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The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

Strathyre Primary Welcomes New Recruits!

We all welcomed seven new P1 children at the start of term. They had a very busy first week settling into their new class and meeting all the children and staff in school. They even got some homework! Back row: Ossian Arkotxa, Grace Harley, Tyler Gibson, Keely Brydie and Jack Scrivenor. Front row: Anna Mchedliana and Tabitha Mackenzie

Editor’s Bit I hope you will agree that it is lovely to have a record of our youngest members setting off on the great “education journey” and obviously enjoying their first week of school at least! In some ways it does seem a pity that the school in Balquhidder is closed at a time when young families seem to be springing up all over the glen, not that anyone is suggesting that Charlie and Claire should offer to move out of the old school house to accommodate them. Next month we hope we might be able to have photos from St. Fillans P1s too. I am very grateful to all at Strathyre school for providing the photo, particularly as these days it is no longer just a case of being able to include a ”fun” photo taken by a Mum or Dad, which is why a simple idea becomes so complicated. We are always looking for new ideas for articles, whether as a one-off or on a regular basis, and, as I often receive notes on the subscription forms from our more scattered readers, I was hoping some of the readers could send stories, comments, histories or whatever of why they support The Villagers? Thanks for all the positive comments that you do send-just make them longer please. Finally an apology to Pauline for omitting her reminder about the Annual Horticultural Show, entirely my fault but I really hope it all went well and we can report on it next month. JJ



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

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

22.2 ºC 28.8 12.25 8.3

71.7 ºF 83.8 54.0 46.0

Rainfall 8.9cms 3.6ins Strongest wind gust 22mph on 21 July


! Felicidades!

Jason & Natalie Campbell from Killin, pictured here (with their daughter Keira), were married on 6th July 2013 with a backdrop of blue sea and blue skies - in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico. Jason is from Strathyre - the son of Eoin & Sheila Campbell, and Natalie is the daughter of Sheila Moffat and stepdad Jim Rutherford from Lochearnhead. Congratulations to you all!

Friday Night Dancing

If you have ever fancied learning the Rumba, trying to Tango or Waltzing the night away - or need to brush up your technique for social occasions... Or if you just enjoy dancing for a couple of hours, having a laugh and finishing off the night in the pub the Dancing Club is starting again on Friday 20th September in the Lochearnhead Hall. We already have some new members coming along so a ‘beginners’ class will start each week (much needed revision for some of us). If you have always wanted to have a try please come along too. Please contact Alistair and Mary Barclay 01567 830453 for more information.

Jewellery-making Workshop with Ardell Morton

Saturday October 12th, 10 – 4pm at Balquhidder Hall.

An opportunity to create your own piece and take home the finished article.  Bring your own lunch tea and coffee provided.  All materials provided. Cost £20 – max 10 places.  Contact Jean Hicks   01567 830359

A date for your diary:

Nov 16th

Christmas Workshop details next month.

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

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

The St Fillans Bit Regular readers will no doubt have noted that in recent months there has been no mention in this column of the extraordinary feats of our geriatric blind golfer Ian Moncrieff – and assumed that he has at last retired to the fireside. Not so. Two weeks ago, the above Moncrieff took himself unto the Forest Pines Country Club in Lincolnshire to compete in the British Open Blind Golf Championship alongside 50 other golfers from around the world. There he was joined by his guide, John Stanyon, who many will remember as a villager who travelled widely with Ian to tournaments and who now lives not far from Lincoln. Ian was the oldest competitor (no surprise there) and finished in a remarkable third place. Ian has previously achieved 2nd & 3rd place finishes in Scottish championships but this was a significant step up in level and, once again, shows how sheer determination can overcome physical disability (and age!). What next I wonder? More sedately, Dave and Lynda Pryde recently solved a problem of trying to keep visiting granddaughters entertained by hosting a Mad Hatters Tea Party in their garden. The girls made and delivered invitations whilst the adults organized the catering. Lynda’s photo shows the youngsters enjoying the sunshine and tea in a variety of hats. Then it was games time with musical chairs, musical bumps etc. To cool off afterwards there were ice lollies and a dip in the paddling pool. What a great idea. It was good to see the return of the 3-day St Fillans Festive Weekend in August. The weather was mainly kind and all three days were well supported. On the Friday evening, after a soft ball competition, there was the innovation of a revue in place of the usual band – and it was a great success. Written and performed by Harry, Blair, Brian, Johnston and Dave the various skits and songs lampooned the village and many of the villagers – I sat waiting in dread for my turn. The script was tasteful and the lampooning gentle enough not to upset the targets! Brian’s song, music based on The Teuchtar Whae Cam Frae Skye but with St Fillans orientated lyrics, was excellent and it is no wonder that he won the ‘Has St Fillans Got Talent’ competition a couple of years back. The show was Continued overleaf

Mad Hatters Tea Party!

The Festive Weekend ‘Revue’


(Continued from Page 3)

genuinely funny and, once again, illustrated just how much talent there is in a tiny village like ours. Saturday was the usual family BBQ with daft games - and on Sunday a superb buffet lunch prepared by Tullybannocher Café (who also supplied the Saturday BBQ ingredients) was accompanied by jazz from The Rhythm Kings and an auction of locally donated lots. It was The Races! a very relaxing way to spend Sunday. Daft games... Johnston reports that the event was a financial success and has funded the November Fireworks, the purchase of a ‘Village Generator’ and a further surplus which goes into The Community Trust – to be used, I’m told, to help fund a defibrillator for the village. I had thought that said defibrillator was already funded but seemingly the grant from the British Heart Foundation did not materialise so it is excellent that the village has been able to fund the machine. Last month I erroneously reported that the bridge over the ‘ravine’ on the old railway track was to be built in August. I’d misunderstood the info I’d received and the real facts are that the funding is in place for the bridge, a contractor selected and work to be completed by the end of the year. It’s worth a mention of the ongoing work being carried out very much a case of ‘you don’t know what by village volunteers to clear the existing you’ve got till it’s gone’ - so maybe if the overgrown sections of the railway – in buyer does resurrect the hotel as a hotel, particular this month the Tarken Toads he/she will find serious support from who have cleared about a quarter of a locals. mile of track above Fortrenn and The Further down the road, have you seen Four Seasons Lodges and Geoff H-C who the new sculptures planted in the loch by has been clearing on the east side of the the Four Seasons jetty? The sculptures are tunnel. I read Alistair Barclay’s plea last by Rob Mulholland from Aberfoyle and month for volunteers to help clear the it is quite amazing to see them reflect the Lochearnhead stretch of the track and changing colours during the day and at hope that he will get the input which St F night. I gather that Rob has similar figures has from villagers. in other locations in Scotland and they On the topic of voluntary input in create real interest from visitors. Have a keeping our village neat and tidy, Eric look at them while you enjoy the Chocolate has asked me to mention, not for the first Week in October or the ‘Tour de France’ – time, the ongoing problem of dog fouling. the first wine tasting dinner of the autumn Whilst grass cutting last week at the where French Head Chef Didier will create Field of Hope he encountered numerous a truly French menu accompanied by only piles of ‘waste’ including several on the French wines. Give them a ring for details footpath. As a two dog owner I know and reservations. that dogs are not particular where they Last week the Sandison Hall held an ‘poo’ and picking up said poo is not the open day when representatives of the most pleasant pastime, but I also know various clubs and societies who use the hall how annoying it is to find a nice fresh on a regular basis were on hand to outline pile outside your gate first thing in the their activities. The event was preceded morning. The problem is nowhere near by a Treasure Hunt organized by Richard as bad as it was a few years back but there and Joe (plus Richard the Younger) and are obviously still folk who don’t care - catering was by The Ladies Lunch Club in hopefully visitors, not villagers. the Festive Committee marquee. A well By the time you read this (if anyone attended day with, I’m told, encouraging does) the future of The Drummond interest in the Drama Group and in the should have been determined as a closing Carpet Bowls Group – the latter of which date for offers of 29th August has been seemed destined to close down next winter set. There is, I gather, good interest and due to dwindling numbers, but which now I have heard of several potential offers might well be reborn. It’s a fact that much ranging from re-opening the place as of the attraction for the bowlers was a light a hotel, time share, luxury apartments, hearted bit of competition followed by a and my favourite: ‘I’ve put an offer in but couple of pints in the pub - but pub we no no idea what I’ll do if I get it’ - brilliant. longer have. Another example of how a From recent discussions with villagers I welcoming village pub adds to the village know that the demise of the hotel is seen social life. as a major blow to the community and it’s You might know that over the past couple 4

The Rythym Kings

of weeks there have been two burglaries in the village. Both houses were secluded with no close neighbours so were easy targets when empty. I gather that the thieves were only after cash, jewellery or things which could be quickly turned into cash – although in one of the break-ins a decent bottle of aged malt was removed. Reminds me of the old tale – “take the wife, take the dog but gonnae no take mae whisky!” But the moral is that even in a quiet wee place like St F there is always the chance of visiting rogues invading our homes. Be warned. Finally this month, one of my renowned consumer tips: In Scotland there is an evergrowing chance of colliding with a deer, particularly as winter sets in and the beasts come down to the lochside to forage and sup. I hit one some years ago on a motorbike - not a nice experience and a very expensive one. Ever since I have fitted deer whistles to my cars and bikes, simple little devices which only cost about £6 and emit a high pitched sound inaudible to humans as you drive which makes the daft animals run away instead of their natural instinct to run in front of you. Since I know of one villager who hit two deer within 3 days with serious repair costs this might be a cheap bit of John Murray peace of mind.

