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MARCH 2014

The

Price 50p

© 2014 Richard Harris

The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

‘Loch Occasional’ rises high in the background behind Balquhidder’s Churchyard

© 2014 Richard Harris

Rain, rain, go away...

Loch Voil spreads out

© 2014 Richard Harris

© 2014 Fearghas McKay

Balvaig river in full spate

Fed up!


Ed i tor ’s Bi t a n d A G M R ep ort Community Newspaper Awards 2013 Many thanks to the brave souls who came through the bad weather along to our AGM at the Inn at Strathyre, and Steve for looking after us all so well there. I would also like to thank Alistair Barclay who has stepped down from the post of Advertising Director for The Villagers. (Any advertising enquiries should now be sent to David Johnston, who has agreed to take over this year. Rumours of running a book on how long harmony will prevail in Gardeners Cottage are of course untrue!) Thanks are also due to R Gilchrist for once more auditing the accounts for us. The only contentious issue was whether we should be including balanced articles on the Referendum; if anyone has views on this, please write to the Editor. Congratulations again to Connor Ramsay-Clapham who won the ‘Young Contributor of the Year’ Award. On a positive note and comparing The Villagers to the other community newspapers we still manage to create 11 editions, more than most, with a team smaller than most. The others either cost £1, not our 50p, or are funded by community advertising, and some even have offices to work from! I certainly think our output compares very favourably in comparison with the others which is a credit to all involved, particularly the contributors, photographers and our production manager Gill. Our Aim Our aim is to cover local events and local people - from sporting or charity events to births, deaths and marriages or civil partnerships. An important function for a local community paper and one which we keep up to date by the production of 11 issues. We also provide a ’soapbox’ function for concerns, grumps, moans and praise for the real issues affecting the 4 villages. Contributors From tourism to farming, or perhaps the other way round, Agricola has been a regular contributor from issue 4 in April 1993. Thanks to him and the many other regular contributors and those new ones who have joined us, hopefully countering the demographic trend. Future Plans There are some positives and negatives here. The number of copies sold has gone down. There has been some resistance to the 50P new price but on the other hand we must thank the generous people who give a £1. Sales at the shops are best and it is suspected that in the pubs it is too easy for people to simply read and then return the paper to the box. Still we do continue to make a small number of sales through the pubs. Subscriptions remain at their high level and only 1 subscription has not been renewed. Advertising, Production, Delivery We are a small team and need reinforcements to ease the workload. Finance The accounts do not look great this year. This is a combination of an advertising shortfall carried forward from last year and only 10 issues being produced because of other commitments of the small production team. However, on a positive note the bank balance on 31 December 2013 was slightly better than it was on 31 December 2012. JJ

Weather

Report

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

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

4.6 ºC 8.2 2.02 0.7

40.3 ºF 46.8 35.6 30.7

Rainfall 30.9cms 12.4ins Strongest wind gust: 40mph on Jan 6 The wettest January since 1980 - and it looks like February figures will be the same!

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HORTICULTURAL SHOW

MEETING

12TH MARCH

7PM INN AT STRATHYRE ALL WELCOME COME ALONG! NEW COMMITEE MEMBERS AND VOLUNTEERS NEEDED  SOME GREAT NEW AND

EXCITING IDEAS - BUT ALWAYS OPEN FOR MORE!!

PLEASE LETS KEEP THE SHOW GOING!

LEGS N E W G R O U P S TA R T I N G

LEGS (Loch Earn’s Getting Smaller)

Due to the loss of Scottish Slimmers classes from Callander, Lochearnhead and Crianlarich, the people who were attending Lochearnhead have decided to start their own support group. We will be meeting every Tuesday in Lochearnhead Village Hall at 6.30pm We will charge just £2.00 to cover hall costs, have the opportunity to weigh ourselves and discuss a variety of topics helping each other to enjoy our new healthier eating / lifestyle. We would love to see new faces and returners. Why not come along and see if it’s for you? For more information contact Helen 01567 830388


St Fillans - here be dragons!

The St Fillans Bit Last month I mentioned the surprising number of folk in St Fillans who run their own businesses. Well here’s an addition. A couple of weeks ago my wife, Daisy, returned from one of her regular sojourns to Liam’s coffee shop to update me on local news. Long term residents of the village will remember in the 90s when the back shop was licensed and a gathering place for those of us with time on our hands to meet and while away the afternoon setting the world to rights whilst quaffing copiously on the water of life. A pastime only interrupted if the Minister or Bob Watson came into the front shop when glasses went under the table and the conversation turned quickly to mundane matters. Nowadays the back shop is a far more refined place where ladies of the village (and some of the men) congregate to quaff coffee and discuss matters of vital local importance. Since these gatherings started I have cancelled my subscription to the Strathie as Daisy keeps me much better informed on local news whilst I keep her in touch with more national news. Anyway, Daisy bought back to me the news that Richard Steventon – owner of The Drummond from 2002 to 2006 – was now making pens from bits of dead animals. As an eager cub reporter I saw a story here and met Richard last week. It transpires that some while ago Richard came across handmade ball point pens, which he thought was a good idea but the quality was dire – uneven joints, poor finish etc. Richard, being Richard,

by John Murray was sure that he could make a much finer pen and set about research. Richard’s early life after school was as an Aircraft Engineer in the RAF (keeping Sopwith Camels flying) so he has an engineering background and he bought himself a lathe and set about learning how to turn materials. He sourced the mechanical bits from the best suppliers, many American, and experimented with deer antler and various woods. He found that naturally shed antlers were far better than those from culled animals as the former are an even white colour and the latter mottled dark inside. He tried hardwoods with good results. He dabbled with ways of finishing the horn and wood (which I won’t divulge here) until he could obtain a near perfect gloss or semi-gloss finish. With wife Jo a manager at The Famous Grouse Experience (Glen Turret to us oldies) he obtained pieces of old whisky barrels and found the oak an ideal material to work with. The bottom line is that Richard now trades as The Highland Pen Company and is producing a range of really superb bespoke pens. His sample case bulges with goodies – ball points, fountain pens, gel tipped pens, clutch pencils, gents razors and even a Spirtle – which for us nonnative Scots is a porridge stirrer. Said Spirtle is also available as a mini ball point. As each pen is literally bespoke and made by hand each one is unique and given a range of finishes on the mechanical bits which include copper, gold, chrome, gun metal, silver, satin nickel, and satin black

Some of Richard’s bespoke pens

you can be pretty sure that you won’t find anyone else with a pen like yours. I was so impressed that I bought two – a lovely light oak ball point and a stubby clutch pencil for my workshop. Clients include distilleries who supply visitors with a pen made from the very barrels in which the whisky they taste was matured, joinery companies who supply clients with a pen made from the wood used for their kitchen or conservatory and so on. Richard sells at public shows and direct to Joe Public. The pens are not cheap – about £30 - £35 each but are a real treat to own and use. Get Richard on 685323 or highlandpens@gmail.com and be prepared to be impressed. Ulla Ross, now departed from the village, has asked me to thank on her behalf all the ladies who organised and attended the surprise farewell party at Cathy’s home. It was amazing that virtually everyone in St F knew about the Continued overleaf

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The St Fillans Bit (Continued from Page 3)

party except for Ulla who was genuinely astonished when she arrived for a quiet lunch with Cathy – a very well-kept secret. Most should know by now of the resurrection of the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme in St Fillans, headed up by Richard Graham as Co-ordinator and David Birkmyre as deputy. The scheme worked well years ago under the auspices of Bob Watson and Richard’s background as an Inspector in the Metropolitan Police makes him an ideal leader of the scheme. Essentially the aims are the prevention and detection of crime in our village and a greater awareness of the risks of being subjected to criminal activity. Rural villages like St F have low crime rates so tend to be more trusting and casual in their approach to prevention of crime. Who amongst us doesn’t sometimes leave the shed unlocked, the garage open, and windows part open when we go shopping and so on. With minimal police coverage here we are very attractive targets for the groups of thieves from the cities who can be in and out in an hour, robbing 5 households in that time. Richard’s email circulated 2 days ago mentions a shed in Lochearnhead which was recently emptied of £6,000 of goods. Pretty scary. Richard has emailed everyone on the village circulation list and all it takes to be a part of the scheme is to reply to that email. Neighbourhood Watch hopes to make us all aware of risks and observant of any dubious ‘goings on’ in the village. If you see a strange vehicle in an unusual place or strangers acting in a suspicious manner it takes moments to inform the Police and note down number plates etc. If you are not sure it’s worth contacting the Police Richard is happy for you to contact him for advice (contact details in his circular email). As part of the scheme Richard is circulating hints and tips every month. Worth reading. It’s a while since I included a wee picture quiz in this column – so this month you’ll find a picture of a fine young man doing his ironing (above, right). A bottle of plonk goes to the first person phoning or emailing me with the correct identity of the lad. There might be clues in the apparel. Elsewhere in this issue you will find a fairly detailed update of the current position of the Planning Application(s) for further housing at Dundurn Walk submitted by Marcus. The important thing, I think, is the new website at www.abhaile.net on which regular updates of plans submitted and proposals will be logged – along with the opportunity for affected locals to give direct feedback to the Developer. A quick thanks to the National Park Rangers based in Lochearnhead for their comprehensive efforts in cutting and 4

Who’s this, then?

removing the numerous trees which fell over the old railway in the winter gales. Villagers had started the job but the larger trees needed professional attention and certainly got it. Thanks also to Mary at The Four Seasons who never fails to update me on events at the hotel. The first Wine Tasting Dinner on 7th March has few spaces available (probably none by the time you read this) and Mother’s Day on 30th March is booking up – the Make Sunday Special Menu and a free glass of fizz for all mums is a great way of telling mom you care – wish my old dear was still here to enjoy it. The hotel is open Thursday evening till Monday morning in March so why not treat the missus? I have tried three times to get information for The Villagers from Arran Brewers regarding their opening plans for The Drummond but my pleas remain unanswered. I would have thought that a bit of positive local PR might be beneficial to the new venture – but obviously not. I gather the Back Bar was open last Friday for what was apparently a ‘soft opening’ for a few villagers. There are also increased signs of tradesman activities this week (21st Feb) so maybe the rumoured March official opening is right. Let’s hope so and we get rid of the present eyesore. Finally, good news that The Community Council are going to invest in the purchase of The British Heart Foundation early response videos which were shown at the training evening for the village defibrillator with a view to regular village showings. They really are essential viewing for all of us – who knows when we will be first on the scene of an accident or heart attack?

