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Price 50p

The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

BLS – Where Business Does the Talking or

A Focus on Local Business...

Not only do we live in such a beautiful rural location, but our community is full of innovative and diverse individuals who manage to establish and run successful businesses based locally. Over the next few months, this new column intends to interview the owners of several of these businesses, gaining insights into how they see the various challenges as well as advantages of being based in such a location. In our first interview, I had the privilege of talking with Leslie Mackenzie de Arkotxa, of Tuarach Farm, Balquhidder. She showed me around her recentlyopened, 12-bed Loch Voil Hostel, as well as her impressive West Highland Animation studio, the source of her many animated creations in Gaelic. When did you first move to Balquhidder? We’ve been here since 1979. And when did you start West Highland Animation? That was about 1984/85. What made you decide to open an animation studio? Well, I didn’t really open the studio at that point. What I did was I started making an animation film because there was somebody who had come up from Bristol, which even then was considered the home of British animation, and they had a deal where you could make a film and get paid for it. So I made a first film, a silhouette film, all on 16mm film. We were all pre-digital in those days. And how would you say that things have changed in filmmaking since then, in terms of animation films specifically, now that everything is digitalised? Is the process totally different? It was a big change, because what also happened at the beginning of the ‘90s was that Gaelic TV began, so it was ideal that I had already made Gaelic animation

Leslie at Balquhidder Gaelic Playgroup

films in Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Killin Primaries. I was able to make films in Gaelic with beautiful Gaelic singing because our Primary teacher Joan Mann and her mother Margaret Bennett (Peigi Stuibhart) were so good at teaching children singing. They were a great little partnership who, along with Alison Whyte at McLaren High and the secondary Gaelic pupils there, made it possible for me to make Gaelic animation. And then the Gaelic TV channel was opened, which meant it was possible to make a living from it.

film – old style. It was all multiplane, very elaborate, very slow production. In terms of school projects the film I made at Lochearnhead Primary was a good one. It involved a lot of heads being cut off – it was a very funny little film and popular internationally too! Over 70 animation films were made through those years - usually humorous child-friendly revamps of traditional stories from our oral tradition. Now I’m not doing either school or studio projects though the work continued for a while with digitisation and publishing spin offs.

Which projects and/or animated films have been your favourites or have been the biggest success stories? I had a sort of double animation strategy. One year I would make a Series in schools – in the Gaelic Medium Units which were being started then, and the next year would be a studio-made production at West Highland Animation. So obviously the studio films were better-made, they had what are called ‘higher production values’. But they did take an awful lot longer to make! So I would say that of the studio productions the Scottish Urisk/Uruisg na h-Alba was my favourite because the films were the most carefully made and they were all shot on 16mm

What projects are you working on at the moment? Before I started doing animation, I was working on etchings and etched-books with my husband Juan, (continued on p14)

Editor’s Bit It’s great to be able to introduce another new feature in ‘Where Business Does The Talking’ - this month on the front page - and I am sure we will all appreciate Iona’s insights into the pros and cons of running businesses of all descriptions in our communities. I think she will be delighted to hear from you if you have a story/views you would like to share. Please don’t be shy! I am also very pleased to say that photos first published in The Villagers are hopefully going to feature on BBC’s Autumnwatch, so many congratulations to Old Nyati (see page 19). Finally, although it seems rather a long way off, I need to inform you that our AGM will be on Wednesday the 19th of February in Strathyre, venue to be confirmed, at 7.30pm and you are all invited. We would love to hear your views on the future of The Villagers. JJ

BOOK CORNER I would like to thank Jean Edwards for her contribution to Book Corner. It is gratifying when you realise people do read what you write! Jean’s recommendation is Charles Cumming’s The Trinity Six. It is based on the Burgess and Mclean group of 5 traitors - and the unsolved mystery of who was the sixth man. Harold Wilson was a suspect at one time! There is a nice little twist at the end. The Times reviewer described Cumming as “in the first rank of the new generation of espionage writers”.



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

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

15.8 ºC 21.5 8.1 2.0

60.0 ºF 70.7 46.6 35.6

Rainfall 9.9cms 4ins Strongest wind gust 37mph on 16 Sept


St Angus’s hosts a Gardeners’ Question Time The Congregation is hosting a Gardeners’ Question Time at 7.00 pm on Thursday the 5th December 2013 to be held at the Four Seasons Hotel, St Fillans. Andrew Low, the owner, has kindly offered the hotel facilities much as he did for the Silent Auction held there last year and so enjoyed by those who attended. Part of his reason to give us the evening there is because he heard about the latest challenge for St Angus’s. We are faced with major expenditure following the Quinquennial Survey which resulted in the wiring and electrical heating being condemned and all this after we were feeling smug with our new roof! The evening promises to be a lively affair with a most competent panel to answer those knotty questions that face us from time to time in the garden. We have Jonathan McDonald from Riverside Garden Centre, Comrie, Ronan Gilchrist, an eminently qualified expert from Edinburgh and Bob Livermore, a very keen amateur gardener from St Fillans. A buffet supper will be served during the evening and there will be the statutory raffle!!! Tickets for the evening will cost £15.00 each. To avoid disappointment, give me a call as soon as possible as tickets are limited for catering purposes. You can send in your questions in advance but there will also be an opportunity to ask them on the night. It should be a fun evening. Lawrie Hopkins

Christmas Workshop

with Clare

Saturday November 16th 10-4pm at Balquhidder Hall An opportunity to make something special: Festive Bunting or a Wall-hanging (which can include metalwork) Cost £20 (limited number of places)

When booking your place, please specify which project you want to make. Some materials provided, others you will be asked to bring. Contact Jean 01567 830359 Bring your own lunch Tea & coffee provided!


Christmas Market Sunday 1st December 11 to 4pm

Teas, Coffees and Lunches. Lovely unusual gifts. Tables still available: small£7 large£14 Contact Janet at Strathyre shop 01877384275 or mobile 07817 948908

New Telephone Directory LETI (the Loch Earn Tourism Initiative) is pleased to announce the launch of the new Local Telephone Directory covering the Villagers area – Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, St Fillans and Strathyre. It will be on sale in local outlets for £2.00 each and has been supported by advertising from local businesses. There has been much local publicity through the Village Shops and personal contact and if we’ve got it wrong we apologise, but then there’s always next time!

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 

13 BER 20 O T C O 4 28TH FROM OF 201 D G E N S I R O CL EN SP RE OP

We are on the south Loch Earn Road, 300 metres past the road bridge in St Fillans.

The St Fillans Bit One of the reasons that I continue to contribute ‘The St Fillans Bit’ to the Villagers every month, after more years than I care to count, is that I believe that all of us who put our contributions in are helping to create a lasting account of village life in Perthshire. Real journalists who write for daily papers know that their ‘scoop’ of today will be wrapping up fish suppers tomorrow, but it is inevitable that some readers of a local magazine like The Villagers will store away their copies and that they will emerge again in the future and be read all over again, and folk will be reminded of happenings and village residents from long ago. Much of that record of village life involves real people, villagers, and that’s why I like to use as many photos of the people involved in our village life as I can. And it is why I always try to record the passing away of villagers. A major difference between village life and city life is that in a village most of us know each other and a death means something to all of us. In a city the guy two doors down the street dies and you don’t even notice the event. Sadly this month I record the loss of two villagers. Jean Cunningham, mother of Russell, was born in 1924 in Clarkston and spent her later years in St Fillans until her death last month on 29th September. After schooling Jean worked in a shipping office in Glasgow which, amongst other things, involved producing reports on shipping losses in WW2. Hard for us nowadays, when a single ship sinks and is a major story, to imagine a world

by John Murray

achievement, and being a housewife and mum. There can’t be many who celebrate 65 years of marriage as Jean did, and she received a card from The Queen to mark the occasion (and an expensive gift from Russell purchased from Pound Stretchers). In later years Jean developed Alzheimers and in 2008 moved to St Fillans to be closer to Russell and Liz who were active and devoted carers. I only met Jean a few times but know from her family that she was a gentle and loving mom. As I write, husband Les is in PRI in not the best of health and I wish him well, along with the whole Cunningham clan.


where dozens of ships were lost weekly along with hundreds of sailors and women had to produce daily reports on the losses. Jean met husband Les, an airman with Bomber Command, at a local tennis club (no nightclubs or dating agencies then) and they married in 1948. The fruits of the marriage were three children, six grandchildren and, to date, 8 great grandchildren. Jean did not work after marriage (obviously far too busy producing the next generations) but did voluntary work in hospitals through the WRVS and was heavily into country dancing and completing The Telegraph crossword, no mean


Ron Wellens was born in Wilmslow, Cheshire, in 1947. After primary school Ron moved on to grammar school in Wilmslow and then to Kings School in Macclesfield. He moved briefly to London Continued overleaf


The St Fillans Bit (Continued from Page 3)

working for Goldsmiths but hated the big city and moved back north to take up an apprenticeship with ICI at the age of 20 and started a career with the company which lasted for 37 years until his retirement in 2004. Ron’s role of Scientific Officer had him leading a team of analysts involved in the development of pharmaceuticals and the fact that he was never tempted to move jobs in all of those years shows just how much he had found his particular niche in life. At the time that Ron retired his daughter Amy was studying at Stirling University and Ron and wife Jan frequently visited Scotland to see their daughter. The visits led to a desire to relocate to Perthshire for their retirement and St Fillans was chosen as an ideal place to live (simple decision really). Boltachen was on the market and duly became their new home. The couple integrated quickly into village life – both being gregarious and wanting to be part of the village. Ron and Jan were constant supporters of village activities and ever present at events and gatherings. Ron had always been involved in athletic pursuits, tennis, squash, football, table tennis (he was Cheshire County Champion in that sport) and he continued to be active in sport after his retirement. He was a lifelong and seriously devoted supporter of Manchester City (I’m warned by daughter Amy to be sure to not get City and United mixed up or Ron will be sending a thunderbolt down on me) and he had the scarf and bonnet to prove it. As a young man Ron had a fascination with model railways and built up a fair collection of trains. In the 1990s he found that he no longer had the time to pursue the hobby, so he sold off his collection. When he and Jan bought Boltachen he immediately saw the potential of the ‘spare room’ to host a new model railway. Jan was not best pleased but negotiations resulted in the compromise of Ron getting the spare room for his hobby whilst Jan got the sun room for hers. The result was the creation of the most amazing model railway layout that I’ve ever seen (featured in The Villagers a couple of years ago). The future of the layout is unsure but Amy is hopeful of finding an enthusiast from Ron’s model railway contacts who can take the whole set up. It’s difficult to sum up anyone who has gone with a couple of words. I wasn’t a close friend of Ron but I knew him pretty well – very stable, a happy outlook on life, and a cheeky wee grin. He was just an easy going guy of whom I never heard a bad word spoken. He overcame the tragic loss of wife Jan last year and soldiered on, accompanied by his lovely dog Donnie. I met him last just two days before his death, changing his boots by The Four Seasons after a session clearing a part of the railway footpath. We talked of footpaths and dogs. My cocker spaniel Mozzie was all over Ron because the dog knew that Ron was a source of dog treats. That’s a good way to remember him. The couple of words would be “nice guy”. Ron died after a game of squash in Crieff. A defibrillator was used to try to revive him but the artery damage was too severe.


