The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans
Read all about the St Fillans Festive Weekend on page 3
‘Lunch Club’ time again
I think both Gill and I were contemplating a move to St Fillans when we saw all the photos of the Festive Weekend and thought they really know how to party! Many thanks to Isobel and all the photographers involved and, as it is their 200 celebration next year I have promised her the whole paper to cover their celebrations. At the time of writing this there are a few anxious faces looking heavenwards in Balquhidder as our Bike Fest time approaches. Hopefully next month we will have images of mad cyclists hurtling down paths that most of us would approach with caution to even walk down - as well as the more sedate ‘mellow pedallers’ enjoying a late summer ride. It was lovely to have Jan Renshaw pop in on her way home from Lewis to collect her certificate for her Best Article award from the community papers with her comment “I never thought I would win anything at my age!” (just wish she hadn’t insisted on the photo, above...) Finally, a thank you to many of our subscribers who are often kind enough to add a comment when they return their form and cheques. We were very touched by the latest one: “News of the places we love has kept us sane over the last two very sad years. Thank you so much.” We hope you will enjoy this edition. JJ 2
Hello all members - and to those of you who could be! We are starting up again on Monday 3rd October at the Hertfordshire Scout Station in Lochearnhead. We are a very friendly and welcoming club - so why not give us a try? We start from 12.30 to 2.30pm every Monday until Christmas week, then restart in January till March. On offer is a choice of two soups, two puddings, tea/coffee with biscuits all for the princely sum of £2.00. Also four special Dinners between now and March. We look forward to seeing you all there.
“Fantastic tree creations!” “Thoroughly enjoyed it... great to see the hall packed with people full of Christmas spirit.” “Well worth the journey through bad weather to get to it” “Looking forward to it again next year!” Just some of the comments from last year’s Christmas Tree Festival. Get your thinking caps on and your creative juices flowing definitely one for the diary! See next month’s The Villagers for more information or contact Karen Methven 01877 384624
Pauline Perkins, President
Amelia Dennehy’s Channel 4’s logo inspired winning entry from last year
CAKE TASTES BETTER TOGETHER!
2 Bedroom accommodation
wanted for long term rent Balquhidder, Strathyre or Lochearnhead area please call 01877 384362 or send txt 07706 917857
Strathyre Village Hall Saturday
24th September 10am until 2pm.
Please bring along some baking! There will be a raffle and a fun competition for the best cake. All money raised is for the
Singing is Good for You!
starts up again on Thursday 22 September 2016 at 7.30pm, Balquhidder Village Hall. We try all kinds of music. All welcome! Contact Gill Waugh 07778 702304
The St Fillans Bit
by Isobel Howell
Friday 12th August was a proud day for the village and for everybody who was involved in Phase Two of the new Loch Earn Railway Path (or “LERP” as it is also known) as the grand opening ceremony took place. This section of the path runs between Station Road in St Fillans and Tynreoch and now provides a much welcome safe route through to Comrie (if you avoid the cows and bulls along the way). Invited along to perform the official cutting of the ribbon was Lady Willoughby de Eresby who thanked everyone involved in the project. With a good turnout of supporters in attendance, after the official opening, we were invited to walk or cycle along the path and afterwards retire to the Sandison Hall where we were treated to cakes, tea and coffee. As I’ve said before, I think this is a fantastic project as it will link our neighbouring communities together and should attract new visitors to the area, both of which, in turn, can only benefit the Lady Willoughby cuts the ribbon village and our shop and hotels. The St Fillans Festive Weekend returned (along with the summer - I hope you enjoyed it) on 13th and 14th August. With a slightly “laid back” theme this time, the weekend kicked off with the opening of the bar, followed by ‘Dave ‘n’ Don’s Diner’, serving their trademark burgers and sausages. After everyone was watered and nourished, the games began in earnest. As you’ll see from our front cover photos, there was a reasonable turnout of children, who seemed to particularly enjoy (at the expense of their adult accomplices) the ‘Trifle Game’, results of which saw faces being covered in jam, cream and custard. And as if wearing a confectionery face The Masked Super Hero mask wasn’t humiliating enough, more grownups were, good spiritedly, subjected to a dressing up game involving children comic. After prize-giving for the best hat (I’m sorry whoever you were, I’ve forgotten) dressing their subjects in layers of bulky and music, courtesy of DJ Ken Brown, with audience participation in the form of clothing, including fishing waders, hats dancing, we were given our next creative challenge. This time, we had to choose a and gloves before running to the finish model from each of our teams and make him/her a costume out of black bin bags. We line to be declared the winner. Never weren’t so much ‘Christian Dior’... more ‘Blue Peter’, using Sellotape and scissors; we before has a retired accountant produced had all of about five minutes to create a catwalk showstopper. The surprise winner of so much entertainment as Johnston the evening came in the form of a masked super hero, who proudly showed off his new Brown, shuffling along, replete in costume for judges and audience – see photo above. There is a prize to the first person Continued overleaf oversized tartan hat, waders and a fishing who can correctly guess who this “super hero” is... net – a sight to behold. There were the more traditional games of egg and spoon and sack races, plus a race between two teams to try and fill a glass cylinder apiece, both of which were enjoyed by the children and teenagers. The Saturday afternoon wound down gently but it wasn’t long until the evening’s entertainment and music were underway. We were promised we would have to use our “creative talents”. What could this involve – painting, drawing, or flower arranging? No, nothing as obvious as that. Each table was given several long balloons and some lucky people had a balloon pump – the rest of us had to use our own lung capacity to blow balloons to create … a hat! With Dave Pryde as compere for the evening, the evening was highly entertaining – if people ever stop taking holidays, and Dave’s Travel Counsellors work dries up, he should definitely make a career as a stand-up 3
The St Fillans Bit Continued from previous page
Saturday evening all too quickly turned into Sunday which was a very relaxed day, beginning with a delicious buffet of tasty salads, cold meats, salmon and pudding, provided by the Tullybannocher Café. With the sun still shining down on us, we sat back and watched and listened to the live band, Tarneybackle, a Perthshire group, who played some pretty Scottish folk songs. They had the audience singing along and one piece, The Glasgow Cat, had folks joining in, waving hands and carrying out the actions, when instructed, by the band, who performed for about two hours. During the afternoon a raffle was drawn (needless to say, I won nowt!) but some lucky winners, who this year were invited to choose their own prize, won, amongst other things, Kay Naitby’s painting St Fillans West to East, bottles of booze, a hamper, a cuddly toy, but sadly no hostess trolley or fondue set. “Didn’t they do well!” I mentioned earlier that this year’s events took on a more “laid back” approach - although this doesn’t mean that the planning and setting up was any easier - I believe that next year is going to be a bigger event, and back to three days, as we celebrate the bicentenary of the renaming of our village. I can’t wait to hear what plans Jim Brierley has to mark the occasion. Huge thanks and acknowledgement goes to everyone on the St Fillans Festive Committee who helped make the weekend possible. Thank you to Richard Graham, Dave Pryde, Don Forrester, Jo Steventon and Bruce Montgomery who all gave up their time and put in a great deal of energy - organising, planning and making it happen. Thanks also go to Lynda Pryde and Lorna Kennelly who helped to run the buffet and Kathy Montgomery for selling raffle tickets. Thank you to everyone who came and supported and to anybody else who was involved but I’ve forgotten to mention. It is worth mentioning that all monies taken from the Festive Weekend are given back to the village through the free annual Bonfire Night and fireworks display, which I have to say is pretty spectacular, so the £25 weekend ticket for the Festive Weekend is great value for money. Incidentally, I’m told this year the village bonfire will take place on Guy Fawkes Night, Saturday 5th November. A remarkable achievement was made recently by Ian Moncrieff, golfer and resident of St Fillans. Ian won the Stableford Competition at the British Blind Golfers Open Championship at Telford Golf Resort in Shropshire in July. Congratulations Ian! 4
Farm Forum: Stable till 2020? Over eight weeks have gone by since
many organisations across the UK need reassurance and that he was determined to ensure that people had “stability and certainty” in the period leading up to the UK’s departure from the EU. “The Government will also match the current level of funding until 2020,” he said. NFU Scotland chief executive Scott Walker said the guarantee would be an “anchor of stability” and would ensure there was a confident platform on which to negotiate future trading and domestic support arrangements. Don’t worry, I am not going to restart a long harangue about the ridiculous proposal to introduce the lynx to Britain and the fact that Kielder has been proposed for a trial. However my attention was recently drawn to the lynx that was obtained by a zoo in the South of England and had escaped by the following morning. Umpteen humane traps were set and after a few weeks it stumbled in to one. Guess what was part of its diet when it was on the loose - yes you’re right, lambs. No comment! Agricola
Now for Mary’s news from The Four Seasons Hotel. Once again they are hosting the Scottish Motorbike Rally (on 18th September). If you are interested in biking, there are some fantastic bikes on show. It is an “open day”, from 11 am until 4 pm, and everyone is invited to pop along for a coffee and a chat with the bikers. On 6th November the hotel is hosting a night of “Traditional & Classical Music” in conjunction with St Angus’ Church. There will be a meal, raffle and wonderful music – all to raise money for The Work of St Angus and local Mountain Rescue Teams. Tickets are on sale now and the hotel hopes to see you for what looks like being a fantastic night. The last Wine Tasting Dinner of the year is being held on 25th of November, with New World wine supplied by Richard from Great Grog in Edinburgh, and a fabulous five course dinner with wine chosen to complement each course, by Richard, who will provide some information on each wine (and wine/food matching) in an informative but not technical way. A great night and usually very busy, so please book early to avoid disappointment.