John Murray

What’s this, then?

(PS – My proof reader – Daisy – asks me to mention that the regular Tuesday coffee mornings at Liam’s are not a cliquey closed shop, which seemingly some folk might be thinking, but that all are very welcome. You might even meet Fraz there!)


ADVERTISING FEATURE

Planning Permission sought for new homes in St Fillans Feedback sought

Property developers WRFU Ltd will soon be lodging a planning application with the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park for new homes to be built on land identified as H27 within the adopted Local Plan for St Fillans. The land in question is to the North of the existing eighteen new homes at Dundurn Walk and the application will cover the entire piece of land zoned for residential development. It will be the second planning application that WRFU Ltd has submitted for the site in recent months, the first being for only four houses on a portion of the land zoned for housing. That planning application was recently withdrawn after discussions with the local residents and planners at the National Park Authority led to a significant re-design of the house types and subsequent agreement to submit plans for the entire parcel of land, not just a small section. WRFU Ltd has employed Black & Williams Ltd to carry out the necessary designs and obtain the necessary permissions required to start the development. Black & Williams are looking for feedback to their plans from members of the public as they finalise their plans ready for submission to the National Park in mid-March. Issues that need addressing include, but are not limited to: Affordable Housing Provision, Landscaping, House Design, Layout, Road Access, Number of Homes, Open Space Provision (and its maintenance in perpetuity), Footpath linkages, etc…. Black and Williams are keen to hear from all parties who wish to make representations and have a constructive impact upon the final design. To view the plans, keep updated with the most up to date designs, discussions and leave feedback please visit the website www.abhaile.net Once WRFU Ltd obtains the necessary permissions it shall sell the homes in phases ‘Off Plan’ and under a new brand– ‘Abhaile’. It is worth noting that the individuals involved with Black & Williams and WRFU Ltd have direct links to the previous company that built the existing eighteen homes on Dundurn Walk – which eventually succumbed to the fate met by many property development companies during the credit crunch. Given their past involvement with the development and ongoing strong links with the existing homes (as homeowners and tenants) Black & Williams and WRFU Ltd have stated their intent to, where possible, positively address issues raised by the existing residents of Dundurn Walk relating to the infrastructure and open space within

Top: Artist’s impression of one of the new homes; middle: plan of development; above: scale drawing

the first eighteen homes. Details on these issues are included within the information on the website. Marcus Salter (of Black & Williams) lives with his fiancé and four children on Dundurn Walk and is acutely aware of the impact the proposals will have on his neighbours and the village as a whole and is keen to deliver a design that will add to the village both in terms of infrastructure, character and people, as the current homes at Dundurn Walk already have. Managing Director of WRFU, Richard Riegels, believes that ‘the principle of housing on the site has been approved in the past by the Community Council and is supported by the Planning Department, a successful design shall positively contribute to the village.” Black & Williams will post regular updates on the www.abhaile. net website, through its own Facebook page, on a noticeboard in the St Fillans Village Shop and will also hold a series of drop in consultations within the Village Shop for those who wish to discuss the plans in person. Details of the drop in consultations will be posted on the website, noticeboard and Facebook page in due course. 5


The Broch

Strathyre News

Village Fun Day

The Village is holding its annual fun day on Saturday 17th May on the commission grounds, so please put it in your diary. There will be a huge marquee and anyone who would like to be involved will be most welcome. Please note this is NOT a fund raising event for the village but a chance for all the family to join with the community and enjoy their day out. Hopefully there will be many things happening - from testing your golfing expertise to enjoying some home made baking. If you would like to get involved and have an idea of some kind that you think people will enjoy please feel free to contact any committee member of the SVA to discuss your idea. Please be aware - if you want to do anything, whether it is a stall, or face painting etc. you must be prepared to conduct your own event - as we are short of bodies. We are hoping to do a 5km fun run in the morning and we are under the umbrella of the experienced Stuc committee, but would be grateful for anyone who would be willing to do a bit of marshalling on the day for a few hours. Any idea will be welcomed so do not be shy with your suggestions. If all goes to plan the day will conclude with a HOG ROAST and CEILIDH in the evening. Something we in Strathyre usually enjoy! If anyone would like to assist in any way please let us know or just come along on the day and offer your services - they will be very gratefully accepted!! There will be an update on progress in the May edition of The Villagers. Wullie D (on behalf of the SVA)

TRIVIA QUIZ NIGHT

HORSE RACING/AUCTION FUN NIGHT We are hoping to run a Festival Fundraising, Horse Race and Auction Fun night on Saturday 29th March from 7:30pm. BYOB. We might even manage a song or two to round the night off. Please come along early. Venue Village Hall Strathyre.

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Following the successful and very enjoyable recent quiz night that Jan held in the Inn, by popular demand, she is now embarking on another evening of questions! The evening being 15th March, at the Inn & Bistro starting at 7.30pm. The format for the questions will be TRIVIA. So if you have any trivial pursuit games lying in a cupboard get them out! WD

At a recent meeting of the SVA the subject of the maintenance of the Broch monument was discussed and it was announced that the Forestry Commission, who are responsible for its upkeep, are no longer in a position to do so through lack of funds. Will Huckerby, Recreation Manager (QEFP) had pointed out through emails, that it was agreed this construction was only to be in place for five years, which has now lapsed, and little or no budget would be available for its upkeep. In its present state the fence MUST remain around it for health and safety purposes and they will try and maintain it to the best of their abilities. This being the case, I have been asked by the SVA for Strathyre residents to submit their opinions on the future of this building - and if we would like it to remain part of the village attractions. So if you have any views on this subject you can air them by submitting them to the SVA website where all views will be analysed, and hopefully some sort of conclusion will be reached as to the future of the Broch. Send your views and comments to: strathyre-village.org.uk Please remember, you can view all that is happening in YOUR village by visiting this site! Wullie D

EOIN CAMPBELL

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

STRATHYRE. TEL 01877384248 07967143910 e.campbell147@btinternet.com

Real Ale - Real Music


Valentine’s party night in support of the Strathyre Music Festival Balvaig Music Group would like to give a big thank you to the brave souls that beat the weather to attend the Valentines party / Fun night in the Village Hall. It turned out a great night and we were very grateful to all who supported the event, especially the large representation from Balquhidder, Kingshouse and Lochearnhead where weather was challenging to say the least. Thanks also to the loyal supporters from the Village of Strathyre that came along on such a dreich night. Congratulations to Dave and Theresa Allan who won the Mr & Mrs party game winning a romantic overnight with B&B. Thanks to Mhor 84 for the kind prize donation. The photo top right shows Wullie and Jan - ‘going through it’! Special thanks to the great live music from the Dudàch girls - (Gill, Abbey, Gaylor and Victoria), Seth Lumsden, and Balvaig (pictured right) who will all appear at the Music Festival in May. Thanks again to Emah and Nyree Watson for organising a great night to support the Fundraising efforts of the Strathyre Music Festival 24 & 25 May.

STRATHYRE MUSIC FESTIVAL 24 & 25 May 2014

Dear Residents of Lochearnhead, Balquhidder (Including Kingshouse) and Strathyre... We will be running the 2nd Strathyre Music Festival on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th of May. The Festival line up is looking fantastic with over 250 individual artists committed to attend making the Festival the Biggest Community based Music Festival in Scotland in 2014. The Festival is a costly affair to organise and this year we face considerable expense requiring the committee to need to promote tickets to help fund the event the Festival Market Place with its “Commonwealth Theme” and the (any letter or Bill will do) – unless of course we know you, which will be the special Sunday Night Ceilidh Party. case for most attendees. GOOD NEWS In light of the tremendous support We hope you will manage along to given by our local BLS Community at what will be a fantastic Weekend of last year’s festival, the Music Festival Music and wide range of Entertainment Committee are arranging special and Festival Market. For enquiries Please funding to allow all of those with contact any member of the Festival an address within Lochearnhead, Committee or email info@balvaig.co.uk Balquhidder / Kingshouse and Strathyre or Call us on 01877 384 660. to be provided with Free Passes to the HELPERS WANTED: If you feel 2014 event. This will include free access able to offer a little of your time to help to the Sunday Night Ceilidh Party at this year’s Festival, Please contact Nyree Watson at Flutterbuys Gift shop Celebration. You may apply in advance for free Strathyre or email: nyree@balvaig.co.uk tickets by email to info@balvaig.co.uk Kenny Higgins quoting your name and address (this Chairman helps us understand how many passes Strathyre Music Festival Committee we need to put aside) or just simply turn up on the day with proof of your address

The Third “Nile” Virus I thought you would want to know about this e-mail virus! Even the most advanced programs from Norton or McAfee cannot take care of this one. It appears to affect those who were born prior to 1965... The Virus... 1. Causes you to send the same e-mail twice. (Done that!) 2. Causes you to send a blank e-mail! (That too!) 3. Causes you to send e-mail to the wrong person. (Yep!) 4.Causes you to send it back to the person who sent it to you. (Aha!) 5. Causes you to forget to attach the attachment. (Well ... darn!) 6. Causes you to hit “SEND” before you’ve finished. (Oh , no - not again!) 7. Causes you to hit “DELETE” instead of “SEND..” (And I just hate that!) 8. Causes you to hit “SEND” when you should “DELETE.” (Oh No!) IT IS CALLED THE ‘C-NILE VIRUS.’ (Have I already sent this to you? Or did you send it to me...?)

