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MAY 2013


Price 50p

The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

Seaplane with Glen Ogle

Š Alistair Barclay 2013

Editor’s Bit

I hope I will be excused for writing a rather personal article this month, reflecting on my two weeks in Australia when our latest grandson, Hamish David, was born. His Mum’s poem (left) reveals how all the medical evidence at one point gave him no chance of survival - but he has defied all the odds, even if he only weighed as much as a bag of sugar when he was born. I have been amazed at all they have been able to do for him in the neonatal intensive care unit - and for all the other tiny human beings I saw there. He is doing well at the moment so we have uncrossed our toes but still have our fingers crossed for the next few difficult weeks. While I was away we had hoped technology would enable me to do all the editing etc. but David and Gill have had to do most of the work. As both David and I are returning to Australia for the trip we had already arranged in June for when Hamish was due to be born and, as Gill is also going to be away at that time, we will have to cover all the ‘summer’ events in two bumper editions rather than the normal three. I apologise in advance for any problems this might cause; if anyone can suggest a different solution or be able to step in for a month we would be very happy to hear from you. A final, more light-hearted observation: I thought Agricola might appreciate a big article in an Oz newspaper about farmers complaining about too much sunshine and the strong Australian dollar making their lives very difficult! Who said farmers are never happy? JJ

A Goodbye... “It seems I’ve hardly composed my ‘hello’ and now I am already saying goodbye. I came to Lochearnhead nearly one year ago. My children and I relocated from Germany and have been met in this rural community with warmth and kindness. We have made friends practically since the first day. I want to say thank you to everyone, not just the wonderful people whom we are pleased to call friends, but to everyone who knew us - even if we didn’t know you individually. Kindness and warmth of heart drew me to Scotland, and I was not disappointed. I will be sorry to say goodbye to you all, especially the entire school community who took us in during the school year last May and helped my children to excel. We will all miss you.” Love and Light, Morticia, Inanna, Xara, Stella, Justus, Esmerelda, Hazel and Maeve




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

Average maximum temperature Actual maximum temperature Average minimum temperature Actual minimum temperature

5.2 ºC 7.9 -1.4 -6.8

41.4 ºF 46.0 29.4 19.8

Rainfall 5.31cms 2.1ins Strongest wind gust 42mph on March 5


I Am Here

by Michelle Johnston

Faint double pink lines The earliest of all signs I am here, mummy, I am here The first eight week scan So far it’s all going to plan I am here, daddy, I am here A shared daily secret We await what to expect Are you here, little one, are you here? A high risk twelve week scan Now it’s not quite going to plan Please be here, little one, please be here The test results are back We seem to be back on track I am here, daddy, I am here A smaller tummy than most Can we afford to boast? I am here, mummy, I am here Nineteen weeks crashes before us With a devastating prognosis Are you here, little one, are you here? A tidal wave of grief It beggars belief Are you here, little one, are you here? More than a difficult choice Should nature have its voice? I’m still here, daddy, I am still here

Calling ALL residents of Lochearnhead to Have Your Say!

The Lochearnhead Community Action Plan Steering Group will be hosting a drop-in event in the Lochearnhead Village Hall on Wednesday 8th May from 4-7pm Come along and see the results of the recent questionnaire survey: What does your community think are the main priorities for the next Community Action Plan? Vote on which activities/events you would like to see taken forward. What could you do to support events in Lochearnhead village (volunteers always needed)? All residents (young, old, and in-between) are welcome. See you there!

Slumped in a counsellor’s chair Swimming in depths of despair I’m still here, mummy, I am still here They tell us it can’t be much longer As movements grow ever so stronger I am here, I am here Back to the scan once again The doctors are starting to wane You are here, little one, you are here Weeks of anxiety await Many are following your fate Are you here, little one, are you here Thirty-three weeks you let out your first cry Our son, our world, our sky I am here, I am here

Balquhidder Community

Action Plan Open Evening

Wed 15th May at Balquhidder Village Hall

7.30pm - 9pm A chance to hear about the community support for all your ideas! Free Drink & Nibbles All welcome

The St Fillans Bit Garden ponds are wondrous things. Except for the person charged with the maintenance of same, in my case my long suffering missus, who for years has dutifully cleaned the pond and kept it fresh. Until last autumn when she decided to fill the thing in and grow sprouts instead. Last weekend said wife was away for a few days and, whilst emptying the kitchen bin (a new experience for me) I noticed a big frog outside the back door. Further investigation revealed about eight frogs all making their way towards the garden. When the wife phoned that night to check whether I’d fallen down the stairs yet (see Channel 5’s Helicopter Heroes) I reported on the frogs. After a wee silence, then ‘oh, Gawd’ she explained that the froggies were returning to the pond, now an ex-pond, as they did each spring to spawn. The following morning I found at least twenty frogs jumping about where the pond used to be. A wildlife disaster! The temporary solution was to dig a shallow hole about five feet square, put an old tarp in it, then fill it using the garden hose. Result, the following morning, a tiny pond full of very happy frogs producing oodles of spawn. Lesson learned – a pond is not for a year - it’s for ever. A new pond liner arrives today to create a more fitting environment for our annual visitors. With the onset of the better weather (?) the St Fillans Walkers are back in action, as Johnston Brown reports: The hardy St Fillans pensioners have dusted off their bus passes and have ventured into Comrie from where they walked back to St Fillans. On the first week, seven ventured forth and returned over the Ross Bridge and on to Dalchonzie where they picked up the old railway line. After the walk, they adjourned to

The St Fillans Walkers

Chez Birkmyre for refreshments (Liam having shut the shop early). On the following week, numbers had swollen to a round dozen and the route took us past Melvilles Monument and the back path to Dunira. During the walk, some deer were spotted by the more eagle eyed amongst us, the rest were chatting away and not seeing what was happening around them. As the walk finished around lunchtime, the dozen repaired to Liam’s for a variety of teas, coffees and various of Liam’s famous bacon sandwiches. Never seen Liam so flustered as he took the orders, which were changed several times, particularly as people decided to copy Eric Kennelly and have egg with their bacon. Each week the walk for the following Monday will be posted in the shop window, with a copy emailed to those on the Village

email list. Anyone not receiving these emails but wanting to be kept informed should let Johnston know. Which dovetails nicely into the Final Report on the proposed Dalchonzie to Lochearnhead pathway/cycleway. I admit, probably like a few others, that I viewed the proposal as a dream that would never be realised – until I read the report. An immense amount of work has been done on the planning of the scheme and it is quite clear that in the not too distant future the pathway will exist. If you were emailed a copy of the report by Trish Forrester and couldn’t be bothered reading it (like me initially) it’s worth taking the time to go back to read it. Our village representatives on the planning group are Geoff Hardman-Carter, Nice Muir & Sheila Cramond who deserve a mention for Continued overleaf 3

(Continued from Page 3)

helping to make what will be a superb facility for all of us into a reality. Modestly, Geoff tells me that John Forth of the National Park has been the prime mover behind the project. Credit to the NP. On a slightly smaller scale, on Saturday 20th April a mixed group of kids and adults carried out a sponsored walk from The Drummond, carrying stones from the loch shore, climbing up the ‘zigzags’ to the cairn at the top of the hill where the stones were exchanged for chocolate treats, then descending back to The Drummond. Some 11 kids, 2 toddlers and 15 adults took part and all monies raised go to the fund to build a village play park. If you feel like contributing after the event I’m sure that Russell or Catriona won’t be offended by used coin of the realm. Many will remember the arts event in the Village Store over the Festive Period and I’m happy to promote a further such event which will be current when you read this. Local artist and ‘eccentric’ David Kerr has been painting Loch Earn and surrounding areas for many years and has looked out a number of his original sketches and preparatory studies on which the larger paintings were based and these are on display in the coffee shop area of The Store. The items are released to raise funds for various charities, details of which are on display in the shop. Thanks are due to Frank & Liam for their involvement in the event. If you go along you’ll also see a self portrait study in oils of David as a younger man – surely worth a visit alone? A small update on the situation at The Drummond. Obviously previous tenant Andy did not re-open in March as was suggested a couple of months ago and, after my speaking directly with Bob Sancto whose family still owns the building, he isn’t likely to. There is some concern amongst villagers that the present unattended property, car parks and foreshore will attract uncontrolled launching of jet bikes, power boats etc and, heaven forbid, the occupation of the carparks by ‘travelling folk’ – the mind boggles. The Community Council have been in touch with The Clydesdale Bank, who we had understood were now holding the property, to record concern and there are moves afoot by a group of local interested people to promote a long term solution to the problem of a massive abandoned building in the heart of the village. Further details when I have them. Far from abandoned is The Four Seasons, where Mary reports a brisk start to the new season and with two Bank Holidays in May it is essential to book a table for meals in the Bistro, especially at the weekend. It seems that the closing of The Drummond has resulted in increased trade at The Four Seasons – so not all bad then! I’d like to thank the various folk who have given input this month into the St F Bit – it makes life far easier and ensures the viability of the column. Separately in this issue you’ll find a report submitted on the Boat Race 4

Carrying stones on the Sponsored Walk

from Richard Steventon, too good to edit down. If anyone is doing anything or going anywhere of local interest, why not write it up and forward it to me? Finally a wee quiz for the sharp eyed. Last month I included a picture of the massively expensive new NP sign in the village. This month a new picture taken 4 weeks later. Spot the difference! (OK there isn’t any – the project is awaiting a delivery of ‘special’ stone. John Murray Nuff said.)

The Great Loch Earn Boat Race (as seen through the eyes of Richard Steventon, captain of the winning team - De-MenCha-Cha-Cha).

