other soldiers in exactly the same boat to help and inspire and provide ‘squaddy company’. Headley have started Ali on artificial legs, presently rigid short ones while he gets used to mobility again when he will move on to longer limbs with electronically controlled joints, battery powered, known as Sea Legs in the forces. You might expect such a trauma to result in negativity and depression – very far from it. Ali is super confident, facing his challenges and overcoming them. He is still formally in the REs but expects a medical discharge after which he plans to teach Geography and, during his holidays, travel the world seeking out suitable tours and activities for similar disabled folk – with the aim of writing a book entitled “Short Exciting Holidays for Short Exciting People”. Much of Ali’s aid at Headley Court has been funded by Help For Heroes which originally was set up to try to raise £1M and has to date raised some £120M. He stresses too the, quote, ‘amazing’ help and support of his parents and sister. As some indication of his approach to life he has just bought himself a converted Range Rover Sport and, when I met him, he’d just returned from testing disabled Karts – a venture by Extreme Karting to allow the disabled to compete on even terms with the able bodied. A more inspirational ‘Hero’ you could not wish to meet. As a result of the real horror of war coming home to St Fillans, various fund raisers are planned and are happening


in aid of Help For Heroes. The first of these was a Charity Burns Supper held in January at the Sandison Hall and organized by ‘The Jolly Boys’. The event was a sell out and raised over £1500 for H4H, aided by main sponsor Glasshouse Hospitality. Thanks to Fraz for the pic of the top table group (above). I was unable to be there due to my 4 weeks leave of absence from the village (and, no, I wasn’t in the jail!) The next event will be a Spring Ball held on 26th May at the Four Seasons. Tickets will be available shortly at £45 a head and dress is formal. Harry informs me that he hopes to have a ‘wee’ auction during the evening to help with the fund raising. The Golf Club plan a charity golf event during the summer and more, I gather, is to follow from the Jolly Boys. Finally for this month: the other day I watched with amusement a mighty gang of workmen shoveling tarmac into various (wet) pot holes, and worse, on the road from Comrie to here. These are, in the main, the same defects ‘repaired’ last year on a stretch of road fully re-laid just a few years ago. In an age where man can stick tiles which stay in place onto a space shuttle as it hurtles through space surely it can’t be beyond the road makers/ menders to devise some epoxy based material which actually stays where it’s put. I was repairing stone steps with an epoxy cement material which never fell off 30 years ago. Is it just me or isn’t it obvious that a bit of tar dumped in a wet hole will fall out sooner rather than later? Such is progress. (By the way, the Hogmanay Party at the Sandison raised £460 for Hall funds – a significant increase on previous years). John Murray

Sophie’s Bit Hi Everyone,

Sorry for not having a piece for the villagers last month. I gave it to Angus in December and I guess it never made its way to John Murray’s. I have had a great time lately. I have now got my first pair of ballet points that I have wanted for a long time. I have been doing ballet since I was three and I enjoy it a lot. I will be getting my grade six exam in the holidays. We had a few days off for half term and we took my Grandma up the big mountain we see outside our front door. We took a picnic and tent and sat at the top of the hill eating our lunch. The tent was quite small and when we all sat in it I got a bit squashed to pieces. It was only my brother Daniel, my Grandma and I. My sister Emily would have come but she is still a bit young to climb a massive hill. I love going on the hill walk and I am sure we will be doing it again. I am getting on fine at school and we are really looking forward to Easter because my cousin is coming up to spend the day with us. Hope you all have a great Easter.

Sophie x

Strathyre News

I empathise with John Murray (St Fillans Bit) who had to record the death of a close friend and fellow villager in the last edition, as I now have the heartbreaking task of recording the death of Ewen MacGregor, a very much loved, and highly respected member of our community. Ewen lost his life in a tragic accident on the hills above Brig o Turk doing the job he loved so much. Once again we see how fragile life can be. Our thoughts are with Katie, Ally, Andy and Demi, whom he loved so dearly and his partner in life, Fiona, whom he adored. Also to Fiona’s children, Andrew, Laura and her grandson Liam; his father, Tommy, who has to endure the awful pain of losing his only son. In Ewen we have lost a wonderful friend and neighbour who was always

the first to offer if help was needed in any way. Indeed, the gardens we now enjoy in Old Station Court would not be as they are without his help, so I hope they can be looked upon as a tribute to his memory. He was a man who was full of life, enjoyed the company of others, especially his family, loved a good night in the hall, laughing and dancing till the wee sma’ hours, as we so often did. He was a man of integrity, an honest man and one whom people were proud to call their friend; evidently, as seen at the church for the service, those people were many. I am sure everyone would agree when I say Ewen was a cheery man who always had a cheeky smile and a wonderful sense of humour. Jan and I will miss the banter with him and Fiona over the back fence when we could all unwind with a small aperitif after a hard day’s work. To Fiona I would like to say that everyone is here for you whenever needed. This is not an easy time to be strong, but you will find an inner strength to get through this ordeal, and that strength will be in your family and friends, but in


particular, your adorable grandson, who already is proving to be quite a character, and if anyone can give you comfort, then it is Liam. Ewen, we were proud to be your friends and neighbours. R I P. Wullie Dalziel

“In which musical does the song ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ originally feature?.....”

Quiz Night for Stuc a’ Chroin The Stronvar Weasels (or at least, two of them)

Thanks to everyone who came along on the 17th February to pit their wits against a full house of teams at the Inn & Bistro, Strathyre. It was a very close fight with the Stronvar Weasels coming out on top by a whisker. All proceeds (£150) go to the fund for the Stuc a’ Chroin Race. A big Thank You to Jan Dalziel for organising the event and shouting the questions! Remember - there’s another Fundraiser for Stuc a’ Chroin on the 16th March. Hope to see you there!

oy It’s a inB)! (aga

the spoils Jan and Jackie count out

Sarah and Grant Gibson of Immervoulin Cottage, Strathyre, are delighted to announce the birth of their second son Declan, who arrived safely on Sunday 29th January. A wee brother for Tyler who is over the moon, as are his proud parents & grandparents. We would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you for all the good wishes and gifts that we have received. 5

Church News BalquhiĐĐer Reg. Charity No. SC012316

A Bible Study Group is underway throughout Lent. It meets in Killin at the Community Room beside the Church at 7.30 pm on the following dates: Thursday 1st & 15th March, Wednesday 21st & 28th March, ending on Thursday 5th April. The group will be using the “Cover to Cover” Lent study guide “Magnificent Jesus” Although the series of meetings has started, you can join in at any stage and will be made most welcome. In 2011, we had the first intimation of the difficulties our Church may have to deal with this year. All members and the wider community should note that we face two issues: 1. The National Stewardship Campaign spread over 3 years, starting now, when we remind all members of their promised commitment to the Church. 2. All Presbyteries are looking into ways of saving money by not replacing some Ministers as they retire. In Stirling Presbytery, it could mean closing three Churches altogether. Every Church is being examined with this in mind. We have already had one meeting to discuss the matter and hope to argue the case for Balquhidder Church, which is linked with Killin and covers a huge area of western Perthshire. My own view is that surely the Church of Scotland would not want to be responsible for closing down a site of worship that has lasted here from about 700 AD. My fear is that draft decisions may have been made already; more on all of this in due course. We should be very pleased if members and non- members alike would let us know what they think about the possibility of the Church closing down when our own Minister retires. Jean Edwards

A note from

St Angus’s

I’m not sure if “sod’s law” should be used in Church matters but this has been a typical example - following the icy conditions of last winter it was decided to cancel the service of Evensong during January and February and has there been a single Sunday which could be called icy? I don’t believe there has - and I am pleased to say Evensong will take place once again on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at 6.00pm. Of course if “sod’s law” runs true to form we can now look forward to icy conditions on those Sundays for the rest of the Spring! There is a huge gap in the life of our Church following the death of Tim Holcroft and we miss greatly his humour, his wisdom and his generous spirit. However it has been a great delight to welcome a new-to-us family with two tiny children - in spite of having so little to offer children in the way of a Sunday School, or even a Church room in which to take refuge (and not even a loo!) ...



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MSP’s Hedge Debate There is currently no legislation in Scotland covering the definition or remedies for high hedges or other nuisance vegetation. The issue has been subject to a previous (Scottish Executive) consultation, an MSP’s proposal to the Scottish Parliament for legislation on a number of occasions, and ongoing campaigning leading to petitions to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee. Following the conclusion of a comprehensive review of national anti-social behaviour strategy, the Minister for Community Safety agreed to prepare a consultation paper as a way of collecting and assessing views on the options open to the Scottish Government. Below is the result!