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Church News St Angus’s Church... BalquhiĐĐer

A Note from

‘Prayer is the act of seeing reality from God’s point of view. In prayer I shift my point of view away from the speck that is myself.  I gaze at the stars and recall what role I - or any of us - play in a universe beyond comprehension.’ This is a quote from the first paragraph of a book by Philip Yancey which is being studied and discussed by the Home Group on Wednesday evenings.  I wonder what you think; in fact it might be interesting to know what any of our world leaders would think...?  With a ‘God’s Eye View’ what changes might we/they make?  Please take a moment to think about it. We are concerned in St Angus’s that our heating system has been condemned; a church should be a warm and welcoming place in every sense.  Thanks to a very successful Valentine’s Pancake and Coffee Morning at Pam and Lawries’s, we have banked the first £500 towards costs and now we are looking forward to our Gardeners’ Question Time on March 27th at the Four Seasons Hotel in St Fillans.  There are still a few tickets left. From time of writing it’s only 28 days till British Summer Time begins again.  We have reason to be thankful up here for a relatively mild - if wet - winter.  Snowdrops are flourishing. Crocuses are blooming and I recently saw my first gorse bush in bloom.  We should spare a thought (Or even a prayer?!) for the victims of floods in the South and, even more so, for the victims who have spent the winter in temporary shelters because their homes have been destroyed in acts of war for which they bear no responsibility.  We may complain about the dreich weather - but we are very fortunate.

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Reg. Charity No. SC012316

The Church AGM will be held on Sunday 23rd March at about 1.00 pm, that is, immediately after the Church service. The Annual Accounts for 2013 which have been approved by the Board will be presented, as well as a property report. We knew it would happen eventually: Revd John Lincoln has now formally announced that he is to retire from the Ministry at the end of May this year. He will attend the Church of Scotland General Assembly in Edinburgh in May and his last service here will be on Sunday 25th May. We shall be very sorry indeed to lose him, but wish him and Julie a very happy retirement. For over 17 years, Mr Lincoln has kept us going as a working Church, with services every Sunday as well as the traditional services and sacraments throughout the year. Services will continue as usual until the end of May and afterwards, we hope, with little disruption during the vacancy. We have just heard that, in conjunction with Killin, we should be allowed to call another minister and pray that there will be some suitable applicants. We shall be able to let you know more about this in the coming months as procedures of the Church of Scotland unfold. Jean Edwards

Quiz Night

Saturday 12th April in the Village Hall, Lochearnhead in aid of raising funds for a Defibrillator Further details in the next issue of The Villagers, but please look out for details.

YOUR help is needed

for this very worthwhile cause!

Morag MacNee Retires

Morag, who many will know, sister of Tommy McGregor of Auchtubh, has asked me to give a great vote of thanks to those locals, who over the years, have made contributions and donations to CHAS (Children’s Hospice Association Scotland) through the fund raising events that she has organised and run over the years. Personally I think it is Morag who deserves an enormous vote of thanks for all her hard work. After all it is she who has given freely of her time for over 20 years to raise the magnificent sum of £55,000 - £26,000 of which went to CHAS. She is an inspiration to many. Still, as requested – thank you everyone! And a HUGE thank you to Morag – you deserve your retirement! P Perkins

Erskine has been caring for Scotland’s veterans since 1916; re-building shattered lives, restoring dignity and providing first-class care to ex-Service men and women. In the past year the charity has cared for 1,100 veterans. Erskine’s core role is to provide nursing care for elderly veterans in five specialist homes across Scotland but the charity also offers support, housing and employment opportunities to veterans of all ages. Learn more at the talk being given at Forth Valley’s U3A general meeting, 2pm on Friday 14th February in the Mayfield Centre, St Ninian’s, Stirling. You are warmly invited to come along to the talk and to discover more about the FVU3A whilst enjoying a cup of tea or coffee and chatting with some of the members. For further information please contact the membership secretary on 01786 822062.

Hogmanay Photos

Thanks to Richard Harris for the New Year photos in February’s issue - sorry about the missing credit, Richard! GA


Robyn’s Award

Dr Alastair Durie

Dr. Alastair Durie is a senior lecturer at Stirling University. He is currently teaching the history of medicine for the Open University, and the history of sport at Stirling, and supervising postgraduates for the University of the Highlands and Islands.    He undertakes a wide range of speaking engagements both in Scotland and overseas.  He is an expert in the history of tourism and has been involved with genealogy, including research for Annie Lennox on the TV programme Who Do You Think You Are?   He has a range of sporting interests and other commitments to church and charities.  Amongst these are acting as a lay assessor for the Law Society of Scotland. He has published a number of books, papers and articles on a wide range of subjects which include Scottish Railways, Early Motoring, The British Linen Company and much else.   His entertaining and amusing talk The Scottish Sabbath – the Do’s and Do Nots draws on his experience with the Church of Scotland where he holds Lay appointments.

On Saturday night Royal Forth Yacht Club Cadet, Robyn Dougall won the 2013 RYA Young Volunteer of the Year award. The award was presented at the prestigious RYA Annual Awards Dinner in Glasgow on 1st February. Over 150 people attended this glittering event on Saturday 1st February. To quote the presentation, “Some of Robyn’s greatest achievements have been winning the gold medal twice and a bronze medal at the RYA Honda Youth Rib Challenge in Scotland together with her work as a volunteer driver of a rescue RIB on the Forth. It is perhaps her work as a rescue driver that impressed the judging panel the most – demonstrating high levels of skill as well as being mature beyond her years.” The other two nominations for the Young Volunteer Award were Joe Gibson from the Scottish Sailing Institute and Iona Helyer from Aberdeen Sailing Trust. Robyn was awarded a beautiful glass trophy. The Awards Dinner was sponsored by Honda, Clyde Challenger and Virgin Atlantic. Robyn shared a memorable evening at the top table with amongst others Iain Botwood Honda’s manager and Russell Aitken the new owner of Port Edgar. Robyn also reached the shortlist in the final three for the nomination to receive The RYA Scotland Elizabeth Mackay award 2013. This award was for women that had made a particularly impressive input to the sport. She was up against Alice Claire Meaden who is the chair of SUSA (Scottish Universities Sailing Association) and Jane Campbell Morrison who brought the sailing in the city project to fruition. The winner of the Elizabeth Mackay award was Jane Campbell Morrison. The chairman said, “The nomination process has brought to light a host of truly outstanding people; consequently the shortlist is of a very high standard indeed”.   Here are pictures from the evening and a picture of Robyn’s award. (Award ceremony pictures courtesy Judith Drummond.)

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View from the Park by Owen McKee ‘Aren’t you lucky to live in such a beautiful area?’ is a statement we regularly hear from our visitors - and we are all too ready to agree. Unfortunately although we delight in our surroundings some find it necessary to depart for employment and housing reasons. The result is that the population of the Park is declining. But then should that concern us? The Park Authority has as one of its four aims the duty ‘to promote the sustainable economic and social development of the area’s communities’ and a declining population does not help. But how do you buck the trend? The simple but simplistic answer is ‘create jobs and provide houses’. Right now we are in the middle of the review of the Local Plan - the shelf life of which expires next year and consequently the questions as to how we structure development over the next five to ten years are very pertinent indeed. In the current Local Plan we factored in provision for the development of 75 houses in each of the five years covered by the Plan. No doubt due to the economic constraints over the past few years the take up rate has been well below the desired figures. With a generally improving economic picture, should we be optimistic, and include a 75 houses per year in our new Local Development Plan? Important as housing is, we need employment for people too. To help attract people to invest in the area the Park Authority has been active in ensuring that the conditions are right. The East Loch Lomond Management Plan, our own Five Lochs Project and our partnership with Police Scotland in Operation Ironworks are all part of our effort to give comfort to intending investors that we are looking after our communities and visitors. Additionally we are constantly making the business community aware both inside and outwith

the Park that we are open for business and receptive to ideas for new ventures. We have been gathering comments from the communities and taking these into account in our deliberations and our aim is to bring them forward to the Main Issues Report to our March Board meeting before releasing it for consultation with our communities for the twelve weeks of April to June. On Friday 21st February I joined our Stirling Councillors in a visit to Strathard at the invitation of The Forestry Commission. With rain pouring down and rivers pretty full it was appropriate that one of the subjects under discussion was flooding. You may have noticed that Stirling Council has allocated funding for flooding relief in its 2014/15 budget. Under the plans being drawn up for Aberfoyle consideration is being given to creating flood plains (similar to our own Loch Occasional at Kingshouse) in forestry land above Loch Ard with the intention that that will slow down the flow of water before it hits Aberfoyle. This hold back and slow release scheme has worked well elsewhere and has afforded considerable relief for Perth. With some businesses in Aberfoyle already having severe difficulty in finding flood insurance the hope is that the scheme can be put in place very quickly. The contract for The Scenic Routes Viewpoint at the south car park at Loch Lubnaig has been awarded to Land Engineering and work should be underway in the near future. I am delighted that at our Board Meeting on 17th February our Convener Linda McKay was elected to serve in that post for another three year term. Owen McKee Tigh Na Bhuth, Lochearnhead, FK19 8PR 01567 830214

Are you a sole trader... a partnership... a small limited company or charity? a I can offer help with your: a VAT returns • Tax returns Book keeping • Credit control a Payroll • General office/paperwork a Helen Clark a 07971 648743 01567 830459 Sammy_helen@yahoo.co.uk a 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. incallander.co.uk/ramblers.htm in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diary: MARCH 2014 • Wed 5th 9:30am Stroll: In and around Airth (6 miles) - contact 01877 330446 • Wed 19th 9:30am Ramble: BalquhidderStrathyre Loop (6 miles)- contact 01877 384227 • Wed 26th 9:30am Hill: Crappich Hill & Craig Liath (499m) – contact 01786 823265 APRIL 2014 • Wed 2nd 9:30am Ramble: Comrie to St Fillans via Loch Baltachan – contact 01786 823265 • Sat 12th 8:30am Hill: Stuc Odhar – contact 01786 825198

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!

NEED A TAXI?


Rusty McD is back with another 5-minute interview about Pets In The Community!

5 minutes with...