Recent heavy rains had swollen the river next to The Lochearnhead Watersports Centre and prevented the normal walk along the foreshore to the start of the race. Instead, Howell, Richard Graham, Harry Burnett, competitors had to walk The Team, L to R - SteveRichard Steventon. along the main road and over the bridge, then cross the fields to get to the shore. The field itself was waterlogged; so many entrants began the race with wet and muddy feet. The start is normally a sprint across the foreshore, a hefty shove on the boat to slide it into deep water as everyone piles in. This year water levels were so high that we found ourselves standing only a few feet away from the boats. The customary “ready, set, go” was omitted this year and a klaxon announced to everyone it was time to set off! The St Fillans Veteran Team, having by now removed their dressing gowns which were worn to the bacon butty briefing in the centre, leaped into the boat and began rowing furiously. Harry, having volunteered for the unenviable task of being “last man in” was responsible for giving the boat its final thrust away from the shore. The two Richards rowed manically and Harry must have thought the boat was off without him as he nosedived into the rear on the boat and floundered on the floor trying to regain his balance and composure. We set off down the centre of the Loch, having previously decided it was the shortest route to St Fillans and pulled as hard as possible on the oars. As time went by we seemed to have opened up a slight lead on most of the other boats except for two, who had chosen to hug the north shore, a route we suspected was a mistake. The weather alternated between being windy, bright sunshine and then rain in the form of sudden squalls. The team took it in turns to row with Richard Graham doing more than his fair share, at 6ft 5”; he had reserves of stamina which the rest of us didn’t! As we finally approached the caravan site on the South shore, we realised that we were probably going to win! The route taken by the other boats meant they would have to cross the Loch at an angle from the north side in order to clear Neish Island, which was a longer Continued on page 6

Strathyre News

We recently had our annul darts presentation in the Inn and here are photographs and results. First place and overall winner was Arthur Crammon who wins the shield, plus £100. Second place: Wullie Dalziel (£75) Third place: Ron Milne (£50) Best Lady was Emma Richards who wins the trophy plus £30. All the ladies were presented with flowers in appreciation of their gallant efforts during the competition and there were some scary moments when playing against them. They will definitely be a force to be reckoned with next season!! There are no losers in our little competition and those who did not make the prize list were compensated with a beer - or in Kenny’s case, a large whisky for landing in last position (but only by a short margin). Our thanks go to Steve and all the staff at the Inn for hosting this enjoyable event - and especially for the wonderful food that was produced on the nights we were playing.

Art and Emma with winners’ trophies

Competitors in the annual competition

A special thank you to Kirstyann for presenting the prizes on the night. Once again it was a hard fought tournament with Art emerging as a worthy winner and scoring a few maximums (180) in the process. I had a personal best in the fact that I never lost a tie, but won or drew over forty games, so a small consolation there. We will be having a wee celebration night in the Inn later on and I am looking forward to next season. Just a point to finish on: Check the group photo and my goodness, how Tommy Anderson has grown since taking up the darts!!!!!! Wullie D

1&2 JUNE 2013

Yes folks - only a few weeks to go before Strathyre’s very first music festival weekend. There is a lot of music to choose from - at the Inn, the Village Hall, the Creagan, Mhor 84 and various outdoor locations - plus many other activities including workshops and a craft market. The good weather has been ordered - so make sure you get along and support this new venture. Balvaig looks forward to seeing you there!

1-2 June


Strathyre Music Festival! So much music to choose from and something for everyone. See Pages 14-15 for more details! 5


air your views...

The Broch at Strathyre As promised in last month’s edition I have pursued the issue with the Broch and have received the attached response (right). I have also been contacted the NP to confirm that the signage concerning the cycle path at the back of the houses in Old Station Court is now ready and we have agreed where signs would be most suitable and they will be in place very soon, if not already in place by the time this goes to print. Well done to the NP for addressing this in a professional manner, let’s hope the cyclists take heed of the information given on these notices!!!! Wullie D Elite 150W Aquarium heater New boxed Maxi Jet MJ750 670 l/h Powerhead New boxed Whisper 800 Airpumps 2 off used Fishmate F14 Automatic Aquarium fish feeder £40 Tel 01877 384 608

The Great Loch Earn Boat Race Continued from page 4

route than ours - our plan looked like it was working! Sure enough, we crossed the finish line in first place, securing ourselves not only the Veteran Team Trophy which had been a cert anyway, as we were the only team racing in that category (!) but also the outright winners’ cup! Time taken, 1 hour, 45 minutes and 20 seconds. The team would like to thank all those who sponsored us and in particular, MGK Motors in Comrie for their very generous donation. When it was pointed out to Mike at the garage that his donation, whilst gratefully accepted, was to say the least, on the generous side, he stated that he, in turn, had been grateful for the support of the ‘Villagers’ of St Fillans with his business and felt it a way of saying “Thank You”. Total sum raised will be close to £500, so in all it was a very successful event. When all the donations have been collected, we shall liaise with Sally Watson and forward the proceeds to The Salvation Army. Finally, we should also like to thank Russ (Ex Team Captain) and Liz Cunningham, who kindly fed and watered us (excessively!) after the race. Their hospitality was very generous and enjoyable. 6

High Hedges (Scotland) Bill enacted This email recently came in on the subject! I am writing to inform you that the Scottish Parliament enacted the High Hedges (Scotland) Bill today, Thursday 28 March 2013. One final amendment was approved to the Bill. The definition of a high hedge as set in Section 1(1) of the Bill was amended to remove the words “evergreen and semi-evergreen”. Consequently, the Bill as passed now defines a high hedge in Scots law as a hedge which – (a) is formed wholly or mainly by 2 or more trees or shrubs, (b) rises to a height of more than 2 metres above ground level, and (c) forms a barrier to light. A copy of the Bill, as passed by the Parliament, is now available online. The Bill should receive Royal Assent by late April or early May. Once this happens the final published version of the High Hedges (Scotland) Act 2013 will be available on the Scottish legislation section of the UK Legislation website: During the parliamentary debate this afternoon both the Minister for Local Government and Planning, Derek Mackay MSP, and the member in charge of the Bill, Mark McDonald MSP, indicated that work would now take place during the rest of the year to develop the necessary local authority and public guidance to support the high hedges system being introduced by the Act, with a view to bringing the relevant provisions of the Act into force in early 2014. The exact timing of the commencement of the Act will be a matter for the Scottish Ministers to decide. I hope you have found the interaction with the Committee, the Parliament and the legislative process to be useful one? On behalf of the Local Government and Regeneration Committee can I thank you for taking part in our scrutiny of this Bill. Further information on the Parliament, the legislative process, and how you can take part in the Scottish parliamentary system can be found on our website: (parliamentary business) (getting involved) (how the Parliament works). WD

Once in a lifetime opportunity to see

A Satire of the Three Estates

Come along to the historic setting of Stirling Castle for the once in a lifetime opportunity to see Interlude, Sir David Lyndsay’s original play which became the inspiration for his epic masterpiece, A Satire of the Three Estates. Performed in the Great Hall at Linlithgow Palace in 1540 to entertain King James V, Interlude raised fundamental questions about Scotland’s politics and cultural identity in the early years of the cultural Renaissance and the Reformation of the Church of Scotland. This will be the first time Interlude has been performed in a historic setting for more than 400 years. It will take place on Thursday 13th June in the magnificent setting of Stirling Castle’s Great Hall from 6:30 – 9.30 pm, with the performance lasting one hour. Alison Stalker, Assistant Events Manager at Historic Scotland said : “This is a unique chance to experience the production Interlude, an experimental drama which will attempt to reconstruct the ‘lost’ Linlithgow Interlude of 1540 using surviving letters and fragments of original drama embedded in the later Satire of the Three Estates performed in 1554. “The evening at Stirling Castle will be the finale of the run, which will also include full length outdoor performances at Linlithgow Palace, and tickets include a drinks reception at Stirling Castle before the main performance with the opportunity to take an exclusive evening visit of the beautifully refurbished Royal Palace apartments.” For further information on the events including how to book tickets, please visit For information: These performances are part of a two-year project supported by Historic Scotland with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The project is set to throw the spotlight on this satirical political drama penned more than 400 years ago. It allows researchers from the universities of Edinburgh, Brunel, Southampton and Glasgow to delve below the surface of these plays and explore how far each play might have been shaped by the spaces where they were performed. • This event is not recommended for children • Parking is available at Stirling Castle. • If you have any additional access requirements please contact or call 0131 668 8885 prior to the performance.

Summer Dance in Balquhidder Hall, Saturday 8th. June

from 7.30pm.


Enjoy playing sport or being physically active? Want to have a say in what happens in your local community? COME ALONG to the

‘Community Sport Hub Open Night’ When? Wednesday 15th May What Time? 6.30pm Where? McLaren Leisure Centre Active Stirling and SportScotland would like to invite all members of Callander and the surrounding communities to attend the first ‘Community Sport Hub Open Night’. You will find out what a community sport hub is, how it will drive forward physical activity and sport within and around Callander and how you can be involved. Arrival will be from 6.15pm and refreshments will be available! For any further information, please contact Lindsay Campbell (Community Sport Hub Officer) at Active Stirling on 0300 028 0101 or email


Dancing to suit all tastes - Excellent Cold Buffet Tickets - £7.00 per person Further details contact Mary Barclay 01567-830453


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 7

A Note from

St Angus’s Church...

I have just come from a meeting in the Lochearnhead village hall which I found both refreshing and encouraging. Christians of all denominations are to get together for a time of worship once a month. This is not a new idea but has been going on for some time over on Loch Tay side but has now come to an end. How refreshing that no-one wears a denominational label round their neck, no-one needs to worry about the money in the collection and all these other distractions which can get in the way of worship. Of course this is not an alternative to “church” but a coming together in a gathering of likeminded souls with the sole intention of praising God and being in fellowship together. The emphasis is just on what we have in common NOT our differences. EVERYONE will be welcome there. See ‘The Gathering’ (right) for more details.

Our early Easter morning service at the loch side was blessed again with fine weather and despite the cold wind and the loss of an hour (it would have been 7.0am) there was a good attendance. Many thanks to Martin and Laura at the Watersports Centre for the welcome hot drinks and bacon rolls afterwards, it must have been a very long day for them. Our Quiz Night at the Watersports Centre went well if a little noisily (!) and we raised £434 to be divided between the Care Home in Killin and the defibrillator fund. Many thanks to all who supported this, and a special thanks to Alistair and Mary Barclay Alistair - a fine pair of lungs! who so ably organised it all. Alistair, I’m surprised you had any voice left! 8

Church News BalquhiĐĐer Reg. Charity No. SC012316

As reported last month, we have commissioned work to repair the Church belfry. This has now begun, and, despite some pretty awful weather at the start, good progress has been made. Thank goodness we decided to stop using the bell because the belfry really was not safe. We hope all will go well and that by the time this issue of The Villagers appears in print, we shall be ringing the bell again. At least it will be very clear that we are still open for business, no matter how few folk actually heed the bell and come to Church. Those who do come on a regular basis will continue to do all they can to make sure we stay open as a working Church. Just in case you didn’t know... on the last Sunday of each month our worship has a more celtic flavour as the music is provided by local musicians with guitars, bodhrans, mandolins, whistles and flutes. Everyone is very welcome! JE/GA

The Gathering

Over the past few months, various people in this area have been talking about the possibility of providing an opportunity for Christian worship using contemporary, musical styles in an informal setting. The idea is that people from different church traditions and backgrounds can come together to share and celebrate their faith, using some of the fresh and creative ideas that are now well established in the big cities. For many in rural areas, such an opportunity simply doesn’t exist at the moment, and we think it should! So, on the first Sunday of every month, starting on Sunday 5th May, a new group will be meeting in the Lochearnhead Village Hall from 5-7 p.m. People of all ages are welcome, including families with children, and the structure will be flexible. We plan to have at least half an hour for Christian worship with musicians from various groups, from as far away as Ardeonaig and Crieff. There will be no formal liturgy and no preaching, but people may be invited to share their experiences, good or bad, and there will be opportunity to pray. The group will not be attached to any particular church or denomination. We are not a church and do not intend to form one. All of us belong in one way or another to existing and established churches in the area. Our intention is simply to celebrate the things in our faith that unite us, and to offer a small opportunity for a particular style and experience of worship. If you would like to join us, just to see what it’s all about, you are most welcome to do so. There will be refreshments available and we would appreciate any contributions towards the hire of the hall. For further information, contact either Paul Hicks (Lochearnhead - 01567 830359) or Revd Paddy Allen (Crieff - 01764 656222).

