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The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans • October 2017




Anne Steele from Tasmania

The slower swimmers gather for - ‘The Great Loch Earn Swim’

The slower swimmer set off

Jessica Morrison at 15 is the youngest swimmer The faster swimmers gather

The faster swimmers set off See Page 4 for the story

Editor’s Bit Thanks must go this month to 2 groups of brave, perhaps slightly mad people who swam or ran at two local events and provided us all with some highly entertaining photos. Thanks too to Kim Provan for giving us the initial information about the swim and a plea for more such helpful information to be given either to me or your Village Contact so we ensure we do cover all local events. The big indoor gathering and “friendly” competition of the Horticultural Society was also a resounding success due to the efforts of the new committee who are trying to ensure this traditional show continues and not just on The Archers! I do believe they would welcome any help for future years and we would love any of the talented gardeners to take over our Gardening Section even if you could contribute an occasional article perhaps on a rota basis? Michael Cowie continues to send some wonderful stories from the past and next month we will have ”Revelations in Balquhidder Outrage” Vengeance Theory Of Attack On Constable. Well worth your £1. I am delighted that we have evidence other people are also enjoying Michael’s reminiscences.

Letters to the Editor Dear Michael, I was thrilled to read your article about your grandparents, Andrew & Mary Dow and their home at Dalveich. I knew them both in their old age and loved visiting them. Their home was welcoming, homely, friendly and interesting. I am surprised to discover I have not remembered any individual stories of theirs although I do know they described the house and its changes in the time they were there and showed me their larder of homemade supplies. Andrew was no longer an elder when I met them at the church held in Lochearnhead village hall from the early nineties. He did officiate on one special occasion and he must have been very elderly because I remember holding my breath as he stepped down from the platform onto a school gym bench and then the hall floor while carrying the wine. He made it! I was their elder and missed them very much when they moved to Callander so I was pleased to read about their time there. Thank you for writing your article, Robina Pye 2

Dear Jill Thanks for printing the article about my grandfather and also the photo of the games. It is such a shame The Villagers magazine wasn’t about when they were alive as they would have got so much pleasure from reading it. The footpath I mentioned was at Dalveich not the games field. I don’t want everyone scratching their heads getting the old ordnance survey maps out and the landowner having a fit. The one I’m on about starts at the lane above the Dalveich cottages near the old railway bridge it then runs parallel with the railway line into the field and the turns a bit left to meet the road. It sticks in my memory so much because even when the field was full of hay or corn people would still use the footpath as a short cut to the village which they were entitled to do and nobody was ever put off in any way, my grandfather made sure the fencing at the roadside was always manageable to get over.

Strathyre News Crafts in Strathyre Our first session of “Crafternoon” was a great success and thank you to everyone who came along. We enjoyed an embroidery session with Janet Richards who also impressed by baking button cookies and cupcakes and cakes that looked like cotton reels! They were enjoyed with a cuppa and a blether and everyone went home with a beautiful embroidered hoop, it was a very enjoyable afternoon. Our next crafternoon is part of Strathyre’s Macmillan coffee morning on Saturday 7th October and will be all about teaching us about cake decorating. Then there will be a spooky crafternoon session featuring Halloween crafts on Sunday 22nd October from 12 at Strathyre village hall. All welcome to come along and enjoy some crafting on either or both of these dates.

Busy in preparation for the ‘Crafternoon’

Spectacular Professional Fireworks at Strathyre Tennis Court Friday 3 November 2017


Fancy an Early Morning Swim? On Sunday the 10th of September early in the morning we joined a small crowd of people on the shores of Loch Earn. Most of us were dressed appropriately for a sunny but chilly autumn morning, however several brave (foolhardy?) souls were there either in wet suits or some even just in their swimming costumes and they were all attached to small yellow bags. Under the auspices of Robert Hamilton, the swimmers were about to do his first 10k swim event of the length of Loch Earn starting at Lochearnhead and finishing at St Fillans. Robert is obviously passionate about his sport and is delighted to see the growth of interest and participation in his Open water events from its inception in 2001 to being the premier provider of Open wateår swimming in Scotland. Robert not only coaches the coaches but designs the courses for each venue. Safety is obviously paramount so several reconnaissance’s are needed prior to the actual day and then a small flotilla of kayakers accompanies the swimmers as well as having safety boats and first aiders in close attendance. His events include a swim across the Firth of Forth which attracted 150 swimmers this year and Robert’s ultimate aim is to increase the number of longer distance swims in Scotland, Loch Ness being one of his challenges. Amongst the competitors Jessica Morrison was the youngest at 15. She has been involved with open water swimming for 3 years and this was her first attempt at the distance offered by the full length of Loch Earn. She said she much prefers the challenge offered by swimming point to point rather than a circuit and her proud parents also agreed that watching their daughter in such a stunning setting was far more fun than the normal swimming gala! The “most travelled award” would be won by Anne Steele who had come over from Tasmania and this was going to be her second swim event in Scotland. Anne’s Dad was from Scotland and Anne was dedicating this swim to him. She was also raising money for “Melanoma Research” in Tasmania and so far, has raised over $11,000 for this important cause. Fund raising features in many of the swimmer’s reasons for attempting their “mad” adventures and is whole heartedly supported by Robert and his team with Brain tumour research and the Beatson being two of

Lochearnhead Latest


the main charities supported. Robert said he hoped this would become an annual event with the support of the local community. He thought this weekend was the optimum in respect of the temperature of the water being as” good as it gets” as his big concern is always the dangers posed by hyperthermia, which can happen after 30 minutes in the water. The final word goes to one of the successful swimmers; “Huge thanks again for awesome Loch Earn swim. I’m still buzzing. Loch Earn end to end, really loved swimming a straight 10km.From end to end was a tough challenge but I don’t think I could have done it as a lapped swim. Thanks for a great event Robert and team. The support was fantastic as ever the atmosphere was super lovely and the kayakers were really great. And the views of a clear Ben Vorlich seen from the water will stay with me for ever.” And an up-date Robert has next year’s date as the 8th of September but reversing the route to start at St Fillans. JJ