Jack, Billy...Casper and Otto

My thanks this month to Jack (6) and Billy (4) from Balquhidder for agreeing to be interviewed at 5 minutes’ notice when I returned from a failed attempt to find my actual interviewee for this month in Lochearnhead. I have made a resolution to be a better organised journalist for next month! Here is our short, serious and to the point chat about their pets which I really enjoyed. If there are any other young pet owners who would like to chat to me to about their pets please let our editor know. Can you tell me about your pets? Jack: I have a kitten and her name is Casper! Billy: I sometimes call her Kitty because my kitten died... but one day I might get a new one. That’s such a shame – what happened to Kitty? Billy: She just got very sick. What does Casper like to do? Jack: She likes eating catnip and playing with cat toys. The fishing rod is her favourite and she sleeps on my bed. She likes climbing trees... but she fell out once ...and bounced. What do you think your cat dreams about? Jack: Riding a reindeer. Have you got any other pets? Billy: We have 2 dogs called Otto and Burkie. Tell me about them! Jack: Otto has a wife called Betty – she lives at Monachyle Mhor – she looks the same but has a red collar.

From left to right: Otto with Billy; and Jack with Casper!

And what games do you play with Otto? Jack: Snap! What do you both like about living in Balquhidder? Billy: Playing outside on my swing Jack: Swimming in the loch with my friend, Ossian, looking for stags, reindeer and knobbers. I like my bow and arrow. And I have seen a mouse! Mike Luti has seen a sea eagle and Mike Halliday calls the stags down to feed them. We climb lots of hills and see lots of deer. I have heard thousands of roars AND I’ve seen a golden eagle. If you could have any animal as a pet apart from your dogs and cat what would you choose? Jack: A knobber. Billy: Can I go now? (Ed’s note: A ‘knobber’ is a young stag with emerging horns, I am reliably informed!)

And do Otto and Betty have any children? Yes – Betty has to make the babies and they come out in the spring. Otto has a son called Kai who lives down in the glen in a white house near the loch. Do you think Casper will get a husband when she’s older? Billy: No, she’ll probably get a wife. So what do you think Otto most likes about living in Balquhidder? Jack: He loves playing - and sleeping! Does he dream when he’s sleeping? Jack: Yes – he dreams about playing with his balls.

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‘The Lochearnhead Bit’

Many of those folk who read The Villagers and who stay in Lochearnhead will be by now aware that Strathyre and St Fillans have their ‘bit’ in every edition - a page or two dedicated to happenings on their own patch... So it was decided at the recent AGM that now that your local reporter (me) is retired (sort of) that it was probably time Lochearnhead tried to do the same thing.  Much was said at the meeting about Lochearnhead not being that sort of village, and to be fair many of the events (and there are many which take place especially in the summer months) have their own very able people  who write very interesting reports on them, all of which are sent directly to the Editor. What I am proposing will in no way detract from that status quo! We would welcome informative and amusing articles (from people in the know) on the likes of the Shearing, the Highland

Games, the Model Aeroplanes etc and for the most part these reports are submitted after the events have taken place. What I am hoping to develop here is a round up of what is planned for the village on a month to month basis, from events, parties, fundraising efforts, planning development issues and any upcoming news which will be of interest to all residents. Folk can send me their articles by email and I will incorporate them into my monthly ‘bit’, or alternatively, phone, and if I am not in leave a message on my answer phone (number on back page) and I will be happy to meet up with you to get more details. Let us see if Lochearnhead can’t get in to the ‘bit’ groove and prove that we are a cohesive village with lots going for us. Well, we know that - but perhaps we need to let others in on the secrets too.

Ali Ferguson

Lochearnhead Post Office

Following months of negotiations with Post Office  Ltd, the fulltime  Lochearnhead Post Office will be closing on the 12th March 2014  as part of their Network Transformation Programme. I would like to thank everyone who has made me feel welcome in the community and supported the PO over many years. It has been much appreciated. Unfortunately the business is no longer viable so even if I didn’t leave the network voluntarily then I would be amongst the 800 branches that are going to be closed by the PO in the coming months. Lochearnhead is very fortunate that Janet from Strathyre PO has agreed to host an outreach service at the same venue. Finding someone who is willing to do this is very difficult so Lochearnhead, compared to Killin and other similar villages is in a fortunate position would please ask that people support her effort. There will be no change to the Royal Mail delivery service. Thank you once again for your support and as I will still be living in Lochearnhead  will look forward to continuing friendships. Cathy Mclean Subpostmistress  

New PO opening times Monday and Thursday 1.30pm to 5pm at the existing PO site.   

Lochearnhead - looking towards the Post Office by Jim Hannah 12

CLOSING DOWN SALE

STARTING MONDAY 3RD MARCH


Readers of The Villagers with long memories may remember the escapade in 2006 when a certain cat by the name of Lulubelle disappeared for three very long days and posters appeared on lampposts, at Owen’s and the Post Office, before she was finally discovered holed up in the eaves behind the owner’s bathroom wall. Wriggle room for a cat - but inaccessible to humans! She made her apologies for all the fuss in the next edition of The Villagers, and this is how her owner Bill Jamieson described the experience in the Scotsman magazine at the time. We well remember the enormous kindness of strangers – Cathy and Richard, and Marguerite in particular. Sadly Lulubelle was lost again yesterday – this time permanently, as she succumbed to a bad heart, aged 12 and a bit. Attached is Bill’s tribute to her, which appears on his Facebook page and - as a departure from his usual economics – on the ThinkScotland website.

Anyone who has owned a pet will understand…

Permanently ‘Paused’... I hope readers will forgive me for not charging forth into a hot political or economic topic today. For the past week our cat, a constant companion for more than twelve years, has been very poorly. Excess fluid round the heart restricted her movement and drained her of energy. Despite efforts by the vet and various varieties of medication, she became unable to move. This morning, under the supervision of the vet, she was put to sleep in my arms. Against all logic and sense of proportion – “snap out of it, it’s only a cat” – I have been hit by an intense sense of sadness and loss. We collected Miss Lulubelle, a British short hair chocolate colour point born on an Aberdeen farm, from a rescue centre in Edinburgh. Over the years she became an inseparable part of our lives. Now we are inconsolable. As with all cats, she came with a set of impenetrable mysteries. Central to these was an ability to read our moods and our movements. We thought we had got to know everything there was to know about her. Her knowledge of us was infinitely greater. Here is one of her enduring mysteries - one of many I will miss most. For most of the past twelve years I worked full-time on The Scotsman. In the early years the Editor-inChief was Andrew Neil, an editor notoriously difficult to please. His demands on time and energy were insatiable. I would return home to our flat late in the evenings tense and frazzled

tired, my head buzzing with the 25 things I hadn’t done, stories I had failed to spot, articles that should have been written and headlines that missed the spot. Lulubelle would climb on my lap and within five minutes something happened that no drink or medicine could ever effect: all that tension and stress effortlessly disappeared. In periods when I was poorly, she clambered onto the bed and cuddled close. When I woke up from bad dreams or nightmares her purring was the most reassuring sound I could ever imagine. She could intuitively predict my bedtimes, rushing up the stairs to be first on the bed. In the mornings I was awoken more often than not by the soft thump of her paws as she jumped down to the floor to take up a position by her food bowl. As with all cats, her ability to anticipate our arrival at the door was extraordinary, as if she could hear my footsteps coming down Campbell’s Close. Her ability to anticipate when food was being put down for her was even more astonishing. If ever there was a cats Olympics, she would win gold for the alacrity with which she would leap from an apparently deep slumber in the armchair and bound through to take up her position in the kitchen. There was no need to wonder where the most comfortable chair in the house could be found. Lulubelle would be curled up in it and not to be disturbed. And as with all cats she had, late in the evenings, utterly unpredictable but deafening skitter times. At the climax to some tense TV

drama, ping pong balls would be sent flying to all corners of the room, Lulubelle in hot, demonic pursuit. During the day her favourite activity, when not sleeping or sun bathing by the window, was to sit in the middle of the outside doorway, half way in and half way out, the way that cats do. All pet owners will know how they can wheedle their way into our hearts to such a degree that we not only come to live shared lives, but also to alter our movements and habits to their advantage. I never knew her views on independence or banker bonuses or Quantitative Easing. I would talk to her a lot, but she never disclose her own political leanings. She had bigger things to preoccupy her. Fish distribution policy, or chicken gravy supplies. Then there was chasing flies. And watching birds. She loved our garden in Lochearnhead, the catnip, the bees and flowers and stalking through the unmown grass. She also had the gentlest nature of any cat I have ever known. Here was our constant companion, our pal, our affection, our destresser, our comfort, our amusement, our attention, our unconditional love. I hope she has not gone into a darkness but to one of her favourite places: sitting by the garden fence in Lochearnhead, watching the lambs in the games field. We will miss her terribly. Bill and Elaine Jamieson Inverogle Lochearnhead Mobile 07889-488647 Or by email info@scottishvoice.net

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BLS – Where Business Does the Talking by Iona Mchedliani