The Beast o’ Balquhidder...

The Balquhidder Beast... it lurks about round here in the half-light most days. “If you go down in the woods today...

Once again a strange dark shape has been spotted, this time in the bushes on the south side of Balquhidder Glen. Could it be the infamous Beast? If you think you’ve seen it and can support your claim with a sketch or photographic evidence, then please send your Beast pic to the Ed. The mystery will be solved! Thanks to Old Nyati for this one. Very scary...

Avon Cosmetics

in Balquhidder & Strathyre I have been the local representative for the villages of Balquhidder and Strathyre for well over 10 years. I provide the local outlets in the summer with the Skin So Soft dry oil body spray which is very good at keeping the midges, maybe not at bay but certainly from biting the majority of people. If that fails then the bath oil is excellent and it is not unheard of for me to come in after cutting the lawn with arms black from midges drowned in the oil. It is cheaper than normal repellents and it has a much pleasanter smell. I usually do my rounds during the day and therefore possibly miss out on people who are at work but I try to be as flexible as possible. With my regular customers I have a system if they are out when I call the village shop at Strathyre kindly takes the books and orders in for me which I collect each week. Over the years people come and go for many reasons and certainly this year I have been fated with the fact that three of my regular customers are leaving the area and will be sadly missed. I am therefore looking for new customers to replace them. Before I became a representative I had always thought of Avon as heavy perfumes and luxury goods but this is no longer the case and my regular customers buy mostly essentials at a good price. I personally have not been to a chemist for many years; I buy my deodorants, liquid soaps, shower gels, sun screens as well as cosmetics and perfumes from Avon when they are on offer. There are sections too on fitness accessories, lingerie, and jewellery and of course at Christmas presents for all. My official areas are Balquhidder and Strathyre but I do have a few customers in Lochearnhead; if there is a local representative there, please go with them. You can of course buy Avon on line but you have to buy at full price plus the additional cost of posting, whereas you can buy from the catalogue when items are heavily discounted and I deliver to your door at no extra cost. Campaigns are normally every 3 weeks but I do not expect people to buy every time. Payment is due when the goods are delivered. If you would like to see a catalogue then please contact me either by phone 01877 384359 or email rosemary.whittemore@ I would be happy to drop a catalogue through your door. Rosemary 7

From our Beijing Correspondent...


Duncan reading The Villagers on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii

Hopefully it was not an unpleasant one, to see us at the Balquhidder Hogmanay party! It was wonderful to be back and to have had the chance to see so many of you. We are sorry that we didn’t get to meet more of you, though we were only in Scotland for a few days – and unless you hadn’t noticed, the weather was atrocious!! Sorry! Not used to rain here! We are now back in Beijing, though within a week of returning from the UK, we were in Sarawak, Malaysian northern Borneo. We rather took to Malaysia and wanted to explore further. Sarawak is a wonderful country, with lovely people... though we were pleased to be there recently, after a wonderful Brit called James Brooke had visited... in 1838. Grandson of the Scottish Peer Colonel William Stuart, 9th Lord Blantyre, he became the first White Rajah of Sarawak. He was given this status for bringing together the different tribes and curtailing the rather unpleasant act of headhunting (NOT the sort you may be familiar with!!) Quite a relief, as we spent a fair amount of our time in the depth of the jungle. We did get to see a few skulls – old ones though! During our travels, Marguerite Kobs informed us that there is a Local Newspaper competition and that one of the sections is for the Most Travelled paper. So we thought we 8

might be able to achieve that one on your behalf! Hence a copy of The Villagers is now always in our luggage. In our last blog, one of the photos we sent in showed a dark-haired woman holding the paper. What it didn’t explain was that she was a local Chinese, on top of the same mountain and who we had handed the paper to, as a bit of fun. She was totally perplexed by our actions, especially when we started taking photos of her … normally it is the Chinese who take photos of the odd foreigners! So we are hoping to bombard our lovely Villagers editor with strange photos from around Asia... and Hawaii, where we managed to go before heading to the UK. Not the normal route back from China, but Duncan was asked to go on a business trip, paid for by the American Government, so we weren’t going to miss the chance and I went as his baggage! We are having fun with our Hawaiian Flag rug throw... as it sports the Union Jack! We might expect an old colonial nation to do so, but unless the history books are totally askew, Britain never laid claim to Hawaii! – the locals just took a liking to good old Queen Victoria. Since our visit, we have been entertaining Americans with how we were there as an Advanced Party, before Hawaii gets handed back to the UK in 2014!! Some were hooked! Tania Francis

Spring is in the air so we have arranged our own little pocket of sunshine at the Golden Larches restaurant on Wednesday 11th April at 2pm. Loraine and staff will provide a warm welcome, a glass of refreshment on arrival - and a very tasty lunch. Lin from Lintmill designer boutique will be showing a collection from her spring/summer range of fashions and accessories. There is no obligation to buy but your ticket can be exchanged for a discount on the day or perhaps you would prefer to choose from the full range at her boutique in Comrie - either way you will not be disappointed! Tickets are on sale for £15.00 (and numbers are limited so please book early)available from the Golden Larches, or alternatively by phone to Lin on 01764 670401, Loraine on 01567 830262, or Alice on 01877 384650.

Ladies - Let’s do Lunch!

Award winning chocolatier workshop on 31st March - don’t miss out! Thanks to everyone who came to visit the stall run by luxury chocolatiers ‘Cocoa Mountain’ of Auchterarder at the Balquhidder Christmas Market and to everyone who signed up for the truffle making workshop. We are currently in the process of contacting everyone to confirm attendance and collect the cash so expect a call soon if you gave us your details. The hour long workshops will take place at Balquhidder Village Hall on Saturday 31st March and run at 2pm and 3.30pm so you will have a choice of times. There is a separate workshop for adults and for children (although parents of young children will need to accompany their child and help with the chocolatey fun). The price is £25 for adults and £7.50 for children. The workshops are over halfway full - but we have a few more tickets to sell, so please let us know if you wish to join the fun! Adults will start the afternoon with a glass of bubbly then get their aprons on and work in pairs to make 10 different flavours of truffle - to be taken home and savoured. We will learn more about the business of chocolate in general and all proceeds from the event will be given towards the Sponsorship of a young boy called Richard in Africa through the charity World Vision. Despite our love of chocolate this is not an event just for women - we have lots of men already signed up so do get in touch (our details are below) and support the event: Looking forward to seeing you there! Erica or 01877 384617 & Abbey or 0776 640 7578

Calling All Photographers... Villagers Calendar 2013 The Villagers team is planning to organise the production of a calendar for next year, to showcase the beauty and character of our four villages. So we’d like you to get out there with your cameras - and capture the images that you’d like to see as part of the project. It could be a favourite view, a sunset, or a local event; a scene in the snow or sunlight on the water; a ‘fun’ picture or a ‘mood’ picture. Anything goes! Just make sure the picture was taken this year and within the four villages area. The twelve photographs judged (by the team) to be the best will appear in the calendar.

Deadline for images is the 1st November, so there’s plenty of time! But don’t hesitate - send in your best efforts - at any time, to the Team at with your name, contact details, camera used, location and a brief background note on the photo or photos submitted. The calendar will appear in good time for Christmas and will be on sale (price to be confirmed) wherever possible. Watch this space for updates!

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Balquhidder Village Hall has its own Website!

If you have access to the Internet and when you have a moment, have a look at the new Balquhidder Village Hall website. It’s brilliant! It has: • Details of all upcoming events • Details of all current clubs that operate in the hall • Bookings - and a live availability if anyone wants to book the hall • An easy-to-use online booking form, so you can easily book the hall at anytime 24/7. • A live latest news/info feed using twitter and facebook Plus some great pictures of past memorable moments at the Hall. Go to

A reminder to organisers of local eve

New Facebook page for Balquhidder...


As in the past The Villagers will sponsor local events. Organisers should apply to the editor. The BLS Horticultural Society is first off the mark this year with sponsorship of £50 towards the running costs of the ann ual show which will take place on 25 August in Strathyre Village Hall. “Like” to receive updates and we’ll be posting extracts from each month’s villagers and soliciting contributions and discussions via this page...