St Fillans Bit

by Isobel Howell

from which pervades the Who would have thought schoolroom. There are no that a small village, like St offices and the premises Fillans, could contain so in their present condition much history. There was are altogether unsuitable” a wealth of news stories, (and I thought I was hard photographs, records and done by, having lessons in items of interest on display a Portakabin). Two years in the Sandison Hall last later, the new school on month, thanks to the efforts Station Road was opened. over the last year or so, of Another snippet of villager Jim Brierley. As part history we learned was of this year’s bicentenary that in 1902 the St Fillans celebrations of the renaming Golf Club was founded, of our village, Jim has spent with financial help from a considerable amount of Jim Brierley the Earl of Ancaster. It time and effort researching and collecting artefacts about life in was originally designed as a nine St Fillans; the result - an exhibition, hole course, by Willie Auchterlonie named “Timeline of St Fillans” that filled of St Andrews and was opened on the entire hall which made incredibly 8th August 1903 by the Countess of interesting viewing over the five days it Ancaster who drove the first ball. If you visit the Sandison Hall, you was open to the public. Amongst the timeline items, were cannot fail to notice the giant quilt that census records containing lists of hangs, as a feature, on the back wall – a houses and their occupants dating over representation in fabric of the village, its a hundred years ago, whilst we learned people, buildings, wildlife and nature, that in more recent times, in 1996 the known as “A Patch of Perthshire”. I’d village was awarded first prize, by Perth always known that the quilt was hand and Kinross Council, in “The Best Kept made by a group of ladies, collectively known as The Sew and Sews. Through Small Village” competition. Poignantly, there was a section the exhibition we learned that it was dedicated to the First World War, the inspiration of Eleanor Cunningham along with a very sympathetic and who discovered that Help The Aged imaginative floral display. Sometimes were giving monetary awards to it was easy to be distracted from the rural areas to encourage projects for material on display, by the impressive the millennium. Villager and artist, flower arrangements, all thanks to the Yvonne Spearing, was commissioned creative talents of Cathy Moncrieff. to produce a design, which is a fun and We discovered that the village’s war playful snapshot of village life, and the memorial (which is made of red ladies spent eighteen months making Dumfries stone) was built at a cost the quilt. The photo doesn’t do it of £240 and was unveiled on 24th justice – you have to see it for yourself September 1921 by the Earl of Ancaster. to appreciate the work that must have In one corner of the hall stood a gone into it. blackboard and a school desk, as part of the display about the old school. The school was originally housed in the west end of the village in what was the Superintendent of the lime quarries house (which I believe is now the Four Seasons Hotel). If school children think they are given a hard time today, then a look back at a report from 1874 to the Comrie School Board might make them think again. The report mentioned that “The only opening for air is in the ceiling and these actually open into a cow The Quilt house under the same roof, the smell

Many villagers commented that the exhibition was so interesting that the village should have a dedicated place where it can be kept on display for the public to see. I believe that a few villagers are looking into how this can be done. Many thanks to Jim Brierley and everyone who helped and/or contributed and provided information and artefacts for the Timeline. On a sad note, I am very sorry to report the passing of Andrew Martin last month who lost his battle with leukaemia. Andrew, who lived at Oakbank, was a retired GP who practised in Crieff. He was active for a short while on the Community Council before his illness and he was always a popular figure, often seen in the village with his beloved spaniel, Fergus. His funeral, which was a private service, was followed by a memorial service at The White Church in Comrie, which, apparently, was overflowing with attendance, such was his popularity. I know I, for one, will miss seeing him around the village – we always used to bump into one another walking our dogs and he would always stop and chat, and was cheerful despite his illness. I wish to extend my sympathy to Andrew’s three sons and his family. On a lighter note, on the Sunday evening of the exhibition weekend, villagers were treated to a preview of a film that is still in the production stages, by local film company, Mousehole Films. The team behind the film, which is entitled “The Village on the Loch”, are Caroline Strong, Ade, Danny and Gabriel Bean, who have been busy over the last year, quietly filming village events, scenery and wildlife and interviewing villagers to get their perspectives of living in St Fillans. As Caroline explained to me, the idea for their film came from a conversation at last year’s Festive Weekend when it was suggested to her that a film of the history of the village might be a nice idea for this year’s bicentenary events. The project grew arms and legs and soon Caroline realised that there was a much bigger story to tell. The film, which includes a candid piece to camera by Jim Brierley who dispels the myth of the Fairy Stone (which is like hearing that Father Christmas doesn’t exist) – is still being worked on and pieces are being added following folks’ suggestions. The film beautifully captures the essence of the village and surrounding countryside – there are some breath taking shots of deer and wild hare with some stirring music to accompany it. Plans are afoot to screen the film at various festivals from February and into the summer of next year, and the Company also have plans to release it onto DVD. There may be another screen showing, once Continued overleaf


Continued from page 5

it is complete, possibly in Comrie. I thoroughly recommend anyone who gets the chance to go and see it as it really does give you an insight into life in a rural Scottish village and you also get to appreciate the creative talents of the team behind the film. Thanks to Susan Stuart for her news from The Four Seasons Hotel; with autumn fast approaching, The Four Seasons has updated its menus in both the Tarken and The Meall Reamhar. There are plans to close both on an adhoc basis over the coming months to facilitate staff training on the run up to Christmas, however they would like to extend a 10% discount to readers of ‘The Villagers’ dining in the Meall Reamhar restaurant during October. This offer is only available if an advance booking is made so please contact the hotel reception (Tel 01764 685333), quote ‘Villagers’ offer and please note, discount is on food only. Reservations are subject to availability. Meanwhile, Zelda from The Achray Hotel reports that from the start of October the hotel goes onto their Winter schedule, which means they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and lunch is available on Sundays only. Finally, a note for your diaries … the annual village Bonfire Night will take place on Friday 3rd November. It is a free event (made possible thanks to proceeds from the Festive Weekend) – although you might be tapped for donations on the evening. The evening includes bonfire, fireworks, hot dog and mulled wine. The bonfire usually starts at 7:00 pm and is held on the playing field behind The Loch Earn Arran Brewery Hotel. Until then, have a spooky Halloween!

Scottish Wildlife Trust Meet at 7:30pm in Callander Kirk Hall, South Church Street, FK17 8BN. £2 members, £2.50 non-members, free to students.

Callander Rambling Club Sponsored by Caledonian Country Wear

The Club consists of a group of enthusiasts who meet regularly throughout the year to participate in a programme of strolls, rambles, hill walks and a Long Distance Path. Details are published on ramblers.htm in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diary: October Sat 7 Oct 09:30 Stroll: Bogton Braes, Comrie (5 miles) Contact 01877 330662 Sat 14 Oct 08:30 LDP: RB7 – Comrie to Crieff (8miles) Contact 01877 330032 Sat 21 Oct 08:30 Hill:– Cobbler Contact 01877 382924 Wed 25 Oct 09:30 Ramble: Kirkton Glen lesser known tracks (6.5miles) Contact 01877 384227 November Wed 1 Nov 09:30 Hill: Norman’s Law (from Luthrie) (285m) Contact 01786 825877 Wed 8 Nov 09:30 Ramble: A Birnam Loop (11miles) Contact 07785 703124 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! Visitors and non-members welcome.

Light Lunch and ‘Specials’ Menu in the Bistro • Afternoon and Cream Tea • Evening A La Carte and Rosette Menu • Sunday Roasts from £15.95 • Lunches, Afternoon Tea, Suppers and Dinner served daily


Tuesday 10th October Scotland’s Small Mammals by Graeme Wilson, The Wildlife Information Centre Manager Tuesday 14th November From Glen to Summit: the Wildlife of Glencoe by Dan Watson, National Trust for Scotland The Wildlife Information Centre is the Local Environmental Records Centre for southeast & part of central Scotland that collects, collates and disseminates information about wildlife in our area. It holds data on species, habitats and designated sites for our area and it’s current database holds more than 2.3 million species records.