B r i a r C o t ta g e s This February I had the opportunity to meet Kim and Fraser Proven at their beautiful home in Lochearnhead. Situated on the north bank of Loch Earn, Briar Cottages sits in idyllic surroundings with incredible views of the area. Since moving to the community they have run a local business that provides luxury and pet friendly selfcatering accommodation. I had the privilege of being shown around the historic main building of their home, as well as the two cottages they run. In addition, Kim is closely involved with the Loch Earn Tourism Initiative (LETI) which is accomplishing great things in both bringing together business owners and members of the community, as well as promoting the four villages as a wonderful area to visit. How long have you been based at Briar Cottages? This will be our sixth year.   What made you decide to open such a business here? There was an established Bed & Breakfast and one self-catering cottage here when we bought it. Fraser and I were both working in Edinburgh when he became ill resulting in a quadruple bypass at 64, so we had to rethink our lives. I was working for a London dental supply company marketing interdental products from my base in Edinburgh. Fraser had been involved in property management. I packed in my job, we rented out our house and we moved in to our boat in Largs to recuperate and plan the next chapter. We wanted to do something together. Fraser had always talked about retiring near water, so when this came up it was the perfect solution for a lovely way of life with plenty to do, in charge of our own destinies.   Is it a family-run business then? It’s just Fraser and I, yes.   What type of customers do you get From top: Panoramic view of Briar Cottages mostly? Is it couples, families or groups? from Little Briar; Kim Proven; the Cruck Room I’d say mostly middle aged couples, some at Briar Cottage professional, some retired. Statistics show launch of our business life cycle we said that 35% are Scottish, about 45% are “let’s just see what happens”. It became English and the rest are from the UK and clear that we should target visitors within abroad. Our main band is North England, 4 hours because that was going to be our anything from Hull to Manchester way, core business. When we started we only and some further north of here. So, offered 7 night holidays from a Saturday, within a 4 hour drive. Our luxury cottage last year when the market was slower we guests also include those who fly drive changed to 3-7 night breaks with any start from London and the south coast. I’d say date. So you have to review, experiment that the average age is about 45+ with a and adapt through the cycle. I keep an slight variation each year. eye on Tourism Intelligence. There is Do you do get people coming to you from a suggestion that more Germans are coming to Scotland but not Americans abroad? Yes. We have had people from Israel, Saudi this year for example.  So if we follow Arabia, India, the Netherlands, Germany tourism and Visit Scotland intelligence and America. We don’t target people patterns, we have clues to where we from abroad in our marketing yet. At the should consider targeting or testing. We 14

get a lot of repeat business so they are our obvious targets but you always have to be out there pulling in new guests. What are most of your guests interested in doing while they’re here? What are the most popular activities, for example? A variety from outdoor activities to relaxation and recuperation and it depends on the seasons as we are open for business 365 days a year. Water sports, fishing, walking, cycling, whisky tours, car touring, golf, Munro bagging, photography, castles, skiing, wildlife watching. Guests in the luxury cottage tend to eat out more, watch Sky Sports and films, lounge and read in front of the wood burner because of the comfortable space from the full glass windows. Some will launch their own boat or kayak from our slipway or fish from the jetty. Many want to climb Ben Vorlich or walk or cycle on the ‘Rob Roy Way’, part of the ‘Gore-Tex National Trail’ as it is now. Scotland’s first national trail in fact. It goes from the borders north to Cape Wrath passing through our path here on the old railway line. Do you recommend any particular activities for visitors to do while in the area?


We have to listen to what they want but can offer ideas based on local knowledge. There are so many options from here. People love wildlife due to popular TV nature programmes. Some people go out and see what they can spot, others are interested in animal parks and we recommend Hidden Glen Safaris for those that want a professional guide to look for deer, eagles and so on. Alan will arrive in his Land Rover, pick our guests up and bring them back. We have osprey pairs on Loch Earn all summer long and people can’t believe it. It’s not well publicised. They fish right there in front of our garden and comb up and down the loch all day. One picked up a fish just at the mooring buoy there, it was too big and so it dropped it on the grass. The man that was re-thatching our roof at the time, climbed down, picked the fish up and threw it back in! What a day in the life of that trout! We collaborate with tourism business folk in the area so can recommend activities, services, shops and contacts on first name terms. There’s a big campaign on at the moment to push cycling in this region but, sadly, there are no bikes to rent here. An opportunity for someone perhaps... People have to go to Killin or Comrie Croft’s “dial a bike” drop-off service. Some bring their own bikes of course and enjoy national cycle route 7 on the disbanded railway walkway. Many are attracted to fishing from our 250ft long garden or jetty. We can also point them to Lochearnhead shops for bait and floats and to Drummond Boat Hire if they want to get on the loch. We are quite knowledgeable about the area and beyond and some like to see other parts of Scotland using this as a base. I’d say that within a sixty mile radius you can reach a good chunk of Scotland; Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oban, Perth, Loch Lomond, there are too many choices. For example if people want information on the Falkirk Wheel or Inveraray Castle, Tobermory, Loch Katrine, The Crannog on Loch Tay - we can help. Water sports is an obvious recommendation whether people want to take part or watch over tea and cake. In winter time we recommend things like waterfalls, Doune Antique Centre, Glencoe Skiing, Stargazing, Glenturret Distillery, McLaren swimming pool. What are some of your favourite local events? The big one is the BLS Highland Games in Lochearnhead. It’s fantastic. McLarens versus McGregors in the tug of war, heavyweight events and open races for kids. Surely one of the best traditional games in Scotland thanks to local volunteers. Visit Scotland filmed it last year to include in this year’s Homecoming 2014 TV advert. Also last year we had formula one power boat water skiing.

They ski at 110 miles per hour on the loch. I don’t know if they’re doing it this year but that was really good. And there’s the Lochearn Shears. When we first moved here I thought “I’ve never been to a sheep shearing contest before”. You have to experience it to believe it. It’s all on a stage. Such skill and energy, it’s amazing. We also went to the Mhor Festival in Balquhidder last year which was fantastic. There were all sorts of things from “a play a pie and a pint” to kiddies activities and challenges. Scotland’s top chefs, like Andrew Fairlie from Gleneagles, were there with their families mingling with the crowds. The Strathyre Music Festival, which had its debut last year, was really well done. A mix of music from all genres. I was really proud of the locals that put it together, and I am sure it will be even better this year. I love all the events; the model aeroplane flying, the open water swimming, The Great Loch Earn Boat race, the village fete, charity horse race night, Hogmanay party and more.   Are you linked or affiliated with any other business locally? I am a member of the Loch Earn Tourism Initiative group.   Exactly how are you involved with the Loch Earn Tourism Initiative? We have a variety of talent in the group. I drive most of the website marketing and PR strategies and tend to network with tourism groups, Tourism Intelligence, Visit Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and other small businesses at tourism events and via social media. I can represent Briar Cottages and LETI at the same time. I will put my hand up for Chair at the forthcoming AGM but it’s up to the group to vote. Anyone can have a shot at it with the support of the others. The current chairman is Alan Sneddon from Balquhidder and before that it was Mal Dingle from Strathyre. LETI is a collaboration of tourism business providers in our 4 neighbouring villages. There are around 40 members at the moment who pay to have a webpage and to fund small marketing projects. There’s a wide range of accommodation members from campsite to boutique hotels plus food and drink, shops like Sula soft furnishing, and services like Helen and George from Highland Glen Travel taxis and bespoke tours. Some businesses offer multiple services like Lochearn House B&B owners where Dianne offers a quilting service and Matt does outside catering. Look up the website to see the range. (Continued next month)

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 enquiries@rsha.demon.co.uk www.rsha.org.uk 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.

Interested parties please refer to: www.stayatbriar.co.uk or for LETI: www.robroycountry.com 15


McLaren High School News McLaren Pupils Embark on Outward Bound at Loch Eil Helping Their Personal Development Since Outward Bound was founded in 1941, they have helped over one million young people explore the great outdoors increasing their confidence, self-esteem and resilience.  This was the 10th year that our pupils have taken part in Outward Bound and without doubt, during their week at Loch Eil in December, they were given the opportunity to take part in a life changing experience, enabling them to learn from themselves and realise their potential.  Here’s what some of our young people thought of their residential: On the first day we arrived with high sprits. Firstly we were put into our clans (groups) in the meeting room and then set out on the first activity, the dreaded jog and dip, where we had to jump in to the freezing loch. We had it easy compared to previous years where they had snow and ice! Although most people would say it was just as cold! After our chilly dip we had a hot shower to warm ourselves up. In the evenings, we took part in smaller activities such as the night line. The night line is a blindfolded team challenge through the forest. We had to communicate upcoming obstacles such as tires, tunnels and trees to our team-mates and aid our peers around tricky terrain. It was challenging but also great fun! The next morning we were in full swing of Loch Eil life with early starts and amazing breakfasts, (the porridge is our favourite!). We started the day with team building exercises followed by a raft building competition. We had to design a raft and race the other clans. We had to use teambuilding and communication skills to complete this task. It was very challenging to coordinate the raft but we felt a great sense of achievement when we finished. That night was the trapeze, this was a tall structure with a platform the size of a pizza box to balance on, from which we had to leap and grab a trapeze bar. This challenge pushed us as it tested our courage and trust. We all completed the jump and were glad to feel the ground under our feet! The rest of the week continued in this fashion but with a wide variety of activities ranging from canoeing to rock climbing. Each activity presented new and unique challenges and tested our team skills. We won’t forget all the great memories we have and what we have learnt during the week. We would recommend this trip to all the younger years as we loved our time at the centre. Thanks to the Outward Bound Instructors and the McLaren High staff who helped make our week so enjoyable. Alasdair Murphy, Gregor Nixon and Freddie Bawden S4 Students are put through their paces at Loch Eil’s Outward Bound course. Looks like the porridge did its stuff!

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visit our website: www.mclarenhigh.co.uk


Callander & West Perthshire U3A Courses are in full swing with at least two leaders planning future trips abroad. In February, the Rock Music Appreciation group went to Perth Concert Hall to see The Yardbirds, The Zombies, the Animals and friends, Dave Berry and Maggie Bell. A great time was had by all. The Italian group has been restarted, meeting fortnightly on Tuesday mornings at L’Angolino in Doune. Proprietor Gerry is our teacher, and we have an enthusiastic beginners’ conversation class. The second meeting relating to the Referendum Debate was held in February and 57 members attended to hear Gerry McLaughlan SNP speak on behalf of the Yes, Scotland campaign. Mr McLaughlan made it clear that he was not campaigning from a political party viewpoint but wanted to list the many ways in which Scotland would benefit from voting for Independence. He stressed that in the event of a Yes vote the post-referendum election might bring a very different balance of power to the Scottish Parliament and thus to negotiations on the currency, EU membership, pensions and the fate of Trident - to mention just some of the many concerns voiced by the meeting at the lengthy question and answer session. For more information on any of our courses visit our website where you can make contact and be directed to the relevant Group Leader. Just Google ‘Callander and West Perthshire U3A’.