The Achray House Hotel is also busy and it’s an exciting time for them as they have just finalised building work to create two garden rooms with fabulous views over Loch Earn, directly accessing their own little semi-private seating area in the garden. Zelda also informs me that in the same vein of work (entailing diggers and men with hammers) the foreshore renewal project has gone onto what Brad refers to as ‘second stage’, expanding the rockery and walkway on the right hand side of the jetty. The aim is to create a larger garden spot for the increasing number of passers-by stopping at the Fish Out Of Water installation on this part of the foreshore. Also, everyone is wholeheartedly invited to keep coming for Sunday lunch (proving very popular) and not forgetting their much praised evening meals and cosy pub! Finally, Christmas lunch is filling up fast but there’s still opportunity to phone the Achray and secure a table, or check out their website for details on staying over to celebrate the festive season in style! (www.achrayhouse.com or 01764 685320)
the fateful referendum and we have a new Prime Minister and almost new cabinet, but apart from that the situation, if anything, is more uncertain than before. From an agricultural point of view it seems unlikely that we will have unfettered access to the “common market” without abiding by their existing rules and that will include red tape and all! Without pre-empting the negotiations, it could be that the migrant question will be the key to unlocking or locking the door to a successful outcome. This is just the first year of the new CAP which still has its teething problems and was due to last until 2020 - at least two years beyond our likely official exit from the EU. This has caused consternation and worry in the agricultural world. However the first bit of better news arrived in the middle of August when the UK Government announced that it will stand by the new support arrangements until the end of the current CAP in 2020. The new Chancellor conceded that
Pin-Feathers* *Once in demand by Victorian miniaturists, the tiny pin-feather comes from the leading edge of a woodcock’s wing and only two such feathers occur on each bird (one on each wing). This month Old Nyati has a bit of a ‘grouse’. There is no excuse for continuing last month’s story about the Glorious Twelfth. The media still seem to be making a meal of it. For and against. We have a famous cricketer on one side and a Springwatch presenter on the other just to mention a few in the argument. Last month we talked of the demise and break-up of the Stronvar Estate and its heather moorland and the sporting value therein compared with what we see today. Take a look at the two films made in the Glen years ago, Geordie and also The Thirty-Nine Steps (The one with Kenneth More, not the other one) and notice in the background how the hills are heather clad and the roadsides and fields are tidy and cared for, even a crop of oats in the Long Dubh with Kenneth More in hiding. And also a ploughing match at Tulloch. To challenge the Springwatch person’s idea about grouse shooting, let us consider a scenario he would seem to favour. Driven grouse shooting is banned, that is his intention. OK, so the estate income from the shooting drops by 90%. The owner has to sack all the gamekeepers and seek some replacement income. Local hotels suffer a drop in bookings. Professional dog handlers are no longer needed. The heather moorland is no longer cared for. All those proud local community people go onto JobSeekers or benefits and one of the great Scottish sporting traditions is lost forever. As the years go by the owner grows old, and because of taxation and lack of income from the moor, decides to sell it. But now it is only worth a fraction of its previous value and the bottom line buyer is a forestry company. With no regard for the heather it will be planted with commercial blocks of Sitka spruce. The grouse will have died out and the birds of prey have nothing to feed on so they too have gone, moorland nesting birds no longer have habitat so they have declined too. Witness Balquhidder glen - why did the eagles disappear? Was it because there were no rabbits, no mountain hares, and no grouse - nothing for them to feed on? What about acidic run off from monoculture forest clear fell? Isn’t that why Balquhidder had to have a water purification plant in the Kirkton? What happens if you neglect your garden for a few years? It becomes just a bed of nettles.That is nature’s way. So there we are, Mr Springwatch, what now? What about the Indian gentleman in London who goes to the game dealer or M&S to buy his “Bang Bang Chicken”? He is very fond of grouse and also uses the feathers
for his fishing fly tying. What about the avocados that you eat and the Mexican pine forests that are being destroyed to grow more and more of them? Was it a surprise when Sir David Attenborough, during his 90th birthday programme, showed you a larger fossilised shark tooth than the one you had and hoped would stop the show. Can you give us your thoughts on halal slaughter? (Bet you daren’t.) Should a television presenter paid with public money use his position to enter into such arguments? In racehorse language it could be said that some people get “more corn than their breeding can stand”. Since the Daily Mirror poll about M&S stopping selling grouse only showed about 22% in favour and 78% saying it was OK to sell grouse, is it time to shut up? There is a famous conservation exhibit in an African national park museum. It is captioned at the top ‘The greatest threat to Planet Earth’. It is a full length mirror! Let us look at another point of view. Fergus Ewing, the rural affairs minister, states that country sports such as shooting, stalking and fishing in Scotland contribute a value of around £155 million to the economy and this is expected to grow by another £30 million over the next four years. He said “Field sports are a huge draw, with both domestic and foreign audiences enjoying the wealth of world class opportunities available in Scotland.” On another subject, how about some reader comments on absentee house owners in Balquhidder and their contribution to the community. Some do not seem to realise that roadside hedges need cutting back sometimes and local people deserve respect. Will all be silent next month? Old Nyati
Stills from Geordie and The Thirty-Nine Steps show Balquhidder as it was in the middle of the last century - and top right: Geordie film poster
‘Action Earth’ Project
Pictures show progress made on the path at the back of Station Court, Strathyre.
Real Ale - Real Music
ABOUT ACTION EARTH Action Earth is organised by Volunteering Matters, 25 Greenside Place (Office 2, 2nd Floor), Edinburgh EH1 3AA. Volunteering Matters (formerly CSV Community Service Volunteers) is the UK volunteering charity and creates opportunities for people to play an active part in the life of their community through volunteering, learning and community action. www.volunteeringmatters.org.uk Scottish Natural Heritage is providing grants of up to £500 to encourage volunteers to get involved in improving Scottish Biodiversity. Scottish Natural Heritage is the Government’s statutory advisor on the conservation, enhancement, enjoyment, understanding and sustainable use of the natural heritage. To register for a grant or get more information about Action Earth visit our website: www.volunteeringmatters.org.uk/actionearth
Cycle Track Opening
It was a fine afternoon which brought more than 50 people from St Fillans, Comrie, Lochearnhead and Balquhidder to celebrate the official opening of the completed cycle track on the old railway line between Station Road, St Fillans to Dalchonzie, where it now links up with the back road, meaning it is now possible to ride or walk all the way from St Fillans to Comrie away from the main road and heavy traffic. After welcoming the assembled crowd Keith Irving from Cycling Scotland introduced Lady Willoughby de Eresby (pictured above) who said a few words thanking the long list of people who have been involved in making this opening event possible, before she cut the ribbon and declared the track officially open. While some people set off for a short walk or cycle as far as the crocodile, others headed for the Sandison Hall for tea and biscuits. Work will begin on Phase Two in St Fillans in due course, and hopefully discussions may continue on extending the track westward.