£10m funding for historic communities Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, has made £10m available to councils to regenerate Scotland’s conservation areas. The Cabinet Secretary launched Historic Scotland’s latest round of Conservation Area Regeneration Schemes (CARS) funding for local authorities ahead of her appearance at the heritage agency’s annual conference in Glasgow on Wednesday February 29th. The CARS grants breathe new life into run down areas through channelling funding towards opportunities to enhance sustainable economic growth. They support projects that develop an area’s sense of place and will run over the next 5 years. Ms Hyslop said: “These grants have already made a huge difference in many areas, returning our historic communities to their former glory. They have meant that the architecture, building styles and traditional materials that make places like Brechin, Orkney and Campbeltown unique are properly preserved. “By restoring our high streets and town centres we protect their distinct identities. The people who live, shop and work there benefit from it and so does the economy and work and training opportunities are created and tourism potential is enhanced.. “I hope many more councils will seize this opportunity to work in partnership with Historic Scotland and other bodies to kick start regeneration projects across Scotland.” CARS specifically target conservation areas with social and economic disadvantages that make it difficult to attract investment in sustainable regeneration. Funding can be used for repairs and improvements to private homes and businesses as well as restoring local landmarks to bring them back into use. Funding is available to appoint suitably qualified staff to guide the project or provide training in traditional skills. Property owners can apply for small grants for improvements such as restoring sash and case windows or repairing traditional rainwater goods. Provision is made to enable life long education and training opportunities, and also in spearheading work to public spaces. Historic Scotland has awarded more £16m towards this initiative since 2007. 10

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: MARCH

• Wed 7th 9:30am Stroll: Killin Heritage Walk (4 miles) contact 01877 330444 • Sat 17th 8:30am Hill: Commenedge Hill & Seamab Hill (468m) contact 01786 825877 • Wed 21st 9:30am Ramble: Gillies Hill & Lime Workings (6 miles) contact 01877 331621

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!


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 get seriously involved with caterpillars!

It was in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, walking through the hillside scrub that we found them crossing our path. No mistaking what they were... Processionary Caterpillars, many hundreds, each following the one in front, a completely compulsive movement. As the temperature rises in the morning they break out from the huge ball of little bodies in which they have spent the night clustered together to escape the cold mountain air... At this point it seems that one caterpillar elects, or is elected, to take the lead in search of the next small pine tree on which to feed, it is amazing that if the line is broken the ones that are detached just seem to wander about aimlessly, one is tempted to disconnect them just to see what happens but that would be rather unkind. My photographs show the caterpillars as they venture onwards, it is interesting to notice that the very last one is smaller than all the others, some sort of pecking order it would seem and the poor little fellow only gets the ‘left overs’. Which one takes the lead? Is it the same one each morning or just a random thing of the warmest one who happens to be in the centre of the cluster all night and wakes up first? If yesterday’s leader had the best feeding and found a good resting place for the night then the others would follow him to bed and so if all goes well the whole process would continue tomorrow. I did once hear of these phenomena of caterpillars in the woods above Balquhidder. From top: Waking up; Do read my cuttings from The Economic Press. Venturing onwards; There are certain parallels we can think of today,, not the M6! Caterpillers a bit like the Pied Piper... perhaps we should learn on the move, from above, as from it! viewed by the owner of the shadow Cutting from the Economic Press Processionary caterpillars move through the trees in a long procession one leading and the others following... each with his eyes half-closed and his head snugly fitted against the rear extremity of his predecessor. Jean Henri Faber, a French naturalist and author of a ten volume work on insect life, experimented with a group of these caterpillars. He enticed them to the rim of a large flowerpot where he succeeded in getting the first one connected with the last one, thus forming a complete circle which started moving around in a procession which had neither beginning nor end. Fabre expected that after a while they would catch on to the joke and get tired of their useless march and start off in a new direction. But not so. Through sheer force of habit, the living, creeping circle kept moving around the rim of the pot... around and around keeping the same relentless pace for seven days and seven nights... and doubtless would have continued longer had it not been for sheer exhaustion and ultimate starvation. An ample supply of food was close at hand and plainly visible but it was outside the range of the circle so they continued along the beaten path. They were following instinct, habit,custom, tradition, precedent, past experience, standard practice, or whatever you may choose to call it but they were following blindly. They mistook activity for accomplishment. They meant well... but they did not get anywhere. Food for thought, isn’t it!

Old Nyati 11

Gardening MARCH

by Jonathan MacDonald

“Law’n’ Order” The lawn, particularly in winter, can assume a bizarre appearance being spongy and lacklustre having been continuously hammered by winter chill and seemingly having given up to its fate. It sits all flat and tight-lipped outwardly taking far more punishment than its nearby hunkered down woody neighbours. It is often squelchy, hard yet demure and it takes the full might of Jack Frost. How it must love some temptingly warm March days as gardening time begins to lengthen to remind it of an ancient past among the prairie and buffalo herds. It is this grazing past that has allowed us to make use in cultivation of a rare and unique feature of our monocot friends, namely the ability to regenerate from the base. This meristem tissue usually occurs in woody plants at the furthest extremity in the tip buds. In grass this magical zone lurks just above the base of the plant just around soil level. It is therefore wise not to cut below this point and, an early adaptation to grazing, allowed the development of the lawnmower. To get the best even growth therefore mow each time in different directions. This technique I simply call the “Saltire cut” and it is easily remembered. The trick is in remembering in which direction you cut the previous week but the results will be self evident as the grass thickens under the criss-crossing regime and refuses to lie flat. Serious students of lawn-care, bowling greens, football pitches and golf courses would do well to read Jim Arthur’s famous book “Practical Green-keeping”. He advised over 550 top golf courses throughout the world and, permeating each chapter, is an obsession with a vital technique that is so beautifully overstated one feels the book should have been renamed. Some of you may by now have shouted the word out in the living room and drawn a strange look from the dog or cat. There are no critics of this technique and you are easily capable of doing it with profound results. Aeration is the art of making wee holes in your lawn. Acquire a sturdy garden fork and every eight inches or so ram it home with both legs, full body weight right up to the hilt! Even wiggle the fork deep in the ground heaving as you go to about 25 degrees. You will feel it crack and this essentially lifts your lawn up. Do not worry if it looks uneven - it will settle down again quickly. The end result will be a rushing in of clear, pure, Perthshire air. Decades of pure Perthshire consolidation by the Perthshire kids, the dogs, the barbecues, the garden parties, the hanging out of the washing and the bringing in of the washing have played their minor roles in compacting the soil into a fantastical geological experiment. Grass roots will not thrive if your gardening procedures have been in the formation and creation of rock. Like all roots they like space, air and water. A farmer ploughs to allow for this. The technique is very similar in principle however you have to work with the grass in situ. If you go out onto your lawn and you see moss, weeds, daisies, bare patches, thatch and very little actual grass then it is time your lawn received a sharp intake of fabulous Perthshire air. Gardeners grow muscles as well as plants and this may have happened after your aeration experience but it will be worth it (machines are available and grandchildren but they are a bit on the light side?). In 12 months you 12

will see a dramatic change. Aeration is really all you need to do. Depending on your budget you can boost this basic and vital process by the application of additional treatments. You know the kind of thing you get at the hairdressers. Product they call it. They make you feel good. Some are more effective than others. Start with the tried and tested ones: fertilisers specially formulated for lawns can make a huge difference. Grass needs both air, water and food like their animal cousins and the rule is simple to remember: nitrogen in spring and summer, phosphate and potash in autumn whilst cutting back on the nitrogen at this time. A good application of slow release lawn food will give a richer green hue to the grass that will offset your plants much better and give the garden a boost. Besides this the sense of enlargement of the garden at the first cut of the season is a moment in lawn care to be savoured and is much improved when a good green verdure is present at the time and as a result of a feeding regime. Critics of weedkillers look away now: an infestation of weeds can be easily dealt with by a selective broadleaf weed killer (MCPA or Mecoprop) and finally a top dressing with sand or sand based quality topsoil and over seeding will bring new growth to a patchy lawn. Jonathan MacDonald is a Horticulture lecturer and grower who runs the Riverside Garden Centre in Comrie. Next month: The top gardening myths explained. NEW: Gardening evening classes start 17th April. See website for more details or call to book a place: 17th April Introduction to garden design and maintenance 24th April Weeds pests and disease. Organic control. 1st May Lawn-care 8th May Pruning and planting 15th May Theory and techniques of Propagation 22nd May Plant classification, structure, and function 29th May Basic Plant biology 5th June Plant nutrition and the root environment 12th June Perennials, alpines and water features 19th June Visit, review of learning and end of term quiz On the main road A85 going West in Comrie Tel: 01764 670800