The Golden Larches Restaurant, Balquhidder Station Waiting Staff - Team Members required We are currently recruiting for highly motivated, enthusiastic and hardworking individuals to join our Team from April until September 2013. It is imperative that you are flexible to work a variety of shifts on any day of the week to suit business demands. You will be asked to work as part of the team as well as being able to take your own initiative and work individually. You should also have good customers service skills, be openly enthusiastic and be well organised. We are also looking for someone who has great eye for attention to detail and who takes pride in their work. It is desirable but not essential that you have previous F&B experience. However, it is essential that you provide our customers with an exceptionally high standard of service, so evidence of a role/situation that has required you to demonstrate excellent customer relation and interpersonal skills is necessary. Your written and spoken English must be of the highest standard! You must provide evidence that you can work under pressure and still deliver a first class service every time. It is essential that you can work shifts that can start as early as 9.00am and finish as late as 10.00pm. It is essential that you can work any day of the week and that you are able to work from April to September. We are not able to accept applications from individuals who can not fulfil the requirement to work from April to September. Staff members enjoy a benefits package including uniform, gratuities and meals.

Contact Alistair or Alida on 01567 830262 or 07872527741 Or email:

Callander & West Perthshire


Lost Property at Balquhidder Hall The following items are currently in the ‘Lost & Found’... 1 x Strathyre Primary fleece, blue, (12 - 13 yr old) 1 x faded blue denim shirt 1 x Adidas hoodie, blue, gents (XL) 1 x blue Regatta waterproof jacket (S) 1 x Animal rucksack (grey/black) 1 x child’s green wellie 1 pair of blue patterned knitted fingerless gloves 1 x grey/black stripy scarf If anything belongs to you then please let me know - otherwise I will donate to charity in the next wee while! Also - club users: I have put your tea/ coffee stuff in one of the cupboards under the workbench. If you could put them back there once you have finished that would be great! Many thanks. Alan Balquhidder Village Hall Phone: 07765 789 354 Facebook: pages/Balquhidder-Hall/364935103524056 Twitter: #balquhidderhall

Get Outdoors!

Summer 2013

Killin Outdoor Centre is introducing a programme of activities aimed at giving youth organisations their families and friends a chance to try outdoor sports free of charge this summer. Various organisations in the Killin area

have been contacted inviting them to come along and try Canoeing or Kayaking on the River Lochay free of charge. If there is enough interest we could organise an activity on a regular basis through the summer holidays. Local groups have also been given discount cards for their members and supporters which will help with the costs of outdoor equipment for Duke of Edinburgh weekends etc. If your group is interested in taking part please contact Stephen to arrange a suitable time.

As we approach the end of our first year we have planned a celebration which will be open to the public in order to showcase the 24 courses which have been running successfully and which cover such a variety of interests for our 162 members. Please come along and bring your friends to enjoy the live entertainment by the ‘Singing for Pleasure’ and ‘Scottish Country Dancing’ groups. Look in on a game of Bridge, see the table displays and watch the video presentations. The ‘Painting for Pleasure’ group will stage an Art Show, all Group Leaders will be present to answer questions and refreshments will be served all day at our

SUMMER FEST on Saturday 15th June in Callander Kirk Hall from 10.30am - 4.00pm

Killin Outdoor Centre and Mountain Shop Main Street Killin, Perthshire 01567820652

Free cycle safety check With Killin Outdoor Centre The Killin Outdoor Centre is offering free Cycle safety checks each Sunday morning. Young riders 16 years and under who want to get their bikes checked for the summer and learn a little about bike maintenance are welcome to bring their bikes down to the shop on a Sunday between 9.30 and 11.30.


Monachyle MHOR Farm, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Perthshire FK19 8PQ

Saturday Day time - entry £5 Events kick off with the raft race on Loch Doine Build your own raft. Race starts 11am Live music. DJ’s - Jamie Miller Returns for MHOR Oyster & champagne bar. Pimm’s. BBQ. Afternoon tea Cake baking competition – bake & bring your best! Market Kids’ entertainment, games & mini Olympics

Saturday - 7pm The Great Scottish Feast - 1 meal, 5 chefs, 5 courses call 01877 384622 to secure your seat at the most sought after feast of the year!

Sunday - Day time Live music. DJs - Jamie Miller Returns for MHOR Oyster & champagne bar. Pimm’s. BBQ. Afternoon tea Cake baking competition – bake & bring your best! Market. Kids’ entertainment. Hog roast

Sunday - From 6pm A Play, a Pie and a Pint 6pm The Ceilidh 7pm

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

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

g You don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy lunch or afternoon tea in the delightful surroundings of Dundurn’s Tearoom and Restaurant at St Fillans Golf Club. g  Choose from a wide selection of hot and cold dishes - and our home-baked cakes, pastries and biscuits... followed by a choice of select teas or coffees. g  We are on the south Loch Earn Road, 300 metres past the road bridge in St Fillans.

The devout cowboy lost his favorite Bible while he was mending fences out on the range. Three weeks later, a sheep walked up to him carrying the Bible in its mouth. The cowboy couldn’t believe his eyes. He took the precious book out of the sheep’s mouth, raised his eyes heavenward and exclaimed, “It’s a miracle!” “Not really,” said the sheep. “Your name is written inside the cover.”


Gardening MAY

by Jonathan MacDonald

Here is an interesting little calculation for you to try. Let’s say for example you have a rectangular garden 5 x 10 metres - which is incidentally just over half the average size of a UK garden, which is 90m2. (If you are old, use this formula: 1 yard = 0.9144 metres). Let us now imagine like most gardens you have a 2 metre (or 6 ft) fence or wall, all around it. What you have therefore is a walled area that is greater in area than the garden itself: 50m2 of ground and 60m2 of wall. Now I have been looking at people’s gardens for years, and try as I might, I still tend to see only the ground where we do our planting and create our best loved schemes. This calculation leads onto the use and function of climbing plants, seldom considered on this vast expanse of wall which until now we never knew existed. Some refer to the ‘garden ceiling’ which I am sure we have all hit. Pergolas and rope bowers meet this specification. Hardly a ceiling, but I take the point. The ‘climbers’, as they are quaintly referred to, are like our very own human namesakes whom Mallory referred to as those on a neverending upward struggle, neatly defining the struggle for life in itself. Human and plant on a journey skyward, searching for light and air. These garden athletes have found the sense to heave themselves up and above the competition. No doubt a lack of rigidity in the stem to their hooks climb over any obstacle that soon self-support developed some interesting creates a large mass of material which reroots could sit in full sun all day as long as a good methods for combating the upward itself. movement. Runner beans, hops and The highest forms of climbers perhaps, are supply of moisture was kept up - therefore honeysuckle have weak stems that attach those that employ tendrils to pull themselves plant in a damp corner. I would also highly themselves to anything they can grab. They along. These can occur at distinct parts on recommend a good mulching of farmyard have a curious habit of sending the new various species, with the most commonly manure which keeps the roots fed and shoots out on a circling motion that takes seen version on clematis which is a highly moisture levels high. Another myth is that approximately an hour to complete a full sensitive leaf stalk that twists along pulling they need alkaline soil. They actually do not circle. Some researchers have advocated that the plant upwards as it spirals. Another enjoy extremes of acidity or alkalinity and we dispense with the small garden cane that type employs sticky pads, hydrangea so clematis grown in most soils will thrive. props up climbers in the nursery and leave peteolaris being a good example. Insuperable Wilting is another often misunderstood the thing crumpled in the pile to sort itself difficulties are easily dealt with using their problem, often mistaken for lack of water. out. That surely goes against our gardening miniature glazier-type lifting handles. By Many plants are misdiagnosed in this way. grain but one day I will try it and report back. far the most popular climbing group is the My favourite from last year was C. General You do need to provide support however as a Virgin’s Bower, the most ornamental relative Sikorsky which was just superb. It grew in bean left to sprawl will quickly weaken and of the buttercup that ever ascended from the nearly full shade and as I heaved the water bog. These plants occur all over the world and onto it, it bloomed its socks off and the become sickly. The commercial hop Bella Donna was bred we even have our own wild form C. vitalba or flowers lasted well. In a strange way this to a dwarf height to overcome the very high Traveller’s Joy. There are over 2000 varieties vigour mimicked the person it is named after hop gardens of Kent, where huge plants string all originating from early introductions from - a certain Władysław Eugeniusz Sikorski out over high rise chestnut poles. Being very China and Europe and used in the breeding (1881-1943), a Polish general and politician susceptible to a range of pests and diseases due work. C Jackmannii is still popular today - who became Prime Minister of the Polish to their fleshiness, the hops have problems in 150 years on - and there are at least a handful government in exile that was based finally in their control and subsequent harvest. A hop of new introductions each year. Some myths England. He died in 1943, in an airplane crash pillow far outclasses a lavender pillow if sleep occur around clematis in so far as they need near Gibraltar, along with his daughter who is what you need. And if you have never seen their ‘feet in the shade and head in the sun’ was his secretary - the exact circumstances of a golden hop, (humulus lupulus aureus in a as they say. This is not entirely true as it is which have never been established. sunny corner light up like beacons) then you moisture they require at their feet. They have missed out. If you like hoppy beer, then you are drinking from the cannabis family which hops belong to - as do nettles! Brambles are fascinating and are true ice climbers; I liken their hooky thorns to ice axes and crampons. When you bump into a bramble or two you are seeing a Open 7 days a week: 9.30am -5pm good example of plant evolution. There are hundreds of bramble ‘phenotypes’ and one growing in Caithness will look slightly Visit us for inspirational ideas different to one in Lochearnhead. Each bramble will have a small variation due to and professional advice their growing environmental factors, which are handed down to each generation, never Tullybannocher, Comrie enough to become a distinct species - but Contact: Jonathan MacDonald eventually a leap is made. This is how new species evolve and is a fundamental requisite of evolution. The brambles send Tel: 01764 670800 out long runners along the ground and using 11