Community takes stride on path project A £550,000 community led project to upgrade and develop the Loch Earn Railway Path was recently completed, providing a new shared use path between Lochearnhead, St Fillans and Comrie. St Fillans Community Trust in partnership with Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park and Sustrans were delighted to complete Phase 2 of the Loch Earn Railway Path project which aims to provide a much needed safe route to Comrie, linking up some of the National Park’s most rural communities. It is hoped that the path will be an integral part of the longer pilgrim routes; Iona to St Andrews and of the Three Saints Way (3SW). Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority said: “We are delighted to be involved in the project, helping to link up some of our most rural communities. The drive and capability of St Fillans Community Trust has been key to this project developing so quickly and to such a high standard. The work done this year is an exemplar for barrier-free shared use paths which encourage safe walking, cycling and horse-riding and once complete it will be a significant asset to the local community, National Park and wider Scottish path network.” Andy Keba, Sustrans Scotland Community Links Coordinator said: “Sustrans Scotland is pleased to see the second phase of the Loch Earn Railway Path completed between St Fillans and Tynreoch. We contributed funding towards the construction of this path through our Community Links Programme, which provides funding for the creation of cycling and walking
network infrastructure for everyday journeys. “The new path will provide a link to the wider route which, once completed, will connect the communities between Comrie, St Fillans and Lochearnhead. It will offer a safe off-road path which can be used by locals and visitors to travel either on foot or by bike along the network.” Johnston Brown from St Fillans Community Trust said: “St Fillans Community Trust is grateful to Sustrans, Scottish National Heritage, The Gannochy Trust and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park for all the funding and support in achieving the latest stage in the creation of the second stage in the Loch Earn Railway Path conversion to a walking and cycling facility. This sector of the path shows the standard achieved in the upgrade and we hope that the path’s increased usage will bring benefits to St Fillans.” Stuart Davies, Paths and Projects Officer at SNH said: “We are delighted to help the community with their ambition to build this new multi-use path, especially as it will form part of the Cross Scotland Pilgrim Way, a priority route within Scotland’s National Walking and Cycling Network.’ Phase 1 of the project saw a new route opened between Lochearnhead and St Fillans. The Community Trust are well on their way to delivering Phase 3 later this year which will link St Fillans further west in to Glentarken Woods. Partners within the Project include: Drummond Estates, LLTTNPA, Sustrans, SNH, Gannochy Trust, LEADER, Paths for All, PKC, PKCT. 7
Callander Rambling Club
Sponsored by Caledonian Country Wear
The Club consists of a group of enthusiasts who meet regularly throughout the year to participate in a programme of strolls, rambles, hill walks and a Long Distance Path. Details are published on www. incallander.co.uk/r 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 2016 • Sat 10th 08:30 LDP: RRW(6) Strathyre to Callander (9 miles) contact 01877 330032 • Wed 14th 09:30 Stroll: The Lots (5 miles) contact 01877 330446 • Wed 21st 09:30 Ramble: Coire Grogain, Arrochar (10 miles) contact 01877 339080 • Sat 24th 08:30 Hill: Ben Venue (727m) contact 01877 382924 October 2016 • Sat 1st 09:30 Stroll: Carron Glen, Denny (5 miles) contact 01786 825682
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. Thanks!
Drs Strang & Scott and Drs Mathewson & Gibson Community Nurses The surgeries and community nurses take part in various training programmes throughout the year. This is to meet the educational and training needs of all members of the practice and nursing team. The next training afternoon will provisionally be on: Tuesday 13th September 2016 Wednesday 26th October 2016 On those afternoons, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments. Both practices and community nurse clinic will close at 12.30pm. We hope that emergency cover will be provided by NHS24 for nursing and GPs, however, this will not be confirmed to the practices until nearer the time. In the event of an emergency, please telephone 111. BRACKLINN PRACTICE APPOINTMENT CHANGES We are pleased to inform you that our Practice Nurse hours have been extended. Susan is now working for us 4 days a week, providing appointments for disease management, smears etc Monday – Thursday 8.30am – 2.30pm. Susan also has an extended clinic on Wednesdays until 4.30pm. Our Health Care Assistant has also had her hours extended, and from the end of July Sandra will provide clinics for blood tests, blood pressure readings and weight etc every Tuesday 9.30am – 12.30pm and Thursday 9.00 – 12.00pm. Further changes are to be made for the Practice Nurse and Health Care Assistant appointments later in the year. We will notify you as and when they occur. Thank you for your co-operation.
Fund Raiser For those of you that attended our Fund Raiser in Strathyre Village Hall, you will be pleased to know that the event was a huge success. When all the pennies were counted up, we had raised £859.00 during the course of the evening. It was great to see the number of villagers from Strathyre who turned out yet again to support another fund raising event; many thanks. We are also especially grateful to the people who came down from Lochearnhead and Balquidder; their generosity was much appreciated. These Fund Raisers are very important to the running of The Festival, as the ticketing and proceeds from The Balvaig Bar do not cover its full cost. I realise that some of you were expecting some music at the end of the evening; unfortunately, time ran away with us and on this occasion it was not possible to play any music. Please accept my apologies for this but I still think you all had a near miss. Finally, may I extend a heartfelt thanks to Wullie Dalziel who helped organise the event and whose auctioneering and quiz master skills made it the financial success it was. Mike Keeney Chairman, Strathyre Music Festival
Cheesecake without cheese In this recipe there is no baking or cooking involved, but a blender is necessary equipment to mix the ingredients. This cake is mainly made with cashew nuts, sunflower seeds and raisins and doesn’t contain any dairy products or eggs. Surprisingly this cake tastes similar to the real cheese cake, it is very nutritious, and can be made without sugar, depending on preferences and needs. A thick layer of raspberries gives a very fresh hint to the sweet chocolatey bottom contrasting with the tangy-nutty filling. It is simply heavenly and delicious. Ingredients: 200g sunflower seeds 200g raisins 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder 300g cashew nuts (soaked in water overnight or for minimum 2 hours) 5 tbsp of melted coconut oil Juice from 1.5 lemons Lemon peel from 1 lemon 2-3 tbsp. of sugar (or xylitol*) Lots of fresh or frozen raspberries and a piece of melted dark chocolate to garnish. Here is how to make it: Mix sunflower seeds in a blender, add raisins, mix well until crumbly, add cocoa powder and 1 tbsp of coconut oil, mix well. Place the mixture into a form, flatten. Mix cashew nuts with coconut oil in a blender until smooth, add lemon juice, lemon peel, and sugar. Mix well. Place into the form. On the top: garnish with raspberries, decorate with melted chocolate. Place into the fridge for minimum 1 hour or preferably overnight. Enjoy! Kasia Sujanova
At the start of our 5th year there was a record attendance of around 120 at our AGM and Enrolment Day on 23rd August with quite a number of new faces in the crowd. At the business meeting Barbara Legg gave her last report from the Chair after three extremely busy years in the post. Having been a founder member of C&WP U3A Barbara has worked ceaselessly to promote the aims of U3A and to spread the word widely around our large catchment area, recently launching 4 groups in Killin which is the most northerly of the villages we serve. Instead of a break from committee she has stepped into the breach as Treasurer following the previous Treasurer’s illness. In appreciation of all her hard work the committee presented her with a bouquet and we are all very glad that she will still be there to give advice and guidance. Ray Watkins was elected as the new Chairman and we welcome him very warmly into his role as leader of C&WP. Two new members of the committee were also elected leaving only one vacancy. The refreshments of tea, coffee and homemade scones were very welcome and Fiona Martin with Myra Cumming and a team of helpers were thanked for their efforts. Following the break the hall buzzed with the noise of members signing up to the groups on offer, four of which were new for this year. We extend a warm welcome to all our new members and would like to remind anyone interested in joining U3A that they can do so at any time and should look at our website: ‘Callander and West Perthshire U3A’ for information on what is on offer and to contact the Secretary. The cost is only £10 for the year (or £5 if you belong to another U3A).
“There is nothing more agreeable in life than to make peace with the Establishment – and nothing more corrupting.” A.J.P. Taylor, quoted in The Times “If my films make one more person miserable, I’ll feel I have done my job.” Woody Allen, quoted in The Daily Telegraph “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Historian Laura Thatcher Ulrich, quoted in The Washington Post “It’s called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.” George Carlin, quoted on NJ.com “Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated.” G.K. Chesterton, quoted in The Sunday Times “Are headphones getting bigger or are idiots getting smaller?” Comedian Henry Parker, quoted in The Guardian “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either – but right through every human heart – and through all human hearts.” Alexander Solzhenitsyn, quoted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw, quoted in Forbes magazine “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” J.K. Rowling, quoted in Time magazine
Free range rare breed pork for sale
We sell fresh pork as 1/2 pigs (20kg) and 1/4 pigs (10kg) every 3 months. Next available - September 2016. We also sell frozen sausage and bacon packs - £25. We can arrange drop off points in the local area.