Local Composer! I grew up in Brig o’Turk, and some of you may remember me playing trumpet in the orchestra at McLaren High School. After leaving school I went to London to study composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Peter my music has been performed in Scotland (of course!) but also in Canada, Germany, Malta and Poland. I am now in my final year (and, no doubt, ‘a Londoner’ in some ways!), but I still feel a closeness to Scotland and on April 7th, the Tolbooth in Stirling will be showcasing my music in an afternoon concert at 2.30pm. The concert will feature the Astrid Quartet, a string quartet of some of Scotland’s finest young string players (and friends of mine), who will be performing both as a group and as soloists. The concert will also be an opportunity to hear the London-based, Bilitis Trio (a flute, viola and harp trio) making their Scottish debut, before they continue to tour the country! Some of you may also have met Barbara, my girlfriend, who is both a composer and award-winning pianist, and she too will be performing as a soloist, as well as lending her skills as an accompanist. Comprised of music that I have written over the past three years, there will be a number of Scottish premieres and even a couple of World premieres. There will everything from Tango to jazz-inspired piano music; music inspired by the films of Martin Scorsese; music inspired by a castle made by a French postman with his bare hands(!); music inspired by the subway in Barcelona; there will even be a couple of boat-songs! In short, something for everyone I hope – even if that just means the tea and cakes provided in the interval! So if you’re free, then please do come - it would be lovely to see some of you there! Peter Longworth

Singing is Good for You! The singing group that has been meeting every Thursday evening in Balquhidder Village Hall now has a name - Choir Occasional! We are hoping to ‘flood’ the area with song. Everyone is welcome - the accent is on fun, and finding your voice. Come along and see for yourself! Check the back page diary for times. Gill Allan 01877 384203

Blow & Blast is fun! If you are an adult flute, oboe, clarinet or bassoon player who would like to play occasionally in a group but can’t find one that is basic enough, or doesn’t expect a weekly commitment, Blow and Blast is perhaps the thing for you. Blow & Blast woodwind workshops started in Callander at the beginning of 2012, are already attracting an enthusiastic following and would welcome more players. The next Callander workshops are on Saturday 3rd March and 28th April at the St Andrew’s Church Hall. The Introductory group runs from 11:30am – 1:30pm and caters for those who are relatively new to their instrument - or very rusty! The Intermediate group is intended for those with more experience and runs from 2 – 4 pm. Each workshop costs £15. Where practicable, music is tailored to the skill level of the participants, so it helps to know a few days in advance if you are hoping to attend. For more information, visit www.blowandblast. or phone Tricia or Trona on 01764 652052.

Stirling to benefit by £750,000 Historic Scotland Grant Historic Scotland has announced that Stirling is to receive £750,000 over the next three years in City Heritage Trust grants. The grants are designed to safeguard and enhance conservation areas, the historic environment and sense of place. Scotland’s six cities will receive £7.9m in total with the City Heritage Trust grants. Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said: “It is vital that we continue to improve the quality of our Scottish cities to make them better places to live, work and invest in. “Managing our historic environment creatively also contributes to sustainable economic growth by growing Scotland’s construction industry and increasing the availability and quality of traditional skills and materials. Using new skills and sustainable materials in the adaptation of existing buildings will also help support the historic environment’s transition to a low carbon economy. “This investment builds on our Agenda for Cities and £7 million Cities Investment Fund, which has been launched to build

the momentum to make sure our cities and their regions make the fullest possible contribution to sustained economic recovery –stimulating economic recovery and job creation.” Phil Cleghorn, Chairman of the Trust commented: ‘Stirling City Heritage Trust is delighted to have been awarded funding for a further 3 years from HS. One of the founding objectives of the City Heritage Trust is to use our grants to lever investment in to the city. Including private and public partnership over £4.5 million has been invested in grant assisted works to the historic built environment of Stirling since the Trust was established in 2005. “This announcement means that we can continue our work with local businesses and homeowners to secure and improve our historic built environment in Stirling. Furthermore latest tourist research showed that more than half of visitors to Stirling come for the quality of its historic environment, the upkeep and maintenance of our heritage assets is imperative.” 13

Balquhidder Broadband

Try this delicious recipe! BABA G’HANOUJ 2 large aubergines 2tbsp lemon juice 2tbsp tahini (sesame paste) garlic clove, crushed well 2 tbsp olive oil Tbsp parsley chopped Salt Cook aubergines under grill until charred all over, turning frequently - about 30 minutes. Leave to cool- about 1 hour. Peel and discard skin, immediately mash with lemon juice and add tahini and blend well. Add salt to taste and stir in garlic. Chill. Put into a flat dish and pour olive oil over, garnish with parsley and serve with pitta bread. Pat Barber The Balquhidder Recipe Book

The saga continues: with the continuing, complete and entirely predictable failure by BT as the monopoly supplier to do anything to address the low performance, poor capacity and unreliability of Balquhidder’s broadband infrastructure, a so far rather ad hoc group of locals - businesses and individuals – have started to look at just what we can do by and for ourselves. So far, we’ve had two meetings with Anne McGuire, our local Westminster MP, with next steps being to investigate what help is available at the UK and Scottish levels, as well as talking with other parts of the UK who have taken matters into their own hands. One thing we’ve been asked for is some indication of the level of economic activity in the glen, the costs incurred in trying to get around the limitations of the local broadband and the opportunities that could be created (and savings made) if we had an effective and reliable service. So if you’ve got some rough figures you can give us or specific cases of need and frustration, please email broadband@ Broadband in Balquhidder (when you can get it) typically runs at 1020% of the performance of broadband in the Central Belt and at about 2-3% of the performance of the latest fibre services available elsewhere in the UK. It is also falling ever further behind the average, which means that, as more and more services assume at least the average level of broadband performance, we’ll be denied access to many of the basic commercial, government, social, education and entertainment services that the rest of the world takes for granted. Richard Harris

Sudoku for You... Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. This one is rated EASY. Have a go! (solution on p25)


Letter to The Editor Dear Editor I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the members of the Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre communities. My name is Martin Earl and I am the Scottish Conservative candidate at the Stirling Council elections to be held on May 3rd. I would be very interested to hear from anyone in the area who may wish to raise any issue relating to services provided by Stirling Council. I can be contacted on or 07543825798. Yours sincerely Martin Earl

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

Rescue Team Remembers Colleague, 25 Years On Killin Mountain Rescue Team

members, past and present joined family and friends at the Ben Ledi cross on Wednesday 1st February, 2012 to remember Sergeant Harry Lawrie BEM-coordinator of the rescue team who lost his life in a helicopter crash on Ben More exactly 25 years ago. Included in the group who made the trip up Ben Ledi was Ian Ramsay, a Police Constable in Crianlarich at the time, who was on board the helicopter and recovered from serious injuries sustained in the crash. Seven out of the 8 team members who rescued the air crew from the stricken helicopter were also present. 1st February 1987 was an almost springlike day and no one could have anticipated the tragic events that would result in three people losing their lives in one 24-hour period in the hills of West Perthshire. Many in the team on that day were preparing to spend the afternoon watching the Scotland-Wales Rugby international at Murrayfield when they received a call to attend at Balquhidder to assist in the recovery of a climber who had collapsed and died near Inverlochlarig. Just as that incident was being completed a second call was received reporting a climber having fallen on the snow-covered slopes near the summit of Ben More. The team diverted to Ben More, and eight members set off from Ben More farm to locate the casualty. A Wessex helicopter from RAF Leuchars picked up Sergeant Lawrie and Constable Ramsay with the intention of dropping them off on the hillside to meet up with the rest of the rescue team to assist in the search. Coming in to the hover on the hillside the main rotor struck a rock causing the helicopter to crash into the hillside, and thereafter slide down towards the other team members making their way up the icy snow slopes. As soon as the aircraft came to rest the rescue team entered the wreckage and assisted the air crew and occupants out of the helicopter before it burst into flames. By chance RAF Leuchars Mountain Rescue Team was returning from Training at Tyndrum, and saw the crash take place. They quickly attended at the crash scene and carried out triage on the hillside arranging for Ian Ramsay and the air crew who were also injured to be evacuated by a second helicopter to hospital. Unfortunately Sergeant Lawrie was found fatally injured on the snow-covered slopes. He was carried down the hillside on a stretcher by his own team members supported by the RAF team and in the latter stages by Lomond Rescue team members who had been called to assist when the severity of the incident became known. The following day Killin Mountain Rescue Team and the RAF recommenced a search and found the body of the climber who had fallen on Ben More the previous day bringing the death toll over the 24 hour period to three. Later that year a reception was held at Stirling Castle, where Hugh