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Crieff Round Table Boat Race

The date has been set for this year’s Great Loch Earn Boat Race. Sunday 13th April will see teams row from Lochearnhead to St Fillans. Organisers Crieff Round Table hope to continue the success of the annual event which in 2013 raised over £5000 in sponsorship and entrance fees, a sum that was donated to charities and good causes chosen by competing teams. Crieff Round table are happy to hear from new teams willing to battle it out over the seven mile course from the Lochearnhead Watersports Centre to the jetty of the Achray House Hotel in St. Fillans. Spectators are welcome to cheer on the boats at the completion of the race where the teams will be treated to a warming meal at the Achray House hotel and collect their prizes. Some boats are still available (kindly provided by Drummond Fisheries) and 4-person teams of all ability are welcomed to register for the race. If you are interested in entering a team for the race, or for more details, contact Jamie Russell on 07870381889 or e-mail jamie@ msa-architects.com. Photo by Kim Proven

First Responders Unit and Defibrillator for Strathyre  Many congratulations to Mel Brydie, Jan Dalziel and Lindsey Revie, who attended a training course at Lochearnhead Village Hall over the weekend of 22/23 February run by the Scottish Ambulance Service - as part of the process of towards becoming a first responder. Once that process has been completed the scheme will be launched. The ladies describe the training course as “brilliant” and “amazing” and cannot thank the Scottish Ambulance Service enough for their support – especially Christine Lyall and Stuart Ballantyne.  The Trossachs Search and Rescue team also helped out at the course.  Mel, Jan and Lindsey hope that more people will join them in the new unit and they are about to start a recruitment drive. The folk of Strathyre will soon be able to sleep easier in their beds – so come on Lochearnhead and Balquhidder. Get volunteering!  As a First Responder, you don’t have to be on call 24 hours a day, but when you are, you might save someone’s life.   The ladies will carry a defibrillator funded by Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre Community Trust, and an anonymous donor.  The Trust is in the process of organising a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) for each of its villages, but these are expensive items and they need to be installed in an outside heated box to work properly and to be available 24 hours a day.    The PAD and hotbox in Balquhidder are being funded by the British Heart Foundation, Balquhidder & District Benevolent Fund and Our Park (the Friends of the National Park). It will be sited at Balquhidder Village Hall and hopefully it will be ready to go by Easter.   The PAD for Strathyre has been funded by the Stuc a Chroin Hill Race Committee, the British Heart Foundation, local fundraising and the Trust.  The Lochearnhead PAD has been funded by the British Heart Foundation, the Trust, and local fundraising by St Angus’s Church.  But more money must be raised to buy the hotboxes for Strathyre and Lochearnhead, which cost £495 a time. So watch out for fundraising events! A quiz will be organised soon by Jan and Alistair Barclay in Lochearnhead, so go along and support it. One day, you might be glad you did!  18

Making plans for your community We had a fantastic response last year from communities in the National Park who wanted to get involved in planning the future of their villages. Thank you to everyone who took part in the charettes and workshops. By working together with designers and different agencies, you have helped identify future priorities for new development. Along with residents, we have also been talking to landowners, developers and business owners to ask them for help in identifying opportunities to help boost rural economies and support communities. All your ideas have helped us prepare a consultation document called a Main Issues Report. This will help us identify development opportunities in your local area. The report will include images of how your village could look in the future which should encourage plenty of discussion. The report will be available in April with a whole range of ways for you to get in touch to tell us what you think of the development opportunities and if you think we have got it right or wrong! Working together, we can help our communities thrive with the right development. We really need your help and input during these important stages. For more information about the Local Development Plan visit www. lochlomond-trossachs.org, email ldp@lochlomond-trossachs.org or call 01389 722108 and ask for a member of the Forward Planning Team.


Gardening M A R C H by Jonathan MacDonald

Let us start this month with a recipe. Take a large potato and slice it nearly all the way through crossways at least a dozen or so times. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil and butter. Bake for 40 minutes. If you like chips you’ll like these and they are a novel departure from the traditional. Hasselback is the name and you can add cheese and garnish with many other things from the garden (chives being one suggestion). Now why a recipe? We are on the subject of potatoes - the world’s fourth largest food crop after rice, maize and wheat. These treasured Andean tubers are worth a mention as, if you are an average reader, you will have munched your way through 73lbs of them last year. Spuds (so named after an ancient digging tool from which we get ‘spade’), are now grown worldwide, and surely are the primo vegetablis on the allotment. Van Gogh describes how inspired he was in his famous painting The Potato Eaters as he tried to capture the peasants who tilled the earth themselves, sitting in dim light, eating their honestly earned food. It was his favourite painting, and is a rather ugly, yet beautiful, work - the great artist capturing the prize of cultivation. Perhaps this summer try a ‘Van Gogh selfie’ when you bring in your harvest of spuds - and cook them up and compare the outcome. In fact the humble spud may well be the super crop of the future as it is fast to grow. produces high yields per acre and is rich in vitamins and minerals. Two spuds will provide you with your daily recommended vitamin C intake - better than grains. The downside is they are heavy and not traded like grains, so growing them more locally is the solution. China is now the largest grower in the world with huge leaps in production each year. To cultivate them for wonderful meals here, however, we don’t need much room. A big tub or bucket would work. If you have space, a bit of free draining soil is a good start or, for the more advanced, you will have a rotation going in your veg plot or allotment. Spuds are usually followed by legumes and you should not lime the soil. One pleasure of spud growing is ‘earthing up’. If you have never done this, it is a fairly simple task that can be done quickly, but has a certain pleasure all of its own. Perhaps a comparison can be made with patting a dog or entertaining your cat! Try it and you’ll see what I mean. With earthing up however, plants and animals are captured

Hasselback Potatoes - yum yum!

briefly through a collision of kingdoms, one encouraging performance the other yielding to the hoe. One slight myth is the ability of a potato crop to clean the ground. It does to an extent by it leafy canopy suppressing weeds however it is the back breaking work that does the cleaning, don’t be fooled. A good technique if you are preparing a new lawn is to plant a crop of earlies and then sow your seed after harvest. The ground will be weed free and friable and all it will take is a good raking of the old haulms (dead plant heads), levelling and rolling. If you are a gardening maniac then sow a crop in your fancy new wee poly tunnel and you’re eating earlies in May. Lady Christl is a new variety which is an excellent performer. Sowing too early risks frost damage which spuds are susceptible to and it is worth a little patience as later sowing, when the soil heats up, is worth the wait. It is also worth sprouting or chitting your potatoes and this has been

shown by experiments to increase yields. Use egg boxes or trays or simply stand them up. Look for the “rose” end which has the eyes. Keep them in good light to encourage the new sprouts to be compact and not weak, spindly and drawn which will result if placed in too dark an area. This sprouting is essential for earlies and is recommended for all second earlies and main crop varieties. Another question often asked is how many “sprouts” to remove? Leaving all sprouts will result in lots of smaller potatoes which is perhaps preferable. Leaving one sprout will result in a limited number of large potatoes. Leaving two will result in more larger potatoes and some smaller ones. Leaving three will result in more smaller ones but some larger potatoes. It remains for you to choose but for general cultivation two or three sprouts are acceptable and I would suggest alternating your rows with twos or threes. PHEW!

New enlarged sales area! Open 7 days a week: 9.30am -5pm Huge selection of plants and stock now in. (Check out www.scottish-gardening-news.co.uk) On the main road A85 going East just before Comrie Contact: Jonathan MacDonald and the Riverside Team mail@scottishgardens.info www.scottishgardens.info Tel: 01764 670800 19


Killin Mountain Rescue Team - End Of Year Round Up for 2013

2013 has been a very busy year for the team. We eased into January with no callouts at all but that all changed on the 2nd of February when we had our first callout for the year. This was quickly followed by a succession of callouts. By the middle of March the team had turned out 20 times. Thereafter it was a bit more sporadic, but with an annual total of 34 callouts we were not idle. It has been one of the busiest years we have had for some time. Some brief statistics: • 34 Callouts (in 2012 there were 26 callouts, 2011: 22, 2010:29, 2009: 21 and 2008: 29) • 46 people rescued/assisted • 2 Fatalities • 464 individual attendances of team members • Nearly 2000 person hours on callouts In between callouts we still carried out our training programme as normal. We train one Sunday and one weekday evening per month, from September through to May. There were also monthly kit maintenance nights at our stores. Last year a number of new members joined the team, some experienced some not, but all are willing to get stuck in to the training programme and learn new skills. 2013 saw the team become an Incorporated Charitable Organisation registered by OSCAR. This was quite a torturous process to complete but the tenacity of one or two members paid off, and by the middle of the year the process was complete and we are now a registered charity. We are all aware as of the first of last April we now have a national police force under the banner of Police Scotland. The police have responsibility for all missing persons in the UK and we as an MR team work closely with the police not only at a national level but more importantly for us with local officers in our own locality. We must be doing something right; at the time of writing we have six police officers as team members from the Killin, Lochearnhead and Callander areas. We wondered what the implications would be for us as a team, what with centralised call centres and police officers from other force areas tasked to help us on callouts. We did not have long to wait. What used to be Strathclyde police tasked two constables from Helensburgh to assist/ liaise with our team on a callout in the Crianlarich area. They had to get directions to Crianlarich. We have had phone calls asking us to turn out to callouts in what would be Glencoe or Strathclyde teams’ areas in the Glencoe and Bridge of Orchy area. 20

It is a learning process for us all, we are getting there, albeit slowly. You will all have seen in the news this last couple of winter that avalanches in Scotland have claimed more lives and seem to be more common than in previous years. As a team we have sent members on courses not only to learn how to avoid getting caught up in avalanches but also how to rescue victims buried in them. One of the key safety items we now have in sufficient numbers are avalanche transceivers. This is a personal beacon that you wear next to your body. It emits a radio pulse that can be detected by another transceiver. If you were unlucky enough to be buried in an avalanche they are your quickest and best hope of being found alive. At around £250 each they do not come cheaply. However over the last two years, mainly through donations we have managed to purchase 24 units. Not enough to make it a personal equipment issue but usually enough to equip most on a callout. This year also saw a number of team members either revalidate or sit anew their

mountain first aid certificate. There are generally several members every year who need to renew their certificates. As always if you are going to venture into the hills carry the appropriate equipment. Map, compass, whistle and head torch and learn how to use them. (Plus ice axe and crampons in winter) We had a number of callouts last year from walkers lost, misplaced, geographically challenged, however you wish to describe it, who were navigating with their mobile phones. The mapping on most of them is like a Collins road atlas. No use in the hills. Even less use when the battery goes flat. There are plenty of outdoor course providers out there, who will teach even the basic hill navigation skills, some are fairly local. It is not always easy to talk someone down to safety or to send help to them if we don’t know where they are to start with. Always remember, Scotland’s hills become mountains in winter. Treat them with respect and enjoy them. Teddy Inglis and Angus Cameron Deputy Team Leaders


Pin-Feathers*by Old Nyati

*Once in demand by Victorian miniaturists, the tiny pin-feather comes from

the leading edge of a woodcock’s wing and only two such feathers occur on each bird (one on each wing). This month Old Nyati finds another treasure which provokes a set of interesting recollections...