SEEING STARS by Keith Wilson 

OCTOBER 2017 The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis are a special sight to behold and everyone who experiences them has their own tale to tell. Sometimes people see green bands across the sky; others tell of dancing reds, blues and purples. The dancing lights of the Northern Lights sometimes illuminate the northern sky over parts of Scotland including Perthshire. This stunning luminous phenomenon is caused by charged particles that speed out from the sun and interact with the Earth’s magnetic field. The charged particles stream towards an area around the magnetic poles where the magnetic field ‘gathers’, known as the auroral oval. It’s here that these charged particles can light up the night skies making them glow and resulting in colourful curtains, arcs, bands and patches of light. The best places to see the Aurora tend to be remote areas that do not have any light pollution and face the northern horizon. In order to see the spectacular light show, wait until the sky is dark and clear of clouds. Scientists advise observers to aim for between 8pm and 12am in Scotland. The Northern Lights tend to be most active around the equinoxes in spring between March and April and autumn between September and October. To find out when you might be able to see the Northern Lights, visit the following website which predicts sightings for the UK. http://

We start our 6th year as one of Scotland’s 47 U3As with a healthy membership and 47 new members joining since our AGM in August. A celebration evening is being organised which will take place on 30th November at Callander Golf Club with a ceilidh band, supper and a quiz. The committee has seen a few changes and welcomes two new members while our founder and first Chairperson, Barbara Legg, has been made Honorary President, in recognition of her work in many fields within our U3A. Two new groups are starting – ‘Armchair Astronomy’ and ‘Antiques Appreciation’ with details on our website ‘Callander and West Perthshire U3A’. Anyone can join at any time and we have kept the annual subscription to £10 with a discount to £5 for anyone who already belongs to another U3A. In our two photos you will see some of our members at the first Sunday Lunch get-together this session. A very enjoyable time with delicious food was had at the Gargunnock Inn. Photos courtesy of Philip Reece-Heal.


Church News Balquhidder BLS

A Note from

St Angus’s

It’s time I reiterated that I have no theological authority to write this column, I am just a ponderer in the pew and my ponderings can lead in all sorts of directions. I’m wondering at the moment about the PC society we live in today and questioning whether our egos have become so inflated that any slip means we cannot help being bumped into and, apparently, bruised. When I was at school I was often called Sparrow Legs and among my friends were Weary and Dosey (no I didn’t go to school with the Seven Dwarfs!). I don’t believe any of us was scarred for life. Could folk nowadays be taking themselves just a bit too seriously? I wonder what your thoughts were when the lady who referred to the what’s it in the woodpile lost her job? Thirty or so years ago that was a very common saying but the connotations are not good. It seems to me she was certainly right to make a public apology for what was, I believe, a thoughtless remark, but to lose her job...? Jesus doesn’t seem to have much to say on the matter though everything he says rests on the commandment to love God and to love our neighbour whatever creed or colour. We’ve certainly come a long way from the days when the minister in one congregation would call down fire, hail and brimstone on the poor congregation across the road who did things rather differently. We still hear the taunt “Piskie, piskie, amen doon on ye’r knees and up again” and that’s just a bit of fun - as is the retort my mother knew “Presbyterians canna bend, they say their prayers on their hinner (hinter) end.” One thing does puzzle me though and maybe the folk in dog collars can help. As I remember it when a Samaritan woman asks Jesus to heal her sick child he replies” is it right to take the children’s bread and give it to the dogs?” I imagine he meant the children of Israel i.e. the Jews and he must presumably have been referring to the Samaritans as dogs. Is that not just a tiny bit racist...? Or is something lost in the translation? All opinions welcome, editor permitting! 8

MUSINGS FROM THE MANSE Contrasting Scenarios! 1) The church bells are ringing and the population of the village, young and old, male and female, are winding their way up to the place of worship on the hill. The sanctuary is decorated for a festive occasion and there is an air of expectancy and merriment among the people. Everyone seems in a good mood! It is autumn and the annual Harvest Thanksgiving service is about to begin. Adorned with flowers and sheaves of corn, with vegetable produce from the fields visually occupying center stage, the church is ready for a celebration. And what a celebration this will be! No empty ritual here: certainly not today! The hymns will be sung with gusto, the prayers will be heartfelt, the sentiments expressed, real and genuine. The community will survive another winter. The relief is palpable! The harvest was good: it’s safely gathered in; there will be food to eat during the dark, cold months when the snows come and the village is all but cut off from the rest of the world. It is good to be alive! It is great to have hope! That is what makes the act of Harvest Thanksgiving so poignant, personal, and powerful. 2) It is Friday night. After searching the kitchen, the children complain “Mum there’s nothing to eat! Nothing we like anyway; there’s no goodies” (the fridge and cupboards are far from empty but the kids are fussy!). “When are we getting the big shop?” So Mum dutifully bundles everybody into the car for an “expedition” to the friendly neighbourhood 24hr supermarket (take your pick on the brand name). They arrive at the brightly lit modern Temple of Consumerism which stands out sharply from the large, dark, expanse of tarmac upon which nestles countless motor vehicles. There is a hive of activity despite the evening hour, and the walkways ebb and flow with shoppers. They collect a trolley and enter the store via

the automatic sliding doors which open on their approach. The visual spectacle and sensory experience which greets them on entry should halt them in their tracks for a moment of awe and wonder but it doesn’t – they’ve seen it all before. It’s just a routine visit. The sheer volume and variety of food on offer and display is staggering but it completely fails to impact the emotions of our modern family on their evening outing. For them, this is a functional trip. They’ll soon have what they came for and, no doubt, lots of items that they didn’t come for, (such are the temptations placed before us!) and they’ll return home. Their attitude is surprising: as the majority of the human race, past and present, would stand agog at this sight. For millions of people who, from the midst of the drudgery and want of life have imagined paradise as an oasis in a desert, or, heaven, as a banqueting hall filled with overflowing tables, the spectacle and experience of the modern supermarket would have seemed like a dream, a fantasy. Two different scenes representing two different worlds: The first could have been taken from anytime over the last two millennia up to the 19th century or even, in some places, the first part of the 20th century; the second, of course, is contemporary. My, how things have changed! On October 15th we will have our annual Harvest Thanksgiving service in Balquhidder at 11.30am. This will be an opportunity whether religious or not to remember our farming community and to respond with gratitude to the sheer giveness of life, remembering how fragile it is. Donations will be received for the charity Mary’s meals. Come and join us.

Lochearnhead Latest

CASHMERE, A CUPPA, A CHAT AND A CAKE Cashmere from the Nearly New Cashmere Boutique. Ladies and Gents woollens in immaculate condition. Come and browse with no pressure to buy at 5 Auchraw Brae, Lochearnhead on Thursday 12th October 10am - 12 noon and 2.0pm - 4.0pm.

Lochearnhead Village Hall Hogmanay Party Lochearnhead Village Hall 9pm-2am The Lochearnhead Village Hall will be hosting a Hogmanay party once again on the 31st December 2017. Live band ‘Raband’ are back and guaranteed to have you on your feet (so bring your dancing shoes!). Refreshments (bar and home-made stovies) will be available and there will be a chance for you to try your luck in the raffle.

Prices from £25

Tickets will be on sale in the Lochearnhead village shop from Monday 4 December at £10/adult and £5/child. But if you want to be sure of getting a ticket why not pre-reserve yours by calling 01567 830458 leaving your name, number of tickets and a contact telephone number.

A percentage of profits to St Angus’s Church.

As always proceeds of the event will go towards the maintenance and upkeep of the village hall facility.