This leads me into some much happier news that Don Forrester has now taken delivery of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on loan from the Scottish Ambulance Service until, hopefully, his application to the British Heart Foundation grant for a permanent one for our area is granted. Our picture shows Don being presented with the AED at the Inversnaid Hotel by Stuart Ballantyne, a Community Defibrillation Officer. The AED is now sited in the Annexe to Dundurn Parish Church on Manse Lane in a locked cabinet. Most folk in the village will have received the code for the lock by email but if you are local and want the code phone Don on 362 or Harry on 248. Training courses are soon to be arranged in the village hall but I’m assured by Don that even without training the machine is very ‘user friendly’ as once you turn it on it issues verbal instructions as to how to use it (a bit like the wife). I assume that most villagers will by now have seen the press releases related to the confirmed purchase of The Drummond by Arran Brewers – which can only be good for our village. The proposals for a microbrewery and visitor centre, along with the resurrection of the hotel with 2 restaurants and 2 bars and 30 rooms sounds brilliant. There will be obstacles to overcome but I hope that there will be strong support for Arran’s proposals. We’ve had a year of a decaying building as our village centre piece; let’s hope that this time next year we have a renovated building and a thriving business as the focal point of the village. A quick mention of The Four Seasons – Mary never fails to give me a monthly update, which I really appreciate. By the time you read this they will be on winter hours, which means being open from Thursday evening until Monday morning. Two wine tasting dinners are scheduled for 15th November (Tour de France) with wines from 5 regions of France chosen to compliment the regional menu compiled by Chef Didier, and then the New World Wine Dinner on 29th November presented by Richard Meadows of Great Grog in Edinburgh. And remember that the Four Seasons is normally fully booked for Christmas Day Lunch so book early. I have good input from the Golf Club & Fraz this month but my space is limited so I’ll carry it forward to next month. John Murray (PS - After writing this I was very happy to be at the Gathering held on Sunday 27th October in The Sandison Hall to celebrate the life of Ron Wellens. A non-religious event (Ron was not a church goer) which was attended by more folk than I’ve ever seen in The Hall.  A very moving and memorable gathering which was lead superbly by Elma Brierley and included remembrances from family, friends and fellow sports players.  I have to repeat a lovely summing up by Elma referring to Ron’s admitted lack of faith - “Some men profess faith who generate evil whilst there are those who profess no faith who radiate good”.  Can’t beat that as a summation of Ron).

Strathyre News

If you have travelled down the motorway heading to Edinburgh then you will have no doubt have been amazed at The Kelpies the two horse’s heads under construction as you pass the marina at Grangemouth. Jan and I were passing them on Sat 19th October and as they are near completion, what a fantastic sight they are...but beware! While these are wonderful pieces of art Watch out for The Kelpies - or rather, don’t! there lurks a danger when passing. As we passed I was overtaking a large van when the driver seemed to lose control and almost collided with us and I can only assume that his full attention was not on driving but looking at these heads. Luckily Jan had seen him in time for me to manoeuvre out of his way and after a few shaky seconds he regained control of his vehicle and no impact took place on this occasion. Had a collision occurred he could easily have pushed our vehicle over the carriageway and straight into oncoming traffic, and I dread to think of the outcome, but someone could easily have been killed. While these are very nice to look at they are a dangerous distraction given that traffic passing is mostly travelling at 70mph. So please take care on this stretch of road because you just do not know if other drivers are paying attention.

Strange Invitation If you recall last month’s issue, I said I would be reporting on the strangest invitation that Jan and I have had to date in Strathyre. Well I can now reveal that the invite was to - wait for it - a ‘Gate Opening party”! Only in Strathyre could you be invited to such a party. Let me explain! Our hosts were Mike and Chris Keeney and the gate in question was a very personal creation that they had commissioned and installed at the side entrance of their house. It was personal in the respect that they had incorporated their love for their dogs and Mike`s love of music depicted by the two Scottie dogs and the crossed banjo and guitar. This fantastic gate was masterminded and constructed by Mikey Higgins who is now trying to establish his own business and, with work like this, he can only succeed and we wish him well for

Flutterbuys is a newly opened gift and interiors studio, easily accessible on the main street in Strathyre. It is the fulfilment of a long held dream of Nyree Watson to sell a quirky range of handpicked and handmade presents, cards, and unique pieces to give away to loved ones - or to enhance your own home! Flutterbuys will help take the stress out of shopping for Christmas by having a range of decorations, traditional toys and “stocking fillers” for all ages.

29th November: 7-10pm

the future. If you would like any work or welding done he can be contacted through his dad, Kenny. It turned out to be a wonderful evening of food and drink and lots of music provided by “oor Mike”, and Kenny and Greg (Balvaig). Thanks for the strangest invite we have ever had, but if anyone would like to invite us to something stranger, then please feel free to do so! Jan & Wullie D PS  Sorry about the quality of the photo (above). It was not the best of days!

Once again I had the pleasure of presenting our fund raising Race Night at The Inn and Bistro and what a fantastic evening it turned out to be. We had a full house with locals, visitors and a cracking delegation from Lochearnhead who were very enthusiastic on the night and made a huge contribution to our final sum of £1112.35. However this particular evening was not just for the Stuc but also to help with the installation of our much need Village defibulator, which I can now say will be housed at the Village Shop, thanks to the kindness of Janet and the rest of the Richard family. However these things do come at a cost and I am delight to say that £264 will donated to the BLS through my wife Jan who is a director, and approached the committee to see if we could help in any way, and the pleasure was all ours. This amount will sustain the running costs for some time but it is a cost that will need to be addressed annually and

Flutterbuys Retail Therapy Night! Come along and join us at Flutterbuys interiors and gifts for en evening of shopping and perhaps a glass of bubbly! Get into the Christmas spirit with some mulled wine and have a look for all the gifts you need for the important people in your life. A percentage of the sales on this special evening will go towards the Stathyre Christmas Party - and there will be a raffle.

Davey Allan presenting Jan with the cheque

future fund raising will be the order of the day. During the course of the race there are many background people involved who (Continued on page 7) all play an 5

Callander & West Perthshire


This year’s courses are now in full swing and the membership is still growing. Our target of 200 was passed in early October and we are still recruiting new people, which is hugely encouraging for what has been the newest U3A in Scotland. The next U3A will be launched in early November – Bearsden & Milngavie will form its own group, an offshoot of Lenzie U3A on the outskirts of Glasgow. We wish them well. Last year’s Creative Stitchery Group produced a wall hanging depicting Ancaster Square in Callander and this has been presented to the Old Bank Café which hosts many of our groups and also our committee meetings. The stitchers were Anne Guthrie, Margaret Slater, Eleanor Malcolm and Barbara Legg. Our new Sunday Lunch Group has proved popular and on 29 September members enjoyed a delicious meal at Poppies Hotel in Callander before attending the opening ceremony of the new Friendship Garden down by the Library. Our Gardening Group Leader, Hilary Gunkel, was instrumental in the organisation of this venture by Greener Callander, to refurbish the grounds beside the Library where once stood the public toilets. It has been a magnificent achievement and C&WP U3A is proud to have contributed to the Stepping Stones which form such a feature of the garden. With the Referendum on Independence now less than a year away two meetings for our full membership have been arranged in order to help us all decide which way to vote:

C&WP Creative Stitchery Group present their wall hanging to The Old Bank Café in Callander

C&WP Stepping Stone

Murdo Fraser, Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, will speak for the ‘Better Together’ campaign on 9th January 2014. Gerry McLaughlan, SNP Bannockburn, will speak on behalf of ‘Yes Scotland’ on 20th February 2014. Times and venues will be announced later. Pictured below: Some members of the Sunday Lunch Group

C&WP Friendship Gardening opening


Race Night Continued from page 5

important role in the success of the race and more importantly the safety of the competitors and the marshals who brave the weather and the race itself. None more so than our very brave and unselfish Mountain Rescue Team who give their time to ensure everyone is of the hill safely and this year proved how valuable these people are as their assistance was required due to the worst weather we have had in the history of the race. So I was delighted to announce that we were donating the sum of £100 towards their ever increasing costs - not a huge amount, but gratefully received none the less. On behave of the committee can I thank all who supported us on the night, to Steve and the staff who worked so hard (as always) and to the girls who gave their time to be the “bookies”. It was a wonderful evening enjoyed by all and I’m sure there will be more to come in the future. WD

Real Ale - Real Music

WINTER FUEL ALLOWANCE About this time of the year, older taxpayers will again be receiving another ‘Winter Fuel’ payment. This is indeed a very exciting programme, and I’ll explain it by using a Q & A format: Q. What is a ‘Winter Fuel’ payment ? A. It is money that the government will send to taxpayers. Q. Where will the government get this money ? A. From taxpayers. Q. So the government is giving me back my own money ? A. Only a smidgen of it. Q. What is the purpose of this payment ? A. The plan is for you to use the money to purchase gas and electricity... or a highdefinition TV set, thus stimulating the economy. Q. But isn’t that stimulating the economy of China ? A. Shut up.

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

Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the U.K. Economy by spending your ‘Winter Fuel’ cheque wisely:

may be able to help

- If you spend the money at Asda or Tesco, the money will go to China , Taiwan or Sri Lanka

Rural Stirling Housing Association 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.