Strathyre News

Ben Sheann - Boarded Up

After being closed down for well over a year by the previous owners, The Ben Sheann Hotel has now become the property of Santander bank through the conveyancing of solicitors Aberdein Considine. A team of joiners turned up to secure the building, making it look even worse than it looked as just a closed property. The boarding was put up quickly - but only after a considerable fight with many local residents, objecting to the negative impact the boarding would have on both local tourism and potential buyers. The Santander Bank and their acting solicitors could not see this issue and pushed the decision through. Good support was received from

Mr Bruce Crawford MSP, but alas, the bank quoted company policy and an insurance consideration which required them to secure their asset (Ben Sheann). Thankfully the uproar allowed only the ground floor boarding to be completed. After seeking permission, members of the village have painted the chipboard a shade of magnolia to slightly camouflage it and make it blend more with the building. Mr Crawford has also written on behalf of the Strathyre Community to stress the strong desire to put an exerted effort into promoting the hotel, in the hope that an early buyer may be found - at what could be a bargain price. Kenny Higgins

28th September 2013

Real Ale - Real Music

... and they’re off! As you’ll see from the ad above, the Stuc Committee will be hosting a Race Night/ Auction on Saturday 28th September at the Inn & Bistro, starting at 7.30pm for the first race at 8.00pm. Watch for posters and race board where you can sponsor a race and buy as many horses as you like. Looking forward to seeing you on the night - but come early as these are popular events! Wullie D 5


Golden Larches Alistair and Alida Buchan have been happily running The Golden Larches since October last year. Their original intention had been to buy a ski chalet but the credit crunch intervened and a foreign venture was no longer feasible. Undeterred, they started to travel round Scotland from John O’ Groats to the Borders trying to find their ideal property and finally found it in Balquhidder Station.

They realised that a business which had been running for 32 years with the previous owners would have a regular clientele - which they wanted to keep - so they were a little apprehensive about ‘Judgement Day’. However, they soon discovered that people were interested in the new owners and willing them to succeed. They have gradually added to the menu and introduced a double sided log burner to allow them to extend their out of season opening hours. They plan to continue to be open each week between Friday and Monday during the winter. They have also started to offer B&B, with one room at the moment and a family room planned as the next stage. Their first room has been very successful, offering comfortable accommodation with ensuite facilities and a ‘wow factor’ great view. They are delighted that they have just had their first returning guests. Weekends are proving to be the busiest part of the week. Sundays tend to Alistair and Alida be their busiest day with people out for the day, often from the Lothian area, wanting a traditional Sunday lunch or one of their superb chili or lasagne dishes. They also know they are a very popular ‘comfort break’ stop for travellers venturing up to the West Highlands. Alistair has also helped people who are lost or broken down - even helping to tie up an exhaust on a mobile home. All in a day’s work for the chef! They continue to co-operate fruitfully with other businesses in the area - very helpful to everyone in these difficult trading conditions; mutual support can be useful. They were open on New Year’s Day this year for the first time in the Larches history. They were so busy that they were too exhausted to go to the party in Balquhidder Hall which they had managed to get tickets for. They plan to open on 1st Jan 2014 with additional help, so they avoid making that mistake again! Meanwhile they hope to continue enjoying the fantastic views from their new home, especially when the larches do eventually turn golden.

St Mary’s Church – Aberfoyle


4th October at 7.30 pm Tickets £10 per head Michael Tumelty of the Herald writes ‘A crack young female flute quartet’. Flutes en route are Scotland’s foremost flute quartet. Winners of the RSAMD Governors Chamber Music Prize and members of Live Music Now !  

French flute classics plus familiar favourites

Pushing the boundaries of the flute quartet, Flutes en Route will present an exciting programme of music including ‘Fl(ut) ing’ by Scottish composer Rory Boyle. Alongside this  brilliant commission, be prepared to hear some familiar music in ways you never have before! 6

Walk in the woods for Callander’s kids

Callander Photo Club The Callander Photo Club is ready to begin its second year of activities. We have planned monthly meetings to learn about using our cameras and share the photos we are taking. We have also scheduled several outings and workshops to practice our skills. We invite all interested photographers to join us for our 2013 – 2014 meetings. All meetings will be held in the back room of the Waverley Hotel on Callander Main Street at 7:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month. 11 September Focus on Macro Photography led by members Simon Gormley and Susan O’Boyle followed by a short organizational meeting. Please bring 2 -3 printed photos taken during the summer months that you would like to share. Bring your camera, wide-angle and macro lenses, tripod and a torch. (We will be able to share as needed.) 9 October Focus on Landscape Photography Calendar planning 13 November Focus on Portrait Photography led by member Peter Bennet 11 December Focus on Photo Editing In addition, we will schedule two photo outings and a portrait workshop for the fall. We would also like to produce a Callander Photo Club calendar for 2014 using our own photographs. Weekend 26-27 Oct or 2-3 Nov Autumn Landscape 23 Nov Portrait Workshop (tentative) Weekend 7-8 Dec. Christmas photos in Edinburgh For more information, please contact Susan O’Boyle at 01877 339 323.

The Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs and the Callander Youth Project (CYP) are going an extra mile – or, to be precise, 13 miles in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. They are linking with The Kiltwalk to help reach the target of £1million for Scotland’s children’s charities and to support some local children’s projects. As part of a special Year of Natural Scotland Kiltwalk Weekend, six forest walks are planned in Scotland’s beautiful forests, supported by Forestry Commission Scotland and the Sunday Post. If you’d like to support the National Park’s young people and the efforts to raise funds for children’s projects locally and nationally, join the Friends and CYP team and take part in an enjoyable 13 mile stroll through the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park on Sunday 27th October. Half of the funds raised in the Trossachs will be used to support the Callander Youth Project, which delivers a range of practical services and projects for the benefit of young people in Callander and a wider area covering 400 square miles. The priority project identified for support is the creation of a ‘Grown with CYP indoor and outdoor wheelchair accessible garden’ with poly tunnels for use by a variety of local youth groups and organisations. The Grown with CYP initiative will be offered to local schools and organisations as an educational resource. If sufficient funds are raised, roofing repairs to the CYP Bridgend will also be supported as this would open up more areas that can’t currently be used for youth activities. The other half of the funds raised will be used to support the work of well-known national children’s charities including Yorkhill, CHAS and CLIC Sargent. For further details contact Sandra Dyson on 01436 677733 or email info@ or drop into the Callander Youth Project at Bridgend and pick up a leaflet. Or register online at and then send your name and registration number to Sandra at the above email address.


Alexander ‘Sandy’ Ferguson An end of an era. Alexander Ferguson was born in Comrie on the 7th of December 1922 and died on the 29th of July 2013 . Alexander Ferguson had three children Mary, Thomas and Alistair with his first wife Elizabeth. He also had a fourth child Kenneth with his second wife Marie. Sandy was grandfather to six grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and one great grandchild which is five generations so rarely heard of these days. In 1927 Sandy started Loch Earn primary school. On his first day Sandy was taken to school by the local Kennedy sisters and when the school bell rang and the children raced to line up Sandy bolted as he was startled by the other pupils he thought they were after him. After Sandy left school he went to work on the railways in Balquhidder as a fireman on the steam trains. During his steam train driving days he drove the 6 lochs train and, during the journey, Sandy used to slow down passing above Lochearnhead so that the passengers could see his old village. Sandy married his first wife aged 20 and moved to Grangemouth where he was transferred to work on the railway. Eventually Sandy settled in Cumbernauld with his wife Marie and youngest son Kenneth. Sandy always dreamed of returning to Lochearnhead and had arranged to be buried in Balquhidder where he was laid to rest after his passing on the 8th of August 2013. Sandy will be sadly missed by family and friends, gone but never forgotten. A special thanks to everyone who attended, the Reverend, the pianist and the piper. 7


Tony Ffinch 1938 – 2013

Many of you who will have known Tony Ffinch would have been very saddened to hear of his death in July. Formerly of Strathyre, he retired with his wife Christine to Callander where a memorial service was held in August. It was an opportunity for family and friends to remember his very full life and St Andrew’s was packed. Tony was born and grew up during the war in the Medway Towns - a target area for much aerial bombardment. He secured an apprenticeship in electronics after an amazing six months working on a Thames barge. He would have been given a rapid lesson in life during this time. He moved on to De Haviland, later Hawker Siddley where he was involved in the production and testing of nuclear deterrent missiles, a government commissioned project which took him to Australia with the team involved with experimental testing. When this work was complete he had a period with IBM before setting up his own company specialising in data wiring. This he continued to do until he met and married Christine and finally moved to Strathyre where they ran a very successful B & B for many years. Together they brought up his daughter Antonia and he was very proud in particular of her golfing achievements. He was intensely political and his interest in the South was brought to his life in Scotland and he represented his party as a District Councillor in Stirling Council for three terms as well as being a founder board member of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. His door was always open to anyone


Tony Ffinch

who wanted help and then his politics was put to one side when he would set about solving the many problems brought to him. He loved music, particularly jazz and played the double bass. He loved cooking, as experienced by their many guests. Using his engineering background, he was never afraid of tackling the most difficult house repair or alteration. He was gifted but sadly suffered poor health in his later years. He and Christine had a full and happy life together and as his health deteriorated, he made light of his problems and right up to his death was always up for a trip out or a meal. During the last year they managed to visit their extended families and had visits from his brother who had emigrated to Australia. Tony had made arrangements to have his body donated for medical research so the memorial service was all the more significant when his immediate and spread family with friends could celebrate the passing of a special man. We owe a debt of gratitude for the work he did on our behalf and we will all miss him. May he rest in peace.

Flying ‘Doctor’

On 2nd August Balquhidder and surrounding areas were visited by a team of cheery Australian helicopter pilots who had the dubious task of control-spraying hillside bracken. A long way to come for specialised work!