Contact: Fiona MacLennan t: 07783116399 e: email@example.com facebook: Glenorchy Farm
A Note from
We hear a lot about “detoxing” these days; whether we’ve been overdoing the booze or piling on the pounds, there are herbal remedies and unspeakable treatments to sort us out. If we are stressed and overworked there’s even detoxing to fix that, in the form of meditation and mindfulness. But what of spiritual detoxing? What can rid us of the burden of guilt we all cart around with us from time to time - even, for some, permanently? How do we cope with all the hurts, sometimes caused by those closest to us, which can scar the soul for a lifetime? How do we tackle a sense of worthlessness when all the world seems to be against us and nothing we ever do seems to be right? I don’t believe there is any other religion except Christianity that has the answer to these problems - but then, I am biased! Is there any other religion which bases its entire philosophy on love - love of self (yes, love of SELF, love of neighbour, love of the Creator and of creation? Is there any other religion which teaches us that we can be forgiven for anything so long as we are genuinely sorry and willing to change? Is there any other religion which teaches us to relate to our creator as a child relates to his/her dad? I don’t think so - but feel free to correct me. May I suggest we could all do with a spiritual detox by drawing nearer to the Person who promises all of this; whether we go to Church or not we are all of equal value in his sight. He longs to spend time with us while we pray (no fancy words needed) or read the Bible. I would recommend a modern translation. What is there to lose, other than a few minutes of our time? We might feel a whole lot better for it.
BalquhiĐĐer •bls Reg. Charity No. SC012316
After the fun of the games weekend, and the clan gatherings, it all seems rather quiet in the glen this August. I blame the Olympics for keeping so many of us glued to our TV screens, but admit I have enjoyed watching other folk making all that sporting effort. Here, thinking of more mundane matters such as building repairs, we are still waiting for the roof to be repaired! At the rate we are (not) going it might take nearly a whole year to get it fixed. However, the good news is that the woodworm treatment has been completed. We appreciated very much the financial assistance received from the Clan MacLaren Society towards the cost of this. Apparently, we shall have to have the treatment repeated every few years to maintain the level of protection, but for now this generation of wee flies has had its come uppance! Repairs to damaged flooring in the balcony were done at the same time. We haven’t had so many weddings in Church this year, but a few couples have renewed their wedding vows, which is good to see. Often, they come to renew vows made in this Church many years ago. We are keeping our fingers crossed for news of filling the vacancy here. Much as we enjoy having the Revd June Johnston with us every Sunday, it would be even better to have a full-time permanent Minister here. So keep on praying and it will happen! Jean Edwards
OBITUARY : PAT BARBER Pat Barber’s passing on 3rd July marks the end of an era. Keepers Cottage has been synonymous with the Barber family for so long. Pat was an Edinburgh girl who, after leaving school trained to become a Chartered Physiotherapist. It is said that she even treated a calf, born at Kirkton farm with a bad leg. The results of the treatment are not recorded, other than the fact that the calf ate off the bandages! Pat and Neil were married in 1965. Neil, who died in 2008, was a chartered accountant with Shell. His postings were mostly abroad and this was a life Pat enjoyed. She spent time in Brunei immediately after she was married, and from there to Aden from where they were evacuated when the trouble there escalated. This did not put her off and they returned there in 1969 when things settled down. Their next move saw her, plus Alistair, Kirsty and Ross by this time, move to Mombasa and then to Lagos in
1972 where she spent the next five years. From there they returned full circle to Brunei. Their last posting was to London. They had had their house in Balquhidder since the seventies and no matter where they were in the world Balquhidder was always home. After London they retired there in the 80s. Pat was elected to the Hall committee in 1991 and in 2002 succeeded Neil as treasurer. In 2010 she retired as treasurer to become secretary/ manager. The present hall was completed in 1998 and there were three people who played a major part in the success of the project: the secretary - the late Bob Edwards, the treasurer - the late Neil Barber, and Pat, who was unfortunate enough to live adjacent to the hall and was in the front line when a hall representative was required! It goes without saying that she took it all in her stride. Pat was very much involved in the
winter Monday Lunch Club that was initially held in Balquhidder Hall. In the days when the club attracted sometimes as many as forty folk, Pat was always on hand to cook, clean and wash up before the advent of a dishwasher. She was very strict on hygiene in the kitchen and whatever Pat said, went! Pat was known by the Lunch Club committee as the “Custard Queen” as she always had to make the custard without any lumps. I am told on good authority that her method was to stir 8 times clockwise and 8 times anti-clockwise! She was very artistic and enjoyed painting but her speciality latterly was undoubtedly stained glass and she made some beautiful pieces. From the time she retired to Balquhidder she played a major role in the community and even when she became less able she maintained a keen interest in what was going on. She will be sadly missed. J.E.M.
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This article was written for The Belfry news published by The Friends of Balquhidder Church and is reproduced here by kind permission of Lawrie Oldham.
Left: Catriona’s Grandparents Robert and Catherine with their children at Muirlaggan. Right: Centre top row, Robert Fergusson (Catriona’s Grandfather). Below from left: John, Catherine (Catriona’s grandmother), Annie, Robert, Janet (Catriona’s Great Grandmother) Donald and Jenny at Muirlaggan
The Fergussons of Balquhidder There have been Fergussons with both single and double ‘s’ in Balquhidder since at least 1660 but according to family legend Fergussons came to Muirlaggan just after 1745. Before that date Muirlaggan (Murlagan) or Lagan-an-Fraoich, Bochuider according to the fly-leaf of books found in the house, was worked by three MacIntyre brothers. Encouraged by Robert Fergusson, Writer to the Signet in Edinburgh but who lived in the original Stronvar, more Fergussons came into the glen. One side of the family came from Ardandamh, a house on the west bank of Loch Lubnaig opposite Ardchullarie where the author James Bruce lived and who was a friend of the family. Ardandamh was lost when General Wade built the road along that side of the loch later used for the railway line and finally becoming the cycle track that we have today. The road on the East side of Loch Lubnaig is the one which had to be built when the railway line was laid and with few changes is the road used today. The other side of the family came from Carnlia, a settlement at Glenbeich on Loch Earn. Robert Fergusson brought with him Am Bodach, an old figurehead which had stood at the roadside by Carnlia and which was chipped by boys throwing stones at it. Recently the date 1341 was deciphered carved into the side of the figurehead. In 1750 Muirlaggan was extended. The original ‘But and Ben’ remains at the front of the house but the back was added and the beams brought from Ardandamh made the kitchen ceiling while Am Bodach was built 12
into the stones above the back door. Two more bedrooms and a bathroom were added in 1910 to complete the house as it stands now. The then Mrs Carnegie decreed that the roof had to be flat so that Muirlaggan would not look as imposing as Stronvar. Very recently, in the old part of the house, we removed the 1950’s fireplace to find the one from the 1920’s and behind that one that was in use in 1858 and even further back into the wall was the huge original inglenook with a stone mantle of 18 inches high by 5 feet across. My great grandfather Robert married a Janet Cameron from Acharacle, Argyll linked to the Camerons of Locheil. Of that generation Robert Menzies Fergusson became minister at Logie church Stirling, and Samuel, minister at Fortingall, Perthshire. My grandfather Robert married Catherine MacIntyre from Tulloch when she was 16 years old and it was he who built a dyke round Muirlaggan, drained the lands to improve the fields for crops to feed the hill cows, milk cows, pigs, horses and of course the family which extended by eleven children. The rule in the family was that the boys who did not go to university were given farms, so Donald became a Professor of Forestry, Duncan a Doctor and Alasdair an Estate Manager while John worked Blaircreich farm, James worked Muirlaggan and Monachyle Tuarach, and Angus had a dairy herd at Braendam, Thornhill where my grandparents moved to in the 1920’s. The remaining brother Robert died aged only 29 years after an accident on the hill. Eldest daughter Janet and her husband
By Catriona Oldham of Muirlaggan
worked Monachyle Mhor farm. Although both my grandparents died at Braendam they are buried in Balquhidder graveyard and the saying goes that by the time my grandmother was buried the grave was not deep enough so a family stone was moved and laid on the grave. This stone is marked A.F.1663 and thought to have been a relative from the Fergussons who lived at Immervoulin farm at Strathyre. My great grandmother’s gravestone lies flat not far from that of Rob Roy’s but the writing is no longer readable. My father’s working life was hard at times, starting at 14 years old when he left school. He would walk to Mallaig to collect sheep and walk the herd to the tryst at Crieff. In November 1939 a Whitley bomber crashed at the back of the hill behind the house. A survivor was found by our shepherd at Tuarach and brought home. In atrocious weather my father had to lead a search party up to the hilltop to the crash site to look for more survivors. None were found and the bodies were brought down to Muirlaggan to be removed by the police and RAF officials. Gaelic was the family’s first language and my father had a large repertoire of Gaelic songs but his first love was his violin which he played for hours for sheer pleasure. When he was young he would walk over the hills to Brig o’ Turk, play for a dance and then walk home again. When I was young our sitting room throbbed to the music of the violin with my mother at the piano and often accompanied by friends on an accordion or more violins. Magical for a child who lived here - but that is another story.