- If you spend it on petrol your money will go to the Arabs - If you purchase a computer your money will go to India , Taiwan or China - If you purchase fruit and vegetables your money will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala - If you buy an efficient car your money will go to Japan or Korea - If you purchase useless stuff your money will go to Taiwan - If you pay off your credit cards or buy

‘Wee Hairy Highlander’ Gonk. Beware of imitations!

shares, your money will go to management bonuses and they will hide it offshore. Instead, keep the money in the UK by: 1. Spending it at car boot sales 2. Going to night clubs 3. Buying beer or whisky 4. Getting a tattoo 5. Visiting a bookie 6. Engaging the paid company of an ‘escort’ 7. Spending it on locally-made Wee Hairy Highlander Gonks (These are the only UK businesses still operating in the U.K. )

Conclusion: Be patriotic - go to a night club with a tattooed lady that you met at a car boot sale and drink beer day and night! No need to thank me... just glad I could be of help. WD 7

Church News BalquhiĐĐer Reg. Charity No. SC012316

Remembrance Sunday Sunday 10th November 2013 Time of Services are as follows: Lochearnhead War Memorial 10.45am Balquhidder Church 12.00 noon Strathyre War Memorial 3.00pm

Remembrance Sunday will be on the 10th November and we shall be laying wreaths at all three war memorials. We shall remember all those who gave their lives or were injured in the two world wars and in the many conflicts since. There will also be a retiral collection for Poppy Scotland (Earl Haig Fund) in Balquhidder Church after the service at noon. Mr White has provided details of times etc. Looking further ahead, we shall keep to the tradition of lighting a new candle on each of the four Sundays in Advent, finishing on Christmas Eve when all five candles will be lit. On Sunday 1st December, we hope to have a table at the Christmas Market in Balquhidder Village Hall. This year, we shall have Christmas cards and gifts for sale as usual, but also a new venture will be fridge magnets featuring photos of the Church, Rob Roy`s grave, and the view of Loch Voil from Craig an Turc. At £2.00 each, they make nice wee gifts. No more shopping stress in Stirling, come to the Christmas market to get your gifts and cards on your doorstep (well, almost). Jean Edwards

What brought me to Balquhidder? A visitor to Balquhidder shares her reasons for wanting to travel here, all the way from New Zealand. Firstly I came to house keep for Penny & Jim Hannah via a website called HelpX, and it’s been a most enjoyable time cooking & cleaning for them, walking Rory, and soaking up this wonderful glen. But I was always going to visit Balquhidder for a few days, as there is a story behind this place that connects it to my home in Tatuanui, New Zealand. In about 1920 a young Scottish lady from Milton of Auchinhove, named Beatrice Mary Louisa Reid, visited Balquhidder. I’m not sure if she worked here, but she loved the place very much. From here she went on to work in The Palace of Holyroodhouse before travelling to New Zealand. In early 1925 Beatrice married Val Henrikson. Beatrice & Val are the grandparents of Graeme, my husband. They ran the family dairy farm (65 hectares ) at Tatuanui in the Waikato, and at some stage Beatrice decided to name the farm ‘Balquhidder’. Tatuanui has some similarity, in as much as we have a mountain range called the Kaimai nearby - and we also are prone to fog rolling in over the plains, and sitting for days. In the early 60s Beatrice visited again, but who she came to see we do not know. The farm was developed 100 years ago by Val’s father and is now called ‘Balquhidder – Henrikson Family Farm’. We now run mixed beef, dairy grazing & grow 10 hectares of maize. Ross, our eldest son, now runs the farm after 8

Graeme’s sudden death two & half years ago. A sixth generation of Henrikson’s is now being produced. For me, coming to Balquhidder has been a time of good grieving and healing. I do believe that it is ‘A Thin Place’ and God is closer, or maybe it’s just that one is ‘stiller’ - “Be still & know I am God” Psalm 46.10. All I know is I’ve been truly blessed by coming here and as I head back to my New Zealand ‘Balquhidder’ I’ll take a little bit of Scotland with me in my heart. I’d like to thank those of you I’ve meet for making me feel so welcome over the past 6 weeks. And to Penny, Jim & Rory - it’s been an absolute pleasure. Donnella Henrikson

Donella cooks her last meal before heading off back to the other side of the world

Check this out...

Out for a run in the car - or a cycle ride? Taking the kids for a walk? Or out on the loch? Stop off and have a light lunch or a cuppa with a spot of home baking - and enjoy some of the best views in Britain. You might even pick up a bargain! You will be very welcome -

and you’ll be helping an amazing cause.

PlayGroup activities

8th November: Track Day – bring your bikes and scooters 15th November: Julia Alice Photography will be doing a photo shoot 22nd November: Making Double Biscuits 6th December: Softplay & Den Making 13th December: Christmas Art 20th December: Christmas Party

New Metafit & Circuit Class

has started in Strathyre Village Hall

8pm on Thursay nights!


View from the Park by Owen McKee Yes, their opening had been heralded for August and then, with fingers crossed, the Loch Lubnaig sites were to open in September. It is with great relief I can now announce that they will open midNovember with an official launch by our local MSP, Bruce Crawford, on Friday 22nd November at 11.0am. Furthermore to give the facilities a good test run they will be open through the winter months in readiness for the hoped for summer rush. What next? The experience of the temporary POLICE - NO PARKING ON THE VERGES signs at Loch Lubnaig helped pave the way to our request to the local community councils to let us have their views on the provision of Clearways on the lochside roads of the Five Lochs. BLS and St Fillans Community Councils have indicated that they would be in favour but both Callander and Trossachs Community Councils have yet to give a definitive response. The Clearway Orders are issued by the relevant roads authorities. In the case of the trunk roads (the A84 and A85) Transport Scotland is responsible and the other roads come under the control of the local authorities (Stirling and Perth & Kinross). Not only are you not allowed to park on Clearway roads but you are also prohibited from parking on the road verges. However if there are laybys (official parking places) you can park there. And worry not - they will not be within settlement boundaries. What is the process? The Park Authority will put forward an application to the Roads Authorities who take charge of the consultation and seek comments. If there are no substantive objections the orders should be issued in about nine months.

Next up is the car park at Inverlochlarig in Balquhidder Glen. Slowly but surely we will get more facilities introduced around the Park. We are also still working on the litter problem. Keep Scotland Beautiful is not just a wonderful concept - it is an organisation with a remit from Scottish Government to help solve the litter problem. They have just completed a report on Litter in The Park and we will use that report in our discussion with the Local Authorities in our attempt to broker a unified litter strategy within the National Park. Wish us luck. How did the season go this year? Throughout the season the Rangers survey visitor traffic and behaviour and a formal report is scheduled to come before the Park Board at our December meeting. However, informally I am lead to believe that this will show that visitor behaviour shows a marked improvement. What factors have influenced  this improvement? It may well be that the economic situation has meant less money available for alcohol (National consumption of alcohol is down) but I believe a major factor is the continuing success of Operation Ironworks where the rapport between Rangers and Police is well developed. Trouble, and the potential for trouble, is being more readily identified and acted upon. Visitor management will continue to be a high priority for the Park Authority. Owen McKee as always I can be contacted as follows: Taigh Na Bhuth, Lochearnhead 01567 830214


Rambling Club Sponsored by Caledonian Country Wear

The Club consists of a group of enthusiasts who meet regularly throughout the year to participate in a programme of strolls, rambles, hill walks and a Long Distance Path. Details are published on http://www. a m b l e r s . h t m in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diary: NOVEMBER • Sat 2nd 8:30am Hill: Uamh Beag (665m) - contact 01877 330930 • Wed 13th 9:30am Ramble: Mystery Ramble (6 miles) - contact 01877 330444 • Wed 20th 9:30am Stroll: Gartmorn Dam and Devon Way (6 miles) - contact 01877 376236 • Sat 30th 8:30am Hill: Stron Lochie (501m) - contact 01877 387201 December • Wed 4th 9:30am Ramble: Plean & Torwood Heritage Walk (6 miles) - contact 01877 331621

We meet in Ancaster Square, unless otherwise indicated. Please bring wet weather clothing, appropriate footwear and a packed lunch. And please let the walk leader know if you plan to join the walk via the contact number given!


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 10

Creagan House Tastes Gold

Master Chef Gordon Gunn of Creagan House, Strathyre

Gordon and Cherry Gunn have been awarded VisitScotland’s prestigious Gold Award for exceptional customer care at Creagan House. The 5 star ‘restaurant with rooms’ in Strathyre village is one of only 4 in the whole of Scotland. Creagan House is also one  of the first restaurants to be accepted into the new VisitScotland Taste our Best scheme”. The Gunns attended the launch at Hopetoun House in September.  Taste our Best is a new quality assurance scheme designed to recognise businesses that  include and promote Scottish produce on their  menus in addition to offering consistently high quality food and drink.   Quality of  cooking, service, presentation skills and use of seasonal produce are all considered by assessors. A minimum of 40% Scottish produce must be identifiable to guests on the menu. Cherry said, “The assessors’ report commented on Gordon’s long standing approach to knowing the provenance of his food, which  easily surpassed their benchmark.  We have just celebrated 27 years at Creagan House, so would like to think these awards show we are still as passionate as ever to achieve excellence in all that we do.” Earlier this year, Gordon Gunn was accepted into The Master Chefs of Great Britain and Creagan House was singled out to be included in The Trencherman’s Guide to Best Restaurants In Scotland.  So, it has been quite a year for The Gunns and Creagan House in Strathyre! LETI (Loch Earn Tourism Initiative) businesses based in Strathyre and the neighbouring villages of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and St Fillans are proud to be associated with members Cherry and Gordon Gunn - and to recommend Creagan House to visiting guests. Congratulations on 27 years and your magnificent achievements together! 11