Gardening S E P T E M B E R by Jonathan MacDonald

A garden is vulnerable to innumerable vicissitudes. Monet must have daubed with great speed to capture Giverny before bud became leaf... became flower... became soggy brown tea bag! The relaxation and peace within these fine works indicate a serious study of his art. Gardening after all is the art of cultivation - and his art depicts art. He knew nature would not be summoned - nor kept waiting. And so when I am sitting quietly this winter staring into the fire I will have one great regret about my garden. It won’t be that I should have built that lily pond; neither will it be the barbeque I should have built for all that fine sunshine - and the decking area to go with it! What about the black spot on my roses... the dried out basket... the something that ate the blackcurrants. I should have pulled a few more weeds from the front garden... As a punishment I will watch every episode of Gardeners World and Beechgrove. No. My regret this year will be that I forgot how profound a garden is...the amazing beauty of nature, and how it continues to baffle us. I won’t be tortured like Monet, but next year I plan to try something different. My inspiration comes not from France but from a windswept pebble beach hut and garden sitting in the shadows of a nuclear power station in Dungeness. Derek Jarman’s garden has never failed to inspire and fascinate me. There are no purple haystacks and indigo skies here. It is a blend of nature, art and a unique grasp of time. Strict rules are kept and anything that doesn’t fit is removed. He was influenced by Christopher Lloyd at Great Dixter - and Gertrude Jekyll (both worthy of further research, if you haven’t heard of them!) Dixter is referred to as a ‘shaggy’ garden and Jarman tells us to ‘forget it if it isn’t shaggy’. If you look him up you will see his point. There is a great use of DIY sculpture, piles of sticks, old tools, cobbles in circles... and when the plants die down in winter, all these things come alive. Jarman was to die at Prospect Cottage at a young age and lived there in the final years of his illness carefully tending and developing the garden: My gilly flowers, roses, violets blue, Sweet garden of vanished pleasures, Please come back next year. Cold, cold, cold I die so silently. Goodnight boys, goodnight Johnny, Goodnight, goodnight.

I visited the garden many years after his death. It is still cared for by his friends and it is to be found exactly as he left it. It made me cry. So starting this winter I will try something not copied, but inspired by some of these great gardeners. For the first time I will attempt to produce honey from a beehive and I will sow something for the birds. Both species need our support. The bird plants will have colours and shapes and smells and every season will punch them out. I might dispense with the grass. That’s crazy Top and Centre: Derek Jarman’s beloved garden at Dungeness; really, having recently above, Monet’s ‘Pont Japonais’ in the garden at Giverny bought a new mower! My slow worm will no doubt be pleased as I have nearly chopped it in half twice with the Flymo as it wriggled furiously out of the way. Jarman visited Giverny shortly before his death and found it to be indeed ‘shaggy’ and a complete contrast from his own garden. ‘Giverny can be best described by a study of his paintings,’ he wrote. Could Monet have captured Jarman’s garden in the same way without an involved fascination - and years of torture within it? Monet confronted his piece of nature. Therefore I’ll build on my regret - and the final resolution will be to ‘paint’ my garden - and no doubt suffer even greater vicissitudes!

END OF SUMMER SALE Monday to Friday 9.30am - 4.00pm (Saturday & Sunday until 5) Tullybannocher, Comrie (A85) Contact: Jonathan MacDonald

Tel: 01764 670800


View from the Park by Owen McKee Yes - it is true that part and parcel of the plan for Loch Lubnaig includes a proposal that the A84 stretching along the lochside is declared a clearway. Callander, The Trossachs and BLS community councils have all been asked their views not only for Loch Lubnaig but for the each of the lochs in the area. Clearways are another part of the overall visitor management plan which hopefully will result in a more pleasurable experience for visitors and locals alike.

It has been much delayed but I am hopeful that by the time you read this that other part of the visitor management strategy, the developments at Loch Lubnaig will be operational. On 23rd August I attended the launch of another initiative which will add to the attractions of the area. The Great Trossachs Forest is a truly grand project covering an area from Kilmahog to Inversnaid  on Loch Lomond side.    The aim is to have a corridor of paths and cycle tracks through native woodlands  with information and interpretation centres at each end  The three major partners are The Woodland Trust,  RSPB and The Forestry Commission generously funded by BP and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Five years’ work has already gone into the project and it will be decades before the woodlands are established but isn’t it tremendous that generations to come  will be able to  enjoy the fruits of these labours. Meanwhile plans are ongoing to improve the employment prospects of the young people in the Park and at the same time help our businesses provide a better service to their customers. You may recall that through the Community Partnership an apprenticeship scheme was created for the construction trades in the Park. Because that proved  successful the Community Partnership is now embarking on a scheme covering apprenticeships in hospitality, food production and countryside skills. An application has been submitted to LEADER for funding for the administrative costs of the project and initial confirmation that support will be provided for the first year of the project has been received with a suggestion that 10

a further years funding has been ringfenced until further developments. LEADER is a source of European Funding for Rural Development controlled by Scottish Government and administered by Local Advisory Groups (LAGs). The National Park area is served by two LAGs. The Stirling Council area administered by Forth Valley LAG whilst the bulk of the rest by Argyll and Bute LAG. This has occasionally resulted in a little administrative difficulty when Parkwide projects such as the apprenticeship schemes are being considered. Problems can arise if one LAG runs out of funds as there is no facility in place to transfer funds between LAGs. Discussions are ongoing to resolve these difficulties. The current LEADER arrangements are due for renewal next year. To help focus minds in the discussion to improve the administration of LEADER funding within the Park s the Park Authority has informed the Scottish Government of its intention to form a National Park LAG. Owen McKee 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: SEPTEMBER • Sat 7th 8:30am CtoC(17) Falkland to Ceres (121/2 miles) contact 01877 330032 • Sat 14th 8:30am Hill: Ben Vorlich (Arrochar) (943m) contact 01877 361067 • Sat 21st 8:30am Ramble: Edinample to Kilmahog (10 miles) contact 01877 376200 • Wed 25th 9:30am Stroll: Lochard Forest (6 miles) contact 01877 382803 • Sat 28th 8:30am LDP: CtoC(18) Ceres to St Andrews (91/2 miles) contact 01877 330032 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!

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of Meeting held at Balquhidder Village Hall on 14 August 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). Apologies: Alastair Barclay, Susie Crammon, Roseanne McWilliams, Angus Cameron, Suzanne Player (S-C). In attendance: Cllr Alycia Hayes (AH), Stirling Council (S-C), PC Will Diamond (WD), Police Scotland, Owen McKee (OM), (National Park). 1) Approval of Minutes AH pointed out that Cllr Wood had been incorrectly named as ìFergus McKayî. PH apologised for this lapse of concentration and stated that the minutes would be duly amended to read: ìCllr Fergus Woodî. There were insufficient members present on this occasion who had been present at the previous meeting on 3rd July so the minutes could not be ratified formally. No other representations or amendments had been made or proposed, but it was decided that ratification of the minutes should be deferred until the next meeting. Action: Minutes of 3rd July to be ratified on 25th September. 2) Matters Arising 2.1) Declarations of Interest MM commented on the fact that declarations of interest were not being noted routinely at the start of each meeting. He recommended this as being a good practice and it was agreed that this should be implemented at all future meetings. Action: Regular agenda item to be included in future. 2.2) Litter Policies (Local and National) PH reported that David Hopper (S-C) had been invited to attend the meeting on 14th August. Owing to leave commitments, he had been unable to accept but has now been invited to come on 25th September. AH stated that she had recently been invited by David Hopper to visit the Lower Polmaise Recycling Centre at Fallin. She had been given an extremely interesting and impressive tour that had helped her to appreciate the value and importance of spending time and attention on domestic recycling. A similar invitation is extended to any community group in our area. AH emphasised that the centre is neither dirty nor smelly and this would make an excellent trip for any group. PH reminded members of an earlier circulation from the Scottish Government regarding the development of a national strategy on litter and fly-tipping. Each community council has been invited to make a submission. Following some discussion, it was agreed that PH should complete the relevant questionnaire on behalf of the CC, making particular reference to the need for a joined-up policy to be applied by all local authorities. AS commented on the opening hours of the recycling depot in Callander and how difficult it was for working people to find the time for a special journey there to dispose of larger items of household rubbish. He added that a similar facility in Crieff offers much more realistic hours. AH mentioned that she had corresponded with David Hopper about this, and the number of hours available is limited due to financial constraints. It current opening hours derive from local research carried out some years ago. A fresh questionnaire is due to be re-issued over this summer period, and this would be a good opportunity to ask for a re-think on the hours of opening. Action: PH to submit a contribution regarding the national litter strategy. 3) Police Report WD reported that there had been thirty-one offences committed in our area during the past six weeks. By far the most (28) comprised of road traffic offences but there had been two incidents of disorder (both detected) and a serious offence of criminal damage in Lochearnhead. Despite the large number of visitors to the area, offences of disorder had decreased in comparison to previous years, whilst road safety had improved markedly. Police patrols had been stepped up during the tourist season with particular emphasis on dealing with speeding and indiscriminate parking, and the message seemed to have got through. PH commented on the beneficial effect of temporary police signs that had been used along the A84 beside Loch Lubnaig and this led to some questions regarding the proposals for ìclearwayî legislation on such roads. WD explained that the regulations would include not only roadways as such, but also the banks and verges on each side. He did not expect any adverse impact from such legislation. MM raised a question regarding the several narrow stretches of road in the area that constituted a major hazard to large vehicles. WD agreed but pointed out that collisions were relatively few and far between. Local drivers tended to be well aware of the hazards, and visitors were naturally more cautious. He confirmed that the police do make representations about such dangers to the national highway authority, and could provide statistics regarding any particular locations that appeared to be especially dangerous. 4) Loch Earn Cycle Path AB had provided a written report regarding a meeting that was held on Wednesday 31st August in Lochearnhead. Some villagers there have expressed reservations ñ for a variety of reasons ñ about the proposed cycle track. Concerns include questions of security, privacy and precisely where the track will enter the village. It was agreed that a further, public meeting should be arranged for residents of the village to express their feelings, and this is likely to go ahead in mid-September, chaired by a senior member of the National Park Authority. Meanwhile, progress regarding the ìTarken Bridgeî proceeds. The group overseeing this has received a number of proposals and one has been selected which is within the agreed budgets. This will, hopefully, be installed later this year providing, in effect, direct access between the two villages, although parts of the route are still very overgrown and boggy. 5) Five Lochs Management AB similarly reported that the two parking areas beside Loch Lubnaig are now almost ready to be opened. Final equipment is currently being installed at the North site, whilst the South site has been completed. The delay is actually benefiting the maturing of the landscaped areas of both sites. It is anticipated that both sites will be opened before the end of August. Following some ridiculous ìvergeî parking during the July holiday period that coincided with the very good weather, the police arranged for signs to be placed during busy periods along the A84 beside Loch Lubnaig. This had an immediate benefit on this whole stretch of road and the police should be thanked for their efforts. This occurrence has also moved things forward with regard to applications for “clearway” status. AB has made contact with the CCs for Callander, Trossachs and St. Fillans and all agreed that we should combine our resources and move forward with one application. Moreover, the National Park Authority has offered to lead on this and has actually expanded the applications to include stretches of the A84, A85, South Loch Earn Road, the Balquhidder Glen Road and the Invertrossachs Road. Further discussion was then merged with consideration of the following item. 6) Correspondence 6.1) Proposal for Clearway Status. PH reported that a formal proposal had been received from the National Park to seek the introduction of clearway orders on stretches of the A84, A85, A821 and other local roads. Comments on behalf of the community had been requested. AS raised a concern regarding the necessity of a clearway for the entire length of the road along Balquhidder Glen. It was clarified that the ìclearwayî status would not cover the entire length of the road. ìSettlementsî are automatically excluded as they are covered by existing legislation for matters of parking and obstruction. This served to alleviate the concern raised. OM commented that residents on East Loch Lomond side have been very supportive of similar measures in their area, and he believed that local residents here would welcome these measures. 6.2) Queens Award for Voluntary Service. MM stated that he had received a letter from the Lord Lieutenant asking for nominations of groups that might qualify for the Queens Award for Voluntary Service, an annual award made to recognise and reward excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community. Members were asked to give this consideration and forward any suggestions to MM. 7) Planning Matters No notifications had been received. 8) Matters From Local Councillors 8.1) AH reported that she was about to hold a meeting with representatives from Transport Scotland at which she intended to raise questions regarding the provision of a footpath beside the A85 in Lochearnhead, the state of the carriageway at Kingshouse, and speed limits in various places around our area. This was noted with approval. 8.2) S-C has given an undertaking not to cut pay rates during the current financial pressures, but is having to look at cutting hours instead. This has lead to a dispute with members of Unite and formal attempts at reconciliation have, thus far, not been successful. Accordingly, the union is proposing to introduce a policy of “strict working to rule” that is likely to lead to timescales being extended on many jobs with consequent hardship for council tenants and many local residents. S-C has authorized the use of temporary, agency staff, but they will need preliminary training, and there may be an overlap between the time when the “work-to-rule” is imposed and the time when agency staff can effectively take over. 8.3) The news regarding provision of broadband services is far more encouraging. The ìStep Changeî programme looks set to cover up to 93% of local residents, affording them access to ìNext Generationî broadband with connection rates of at least 20Mb (download speed). Furthermore, new satellite systems are now available that offer comparable speeds. One company (Avonline) has demonstrated in our own area that it can provide up to 17.5Mb download speed for most residents. S-C may be willing to subsidise the initial cost of transferring to such a service, with a view to extending access to a reasonable connection for the remaining 7% of its residents who are likely to remain outwith the national provision. 8.4) A special council meeting of S-C has been called on 19th August to discuss a projected shortfall of £75K for the Hogmanay and 2014 celebrations (of the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn). The SNP will be supporting the view that additional investment in these projects now would be worthwhile in the long run, even if it leads to short-term cuts elsewhere. 9) Any Other Competent Business No notifications had been received. There was no other business and, at 8:50 p.m., MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting is due to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 25th September 2013 in Lochearnhead Village Hall.