Remembrance Services

The Remembrance service will be held at 10.45am on Sunday the 12th November 2017 at the War Memorial in Lochearnhead. Please assemble beforehand. The service will be conducted by the Revd. Canon Paddy Allen assisted by Lt Col (Retd.) Rory Gilchrist late of the Black Watch, Malcolm White St Angus Church, a Piper and wreath layers. Please support the remembrance of the thirty-one who gave their lives in WW1 and WW2 from the parish of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre. Malcolm White Lochearnhead 9

heather and then being held up by Ali, * but what is it? Well, a long time ago a very well know local gentleman and his friend were *Once in demand by Victorian miniaturists, the tiny pin-feather comes from shooting rabbits for the pot, around the leading edge of a woodcock’s wing and and along the Glen road, bolting them only two such feathers occur on each bird (one on each wing). This month, Old Nyati into Purse nets with ferrets or shooting takes us on a stroll illustrated by his photos. them when they bolted out of the heather. In those days rabbits were an There is a single Red Admiral butterfly important source of food and income feeding on the very last Buddleia when sold to the local game dealer. flower outside the window. What a This particular year the rabbits had disappointing summer we have had, multiplied greatly, like they do! It was this time last year there were these, long before Myxomytosis wiped them Peacocks, Painted Ladies, Tortioshells out. and more in great numbers, better In order to carry the “Bag” they had a things next year perhaps. Pony and Trap with them, the pony was But take a look at the weather in my obviously “steady” to shot or things may photos, not much like summer there, have got a bit exciting. but, where is it? Well every picture Beyond their expectations the tells a story they say. Get your boots, number of rabbits mounted up until the a walking stick and waterproofs and small trap behind the pony, which being come along with me. of some vintage, became so laden that Along the South Loch Tay road it collapsed under the weight of rabbits. from Killin (Turn right by the Falls of It was abandoned all that time ago and Dochart) lots of twists and turns past all that remains are the steps which you the Ardonaig Hotel, though that could be an idea on the way back. On a wee bit further till we get to Ardtalnaig, find somewhere to leave the car without blocking a farmer’s gateway. There is a footpath sign on the right pointing the way to Glen Almond, this is the route we are taking. Looking at the mysterious object in one of my photos, firstly lying in the


The remote bothy.

Newton Bridge and the Sma Glen. Oh! that beautiful Glen. At this point, there is a small Bothy called Dunan which is now renovated and is let out to adventurous holiday makers who are taken out there by Land Rover with a few days’ supply of food and left to manage on their own. But before the renovation it was

Take a look along the track.

What is the mystery object? 10

see in the pictures and the bare iron ribs sticking up out of the peat. As the saying goes every picture does indeed tell a story, provided we know it. Now let us go on a little further and leave those relics behind us. Look along the track in the snow and a wee bit more walking, we are gaining height now up to the watershed at the top of the ridge. Here we have the source of the river Almond on its way through Auchnafree and Glen Almond, to the

in a semi derelict state, used only for shelter by Hill Walkers. On one of the inside whitewashed walls was a tastefully written message that may be recognised by some of our readers, it reads thus: - “Blizzard conditions, am just going outside, I may be some time” Still an apt quote in that place perhaps. And who knows who made that famous quotation? He too was a brave man in the snow! Old Nyati.

Over the summer, I completed a lap of surgeries across the Trossachs area – a spectacular part of the world and perhaps the most rural region that I represent. When speaking to residents, almost always the same issue comes back: broadband – or the lack of it! Despite broadband, under telecommunications, being a reserved matter to the Westminster Parliament, the Scottish Government has committed additional funding to rolling out a super-fast connection by 2021 – the most ambitious policy of its kind in the UK. However, for many people living in rural communities – like those

in the Trossachs – waiting is not an option and community action groups in places such as Balquhidder, Strathfillan or Strathard are working to move mountains in order to deliver reliable and modern broadband connections to their local area. Recently, I held a summit on rural broadband in Crianlarich – inviting Digital Scotland, Stirling Council, local representatives, and local community groups along to contribute to the discussion. It was a great chance for local people to find out more about when key infrastructure is expected to be installed in their area – giving access to superfast broadband. I will remain in close contact with these key groups as these developments progress. However, if you would like to discuss this or any other matter further, please contact my office via Bruce.Crawford.MSP@ or 01786 471 899.


McLaren High School McLaren High School - 125 Years of Success Thursday 7 September saw the launch of our yearlong celebrations commemorating 125 years of continuous service to our local (and not so local) communities. This year’s Award Ceremony opened with a stirring march by McLaren High’s own Pipe Band. Just before the main event started Callum promoted Rebecca More to the rank of Pipe Major, the band will continue to grow under Rebecca’s stewardship. Marc Fleming, Headteacher, gave an address linking McLaren’s illustrious heritage with the current and future successes of the pupils. Our key note address was given by Sponsored Stirling Provost walk Christine Simpson who drew parallels between the charity work conducted by Stirling Council and the work done by the pupils of McLaren High who give so freely of their time.

125 Celebratory BBQ

The evening showed the range of talent and dedication of the pupils. Dux Ludorum was won by our sporting champions Charlotte Brodie and Jamie Nixon. Dillon McFarlane, Niamh Gillespie and Eve Scott shared the War Memorial prize. This year the PTA (Parents’ Teacher Association) created a special recognition award for the cancer research funding Poppy McMahon, Holly Bowen, Millie Jenkins and Jessica Orr-Ewing are involved in. Poppy has been running in the race for life every year since the age of 3! The awards culminated in Carmen Clive winning the Dux having achieved A band one in all her Highers. The official part of the evening ended with the Outgoing Head Boy and Head Girl Callum Hall and Finn Manders talking to their fellow pupils and encouraging them to make the most

visit our website: 12

of the opportunities they have whilst at McLaren High School.

McLaren High Book Groups A number of our lovely senior pupils are sharing their love of reading by leading Book Groups for junior pupils. S1 and S2 pupils are invited to sign up to read one of these series with their appointed senior pupil. • Harry Potter - Struan Garvie • Northern Lights - Rachel Darby • A Series of Unfortunate Events - Iona Whitehead & Mhari Stewart • Skullduggery Pleasant - Erin Higginson & Owen Ferguson • Hunger Games - Hazel Lafferty & Hazel Imrie • Clock Work Angel - Laura Maskrey If you have copies of anyGoodbyee! books from these collections and would be willing to donate them to this project it would be hugely appreciated!

Dux Carmen Clive

Following on from the Awards Ceremony on Thursday, McLaren High School’s 125th Anniversary celebrations continued on Saturday 9 September. In addition to the annual Former Pupils’ lunch, an afternoon tea for current and former staff took place, giving everyone who attended these events the opportunity to catch up and reminisce on their time at Book Group McLaren, including two former teachers who had travelled from McLaren Rugby – Central Schools Australia. Members of the wider Conference – Fixture 1 On Wednesday 30 August the S1, school community attended a S2 and U16 McLaren rugby teams barbecue in beautiful sunshine before many of our current pupils travelled to Larbert High School to play joined former pupils at a lively and the first round of rugby fixtures in this energetic ceilidh in the evening, competition. The S1 team enjoyed their with music provided by former first experience of high school rugby, pupil Kirsty Fingland and friends in the and the conference system, winning their match 14-7. Glasgow Vet Ceilidh Band. The dayFarewell was parade The S2 team also kicked off their a perfect way to start the celebrations season with a victory. The game was an which will continue throughout the school year. The next event is a 125 even contest early on with both teams themed Interhouse competition in performing to a high level. However, in school for pupils and staff on Friday 6 the end McLaren ran out 11-4 winners. The U16 team won their thrilling October. encounter 31-26. This was an end to end match, where both teams played Prefect Leadership Team 2017/18 Our Head Boy/Girl, House Captains some excellent running rugby. Well done to all the boys. It was and their deputies were chosen just before the summer break and are now great to see over 40 boys representing the school. McLaren host Falkirk High fully immersed in their new roles. School in the next round of fixtures in the Central Conference.