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of Meeting held at Balquhidder Village Hall on 25 September 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), Paul Hicks (PH), Karen Methven (KM), Adrian Squires (AS), Richard Eastland (RE), Sara Hesp (SH), Alastair Barclay (AB), Susie Crammon (SC). Apologies: Roseanne McWilliams, Angus Cameron. PC Will Diamond, Police Scotland. In attendance: Cllr Martin Earl (ME), Stirling Council (S-C), Suzanne Player (S-C)., Owen McKee (OM), (National Park). 1) Approval of Minutes 1.1) It was proposed by AB and seconded by SC, that the minutes of the meeting on 3rd July 2013 should be accepted, and this was approved unanimously. 1.2) It was proposed by KM and seconded by MM, that the minutes of the meeting on 14th August 2013 should be accepted, and this was approved unanimously. 2) Declarations of Interest MM declared an interest in the redevelopment of the car park at Loch Doine in relation to the Five Lochs Management Plan, but this matter was not actually discussed during the course of the meeting. 3) Matters Arising 3.1) Litter Policy. PH reported that he had invited Craig Gardner (Land Section, S-C) to attend a CC meeting so that we might discuss the operation of the Community Litter Plan. Mr Gardner had declined to attend in person but had responded with a written explanation of how Stirling Councilís policy on litter operates, particularly with regard to the question of not providing bins in many locations. The difficulty is that this policy conflicts with those of other authorities and organisations in the area. OM commented that this was something that the National Park (N-P) was still seeking to pursue, both locally and nationally. Discussions are ongoing and there is hope that a unified policy might be agreed. It was agreed to leave this in abeyance, pending the outcome of these discussions. 4) Police Report PC Diamond was unable to attend in person but had circulated a report before the meeting. Between 15 Aug 2013 and 19 Sep 2013, 26 offences had been recorded locally. There were no crimes of dishonesty but one crime of disorder in the Lochearnhead beat had been detected. There were no drugs offences, but some vandalism had been reported and twenty-five road traffic offences had been detected. The most notable incident during this time was the crime of disorder noted above. One male had been found at Loch Doine in possession of air weapons. This person is now subject of a report to the court. The Police And Community Together (PACT) objectives, in line with the Multi-Member Ward Plan for Trossachs and Teith area, continue to govern policing priorities. Road safety work and speed checks are being maintained, along with operations to tackle drink drivers, and stop-checks to ensure the roadworthiness of vehicles. Offences of theft are also being tackled using stop-checks, and the first run of Operation Bionic in this area took place at the start of September. Action against Anti-Social Behaviour also continues on a weekly basis under Operation Ironworks. Results this year have been positive with only two incidents of note: one on South Loch Earn and the other at Loch Lubnaig. ME mentioned a fatal accident that had occurred on the A85 (between Lix Toll and Crianlarich) and will be discussed at the next meeting of the Public Safety Committee. He asked that, if anyone had any thoughts or suggestions to offer, they should contact him in person. MM mentioned that there are one or two particularly dangerous stretches of road locally that cause problems. The need for additional warning signs was discussed, although locals were well aware of the need to exercise additional care. ME suggested that, whenever members had a chance to talk to local police community officers, they should make a point of asking them how many times they had been called away from this area. ME is picking up that community officers are increasingly being called upon to go elsewhere. OM added that it is important to encourage local people to report all minor incidents to the police. This will help to build a more accurate picture of the need for officers to be available in the area. 5) Five Lochs Management PH reminded members that, at the meeting on 3rd July, a number of proposals in connection with the Five Lochs Management Plan had been considered. These included a review of the ‘access’ legislation (as it relates to ‘wild camping’), the option of ìclearwayî legislation, and the possibility of a ban on drinking alcohol in public places. The meeting on 14th August heard about a firm proposal from the N-P to proceed with an application for ‘clearway’ legislation but the other matters had not been considered further. Various members suggested that there were very few problems relating to alcohol locally and that a ban was probably unnecessary - at least for the time being. OM mentioned that the N-P is holding discussions with a view to introducing bye-laws similar to those at East Loch Lomond Side. If passed, these would provide the appropriate powers to take action, as and when any problems became apparent. 6) Breadalbane Forum of Community Councils AB explained that this forum is an opportunity for representatives of three CCs to meet and share matters of mutual interest and concern. Apart from our own CC, it includes Killin and Strathfillan CCs. AB & PH have attended on behalf of BLS CC, and for some while it has been very useful. However, lately, these meetings have become preoccupied with the situation at Strathfillan. AB went on to say that he believed there was a need to control the agenda far more tightly. It was also pointed out that the current situation is a long way from the original proposal. SP suggested that the latest meeting had not been typical and was an unfortunate occurrence. OM commented that budgeting is planned well in advance and is difficult to change once it has been approved. This may account for the current problems. SP suggested that the purpose of the meeting should be reviewed and this was agreed. ME suggested using a third-party or rotating chair. Action: AB to propose review to Forum. 7) Community Council Elections PH reminded the meeting that the term of office for all members of the current CC would expire at midnight on Thursday, 24 October 2013. Everyone is eligible for re-election and those who wish to stand again must complete a nomination form with the support of a ‘proposer’ and ‘seconder’. A short statement from each candidate is also required. These must be submitted to the Returning Officer (at S-C) by 4pm on Friday 25 October. Where there are more applicants than vacancies available, a public election will be held with ballot forms being issued on 4 November and returned by 22 November. This means that the first meeting of the newly elected CC will provisionally take place on Wednesday 11 December when a programme of subsequent meetings will need to be arranged. 8) Correspondence 8.1) Home Compost Bins. Owing to the ongoing industrial action, S-C has discontinued the collection of brown bins earlier than expected for the coming winter period. To compensate, new 220-litre, black, compost bins will be distributed on Sunday 29th September. ME mentioned that no premises to the North of Strathyre will be issued with a box for cardboard until some local land has been purchased for a ‘bulking’ facility. Consequently, it has been agreed that ‘cardboard collection points’ will be provided in the interim. 8.2) Community Grant Scheme, 2013-14. Application forms for the coming year are now available and must be returned by Friday 11th October. Only one application per community can be submitted. They may be used for developing the strength and capacity of an organisation, or to help deliver existing N-P objectives. (Action: Noted by SH on behalf of BLS Trust.) 8.3) Stirling Council Housing Service. PH advised members that he had received a questionnaire on behalf of the CC concerning the Tenant Participation Contract that is part of the Housing Service. No member had any knowledge of this matter. Action: PH to reply accordingly. 9) Planning Matters 9.1) Hydro Scheme - Kendrum Burn. AS stated that an application has been received for this. PH added that the CC had been contacted by Andrew Logie, a representative of the company managing the development, with a view to discussing the establishment of a community benefit fund. OM declared his interest as a member of the N-P, but stated that he would make no comment. MM commented on the fact that the owner is not managing the project personally but, for clarification, OM stated that the owner lives in Australia. He also pointed out that “Community Gain” and “Planning Gain” are totally separate issues. SH commented that the Community Action Plan coordinates all suggestions for joint schemes, so it may be most appropriate for any monies involved to go to the BLS Trust. This was agreed. In terms of planning considerations, AS suggested that there are few properties close by - other than those on the Edinchip estate. Three options have been considered for access, of which the favoured solution will be to reinstate a disused farm track to the North-East of Beech Tree Cottages. The heaviest period for traffic will be month three of the project and this will involve about six HGVs per day. The overall project will last about one year. RE offered to sound out local inhabitants and report back any concerns but, subject to no negative feedback, nobody had any objections to the application. It was also agreed that we should invite Andrew Logie to our next meeting in December to discuss any potential community benefit. Action: RE to sound out local residents and PH to invite AL to next meeting. 10) Matters From Local Councillors 10.1) Priority-based Budgeting. S-C has a new Deputy Chief Executive - Stuart Carruth from Aberdeenshire. This was the first authority to pilot ‘priority-based budgeting’ and S-C intends to adopt this process. As part of it, there will be a lot of engagement with communities to identify local priorities. 10.2) National Armed Forces Day. S-C has been awarded the opportunity to host this event to coincide with the opening of the Bannockburn Visitor Centre. This will be next June. 10.3) Broadband. British Telecom gave a presentation recently to S-C and people will be told by next April who is going to benefit from the Step Change programme. The coverage will be higher than previously anticipated. Those premises not covered by Step Change will be guaranteed at least 2Mb of download capacity. 11) Any Other Competent Business 11.1) For Sale signs. Donald McLaren had raised this with MM and suggested that the CC should write to Rettie & Co (Estate Agents) about a large, new sign that has been erected opposite Balquhidder Village Hall. There is another sign at Kingshouse that is completely detached from the property concerned. SC and RE both declared an interest since they have both erected road signs locally. OM suggested that there may be doubt over signs for larger schemes, but one sign per house is allowed by law. The matter was discussed at some length and it was decided that KM and AS should both view the signs in question, and pass on any appropriate comments to PH for inclusion in a letter to the company concerned. Action: KM and AS to view signs and pass any comments to PH for a letter to be written. 11.2) Future Venues. AB asked members for comments about using Mhor84 as a venue. The present seating arrangements were not ideal but, in principle, members supported the continued use of the facility for its ease of access, warmth and availability of hot drinks. 11.3) Community Planning Partnership. SP queried whether the CC had responded to a recent request for representatives to attend a meeting in Stirling. PH responded that he was not aware of the invitation in question, but added that there was a rising flood of such invitations, often requiring considerable time and travel, but rarely involving local issues. It was increasingly difficult to find members willing to commit to this additional burden and difficult to justify to potential CC members. ME supported this view and SP agreed to feed back the comments to those responsible for ìcommunity engagement and consultationî. There was no other business and, at 9:30 p.m., MM declared the meeting closed. Provisionally, the next meeting is due to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 11th December 2013 at Mhor84 (Kingshouse).


Rusty McD is back with another 5-minute interview on the subject of those beloved pets - furry, feathered or scaly - in the community!

5 minutes with...

Linda and ‘Callum’s Lad’ Last month’s subject, Catriona, sent me to a beautiful part of Strathyre where I met Linda - and a field full of bonny ponies! How many ponies do you have? There are 9 in total. This is Jessica (a beautiful brown horse with big enquiring eyes and sporting a very smart coat nuzzles Linda. She snuffles a Jammy Dodger and half a banana I managed to produce from a murky corner of my car). The pony I’d like to introduce you to is called ‘Callum’s Lad.’ He’s this year’s foal – born in May so just 5 months old now. I bred his mother, Amy, from a mare from Mull called Anika. Jessica stole Callum’s Lad when he was born – I came down to the field on the morning he appeared to find the two of them paired up. I had to separate them and re-introduce Callum’s Lad to Amy. They did bond again although Callum’s Lad now spends much of his day playing with all the other horses. Have you always loved horses? Yes, I’ve been working with horses all my life. I got my first pony when I was 26 – a 35 inch brown and white Shetland called Anna. Sadly, she died last year. I enjoy breaking horses to ride and for carting which I love doing with my niece and nephew. Do you have any other animals? Yes, I have 2 goats, 20 sheep, 4 cats, 5 dogs, 6 baby quail and a rabbit down in this part of the land. I also have a cat and a parrot back at the house. That’s quite a workload! I suppose so but I enjoy looking after them all. My day starts at 7am. I start by feeding the animals at the house, have my own breakfast then head out to see to all the other animals outside. If it’s a wet day I then go home to do my craft work. What do you make? I spin the wool from my sheep. I then knit and make clothing, cushions and rugs. I use natural vegetable dyes where possible – I get a lovely orangey red colour from Madder, which is a plant like Sticky Willy – I dig it up and use the root. Some mushrooms produce good colours too. I have also spun wool from cashmere goats and fur from angora rabbits. That’s wonderful! Where did you learn your skills? It has just evolved really but I am a Member of the Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. Have you always kept lots of animals? Yes – I once went to get 4 cashmere goats and came home with 20! Is it hard looking after all the animals in winter? The Shetlands live out all year so they are easy enough. The other horses are stabled so the days are busier with mucking out and more feeding. It used to be more difficult before I had a 4x4 car to drive alongside the fields. I would often hitch up a sledge to a Shetland in order to pull feed around the land.