Rangers’ Review By Gareth Kett

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

It has been a while since I last contributed to The Villagers. We have been busy with visitor management duties in that time and we have also been able to get some good practical work done with volunteers clearing scrub around the old mill in Killin and on the old railway between Lochearnhead and St. Fillans. We have also been continuing our water vole monitoring programme as part of the Trossachs Water Vole Project, which began back in 2006. Across Britain water voles have declined by around 95% since the 1970s due to degradation in habitat quality and connectivity and predation by American mink. They are a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species and a Scottish Biodiversity List priority species, a Wildlife and Countryside Act Schedule 5 species and a LLTNP Biodiversity Action Plan Work Programme species. Water voles have been extinct in the Loch Ard Forest since the monitoring present water vole populations, identifying 1980s. A habitat improvement programme, new colonies and encouraging the spread of the mink control and conservation orientated introduced population through expanding the mink approach by Forestry Commission Scotland control area. (FCS) since the early 1990s made Loch Ard Rangers and volunteers have also assisted FCS staff Forest an ideal site for Scotland’s first water with water vole trapping for condition analysis and with vole reintroduction project/trial using water the mink control programme since our involvement in voles derived from ~ 60 strong founder the project began in 2009. Individuals trapped were population removed from the Kilgarth in good condition, but needed to be marked by fur Junction construction site, near Glasgow, clipping as some quickly learned that traps are a good Top: fieldwork for the Trossachs in 2006 as part of a mitigation strategy for source of apples. Water Vole Project, and above: the subject himself! the species. Following breeding to fourth In Scotland the water vole breeding generation of the founder population by season runs between April and September Derek Gow Consultancy breeding centre with an average of four litters per year and farms. In addition in the not too distant in Devon, around 1,000 water voles were an average of three young per litter. Young past we hunted all predators to the point of released into suitable areas of the Loch Ard water voles need to reach 170g in weight local and national extinction in some cases Forest between 2008 and 2010. Monitoring before winter if they are to have a realistic so that when the mink arrived they had no of the introduced water vole population chance of surviving the winter. Mortality competition within their adopted niche. has been carried out by FCS staff and Loch after weaning and during winters is high, Fortunately a more enlightened approach Lomond and The Trossachs National Park with the average life expectancy of a water to native predators and active conservation volunteers led by NP Rangers and the vole being 5-6 months, so the success programmes have meant that now mink of populations within an area is largely are having a tougher time establishing Project Officer. populations. We carry out presence/absence surveys dependent on successful recruitment. in areas where there are recent records A healthy water vole population The Trossachs Water Vole Project is of water voles. Here we look for latrines contributes to a well balanced ecosystem. Scotland’s first water vole reintroduction (which are territorial markers established Water voles sit right at the bottom of the project, although there have been a number by breeding females, although breeding food chain with most carnivores, both birds of successful reintroductions in England. males will also use them), in-use burrows and mammals (and even pike), preying on We hope that we’ll be able to encourage the water vole population to move out from the and runways as positive evidence of the them. presence of breeding water voles in an The American mink has been implicated Loch Ard Forest and to spread into other area. In other areas we use the full survey as the chief villain in the piece as they swim areas both inside and outside the Loch method recording feeding signs, pathways well and females (in need of food for their Lomond & the Trossachs National Park. in vegetation, runways, tunnels and young) are effective predators and fit into The project continues and is supported by burrows in addition to latrines footprints water vole burrows. Native predators such The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and sightings in order to build up a more as stoats and polecats also fit down burrows and Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National complete picture of water vole presence in but are less inclined to swim, preferring Park and is led by Forestry Commission the area. Recent surveys have found water terrestrial prey while otters swim well but Scotland. voles to be established in around 80% of the cannot fit down water vole burrows. Otters Over the remainder of this summer and assist water voles in that they compete with next summer National Park rangers and sites surveyed. In 2011 the title of the project changed mink and so keep the mink population volunteers will be surveying Glen Dochart from the Trossachs Water Vole Trial fluid and so less detrimental to water for remnant populations. We are aware of Introduction to the Trossachs Water Vole voles. We are the main culprits however. populations in Glen Lochay, Glen Lyon Project as research has shown that the new Habitat destruction through land drainage, and at Loch Essan above Crianlarich. water vole population is now established, pollution and intensive forestry and Wouldn’t it be great in years to come if expanding and sustainable. This means agricultural practices left diminished water these populations could all be connected that since 2011 the project has been able voles populations with limited refuge once and water voles were once again widespread to move into its second phase focusing on mink were released/escaped from mink across our countryside? 12

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

5 minutes with...

Juan Arkotxa

Last month Marianne sent me in the direction of the Arkotxas at Tuarach. Today I met Juan Arkotxa, a softly spoken Basque farmer, artist and musician who met his wife Leslie at Edinburgh University in 1967, where they were both members of the ski racing team. Tell me about Scott! He works well and with his bronze ruff he looks like a fox. He is the first dog that I have not bred myself since I started farming sheep. Somehow I lost the line that I have had since the first bitch that I got from Jimmy Veitch, but it doesn’t matter too much - I’m not that young any more, and don’t do as much work with the dogs. How many working dogs have you had? I always used to have at least 5 dogs - all bred here - but now I have two collies, which is enough! When did you start farming? When we came back from our last long journey through China and Himalayas in 1984 we decided to bring the sheep back to Tuarach. It must be some atavistic trend that runs in the Basque blood - and given the steepness of the hills there was no other farming option. Having to share the hill with a commercial forest is not easy, though - but at least I have the advantage that I also manage the forest. What do you like about farming? What I have always liked about farming is that it gave me a purpose for working on

Juan with Scott and granddaughter Esti

the hills and integrating more with the glen. Most of the people were farmers when I started. I also liked that when you sold the sheep at the mart they gave you cash on the spot. How long have you lived in Balquhidder for? We first came to Balquhidder in 1972 to have a look at Tuarach and since there was no road on this side of the glen we walked along the shore from the road end at Muirlaggan. Tuarach had been abandoned for more than 30 years. It felt very remote and I never thought that we were going to live here. But in August 1979 we decided that our two sons should come to school in Scotland and that makes it 34 years right today as my grandson, Ossian, has just started at Strathyre Primary this morning!