Pearce, the helicopter pilot, Team Leader Billy Stitt, and Deputy Team Leader Stewart Inglis received the Queens Commendation for brave conduct and the Central Scotland Police Medal for bravery. The late Jean Lawrie, Harry’s wife, attended a ceremony at Perth a few months later with family and members of the Mountain Rescue Team. She received from HRH Princess Anne the posthumous award of the BEM which had been awarded to Harry a few weeks before he died in recognition of his service; not just to mountain rescue, but also the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme; and the Boys’ Brigade; to which both he and Jean had contributed many hours over a number of years. The cross on Ben Ledi summit was constructed by the late Jock Clark of Callander and erected by Killin Mountain Rescue Team supported by other members of the community in Callander who knew and respected Harry. Harry’s ashes and those of his wife Jean are placed near to the cross. It was decided that the Ben Ledi Cross on the summit of Ben Ledi was the appropriate place to take time to remember Harry and the events of 25 years ago which brought Callander to a standstill on the day of his funeral in Callander Kirk. 15

McLaren High School News by Yvonne King Junior Ski Course, Bormio, Italy On Sunday 22 January a group of 37 pupils from S1 to S3 set off to the Italian ski resort of Bormio for this year’s Junior Ski Course. As in previous years this was a joint excursion with Wallace High School from Stirling. We had an early wake-up call to carry out ski fittings first thing on the Monday morning. Once up the gondola there were quick introductions to the ski school instructors before everyone was off to test their abilities on the snow covered panoramic Alps of Bormio. Many of the group had only been introduced to the sport on the dry slope at Tillicoultry in October, and for them the quick response of skis on snow was an immediate thrill on the nursery slopes. For the intermediate and more advanced skiers it was off to explore the vastness of the ski area. At lunchtime stories and snowballs were quickly exchanged. Skiing finished for some at 3.00pm but for others the opportunity to carry out some supervised skiing with their teachers continued until 4.30pm. After a very tiring first day it was back to the hotel for a relaxing shower and a chance to chill out before dinner. The weather was stable and drifting cloud provided some respite from the sun. Snow cover was excellent and with these conditions the pupils made rapid progress. The ‘beginners’ were already moving from the ‘blue’ runs to more challenging ‘red’ runs, and for more experienced skiers the exhilaration of speeding down the famous World Cup Downhill course remained ‘tops’! Evening entertainment included quiz events, a disco at a local club and an evening at Bormio Terme Spa to relax in the pool or Jacuzzi, or go for a slide down the flume tube. In the remaining days the snow and weather continued to be good, and the exceptionally high standard of tuition from our ski instructors ensured that everyone made excellent progress. To round off the skiing there was a presentation of awards from the Ski School Instructors. Environmental Review To apply for a Green Flag, members of the Pupil Council are carrying out an annual environmental review of McLaren High School. The aim of this is to get a clear view on the current environmental state of the whole school to identify where improvements can be made. The council members will decide from the findings what the school action plan will be. The checklist is divided into sections that mirror the Eco-Schools Scotland’s environmental topics i.e. Waste Minimisation, Litter, Energy, Water, Transport, Health and Well being, School Grounds, Sustaining our World and Biodiversity. The Pupil Council members are currently consulting with members of the school community to complete this worthwhile task. Olivia Ridgewell S1 and Kenneth MacDougall S2 consulted with Mr Clark teacher and Mr Ward, janitor.

Environmental Review: Above, Olivia Ridgewell with teacher Mr Clark, and right, Kenneth MacDougall with janitor Mr Ward

Sainsbury’s Active Kids Vouchers Sainsbury’s Active Kids vouchers will be available in stores from 15 February 2012. We will be collecting them again this year and would be grateful for any vouchers you can collect and send in to the school. Last year we collected a fantastic amount and were able to get lots of new equipment for the school. 16

Stirling Schools Cross Country Event On Thursday 9 February, a small party of pupils travelled to Stirling County Rugby Club to represent the School at Cross Country Running. The School had runners in the S1/2 event and S3 pupils competing in the ‘open’ event. Overall this was an excellent performance from all involved. Real determination and effort were displayed by all runners and it was great to see Jane finish with a medal. However, what was particularly pleasing from the group was how well they supported one another. When not involved, everyone took the opportunity to encourage the others in the team, offering some really enthusiastic and genuine vocal support. Congratulations to all. PTA News McLaren High School PTA is holding a fundraising Family Ceilidh on Friday 23 March 2012. This will take place in McLaren High School from 7 – 10.30pm with music by the Skelpit Lug Ceilidh Band. There will be dancing, free buffet, bar, quiz and lots of fun! It would be great to see as many of you there as possible. The PTA really appreciates all families support at these events to make them a success.

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Rugby Six Nations On Saturday 4 February a party of some forty staff and pupils attended Scotland’s opening match in this season’s Six Nations tournament. The weather on the day was pretty brutal but this didn’t daunt the spirits of the McLaren group. Singing and dancing to the ‘Red Hot Chilly Pipers’ as part of the pre-match entertainment was an excellent way of keeping warm. Unfortunately the play didn’t really give the Scots a lot to cheer about but there were some occasions when the crowd did get on their feet and this at least served to stave off frostbite! At the end of the day the group witnessed a defeat by 13pts to 6 and it was off for some welcome hot chocolate! Photo (right) shows Fiona Fingland and Louise Wilson S4 demonstrating some patriotism during the pre-match entertainment.

Music News Eight S3 pupils have spent a number of lunch hours this academic year preparing for their SQA Intermediate 2 Music examination. All eight pupils are being presented a year earlier than usual and the final performance element of the examination will take place during this Spring term. It has been a challenging experience for all pupils involved, but there is no doubt that their hard work and hours of practice will pay off! Pictured above: Callum Bain, Craig Russell, Ruaridh Duthie & Callum Cronin.

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View from the Park

Strathyre Primary School Tea Room for Trip Fund

by Owen McKee

The children of P7 at Strathyre Primary School are looking forward to a trip to Ardmay Activity Centre between 5th - 8th June where they will be able to try out lots of outdoor activities with their contemporaries from other local schools. As part of their preparations for the trip they will be doing some fundraising. Lisa Lewis has very kindly offered to lend them Balquhidder Tea Room for the second year running and the children will be opening and running the tearoom for one weekend only on 24/25 March. Lisa, together with Jill and Steve Nixon from the Inn at Strathyre, will be helping the children to create some mouthwatering delicacies to tempt you through the doors. If you would like to sample their homebaked delights and take advantage of the limited opportunity to be served by the children of P7 and their friends in P6, then please call Sara on 01877 384799 to book your table.

Where dost thou dwell, my bonnie lad That cares affect you not? Across that loch, beyond that hill In a land that time forgot.

Wilderness and wild land, that panacea of all ills, is the subject of a new Scotland wide mapping exercise spearheaded by Scottish Natural Heritage in a partnership involving the Wildland Research Institute and both of Scotland’s National Parks. Development pressure is always upon us and it is our statutory duty to keep our Local Development Plans up to date. The new map will be another tool to help us in that delicate balancing act of protecting the environment whilst at the same time allowing our communities to move towards a sustainable future. A case in point was the recent approval of the Gold Mine at Cononish, Tyndrum. In striking the balance there we acknowledged that, in the short and medium term, there would be considerable disruption through the operation of the mine but by careful negotiation we obtained financial bonds of £1.7million to cover restoration and establish a planting and management plan which would benefit the Greater Cononish Glen. In addition a further £300,000 will go to the Strathfillan Community Development Trust to support their running costs and to provide seed corn funding to establish an interpretative centre about gold mining. The Scottish Government funded Callander Charette involved gathering together the community and all the agencies providing services in the town to plan the way ahead. The report from the consultants leading the project is soon to be with us and the expectation is that a number of exciting recommendations will emerge. As some of you will be aware we have stationed at Park HQ a policeman whose role is Park wide even though the Park itself is covered at present by four different police forces. It was always intended that the post would be regularly reviewed as to its effectiveness but the review this year will also seek to clarify how the post will fit into the proposed new unified police force. Whilst on policing I am delighted to report that Operation Ironworks will operate again this year. This partnership of the police and Park and Forestry commission rangers has certainly been beneficial to our area. 18

Gold Mine at Cononish, Tyndrum

Progress continues slowly on the Five Lochs project but it is still hoped that the Loch Lubnaig priority area will see some development for this year.

But where to now, my bonnie lad? Will progress trouble you? Oh, worry not, my charming sir We get just what we’re due.