Have you always lived in Strathyre? I moved here when I was 6 and stayed until I was 18. I then got job in a riding stables in Falkirk. After I got married and we went to Germany where my husband was with the military – I kept myself involved with horses by going along to the army riding clubs. My husband got posted to Shetland for 3 years and it was there that I got hooked on Shetland ponies. I came back to Strathyre to with a small collection of ponies I had gathered on the island. My Granny bought the house in which we now live in 1956 so it does feel as though I have been here all of my life. What do you like about living in Strathyre? The peace and quiet and the hills. What do you do to relax? Play with ponies and spin wool! I also like showing the ponies occasionally at the Highland Show. I also once took 5 Shetlands down to Olympia in London for the Shetland Grand National. It is held every year as a fund raising event for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. I will always remember it as it was the day of the Lockerbie bombing and we only just made it down the motorway in time. Had we been slightly later we would have been stuck for hours on the road with 5 ponies and 10 children in tow. Thanks so much for introducing me to the ponies and for agreeing to be interviewed. Is there anything else we should know about you or the horses? Well, if any local children want to come with their parents to and spend some time with the ponies, learn more about them and ride them then please give me a call – my number is in the book! 13

DOCTORS On-Line Repeat Prescriptions Bracklinn Practice patients can now order medication from the practice website.  If you have not already registered, you will need to request a letter from the receptionist giving you an access code.  This is a very safe and secure way of ordering prescriptions, and it is linked directly into your repeat prescription list.  Once you have registered, you simply tick which items you require, and the request comes directly into the practice.  If you wish to order an item which is not on the list, there is a free text box for you to add extra items or messages.  This box is only available if you have requested an item on your repeat medication list.   The system is very simple to use, and we encourage as many of our patients as possible to use it.  We still ask that you allow 2 working days before collection.   Bracklinn Practice Open Flu Clinic We would like to thank all our patients who came along on the 11th October for a flu vaccine.  The practice administered a record breaking 457 vaccines, and collected £255.40.  The money has been split equally with both Genes for Jeans and Breast Cancer Awareness receiving £127.70 each.  The staff would also like to say a special thank you to the patients who supplied us with chocolates, biscuits, home baking and the lovely homemade soup on the day to sustain us.   If you were unable to attend the open clinic, and wish to have flu vaccine, please contact us and arrange an appointment.     Thanks very much! Margaret A Davis Practice Manager, Bracklinn Practice Callander Medical Centre Geisher Road, Callander FK17 8LX   01877 331001

Drs Strang & Scott and Drs Mathewson & Gibson Community Nurses The surgeries and community nurses take part in various training programmes throughout the year. This is to meet the educational and training needs of all members of the practice and nursing team. The next training afternoons will be on: Thursday 31st October 2013 Thursday 21st November 2013 Thursday 20th February 2014 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. 14

BLS – Where Business Does the Talking or A Focus on Local Business...(Continued from Front Page) and I’ve gone back to those. I’m starting to make them into music videos, because we have music for them. There were quite a few of these that we made when Rowan and Alcuin were small. And are those available to see on the internet; are they on YouTube for example? Well maybe not now exactly, but they will be. There is a Belgian musician, a fan, who is re-mixing all the music for re-release in Europe. He’s done the Book of Am and now he’s working on the Book of Intxixu. It’s a huge task. He’s trying to do a sort of revival basically, which is relatively common nowadays. I mean there are quite a few bands from the ‘60s and ‘70s who are doing a revival. And we are doing that in a small way. Do you have any other business partners or colleagues in West Highland Animation? I did have. There was a whole team of us who used to work here. There were up to six people. At the moment people come in to work on short projects. There’s a girl, an artist and musician, from Benbecula, who has only just recently been here called Fiona McAndrew. And she’s quite unusual actually, because her Dad is Scottish and she was brought up in Spain so she’s one of those few people who are totally bi-lingual. What are the difficulties, if any, that you face, having such a business in a remote, rural location as Balquhidder? Well, it worked quite well for the animation, because the projects were very long, so it was possible to bring a team here and then people would stay for about a year. Also there was huge demand from people to get work, to get work experience and work practice. I mean there still is, because now there are far more animation schools than there are animation studios. There’s a lot of people learning animation, but there’s not much out there for them, especially in Scotland, apart from in the games industry. It’s not a very easy position for them to be in. Would you say that there are any specific advantages to having your business here, as opposed to the disadvantages? The argument is that Balquhidder is so central, you can get anywhere in Scotland from here. Basically most of my income came from the Highlands and Islands and from here you can drive up to the Highlands and get over to the Islands quite easily, so it was quite good for that. Proximity to Edinburgh and Glasgow was useful for the animators and all the post-production was in Glasgow. About your hostel, which I know that you opened recently - how did that go? When

did it open its doors to its first guests? Well, what happened was that for a variety of reasons, not particularly connected to me, more political, to do with the BBC and the SPL and viewing figure statistics, no more original Gaelic animation (or independent children’s programming) is being commissioned in Scotland, so then I had to look for a new income stream. So I decided to use the building that I had built as a studio to make a hostel. It opened about last Hogmanay in fact, and I’ve used a site called which is absolutely extraordinary, it has pulled in a lot of Europeans and Americans too. Not so many Scots, and not so many English either. It’s very curious. It’s a completely different market to self-catering. As there isn’t a lot of public transport in the area, how do your guests reach you? A lot of the guests fly in to Edinburgh Airport (by Ryanair), rent a car and drive up, and then they usually continue on travelling around the Highlands. Or they do it the other way round, for example: Edinburgh for a few days, Inverness, Fort William, Skye etc. They don’t usually go further north than that. Then they come here on their way back. Or they just come here for a microcosm of the Scottish Highlands. Usually it’s people who have got a bit of a taste for adventure, because of course the track is not for everyone! I do have some sad stories though: there was a couple about a month ago from abroad with two grown-up daughters who were studying in the UK. They ended up spending the night in their locked car further along the track. They got terrified because they thought there might be wild animals out there and didn’t dare go forwards or backwards. They found us the next morning. So yes, the track is a bit of a disadvantage, but then the adventurous souls love it. I give them wellington boots and they can just splosh about: and they love how they can cross over to Monachyle Mhor in the boat or by the stepping stones. So then, the plan for the future is to continue with the hostel? Yes, the concept is that the hostel provides the cash so that it’s possible to keep doing a bit more studio work and keep paying for the building and all the other costs involved with living here, which are quite high. It is more expensive to live here than somewhere in town, but that probably goes for the whole of Balquhidder doesn’t it? By Iona Mchedliani Interested parties please refer to: or, for Loch Voil Hostel, or

Are there really any benefits of homework? School student Liam Whyte weighs up the pros and cons of ‘extra time’ for studies... As a third year high school pupil, I, like many people, have always wondered if there are any benefits to homework. I have always been told by teachers and my parents to do homework because it will help me in the future. But is there any evidence that this is true? I think that exam homework is beneficial because you need to focus to make sure you are prepared for a test. Lewis Henderson and Struan Laing, 4th year students, both agree. Lewis thinks that 1 hour a night of study near an exam is adequate, but Struan feels that 2 hours a night would make you better prepared. I think an exam is important, and that’s why you would want to study. I feel I have benefited from doing exam homework. However, if you were given a regular piece of homework that was not linked to an exam the student will feel less inclined to do it. Lewis thinks however to get benefit out of homework you should still study during the holidays otherwise you will forget everything you have learnt, and not be as prepared for returning to school. Parents do not agree with this. Shira Leibowitz is an American primary school teacher who has a degree in education and writes on educational topics, she says that “there have been more calls in recent years

asking why there isn’t more homework being handed out”. This shows that parents are becoming concerned about how much homework their children are doing. But how much is too much? High School teacher Paul Stones, who works at the Mariner Support Service School, recommends we do “30 minutes per week” which sounds reasonable enough. However the Guardian has done research into this topic and they say “Two hours’ homework a night linked to better school results”. Most people do not have this sort of time with parents working, after school clubs and spending time with your friends to fit in, so there won’t be enough time to do two hours a night. Research shows other potential advantages and disadvantage of homework. Author John Bishop lists “10 benefits of homework”. These include “Homework

teaches people the importance of studying and setting priorities”, “It gives students an opportunity to show how smart they are outside school” and “homework gives parents a chance to see what their children are studying in school”... whereas the Centre for Public Education website gives reasons why people should not do homework. Some of their reasons are “There is no conclusive evidence that homework increases student achievement”, “older students benefit from homework more than younger students” and “students from poorer families do not benefit from homework as much as those from higher income homes”. I think this statement is true because if you are in a wealthier household then you might be able to afford a tutor or someone to help out with educating your child, even if you can’t spend the time yourself, whereas a poorer household might not afford this help. Having looked at the evidence available to me, it seems that more people are in favour of doing homework around exam times and this will obviously affect the older pupil. I personally think two hours a night of homework with no immediate benefits for exams sounds excessive, as do the teachers I have talked to. I think that 10 – 15 minutes a night is a reasonable amount for everyday homework! (But for exams, 30–60 minutes a night could be required...)

The St Fillans ‘Ryder Cup’ Following months of planning by representatives of the two clubs, members of St Fillans and Comrie Golf Clubs spent the weekend playing their Famous Grouse Cup, based on the format of the Ryder Cup. The event opened with a fanfare and appropriate golf theme music, and soon after matches had been selected, the players headed for the course with much excitement. Friday was a day devoted to Seniors, with 24 players taking part in a four-ball better-ball format over 18 holes, and another 16 being involved in a 9 hole tournament. It’s fair to say that other than some successes in the 9 hole event, the day belonged to the home club.   Saturday was the day open to all club members, Gents and Ladies, with Ryder style Foursome and Four-ball formats.  Twentyfour players went out for the morning foursomes and once again the home team had the best of it, winning 5 out of 6 matches. Talk of a Comrie fight-back was heard around the changing rooms at lunchtime, but it wasn’t to be as the afternoon  four-balls went the way of the home club. At one stage it looked as though the overall tournament might be decided prior to the Sunday event, but by the narrowest of margins the need for play on Sunday was established.   Sunday was a day for the singles matchplay  format with each team fielding a team of 12 players, and there were lots of concerns in the St Fillans team once the strength of the

Comrie team was realised. Could there be a major upset? It certainly looked that way as the players went past the 9 hole mark with match after match going in Comrie’s favour. Fortunately the game was scheduled as an 18 hole match and relieved members were pleased to hear that the necessary points had been won by the St Fillans team to secure the match! Overall a resounding win for the home team. (23¼ - 8¾)  The organisers appreciated support from the Famous Grouse Experience with the trophy purchase, and around 90 members gathered at the traditional final dinner, or in this case a BBQ in the marquee, to hear the Club Captains Sandy Muir and David Burberry present their  amusing  speeches and to see the trophy  handed over  by  local member Stewart McNab who had proposed the idea initially to the St Fillans Club.    Whilst the whole event was based on competition, the hope was that members of each club would have the opportunity to share in the experience inspired by Ryder, and to cement relationships between the two clubs. The general consensus was that this has been achieved and members now look forward to a return match at Comrie next year when revenge will be sought! Gordon Hibbert - Club Manager St Fillans Golf Club 01764 685312 “My favourite inland course in Scotland? - St Fillans!” Sandy Lyle - 2011

Friendly rivalry - till next year!