Heads and Deputys

S1 Team

Book Review All the Light We Cannot See Anthony Doerr The main characters in this book are two children, and the story starts with describing their respective experiences enduring the horrors of growing up in their respective countries, France and Germany during WW2. We understand that somehow and at some point, in the future their paths will cross. Although for much of the book, the likelihood of this coming about seems remote. Marie Laure lives with her father first in Paris and later in St Malo having escaped from a tenacious and sinister Nazi Art Expert (shades of The Monument Men here). In the meantime Werner’s wizardry with radios and electronics has been noted by the German high command. The descriptions of his and his friend Frederick’s efforts to survive the cruelty of the special war training school they are sent to is harrowing. Meanwhile Marie Laure who is blind, exercises her independence by exploring her surroundings after studying the miniature models her father makes of the streets around where they live. An uncle in St Malo gives Marie Laure and her father refuge in his home. But when her father disappears she is left to her own devices becoming

aware that she may have something the Nazi Art Expert is searching for, but she remains ignorant of what this is. Following the Normandy Landings, the Germans begin a furious bombing campaign on St Malo. By this time Werner is there to set up lines of communication for the German army. As the sense of foreboding intensifies Marie Laure literally feels her way around the cavernous house belonging to her uncle, and the reader by now knows what it is the German is looking for and the tension rises. Marie Laure finds a radio (forbidden by the occupying army) in the attic of the house and Werner finds himself in an impossible situation following the bombardment in St Malo but is bent on survival. The author has great skill with his characters both the good and the bad and the sense of place especially in St Malo is artfully described. This is a very touching story and a worthwhile read.

DOCTORS 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 afternoon will provisionally be on: Tuesday 28th November 2017 Both practices and community nurse clinic will close at 12.30pm. We hope that emergency cover will be provided by NHS24 for nursing and GPs, however, this will not be confirmed to the practices until nearer the time. In the event of an emergency, please telephone 111. On that afternoon, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments. Bracklinn Practice bank holiday opening hours – The practice will be open as usual on the morning of Monday 9th October. We will close at lunchtime for staff training. If you require medical attention when the practice is closed, please contact NHS24 on 111. A message from Bracklinn Practice – We seem to be experiencing more and more people who think it is “OK” to shout or pass comments at the receptionist either by telephone or at the reception desk. Our staff are there to help people, and do not have to put up with abuse or derogatory comments. Please note that people who shout or are abusive towards any member of the practice, or attached staff will not receive preferential treatment. They will, however, be treated the same as everyone else - with courtesy and respect. The receptionists are trained to deal with difficult situations and may sometimes have to ask you awkward questions. They do this to prioritise your request.


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Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre


Horticultural Society

Annual Show

Saturday 26 August 2017 There was an unexpectedly good number of entries for this year’s show - and a fine sunny afternoon on the day ensured a good turnout to witness the beautiful collection of colour and talent on display. Last year the summer was so wet - reflected in the 2016 show’s comparatively small volume of flowers, fruit and veg - and this year the weather was hardly bettter, the Horti team were anticipating similar levels of participation! But the tables were well covered, though perhaps there was a slight lack of entries for the baking and kindred activities. But this was more than made up for by the arts, photography and crafts sections, where there were some lovely efforts on view. The Secretary’s Cup for Pot Plants went to Marie Bourne; The Matyjasek Cup for Cut Flowers went to Karen Kett and Marie Bourne. Karen also won the Bowers Cup for Fruit and Veg, while Marie took the Club Cup for Floral Art. The MacDonald Cup for Kindred Activities went to Jimmy McSkimming, who submitted a wonderful array of entries. The under-8’s Grow “a little” Mhor Cup was won by Tristan Kett. The 9-16 yrs Grow Mhor Cup went to Abigail Todd. Ewan Harvey won the Stuart Love Cup and first place for his amazing and unusual Tattie-bogle. Jill and David Johnston from The Villagers did very well in the Photography competition and took first and second place each. In the children’s section Tabbie Mackenzie took first place and her sister Poppy was second. Gill Waugh received Best in Show for her painting of Loch Voil - and Karen Kett was awarded ‘Overall Winner’ with a very impressive set of entries over all categories. Well done everyone. The BLS Horticultural Society would like to thanks the committee at Lochearnhead Village Hall for their kind sponsorship in loaning us the hall for two days; also to the White Stag Inn for hosting our meetings. Keep watching The Villagers for news and information about next year’s Show. It will be held at Balquhidder Village Hall on 1st September 2018. 14

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1 Cut flowers made a gorgeous display 2 Ewan Harvey 3 Thanks to Dave Hunt of Wildgrass Studio, Westerlix, for judging all the photography 4 Thanks also to Liz Kelly (left) and Marguerite Kobs (right) who did a fantistic job of judging everything else! 5 Tristan Kett 6 Karen Kett 7 Minature landscapes



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8 Some of the paintings - this year the theme was ‘landscape’ 9 Allan’s winning peas! 10 Winning carrots 11 Plenty of potatoes 12 Marie and her Floral Art cup 13 The amazing ‘dancing carrot’ 14 More beautiful colours in the floral section 15 Jimmy’s prize winning loaf 16 Mouthwatering tablet 17 Linda checks her list of winners 18 Tristan and friend 19 A prize winning bloom 20 All the glittering prizes 21 Astonishing rhubarb 22 Ewan’s astonishing ‘Tattie Bogle’

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Kasia’s Cooking

RUN MHOR HIDDEN GLEN 10K No bake best GRANOLA BARS These are very nutritious bars that are great for a snack or if you want to boost your energy level. Any dried fruit, nuts or seeds will be great in this recipe, so it can be adjusted easily according to what is hidden in your pantry. No refined sugars, no diary (if using coconut oil), no gluten (if using gluten free oats) and still heavenly delicious! Ingredients: 0.5 cup coconut oil or butter 0.5 cup honey or rice malt syrup or any sweetener you like 0.5 tsp salt 2 tsp vanilla extract 2 cups oat flakes 1.5 cups nuts and/or seeds (pecan nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, anything you enjoy the best or have handy) 1 cup of mixed dried fruit (sour cherries or raisins soaked in lemon juice, chopped dates, or cranberries) Optional: 1 tsp ground cardamom, 0.5 tsp cinnamon. 100g dark chocolate for decorating Instructions: 1. Melt oil and honey in a saucepan, add oats and cook for 5 min stirring often. This will help to soften the oats 2. Toast nuts under the grill for 5-10 min or until golden, but not burnt. Chop the nuts. 3. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well. 4. Transfer into a form lined with baking paper. Flatten well, pressing hard (this will avoid the bars crumbling). 5. Keep in the fridge until firm. 6. Decorate with melted chocolate. Tip: The oats will taste even better when slowly toasted under the grill for few minutes before adding to the melted oil. Enjoy! Kasia 16

The inaugural Hidden Glen 10K took place at Monachyle Mhor Hotel on Saturday 16th September. Over 400 runners took part with a further 40 in the 1Km fun run. Starting and finishing at Monachyle Mhor, the event took in the scenic road alongside Loch Doine before heading into Monachyle Glen. At the top of the glen, as runners reached the turning point, they were treated to the skirl of the pipes and spectacular views further down the glen. On their return to the hotel, runners enjoyed a free pint of Mhor 84 lager courtesy of Belhaven Brewery and a great selection of food from the hotel. The men’s 10K was won by Johnny Lawson (37:26) and the women’s race by Emma Birnie (45:29). The fun run was also a great success with lots of young determined runners completing the 1Km course. Huge thanks must go to the event sponsors Mhor and in particular Tom, Lisa, Dick, Paulina and Dugald along with the fantastic team of chefs and staff.