View from the Park by Owen McKee The Park Authority’s Information Trailer took to the road last month with visits to Strathyre, Lochearnhead and St. Fillans to update the communities on the progress on The Five Lochs Project and the St. Fillans to Lochearnhead Path. There was a good exchange of views with some fearing that, while accepting that visitors may benefit from the facilities being provided, the communities may suffer from the displacement of the unruly element from the lochsides into the villages. Acknowledging that we don’t know where the unruly element will go, we have geared up the Police and Rangers working in Operation Ironworks to make more targeted patrols. Should you encounter any problems please contact the Police using the new non emergency number 101. In last month’s issue I mentioned that due to an objection from SEPA we had to detach the camping pods from the main planning application. Where an objection to a planning application is lodged by a government agency, such as SEPA, the Minister has 28 days in which to exercise his right to call in the application for consideration. In the case of the Loch Lubnaig camping pods the Minister did not exercise that right and consequently the application was dealt with by the Park Authority which approved the application and so the camping pods will be part of the overall facilities . Work is scheduled for completion at the beginning of July and consequently some benefit should be forthcoming this season. Next on the list is Balquhidder Glen at Inverlochlarig where there will be some improvements to the car parking and the provision of toilet facilities. Work is


scheduled to start there around October this year. The St Fillans to Lochearnhead path is proving less controversial but even here there are some concerns mainly at the Lochearnhead end. Where best to exit into the village is a concern and discussions will continue to resolve that problem. Overlooking and privacy concerns also featured and these will be taken into account. Fortunately the major technical concern of bridging the Tarken Burn has been overcome and funding is in place for that part of the project. A little on renewable energy. The Park Authority, like other Planning Authorities, is encouraged to do its bit to help Scottish Government meet its targets for renewable energy. Our published plans make it clear that the Park Authority sees provision within the Park can best be met from our water resources and thankfully there has been a steady stream (pardon the pun) of applications for Run of The River Hydro Schemes. Although not without their challenges these tend to have limited impact on the landscape. Within the area covered by the Villagers planning permission has been granted for five such schemes and a couple of others are in the pipeline. Owen McKee Taigh Na Bhuth, Lochearnhead 01567 830214

Callander Rambling Club Sponsored by Caledonian Country Wear

The Club consists of a group of enthusiasts who meet regularly throughout the year to participate in a programme of strolls, rambles, hill walks and a Long Distance Path. Details are published on http:// a m b l e r s . htm in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diary: MAY • Sat 4th 8:30am Hill: The Stob, Monachyle Glen (753m) contact 01877 339080 • Wed 8th 9:30am Ramble: Stronachlachair & Loch Arklet (6 miles) contact 07737 682426 • Wed 15th 9:30am Stroll: Gargunnock Loop (5 miles) contact 01786 860256 • Wed 22nd 9:30am Ramble: Loch Tay to Loch Earn (8½ miles) contact 01877 330102 • Sat 25th 8:30am CtoC(13) Menstrie to Castle Campbell (8 miles) contact 01877 330032 JUNE • Sat 8th 8:30am Ramble: The Mell (11miles) 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!


Scottish Wildlife Trust The ‘Kestrels for Company’ talk by Gordon Riddle of the Scottish Raptor Group, illustrated with many beautiful photographs, provided a popular finale to our current season. Gordon has been studying kestrels for forty years, recording vital information of long-term trends. Little had been done pre-1973 so the raptor group established the monitoring scheme methodology; setting up nest boxes, recording details such as date of first egg, clutch size, hatching date, fledging results and ringing the young birds at around two and a half weeks. This requires 6 visits per year to each nest box and Gordon has monitored 35 boxes for 40 years. In between all of that he has written 3 books on the topic – that’s dedication! Kestrels have a single brood of 4-6 eggs but could re-lay if the clutch is lost early enough in the season. Their main food is short-tailed field voles, the male bringing in an average 24 per day but up to 35-45 in a good season, and the cyclic field vole population is closely linked to clutch size. They prefer deep, open-fronted nest boxes or recesses using only a token layer of twigs as a base for a nest comprised mainly of pellets. The female does the brooding, only coming off the nest briefly when the male brings in food and covers the eggs. The fledglings roost in the nest overnight but can be noisy and vulnerable to predators, especially if they fall from the nest. Fully-fledged juveniles immediately move away over random directions and distances: the longest journey that Gordon recorded was an impressive 2600km from Ayrshire to Tenerife. Many will remember the common sight of kestrels hovering above roadside verges in the 1960/70’s but between

Kestrel chicks can be noisy and vulnerable to predators

1970 and 2009, numbers reduced by 39%. They continued to drop between 1995 and 2010 by 32% across the UK and 64% across Scotland, with a shift away from the west. Failures are mainly due to natural causes. Vole numbers are reducing across Europe and the composition of local raptor populations is changing. Peregrines can take hovering kestrels and goshawks wiped out a population in Carrick Forest. Barn owls can take over nest boxes but there are also examples of them being happy neighbours. Climate change trends to wetter springs is a concern since bad weather, particularly early in the season, can reduce clutch size and fledging success rates. However, birds will move south in bad weather. Predictably, man has played a part in their demise, principally through loss of foraging habitat, with increased forestry and loss of set-aside, but also through rodenticide poisoning. They may also be caught in cage traps and killed in wind-turbines. Egg-collectors have always ‘contributed’ but in the ‘70’s and early ‘80’s whole clutches of chicks

were taken from nests when youngsters wanted to emulate the film Kes! Although it is unlikely that numbers of kestrels in the UK will return to their peak, it is not thought that kestrels are in danger of disappearing and an upturn may be underway. Efforts are being put into increasing numbers of bird boxes and new technology such as stealth cameras, coloured rings and satellite tagging will provide better information. The Raptor Group needs more people to help collect data and improve understanding, if you want to get involved see their website for information. Meanwhile everyone can help by reporting local sightings of kestrels to com. Lesley Hawkins

Scottish Wildlife Trust Diary May 2013 Our programme of talks has finished for this winter season and will re-start in September. Over the summer (May to July) we have several outdoor events organised with Stirling SWT Members’ Centre. If you want to join in please let the contact know. 2 June: Bird’s Nest Orchid Hunt A visit to woods around Dunblane May – July tbc Visits to alpine sites around Killin & Ben Lawers contact Sue Sexton 01786 833409 or e-mail on Future events will be advertised as dates are confirmed. If you are not already on my SWT circulation and would like to be kept informed please e-mail Lesley Hawkins


Welcome to the first

Strathyre Music Festival 1&2 JUNE 2013 hosted by Balvaig Music Group

Adriana Spina Adriana made her debut Celtic Connections debut in 2010 and has gone on to play in the company of Paulo Nutini and Eddi Reader amongst others. In 2009 Adriana sold out her Edinburgh Festival Fringe concert run. In summer 2008 Adrian supported Sheryl Crow in her tour’s only UK date. Adriana’s debut album Never Coming Home was recorded in Glasgow and is out now. All Guns Blazing A blues & rock band from Falkirk!

Adriana Spina

BandVandal (Neil McLaferty) Acoustic folk and rock. BandVandal is Neil McLaferty from Dumbarton. Neil started BandVanadl in December 2012. Neil has his own record label The Animal Farm and Recently played at the Luxe venue in London, Clyde Bar in Glasgow and Bungalow bar in Paisley.

All Guns Blazing

Brian DeeJay & Friends Two intrepid hikers from Lanark who play guitar. Callander Barbers John Henry runs the Callander barbers shop - one of the most unusual gig venues in Central Scotland! You can pop in for a haircut and enjoy some live music. John has pulled friends together to form a band for the Festival.

In November 2011 Ken Higgins and Cliff Uney had a chance meeting at the Strathyre Inn. They discovered a mutual interest in

music and decided to meet the following Sunday at the Strathyre Inn for a jam session, with Kenny taking along his old twelve-string guitar and Cliff turning up with his ukulele. After playing to slightly bemused locals, they decided to do it all again. After a couple of weeks, they were joined by Tommy Anderson on guitar. Then Stevie Black came along with an accordian, Owen Uney with a banjo and Mike Keeney with his harmonica and bodhran. Mikey Higgins joined with guitar and some of his own songs - and Balvaig was born, taking its name from the local river that passes through the village of Strathyre. One Sunday Jane Booth popped in to listen to the music and thankfully came back with her guitar, a good singing voice and her own songs to take the group to eight members. Balvaig’s music is wide and varied, ranging from traditional and modern folk to blues. The band enjoys the good company of visitors and tourists that occasionally stop by and join in the music sessions. Through time, and after some research, Balvaig became inspired by the possibility of hosting a music festival to present the musical talents of the local community - plus other guest musicians (who have kindly offered to play at no cost in support of the first Strathyre Music Festival). The response to the Festival has been inspiring with enquiries coming from all over the UK, from France, Italy, Spain, Israel and Algeria. Here is a taste of the music on display. There will be a full programme with venue details available at the Village Shop from the middle of May. See you later!

Kenny Higgins

Chairman Balvaig Music Group



Callander Brass Callander Brass was founded in Callander in August 2008 and are no strangers to this area. Caol De’an Balquhidder based band playing mostly contemporary songs in a trad style.


Ceanna Heron & Callander Pipe Band Ceanna is a local piper from Strathyre and plays at many local events such as the village Hogmanay party and Burns night. Chartroom Ceilidh Band A loose collective from Arduaine who play regularly at the Chartroom Bar at the Loch Melfort Hotel. Choir Occasional A group of people from Strathyre, Balquhidder and Lochearnhead who meet together every Thursday night to sing for pleasure.

Callander Barbers

Cliff Uney Cliff is part of the Balvaig Music Group and also part of the Strumalele Ukulele band. Craig White Acoustic and Experimental Folk and Rock. Deadly Winters A five-piece acoustic folk band from Edinburgh. Dwight Pereira (featuring Jo-Ann Pereira) Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Dwight emerged from a musical family and was heavily influenced by singers such as Johnny Cash, Charlie Pride and Jim Reeves.

Ceanna Heron

Chartroom Ceilidh Band

El Salam Traditional folk band from Algeria. Jamie Cooling Classical guitar player from Dunfermline. Jane Booth Jane is a member of Balviag and also an accomplished solo artist. Her music is wide and diverse and often described as acoustic mellow and soul searching... with a hint of folk, a lot of ballad and a touch of country.

Cliff Uney

Callander Brass Craig White

Jenne Mcclure and Friends Jazz Band Jenne Mcclure is a key performer in the Scottish Jazz scene and a regular singer at the Callander Jazz festival. The Music will be a blend of jazz/swing/ballad/funk and contemporary rock. Jim Crumley Jim was born and grew up in Dundee, now a local Jazz Guitarist who plays guitar in the Callander Jazz Festival. Kenny Higgins (Balvaig) Kenny is a founding member of Balvaig, which has its origins dating back to November 2011. Kenny plays guitar, whistles, harmonica, flute and saxophone. Kenny composes his own music and played in the Folk Music Circuit in Edinburgh in the 1970s. Kenny is Chairman of Balvaig and also the Strathyre Music Festival.