Advanced Higher Art and Design Folio Exhibition The advanced higher art and design trip to Strathclyde University for the exhibition of last years advanced higher art work was very inspiring to us all. The standard of the work on show was exceptional and truly set a high bar for us to work towards. Seeing the quality and quantity of work we are expected to do in a year was daunting but has really given us a push to get going. The folios were the best work from the whole of Scotland and we were amazed at the talent we saw and the huge variety of ways in which people had expressed them. We all took away many new ideas and thought on what we can do ourselves and its no understatement when I say that a year of extremely hard work is ahead of us. We’d like to thank Mrs Green for taking us. It was a great experience and has given us a lot to think about. Antonia Dowling S6 Art & Design students at Strathyclyde University No’ Half Bad at Oxjam

David Marshall Lodge Opening On Friday 27 September, a few McLaren pupils were given the opportunity to play at the opening of the newly refurbished David Marshall Lodge. I, Leah Murray (S5), Katie Allen (S6), Lewis Walker (S6) and Cameron Burns (S2) play traditional Scottish music with two fiddles, a clarsach, a guitar and an accordion between us. We’re all really into our music so it was a great chance to get out and play. Mr Fleming and Mr Hall drove us to Aberfoyle and we were given a little corner of the lodge to sit in. It’s looking really lovely, all open plan and with interactive items. We were given half an hour to play, so we each played a few tunes, with Katie and Lewis also doing a nice wee duet. About halfway through, as we were listening to Leah’s set, I realised I knew one of the tunes Cameron was going to play. I whispered to Katie, and she knew it too. Without rehearsal, and to Mr Hall’s surprise, we all played Jig Runrig in a proper ‘trad’ manner! All in all it was a great morning, the David Marshall Lodge is looking brilliant and we played a few really nice sets. Finn Manders S3 Advanced Higher Biology Lab Workshops We arrived at Forth Valley College on Thursday 12 September and were led to the lab where we began our experiments. We did three different experiments. The most interesting was the DNA one where we compared the genes of a cabbage and a primula. We saw this on a gel as the bands moved different distances. This was very interesting as we learnt to extract DNA from these two samples. I would encourage everyone to go on this educational trip as it was a good learning curve for everyone! Will Cartwright S6


Commercial Break

Oxjam A huge well done to Gregor Flynn S4 who, almost singlehandedly, with a little help from some willing volunteers, organised the Oxjam Concert that took place in the school on Friday 27 September. Gregor had the following to say: Up until now I have enjoyed organising music for small galas around my local villages with my own band. Then one day I saw an advertisement for Oxjam gig makers and thought I should give it a shot. I asked a few friends to help me out with things such as making posters and tickets, and sorting the light and sound engineering. I lined up some acoustic acts, my own band No’ Half Bad, and Commercial Break who headlined for the night and supplied drums and amps for the evening. The night went very well and we are hoping to do more live music nights at the school in the future. Thanks to all pupils, staff, parents and friends who came along and helped raise £471.36 for Oxfam.

MacMillan Bake Sale On Friday 4 October, McLaren High School held a bake sale in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Teachers and senior pupils baked ‘house’ themed cakes with Dochart making blue, Bracklinn making red and Leny making yellow. The bake sale was held at break, and at lunchtime there was also a lemon drizzle sponge competition for a teacher which was won by Mr O’Hara from the PE department. Overall we raised £586.44 with Leny winning narrowly by only two pounds. Dochart came second with Bracklinn runners up. The bake sale was a huge success with all pupils and teachers having a great time. Well done to the Charities Committee for great organization and putting on a good day. Hamish Cordner & Aimee Higginson S6 Bakehouses: Leny (above) and Bracklinn

McLaren High v Queen Victoria Under-18 Central Plate Semi Final McLaren travelled to Dunblane on 1 October to play their semi final match against Queen Victoria School. Playing conditions were excellent for a fast flowing game of rugby, and this proved to be served up by both teams.   QV started the game at a fast tempo, and took advantage of a slow start from the McLaren boys in defence. After scoring three well worked tries, QV moved into an early 21-0 lead. Ally Orr scored an excellent individual effort from his own half to put McLaren on the scoreboard, and make it 21-5. However, the strong runners in the QV team broke down the tiring McLaren defence and the hosts replied and lead 28-5 at half time.   After regrouping at half time, McLaren started the half with more fight and determination. A penalty try which was converted by Hamish Innes reduced the deficit to 28-12. However, every time McLaren got back into the game, a combination of errors and good play by QV allowed the hosts to extend their lead. The teams continued to trade attack after attack, and resulting scores. The game finished 52-26 to Queen Victoria, with Olly Wesley scoring McLaren’s final two tries which were both converted successfully by Hamish.   This was a brave performance by the boys, who came up against a strong well drilled opposition. The boys will now turn their focus to the Central Under-18 Cup.

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Gardening NOVEMBER by Jonathan MacDonald We all have our own favourite plants - but it is interesting to peer over other people’s hedges and see what they like. This is an excellent way of figuring out what fares well in your area, especially for the novice. Nothing wrong with being a copycat! This practice can give a hugely improved success rate - especially when you bring deer and rabbit resistance into the equation. To save some leg work though, here are some ‘hot’ plants, in a kind of Gok Wan summary of the year. One thing is certain. Today a plant must be showy. No longer are there A to Z rows of shrubs and herbaceous plants in nurseries. Customers are drawn to plants that look good at the time of purchase to instantly decorate and spruce a space. To this end breeders have developed some wonderful new and hardy plants - some being recently found in countries like Vietnam, Korea and the Philippines. North Korea has the closest climate to Scotland in terms of rainfall and temperature, but the similarities end there (to say nothing of the politics). Take Aesculus wagnii - a horse chestnut similar to our own Aesculus hippocastum - with conkers the size of cricket balls! Closer to reality is a genus people jump feet first into - Hydrangea. These have been white-hot this year, and for good reason. The cultivar ‘Limelight’ is a wonderful example and the new black -stemmed macrophylla varieties, plants with highly developed steel blues and burning reds, are proven winners. Being good in shade (and in pots) adds to their popularity. I simply prune off the old dried flowers in the spring, taking care not to cut off developed buds. Oriental poppies are megapopular this year - ‘Karin’ being the best - and should come back each year with a little prudent staking. Try some willow whips shoved in the ground and tied with string for

Crocosmia - or ‘Montbretia’ if you prefer!

a more natural support. Lower to the ground is Lithodora duffusa ‘Heavenly blue’. If you want a hassle-free plant that flowers for ages and has a remarkable bright blue colour - this is the plant. No wonder it sold by the trolley load! Higher up and always popular is the Crocosmia. (What? Ok, Montbretia to those over the age of twelve.) Try putting some of the flowers in warm water - they smell of saffron (from whence the name is derived). ‘Emily McKenzie’ was this season’s winner - it has big orange and black flowers. They flower their socks off in pots and can be put in the garden when finished. Finally, an all-American favourite: the Heuchera or commonly named ‘Coral Bells’ - a North American native. At one time you only got ‘Purple Palace’, still around, and a good plant. Today there is a wide array of colour from pale yellow, limes, pinks and oranges to deep, dark purple. In between are no end of variegations, spots, and flecks - as if a painter had forgotten the dust sheet while doing the windows! Their popularity remains high due to their variety of colours and people know them as good, long lived “doers” (or “doters” if they don’t do)! Heuchera

dates back for more than 400 hundred years in cultivations. Native Indians used it to stop bleeding; hence it is effective to put a pinch of it on a cut finger in the garden. Many cultivars have exploded on the scene since Brian Helliwell released ‘Purple Palace’. Bred originally for their flowers they now are known for foliage like many in the saxifrage family. My favourite of the year is ‘Marmalade’ which is well named. You even get a lime version called lime marmalade if you prefer that flavour! It’s November, so a final word: well done to the volunteers who help keep the local village and town baskets and tubs looking good. It takes great skill and effort as these dangling beasts can dry out and look poorly if not tended properly. They are deserved winners of awards and everyone in the community wins by their hard efforts. A word too for the Horticultural societies who run the fun shows which we all enjoy. It’s great fun, this gardening game! I will be back in the spring. (Editor’s note: in case you are as out of touch as I obviously am, Gok Wan is a fashion consultant to the rich and famous!)

Winter opening Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun 9.30 - 4.00

End of Season SALE - up to 50% off most stock Burning Peat now in stock - 30kg only - £7.95!

Tullybannocher, Comrie Contact: Jonathan MacDonald

Tel: 01764 670800



‘The difference between men and boys... the price of the toys!’

by Old Nyati

They came from all over Scotland - and even from Windermere.  This was the two day model float plane ‘Splash-In’ at Lochearnhead organized by the SAA (Scottish Aeromodelers Association) which attracted over thirty flyers  on the 12th and 13th of October. This venue has now become one of the main places for these events and will host this gathering again in the Spring, Summer and Autumn of  next year.   They say a picture is worth a thousand words so enjoy the pictures.

Close up of the PBY Catalina showing the two radial engines.

The Walrus Float Plane. Many a ditched pilot in the English Channel during the Battle of Britain would to his great relief have seen the old Walrus coming to his rescue.

Watch out for AutumnWatch Extra/Unsprung, to be aired shortly on the BBC...!

Old Nyati

Pre -flight check for ‘the Walrus’, could we say “he flew in Wellingtons”...?


Travellers’ Tales

Cigars and BiKE RIDES a tale of Cyling After my 900km trip last year in northern Spain, cycling on the Camino, I knew that I had at least one more lengthy bike trip in my legs...

with Ian Inglis

Ian continues his tale of cycling in Cuba with his son Brian.