Special thanks also to prize sponsors Go Ape Aberfoyle and Wheels Cycles in Callander. Furthermore, the day would not have been such a success without the help of Iona Waugh, John Morris and the numerous local volunteers who worked very hard on the day. In the run up to the event I attempted to contact all local residents by email to advise them of the increased traffic in the glen. However, I am aware now that not everyone knew about the race and some inconvenience was caused, I can only apologize for this. If you did not receive the email please could you contact me at so I can keep everyone informed for next year. Congratulations to everyone who took part this year. It was great to see the first year of the event being so successful, and so many locals taking part. The 2018 event is planned for Saturday 21st April. Please keep an eye on for details. Pete Waugh, Run Mhor Event Organiser.

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of a meeting held at The Village Hall, Balquhidder on 20 September 2017 Minutes of a meeting held at the Village Hall, Balquhidder, on 20th September 2017. Please note that these minutes have not yet received formal approval and should be considered as a draft version only. Present: Malcolm McNaughton (MM), David Johnston (DJ), Paul Hicks (PH), Ruth McLusky (RM), Loraine Telfer (LT), Margaret Alexander (MA) and Angus Cameron (AC). Apologies: Adrian Squires, Karen Methven, Richard Eastland; Theresa Elliot, Stirling Council. In attendance: Cllr Evelyn Tweed (ET), Michelle Flynn (MF), Stirling Council; PC Will Diamond (WD), Police Scotland; Billy Ronald (BR), National Park. 1) Approval of Minutes It was proposed by LT, and seconded by MM, that the minutes of the meeting on 9th August 2017 should be accepted, and this was approved unanimously. 2) Declarations of Interest No declarations were made. 3) Police Report During the period from 27th July to 18th September, there were two reported thefts at Glen Ogle Head car park with camera equipment stolen. The snack van was also broken into. Recently, there have also been thefts in the surrounding areas. These have predominantly occurred within rural car parks, with vehicles being broken into and items stolen. There have also been thefts of pedal cycles, particularly those of high value. WD asked for everyone to remain vigilant, and to report suspicious people or vehicles to the police immediately. On the 20th August, a male was found fishing and camping beside Loch Earn. He had cut down live trees and had in his possession a chainsaw and two large machetes. He was reported to the Procurator Fiscal for an offence under the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Camping Management Byelaws, 2017, and for two offences of having offensive weapons in a public place. On the 15th September, two males were found fishing and camping on Loch Lubnaig near to Immervoulin. They had in their possession a quantity of controlled drugs - for which the appropriate action was taken. During this period, eight reports were submitted to the Procurator Fiscal for drivers who were travelling in excess of 50mph within the villages. On the 9th September, a collision occurred on the A85 near to Derry Farm, Lochearnhead. As a result of the collision, one of the drivers has been reported to the Procurator Fiscal for careless driving. A number of Fixed Penalty tickets were also issued to motorists for speeding, no insurance, no MOT, and careless driving. WD had been on annual leave for four weeks during this period but attended a number of important meetings. These included a multi-agency meeting looking at the responses from various agencies to ìSearch & Rescueî incidents within the Forth Valley area. There will be further training throughout the winter and early next spring, with a practical scenario created in this area to test the responses and training of the various agencies. Two meetings concerned road safety. The first was hosted by Scottish National Heritage, with members of the Balquhidder Deer Group, Transport Scotland, and Bear Scotland also being present. The aim was to find ways of reducing the number of collisions involving deer on the A84 and A85. WD asked that all near misses and strikes should be reported to him for the time being, in order to allow accurate figures to be collated. The final meeting took place with Transport Scotland, Bear Scotland and various elected members, in order to discuss recent complaints of speeding within Lochearnhead. The aim is to carry out work to reduce the number of people being caught driving in excess of 30mph. 4) Matters arising 4a) Trustees’ Liability Insurance. MM and MF reported that a reply had been received from Stirling Council regarding employers’ liability insurance, indemnity for legal expenses, and trustee indemnity insurance. In response to specific queries, members were assured that all members of the community council, regardless of individual rÙles, are covered; a limit of £250,000 applies to each event for which insurance is claimed; also, a personal excess of £250 applies under the Professional Indemnity and Trustees Insurance cover. Normally, this would have to be met by the community council, but Stirling Council would consider supporting any council that was unable to meet the full excess cost. Full copies of the documents concerned are available on request through the Secretary. MM still had some queries regarding whether individuals on a council could be sued, and whether the full policy would be applied for each person. MF said that all decisions made by a community council are reached jointly, but there was still concern that individuals might be singled out by a disgruntled complainant. It was agreed that MF would check this further. Action: MF to seek clarification on individual liability. 4b) Footbridge behind Balquhidder Church. DJ reported that the bridge belongs to the ‘Friends of Balquhidder Church’, a separate organisation from the Church of Scotland itself. They and the Minister have been consulted, and are willing for efforts to be made to repair the bridge. DJ has applied to the National Park for a grant. A qualified engineer has inspected the bridge, produced a report and a quote for the work has been obtained. Further quotations will be sought as required. The cost is estimated at around £8,000 which it is hoped will be covered by any grant or monies raised locally. 5) Bye-laws and clear-ways. PH reported having attended a meeting on 25th August in St Fillans, with the National Park and representatives from the Drummond and Ardvorlich Estates, to assess the impact of the new Camping Management Scheme and bye-laws. So far as the Park is concerned, things have gone well. There have been some teething problems, but the booking systems seem to have worked and feedback has been generally positive. However, both estates reported that the sale of fishing licences had dropped significantly. This was confirmed by reports from local businesses that had seen a big fall in the number of visitors over the summer period. In particular, the shop at Lochearnhead had lost as much as 20% of its normal ìfootfallî during the summer. It was noted that there had been some very negative press coverage with reports of the area being ìclosedî this season. Queries were raised as to whether more could have been done to counteract this adverse publicity through positive media coverage and advertising, especially through the principal shops and organisations for fishing enthusiasts in the ìcentral beltî of Scotland. The CEO of the National Park, Gordon Watson, was present and undertook to remedy this situation, using the resources of the Park to counteract the negative image being portrayed. On a more positive note, there have been far fewer problems with litter and anti-social behaviour this season. For the first time in living memory, no violent crimes were recorded. However, the fall in visitor numbers was a worrying feature and members agreed that every effort must be made to improve this situation next year. Whilst the positive outcome was much appreciated, the intention is not to stop visitors coming; indeed, it is hoped that the measures taken will result in an increase over future years. 6) Correspondence C60 Bus Service. PH reported that a letter had been received from David Brown of the Public Transport Unit at Stirling Council to inform us that the current C60 bus service between Callander and Killin would cease at the end of this year because the current operator (Kingshouse Travel Ltd) will not have sufficient PSV-qualified drivers to fulfil the current contract. The Council is considering three possible ways forward: i) Continuation of the current service with a new operator; ii) replacement of the service with an amended timetable; iii) replacement of the service with an extended DRT service. One difficulty is that all the potential, alternative operators are situated so far away that the costs of maintaining the existing service are likely to be prohibitive. The report has created significant alarm locally, and over thirty-five people attended a meeting with the Westminster MP, Stephen Kerr, on 15th September in Killin. The view at that meeting was that option three would not adequately meet the needs of the local community. Members concurred with this. MF responded that the Council is organising a number of further public meetings and ìdrop-inî sessions to discuss the problem. These will be widely advertised in all the local communities. 7) Community Engagement Session PH reported that he and DJ had attended a meeting with senior Council officers on 19th September in Killin. Killin and Strathfillan Community Councils were also represented. The aim had been to consider local challenges and priorities, and to see how they could be merged with existing Council priorities. Presentations were given on broadband, health care, and Breadalbane Park - an open, recreational area in Killin. The common theme was that such projects tended to take at least three to five years, and met considerable obstacles in the form of differing goals and priorities between the various agencies and organisations involved. Often there had been significant variations between what was said at regional or national level, and how local managers viewed the situation. Another major factor was the change of personnel in different organisations that led to more than one project having to start again from ìsquare oneî. These frustrations were recognised and, in some specific cases, immediate undertakings were given by Council officers to rectify matters - so far as possible. 8) Planning Matters Adrian Squires was unable to attend the meeting but had forwarded details of various, current, planning applications. None of them had been referred formally to the community council by the planning authority. 8a) Auchleskine Farm, Balquhidder. This involves modification of existing permission (2010/0291/DET) to erect a house and a shed for agricultural purposes. 8b) Land at Derry Farm Lochearnhead. This concerns erection of a telecoms mast with its associated equipment and a track for access. 8c) Stronvar Farm, Balquhidder. This relates to a listed building and concerns the installation of four small boxes to enable installation of fibre broadband (FTTP). 8d) Stronvar Gardens, Balquhidder. This involves the demolition of an existing holiday let, and the erection of a replacement dwelling. It was agreed that none of these applications was likely to raise any significant objections from the local communities, and no further action was needed. 9) Matters From Councillors MM welcomed ET to her first meeting with the community council. She then introduced herself briefly, stating that she had worked previously with a Housing Association, and saw her current rÙle as that of a facilitator - to chase things up when nothing is happening. In Stirling Council, she holds the portfolio for housing. 9a) ET had also had lots of enquiries about the C60 bus service. 9b) Another area in which she is keen to see progress being made is that of improvements to the broadband network. Clearly, there is a shortfall in funding, but she is keen to work with the community towards bridging this gap. 10) Any Other Competent Business 10a) Service to community in Lochearnhead. PH reported that a resident of Lochearnhead had suggested that the community council might consider marking a significant, forthcoming birthday celebration for one of the residents, in acknowledgement of many years of service to the community. This was discussed at some length and, whilst members agreed unanimously that such recognition was merited, there was some concern that the particular individual concerned would not welcome such an intervention. It was agreed that it might be more appropriate to find some alternative means of recognising this service, perhaps with some form of community award. Action: PH to discuss further with the sponsor. 10b) Anti-social behaviour in Lochearnhead. An anoymous letter had been received about a resident whose premises were being used as ìbed and breakfastî accommodation for overnight visitors. The writer complained of excessive noise at night, and of poor and inconsiderate parking of vehicles. It was agreed that further advice should be sought from Stirling Council regarding how best to resolve the matter. Action: PH to liaise with MF and Stirling Council. 10c) Grass trimming. KM had asked MM to mention some recent grass trimming that Council staff had undertaken on the C33 (Balquhidder Road). The concern was that the work had achieved little. MF explained that the Council is only allowed to cut within a certain distance from the road. Legally, the responsibility rests with the landowner. MM asked if the cutting could be done at a slightly different angle to remove the bracken. MF offered to liaise further with the Roads Department about this. 10d) Floral arrangements in Lochearnhead. MA asked about floral arrangements at the approaches to Lochearnhead on the main roads. WD mentioned a potential problem with road furniture which needed to conform to certain safety standards on roads designated as ìhighwaysî. PH said that various individuals had looked after these previously, but the arrangements had lapsed when some had moved away. It was suggested that MA should contact the Village Hall Committee for help as some attractive displays were used there, and their members could advise on how best to proceed. Action: MA to liaise with Village Hall Committee. There was no other business and, at 9 p.m., MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting is due to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 25th October 2017 at the White Stag in Strathyre.