Deadly Winters

Jim Crumley Dwight Pereira Stevie Black

Tommy Anderson

Sophie Milne

Seth Lumsden

Kim Seymour Kim is a singer/songwriter using mainly acoustic guitar with harmonica, bouzouki and 5 string banjo. Marian Bradley Described as one of Ireland’s hidden musical treasures, Marian is based in Donegal and has to date penned 3 solo albums and 1 live album. El Salam

Kenny Higgins

Mike Keeney (Balvaig) Mike is part of host band Balvaig and plays a mean Harmonica and the Bodhran. Mikey Higgins (Balvaig) Mikey Higgins is a member of Balvaig and a skilled guitarist and songwriter. His music comes straight from his heart and soul. Mikey’s repertoire is wide and varied with a good song selection ranging from folk and blues to rock.

Jamie Cooling

Owen Uney (Balvaig) Owen is part of the Balvaig Music Group and plays five-string banjo, harmonica and keyboard. Owen’s music interest is focused on traditional, sea shanties and blues genres and provides great accompaniment to Balvaig’s Sunday Music Sessions. Phil Ragsdell and the GCBB - Big band Rhythm section and friends Phil Ragsdell is based in Lochearnhead and a well known drummer. Phil is performing at the Strathyre Music Festival with the rhythm section of the big band BBGC he plays with in Glasgow. Seth Lumsden Guitarist, siner songwriter from Lochearnhead.

Sandy Victor

Kim Seymour

Marian Bradley Mike Keeney

Scottish Ferals Margaret Barker and Gavin Moodie are the Folk duo known as Scottish Ferals. Based in Stirlingshire, Margaret and Gavin travel the pubs clubs and other venues playing an impressive repertoire of traditional and own compositions. Jan and Beth Jane Booth

Sophie Milne Sophie has formed her own band The Follow and plays in between studying music, music tech, maths and art at Sinon Balle in Hertford. Southern Strings Craig Gatford accompanied by John Hall (Albie). Craig is a guitarist who has produced his own album from his own compositions. Although living in Dumfries, Craig occasionally joins Balvaig Music sessions in Strathyre and performs a wide selection of folk and blues songs. John Hall is originally from Dundee and teaches Art in Thornhill Academy. He has played guitar for many years in bluegrass and blues bands.

Mikey Higgins

Stevie Black (Balvaig) Stevie is an accomplished Accordian player with Balvaig. Stevie brings the band to life on traditional and modern folk songs and leads the band on Ceilidh events. Stevie originally from Tighnabruaich in Argyllshire, has played in many bands in the West of Scotland and often provides the backing for visiting singers at the Balvaig open music sessions at Strathyre Inn. Strumelele Strumelele is a collection of musicians who love ukuleles... with fiddle, acoustic bass and very entertaining sound effects. The Thomson Twins Jan Dalziel and Beth will be providing a selection of Scottish and contemporary folk songs in the true Strathyre open mic tradition at the Strathyre Inn with some musical accompaniment.

Jazz Main

Owen Uney Phil Ragsdell

Tommy Anderson Tommy is part of the Balvaig Music Group playing Guitar, Harmonica and is a mean Bodhran player of some distinction. Voicebeat International Community Choir A world music community choir based in the west end of Glasgow, including people of many nationalities and all levels of musical experience.

Strathyre Village Market Jenne McClure

Strathyre Village Centre will change shape in the form of a “Village Market” with various stalls set up to present the following: Local arts and crafts • Spinning and weaving • Storytelling from Alan Sneddon Face Painting • Garden Ornament display • Tombola stall Clown antics • Youth Activity Unit • Live Music - Busking • Music Workshops – try an instrument sessions (Saturday only) • Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National park tourism display • Central Scotland Police • Wildlife protection • Plus Much More Village Market Opening times:

Southern Strings

Saturday 1st June 10:30am to 6:00pm

Sunday 2nd June 11:00am to 5pm

Scottish Ferals



McLaren High School News by Yvonne King

Football - McLaren High v Graeme High Falkirk Cup Tie McLaren High Senior Football Team played Graeme High School in the Falkirk Cup at home in a tightly contested game on 13 March. At the start of the game McLaren High were causing problems with some great wing play from Olly Wesley. The team created several chances which were narrowly missed. McLaren seemed to contain Graeme High for most of the first half but looked vulnerable from corner kicks. Graeme High were the first to score but shortly after a powerful free kick Dave Wallace tied the game. Graeme High then took the lead making the game 2-1. A quick response with a header from Ryan Fenwick drew the game level again. Graeme High then started to create chances and scored two goals in quick succession. McLaren kept working hard and were rewarded with a second goal from Ryan Fenwick after he rolled the opposition defender and slotted the ball past the keeper. Shortly after Fenwick got his hat-trick, celebrating in style as the team drew level. At 4-4 it looked as though the tie could have gone either way but unfortunately for McLaren, Graeme high scored the winner making the final score 5-4. The McLaren team can be proud of their performance especially after only playing together a few times this year.

Olly Wesley in action!

Hockey Report After months of struggling to get a competitive game against another school, on Thursday 14 March both the senior and the junior hockey teams played against Stirling High School. The junior team played extremely well and scored their first goal within the first 2 minutes of the game. After goals from Tara Leishman, Amber MacLean and Samantha Ogilvie, the girls won the game 9-6. The senior girls had a tough first half with the score at 3-3 at half time. However our determination paid off and we also won our game with a final score of 5-3. Goals were scored by Siobhan Cattigan, Nicola Allan Tamsin Webster and India MacLean. India MacLean S6 Rugby Report - McLaren v Stirling High 1st Round Central Cup McLaren had their first game in a couple of months in the 1st round of the Central Cup on Wednesday 13 March. McLaren started off slowly giving Stirling lots of respect. As the game progressed the boys realised that the game was there for them to take charge of. Some strong running and a skilful offload from Angus McIntosh led to the first score from Cameron Hendry. Soon after the second try came with Angus again making good ground and the off load allowing Luke Maher to go over in the corner. Just before half time, good work from backs and forwards led to Keir Hail Brown powering his way over the line. McLaren started the second half as they finished the first, with Adam Kyle benefiting from good work inside to allow him to go over in the corner. As the subs started injecting fresh legs into the game, Geordie Perrie did well to finish off some good phase work with a clever dive across the try line. As the bench emptied lots of boys got debuts for the U16 and the game as expected opened up. Late on Stirling High scored to make the final score 25-7 to McLaren. Well done to all involved. McLaren High v Balfron Central Schools Cup Quarter Final In a match that beat the snow on 19 March the McLaren boys were excited to get on the field. McLaren started furiously straight from the kick off with Angus Leishman forcing Balfron to concede a scrum 5m out with the first play of the game. From here McLaren started to build some pressure and after some good phases in attack, Andrew Howells went over for the first score of the match. Harry Milligan who was instrumental in the build up slotted the conversion, 7-0 after 5 minutes. The pressure continued and with some excellent tackling, McLaren turned defence into attack. Showing the Balfron defence a clean pair of heals Ollie Wesley went over in the corner closely followed by Michael Crow crashing over under the posts. With the pressure starting to build Angus Leishman managed to score 3 tries in 5 minutes to effectively end the game as a contest. The second half saw the McLaren coaches making changes


The Seniors

The Juniors

to give everybody a run and allow some frozen bodies to rest. To Balfron’s credit they kept fighting and scored 2 well worked tries of their own to make the final score 36 – 10. McLaren will now travel to Larbert High School for the Semi Final in the competition.

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McLaren High v Larbert High Central Schools Semi Final Before the Easter break McLaren seniors travelled to Larbert High School for the Central School Cup semi final. It was a very narrow pitch set up for a forward battle but the glorious conditions helped us play our open style of running rugby. The first half was a tight affair with McLaren only leading 12-0 at half time with tries from David Wallace, Hamish Innes and one conversion from Harry Milligan. In the second half the boys stuck to the plan. Cameron Reid scored two spectacular tries, one a solo effort and one a great team try. Further efforts from Angus Perrie and Angus Leishman with Harry adding two conversions made the final score 36-7 with Larbert scoring mid way through the second half. The result was built on fantastic defence with the McLaren boys dominating the contact throughout the game. Special mention must go to Gregor Black who suffered a head wound early on in the game but got cleaned up and played on as if it had never happened!

Glasgow Music Festival On 11 March 2013 the McLaren string orchestra took part in the Glasgow Music Festival. We got a fantastic score of 85% but sadly it wasn’t quite enough to beat Douglas Academy’s 87%. The whole string orchestra played very well and the judges thought that our dynamics were very good in Slumdog Millionaire and that our playing in Vivaldi was very fluent. We were all very pleased with our feedback and hope to keep up this high standard and keep improving. We all thoroughly enjoyed our day and hope that we can enter again next year! Kim Russell S1

Green Event On Monday 25 March we hosted a Green Event which marked the end of a pilot waste project with Forth Environment Link. Several partner groups joined us for the day including Forth Environment Link, Green Routes, Eco Schools & Clean Up Scotland (KSB), Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Rangers, Resonate Arts House, Friends of the Earth Falkirk, Fintry Development Trust and Scottish Natural Heritage. Pupils from S1 to S3 visited the event throughout the morning and visited the various displays and activities on offer. Highlights included making “Smoothies” from electricity generated from cycling to power the blender, making bookmarks from waste materials and producing an ORCA artwork from waste. All of the pupils involved enjoyed the experience and left more aware of the problems of waste and measures that can be taken to minimise it. Comments from pupils included: ‘There were around 9 different groups who told us about helping and caring for the environment including local organisations who are promoting recycling and saving the planet. The National Park rangers had a game called ‘The Degrading Game’ which told us how long it takes for some litter to decompose. They were telling us to keep the National Park clean and tidy so that we could enjoy it.’ Eilidh Graham and Meghan McAra S2 ‘Keep Scotland Beautiful is the independent environmental charity committed to making Scotland ‘clean and green today and tomorrow’. During the Green Event there were plenty of activities to do to help the environment. One of those was the ‘Clean Up Scotland’ organisation which aims to get 1 million Scots to help free our country of litter and mess.’ Charlotte Watson S2 ‘Green Roots had a stall where there was a challenge to try and guess how long it

would take numerous items to decompose. Green Roots itself is a charity for people with learning disabilities. We enjoyed this stall as it was fun and interesting.’ Carlos Thomson and Louis Parsons S2 ‘Lots of students brought in different materials that could be reused to make the school logo (ORCA). We are going to put up the artwork in the school and it will remind us of how we can reuse rubbish.’ Emme Knowles and Iona Halliday S2 Blood Transfusion Update As a result of the generosity shown by both pupils and staff at McLaren High School the recent Blood Transfusion Day proved to be a real success. The service welcomed 36 volunteers, collecting 26 units of blood. Our donations are already benefiting patients who are in urgent need of blood. Well done for the wonderful support.