As always I can be contacted as follows: Taigh Na Bhuth, Lochearnhead 01567 830214

National Park secures ‘gold standard’ for Cononish mine with £2m package Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park has negotiated a £2m financial package with Scotgold Resources Limited, the company behind the Cononish gold mine, which will now allow the development to proceed. Planning permission was approved by the National Park Board in October 2011 for a 10 year underground gold mine facility near Tyndrum, subject to a number of legal obligations being secured. The National Park planning team has worked hard over the last three months to secure legal and financial agreements in order for Scotgold to start work this coming summer as planned. The financial package secured through a Section 75 legal agreement includes three bonds totalling £1.3m. The bonds will allow the National Park to enter and restore the site to an agreed standard at any stage of the development should the operator fail to meet defined obligations or abandon the site. The bonds include £950K to restore the landscape of the mine site, £160K for mining waste management and £222K towards The Greater Cononish Glen Management Plan, a 30-year native woodland regeneration project. The financial agreement also includes a commitment from the developer to contribute £325K towards other conservation and visitor projects in the National Park over the period of the mine. In addition contributions have been agreed from the developer towards the ongoing monitoring of the site by the National Park. A further pledge to donate £150K to Strathfillan Community Development Trust (SCDT) has been made by the developer and they have also agreed to donate a sum of £200K to SCDT as a contribution towards the development of a mining exhibition and interpretative facility. Speaking about the financial agreements in place, Gordon Watson, Director of Planning and Rural Development for the National Park said: “Although the National Park Authority approved the planning application last year, we had to secure the legal commitments to guarantee mitigation of any adverse environmental impacts the development could have on the landscape as well as contributions to local environmental and tourism projects. I’m extremely proud of the work we have achieved in a relatively short timeframe which has also met Scotgold’s aim to start the development this summer. We have negotiated with Scotgold to make sure there are wider social and economic benefits for the surrounding communities. At the same time, we have established

funding and guarantees that will deliver successful restoration and conservation of the landscape during and after the life of the mine. “This is a great example of how business can work with the public sector to facilitate a number of economic and environmental benefits ensuring the Park fully capitalises on the opportunities from the mine. “Cononish will be the only operational gold mine in Scotland. By making sure all aspects of the design, operation and decommissioning are carefully managed; we believe we have achieved a best practice standard which should set a benchmark for future sustainable mining developments in sensitive rural areas. We look forward to a continued partnership between the National Park and Scotgold throughout the life of the gold mine and the restoration of Glen Cononish.” Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson said: “It’s great to hear that Scotland’s first goldmine will be getting underway this summer in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. I commend the Park Authority for working so constructively together with the developer through this complex planning process and achieving such a good result. “This new investment for Scotland will bring welcome additional revenue to support the National Park, whilst enhancing the sensitive environment in Cononish Glen in the long term. This exciting venture will also offer a welcome boost to the Scottish economy, worth a projected £80 million, while 52 new jobs will be created.” An initial application from Scotgold Resources Limited was refused in 2010. National Park specialists in landscape, planning and ecology worked closely with the developer to offer solutions mainly associated with the size and shape of the tailings management facility (TMF)and its successful restoration. The second application halved the size of the TMF with a redesigned shape to fit the landscape and significant amounts of mining waste being deposited back underground. The application also included a 30 year commitment to enhance the wider Glen Cononish through native tree planting and other landscape and habitat improvements. The approved application has over 60 conditions attached. The planning decision notice was issued after legal agreements were finalised. Ruth Crosbie 19

Rusty McD, our fearless and intrepid reporter of furry, feathered or scaly friends in our community, is back with another 5-minute interview...

5 minutes with...

Yvonne Spearing and her “Doocot” This month I am back in St. Fillans, meeting a lady called Yvonne Spearing who has been nominated by last month’s interviewee Elaine Ross. Yvonne has a dovecot or, as the Scottish say a Doocot. When I phoned Yvonne to arrange a time in daylight to visit (so that I can take a photo outside) Yvonne laughs and says that the whole house is a doocot! She seems like a very nice person so I am very much looking forward to the interview. I am slightly early which I know is rude and Yvonne, also coming straight from work like me, makes me very welcome. It turns out that John Murray from The Villagers interviewed her son so that makes two Spearings in our local newspaper this month she tells me. Yvonne is an art teacher and teaches special needs children in a school in Perth. Yvonne’s husband Robin is a builder and the house and gardens are my idea of heaven: arty, homely... loads of animals in gorgeous surroundings. Over a nice cup of tea and a biscuit, Yvonne gets chatting so I quickly unpack my pen and paper and start taking longhand notes. Yvonne, how long have you lived in St. Fillans? We came to Ardsheean 25 years ago. Ardsheean had been built by biscuit manufacturers MacFarlane and Lang. The greenhouse you see in our garden and all the lovely outbuildings were build by them too. The greenhouses were fully heated and had grapevines etc. The whole place just had a gorgeous fully working garden. The person we bought it from had peacocks and they came with the house. Peacocks get very old; one of the peacocks, ‘Mildew’ was about thirty-five. He liked to look into the windows of the Drummond Arms. Another peacock used to sit up the drive in the dark and shriek loudly if somebody passed. Ardsheean is an Edwardian Country house and we used to do B&B for a while. It was a lovely big house but in winter also a perishing cold house. When we arrived all our furniture just about fitted into one room! We bought loads of our furniture at the Crieff sale room. Eleven years ago we sold Ardsheean and built a new house in the grounds behind. 20

Yvonne spends quality time with some friends!

You clearly love your animals! Well, we’ve had all sorts really. Hens in all sorts of colours, shapes and sizes. Rescued hens... people would offer me one or two - now we have loads. I love my hens! Edwina for instance was 17 and never laid an egg! She was a great character. We also had a cockerel that we hatched ourselves on the Aga. The white doves started when Robin bought me a pair for my birthday. Now we have loads and although they are mainly white, some of them have now interbred with racing pigeons. We have two Border terriers – oh yes and we used to have a Pigmy goat. He hated women and used to happily attack every female in sight. He used to hold you to ransom with his little evil eyes! One day he ate Rhododendron leaves and died. Having so many doves, do you lose some to predators? Yes, we lose some to the birds of prey. We have tried everything, stringing CDs across... and somebody lent me a giant ‘owl’, the idea being that it is bigger than a bird of prey - but this does not deter them. February tends to be a particularly bad month for losing doves to the birds of prey. Maybe somebody reading this article can tell us why this is? Doves are great mums and breed all year round. They usually lay two eggs. Their nests are like a pile of twigs and the chicks often fall out. The jackdaw came and I watched as he emptied a nest. You can’t fight nature! But I love my doves and sometimes they even like to come into the house; recently a pair was sitting in my bedroom and cooed away on my clothes rail! You know, I can just sit here and listen to your stories for hours! Thank you so much for having me. My last question to you is: Who would you like to nominate for next month’s ‘5 minutes with...’ ? Ollie Cameron from Lochearnhead... and her Guinea fowl!

One of Yvonne’s doves ‘at home’

The lovely garden

So we are off to Lochearnhead next month. Looking forward to it!

Cuttings from Times Past...

Farm Forum: A Political Beef... The weather so far this year has been quite kindly from a farming perspective, whether you are a stock farmer looking after sheep and cattle or an arable farmer trying to get on to the land, but just remember the old sayings about casting cloots and counting chickens – as I write we are not even at the end of February! I read an interesting article by a well known farmer correspondent the other day in which he was initially comparing the Prime Minister’s attitude to the Argentine problem and their right to choose their own future and his attitude to the referendum question. I simply refuse to go down the political route but there are agricultural ramifications to the Argentine problem. At this time there are ongoing trade negotiations between the EU and WTO (World Trade Organisation) on the one hand and the so called Mercusor group, membership of which includes Argentine, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, on the other. These four countries have apparently banned ships flying the Falkland flag from entering their ports. This, the correspondent continues, creates a huge diplomatic problem for the UK and the EU well beyond the waters of the South Atlantic. On the one hand David Cameron and the EU are on public record as stating their desire to increase

trade with developing countries such as Brazil and Argentina to try to stimulate economic growth in the UK and Europe. On the other hand the deteriorating diplomatic relations and increased tension could harden the attitude of the group in their negotiations. A report published before Christmas concluded that an EU trade deal with the Mercusor Block could cost EU Agri-food producers up to 7.5 bn Euros. The most severely affected would be the EU’s beef sector, if imports from South America were allowed to increase. The range of the increases apparently discussed was huge anything from 5000 tonnes to 500,000 was reputed to have been mentioned. The worst case scenario would see a loss in value to the EU beef sector of 4.8 bn Euros, with poultry producers also affected. It is the existence of this diplomatic spat, coupled with the weakness of the European economy and the fact that beef from the suckler herd is only a major issue for countries like Scotland, France and Ireland that makes this such a dangerous situation for us. The correspondent finishes up by stating that “it does not take Einstein to work out that maybe the Argentinians and their pals are escalating the Falklands sovereignty issue to use in these trade negotiations.” Agricola

Interesting facts about... Red Squirrels Their scientific name is Sciurus vulgaris. Red squirrels eat seeds, buds, flowers, shoots, nuts, berries and fruit from many trees and shrubs. They also eat fungi and insects, and occasionally birds’ eggs. They store nuts in the ground in the autumn. They can be right- or left-handed when they eat a pine cone! Squirrels moult their coat twice a year, once after winter and then in the late summer before the weather gets colder again. They moult their ear tufts only once a year, in late autumn. They can live to six years of age. They have four fingers and five toes. They are not always red in colour but can also be brown, almost black or quite grey! They weigh 275-300g, the same as four Mars Bars or a packet of biscuits. Their body is 18-22cm long and their tail is 14-19cm in length. Pregnancy lasts 36-42 days and their young are called kittens. Kittens are born with their eyes closed, without teeth and with no hair. After about seven weeks they look just like small versions of their parents and are ready to leave the drey. There can be two litters a year, with 3-4 kittens in each litter. Average densities in conifer and broadleaf areas are 0.5–1.5 red squirrels per hectare. They do not hibernate over winter, but may be less active when weather conditions are bad. They can hang upside down... and they can swim!