Fergusson Crest: ‘Upon a châpeau gules furred ermine, a bee on a thistle proper’
The Fergusson tartan is very similar to the MacLaren tartan but with a white stripe in place of the yellow. However there is also a Fergusson of Balquhidder tartan which is mostly green and much brighter than the original. The motto is Dulcius ex Asperis, ‘sweeter out of difficulty’, and the crest is a thistle with a bee surrounded by a buckled belt. Catriona’s Grandparents Robert and Catherine Fergusson had eleven children as follows; Janet in 1884, John in 1886, Robert in 1889, Donald in 1890, Annie in 1893, Duncan in 1895, Catriona’s father James in 1898, Mary in 1900, Alistair in 1902, Isabella in 1904 and lastly Angus in 1906! Also Catriona had aunts, uncles and cousins living in the surrounding farms of Blaircreich, Ledcreich, Tulloch, Immeroin, Stronslaney, Monachyle Mhor and Gartnafauran in the Balquhidder area. Lawrie Oldham lives in Muirlaggan farmhouse renting out two self catering holiday cottages for holiday weeks overlooking Loch Voil, open all year round. Muirlaggan caravan within the grounds in Balquhidder is available for holidays from March to October. For more on this accommodation in Balquhidder or about the Fergussons email: info@lochsidecottages. co.uk Visit the Loch Earn Tourism Initiative blog site to read an interesting account of Catriona’s father assisting in a search and rescue mission following the unexpected crash of a Whitley Bomber in Balquhidder Glen in 1940. Background to the Fergussons can be found at www.clanfergussonsociety.co.uk. Fergus was an Irish Chief who settled in Kintyre in the sixth century and brought the Scone Stone of Destiny to Scotland which eventually became the Coronation Stone. It was Fergus who established the kingdom of Dalriada along the West Coast. Fergus itself is a personal appellation in its secondary sense signifying a man, said to derive from fear and gais, or geis signifying a spear, the weapon carried by the Gais-gach, or heavy armed warrior among the highlanders. The Gaelic name is Clan Fhearghuis.
Left: Catriona’s Grandmother Catherine (MacIntyre) and right: Catriona Oldham (nee Fergusson) with husband Lawrie Oldham
Fergussons lay claim to being responsible for Scotland having the Saltire, the white diagonal cross on a blue background, as her flag. Angus MacFergus, a Pictish king descended through his mother from the Dalriadic Fergussons, was a great warrior and in the ninth century extended his overlordship for a time from the Shetlands to the Humber. At Athelstaneford, in East Lothian, his army faced a much larger army of the Northumbrians and their allies. Some legends say Fergus had a dream and saw a white cross in a blue sky, others say his men saw it themselves in the sky. They took it as divine favour and won a crushing victory. Angus MacFergus from then on adopted the white cross on blue background as his own flag which was eventually to become the flag of all Scotland . Fergus, Prince of Galloway, in the 1160’s was founder of the Fergussons of Craigdarroch in Dumfriesshire and on a charter dated 1215 signed himself Duncan, Son of Gilbert, son of Ferus Prince of Galloway. On Compartment - Ut prosim aliis (That I may be of use to others) Fergus of Galloway was of the old Scots Royal line and married a daughter of Henry the first of England . His grandson, Duncan, became Earl of Carrick. But what of the other Fergussons in Ayrshire, Atholl, and Aberdeenshire? The Ayrshire family, The Fergussons of Kilkerran is said to stem from St Ciaran, one of the earliest Irish missionary saints to land in Scotland . An 18th century manuscript held by the Aberdeenshire Fergussons records that the two sons of the chief of the Fergussons in Cowal became involved in an affray with a neighbouring chief and were forced to leave, one went to Aberdeenshire and the other to Ayrshire. This is said to have been around 400 years ago. The Fergussons heraldry, uniform from a very early period, was a silver buckle surrounded by three boars heads for the Argyll, Ayrshire and Aberdeenshire branches, and a blue lion rampant for the possibly distinct Galloway line. It is clear that the Fergussons all over Scotland looked to the house of Kilkerran
in Ayrshire for their ultimate chief from an early date. In the 16 th century a Fergusson of Atholl, convicted of a felony at Edinburgh, appealed to Kilkerran for protection, and in 1727 two Aberdeenshire branches of the clan called on Kilkerran to mediate in a dispute. Although there were already five separate Fergusson branches at the beginning of their recorded history in the 14 th century, the bearers of the name have always felt themselves to be related and have been recognised as such, by most other Scots. The Fergussons of Atholl lived mainly along the River Tummel with minor branches to the east and south-west in Strathyre.
Do you need an affordable home? Rural Stirling Housing Association aims to support local communities by providing quality homes at affordable rents for families, couples and single people in housing need. We currently have over 550 rented houses and flats. Around 50 of these become available for rent each year. We hope to have new properties in Strathblane and Balmaha soon and currently have properties in the following communities
Aberfoyle Deanston Gartmore Lochearnhead Balfron Doune Killin Strathyre Buchlyvie Drymen Kinlochard Stronachlachar Callander Gargunnock Kippen Tyndrum
We may be able to build in other communities in the future – please let us know to if you want to live in a village that is not listed above. Information on local housing need and demand helps us plan for the future. If you are interested one of our properties become available please
in renting when they contact us:
Rural Stirling Housing Association Stirling Road, Doune FK16 6AA Telephone: 01786 841101 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.rsha.org.uk
Registered as a Scottish Charity No. SC037849
“A bulb is like a promise of things to come” It’s the time of year to start planning and planting bulbs in the garden that will bring colour to what can be bleak and dreary winter landscapes. However, one of our favourite flowering bulbs, the tulip is also now being used an edible flower. They taste a bit like peppery lettuce and with such an amazing array of colours they add glamour to any salad. My first experience of tulips as an edible flower was not in a fancy restaurant, when I was a child, my aunt was working as a nurse and had a patient who was clearly very depressed and refusing to speak. One day she sat on the edge of his bed and slowly ate a couple of tulips from the vase of flowers next to his bed. I don’t really know what prompted her to do this but it got him talking again. He was a local farmer and after he recovered he returned to the ward bearing a rook pie for my aunt who he had taken quite a shine to. Those were the days when patients got a bottle of stout at bedtime to help them sleep, apparently rook pie is greatly improved with a glass of stout to wash it down! At the end of the war, after losing the battle of Arnheim in 1944, there was a famine in Holland - food and fuel stocks ran out and thousands starved. Tulip growers didn’t plant their bulbs that year and in desperation the old dry bulbs were sold in grocery stores, the skin of the bulb was removed, like an onion, and so was the centre (because that is poisonous) then the bulbs were dried and baked in the oven. According to reports they didn’t taste a whole lot better than sawdust. The petals however are a different matter and in addition to being used in salads they also make good wine. Perennials are great for filling our garden landscapes but it can take quite a while before the blooms of some types appear each season. The trick to achieving 14
colour early in the season is to pair the right bulbs with the right perennials so that flowers from the bulbs rise above their leaves and then magically disappear just before the perennial’s flowers show up. Penstemon works with hyacinth or daffodils and full-sized daffodils look good popping out of oriental poppy or phlox. Black tulips like Queen of Night look great growing out of almost any sedum. Asters and ornamental alliums combine well as do geraniums and tulips; the early geranium foliage gives the tulip blooms a lovely green backdrop. September is a great time to plant daffodils, crocus, hyacinth, snowdrops and Scilla that will bloom in springtime. October for lilies, alliums and crocosmia and finally tulips in November for blooms in late spring or summer. One thing that scientists have recently discovered is that bulbs are pretty smart. They can adjust themselves to the right planting depth by “pulling themselves” deeper into the ground with a kind of hydraulic action by contracting their roots in search of moisture and more conducive growing conditions. This action is triggered by light stimulating the bulb if planted too close to the surface. Whether you have a window box or a woodland garden, with thousands of different varieties of bulbs you are bound to find something you like. Unlike tulips, daffodils are poisonous and, like any
From top: Scilla; Hyacinths; Tulips.
other food, some people are allergic to tulip petals - so if you do fancy cheering up your salad next spring, proceed with caution!
Perthshire OPEN Studios This annual nine day event is held in September and involves artists and makers throughout Perthshire and Kinross-Shire opening their studios and workshops to the public many of them giving demonstrations - and all of them welcoming visitors!
Visit perthshireopenstudios.com for more details
I need something that says ‘I know it’s our anniversary, but I’m going fishing with the lads’.