Farm Forum: Dark days for livestock It is strange to think that just about a week ago we were reading about wildfires in the highlands and since then we have enjoyed about three inches of rain. The temperature has risen marginally but still leaves a lot to be desired for lambing time. As I have said before, the cost of feed has been exorbitant this winter following the poor summer and any extra time cattle require to remain inside is very costly. We have heard a lot recently about the TB epidemic in cattle in England and Wales. Last year there were 38,000 cases – mostly in England and all the cattle involved were destroyed, but also some in Wales. The problem is caused by infected badgers and in spite of a badger vaccination programme (yes - you are reading correctly) that started in 2012, the number of cattle slaughtered in Wales in January 2013 was 819 – almost double the number in January 2012. The Government has introduced a trial badger culling programme but this is meeting widespread opposition. One wonders, if it was the cattle that were infecting the badgers, whether there would be so much fuss about culling the cattle! The Vice President of the English National Farmers’ Union, describing the figures as “awful”, added that research both here and abroad indicated that “wildlife management” was essential if this was to be successfully tackled. For many months now one of the main discussion points within the industry has been, and indeed still is, the negotiations surrounding the new CAP agreement. When it is implemented it will last until 2020 but there is much concern about when any major changes will be applied and whether they will be applied gradually.


It is very difficult discussing detail meaningfully when the overall budget has yet to be agreed. Let’s hope it is agreed soon to allow the EEC to agree the detail before the Irish Presidency ends at the end of June. Naturally every sector of the industry has its own views as to the best way forward but one common aim is to stop the decline of livestock in Scotland, particularly in the hill and upland areas. There is not one simple answer but there is no doubt that the unnecessary red tape and the fear of draconian penalties for minor errors that can hardly even be called infringements is a major factor. One example is EID (electronic identification of sheep) which I have written a lot about unfortunately this is still with us and is a classic example of a regulation dreamed up in Brussels on the “one scheme for all” principle. This means they expect the same traceability for sheep in a 5 acre field in Greece as they do on a two thousand acre hill farm in the Highlands. The only thing is the rules may be enforced more strictly in the Highlands than in the 5 acre field! There are many examples of more rigorous enforcement of rules in the United Kingdom than in the rest of the EEC. Some farmers are simply saying enough is enough. As I understand it farmers and environmentalists are pretty well agreed that the removal of sheep and cattle from the hills would have very serious consequences for the flora and fauna as well – not to speak of making the hills an impenetrable wilderness for walkers and climbers and all those wanting to enjoy the countryside. The detail of the final settlement will have major implications for Scotland for many years to come. Agricola

Leny Practice Drs Strang & Scott Drs Mathewson & Gibson Community Nurses The surgeries and community nurses take part in various training programmes throughout the year. This is to meet the educational and training needs of all members of the practice and nursing team. The next training afternoons will be on: Wednesday 22nd May 2013 Thursday 20th June 2013 Both practices and community nurse clinic will close at 12.30pm. Emergency cover will be provided by NHS24 for nursing and GPs. In the event of an emergency, please telephone 08454 242424. On that afternoon, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments.

Bracklinn Surgery Our Practice Nurse Pat will be retiring in May. Her last day as a Practice Nurse will be on Thursday 9th May, although she will still be around for a while helping us get up to date with paperwork. We would like to thank everyone for their contributions towards a retiral present, and we will let you know what we buy her on your behalf. Extra tissues have been purchased for her last few days, as patients wish her all the best in the future. We are pleased to inform all our patients that Susan Brown will be joining the practice on the 8th May as our new Practice Nurse. Susan will be working every Wednesday Thursday and Friday initially until the family get settled into the area. I know you will be gentle with her and help her settle into our little ways.

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of Meeting held at The Inn & Bistro, Strathyre, on 10th April 2013

Please note that these minutes have not yet received formal approval and should be considered as a draft version only. Present: Malcolm McNaughton (MM), Alastair Barclay (AB), Paul Hicks (PH), Susie Crammon (SC), Sara Hesp (SH), Richard Eastland (RE), Adrian Squires (AS). Apologies: Rosanne McWilliams, Karen Methven, Angus Cameron. In attendance: Cllr Martin Earl (ME), Stirling Council (S-C). 1) Approval of Minutes The minutes of the previous meeting were reviewed. AB referred to item 6 and suggested that the wording of the last paragraph was not entirely clear. It was agreed that the words, ‘of Phase 1’ should be inserted to read, ‘we should continue to argue for the upgrade of Phase 1 as a matter of urgency’. It was proposed by RE and seconded by AS that the minutes, duly amended, should be accepted and this was approved unanimously. 2) Police Report No replacement for PC Ward has yet been appointed, so no information was available for this item. 3) Matters Arising 3.1) Post Office, Lochearnhead PH reported that there is some doubt over whether or not the post office facilities can be sited in the village shop. The doorway is not suitable for disabled access but the building is listed and would be expensive to refurbish. The Post Office is not willing to subsidise this work but may reject the premises as unsuitable if disabled access cannot be provided. There was some discussion over the wider implications of this but no alternative location has been identified. A report on the proposal is still under consideration by the Post Office and it was agreed that no further action could be taken until their decision was known. 3.2) Refurbishment of War Memorials AB reported that he had liaised with Historic Scotland and that we are now registered on their database. We will receive updates about the situation regarding grants in due course. AB is willing to pursue the matter, as and when the details of the financial provision are clearer. 3.3) Community Emergency Plan for Severe Weather A short article about this is due to appear in the next edition of The Villagers and PH is willing to chair a small group to devise and implement an emergency plan, provided that sufficient volunteers can be found to make this viable. ME stated that he had held discussions with some local farmers regarding the arrangements for the Tayforth Machinery Ring (under which local people with appropriate equipment can support Stirling Council in clearing snow from local roads). There had been some problems with the equitable distribution of resources and the criteria for triggering a response. SC suggested that a mobile telephone could be used to send photographs of the local situation to those at the Council’s base in Stirling who are responsible for authorising the deployment of local resources. MM also suggested that if gritters could be made available, in addition to ploughs, these would greatly increase the efficiency of the operation. ME stated that he would pursue this matter, in cooperation with the other local councillors, with a view to resolving these problems before next winter. 4) Community Notice Boards It was agreed that this matter should be deferred to a subsequent meeting to enable further consideration of the issues involved. 5) Correspondence - Upgrade to A85, Lochearnhead Further to the minutes of the discussion of this matter at the previous meeting, a letter had been received from a resident of Lochearnhead, expressing dismay and anger that the proposal was being revived. AB reported that he was aware of other residents who strongly opposed the proposals under what had been designated ‘Phase 2’ of the works. Following discussion, the stance taken at the previous meeting (on 27th February) was reiterated, namely that the community council should support the development of Phase 1, that had lapsed due to the lack of funding. However, the situation regarding Phase 2 was much less clear. There is undoubted opposition from local residents to the detailed proposals under Phase 2. At the same time, there are clearly problems with poor drainage and restricted width, coupled with regular, heavy traffic, that heighten the risk of incidents at this point. Nonetheless, a speed restriction of thirty miles per hour pertains and discussions are well under way to provide an alternative route for cyclists and pedestrians, along the route of the disused railway. Members were conscious that the situation calls for significant, professional guidance and expertise. The matter is already in the hands of the relevant authority (Transport Scotland) and it was agreed that we should await the outcome of their decision before taking any further action in respect of Phase 2. 6) Planning Matters No correspondence had been received for some while. There was some discussion as to whether the criteria had changed in some way and it was agreed that AS would contact the planning authorities to query whether anything had changed. Action: AS to query lack of recent items. 7) Matters From Local Councillors 7.1) Pharmacy Application at Killin. ME clarified the situation concerning the potential closure of the Dispensing Practice. It is for Forth Valley NHS to decide whether the Killin surgery’s dispensary will have to close. A decision has yet to be made but the existing dispensary could continue, even if the application by Davidson & Sons is approved. 7.2) Police Reform ME is now convenor for the new ‘Committee of Public Safety’ that oversees local policing arrangements. A ‘Ward Policing Plan’ has been published for our area and conforms both to the national policing objectives and to Stirling Councilís own priorities. 7.3) Flood Planning ME attended a briefing recently and noted that Callander is identified as a potential trouble spot. He recommended that the CC should apply to Ian Young at Stirling Council for a copy of the consultant’s report concerning the Callander Catchment Area. The Flood Risk Management Act, 2009, requires local authorities to have local catchment area plans and Stirling Council is in the process of preparing them. Action: PH to apply for copy of report on Callander Catchment Area. 7.4) Rural Broadband ME explained the programme from the Scottish Government, entitled Step Change 2015. He stated that Stirling has retained consultants to advise on how the Council can best contribute to this programme. The proposal is to provide 75% of premises in Scotland with either ‘Next Generation’ broadband, or a minimum of 2Mb for properties with no current provision. Callander is the most likely candidate for improvement and, if this is approved, would provide a ‘fall-out’ benefit for our own area. A ‘Rural Broadband Group’ has been established and is likely to include Mr Richard Harris from Balquhidder, who is working on a proposal to enhance the current facilities in that area. 8) Any Other Competent Business 8.1) Cycle Track SH reported that SusTrans is planning to extend National Route Seven, of the National Cycle Network, further south to a point just outwith Strathyre, near Creagan House. 8.2) Footpath on A84, South of Strathyre SC queried whether the provision of a footpath beside the A84 from the southern end of Strathyre to the caravan park had been considered. It was established that this had been discussed some years ago, and that the 30 mph speed restriction had been extended because there was no land available for a footpath. However, this matter will feature in the forthcoming Community Development Plan, and will be re-considered in that context. There was no other business and, at 9.15 pm, MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting, which will be the annual general meeting, is due to take place at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 22nd May 2013 in Balquhidder Village Hall.


Hello everyone! With both lambing time and nesting season fast approaching, now seems a good opportunity to give you an update on the red kites. We had a better winter, weather-wise than in previous years and we enjoyed views of a great many kites each day. In addition there were a few unexpected visitors. Several buzzards, most likely juveniles searching for a territory, moved into the area a couple of months ago and were coming in for the feed. The territorial pair that nest in the feeding zone tolerated the interlopers for a while but have now chased them off to clear the way for their own chicks this year. We have also been visited by a Canada goose which came down to the food a couple of weeks ago. Whether or not the kites would be pleased if the goose became a regular visitor remains to be seen. The largest visitor by far has been a sea eagle. This juvenile male has returned to the farm on several occasions. We could tell it was him each time by looking at his wing-tags - both are red and have the letter T upon them. As you can see from the picture below, of him flying alongside a buzzard, he fairly dwarfs the other birds in the area!