I have recently had the privilege of viewing old diaries and newspaper cuttings from the late 1800s and in the next few articles I will précis extracts that could be of interest to those in this parish. The first one relates to a Dinner and Ball at Stronvar on 8th December 1893. I quote the correspondent of the paper: “On the evening of Friday last Mr and Mrs Carnegie of Stronvar entertained all their tenants with their wives, on the estate and also a number of tenants on the adjoining estate of Arnprior, to a sumptuous dinner, followed by a grand ball. Amongst those who sat at dinner were Mr. and Mrs. Carnegie; Lady Helen McGregor and the Misses McGregor; Mr. Whyte factor to Mr. Carnegie; Mrs. Fisher Ballimore; Mr. and Mrs. Stewart, Lianach; The Rev Mr. Cameron and Miss Cameron; Miss Stewart, Monachyle; Mr. D Campbell and the Misses Campbell Blaircreich; Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson, Muirlaggan; Mr. and Mrs. McLaren, Kirktown; Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson, Auchleskine; Mr. and Miss Hill, Kingshouse; Mr. McNaughton, Auchtoomore; Mr. and Mrs. McNee, Creggan; Etc. Etc. Mr Carnegie occupied the chair and the Rev. Mr Cameron acted as croupier. After justice had been done to an excellent dinner, provided in the liberal style characteristic of the Stronvar House a brief toast list was disposed of, in the course of which the Chairman proposed the usual loyal and patriotic toasts, which were heartily responded to... The floor of the commodious hall was then cleared for dancing, when a number of the young people of the district responded to an invitation to join with the others in the dance. Mr Carnegie accompanied by Mr Fisher, Ballimore, led the first dance along with Mrs Carnegie and Mr Ferguson Muirlaggan. Dancing was kept up with much vivacity and spirit till five in the morning... It may be mentioned that when Mr & Mrs Carnegie were leaving for home the horses were unyoked and the carriage drawn to the front door by a number of tenants of Stronvar estate. When the meeting broke up, three ringing cheers were given for Mr & Mrs Carnegie. Note: - The dances at that time were held in the laundry in Stronvar steading. It is now part of a house. The carriage would leave through the east archway of the courtyard and go straight east on the original road to Stronvar House – a distance of about 200 yards – the east archway has been bricked up for as long as I remember. I well remember dances and parties in the laundry which was used for the purpose during the war. One has to assume that the word “croupier” had a slightly different meaning in those days! Agricola 21

Rangers’ Review By Graeme Auty

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Access improvements Over the last month the rangers have continued to be kept busy with several access improvements across the area. As well as the fallen trees causing problems in several of the lochside car parks, mentioned in The Villagers earlier in the year, the high winds blocked many of the long distance routes and cycle ways with significant numbers of fallen trees across the West Highland Way. One of the main problem sections was within the Ewich plantation near Crianlarich where there were 14 major blockages of the route caused by large fallen Sitka spruce trees. There were also a considerable number of fallen trees across the National Cycle Route 7 between Callander and Coireachrombie. These have now all been cleared away thanks entirely to the hard work of rangers Stuart Thomson and Jimmy Campbell. To help with this workload and provide future assistance in keeping these routes open a total of 8 rangers from across the park have recently been on a 5 day chainsaw refresher course focusing on dealing with windblown trees and using chippers. Gareth and I have also been out with the parks volunteers carrying out some ongoing maintenance tasks along the Glen Ogle trail and along the old railway line between Lochearnhead and St Fillans. On the Glen Ogle trail one of the old sections of boardwalk which had been washed away has now been replaced plus a new section of boardwalk has been installed across a small tributary which joins the main burn. The Glen Ogle Trail is approximately a 5 mile circular walk through the glen. Most people start the route at the scout station entrance where the route goes straight up the hill to the National Cycle Route 7, then along the old disused railway line towards Glenoglehead. The route leaves the old railway line after a couple of miles, over a stile on the right hand side just before you reach the stone bridge which crosses the old railway line. The trail then follows some sections of the old military road southward through the glen until it crosses the A85 a kilometre north of Glen Ogle Farm. The trail then winds its way through rough pasture and broadleaved woodland until it reaches the A 85 again opposite the entrance to the scout station. 22

Care must be taken on the trail as there are several sections which can become very wet underfoot. Spring action There are a few more volunteer tasks planned for March including a couple of loch side clean ups at Loch Lubnaig. A group of volunteers from Scottish Development International based in Glasgow will be coming out for two days to help remove much of the litter that has washed up around the shore of the loch over the winter. A similar task was carried out by the Friends Of Loch Lomond And The Trossachs (FOLLAT) last March at Lochs Lubnaig and Earn collecting just under 100 bags of litter in one day. FOLLAT are again looking at carrying a similar event this year at Lochs Voil and Doine. I will also be helping park volunteers and people from St Fillans carry out a litter pick along the foreshore in the village, a repeat of the successful Spring Clean event carried out last year. The park volunteers will also be carrying out a variety of tasks with the Woodland Trust at Glen Finglas including removing encroaching birch scrub from an important archaeological site, continuing with the removal of old redundant deer fencing and clearing away Sitka spruce regeneration from within areas of native broadleaf planting. Many of the volunteers will also be helping with this spring’s annual black grouse lek searches and the ongoing red squirrel surveys across the area. As usual, if we are around at the Lochearnhead Office, please feel free to drop in, or to call Gareth or myself if you have any queries, wildlife sightings or just for a catch up. Gareth is in most days but I am only part time and am on duty Thursdays and Fridays. You can call me on 01389 722115 or on my mobile 07764371700 or alternatively you can email me at or Gareth at

Scottish Wildlife Trust, Callander

Member’s Centre Diary Tuesday 13 March 2012

The Role of the North Sea Bird Club by Andy Thorpe Founder NSBC Tuesday 17 April 2012

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

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

Urgent appeal for pet foster carers in Central Scotland Pet Fostering Service Scotland (PFSS), established in 1985, provides support for pet owners who are in an emergency, such as having to go into hospital, and are unable to make arrangements for their pets to be cared for. PFSS aims to minimise the stress on both pet and owner by providing pet care in a volunteer fosterer’s home until they are able to be reunited. In circumstances where pets are not able to be returned to their owner PFSS collaborates with The Blue Cross to find new homes. PFSS is a vital service to local pet owners. However, sadly, we have to turn down four fostering requests every week in Central Scotland alone due to a lack of volunteer foster carers. Local Area Organiser, Agnes Sweeney, says “It is heart-breaking to turn away pet owners who are desperate and have no other options. Without the help of PFSS and The Blue Cross we just don’t know what will happen to these pets and it is frustrating that we are unable to help due to low volunteer numbers. I know Central Scotland is an area of animal lovers and I am sure there are many potential pet foster carers out there who are not aware of how much they are needed! I would urge anyone who thinks they may be able to help to get in touch.” Callander fosterer, Janice Mathisen, who has just successfully prepared her 15th foster dog for rehoming, says ‘Volunteering with PFSS is such a rewarding experience. You are providing a safe temporary home for a pet till its owner can have it back, or preparing it to be ready for its new home. You can’t help but enjoy each one…they’re eager to go on walks, no matter the weather, or play with a ball, or just keep you company in the house’.

Have you tried our takeaway pizzas yet?