A fabulous, vibrant NEW exhibition opened last month at Riverside Art Gallery (in the garden centre next to Tullybannocher cafe). Come and enjoy this treasure trove of local art on your doorstep! Exhibitors include Liz Kemp, Christine Ironside, Gill Waugh, Dave and Gill Hunt, Robert Ryan, Jo Cound, Kathy Collins, Madeline Davenport, Margaret Evans, Vicky Cottrell, Jimmy Laing, Michelle Hewitt, Fiona Haddow, Katy Galbraith, Yvonne Spearing and Sheila Roberts with lovely hand carved boxes by Dave McKeen and ceramic art by Moka Pottery. ALL WELCOME!
McLaren High School Success has landed at McLaren High as pupils get involved in STEM tasks that are out of this world Pupils at McLaren High have been heavily involved in STEM projects throughout session 2015/16 and their hard work is beginning to pay off. A team of new S4 pupils represented the school at a Tomorrow’s Engineers Robotics Challenge in York carrying out a number of projects and challenges centred around a Mars Mission. Having qualified from their heat they went on to represent the school at the National Final in Coventry. A team of S6 pupils have been working all year on a number of projects in their free time over the last year including building and programming a school weather station using a Raspberry Pi, developing mobile phone apps for using in Maths classes and most recently launching a balloon into near-space. Robotics Challenge On 16 June, our McLaren High Robotics team consisting of Sandy Holl, Euan Murphy, Niamh King, Heather Jackson, Stephanie Lau and our mascot ‘Richard the fork’ went to The Yorkshire Air Museum for a robotics competition being held there by Tomorrow’s Engineers. Previously we had been competing against other teams in the school to be a part of the Getting to grips with our robots! final team to represent McLaren in the competition. When we arrived at the Air Museum we had to give our team presentation first. We walked to a WW2 chapel where we met our the River Spey. The group was made up of assessors who were extremely knowledgeable 7 S6 pupils; myself, Finn Manders, Meghan Duke of Edinburgh heroes, left to right: in the space and robotics fields. We were a little McAra, Maria Whyte, Alan Chodyniecki, Meghan McAra, Alan Chodyniecki, Andrew nervous due to us being the first to present. Andrew Murphy and Luke Hibbert. We left Murphy, Luke Hibbert, Finn Manders, However we got great feedback on it from the Callander on Saturday 9 July and headed for Maria Whyte and assessors. We ran a little overtime and missed Kingussie where we were spending the night Eilidh Graham a few facts but overall it went well and we were in a bunkhouse. The following morning we very pleased with our efforts. put the boats in at Loch Insh and began our We then had to do our first attempt at the four day expedition. Day 1 was quite easy, no performance with our robot in which we nearly rapids to consider – perfect to get us used to scored full points, the only points we lost were being on the river. to do with not leaving the rover on Mars. Day 2 promised to be a bit more fun and We could not however stay for the Awards exciting as we would be encountering the and had to quickly leave; we were about 20 so-called ‘washing machine’ rapid. We learnt minutes away when we got the phone call that the washing machine was a massive drop telling us we had made the grand finals in in the river and when the canoes went over Coventry which we competed in on 23 June. it they got absolutely filled with water! After We travelled to Birmingham the night bailing the canoes out we were ahead of time before the competition and travelled to the and so we decided we may as well go past the Ricoh Arena first thing the next day ready to Knockando rapids since we were already wet. compete. We started with our Robot Design These had initially been timetabled for the None of it would have been possible though Presentation which went well before moving following morning, which would have meant without the help of Les Berrow, our group on to our Robot Performance. Everything we would have been wet for the whole day leader, Matt Brooke, the assessor from Active which could go wrong did go wrong – it was a and nobody was particularly keen on that idea. Stirling and Elaine Berrow, Les’s wife who disaster! These rapids required a lot of concentration drove the minibus. A big thanks also goes We then had to do our Space presentation as a lapse could result in capsizing and being to Bob Bawden who helped so much with all which went well before getting our second swept away! There were lots of fallen trees the arranging and organising of the trip and attempt at the Robot Performance. We felt and rocks to skirt around which made it rather to Jacquie Fingland without whom we would under serious pressure after our disappointing hard as a canoe is not the easiest thing to never have reached Gold. THANK YOU!! first run – we had to put our best score manoeuvre Eilidh Graham S6 forward out of the two attempts. After a Day 3 was calm compared to the previous shaky start everything came together and we day with only the occasional rapid. We were all only dropped one point out of forty for our beginning to tire a little by this point and this Performance – it was amazing! We finished was shown when Meghan and Maria capsized. 9th overall in the UK out of 200 schools who Day 4 was straightforward – head for entered the process which we are delighted the sea! We decided to absolutely tank on with. because we knew we had a long drive home. Niamh King, Heather Jackson, This meant we reached Spey Bay at lunchtime and Stephanie Lau S4 and the sun was shining! We polished off the last of our food sitting on the grass in the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award sunlight, laughing and chatting about the Expedition trip as whole, but mainly Meghan and Maria’s McLaren High’s Gold Duke of Edinburgh capsizes! Although the weather was nothing Canoeing Expedition Group recently special over our days away we still had a great completed their qualifying expedition on time and made some lifelong memories.
Houston... we have a problem...
Left: Taken from ‘space’; above: Getting ready... and below: Freddie, Hannah, Connor and Paul retrieve the box!
Space Balloon Project The S6 Advanced Computing group was made up of Freddie Bawden, Sophie Conroy, Hannah Michael, Paul Scott and Connor Stewart. Unfortunately Sophie could not be present for the day of the launch. We gained a CAA permit to launch our Balloon on Friday 17 June. We had to contact Air Traffic Control on Friday morning to ensure that planes would be aware our balloon was in the air. The balloon was filled with a full cylinder of helium and was launched at 10.20am from the rugby pitch beside the school. We calculated that the balloon would rise at 6.87m/s to 30,000 metres (98,425 feet) before bursting after roughly 1 hour and 10 minutes. Our box would then return to earth via parachute. We programmed two Raspberry Pis to take photographs, one of which was set to upload photos to an Internet site over the mobile phone network, whenever it was in signal. The other was set to store all of its photos on an SD card. Shortly after midday we received information from our tracker that the box had landed in Houston (near Glasgow...! -Ed.) so we set off to find it. Just after 1pm we found our balloon in a dense forest, stuck up a tree. After a quick climb up the tree to release the parachute, we had our box back less than four hours after setting it off at the school. Sadly we discovered that one camera had malfunctioned, but happily we recovered a number of high quality photographs from the other one.