So I have lived here longer than anywhere else. It makes me smile when some folk still ask me if I am enjoying my holidays here! Which are your favourite times of the year? The solstices, I think, for being so extreme. The very dark one in December when the moon rises from the east end of Loch Voil and also the very bright one in June. This year we started gathering in July at 3am and the views from the tops were unique - even when I thought that I had seen it all. What do you like about living here? The amount of space without being remote from so-called civilization. You have a lot of artwork in your house – can you tell me about it? My wife Leslie and I did a few illustrated books with a mixture of watercolours and etchings/aquatints. I tried to paint here in 1980 but did not have electricity (we got it 1986) so it was very difficult. Then, 5 years ago, since I had been watching them for years, I started painting the views of the glen from here. You have a lot of musical instruments too… I have always played music so it continued here and in act of Scottish enthusiasm I even learnt to play a bit of fiddle with both Angus Grants, senior and junior, from Lochaber. Has the village changed much over the past 34 years? Yes, both in the number of houses and also the type of people. You could say that is has moved from mainly farmers to mainly IT, and tourism. To give you an idea, at that time, the Rob Roy pub was a box without windows, like if we were in Westray in Orkney. Top of the hill at 3am



Community Council Elections in your area COMMUNITY Council elections are coming soon with more than 400 seats up for grabs in 43 community councils across the Stirling Council area. “We cherish our community councils and recognise their expertise. A healthy local democracy needs robust, active community councils who are not afraid to speak up for their neighbourhoods. The more effective they are, the greater the difference they make to community life,” said Chair of the Community Planning & Regeneration Committee, Corrie McChord. Anyone over the age of 16 can be nominated for the community council elections so long as they’re living in the area for which they’re standing and on the current Electoral Register. Alternative proof of residency is required for those under the age of 17 and not able to be on the Register. Election nomination forms need to be submitted to Stirling Council’s Returning Officer by 4.00pm on Friday, 25 October 2013.. Where more nominations are received than there are places on any community council, ballots will be by postal vote. Ballot papers will be issued from Monday 4 November 2013 and must be returned to the Council by Friday 22 November after which results will be announced. Nomination forms will be available from the Returning Officer, Stirling Council, Room 53, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET, phone 01786 233099.

BRACKLINN SURGERY Our CREATE (protected learning) training sessions have been cut back for the foreseeable future due to the lack of NHS24 cover. The practice feels that these training sessions are of benefit to both patients and staff. We have therefore decided to close in the afternoons of the Bank Holidays for in-house training when NHS24 will provide cover. The practice will be open as usual in the mornings. We hope this decision does not cause too much inconvenience to our patients. Please note the practice will be closed after 12.30pm on Monday 14th October for training. The practice will be open as usual in the morning.


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 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. On that afternoon, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments.

Bracklinn AND Leny Practice OPEN DAY for flu vaccinations is on Friday 11th October. Flu vaccines will be available from 9.00am – 5.30pm. Please note that we will be operating emergency appointments only on that day and Leny Practice will provide a limited afternoon clinic. Repeat prescription requests will not be processed. The flu vaccine is available to everyone over 65 years or under 65 if you have one of the following conditions: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Asthma, Chronic Heart Disease, Hypertension with Cardiac complications, Renal Disease, Liver Disease, Stroke Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetic, A stent inserted, No spleen, Receiving Chemotherapy or Steroids or if you are a Carer. Immunosuppressed patients and children under the age of 5 years with health problems. If you are unsure whether you are entitled to the vaccination, or cannot attend the surgery on 11th October, please contact us on the following numbers: Bracklinn Practice 01877 331001 Leny Practice 01877 331000 CHARITY FUNDRAISING We will be showing our support and fundraising on our Open day for Jeans for Genes Day (children with genetic disorders) & Pink Friday (Breast Cancer Care)

Become a Community Councillor! All Community Councils in Stirling are holding elections in October 2013 including Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre. As a councillor you can become a voice for your community and affect real change. Community Councillors are the most local part of our democratic system. By standing for BLS Community Council you could make a real difference in your community helping to represent local views and opinions. The Community Council meets once every 6 weeks. To be eligible you need to be on the electoral register for this area. Nomination papers will be available nearer the time but if you would like to find out more about the role of a Community Councillor in the meantime please either contact: Paul Hicks Secretary BLS Community Council (01567 830359) or Suzanne Player Stirling Council Rural Development Worker (01567 820154)


From our Beijing Correspondent... (continuation from August Newsletter!) Our son Richard accompanied us on trips to both North Korea and Mongolia. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has changed a little from 2 years ago, allowing slightly more general access. Rehearsals for this year’s Mass Games were in full swing, so we saw thousands of hot, tired youngsters having to march, dance and sing their way through routines, day in, day out...from three months prior to the Games, there is no school for participants - only practice! Exhausting. All Pyongyang’s citizens also had a mandatory daily undertaking... planting grass. Yup, I mean it. Planting grass, root by root! Even school kids on their way home had to do some! Looks lovely! Mongolia was a week-long attaché outing, hosted by the Mongolian Army. We drove some 700 miles along pitted roads in a coach (with a dipstick of a driver, who got us stuck twice), from Ger to Ger and through stunning scenery of rolling hillsides, dotted with millions of grazing animals. Our slogan for Mongolia: “Enough Grass for Everyone!” Fortunately we had plenty of stops en-route, to walk, eat, ride horses and climb down into a volcano (in Duncan’s case). Now you may not think of the phrase tropical island with regard to China. A small island just off the south coast boasts road, the Chinese choose to dock their just that! It is a little paradise of swaying submarines! palm trees, aromatic plants, golden sandy Our daughter Amber arrived in China beaches and... litter! Sorry. I did say just before Richard departed (for a we were still in China! We stayed at a charity trip to Peru), and we took the two seemingly beautiful hotel (always hidden of them off to the east coast of Malaysia. extras here…not necessary pleasant We are now all PADI open-water diving ones!) in the Russian holiday resort at certificate holders... Sanya, and from our balcony, gazed down And lastly... we are not returning to the into a terrace of pools. As it was hot UK, or even Europe, but we have to leave (normal!), we headed straight down for a Asia. Anyone want to go on Safari? cooling dip. That is virtually all we got! We were incredibly lucky to get a Stepping down into the water, we walked further attache position, in Nairobi. from pool to pool, waiting for it to rise Duncan will be responsible for Kenya, above our waist. Oh no! The Chinese Tanzania... and... the Seychelles. And we don’t swim……so none of the tempting even get to acquire some animals with the pools offered more than a knee-banging house. dip! The nearby sandy coastline offered a Gosh, life is just going to be soooooooo minefield of garbage. And just down the hard!

From top left: Tania and four-legged friend; Duncan and Tania doing the ‘Shall We Stay Or Shall We Go’; Richard, Amber and Duncan go all submarinal, open diving; Richard, the human perch; Planting grass; Some of the local pond life!


McLaren High School

McLaren High School Top Team 2013/14 After a long day of scrutinising and deliberating, we are pleased to announce the following positions for this session: d Head Girl Samantha Boyle Deputy Head Girls Nicola Allan and Charlotte Kindig d Head Boy Daniel Speirs Deputy Head Boys Duncan Lloyd and Finn Rhys d  Bracklinn House Captain Stephanie Boyd Vice captains Will Cartwright and Jack Brisbane

Top Team: LtoR Charlotte Kindig, Nicola Allan, Duncan Lloyd and Finn Rhys, and front Samantha Boyle and Daniel Speirs

d Dochart House Captain Ollie Wesley Vice captains Kate Preston and Hamish Innes d  Leny House Captain Hamish Cordner Vice captains Gillian Harvey and Alistair Orr

visit our website:

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

Rural Stirling Housing Association may be able to help

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


House Reps: LtoR Will Cartwright, Jack Brisbane, Hamish Innes, Alistair Orr, Gillian Harvey, Kate Preston. Front - Hamish Cordner, Stephanie Boyd, Ollie Wesley

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


Village Fête

The final event of the village season went well despite the rather inclement weather. As always, big thanks go to all those who supported the fête in any way: the cheerful and willing stallholders, the working team, and anyone who came along on the day to support us. Also thanks to the Callander Pipe Band and the Liz Campbell School of Dancers, who add to the occasion with their music and dancing. The difficult task of choosing the winners of the fun dog classes this year was ably carried out by Marianne Hendry. This event always provides a few laughs. It was great to welcome a new stallholder this year, who just volunteered - and like the other workers on the day appeared totally organised and ready to ‘muck in’. Once again, we thank all the helpers and fête-goers who give their time and energies to create a bit of fun at the end of Summer, with the added bonus of raising monies towards a valuable asset to the village - our hall. Any volunteers with new ideas are more than welcome; don’t be shy - you just need to show your willingness to get on and carry out your ideas. Please get in touch with either Liz (01567 830458) or Ollie (01567 830268). The fete raised a healthy total of £757.36, which goes towards upgrading equipment for, and running costs and maintenance of our village hall.

Fête food, and below, prize for Billy and ‘Maisie’

Anyone for Pilates? I’m a newly qualified teacher looking to set up regular local classes across the 4 villages in the Autumn. I’m keen to establish interest before deciding on venues, times and dates so if you are interested in attending a weekly class please contact me so that we can discuss further and I can send you more information. Class sizes will be limited to 8.

07766 407 578


Fun Day Saturday 7th September 1-4pm

Forestry Commission Ground (Village Hall if wet)

Singing is Good for You!

Choir Occasional starts up again Thursday 3rd October 7.30 - 9pm Balquhidder Hall Why not come along? Everyone welcome! Call Gill Allan 384203 for more details

Please come and join in the fun! Lots to do for all the family Dog show • BarBQ • Children’s Games Stalls • Tug-o –War Ceilidh in the evening from 7pm in the Village Hall with Disco and live music from our own Balvaig group. BYOB


National Park launches new Built Heritage Repair Grant

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park has launched a pilot scheme to help repair and restore traditional buildings across the National Park. The Built Heritage Repair Grant focuses on buildings pre-dating 1914 and located along main routes through the National

Park and its towns and villages.

Speaking about the Scheme, Gordon Watson, Director of Operations for the National Park Built said:   “We had a fantastic response to previous repair grants offered in Callander and Killin through CARS (Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme) which the National Park jointly funded with Historic Scotland.  Following on from this, we are delighted to launch our own pilot grant scheme. We have an amazing array of buildings across Loch Lomond & The Trossachs that add to the overall character of this National Park. The Built Heritage Repair Grant aims to help maintain traditional and iconic

properties along main routes through the National Park and its towns and villages. If you have a property and are looking to carry out repairs, get in touch to see if we can help.” Funds will be limited for the pilot scheme with grants available for up to 50% of eligible works to a maximum amount of £5,000.