If you feel you could offer your support as a volunteer, please call 0844 811 9909 option 5 then 1 or visit our website www. for more information. For an informal chat first of all, phone 01877 330996. 23


Central Scotland Police

There when you need us

Unfortunately it would appear that since the turn of the year we have been visited on a number of occasions by unwelcome visitors which has resulted in an increase in thefts, mainly from isolated buildings and unoccupied dwellings. The area concerned is not just our immediate neighbourhood but covers an area from Aberfeldy to Dalmally, Glencoe to Strathyre, and St Fillans to Ardlui. In one respect I hope the thefts are the work of one person or at least one gang. If it is not then it means there are a number of people or gangs who are working independently and are travelling throughout the area targeting premises and property. Sometime between the 18th and the 30th January a vacant youth hostel near to Strathyre was broken into. A copper water tank and a quantity of copper pipe were taken. The persons responsible must have spent sometime inside the property as they had to cut out the tank and pipes from their fixtures. During the first week of February six caravans on the road to Muirlaggan were broken into. Again due to the isolated position a vehicle would very likely have been used to travel to and from the scene.

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.


Between Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th a Quad Bike was stolen from Innishewan Farm, Glen Dochart, near Killin. The bike was seen on CCTV to be driven out of the farmyard sometime during darkness hours. An industrial washing machine was stolen from behind a building in Killin, 2 people would have been needed to lift the heavy machine. In addition to these thefts a number of properties have been broken into in the Glen Lyon area during February. Tools, diesel fuel and alcohol are just some of the things taken. Once again I would urge everybody to pick up the phone and make that call if you suspect something is wrong. Remember we would rather turn up and check somebody out than have to visit somebody at a later date who has had their house broken into or their property stolen. What can you do to help? 1. If you see or hear anything suspicious phone the police immediately. 2. Keep property out of sight from unwanted eyes. 3. If you cannot hide it make sure it can not be moved. 4. Mark your property! Use luminous spray paint. What to look out for 1. People walking around your property without your consent.

2. Vehicles driving away as you approach them. 3. People asking to buy your belongings without you offering them for sale. 4. People asking for directions or for house occupants. 5. People offering to sell you items from the back of vehicles. Remember some people may appear genuine but they are practised thieves, this is what they do and have probably been doing it for years so they may very well sound genuine and know what to say and how to respond after all it is their living to steal from YOU and your neighbours. You are not wasting our time always phone! In an effort to trace the persons responsible and deter others from committing the thefts I along with PC Frickleton have been working closely with colleagues from Pitlochry and Crieff police stations in Tayside. We have carried out a number of patrols during various nights which have included the use of unmarked and other specialist police cars. If anyone has information regarding these break-ins or saw any suspicious persons or vehicles during the period mentioned please contact the police or Crimestoppers. PC Andrew Ward 01786 456 000

Locals urged to cut down on household waste Local volunteers working with Forth Environment Link and Zero Waste Scotland are calling on locals to make sure they are cutting down on their household waste throughout the year. A huge amount of household waste accumulates every year including food, various packaging and paper. Unfortunately many people do not know what can be done to reduce this waste. Zero Waste Volunteers in Forth Valley are now encouraging local residents to find out more about how to reduce food waste, recycling, how to stop unwanted mail, and home composting. These campaigns will not only help to reduce waste, but will also help save money. Zero Waste Volunteers will be present at many events over the next few weeks to share tips with the general public and provide information. Events include: The Fintry Renewable Energy Show on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th March from 10am on both days, in and around Fintry; and the Potato Day on Saturday 10th March from 2pm in Cathedral Hall, Dunblane. For more information on up and coming events please visit www. For useful waste saving tips visit www.zerowastescotland. Kelly Vincent, Zero Waste Communications Coordinator said: “There are so many easy steps that everyone can take to reduce the amount of household waste that can accumulate. Making a shopping list and sticking to it is a great way to cut costs on your food shopping bill and will also cut down on the amount of food wasted. Building your own home composting bin in your garden is a fantastic way to make good use of your kitchen and garden waste instead of sending

it to landfill. This compost can then be used in and around your garden. If everyone did just one thing to help cut down on waste, then we will all be one step closer to living in a zero waste community” Jonathan Rice, a local Zero Waste Volunteer commented: “Volunteering with Forth Environment Link and Zero Waste Scotland has been an excellent experience. Not only have I learned many new ideas and ways to cut down on my own waste, but I have been able to spread the word throughout my local community, including friends and family. I feel that I am truly making a difference” Anyone can help promote these ideas within local communities, and for more information on Forth Environment Links volunteering opportunities, contact Donna Rodgers on • • • •

Forth Environment Link aims to Inspire people to live, work and learn in a more sustainable way For more information on Forth Environment Link visit Zero Waste Scotland works with businesses, communities, individuals and local authorities to help them reduce waste, recycle more and use resources sustainably. Zero Waste Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government to support the delivery of its Zero Waste Plan.

For further information about Forth Environment Link contact: Kelly Vincent, Communications Coordinator. Tel: 01786 449215 E-mail:

A clan chief offered his daughter as a bride to the son of a neighbouring chief in exchange for two cows and four sheep. The big swap was to happen on the shore of the stream that separated the two clans. Father and daughter showed up at the arranged time only to find that the groom and his livestock were on the other side of the stream. The father grunted, ‘’ The fool doesn’t know which side his bride is bartered on.” * * * * * An American was hopelessly lost in the highlands and wandered about for nearly a week. Finally, on the seventh day he met a kilted inhabitant. “Thank heaven I’ve met someone,” he cried. “I’ve been lost for the last week.” “Is there a reward out for you?” asked the Scotsman. “No,” said the American. “Then I’m afraid you’re still lost,” was the reply.

Sudoku Solution (from page14)

Lost & Found.....

All Hat, No Brain...

A small plea from Richard in Balquhidder: I’ve lost my rather nice “Barmah” Australian brown leather bush hat at some point twixt midJanuary and early February. I think I’ve left it somewhere in the Villagers area, so if anyone has found it, could you please call 01877 384203. Many thanks.

Susan Stewart

Mobile Local Hairdresser

07712 047149

Tuesdays & Wednesdays Cuts from £9, highlights from £35 • Children from £7




d up must be pai Advertising publication. before rts on a plies to adve This also ap iscount which are 6 month d p for renewal. coming u g out invoices in We are send d to give people a month ahea e to pay plenty of tim t is received en m but if no pay e Day (24th) by Deadlin rt will have ve then the ad moved. to be re

We’ll send you or your friends

The Villagers

£11.00 for 11 monthly issues (£20.00 for Europe and £27.50 for the rest of the world). All you need to do is to post the completed form to: BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION, Tom-Na-Dair BALQUHIDDER FK19 8PB, SCOTLAND Cheques should be made payable to: THE BLS NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION Remittance enclosed £ .........................(do not send cash) Please send copies of The Villagers starting on ................................. for 11 months To: NAME .......................................................................................................................... ADDRESS: ........................................................................................................................ ........................................................................................POSTCODE .............................. SENDER’S NAME & ADDRESS IF DIFFERENT FROM ABOVE Please send copies of ‘The Villagers’ starting on ............................... for 11 months NAME ................................................................................................................................ ADDRESS .......................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................POSTCODE................................ 26

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

The BLS Newspaper Association


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

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

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

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

Other Contacts... Helen Clark Business Manager 07971 648743

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

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

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

BLS Lunch Club - Lochearnhead Scout Station - 12.30-2.30pm


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


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


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

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

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

MARCH 3 13 14-17 16 24/25 31

Blow & Blast Workshop - St Andrew’s Church Hall, Callander (see p.13) Scottish Wildlife Talk - St Andrews Church - Callander - 7.30pm (see p.22) CAOS Production ‘La Périchole’ - McLaren High School (see p.2) Stuc a’ Chroin Race Night Fundraiser - Inn & Bistro, Strathyre (see p.6) Primary7 Teas Weekend - Balquhidder Library Tearoom (see p.18) Cocoa Mountain Chocolate Making Workshop - 2pm and 3.30pm Balquhidder Village Hall (see p.9)

APRIL 7 11 14 17 28

Concert - Peter Longworth and The Astrid Quartet - 2.30pm Tolbooth, Stirling (see p.13) Ladies’ Lunch at The Golden Larches - Balquhidder Station - 2pm (see p.8) SSPCA Dog Walk - Craggan Road - 2pm (see p.2) Scottish Wildlife Talk - St Andrews Church - Callander - 7.30pm (see p.22) Blow & Blast Workshop - St Andrew’s Church Hall, Callander (see p.13)

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

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

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

March 2012 The Villagers  

News for Strathyre, Balquhidder, St Fillans Lochearnhead. Strathyre playground, playgroup, Balquhidder Church news, Cocoa Mountain, Gardenin...