Loch Earn has Ripple Effect on Loch Venachar BLiSS artist’s trail leads villagers to Ripple Retreat building fund in
Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016 When blacksmith artist Kev Paxton agreed to place his eye catching sculptures on the A84 and A85 BLiSS trail – hosted by the Loch Earn Tourism Information (LETi) group, to celebrate Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016 – he could not have predicted the ripple effect that stories linking his work to a charity building project would have on, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St Fillans (BLS) communities. BLS villagers have raised over £1,450 towards The Ripple Retreat building project on Loch Venachar since #BLiSStrail was launched in April. The Ripple Retreat building is the inspiration of Its Good 2 Give charity founder and Chair, Lynne McNicoll, OBE. Led by architect Tony Kettle, a unique lochside holiday house is under construction on the banks of Loch Venachar, designed for young cancer patients to enjoy time away with their families. The project’s success is down to passionate ambassadors like Kev Paxton and others who have offered time, skills and funding. Lochearnhead Hotel owner Amanda Kerr was sponsored by BLS villagers to take part in the Run MHOR half marathon, raising £605. A further £750 was collected at the community football fundraiser held the day after the BLS Highland Games in Lochearnhead. Each year married men - including Angus Cameron, President of the BLS Highland Games and Donald MacLaren, Chief of the MacLaren clan – take on local bachelors at football in the Highland Games field. Married ladies play single ladies to provide half time entertainment and coveted team trophies are awarded at full time. “BLiSS trail sculptures have captured the imagination of locals which is how we found out about The Ripple Retreat” said Martin Sanders who championed this year’s football fundraising event in Lochearnhead. “We will watch the building progress with interest” Lynne McNicoll said “I am delighted to have the support of the local community around the Ripple Retreat and with such innovative fundraising! Community fundraising has been at the heart of It’s Good 2 Give – most of the money raised 18
for the Ripple Retreat has been done through community fundraising and I am so proud of that. When we open the doors of the Retreat to families of young cancer patients in 2017 we do so knowing that we all played a part in its creation. Well done and a massive thank you to BLS villagers. I wish now that I had seen the football fundraiser – sounds lots of fun! I was fortunate enough to meet Amanda before she took part in the half marathon and I very much look forward to meeting more of the community in the coming months” LETi launched the BLiSS roadside art installation trail on 29th April 2016. Collaborating with private and public tourism promoters and a dozen artists, the group aimed to attract more visitors to stop and spend time in BLS villages within Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Kev Paxton’s work, includes 3m high, steel “Sunflowers” at The Golden Larches Restaurant, Balquhidder Station, “Bill The Bull” at the Lochearnhead Hotel and “Blawn Wi The Wind” giant thistles at Briar Cottages on Loch Earn, all of which are linked to 22 other art installations along the four village trail. The Lochearnhead Hotel owners Amanda and chef Robert Kerr have been proud to display Bill The Bull on their lochside grounds and to share Kev Paxton’s stories. “We learned that each strand of Bill‘s multi-coloured metal coat was painted by children, who donated money to Its Good 2 Give in return for making their indelible mark. Bill has been delighting families at our hotel and Kev’s Ripple Retreat stories inspired me to run a half marathon to collect more funds” said Amanda. Kim Proven, Chair of LETi, said “Local tourism businesses have been honoured
Handing over the cheque from BLS
to host Kev’s head turning sculptures. They have been lighting up the faces of visitors of all age groups. I describe Kev Paxton as a creative metal artist who works in steel with a heart of gold. We invite anyone who has not experienced his amazing installations alongside other gifted artists’ and architects’ work, to visit our naturally beautiful and welcoming villages soon - with a camera and selfie stick!” LETi and the BLS communities of less than 1000 residents prove that small business and community collaboration can have far reaching benefits and hope that their story will ripple out even further for greater effect. Further information: LETi BLiSS trail: www.robroycountry.com/blisstrail The Ripple Retreat / It’s Good 2 Give: www.itsgood2give.co.uk/
SEEING STARS by Keith Wilson
SEPTEMBER 2016 How far do you think you can see with your eyes? 10 miles? 30 miles? 100 miles? It might surprise you to know that the most distant object you can see with your eyes is the Andromeda Galaxy which is 14 813 819 500 000 000 000 miles away - that’s fourteen quintillion, eight hundred and thirteen quadrillion, eight hundred and nineteen trillion and five hundred billion! Now that is far! The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest large galaxy to our own Milky Way and is roughly twice the size of our galaxy. It can be seen in the night sky with the naked eye in a dark sky location as a fuzzy dim star. With binoculars you should be able to make out the fuzzy elongated shape of the galaxy. Both the Milky Way and Andromeda are spiral galaxies consisting of a rotating disk of stars with curved arms spiralling outwards from a central bulge of older stars. There are billions of galaxies in the universe ranging from just a few million stars to some with trillions. Galaxies are just large collections of stars which are held together by gravity and a mysterious invisible force called dark matter. So, where should you look to see our ‘sister’ galaxy? You need to go star-hopping to locate it. Find the distinctive ‘W-shaped’ constellation of Cassiopeia which is nearly overhead. Use the right side of the ‘W’ as an arrow pointing down towards the Andromeda Galaxy. Using the height of the ’W’ as a measure, go three ‘W’ lengths in the direction the arrow points and you will be close to the galaxy. It might take you a few attempts to find the Andromeda Galaxy but be patient and keep trying. Remember to keep away from lights - the darker the place you observe from, the better chance you have of finding it. 19
Since last month’s articles, thankfully there has been a reduction in the number of thefts that have occurred. I am pleased to see that a number of people have contacted police and reported suspicious vehicles and persons and allowed us to stop them and carry out enquiries. I would urge that to continue, particularly as the evenings begin to draw in and traditionally the number of thefts begins to increase. With regards to the thefts that I reported last month, enquiry is still ongoing with regards to the persons responsible for them, but it would appear that a number of persons have been responsible and they have been actively stealing items across Scotland. That being the case, the complex investigations have now been taken on by a dedicated department who will continue the enquiry on a full time basis. Over the past month, our roads have been incredibly busy and we have dealt with a number of serious RTCs, as well as one fatal collision on Saturday 13th August which occurred on the A85 between Lochearnhead and St Fillans. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the friends and family. This incident led to the first deployment of the quick deployment signs which
Poor preparation for uncertain weather can result in a dangerous situation
I must say, were used to good effect. It allowed the road to be fully closed by police in a matter of minutes after the incident occurred, preventing further traffic from accessing the scene and allowing the emergency services to do their jobs in safety. It also meant that staff from Bear Scotland were able to come direct to the closure after being contacted instead of having to attend to a depot for signage. There also happened to be a function on at one of the hotels in Lochearnhead and this allowed for one of the signs to have a message written on it advising of that and that anyone attending could still get through. Given that there have been a number of serious, and a fatal collision, there will be a continued effort on the education and enforcement of motorists on the local roads. Our Roads Policing Officers have targeted the A84, A85 and A82 every weekend since April, as part of Operation Zenith, with good effect as there has been a marked reduction in the number of serious injuries and deaths on our roads. Clearly enforcement is the only way to get through to those that have little regard for the safety of themselves and other motorists and as such it will continue. Over the last month there have been a number of local events which have passed with very little incidents, which is pleasing to see given the numbers of visitors in attendance. A record crowd was achieved at the Lochearnhead Highland Games on the 23rd July and there was only one incident which occurred as the event was coming to a close which resulted in a group of persons fighting. The aggressor responsible was arrested a short time later and was taken into custody where he spent the night. He has since accepted his guilt and has been duly fined. In the past few weeks we have also dealt with numerous calls relating to persons becoming lost on our hills due to poor preparation and being ill equipped. On one of the more recent rescues on Ben
Lui, it took over 12 hours to resolve in poor visibility and incredibly dangerous terrain. Not only did they put their own lives at risk, but also those of us who have to get them back to safety. Simply by taking a map and compass with them, and knowing how to navigate themselves to safety, these issues could easily have been avoided. The group on Ben Lui were trying to navigate off the Munro in zero visibility and high winds with the aid of Google Maps! They may work in a town centre but 1100m up a mountain, there’s no chance. As always, I can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at william.diamond@ scotland.pnn.police.uk. Regards, PC Will Diamond
Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of Meeting held at Balquhidder Village Hall on 10 August 2016