Who can apply?

The eligible buildings will date from before 1914 and typically be built in stone or timber with slate or corrugated iron roofs. (Fine examples of buildings from a later period however, may be considered in exceptional circumstances.) 

What will the grant pay for?

Eligible works will be confined to the exterior of the building and include:- Repairs to traditional windows and doors and - Re-roofing in traditional materials - Repair/renewal of lead work/guttering

- Chimney repairs - Repairs to stone work and render - Repointing in lime - Boundaries, walls, railings, gates, gate piers - Signage (Commercial) - Shop front restoration/improvements - Decoration if associated with other grant eligible works To see if you are eligible for a grant, visit for more details or contact Susan McGowan or Kirsty Callaghan 01389 722600 or email Deadline for applications is 30 September 2013.  The project must be completed by 31 March 2014. Ruth Crosbie PR and Media Manager

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Direct: 01389 722016 Mobile: 07834 334108

Nominate your unsung National Park heroes

National Parks across the UK are asking people to nominate volunteers who help protect, maintain and enhance the environment and heritage of their local area. The volunteers being recognised can range from schoolchildren to those who have offered decades of service, from the individual who helps mend fences to the organisation helping to reintroduce a native species. The winners will be announced at the annual UK National Parks Volunteer Awards. The awards will be divided into four categories: Individual, Young person, Group, and Project. Winners of the group and project categories will receive a £1,000 bursary to help facilitate future volunteering activity. The winning individual and young person will each receive his or her choice of footwear from outdoor specialist and UK National Parks Brand Partner, Merrell.   Volunteers from communities across Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park are also to be honoured at the National Park Community Partnership’s annual Gathering event. Speaking about the awards, Celia Burn, Chair of the Community Partnership said:   “This year, we want to encourage our members to nominate for both the UK awards and the Community Partnership Volunteer Awards which recognise the amazing work being carried out at a grassroots level in communities across Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.   “All member nominations for the UK awards 18

Volunteers at the National Park

will automatically be considered for the Community Partnership Volunteer Awards presented at our annual Gathering event this November.” Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse recognised the important role that volunteers play when he met a group at the Royal Highland Show this year.   “Scotland’s stunning scenery is famous all over the world and our National Parks are home to excellent natural landscapes and wildlife. In this Year of Natural Scotland, we want to encourage visitors from home and abroad to see for themselves what we have to offer.  Our National Park volunteers play a vital role, and it is truly inspiring to see people give up their free time, making a real difference to the environment around them. It’s only fitting that the invaluable hard work and dedication of our National park volunteers is recognised and rewarded.”   Volunteer Development Manager Zoe MacGregor said:

“We have over 150 dedicated volunteers here at the National Park who give up their free time to help look after this outstanding part of Scotland. They are involved in a range of projects from helping to maintain paths, fences and trails to conservation tasks such as bat and moth counts. The awards ceremony is fantastic. I would encourage you to nominate the people that you feel should be rewarded for all their hard work, dedication and commitment.” If you know someone or a group who really makes a difference to your local community, visit volunteerawards-2013  Nominations will be accepted until midnight 7 September 2013. Nominations can be made by anyone of behalf of anyone working in the National Park boundary. National Park Community Partnership members are asked to send nominations to Marie Harvey at

Pin-Feathers*by Old Nyati

*Once in demand by Victorian miniaturists, the tiny pin-feather comes from the leading edge of a woodcock’s wing and only two such feathers occur on each bird (one on each wing).

Somebody recently called Old Nyati ‘a dinosaur’, in the nicest sense of the word; extinct...? well not quite yet. It was concerning last month’s Pin Feathers when we were talking about past times. Certainly some of the goings on then would have qualified now for an ASBO or worse - but then there were other ways of reprimanding the bad lads. Anyway, here goes, with more about the good old days...   Most people have been through airports at some time or other - and hasn’t it become a tedious business, especially if it is a long haul flight and connections are missed? Then there is the fear of whether your bags are going to be there at the end. Perhaps this is not quite so bad if it is a return flight and you are heading home. Short haul journeys with such airlines as Ryanair are quite interesting - at least, on the first occasion. The main priorities seem to be to sell you a scratch card, or expensive bottles of water, that is, if you survive the stampede to get on board after the long hours spent queuing at passport control. But wait a minute - what about these photos? Old fashioned airplanes, dinosaurs even! Certainly extinct.  In fact these four aircraft and crew were the original planes for British Midland Airways. In the early fifties it was originally called Derby Aviation. It was founded by an ex-RAF wartime wing commander with whom I did a bit of game shooting. The ‘Wingco’ was usually helped along with a large hip flask (which he called called ‘aiming water’). He somehow got hold of that Miles (later Handley Page) Marathon (left, bottom picture) and the Douglas DC3 Dakotas Top: Pioneer aviator, and above, DC3s at Burnaston Airfield, with the Miles Marathon on the left. and recruited more ex-RAF pilots - and that was the beginning of Derby Aviation. adjust a number of sand bags in the nose there still have been  traces of invasion The base was at Burnaston Airfield in order to get the centre of gravity of stripe markings under the new paint? near Derby. It had been an ex-RAF the plane in the correct place - quite an On our return back at the airfield we operational training unit and before that important thing. Once airborne, the great carried our bags from the aircraft to the it was a place for private flying and testing adventure began. Old Nyati can vividly Nissan hut escorted by the pilot who, of early pioneer types (perhaps even like remember flying to Jersey on that four with a handshake and thanks, introduced the intrepid aviator in the other photo). engine Marathon with about fourteen us to the customs officer, who explained It was a large grass field with a hanger, other passengers. On taxiing out to the about purchase tax and asked if we had shown behind the four aircraft, and a edge of the grass field everyone was given anything to declare. Nobody said they Nissan hut for tickets and custom checks. a boiled sweet - usually a barley sugar - had so we were all thanked again and At that time flying for the general to suck slowly in order to help prevent bade goodbye. public was a great adventure and with ear popping and temporary deafness. It Being at Vancouver airport on 9/11 destinations like Paris, Spain, Jersey and worked, too, although flying altitude was made one think wistfully of those times, Ireland as a weekly service it opened up no more than 5,000ft. But the view was even more so when being hassled through great opportunities for both business and fantastic at that height: towns and other Heathrow. Then there are the irritations holidays. land marks, crossing the coast and over of being crammed  in your seat and that You carried your own bags on board the sea.  On the way each passenger was rude and thoughtless person in front who without any security check. (Who had invited to sit for a while in the cockpit slams the seat back in your face for the heard of terrorists and hi  jackers then?) with the pilot, who, map on knee, would whole journey, even when you are trying The dinosaur was still living and evolution explain his route and point out things to eat the plastic food. had not produced the terrorist. There was of interest down below. I can clearly Maybe the dinosaur had a better time a rudimentary check on return just to remember seeing  Salisbury Cathedral, in those early days. Perhaps we should make sure you had nothing that would be crossing the Isle of White and seeing the spare a thought for evolution and the subject to purchase tax in the UK. It was Needles. pioneers: “Life is a great adventure - or not much - and has long since replaced by The return would be on one of the nothing!” VAT. DC3s. It would have been in service with Oh! and remember, every landing is in   The pilots had to do a quick guess as RAF transport command and would fact a controlled CRASH !   Well, it is, isn’t to how much baggage was loaded and surely seen service over Europe. Might it? Old Nyati 19

Celebrating heritage along Scotland’s waterways Historic Scotland and Scottish Canals are to embark on a new project to evaluate the buildings along Scotland’s canals – eighty buildings will be assessed to see if they meet the criteria for listing. Scotland’s network of canals stretch 137 miles from coast to coast and attract millions of visitors each year. The project, which has just begun, will also review around 40 listed buildings in Scottish Canals’ ownership along the Forth and Clyde and Union canals in the Lowlands, the Crinan Canal in Argyll and the Caledonian Canal in the Highlands.   The review of the listed buildings associated with the canals will also help to shape the implementation of Scottish Canals’ heritage strategy, which lays out the organisation’s 25-year vision to preserve the cultural and natural assets of the waterways through positive heritage management.   Elizabeth McCrone, Head of Listing and Designed Landscapes at Historic Scotland said: “We are excited to announce this project with Scottish Canals.  Scotland’s canal heritage spans the centuries and an enormous variety of building types from industrial to domestic such as Bona Lighthouse at Loch Ness, based on designs by the renowned engineer, Thomas Telford; Applecross Street Workshops, the oldest surviving canal related building in Scotland and the Union Inn on the Union Canal in Falkirk.  These are just a few of the 40 listed buildings owned by Scottish Canals along our waterways.   “At the end of the project we will have an in-depth understanding of the relative importance of Scottish Canals’ estate and the best of these canal buildings will be recognised through listing.  We hope to celebrate the results of our findings in a joint publication.” Dr Sabina Strachan, Heritage Team Leader for Scottish Canals, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Historic Scotland on such an exciting project, as the vast majority of canal-side properties are a vital part of Scotland’s rich cultural heritage and contributes to the unique character of the nation’s waterways.   “This project will enable the partners to better understand the importance of the canal buildings in our care. This project will complement baseline condition surveys and together form a strong basis as we implement our Heritage Strategy.”   The results of the project will be announced next year. 20

Ardrishaig on the Crinan Canal

Stirling Castle to mark Flodden Anniversary

Innovative Park Project Brings Local Opportunities for Young People Tackling the issue of youth employment in rural areas is at the heart of an exciting new project being developed by Loch Lomond & The Trossachs Community Partnership. Tourism and hospitality, land-based industries and local food production will be the prime focus for a new Skills Partnership in the Park. The aim of the scheme will be to retain young people within the National Park and support local businesses to invest in local talent. Kate Sankey, Community Partnership Director said: “The National Park has an ageing population. Our existing Apprentice Support Project in the construction sector was the Community Partnership’s first step in trying to tackle that trend, providing support to eighteen small businesses and twenty apprentices over the last 4 years. “The Skills Partnership will build from this innovative pilot and direct support towards the three key economic sectors within the Park. It aims to provide opportunities, at a local level, for young people and businesses that would otherwise not be there. Helping them overcome some of the barriers to accessing skills development and training opportunities in rural areas. “We are encouraged to see the Scottish Government launch of ‘Make Young People Your Business Week’ and welcome Minister for Youth Employment, Angela Constance’s awareness raising activity with Scottish businesses. “Working together to identify local solutions – both for businesses and for young people is crucial. The Skills Partnership will be working with a range of partners, including key training providers, the National Park Authority and local businesses to tackle any barriers to rural skills development and training opportunities. Ultimately, we want to give young people a reason to stay.”