Scottish Wildlife Trust White-tailed Sea Eagles

Red Squirrel

Autumn is officially here with the start of the Scottish Wildlife Trust 2017/18 talks in Callander. September’s topic was white-tailed sea eagles in the east of Scotland, by Owen Selly of RSPB. The white-tailed eagle is the largest UK raptor and consequently referenced in 280 place names while beaks and talons were included in Orkney burials. It has a brown body with a conspicuously pale head & neck and white tail feathers in adults. It has massive, up to 8ft long, broad wings with ‘fingered’ ends, often referred to as a ‘flying barn door’, markedly bigger than golden eagles – maybe why they are less shy? Females can weigh 7kg and males 5.5kg. The RSPB’s goal is to re-establish this magnificent raptor across Scotland, from where it was hunted to extinction by 1916. The reintroduction has been in 3 phases; 82 birds on Rum (197585), 58 in Wester Ross (1993-98) and 85 in Fife (2007-12). Breeding success has been slow and varied but by 2015 there were 106 pairs in Scotland and models predict potentially 800 pairs by 2040, depending mainly on available habitat and persecution. They are thought most likely to expand their range along the west coast of Scotland, the Great Glen and in central and eastern Scotland. The Trossachs provide an E-W corridor (already seen flying over Callander) and good habitat but limited food supplies. All chicks were brought in from Norway where there is a healthy population of 3500-4000 pairs and reared in specially constructed aviaries before being released into the wild. While coloured wing tags allow easy recognition, radio tags allow them to be found when sitting in cover but satellite trackers provide detailed information on dispersal and behaviour. The distinct populations around Scotland and Ireland are now starting to meet and mingle. Typically sea eagles mate for life but polygamy is not unknown. However, this often leads to failure of one or both nests as it is near impossible for a single male to provide enough food and to share incubation with two females. A single 18

chick can require 1kg of food every day to keep growing and the adults 500g to stay healthy. Being opportunist feeders, diet is varied, depending on their territory. Examination of pellets and nests have included greylags, fulmar (vulnerable to aerial attack from above), eider (held under water), corvids, gulls, rabbits, mountain hare, deer and even a dead seal pup. Fish constitute only around 10% in the UK. Threats include power lines, trains, golden eagles, disturbance and persecution although this appears to be reduced where they Pine Marten are recognised as visitor attractions. Lots more information on the RSPB site with the east coast blog at ourwork/b/eastscotlandeagles/default. aspx The public can also help by reporting any sightings of birds and/or nests on BTO’s Birdtrack volunteer-surveys/birdtrack/about or via who will pass it on. Recently a few grey squirrels have been seen in Coilhallan Wood and gardens on the Mollands estate, both usually ‘reds only’ areas. Hopefully, it is just a few youngsters lookingFoxfor new territories and they will decide not to stay in established pine marten territory. Could I urge you again to report all sightings of red and grey squirrels (dead and alive) on the Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels website or call SSRS volunteer Mike Hawkins - 01877 339080. In spite of the weather our fundraising stalls on Saturday 29 July successfully raised funds that will be donated to wildlife & educational projects. Our thanks go to those from SWT HQ and the SSRS project, to all of the individuals who helped before and on the day and to the local businesses that gave prizes and life-saving coffees! Lesley Hawkins