Thanks to Andy Gunderson for the photo.

Do you need a new home in Lochearnhead, Strathyre, Killin or Callander? If so,

Rural Stirling Housing Association may be able to help

The Association’s aim is to support rural communities by providing affordable good quality homes for people in housing need. We currently have 450 rented homes and around 30 of these become available for re-let each year. We also build some new homes each year. For more details and a housing application form contact us at: Rural Stirling Housing Association Stirling Road, Doune FK16 6AA Telephone 01786 841101 Email Registered as a Scottish Charity No. SCO37849 Please note that we encourage all applicants to also apply to Stirling Council’s housing list (Tel 0845 277 7000) Being on both lists is the best way to maximise your chances of being re-housed.


Building an osprey platform

A 2012 chick caught on camera

While it appears that we may be set for a late spring this year, many of the Red Kites in central Scotland have been busy nest-building and some are already incubating their eggs. Soon all of the breeding pairs will disperse to their own nest sites, leaving only those that nest locally and any juvenile kites that are in the area coming in to our daily feed. Although this means that over Spring and Summer we don’t see the same large numbers of kites that we do in Autumn and Winter, there are several reasons to look forward to this time of year. The kites that nest locally have to be very pro-active in finding food to take back to the chicks in the nest. This means that we get to see these birds coming and going with food throughout the afternoon - not only to collect meat to feed their young with but also returning to fill their own stomachs. We will also have our CCTV nestcamera up and running soon, relaying live footage of a nearby kite nest to our visitor centre. (This will be the third year we’ve been filming this breeding pair of kites. Each of the previous two years, they have built their nests in different trees, forcing us to shift the camera. We hope that this year they will stay put but with kites nothing is guaranteed... (The problems of working with nature!) Still, we very much look forward to following the progress of the young kites from the moment they hatch to the point where they’ll fledge their nests. If you happen to be in the area over spring/summertime, we highly recommend that you come and see the footage! Oddly, the latest and most exciting project that we have been working on has nothing to do with the kites. In the last month we built two artificial osprey nests on the farm. Experts from the RSPB advised us that although there are no large bodies of water on the farm itself, we are sufficiently close to a few that, were we to build these nests, we may have reasonable hope of attracting the birds in the future. The process of building an osprey platform involves a lot of hard work. First the canopy of a suitable tree has to

be sawn off. (The pictures above will give you some idea of how hard this is, given that the trees were roughly 30 metres tall!) Next a wooden pallet or mesh basket has to be placed at the top of the tree. Finally, our tree climbers had to cover these with both turf and sticks. Below is a picture of the finished nest.

It would be overly hopeful to expect the ospreys to find the nests this year, so soon after they’ve been built, however you never can tell what will happen! Well that’s about all the major news from here. All that remains to be said is we hope to see you in the near future, either during nesting season or when the chicks fledge the nest at the end of the Summer. Last year was a record year for our chick numbers (101 fledged in central Scotland) so we very much hope for another great season and many excellent days’ kite viewing at Argaty. Kind regards,

Lynn, Niall, Mike and Tom

More regular updates on the Red Kites can be found on our Facebook page: redkites#!/argaty.redkites

From Our Beijing Correspondent... This is so typical of signage here....brilliant Chinglish! Thought it would amuse you. Tania Francis

MHOR 84 Music


15 Minute Quiz Answers on Page 24

There was a great atmosphere down at Mhor 84 in the evening of the last Saturday in April as visitors were treated to a hugely enjoyable session of live traditional Scottish music, courtesy of Angus R Grant and his lightning fiddle, assisted by Ewan MacPherson playing some terrific rhythmic guitar. Joined by Alan Sneddon on bodhran, the duo kept up the pace all night and turned out some awesome tunes. Angus’s band Shooglenifty is an Edinburghbased six-piece Celtic fusion band that tours internationally. The band blends Scottish traditional music with influences ranging from electronica to alternative rock. Keep checking The Villagers for local music there’s usually something on!

1 What volcano is the highest mountain in Japan? 2 Through which city did Lady Godiva ride through naked? 3 What is the largest of the Caribbean islands? 4 What were the following Greek Gods ‘of’: (i)Aphrodite,(ii)Hades,(iii)Poseiden, (iv)Hermes and (v)Hera? 5 What was the name of ‘The Wonder Horse’ that had its own TV series in the 50’s/60’s? 6 In which cities would you find the following UK universities: (i)East Anglia,(ii)Warwick,(iii)Essex, (iv)Heriot-Watt and (v)Brunel? 7 If, historically, you had ‘taken the King’s Shilling’, what would you have done? 8 What kind of animal was Beatrice Potter’s Mrs. Tiggywinkle? 9 What is the most southerly point of South America? 10 In astrology, what sign of the zodiac is represented by a crab? 11 Which African animal accounts for the most human deaths? 12 Who wrote the following classic books: (i)Moby Dick,(ii)Vanity Fair, (iii)Gulliver’s Travels,(iv)Don Quixote and (v)Anna Karenina? 13 Who did the flop to win Olympic gold in 1968? 14 In which US state would you find “The Great Salt Lake”? 15 In a tug-of-war side,what is the end man called?

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Travellers’ Tales North to Alaska!

A Road Trip - Spring 2012 Joe La Piazza and Andrew Drysdale share a fascination for long distance motor travel in interesting places. Here they describe the highs - and lows - of the last leg of their journey.

1st June With a shorter day ahead of us we took advantage of having a lie in until 9.30am. Our accommodation in Tok was basic but clean and food was not bad for the back end of nowhere. Our run that day took us to Anchorage and on to Homer via Glen Allan and the Kenai Peninsula. Nearly 830 miles later we drifted in around 9pm to splendid sea views of the Cook Inlet and surrounding volcanic mountains and glaciers, which form part of the famous “Ring of Fire.” On this section 14 active volcano surround this incredible seascape. We stayed at the Homer Float Plane motel on Beluga Lakeshore on the edge of town. This is a place Joanna and I had visited in 2002 where we had enjoyed a flying trip in a 1928 Travelair Floatplane piloted by the well-known Alaskan pilot and pioneer Bill De Creft. The great thing about Homer is the lack of bugs and mosquitoes which plague much of Alaska. For some reason the sea air and constant winds provide a hostile environment for them. Homer is famous also for its sea food restaurants and Bars, which are to be found on a prominent peninsula known as the Spit. As we headed on to the Spit we knew we were in for a great meal to be washed down with some well-deserved Alaska ale. This was the half-way point on our journey and a small celebration was in order. 2nd June This, our day out from travel, was just very different to our recent daily driving routine. Breakfast was followed by a half day of Halibut fishing on MV Irish, a 75foot custom built fishing boat which was ably handled and crewed by Captain Shaun Martin and grandson Jack of North Country Halibut Charters. We anchored on a shallow bank about 25miles out in to the Cook Inlet in an area well recognized for young halibut. The fish were small by halibut standards but were plentiful in number. Our quota of 2 each resulted in a total of 27lbs of fine fillets. During 3 hours of fishing we caught and released around 20 fish, keeping the best, which we had freeze dried and shipped back to Iowa by UPS for the day of our return. 22

Halibut fishing in the Cook Inlet

Cook Inlet is an interesting place, named after the famous 18th century English Sea Captain and explorer Captain James Cook, who charted much of the Pacific coast of America. On this stunningly beautiful section of coast line the volcanoes are often active and accompanied by a history of violent earth quakes and tsunamis. It all looked very peaceful on our visit with sea otters drifting by and porpoise and dolphins popping in to view against a stunning backdrop of forested mountains whose snow covered and spire-like peaks were drenched in sun. Glaciers came into view running thousands of feet from the high hanging valleys as they worked their way down to Katchemak Bay. The ocean

was a deep and gorgeous green with wildlife in evidence everywhere. The weather could be favourably compared with midsummer off the West Coast of Scotland, the latitude at Homer being the same as that of Orkney. In 1964 there was a massive subsea earthquake which was followed by an enormous tsunami with a fifty foot tidal wave hitting land at huge speed. This earthquake was the second largest recorded in history at 9.2 on the Richter scale. It lasted for more than four minutes and brought chaos and death to 113 Alaskans and 13 folks as far away as Oregon on the US mainland. With the fishing over for the day we decided to head for our evening meal to another superb local restaurant. Prior to the meal we were heading for the Salty Dawg bar, a real spit and sawdust place with a history all of its own. Possibly, this Bar is the most famous in Southern Alaska. We were driving down the Spit when Joe spotted a bald eagle landing on a tall telegraph pole. At his request I braked hard and Joe dived out, camera in hand, to snap the bird. He was cursing out loud when the eagle flew off leaving him before he had time to take his snap. Talk of hopping up

The ‘Salty Dawg”

Bald eagle

and down - he made quite a sight, then, out of the blue another eagle flew on to the same pole and Joe was rewarded with this photo (above). Coming down the street were a group of three guys who looked like fishing crew. They were cracking up with laughter at Joe and his antics and cheered wildly when the second bird landed. As it happened we got to know these guys quite well, before the night was over. They spent the whole evening at the Salty Dawg and it transpired that they were from Hawaii. Their leader, Captain Shane Turpin, is the owner of a small fleet of boats taking tourists out to see the lava flows off the Hawaiian coast. His first mate was curious to visit the Bar after a tale his uncle had told him of a visit made prior to the Second World War. During that visit there was a gun fight when a drunken fisherman had drawn a Colt pistol and released three shots before being subdued. The guys had the tale verified by the girl behind the Bar and they spent the rest of the evening searching out the bullet holes. They found all three! One of the lads, when hearing Joe’’s west of Scotland accent, began heartily quoting chapter and verse of all the famous lines from Braveheart which was his favourite movie of all time. When he finally exhausted his repertoire, Joe complimented him on his performance and knowledge of the famous Scottish movie, however adding a sting in the tail by saying it would have been so much more effective if recited in a Scottish accent as against an Irish one! This caused young “Mel Gibson’s” chums to again fall about in fits of laughter as his jaw dropped to the ground. What a gregarious bunch of guys they were. It was full daylight when we said our farewells at 3am in the morning. 3rd June Well, this was the day we would start our return trip and it rained stair rails. This was the first and only day of rain on our trip. It was so bad that we decided to take the shortest trip back via Tok and on to the Canadian Border. Not much else to say about that other than we saw next to nothing, even the Bears had taken the day off! 4th June We set off South from Tok early and in