Stirling Castle will provide the focal point for a series of activities next month to mark the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden. The battle took place on 9 September 1513, when James IV led a Scottish army into Northumberland, where they were met by an English force. The Scots suffered a heavy defeat, and James became the last king in European history to die in battle.   He was succeeded by his one-year-old son, who was crowned James V at Stirling and became one of Scotland’s most celebrated monarchs.   Both of these events will be remembered at the castle throughout September culminating in a signature event, After Flodden - Commemoration and Coronation, on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September.    The weekend will chart the events leading up to the Battle of Flodden and its immediate aftermath. It will also explore the coronation of James V.   The programme will include a series of interpretative performances by costumed interpreters, bringing to life the events of 1513. Audiences can witness James IV’s wife Margaret Tudor receiving word of her husband’s death, discussing her son, the new king, and reflecting on her ambitious brother Henry VIII. There will also be an interpretation of the coronation of the infant King James V.   On the 22nd September, the Scottish Chamber Choir will be performing a unique concert in the Castle’s Great Hall – a building commissioned by James IV. The choir will perform music by the 16th-century Scottish composers David Peebles, Andro Kemp and Robert Johnson, alongside the work of Scotland’s most prominent living composer, James MacMillan.   Meanwhile, artist Iona Leishman will be unveiling an exhibition on the 8th September entitled Catastrophe to Crown which will feature artwork inspired by the battle and its aftermath, which will help tell the story to visitors. The exhibition will run until the 30th September.

Stirling Castle’sArtist in Residence, Iona Leishman

The Flodden Memorial

From the 9th to the 22nd September (Mon-Fri only) there will also be special tours for visitors which will focus on the contribution of James IV, who commissioned much of the castle that can still be seen to this day, and his wider legacy.   Dr Lorna Ewan, Head of Visitor Experience, Content and Learning at Historic Scotland, who run Stirling Castle said: “Flodden was a key event in Scotland’s history, and Stirling played an important role in its story. It was home to King James IV; it was the place where his noblemen re-grouped in defeat and where an infant prince was crowned king.

James IV

“James IV was a king who established his credentials as a European monarch, firmly embracing the art and learning of the Renaissance court. He did this partly by commissioning magnificent buildings – including the Great Hall which can still be seen at the castle to this day.   “The unexpected loss of the king at Flodden had a wide-reaching impact on Scotland. Throughout much of September we will be sharing this story with visitors.”   For more information visit www. 21

Scottish Wildlife Trust Diary September 2013

Scottish Wildlife Trust

We are very pleased to welcome Megan Webster as the new SWT Project Officer for ‘Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels’ in the Argyll & Trossachs area. She reports: When compared with 2011 squirrel surveys, the Spring 2013 results show a significant decrease in grey squirrel occurrence and a small increase in red squirrels. We have had many reports of red squirrels seen in areas of the Trossachs for the first time in many years. Callander Crags is currently the northernmost range of grey squirrels and, although we have seen an increase of red squirrels, we urgently need to prevent any establishment of greys in the Callander area that would threaten these positive developments. Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels programme needs strong community support to continue. Contact Megan at if you are willing to help and, if you get greys in your garden, find out about our trap loan programme. As always, everyone can help by logging your sightings of both red and grey squirrels on: squirrelsightings/. Megan Webster Over the summer several work parties have removed Himalayan Balsam in Callander. The lower woods were cleared over the last two summers and now appear to be HBfree while areas near the footbridge were significantly reduced from last year. This year’s challenge was to remove very large patches downstream from Geisha Pool to avoid dispersion of seeds downstream. Significant in-roads have been made but will be continued next year. There are also several areas by the river and in local woods where garden plants have become established. Please dispose of garden rubbish via your brown bins or take it to the Geisha Road Council depot. Dumping of garden rubbish is actually illegal fly-tipping and offenders can be fined up to £20,000 or sent to prison for up to six months or both.


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 22

The new season of talks will start in September. Held in the Waverley Hotel, 7:30pm In September we start our winter programme of monthly talks, at 7:30 in the Waverley Hotel. Bats on 11 September... A double act by two renowned experts: John Haddow of the Central Scotland Bat Group and Anne Youngman of the Bat Conservation Trust. This will be followed by a short walk by the river to ‘listen’ to the bats. Did you know: 17 types of bat breed in the UK and ten of these occur in Scotland. Only one species breeds in the windswept Orkney Islands while nine species enjoy the gentler climate of Dumfries and Galloway. A tiny common pipistrelle can eat over 3,000 tiny insects in a single night – invite them to eat your midges by planting night-scented flowers!

Badgers on 8 October... Did you know that badgers may eat rabbits and smaller mammals, along with sheep and deer carrion in hard winters, with frogs and fruit for variation? Bumblebees on 11 November... Did you know that bumblebees have smelly feet? After feeding they leave a scent on the flower to prevent other bumblebees wasting energy landing on a flower with little nectar or pollen. Raptors on 10 December... Find out how camera traps are helping research into these iconic birds of prey. Members of the Scottish Raptor Study Group monitor 14 species of diurnal birds of prey, four owl species and the raven (honorary member!). Lesley Hawkins

10 September Bats in Central Scotland by John Haddow (CSBG) and Ann Youngman (BCT) followed by local Bat Walk

8 October The Status of Badgers in Central Scotland by Eddie Palmer, Chairman SDCT Admission £2 members £2.50 non-members free to full-time students including tea/coffee & biscuits.

Farm Forum: Call for C A P Clarity

Ida (Gillian Sandford), Doris (Charlotte Johnston), and Lucille (Sharon Lang).

Drama in a New York Cemetery

Three Jewish widows meet once a month for tea before going to visit their husbands’ graves. Ida is sweet tempered and ready to begin a new life, Lucille is a feisty embodiment of the girl who just wants to have fun, and Doris is priggish and judgemental, particularly when Sam the butcher enters the scene... Such is the background to Thornhill Players latest production which goes on tour in September. The Cemetery Club by Ivan Menchell is a poignant comedy set in New York that will be performed in local villages over three weeks: Gargunnock on 13th September, Aberfoyle on the 20th, Thornhill the 21st, and Balquhidder on the 27th. “We have a loyal following in Thornhill but we thought we’d go out to find a new audience elsewhere,” said Maureen Moyes, chairman of the Players. “Small villages have little opportunity to see the theatre without travelling large distances and paying large sums. We can travel to them and only charge £7, or £5 concession, for what we believe is a good evening’s entertainment. Who knows, next year it may be the Edinburgh Fringe!” Thornhill Players began over 40 years ago but now includes members from Aberfoyle, Doune, Callander and Stirling. New members are always welcome and they may wish not only to act, but also to help behind scenes with costumes, scenery, lighting, sound or all the other things that happen in the theatre. We even have fun most of the time! Tickets for the events are available locally or from Charlotte Johnston on 01786850288.

You will be well aware that discussions about the new Common Agricultural Policy have been going on for a very long time. The matter is now becoming quite serious because the new regulations are due to come in to force in about sixteen months time and farmers are none the wiser about how it will affect them. It is not an exaggeration to say that there is even more confusion now than there was some months ago. This point has been emphasised by MEP George Lyon who incidentally is an ex President of the National Farmers Union of Scotland and probably received his grounding in politics when in that job! George toured a lot of shows during the summer and spoke to many groups of farmers. He said: “The message coming back from people at shows around the country was loud and clear; farmers want details of what the new deal on the CAP will mean for their businesses. Devolution means that Scottish ministers have all the powers required to shape policy to Scottish needs. “Mr Lochhead needs to spend less time talking about the powers he wants and more time telling us how he will use the ones he has, to deliver for our agricultural sector.” Why is it that our politicians must become involved in petty point scoring – wouldn’t it be so much better if the best brains from all parties stopped the bickering and all put their efforts in to finding the best answers for their constituents, and I don’t refer only to agriculture! I think that’s called wishful thinking!

When you are at a loss for the next piece of news it is always worth looking to Brussels to see what the bureaucrats have been hatching up. This month they have not let me down! Apparently, in 2005 The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations were passed and became law. Some businesses, including agriculture, were given nine years to comply, which means it comes in to force in July 2014.