Having left the UK on the 1st July, here we were several days and many miles later in this vibrant city, Santiago de Cuba, for a 2 night stay. After a wash, rest and some food we ventured out into the early evening, our senses assaulted by the sights, sounds and smells of this cradle of the revolution. It was here in 1953 that Castro and a few revolutionaries attacked the garrison - and here in 1956 that the people rose up in rebellion against the Batista regime, simultaneously distracting attention from Castro and his guerrillas landing on the east Oriente. The pace of life in Santiago was something we hadn’t seen since we left Havana. It was all a bit frantic - but in equal measure, addictive. The architecture in the city is sublime; some of it refurbished, some of it tired and in need of care, but nevertheless, enthralling. The touts with their various angles of trying to get money from us were at first annoying - but then became quite a joy as we engaged with them with humour. The offerings ranged from cigars to prostitutes. However, the strangest was when after some introductory questions about where we came from and how long we had been in Cuba the young guy asked “would you like some viagra”? At this point Brian almost choked with laughter. When I explained that Brian was my son, in order to dissuade any further embarrassment, the tout asked if Brian would like some Viagra or a chickita. We got a lot of laughter out of these moments. As I lay exhausted on my bed that night, I was a reflecting on the day and its achievements when suddenly I started laughing - at an incident which occurred at a bus shelter, 8km from Santiago: A huge hill was looming in front of us and I had called to Brian to pull up at the very conveniently placed shelter. It was a typical construction, with one internal wall and benches on either side, and a concrete roof. I collapsed on one side and Brian on the other. Shortly after, I heard a woman’s voice and Brian engaging her in conversation. I thought, “Great - I just don’t have any energy to speak!” and thankfully it sounded as though Brian was coping admirably. Then she appeared around the central wall. She was a stunningly beautiful black woman with shining skin and bright red lipstick. She started to talk in Spanish and broken English. I picked up something about a massage - followed by 20

Santiago frantic, vibrant - and totally addictive city!

some stroking of my lower legs. I could hear Brian giggling,through the wall. As her hands we’re heading north, I shouted to Brian that we needed to head west! Enjoying the moments of my embarrassment he suggested we should stay a while as it was a fairly strenuous looking hill ahead. I quickly cottoned on to what he was up to, made my apologies to my ‘masseuse’, and quickly departed. I could see Brian’s shoulders shuddering with laughter as he cycled ahead of me. “You’ve still got it, Dad!” he shouted. I think my reply was full of unprintable expletives as I struggled at the bottom of the hill! The day before we left Santiago, we went down to the bus station to book our tickets. We booked the earliest bus, as we didn’t fancy an overnight trip. So the following morning at 6.30 am our taxi arrived. Again our precious bikes were bundled into the boot as we watched on nervously! There was a large number of people milling around inside the bus terminal so we just took a seat till it all died down a little. The clerk accepted our tickets and panniers and the bikes were pushed into the holding pen ready for our departure. The bus duly arrived and we held back till everyone had boarded. We then went out to supervise the bikes being loaded, along with our panniers. However, our bikes and luggage was making its way back into the holding pen, to our utter shock. The language barrier became a real problem for us then as we tried to establish what the problem was. I remembered making the acquaintance of a taxi driver whose English was perfect and I knew I had passed him on the way into the bus station. So I rushed out and hurriedly asked if he could help. As we got back into the station the bus was pulling out of the stance.

He quickly found out that we had bought the wrong tickets. We had in fact bought tickets for the 8 pm bus. He implored the clerk to stop the bus and ask if we couldn’t get on. Thankfully the driver caught sight of the clerk in his mirror and reversed into the station. After some negotiations with the driver we got on the bus but we had to pay the fare again, which went straight into his pocket as part of the kitty for a night out in Santa Clara I guess! As we boarded the bus we were greeted with a sea of bemused faces. I think it took at least an hour for us both to reconnect to our calmer selves. So, after our two days of Santiago madness we set off on a thirteen hour bus journey to Santa Clara, in the central part of Cuba, for the second phase of the bike trip. We arrived at around 9pm - but instead of Santa Clara bus station we were pitched up at a service station 10 km away from our destination. Fortunately there was a taxi hanging around in the vicinity, a 19-something Chevrolet, which took us to our casa. After my exhaustion in the Oriente I decided that the daily 65/75km was beyond my old legs. Therefore the planning of the next phase factored in just 50km per day. However, accommodation with that daily distance was going to be an issue. So we overcame that by taking a taxi, with the bikes, the required distance from a town to keep to our target. All of that worked perfectly but there were a few hairy moments as we watched our precious bikes being stuffed into the boots of various taxis! In the third and final part of my story you’ll read about the second phase of our big adventure and how we made it to Cienfuegos, a world heritage site and one of the richest cities in Cuba.

Kongero - Harmony Swedish Style PRESS RELEASE


On the evening of Saturday 12th October Balquhidder Church was full of music - of a very unusual and beautiful kind - as Swedish harmony group Kongero performed a selection of songs, mostly traditional, from their three past albums, and one forthcoming. The church really was the perfect acoustic setting for such pure voices, with their magical arrangements of such intricate melodies. Sometimes

playful, sometimes eerie, sometimes emotional, but always breathtaking - Kongero were a delight to witness. They were kind enough to invite questions and discussion after the show - and for anyone who missed them, it seems they are keen to come back again soon. Don’t miss them when they do. Thanks to Ewan MacPherson for organising such an unforgettable evening.

Folk nights at Mhor84 Lauren


You don’t have to go far these days to hear some excellent folk music. Mhor 84 is the place to be on a Thursday evening at 9pm. Don’t miss Lauren MacColl’s astounding fiddle playing and Ewan MacPherson’s amazing guitar skills we are lucky to have such wonderful sounds on our doorstep!

On October 1st Cycle Stirling organised a cycle ride through Stirling with local Councillors responsible for transport to provide a first-hand experience of Stirling’s cycle infrastructure. The high-vis contingent which set off from Recyke a Bike included Councillors Danny Gibson, (Portfolio - Environment, Transport and Public Land), Jim Thomson (Shadow Portfolio - Environment, Transport and Public Land) and Mark Ruskell (Green Party Leader); officers of the council Les Goodfellow (Head of Environment Services), and Jonathan Padmore (Transport Planning and Access Team Leader), and cycle leaders (Andrew Abbess, Dave Fox, Gregor Whyte, Oliver McMahon), and Jane Cullingworth of Forth Environment Link. The route through Riverside, the town centre, Torbrex and Springkerse showed positive cycle measures (widespread 20 mph speed limits, traffic free cycle routes , well designed cycle lanes) and more challenging aspects (poor signage, hazardous turns to cycle routes, pinch points & poorly designed cycle lanes) . The cycle ride ended at the Stirling Cycle Hub for a reception where a debrief session was held and a discussion about how Stirling’s cycling infrastructure can be improved. Andrew Abbess of Cycle Stirling stated “I really appreciate the elected members coming out on their bikes so we could both celebrate the good facilities and discuss how we can improve the not so good. It is encouraging that Stirling Council is improving its engagement with the cycling community and there was talk of future briefings to all the elected members, where we can maintain the pressure for further improvements. ” Bridget Clark, another Cycle Stirling member noted: “Our recent survey of cyclists in the rural areas for the Transport Review showed that local people also want to cycle into work, services and for leisure but don’t feel safe sharing busy roads particularly with their families. Hopefully this demonstration ride will pave the way to making Stirling easier to cycle around, and getting it connected with its rural villages, National Park and neighbouring Councils with safe cycle routes. Stirling Area will then be able to benefit from the rapid growth in Cycle tourism in Scotland.” Cycle Stirling is a network of cyclists and organisations that promotes safe cycling for all ages and abilities to everyday destinations, reducing car journeys, and creating a healthier population and a more sustainable environment.  To this end, Cycle Stirling priorities include partnership working, infrastructure improvements, awareness raising, advocacy, cycle training, learning from others, and building a cycle community. The work of Cycle Stirling is coordinated through Forth Environment Link, in partnership with Recyke– a-Bike and Stirlingshire Voluntary Enterprise. For more information contact Jane Cullingworth of Forth Environment Link at 07539 251 297.


Scottish Wildlife Trust The fascinating talk on badgers by Eddie Palmer and Ellie Stirling of the Tayside Members’ Group of Scottish Badgers initiated a lively discussion. This charity carries out surveys and records data on badgers to help protect them in addition to providing advice, training and education. Eurasion badgers are members of the mustelid family and found widely from the UK to Japan with an estimated 25,000 badgers in Britain, 2,500 in Scotland and few on islands and high mountains. Their distinctive black and white striped face makes them one of Britain’s most recognisable mammals. Setts can be found in pastures, woodlands, rocks/caves, or urban sites including in colliery spoil! Telltale signs are the spoil heap outside a D-shaped entrance tunnel (foxholes are taller and narrower), well-used paths and grey hairs of triangular cross-section. Badgers live in clans with satellites to a main sett and is territorial, scent marking their territory. They are very clean animals, dragging out old bedding from burrows and showing impressive accuracy in use of narrow latrine holes! Adults weigh ~10kg, have strong, short legs and long, non-retractable front claws, ideal for digging and foraging. Emerging at dusk, they feed all night, finding food by smell as they have poor eyesight. 50% of their diet is earthworms (2-400 per night by ‘suck and snap’), but they also snuffle for insects, roots and tubers. They can swim; amazingly one was known to cross the Clyde! Badgers can delay implantation of the fertilised egg by up to 9 months. They give birth in January-March with average litters of 2-3 that may be sired by more than one bore. Cubs remain underground until April, with May & June being the best months for sightings as adults and cubs forage in daylight. A layer of subcutaneous fat means they don’t need to hibernate. Threats to badgers come predominantly from people; developments close to setts, road kills and criminal persecution. Badgers are protected making it illegal to subject them to any wilful act of cruelty or abuse. Unfortunately, there are those who regularly contravene the law, finding it entertaining to use dogs for badger baiting. If you see signs of any illegal activity, do not approach the perpetrators but report it immediately to the police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or to Scottish Badgers. Culling of badgers remains highly controversial. Cattle can pass TB to badgers who are not adversely affected but, along with deer, may provide a wildlife reservoir. However, the Wildlife Trusts 22

Scottish Wildlife Trust Diary September 2013 Held in the Waverley Hotel, Callander at 7:30pm 12 November The Plight of the Bumblebee by Anthony McClusky, Outreach Officer BBCT 10 December Raptor Research: Caught on Camera by Dave Anderson, FCS Wildlife manager Admission £2 members £2.50 non-members free to full-time students including tea/coffee & biscuits.

believe there is no proven mechanism for badgers to pass bTB to cattle and a 2007 report showed that culling could actually increase bTB in cattle. Vaccination of badgers may be feasible if an oral vaccine were developed. Vaccines are already available for cattle but would mask tests for bTB and vaccinated cattle cannot be exported to Continental Europe. Luckily, Scotland is free of bTB but reliant on maintenance of rigorous cattle records and control of movement. You can help to improve information on badgers in Scotland by reporting sightings (alive and dead) and signs of badgers to, tel 01356 624851 or visit the websitewww. Lesley Hawkins

CALLANDER PHOTO CLUB Our October meeting was a presentation on the basics of Landscape Photography and was very well intended. The meeting was followed by a late October workshop in the areas around Ben An, Ben Vorlich and Loch Katrine with an opportunity for members to photograph the beautiful autumn colours and landscape. Our next meeting will be Wednesday, 13 November, 7:30 pm in the back room of the Waverley Hotel on Callander Main Street. The topic will be informal portrait photography and will be presented by member Peter Bennet. Please bring along your camera with a wide-angle lens (18-55 or similar) and one printed landscape photo to share on the night. Dues are £1/member and £3/guest. For more information, e-mail Susan O’Boyle at

Would you like to know what happens “Behind the Scenes” in the King’s Theatre, Glasgow? If the answer is “Yes”then come to the Mayfield Centre, St Ninians, Stirling on Friday 8th November at 2pm to hear Judy Shaw Stewart talk to members of Forth Valley U3A (University of the Third Age). Everyone is most welcome.