‘Cow`s gone dry and the hens won’t lay, life gets tedious, don’t it...’ How many folk remember that song?     Old Nyati is finding things a bit tedious at the moment, struggling with a crashed PC and a conversion to Windows 8... Aghhhh! There is no doubt that generations to come will only have a means of communication via a few ‘buzzwords’ and a vocabulary of modern day hieroglyphics; no more the written word - just abbreviations and strange symbols.Newborn babies will be found to have a small grommet in each ear all ready for plugging in. All part of evolution.   But what of this month’s photo? Well, scratching about in the gravel beds in the Balvaig river (again!) yielded this interesting find. What is it, you might ask. Certainly metal, a casting of some sort - traces of enamel paint work and the remains of a fixing on the back.  The most accurate guess would be that it was a badge or decoration from the brow band or other part of a horses harness, but it would only have been for ‘best’.  Perhaps a set of show harness for a ploughing match or agricultural show, or indeed a set of harness for the carriage horses at Stronvar house. That may account for it turning up in the Balvaig, who knows but it is interesting to think of its history.   Now a little more of those times, long before PCs and ‘buzzwords’. The people working on the Stronvar Estate would have worked very hard, but would also have been well looked after, and housed - as opposed to other folk trying to eek out an existence from the land. There’s a phrase which comes from that time when urine was used to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot and then once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery: if you had to do this you were ‘piss poor’. But worse than this were the really poor folk who couldn’t even afford a pot. They didn’t have a pot to piss in! Think about that when there is another power cut!

(Let’s spare a thought for those people in the South West where the sewage is coming back up the loo because of the floods.) I clearly remember that the local hound kennels used to store all their dog poo. Because the hounds were fed mostly on flesh and flaked maize, the poo had a sort of yellow colour and was collected by the cotton mills to be used as dye for making corduroy trousers. It still is that colour - but not for the same reason!   Damsons - grown in village orchards - were grown for dye as well as for food.   The saying ‘dirt poor’ had a meaning too which was for those who only had a dirt floor. Only the better off had a stone floor, but it would get slippery in the winter when it was wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was then placed in the doorway. Hence: a ‘thresh hold’. Interesting isn’t it. Most people got married in June because they took their yearly hot bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June. However, when they started to smell a wee bit, it became the custom for the bride to carry a bouquet.   Houses had roofs of rushes or straw. They were the only places for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice and bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained for a long time (like this winter!) it became very slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof.   Hence the saying ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’.   This posed a real problem inside the house, because bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with four posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came to be.   Life must have been a bit tedious in those days too.   So, what of the future and global warming, are we ‘all doomed’? And if not, should we all be learning Mandarin? 21


Scottish Wildlife Trust

The wintry weather kept many away from our talk on Threats to Scotland’s Marine Environment, a pity as it was a really informative and enthusiastic talk from Matt Barnes of Marine Conservation UK. Scotland has almost 7,000 miles of coastline and 65% of the UK’s fish. Its seas are visited by basking sharks, a third of the world’s grey seals, 23 species of whales and dolphins and even 5 species of turtles have visited. However, marine ecosystems and biodiversity are under threat. MCUK and SWT are lobbying for the introduction of Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) around Britain’s shores to allow them to recover. 33 Scottish sites were originally proposed and the results of the consultation are expected by April 2014. You can still pledge your support on the MCUK website http://www.mcsuk.org/mpa/scotland/background. MCUK works with Fisheries and Government to promote a sustainable industry eg stopping both discard of young fish and taking species that are slow to reproduce. In a survey of supermarket fish Plastic litter on beaches has products, only the Co-op, Sainsbury’s and M&S reached the gold standard of >80% from sustainable increased 140% since 1994 sources, Waitrose was >60%, the rest failed to achieve 50% while Tesco & Asda declined to take part. Five species comprise 75% 150m! Even personal care products like scrubs and peels contain of the fish eaten in Scotland; haddock, cod, salmon, prawns and plastic particles that end up in the sea – what is in your bathroom? tuna - look for the Marine Stewardship Council (MCS) seafood From October 2014 larger shops in Scotland will have to charge 5p ecolabel. for carrier bags, shown to reduce use in Wales’ by 75%. This could MCUK’s Good Fish Guide, available on their website, gives a generate ~£20M. Since May 2008 M&S have donated their 5p bag traffic-light system and alternative species. charge 50/50 to WWF and MCS but not all have made such a Pollution of the sea is from many sources, including promise. agricultural chemicals, oil, radioactive waste, heavy metals MCUK is a very small charity with only 4 employees in Scotland and toxic chemicals. Untreated sewage gets washed into the so relies heavily on practical help from volunteers; are you a diver sea through combined sewer overflows which discharge storm who could help with species surveys or a beach-lover willing to help water, supposedly only in heavy rain. Bacteria and viruses in raw with litter clean-ups? Then contact seachampions@mcsuk.org. sewage can cause gastroenteritis, respiratory illness and ear, nose If you would be interested in hosting a Cool Seas Roadshow for a and throat infections in swimmers while shellfish can cause food children’s group then contact Matt on matt.barnes@mcsuk.org. poisoning, from concentrating toxins in their tissues. If you see basking sharks, turtles and jellyfish then they can be Litter in our oceans and on beaches kills wildlife, looks reported on www.mcsuk.org/sightings/ where you can also find disgusting, and is a health hazard and costs millions to picture guides. Lesley Hawkins clear up, even though Councils only clean around tourist spots. Marine wildlife gets entangled and accidentally ingests it. Turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and the bags block their stomachs, often leading to death from starvation. Seabirds mistake floating plastic litter for food, over 90% of fulmars found dead around the North Sea have plastic in their stomachs. Plastic litter on beaches has increased 140% since 1994; discarded fishing lines, packaging and cotton buds! Plastic never disappears, it just biodegrades into small, microplastic particles. ‘Nerdles’, 3-5mm plastic pellets are a product of the plastics industry, are the most common litter on the shores of the Forth, up to 150-200,000 in

Scottish Wildlife Trust Callander Members’ Diary 2014 Held in the Waverley Hotel, Callander at 7:30pm 11 March Wildlife Reintroductions: Hazardous or Enriching? by Johnny Hughes, SWT Director of Conservation 15 April Member’s slides + brief AGM All talks held in the back room of the Waverley Hotel, Main Street, Callander at 7:30pm Admission £2 members £2.50 non-members free to full-time students includes tea/coffee & biscuits.

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Farm Forum: Lost For Words... For once I am at a loss for words! Having said that, I have three negative choices - first the weather. It has been a pretty wet winter so far, and wet and cold are never a good combination for livestock wintering outside, the weather in the South is being put down to the shifting of the jet stream. I don’t know why it has shifted but it is a wonder Politicians are not blaming each other! The problem is that our rainfall for the last two or three months has also been considerably above normal. Seriously though, the devastation in the South is awful both in urban and agricultural areas and our sympathy goes out to all those affected. However, let us not forget that Scotland did not escape unscathed and some farmers, particularly in the South West, were badly affected with flood banks breached by tidal surges, flooding fields with salt water. In addition water courses that used to be regularly maintained are now becoming impeded by silt and gravel banks and we must hope that the environmental authorities take note and relax some of their regulations, before it is too late. Then we have the new Common Agricultural Policy that’s incorrect because after goodness knows how many months we still are not much nearer a solution and the powers that be have only managed to pit farmer against farmer and given the relevant politicians more political capital! This is now becoming serious because no one can

A pretty wet winter...

plan ahead and farming is a long term business. Quite apart from that the implementation date of 2015 is fast approaching. There is one glimmer of light on the horizon and that involves so called “slipper farmers”- those, that under the present rule claimed support on land that carried no stock. It now appears that a formula for stopping this has been given the nod by Brussels; however all is still to play for. The Scottish Government have said that they will be working with the EEC to thrash out the finer detail. Lastly we have the independence referendum. The less said about that the better. Agricola

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Strathyre Primary School News Curling

by Amelia Dennehy I go to Curling as an after school activity. It is on a Monday at Callander Primary school 4’oclock until 5’oclock. This after school sport is on for three weeks, 2 at Callander primary school and 1 at the Peak’s ice rink in Stirling. Curling is a sport that is done in the winter and Scotland has just won silver and bronze medals for this sport in the Olympics. It also makes it great for kids to play in and out of school; it needs lots of skill and balance. Curling is a great sport to learn that is why it is good to be asked to do this sport because as we all know it is very healthy like any other sport and it is great for a lot of ages.

Music

by Amelia Dennehy In music we have been learning to play a tune on the xylophone and to read music. Soon we are going to be playing the ukuleles, we are going to be working in pairs and take them home and if you have a brother or a sister you would share with them. A ukulele is a bit like a guitar but only with four strings and it is a lot smaller than a regular sized guitar. In music generally we play on instruments and sing songs and learn to read music. Music is a great thing to learn and a great thing to do. When you are younger you just learn the letters and match them up to the notes but when you’re older you learn to read the music notes and play them on the xylophone. But as we are doing the ukuleles we have to learn how to position your fingers on the strings. We are looking forward to learning to play the ukuleles.