This could limit the number of hours drivers could sit on their tractor seats on tractors registered before 2007 – and there are a lot of them. It is suggested that farmers could be allowed to sit on their tractors for as little as half an hour at a time when doing tasks on rough ground such as ploughing. Now health and safety is something that is obviously very important, but one Scottish MEP has branded the regulations as health and safety gone mad. It is hard to believe that some compromise will not be reached. If it applies to cars as well it is going to take an awfully long time driving down the Balquhidder glen road! Agricola


Broadband Update

by Richard Harris


In the continuing saga of bringing communications in the three villages area into roughly the same century as the outside world, there’s a little good news and a whole lot of no news: Firstly, with BT awarded government funding under the Step Change 2015 programme to bring a minimum of 2Mb/s to 80% of the rural population, they have announced that they can deliver that level to 93.5% of us. That, whilst it would help a number of the “no-band” areas in the Trossachs, is unlikely make much difference in our area. The way in which BT will deliver this is also unlikely to be future proof in the local area and will deliver a maximum performance that falls far short of current ‘normal’ broadband, let alone the capacity that that online services are starting to assume as normal and for which they are designing their next generation of services. In effect, if you’re not a urban dweller with fibre cables in your street, you effectively become classed as the ‘rural poor’ and, by definition, don’t matter. So we’re carrying on with the long, slow process of finding out just how much it would cost to bring fast and futureproof fibre optic broadband into the area. We do now have provisional costings for bringing a 300Mb/s-1Gb/s (one Gigabit = 1,000 Megabits - yes, really) service into Balquhidder Glen and thence to the surrounding area, including Strathyre and Lochearnhead. Preliminary figures are encouraging and they’re currently refined being and validated. After that we’re into the long, slow and continuing process of using this information to help inform the two public sector procurements: Step Change 2015 and Community Broadband Scotland. So, as the fibre glaciers grind their slow way along the valley of least official resistance, piling up behind the granite outcrops of indecision and committeedom on the way, what can we do to help ourselves in the meantime? Well, there is a new player in town: a new generation satellite service called Tooway. But before you start looking out the agehardened neeps to hurl, consider that just because previous satellite initiatives have proven expensive, slow and poorly supported, we now have a new generation of satellites and, we hope, providers who actually understand customer service. In August, Cllr Alycia Hayes organised for one of the resellers of the new Eutelsat Tooway service, Avonline, to come along with their test van to see what connections are possible from hereabouts to this satellite. And, having tested it from Balquhidder Village Hall, Tulloch, Monachyle Mhor, Inverlochlarig, Stronvar, Gart, Ballimore,

Satellite testing at Monachyle Mhor

Immeroin and Stronslaney, we’re pleased to say that we managed good connections from all of these, with download speeds in the 14-18Mbps range and upload speeds of around 3.5-5Mbps. For comparison, performance on the ex-Avanti satellite system at Inverlochlarig was 2.3Mb/s download and 0.053Mb/s upload - pathetic and perennially expensive. Outwith Balquhidder Glen, tests were carried out at Loch Achray hotel, near Tigh Mor; in Brig o Turk: the Community Centre, Post Office and row of bungalows, with good coverage reported at each. The only place where we couldn’t obviously get a sight line to the satellite (at 9°E and about 23° above level horizon for anyone who’s interested) was in the lee of Creag Mhor near Monachyle Tuarach - sorry folks. With satellite broadband systems, the deil is very much in the detail, with weather, terrain and vegetation all playing a part alongside the laws of physics (ie a 72,000km round trip for the signal) and the realities of lots of people sharing a satellite beam (although now three beams cover only Scotland as opposed to one beam covering all of Europe, which seems like a step forward). Commercially, although it appears to be a lot cheaper and more sensible than the old systems, it’s hard to make a definitive recommendation without trying it out. Which is just what we’re doing - Avonline is providing a test installation and we’ll be monitoring that closely over the next couple of months to see just what does and doesn’t work. We’ll publish results but if you’d like to know more in the meantime about local realities, then email me at Details of the Tooway service and its resellers is at http:// and the reseller who’s be

helping out with our survey is at http:// In the longer term, experience and a little head-scratching suggests that, funding permitting, we’re initially most likely to end up with fibre provision to a single local point, with wireless links to individual properties and satellite providing a little infill for properties too remote or problematically located for the other services. Longer term, replacement of much of the wireless with fibre laid up the glens would definitely be desireable but the biggest cost item and first step, bringing fibre into the area, is essentially futureproof, whilst a wireless local connection is cheap and can be replaced whenever something better comes along.

Forth Valley U3A Would you like to make some new friends - and become involved in a new hobby or interest at the same time? That’s what U3A is all about! The groups are very varied and include Current Affairs, Mandarin, Mah-jong, Bridge, Lunch club, Spanish, Scrabble, Book Group and Poetry. We are holding our enrolment meeting at 2pm on

Friday 6th September

Mayfield Centre, St Ninian’s, Stirling You are warmly invited to come along and discover more about what we do whilst enjoying a cup of tea or coffee and chatting with the members. For further information please contact the Membership Secretary on 01786 822062 or the Interest Groups’ Co-ordinator on 01786 814681 or visit

Confident Driving Parking and Manœuvring A visit to your local supermarket to see how drivers park their vehicles is often interesting to see just how they achieve it. From my observations, the majority just drive into a space nose first and give no thought as to how they will exit safely. On the other hand a vehicle reversed into a space allows the driver to move off more quickly, saving fuel and allowing a quicker exit in an emergency as well as giving better visibility to the driver. A driver who has to reverse out has to reverse quite a way before seeing vulnerable pedestrians and of course you can’t rely upon the pedestrians to notice manœuvring vehicles. It is up to the driver to look out for hazards. One of the common objections to reverse parking at your local supermarket is that you can’t get to the boot to load the shopping. Consider then reversing into a space backed by a walk way as most supermarkets have them. The main disadvantage of reversing out of a parking space is that most of the blind spots in a car are behind you thus making it difficult to see what is there. A daily occurrence in car parks is for two cars to reverse into each other with the inevitable argument of who was at fault. My tip is for those who cannot reverse very well is to drive through two spaces and end up facing outwards. You are then ready for a safe and speedy exit. The local IAM group in the Forth Valley now offers a module training course in Parking & Manœuvring. Visit the website at and check out our modular courses. Angus Maciver Chairman Forth Valley Group of Advanced Motorists

It’s always a good sign when I sit down to give an update and struggle for things to talk about! The nights are slowly drawing in and there’s certainly a bit of a chill in the air overnight now - so I think we can safely say that summer has been and gone. The last few months have been busy in the area with visitor numbers but thankfully there have been very few problems. Operation Ironworks and the way the lochsides are policed by both the police and the National Park are clearly working, in my opinion. We have only had two incidents of note: one on Loch Lubnaig and the other of Loch Earn, within the Tayside division. For a summer to pass with high numbers of visitors and only two incidents, then I think we can be proud of the work we are doing. I have noticed that there are a lot of families enjoying the area now but our work is not finished. There always will be a minority to spoil things for others and that is who we continue to focus our attention on. Over the winter months, the other partner organisations and the police will continue to progress the plans for the 5 Lochs Project and the next phases will begin.   I would like to thank you, the local residents, for assisting us in our work. It is because of your advance calls that we have been able to speak to people prior to them committing any offences. I’d encourage you to keep calling us and together we can all help to tackle the problem.   Road Safety As most of you will be well aware, over the course of the year, the police are called to deal with numerous accidents, all of different severities and for very different reasons. I would like to take this opportunity to give some basic advice in the hope of reducing collisions taking place. Always be mindful of other road users, whoever they may be, and check mirrors regularly to ensure that you are aware of what is happening around you. Pay particular attention to vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, horse riders or motorcyclists. When passing a cyclist, allow for plenty of room to pass. Cyclists should where possible use cycle routes or keep in as far to the left as possible.   Give other road users plenty of notice of your intentions, using either the indicators or brakes to allow them to react accordingly. We all know how frustrating it can be for someone to turn off without indicating, or stop suddenly. In that regard, ensure that you do not ‘tailgate’ vehicles in front. If you run into the rear

of the vehicle in front, YOU will probably be left to blame for the collision and could have an impact on insurance or a potential prosecution. Be mindful of the road signs and markings on the road. They are there for a reason and help to build up a picture of what may be around the corner. During police driver training, we are taught to look well ahead, read the road and signs and by doing so, it allows for a safer and more progressive drive. If you feel tired, take a break. It’s far better to park up and have a sleep than nod off at the wheel.    If you do happen to be involved in a collision, you are duty bound to stop. Not all collisions require to be dealt with by police; for minor shunts and bumps the drivers can share their name, address and insurance details with each other. If there is any injury, or the road is blocked, contact police on 999 immediately. Depending on the injury, you may be contacted by ambulance personnel and they will give first aid advice over the phone until the police and other emergency services arrive.   Ensure that your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition- and for your own safety, wear a seatbelt. If you fail to wear a seatbelt, or maintain your vehicle, you will be liable to prosecution and may lose your licence depending on the circumstances.    Be mindful of the effects of alcohol and driving. We are still finding drunk drivers on a regular basis and if found, you will be disqualified from driving. The age old question we are asked is how much is too much? The simple answer can be ONE! Everyone is different - alcohol affects everyone’s limits differently. The best advice I can give is: if you have to drive, don’t drink, even the night before. Over the coming months, along with my colleagues, I will be out stopping vehicles in order to ensure that they are fit to be on the road, along with conducting breath tests if we suspect alcohol.   Most importantly: be courteous to other drivers and remember that the time gained by risking a dangerous overtake etc could cost you the ultimate price in the end. As always, I can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at    Regards,

PC Will Diamond



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

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

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

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

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

SEPTEMBER 3 7 10 11 20 27 28 30

Lochearnhead Keep Fit resumes - see p.20 Lochearnhead 25th Anniversary Party - 2 - 5pm - see p.2 SWT Bat talk Waverley Hotel Callander 7.30 - see p.22 Callander Camera Club - see p.7 Dancing Lochearnhead 7.30 - see p.2 Thornhill Players Balquhidder Hall - see p.23 Race Night Strathyre Inn 8.00 - see p.5 Luncheon Club resumes - Scout Station Lochearnhead - All welcome.

OCTOBER 3 4 12 27

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

Choir Occasional starts up again - Balquhidder Hall - 7.30pm - see p.17 Flutes Concert - St. Mary’s, Aberfoyle - see p.23 Jewellery Workshop - Balquhidder Hall - see p.2 Kiltwalk - See p.7

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

01786 443497

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

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

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

Monday Refuse Collections September 9th Sept: Grey Bins 16th Sept: Brown

23rd Sept: Grey

30th Sept: Brown

Vestry Secretary - Mary Barclay Tel: 01567 830453

The Villagers September 2013  

Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, St Fillans and Strathyre. Stathyre Primary School, National Park Rangers review, Old Nyati Pin Feathers...

The Villagers September 2013  

Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, St Fillans and Strathyre. Stathyre Primary School, National Park Rangers review, Old Nyati Pin Feathers...