Housebreakings As many of you will now be aware, during the week of 28th September to the 5th October, there were numerous housebreakings and attempted break ins in the area. Throughout the week, 2 houses were found broken into in Balquhidder glen, 1 was broken into at Balquhidder Station, along with an attempted break in, and a further 2 houses broken into in Lochearnhead and one attempted break in. From doing our enquiries, it would appear that the break-ins are all linked to one another by the way they have been carried out and the items stolen. The time frame was also narrowed down slightly to being between Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd. It is highly likely that these may have happened during the day. Throughout the Forth Valley Division there have been numerous housebreakings to rural areas and thanks to one resident in the Balfron area, they noted a registration number of a vehicle acting suspiciously. Once enquiry was carried out, it turns out this vehicle is suspected of being involved in housebreakings across the whole of Scotland. Numerous items of property have since been recovered from the individuals involved with this vehicle and we now hope to have owners identified but as you can appreciate, this will not happen overnight due to the sheer number of break ins that have been recorded. From speaking to our colleagues in neighboring divisions, it appears that areas like Crieff and Comrie have also been hit. I cannot stress enough how much we rely on the help of the community to prevent incidents like this happening. Had it not been for an eagle eyed resident in Balfron, we would not be in the position we are now. I would encourage you to contact police immediately if you see any person or vehicle

acting in a suspicious manner and the information will be followed up. By passing on the information to us, it may just be the missing piece of the puzzle. Security Following on from the break-ins that we have had, it is appropriate to again offer some basic security advice. First off, think like a thief! If you had the choice of a house that was well lit and looked “lived in” or one completely in darkness and clearly unoccupied, which would you chose? Given that we are now approaching Winter and the hours of darkness is ever increasing, consider the lighting of your property, inside and out. Inside, leave lights on or leave a lamp on an electronic timer. Another good tip is to leave a radio or TV on when popping out and consider closing blinds and curtains also to make the house look like someone is in. How often would you sit in the house on a dark night with the curtains wide open? Outside, put up lighting all around the house, and consider the use of security lights with PIR sensors attached. Bushes and shrubs can also be cut back to aid visibility and reduce potential hiding places for thieves. If you are going away for a few days, always consider leaving a key with a neighbour or friend/family member who will visit regularly, daily if possible. Do not allow mail to stack up behind doors. If it is possible, leave a car outside the house and whoever is checking the property can move the car if possible. Have good quality locks fitted to doors and windows and consider the use of an alarm. Some alarms will contact the police and we will attend along with a keyholder to ensure all is in order. This is not always the case so if you hear a house alarm sounding, think about phoning the police.

Farm Forum: The ‘Golden Rice’ debate You may remember that some time ago, I wrote about Genetically Modified (GM) food. The Environmental Secretary, Owen Patterson has been getting into the news recently by claiming that opponents of GM rice enriched with vitamin A are “wicked”. He was speaking during an interview with a newspaper and he said that the critics could be condemning millions of people in the developing world to a premature death, commenting that they were “casting a dark shadow over attempts to feed the world”. The article in the Scottish Farmer went on to say that Mr Patterson’s views support a letter from scientists calling for the quicker advancement of ‘golden rice’. “It is just disgusting that little children

are allowed to go blind and die because of a hang up by a small number of people about this technology...” It is openly believed that golden rice could help save the lives of around 670,000 children who die each year from vitamin A deficiency and another 350,000 who go blind. According to the article people in the developed world get enough vitamin A from their diet by eating foods like cheese, yogurt and eggs, but deficiency is a common problem in developing countries. Mr Patterson went on to say. “if ever there was a clear cause for outrage, it is the concerted campaign by various nongovernmental organisations, as well as by individuals, against golden rice”. The opposing organisations and

The most important piece of advice is be vigilant and keep an eye out for your neighbors and the local community. Call the police immediately on 101, or 999 in an emergency, if you are at all concerned about the behavior of a person or vehicle. If in doubt, contact me or one of the other members of the Trossachs and Teith community team and we can arrange a free security survey and can provide the relevant advice to you. Road safety Over the last few weeks, my colleagues and I have continued with our road checks in the area, and have been fortunate enough to catch several drivers for numerous road traffic offences. One of the biggest issues remains with speeding, and we have caught several motorists passing through the villages in excess of 50mph and they are now subject to a report directly to the Procurator Fiscal. Consider your speed when driving and whether it is appropriate to the road conditions. The road conditions change daily with a large amount of leaves and debris due to the recent weather, along with surface water and large puddles. These can often catch us off guard so it is always better to reduce your speed. I am always looking for suggestions on what to write about every month so if there is anything in particular that you would consider appropriate, get in touch with me. As always, I can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at william.diamond@scotland.pnn. Regards, PC Will Diamond

agencies believe that this is over simplifying the actual problems in combatting vitamin A deficiency and is diverting attention from other more effective solutions. Mr Patterson said that while any individual advances in GM technology had to be scientifically founded and proved to be safe, there was no proof to validate automatic opposition to GM farming. I am no scientist and probably like the vast majority, simply know what I have read and heard about GM food over quite a few years but on the face of it t seems what in common jargon is called a no-brainer. I would have thought that even a limited trial in such deprived areas would show some results sooner rather than later. In the meantime fiddling while Rome burns is going to help no Agricola one and prove nothing. 23

Stirling Castle Tapestries - almost complete! The penultimate of seven specially commissioned Stirling Castle tapestries has been added to those already in place in the Royal Palace. The picture shows Lynsey Haworth (Regional Collections Manager at Historic Scotland) overseeing the installation of the Unicorn Leaps tapestry in the Renaissance Palace at Stirling Castle. The tapestry is the sixth in a series of seven medieval tapestries – which together depict the story of The Hunt of the Unicorn - to be recreated for the Palace using both centuries-old craftsmanship and new technology. The project was launched in 2001 by Historic Scotland in partnership with the Historic Scotland Foundation and the Quinque Foundation of the United States of America with replicas being woven by the renowned West Dean Tapestry Studio both at Stirling Castle and at West Dean in the south of England. The series is based on a set from 14951505 which is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Six tapestries are now in place in the Palace – once home to the infant Mary Queen of Scots – with the seventh due for completion in autumn 2014. Picture by Donald MacLeod 24

Rangers’ Review By Gareth Kett

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

As we reflect on what has been a busy summer season we can say, from the perspective of the Ranger Service, that it has been a good year. Sure enough there were a few unpleasant incidents around the loch shores, but it was good to see that summer’s fair weather brought out a lot of family groups and people visiting the National Park for the right reasons. While there have been problems which have delayed the progress of the Five Lochs Project development at Loch Lubnaig and there were some roadside parking issues Vole Project (see September’s Rangers’ early in the summer, Loch Lubnaig has Review) and squirrel, butterfly and been a more pleasant place this summer, breeding bird surveys all of which feed providing visitors entering the National into national monitoring programmes. park from Callander with a much better We have been also working with local early impression of the Park than has schools on projects such as Salmon in the been the case in recent years. We look Classroom at Crianlarich Primary and forward to the opening of the two Loch geology education at Strathyre Primary. Lubnaig visitor sites in the not-too- This is the time of year, when if you distant future. I think that it’s fair to say visit spots such as the Pots of Gartness, that Operation Ironworks, which is in its near Drymen or Buchanty Spout on the fourth year and involves joint patrolling River Almond, you can see the amazing of the Park by the Ranger Service and the spectacle of salmon leaping up water Police at weekends and public holidays, falls on their way from the sea to spawn is having a progressively positive effect in their natal river beds. They will have on the behaviour of visitors to the loch left our rivers between one and five shores. years earlier as silvery ‘smolts’, feeding While there has perhaps been a themselves up on fish and crustaceans reduction in anti-social behaviour in the in the waters around the Faroe Isles or Park in recent years there are still far too further afield south of Greenland, before many trees being cut and too much litter using currents to navigate their way back being left around. Some members of the to their natal rivers and probably the smell local community have been out picking of chemicals in the rivers to possibly find up litter themselves and, while I wish this the spawning area in which they hatched. wasn’t necessary, the Ranger Service is They will have stopped feeding when very grateful to those people. they entered the fresh water of the rivers The Breadalbane & Trossachs Team earlier in the year. While salmon can has been fortunate in having had three ‘run’ at any time of the year autumn is the talented seasonal rangers assigned to best time to see them as many wait for the us this summer. They have proved to autumn rains to swell the rivers making it be an enormous help in carrying out easier for them to propel themselves into visitor management duties as well in a leap up rapids and water falls on their biodiversity survey work and events. way up river. All males and most females Many thanks to Greggor, James and will die after spawning, but if any of the Richard. We wish them well for their thousands of eggs produced and fertilised future careers. In addition a number of by each pair during spawning make it to very capable voluntary rangers have been become breeding adults, they will have patrolling the area providing visitors with done their job. Locally salmon make information about the Park. Without their way up the Tay, Earn and Teith river their help, as well as the help of our systems spawning in the upper reaches of conservation volunteers we would be the Rivers Fillan, Larig and Lochay. unable to carry out the full scope of our It is that time of year once again when work. our squirrels are taking chances on the While visitor management duties roads as they seek large seed such as have taken up the lion’s share of Ranger hazel nuts, acorns and beech masts to Service time this summer, we have fatten themselves up before the winter. still been able to carry out a lot of Unfortunately many bountiful deciduous important education and biodiversity trees are to be found on the opposite side work including the Trossachs Water of the road to the conifer plantations that

harbour many of our squirrels meaning that squirrels often engage in a mad dash across the road whether or not there are any vehicles present. Please keep an eye out for them when you are on the roads and try to reduce your speed a little in areas where beeches, oaks and hazels line the road. As usual if you have any wildlife sightings to report or any queries please contact me on my e-mail address gareth.kett@, or on the Lochearnhead Office number 01389 722040. If I’m not in the office please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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Bowling - St Fillans

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

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

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

NOVEMBER 6 10 16 29

BLS Horticultural Society AGM - Balquhidder Hall - 7pm - All Welcome! Remembrance Sunday: Lochearnhead War Memorial 10.45am Balquhidder Church 12.00 noon, Strathyre War memorial 3pm. See p. 8 Christmas Workshop, Balquhidder - see p.2 Flutterbuys Retail Therapy Night - 7pm - 10pm - see p.5


Christmas Market - Balquhidder Village Hall - 11am to 4pm - see p.2 Gardeners’ Question Time - The Four Seasons, St Fillans - 7pm - see p.2 Hogmanay Party, Strathyre Village Hall - see p.9

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

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

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

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

The Villagers November 2013  

BLS Village news, Business interview, Balquhidder Church News, Taste Our Best, Creagan House, Master Chef Gordon Gunn, Benefits of Homework,...

The Villagers November 2013  

BLS Village news, Business interview, Balquhidder Church News, Taste Our Best, Creagan House, Master Chef Gordon Gunn, Benefits of Homework,...