gorgeous sunshine. That day took us across to the Alaska / Yukon border and our target was Watson Lake some 800 miles South, along the Trans Alaska Highway. The bears were on display again along with Moose, Caribou, a Timber Wolf and several Porcupines. The first highlight this day was that of photographing a number of Grizzly Bears in a group. They were close up and made no attempt to move off. At one stage they even walked towards us in a gentle and completely unintimidating way. Around mid-day I had just taken over at the wheel and the things were going exceptionally well when I saw Joe duck, throwing his arm high in the air. A large oil industry truck had thrown up a huge pebble, or small rock to be more accurate. It was heading straight for Joe and struck the edge of the screen showering small shards of glass across the dash. The noise was like a shotgun being fired at close range. It was our second stone strike, the first being almost invisible but right in front of the driver’s line of vision. Somehow the drive South was not as stimulating as the outbound journey. The second highlight of that day was the fact that we were running a bit low on fuel when at around midnight we stopped at a delightful little place called Nugget City. The pump at the fuel station would not accept a credit card so we approached the main building, hoping that we could pre pay the fuel. Joe stepped through the door, coming back a moment or two later giving the thumbs up. Scott and Linda Goodwin, owners of the Northern Beaver Lodge, made us very welcome and their colleague and chef David Gregg offered to provide us with spaghetti bolognese. All this at 1am on a brightly lit Yukon morning. The food was accompanied by an excellent bottle of red wine and a generous serving of apple pie. Scott enquired as to where we were going to sleep that night and we asked if they had any vacancies in their lodge complex. We called round to the Beaver Lodge Shop for confirmation from Linda and spent the next hour viewing books, artifacts and wood carvings. At about 2.30am we headed for bed in highly comfortable surroundings and it is true to say that this was our favorite accommodation throughout our trip to Alaska. 5th June We left Nugget City fairly early the next morning and our target was to reach Edmonton. This we did, enjoying the last of the stunning scenery. As we headed for the prairies, we knew that we would be sacrificing the gorgeous Yukon scenery for repetitive miles of flat and predictable farm land. 6th June We drove on across the prairies to Saskatoon and crossed eventually crossed the US border south of Winnipeg. Flat

planes and good roads let us travel more than 1100 miles that day and we rolled in to a motel in Grandforks Minnesota in a state of numbed exhaustion. 7th June We had some urgent business to attend too in Iowa and by this stage every hour counted. Despite the urgency we did not get moving until 10am on the 7th. Again this was to be a long journey across Winnipeg and over the border in Iowa. We were shattered and struggled to keep alert as we drove on to Interstate 80 and in to New Liberty, which we reached at 7.30pm. We celebrated with a couple of drams before turning in. 8th June Next morning we had a fine breakfast at the Machine Shed on I. 80 at Davenport then concluded some business before taking the rest of the day off. We spent the evening at the local Bar and Grill and enjoyed a complete rest in relaxed conditions. Later we took the Land Cruiser to the local Simonize Company for a complete wash, polish and valet. This took an hour or so and when we collected the car it was just like new. All we needed now was a replacement windscreen and a new set of tyres. With this organized we took in some sights and had another easy day. The following day the daughter of one of my American friends was to be married. Joe and I had been invited and we decided to look out our cameras. Joes was there but mine was not. I felt cold sweat going down the back of my neck in the realization that not only had the camera contained the photographs from the journey but almost all my photographs from travel in various parts of the world for the past 3 years or so. We rushed back to Simonize to find it closed. We had to wait until the next day and made the assumption that it had been stolen, especially as we discovered the satellite navigation kit was also missing along with most of the gifts we had collected during the trip. Having gone through the routine of phoning the motel in Grandforks and searching through our luggage about 10 times we decided to approach the manager of the Simonize Car Wash. We had no sooner asked for the manager and been ushered in to his office when a very relieved young man appeared and told us what had happened. As items of value were left in the car when it was being cleaned inside and out, he had decided to place them in his office for safe keeping. When Joe and I collected the car we drew away without the valuables. The manager had been trying to contact us and had even reported the problem to the State Troopers. What a relief it was to have our things back. The 9th of June saw us at the wedding which was wonderful - and the 10th saw us return to Chicago for the trip back to Scotland. An unforgettable trip. 23

Asparagus and Tarragon Risotto

You can whip up this tasty risotto in just half an hour! This classic dish makes the most of fresh British asparagus which is at its finest at the moment. All you need is a strong arm for stirring and a little patience! Serves 2 2 shallots 50g goat’s cheese 1 stick celery 1 small bunch asparagus 180g risotto rice 150ml white wine 500ml stock Olive oil Handful of fresh tarragon, roughly chopped Finely dice the shallot and celery. Discard the woody ends of the asparagus and slice the remaining stems into half cm pieces. Heat a generous slug of olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a gentle heat. Add the celery and shallot and gently fry until softened, which should take about ten minutes. Keep the heat low to stop the vegetables colouring. Next add the rice, asparagus slices and half of the chopped tarragon to the pan. Stir well over a moderate heat for a minute or so to coat the grains in oil. Pour in the white wine, bring to a gentle simmer and stir until the liquid has been absorbed. Have your stock ready and add a ladleful or two at a time to the risotto, stirring well between additions and waiting until the stock has been absorbed before adding the next ladleful. After most of the stock has been added, taste the rice to test whether it’s cooked. The grains should be al dente – soft but still with a bit of bite. Take the pan off the heat, season well with salt and pepper and add the remaining tarragon leaves. Leave to rest for a minute or two and serve with crumbled goat’s cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Reserve a few of the asparagus tips, blanch in salted water and stir in at the last minute to add some fresh green bite to the dish.

15 Minute Quiz

Answers to the questions on page 21: 1 Mount Fuji 2 Coventry 3 Cuba 4 i)The Goddess of Love,(ii)The God of the Underworld,(iii)The God of the Sea,(iv)The God of Flight and (v)The Goddess of Marriage and Women. 5 Champion the Wonder Horse. 6 (i)Norwich,(ii)Coventry,(iii)Colchester,(iv) Edinburgh and (v)Uxbridge,Middlesex or London. 7 You would have joined the army. 8 Hedgehog 9 Cape Horn. 10 Cancer 11 The crocodile. 12 (i)Herman Melville,(ii)William Makepeace Thackerey,(iii)Jonathan Swift,(iv)Miguel De Cervates and (v)Leo Tolstoy. 13 Dick Fosbury. 14 Utah. 15 The Anchor Man


Desk for sale - £30 Please call 01877 384624 (Balquhidder)

Wood for All is a new project which aims to unlock the potential of undermanaged woodlands in the Stirling region. We’re helping bring together like-minded communities and landowners, providing access to local sources of wood fuel, and opportunities for woodland skill building and sharing. The project aims to reduce the region’s CO2 emissions by making wood heating systems more accessible, and transforming Stirling into a wood fuel hub. Wood for All is for your community – please get involved and help take it forward. The project is run by Transition Stirling, with funding from the Climate Challenge Fund. Towards Transition Stirling is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation SC043469 REMEMBER... Advertising must be paid up before publication. This also applies to adverts on a 6 month discount which are coming up for renewal. We are sending out invoices a month ahead to give people plenty of time to pay - but if no payment is received by Deadline Day (21st) then the advert will have to be removed. Sorry!


Pearl-Bordered Fritillary Butterfly Survey 2013 This spring we will again be carrying out further survey work to establish the current distribution of the Pearl -bordered Fritillary (PBF) and the state of suitable PBF habitat along the woodlands above the north shore of Loch Katrine in the Trossachs. This is a continuation of earlier work between 2009 and 2012 which has established that the butterfly is just surviving here on one site and that suitable habitat exists at other locations nearby over a wide area along the woodland edge. Loch Katrine is a famously scenic area with a fascinating land use history, located in the heart of The Great Trossachs Forest project area. This work is being carried out under a national butterfly survey agreement between Butterfly Conservation (BC) and Forestry Commission Scotland, with the full support of the FCS Cowal & Trossachs District Office conservation team based at Aberfoyle. The whole of the Loch Katrine north shore woodlands area is under FCS management as an integral part of the TGTF partnership initiative. Key elements of the long term management plan for the woodlands

include the creation of deer exclosures and the use of seasonal cattle grazing in selected areas to curb bracken growth and create improved habitat for PBF and other butterflies. This year’s survey will focus on sightings of adult PBF during the flight season, covering all of the sites previously identified as holding suitable habitat, and monitoring the condition of these and other sites. Typically, these are on south facing slopes on the edge of broadleaf woodland with light bracken sward where dog violet - the food plant of the caterpillar - is abundant, as well as other nectar plants such as bugle and primrose. PBF flies only in warm sunshine, more often in the morning, but can be seen during sunny intervals in showery weather. It is a spring butterfly and although very similar in appearance to its relative the Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary has an earlier flight season and is less well distributed. Weather permitting, we will be surveying on May 8th, 15th, 17th, 23rd and 28th and June 5th. We will require a maximum of six volunteers

each day, working in teams covering three distinct areas with ‘clusters’ of favourable PBF habitat. Instruction in BC habitat assessment methodology and all necessary equipment will be provided. We currently require volunteers on all of these dates. If you would like to fill any of these vacancies, please contact Nick Cooke – see details below. Please note the survey work will involve walking over rough ground, so please come suitably prepared with adequate waterproof clothing and a packed lunch. If you have your own GPS, camera and field glasses, these will be very useful. We will assemble at the Trossachs Pier car park on the at the east end of Loch Katrine at 1000 hrs on survey days, returning there by 1700 hrs. The grid reference for the Pier is NN 495073. In the event of bad weather preventing any survey work on any of the above dates, I will telephone the relevant team members by 0830 hrs on the same day. Nick Cooke, CLEAR Services 07901 916884



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

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

Other Contacts... Helen Clark Business Manager 07971 648743

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

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


The Villagers’ Photographer

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


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

Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 -11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am - 12.30pm (Contact Abbey Arkotxa 01877 384671) Badminton - Balquhidder Hall - 8.00pm Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am-12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00-9.00pm Choir Occasional - Balquhidder Hall - 7.30-9.00pm Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon Ballroom Dancing - Lochearnhead Hall

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

Stuc A’Chroin Hill Race - see p.23

CHURCH SERVICES Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St. Fillans

JUNE 1-2


Strathyre Festival - see p.7

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

01786 443497

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.

Refuse Collections Monday 6th Grey Bins • Monday 13th Brown Bins • Monday 20th Grey Bins • Monday 27th Brown Bins

Vestry Secretary - Mary Barclay Tel: 01567 830453

The Villagers May 2013  

Spring fun. MHOR annual festival, community action, where to stay in Lochearnhead, Balquhidder, Strathyre, St Fillans. Village life and news...

The Villagers May 2013  

Spring fun. MHOR annual festival, community action, where to stay in Lochearnhead, Balquhidder, Strathyre, St Fillans. Village life and news...