Christmas Fayre

by Rebecca Ramsay Clapham When it gets near Christmas time we have a Christmas Fair where parents and local people come along and see what is on sale. The things that are being sold are mainly made by the P4P7 class. We are split into groups and given a job, like making most of the products, counting the money, getting all of the materials, advertising and when we have the time we make other little products as a class. Last year we tried to make most of our products out of natural materials but our main product was designing Eco friendly fabric bags (pictured left). There was a Santa’s grotto, toys, boys, home baking for sale; we had a raffle and a tombola stall which is always very popular. It was lovely to see parents and friend come in to support us. We hold this to raise money for our school funds and we made a total of approximately £600! We held our Christmas party in Lochearnhead hall. The games we do are Christmas corners, musical statues and musical arms. We do the dances that we learnt at PE in our social dancing classes. Everyone really enjoys the Christmas party because it is a fun thing to do and everyone is involved. Our Christmas Concert was held in Balquhidder Hall. Parents, grandparents and friends came along to watch us sing and perform. It was called Are you waiting for Father Christmas. It was really good and we all enjoyed it.

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Class 1 topics

PC Will Diamond gives a Safety Talk to Class 1

by Michael Greer Class 1 have been doing various topics. Their science topic is food chains and their health topic is road safety. They also have been researching the Chinese New Year. Like class 2 they are looking at Africa but it is about the jungle. They’ve been drawing pictures and making animals that live in the jungle, cutting them out and sticking them on their jungle wall. They have worked in groups and have read fact books and made leaves for decorations. The things that they have looked at so far have been elephants, sloths, poisonous dart frogs, and poisonous flowers. They are making the little house in the classroom into a jungle, this little house gets converted into various different things depending on the topic they are doing. For health lessons they’ve been learning how to cross the road safely, making posters

Eco friendly fabric bags

about road safety and learning all about the dangers of the road. PC Diamond, pictured above, came to the school and joined us for assembly and talked to everyone about road safety, animal safety and lots of other things that we have to be aware of to keep safe. Our Special Forest by Jamie Lindsay Dryer Class 2 are still going out to their special forest just along the road from the school every Thursday with Mrs Smith and Mrs Keenan. We are studying outdoor life for our John Muir award. Every week we look at how our area has changed, we listen to the birds. We identify trees, leaves, fungi, animal faeces and much more. It is great fun learning in our outdoor classroom. We hope to keep doing this until the end of February.


Thefts Unfortunately this month’s entry is going to be blighted with bad news! Unfortunately over the past few weeks, we have been again found ourselves victims to several break ins. Two houses were violated on Stronaslaney Road in Balquhidder, during the week between the 3rd and 7th February. We then had a garage that was broken into at a house on Auchraw Brae, Lochearnhead between the 12th and 16th February. Again, the two houses in Balquhidder have been targeted in the exact same manner as before, and the similar property taken which would tend to suggest that it may be the people who are responsible. The theft in Lochearnhead would suggest that given the nature of the incident and property taken, that it is not linked to the other thefts. That is not such good news as it would appear that several criminal groups now view our communities as potential for rich pickings. Since my last appeals for the community to   Outside, put up lighting all around the house, remain more vigilant, there has been a slow and consider the use of security lights with PIR increase in the number of calls and emails sensors attached. Bushes and shrubs can also received about suspicious vehicles and persons. be cut back to aid visibility and reduce potential My thanks go out to those who have contacted hiding places for thieves. Try and put security us, we have responded on every occasion and lighting up as high as possible, along with alarm been able to bottom things out as false alarms, boxes. On several occasions, the thieves have but one of these days we will get the right disabled both as they have been within easy people. reach of the ground. Great for easy maintenance,   What I must urge is that EVERYONE needs and for a thief to remove! to remain vigilant and contact us regarding   Consider taking a note of serial numbers of anything they think is suspicious. We continue to any expensive items of property in your house, be out in the community 24hrs a day in an effort and photographs are also a good idea. Another to catch those responsible. We cannot do this good solution on the market, that I am pleased job alone though; and I urge you all to remain to say members of this community are already vigilant and call us with any information you may using is Smartwater. This is a forensic solution have AT THE TIME and not days later. I appreciate which has a unique DNA that will be registered that sometimes people report they “don’t want to you, and when we carry out enquiries into to bother the police”; however I would rather potential stolen property, we can often find go and do the enquiry than be at your door in those responsible. The solution is permanent the following days taking a report of yet another and different options are available, including theft. To reiterate, if you are suspicious of a sprays etc. and every person who is taken into vehicle or person, call 101 immediately.  If you police custody in the UK is scanned for it at the suspect that a crime is taking place, then call door. If you are interested, please get in touch 999. with me and I will provide you with details.   Nothing is too much hassle for us, and every   Ensure all sheds and outhouses are locked at call that we receive with regards to vehicles or all times, even if working in the garden. If you persons acting suspiciously will be followed up. leave doors open on sheds and garages, it lets If you are not in a position to make the call to us everyone see what is inside and gives them the immediately, take a note of vehicle registration opportunity to plan a return visit! numbers and descriptions of the people.   If you are going away for a few days, always   With the help of the community passing us consider leaving a key with a neighbour or information, we are in the best position to help friend/family member who will visit regularly, the community from becoming victims of crime. daily if possible. Do not allow mail to stack up   behind doors. If it is possible, leave a car outside Security the house and whoever is checking the property  I know I have given this advice before, but the can move the car if possible. If you are going on message unfortunately is not sinking in. During holiday, make police aware by either popping the night, I have been surprised at how many into your local office, or drop me an email. It homes I have passed in complete darkness, with means that where possible, we will try to keep a little or no security measures and had I have look out for your property. been a housebreaker, I would most definitely of   Have good quality locks fitted to doors and tried my luck! windows and consider the use of an alarm. Some   First off, you need to think like a thief! If you alarms will contact the police and we will attend had the choice of a house that was well lit and along with a keyholder to ensure all is in order. looked “lived in” or one completely in darkness This is not always the case so if you hear a house and clearly unoccupied, which would you chose? alarm sounding, think about phoning the police.   Given that we are still in winter and the hours of   Make sure you lock your vehicles at all times darkness are still lengthy, consider the lighting of and remove the keys from the ignition. Do not your property, inside and out. Inside, leave lights leave vehicles unattended to defrost outside on or leave a lamp on an electronic timer. Another your house as they are liable to be stolen and good tip is to leave a radio or TV on when popping your insurance will be void! Take any items of out and consider closing blinds and curtains also value out of the car, or if you have no choice, to make the house look like someone is in. How cover it with something to make it less obvious. often would you sit in the house on a dark night   The most important piece of advice is be with the curtains wide open? vigilant and keep an eye out for your neighbours

and the local community. Call the police immediately on 101, or 999 in an emergency, if you are at all concerned about the behavior of a person or vehicle. If in doubt, contact me or one of the other members of the Trossachs and Teith community team and we can arrange a free security survey and can provide the relevant advice to you.   Bogus workmen Over the past few weeks, I have spoken to several members of the communities who have passed me information regarding people “cold calling” and trying to offer their services. Whilst many legitimate tradesmen will use this technique, the vast majority unfortunately are con men and will undoubtedly do a shoddy job and charge a fortune in the process. The best advice that I can give you is don’t agree to anything at the time, try to take details of any vehicles and if they will give you a business card or leaflet, take one. If you are not interested, ask them to leave and contact the police.   Again, if you have your doubts, please contact me with any details and either I or one of my colleagues will try to catch up with them. Consider contacting the Trading Standards department at Stirling Council, and they should be able to advise regarding the legitimacy of the company or individual.   Rest assured that plans are now under way to organize another run of Operation Bionic which had great results the first time we ran it in September, and the aim of that is to target the fraudsters. Watch this space!   As always, I can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at william.diamond@scotland.pnn. police.uk.   Regards, PC Will Diamond  Lochearnhead Community Officer Trossachs and Teith Community Team Police Scotland - Forth Valley Division Lochearnhead Police Office, Lochearnhead, FK19 8PT william.diamond@scotland.pnn.police.uk  http://www.scotland.police.uk/your-community/ forth-valley/stirling/trossachs-and-teith

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

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

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

Other Contacts...

Helen Clark Business Manager 07971 648743

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

contac t@the -villagers.org.uk Please help us to get The Villagers to you as soon as possible!

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

Bowling - St Fillans

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

Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 to11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am to 12.30pm (Contact Abbey Arkotxa 01877 384671) Scottish Slimmers - Lochearnhead Village Hall - 7pm to 8pm Badminton - Balquhidder Hall - 8.00pm Country Dancing - St Fillans LEGS - Lochearnhead Hall - 6.30pm - (see p.2) Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am to 12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00 to 9.00pm Metafit Classes - Strathyre Village Hall - 8.00pm Choir Occasional - Balquhidder Hall - 7.30pm to 9.00pm Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon. Mel Brydie 01877 384668 Ballroom Dancing - Lochearnhead Hall

MARCH 2014 10 Lochearnhead Village Hall AGM - 7.30pm 11 SWT Wildlife Talk - see p.22 12 Horticultural Meeting - Inn at Strathyre- 7pm - see p.2 12 Dr. Durie Talk - Aberfoyle - 7.30pm - see p.9 15 Quiz Night - Inn at Strathyre - 7.30pm - see p.6 27 Gardeners Question Time - 7pm 29 Race Night - Strathyre Village Hall - 7.30 - see p.6 APRIL 2014 15 SWT Members Slides and AGM - Waverley Hotel - 7.30 - see p.22 12 Quiz Night Defib Fundraiser - Lochearnhead Village Hall Councillor Martin Earl Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07881 310 922 earlm@stirling.gov.uk Councillor Alycia Hayes Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07881 310 924 hayesa@stirling.gov.uk Councillor Fergus Wood Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07824 496 019 woodf@stirling.gov.uk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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News, stories, events, surrounding the village communities of Lochearnhead, Balquhidder, St Fillans and Strathyre

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