Do you need an affordable home? Rural Stirling Housing Association aims to support local communities by providing quality homes at affordable rents for families, couples and single people in housing need. We currently have over 550 rented houses and flats. Around 50 of these become available for rent each year. We hope to have new properties in Strathblane and Balmaha soon and currently have properties in the following communities

Aberfoyle Deanston Gartmore Lochearnhead Balfron Doune Killin Strathyre Buchlyvie Drymen Kinlochard Stronachlachar Callander Gargunnock Kippen Tyndrum

We may be able to build in other communities in the future – please let us know to if you want to live in a village that is not listed above. Information on local housing need and demand helps us plan for the future. If you are interested one of our properties become available please

in renting when they contact us:

Rural Stirling Housing Association Stirling Road, Doune FK16 6AA Telephone: 01786 841101 Email:

Registered as a Scottish Charity No. SC037849


In the past few weeks, across West Stirlingshire there has been a large rise in the number of thefts occurring. These are predominantly happening in isolated rural carparks, and vehicles are being broken into and contents stolen. There have been a number of vehicles targeted around Callander and the Trossachs, and overnight between the 16th and 17th September, the snack van at Glenogle was broken into, as was the chip van in the McLaren carpark in Killin. Also in the past few weeks, there have been a number of pedal cycles stolen, namely from Loch Earn Caravan Park in St Fillans, and also the Strathyre log cabins. The bikes have been stolen whilst attached to parked vehicles. Again, this is a trend that has been taking place over the last few months all across the central belt. I would ask everyone to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to Police immediately. Try to obtain details of vehicles and descriptions of those involved. A brief synopsis of cases of note since my last report are as follows: On the 15th July, a driver was found to be driving on the A85 in Lochearnhead without any insurance or driving licence. The vehicle was seized as a result and the driver is subject to a report to the Procurator Fiscal. On the 20th July, a collision took place on the A84 at Balquhidder Station, where a white van struck another vehicle, causing damage. The white van failed to stop and continued driving South towards Strathyre. The collision took place about 1315hrs and I would ask anyone who may have saw the collision to get in touch. On the 25th July, a disturbance took place at the Balquhidder Braes caravan park, and as a result two individuals have been charged and a report has been sent to the Procurator Fiscal. On the 20th August, a male was traced on Loch Earn having cut down a number of trees. He was found to have come well equipped with a chainsaw and several machetes. He is now subject to a report to the Procurator Fiscal for a number of offences. On the 9th September and RTC occurred on the A85 near to Derry Farm. Because of the collision, one of the drivers has been charged with Careless Driving and reported to the Procurator Fiscal. On the 15th September, two males were found on Loch Lubnaig in possession of controlled drugs. 20

Road Safety In recent weeks, I have been to several meetings, focusing on the issues of road safety in and around Lochearnhead. One of the meetings was hosted by Scottish Natural Heritage in relation to the number of deer being struck by vehicles on the A84 and A85 around the village. Work is ongoing to reduce the issue and there are a number of action points being implemented by various agencies. In order to obtain a fuller picture of how many deer are being struck, or near misses, I would ask that details are emailed to me to allow me to report to SNH and Transport Scotland. I was also at a meeting looking at the issues of speeding in Lochearnhead after several complaints were received. Again, work is ongoing to try to come up with a solution to the problem. Search and Rescue Training On the 6th September, I took part in an evening’s training with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Scottish Ambulance Service, Bristow’s Helicopters and Killin, Lomond and Ochil’s Mountain Rescue Teams. As the Mountain Rescue Coordinator for Forth Valley, I planned the night with

the aim of the evening being to improve the responses to Search and Rescue type incidents across the Forth Valley area. It was a very worthwhile evening where we looked at a theoretical scenario, and we discussed the various capabilities of the various organisations. Further training is already planned over the winter, and it will culminate early next year when a large practical scenario will be running in this area to test the responses of the various organisations involved. As always, I can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at william. Regards, PC Will Diamond

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

Gill Waugh Production Manager Stronvar Farm Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384203

David Johnston Production Gardeners Cottage Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384227

Other Contacts... Andrew Poulter Advertising Coire A Chroine Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384784

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

Please help us to get The Villagers to you as soon as possible! •


Lochearnhead Contact: Ali Ferguson 01567 830 405 St Fillans Contact: Isobel Howell 07876 031768 Strathyre Contact: Wullie Dalziel 01877 384 384 Mobile 07768 221661 Mail Order Distribution: Andrea Poulter 01877 384784

We e k l y A c t i v i t i e s Monday

Lunch Club - The Scout Station, Lochearnhead - 12.30pm - 2.30pm


Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 to11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am to 12.30pm St Fillans Music Circle - Sandison Hall - 12.45pm to 4.00pm. Light lunch included. Contact: David Anderson (01764 670829) / Bill Thow (01764 670836). Country Dancing - St Fillans

Wednesday Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am to 12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00 to 9.00pm Thursday

Darts League - The Inn & Bistro - 7.00pm Choir Occasional - Balquhidder Village Hall - 7.30 to 9pm (contact Gill 01877 384203)


Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon (Contact Mel Brydie 01877 384668)


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MacMillan Coffee Morning & Crafternoon Strathyre - See Page 2 Halloween Crafts Strathyre - See Page 3 Wine Safari Monachyle Mhor - See Page 11


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Fireworks Strathyre - see page 3 Whisky Tasting Strathyre - see page 3 Wine Dinner Monachyle Mhor - see page 11

Councillor Martin Earl

Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 mobile 07881 310 922 - Councillor Evelyn Tweed Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 - Councillor Jeremy McDonald Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 - MSP Bruce Crawford The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh EH99 1SP 01786 471899 - MP Stephen Kerr Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA 01786 461200 -

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

Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316

Sunday 11.30am Minister: Russel Moffat 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 1st Sunday each month: 11.30am Communion 2nd Sunday 5.30pm Evensong 3rd Sunday 11.30am Communion 4th Sunday 5.30pm Evensong 5th Sunday (if applicable) 5.30pm FOOD FOR THOUGHT

A reflective time to discuss contemporary issues in a spiritual context

(Check with Rector for venue: 01764 655389)

Vestry Secretary - Maureen Lipscomb Tel: 01567 830234



Cheques for advertising and mail order subscriptions should be made out to: The BLS Newspaper Association



Printed by Graphics and Print Services, University of Stirling Tel: 01786 467209 email: Published by The BLS Newspaper Association



Emma Birnie first Lady to finish

Johnny Lawson first Man to finish

The Fun Runners are off!

Ossian Arkotxa the Fun Run Winner

Over 65 Winners

Full story page 16

The Villagers October 2017  

Loch Earn 10k Swim by Vigour Events, History of St Fillans, St Angus and Balquhidder Church News, Review of the BLS Annual Horticultural Sh...

The Villagers October 2017  

Loch Earn 10k Swim by Vigour Events, History of St Fillans, St Angus and Balquhidder Church News, Review of the BLS Annual Horticultural Sh...