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), David Johnston (DJ), Loraine Telfer (LT), Alice Duncan (AD), Karen Methven (KM) and Adrian Squires (AS). Apologies: Angus Cameron, Ruth McLusky, Richard Eastland (BLS CC); Dionne Gallacher and Theresa Elliot (Stirling Council); Billy Ronald (National Park). In attendance: Cllr Martin Earl (ME), Stirling Council; PC Will Diamond (WD), (Police Scotland). 1) Approval of Minutes It was proposed by LT, and seconded by AD, that the minutes of the meeting on 29th June 2016 should be accepted, and this was approved unanimously. 2) Declarations of Interest Nobody present made any declaration of interest. 3) Police Report Between 29th June and 8th August 2016, there were two incidents of note in our area. On 14th July, a person was checked in a lay-by on the A85 on the North shore of Loch Earn and found to be in breach of bail conditions. The suspect was arrested and later charged with this offence. On 23rd August, a male was arrested for a Breach of the Peace following the Lochearnhead Highland Games. In the early hours of 5th July 2016, several items of garden equipment, and a ride-on lawnmower were stolen from Immervoulin Caravan Park, Strathyre. The ride-on tractor was later recovered nearby. There are lines of enquiry that are currently being pursued and updates will be given in due course. This is linked to a number of thefts across rural Stirlingshire in the past few weeks. Four reports have been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal for various traffic-related offences, and a number of fixed penalties have been issued to motorists for motoring offences, including speeding, untaxed vehicles, uninsured vehicles, and driving without an MOT. High visibility patrols and static road checks have continued, in order to deter and detect travelling criminals, as well as patrols under Operation Ironworks. Roads Policing officers have been targeting the trunk roads on A84, A85 and A82 every weekend as part of Operation Zenith, which is focused on driver behaviour and road safety, concentrating on enforcement and education in respect of motorcyclists. WD then responded to various queries about recent incidents, and further details were given about the new, local warning signs for temporary road closures and diversions that will be used by BEAR and Police Scotland. The new arrangements were warmly welcomed by the members of the council. 4) Matters Arising 4a) Lochearnhead Garage and Water-front. PH reported that he had spoken with Angus Cameron regarding these properties. In the case of the old garage premises, there has been a delay in settling an insurance claim but this has now been resolved and things are moving forwards. A planning application has been submitted to develop a number of business units that can be used for commercial trading. In the interim, there are plans to erect some temporary fencing in order to protect the site, and improve the appearance of the property, until such time as it can be properly developed. As regards the water-front area, where the former café and water-sports centre was situated before it was subject to an arson attack, there is an ongoing dispute with the tenant who has a long-term lease on the site. The dispute concerns the valuation of the remaining time of the lease but, until this is settled, the owner cannot use the site, or make it open to the public. There is nothing to prevent people accessing the site under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act, 2003, but the provisions of the Occupiers Liability (Scotland) Act, 1960, still apply so neither the owner nor the tenant is willing to invite members of the public to use the land, given the inherent dangers of the water front. In effect, this means that people taking advantage of the ‘right to roam’ are willingly accepting any risks that they may face. Regarding the former garage site, ME mentioned that Stirling Council had made available funds specifically to assist with development of new commercial initiatives in rural areas. This project sounds ideally suited to the purpose of these funds, and ME suggested that the landowner should be encouraged to apply for a grant. 4b) National Park Meeting. PH reported that Gordon Watson (CEO, National Park) had requested that his presentation on the project entitled ‘Your Park’ be deferred to the community council meeting on 21st September. PH added that an additional request had since been received for members of the Five Lochs Management Group to attend the community council meeting on 21st September in order to hear the presentation from Gordon Watson. Both requests were agreed. Action: PH to notify National Park accordingly. 5) Strathyre Primary School Extension AD had been discussing the proposed extension to the school premises with Mr Duncan Cameron from Strathyre who lives opposite the school. He had gone on to express concern about the current state of the school property, where there is a lot of windfall damage, especially at the rear of the site. According to Mr Cameron, the Forestry Commission appears to be clearing a fifty metre radius around the school to accommodate the new extension. There are also some damaged hardwood trees at the road-side which are likely to present a danger to pedestrians if not properly managed. AD also commented that many of the local way markers have disappeared from the Forestry paths behind the school. MM stated that we would need to contact both the Forestry Commission and Stirling Council, as both agencies had responsibilities in the different areas involved. ME stated that there would be no need to clear any trees for the proposed extension. He also said that there are statutory requirements for both agencies to consult each other in such circumstances. WD suggested that the clearing of trees behind the school may be purely for safety purposes. It was concluded that Stirling Council should be contacted regarding the trees beside the road, but ME suggested that the Forestry Commission should be contacted to find out why a number of trees have been marked. Are they going to be cleared - and why? It was agreed that ME would find out who should be approached in Stirling Council. AD will investigate exactly where the offending trees beside the road are situated, and notify ME accordingly. AD offered to contact the FC to find out about the marking on the trees, and said she would be willing to attend any subsequent site meeting. Action: PH to contact SC regarding road-side trees. AD to contact FC regarding marked trees and way markers. It was also mentioned that the Forestry Commission had put up new signs behind The Broch CafÈ to warn people that no wild camping is allowed on the field there. 6) Bye-law and Clearways PH reported that there was no new information regarding progress on the alcohol bye-law. WD stated that the police had met recently with Stirling Council and things appeared to be very positive. However, ME stated that he had recently been surprised to find that the matter of the bye-law had not been included on the agenda for a Council meeting. He had liaised with Iain Strachan, the Chief Governance Officer, regarding this, but suggested that it might assist if the community council was also to make clear its concern that the alcohol bye-law should come into force at the same time as the new camping bye-law. This was agreed. Action: PH to contact Iain Strachan regarding progress of the alcohol bye-law. 7) Correspondence 7a) Clackmannanshire and Stirling Health & Social Care Partnership. MM had received a letter from this body regarding the existence of an integrated care fund for projects that seek to address health inequalities. The letter was couched in such obscure terms that members had difficulty understanding it but, eventually, it was decided that we were being asked for any local examples of projects that could be funded. Nobody could think of any existing group that might qualify, but it was decided to refer the correspondence to the BLS Trust. ME suggested that the provision of transport for those attending the Lunch Club in Lochearnhead might be an appropriate project. DJ agreed to take this to the Trust. Action: DJ to take the enquiry to the BLS Trust. 7b) Connect Fund. LC stated that she had received written confirmation of the award of a grant under the Stirling Council Connect Fund towards the creation of a joint website for The Villagers magazine and the Community Council. (See item 6 of BLS Minutes, 29 June 2016.) She also stated, however, that an application to change the authorised signatories for our cheque account with the Bank of Scotland was taking an inordinate time to complete, and that, until this was in place, we were unable to make any payments or discharge our debts. This was noted. 8) Planning Matters AS reported that no new applications had been officially notified to us, but he was aware that two local planning applications had been submitted recently, and provided details of them. These were discussed briefly, and it was agreed that neither application was likely to have any widespread impact on the community. However, ME noted that fewer notifications were being made recently and wondered whether some change of policy had taken place on the part of the National Park planners. This was noted. 9) Matters From Councillors 9a) ME stated that, as Stirling Council was currently in recess, there was very little to report at present, but mentioned that a new Director of Infrastructure and Localities was being sought. 9b) ME asked if the community council was still receiving notifications from BEAR regarding local road works and closures. PH stated that nothing had come directly to notice since the re-surfacing of the A85 last Autumn. ME suggested that a reminder might be in order. Action: PH to contact BEAR over notification of road works. 10) Any Other Competent Business 10a) New Diversion Signs. ME reported that the Stirling Observer was about to publish an article about the new, local warning signs being located on the A84 and A85, and suggested that the community council might wish to offer a comment. The following was proposed and agreed: “The new signs are a great idea. There seem to be more and more incidents on these roads, and often it’s necessary for the police to close them and send people on long diversions. But it can still be possible to reach local roads and houses along the closed section of road, and the new temporary warning signs will enable the police to give local people much better information about exactly where they can get to, saving them a great deal of time and trouble on a long diversion.” 10b) Accidents involving cyclists. AD commented on an increasing number of accidents involving cyclists at Keip Road in Strathyre. WD mentioned that it would be good to speak to Kenny Higgins, the local contact for SusTrans about this, and AD agreed to do so. Action: AD to liaise with Kenny Higgins. There was no other business and, at 8:45 p.m., MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting is due to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 21st September 2016 at Lochearnhead Village Hall.
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• DIARY DATES • We e k l y A c t i v i t i e s Monday
Bowling - St Fillans Lunch Club - The Scout Station, Lochearnhead - 12.30pm - 2.30pm
Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 to11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am to 12.30pm Country Dancing - St Fillans
Wednesday Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am to 12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00 to 9.00pm Thursday
Darts League - The Inn & Bistro - 7.00pm From 22 September - Choir Occasional - Balquhidder Village Hall - 7.30 to 9pm (contact Gill 01877 384203)
Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon (Contact Mel Brydie 01877 384668)
Choir Occasional restarts! Balquhidder Village Hall - see page 2
Coffee Morning - Strathyre - see page 2
OC TOBER 2016
Lunch Club starts again - Lochearnhead - see page 2
The Villagers’ Photographer Jason Allardyce
www.allardycephotography.co.uk facebook.com/allardycephotography 01877 384295 / 07508 595211 Wedding, Portrait, Social, Pet Photography Councillor Martin Earl Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07881 310 922 firstname.lastname@example.org Councillor Alycia Hayes Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07881 310 924 email@example.com Councillor Fergus Wood Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07824 496 019 firstname.lastname@example.org
CHURCH SERVICES Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St. Fillans CHURCH OF SCOTLAND
Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316
Sunday 11.30am Minister: Vacancy Enquiries to Interim Moderator: Revd Terry Ann Taylor 01877 382391 Dundurn Church, St Fillans Sunday11.30am Minister: Rev Graham McWilliams Tel: 01764 671 045
ROMAN CATHOLIC Callander, St Joseph the Worker Sunday 11.30am Saturday Vigil Mass 5.30pm from May through to September Killin, in the Episcopal Church Sunday 2.30pm Father Jim McCruden 2 Ancaster Square, Callander Tel: 01877 330 702
SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH St Angus’s Church, Lochearnhead 1st Sunday each month: 11.30am Communion 2nd Sunday 5.30pm Evensong 3rd Sunday 11.30am Communion 4th Sunday 5.30pm Evensong 5th Sunday (if applicable) 5.30pm FOOD FOR THOUGHT
A reflective time to discuss contemporary issues in a spiritual context
(Check with Rector for venue: 01764 655389)
Vestry Secretary - Maureen Lipscomb Tel: 01567 830234
The voice of St Fillans, Strathyre, Balquhidder and Lochearnhead communities. St Fillans Festive weekend, The Fergussons of Balquhidder, BLi...
Published on Sep 1, 2016
The voice of St Fillans, Strathyre, Balquhidder and Lochearnhead communities. St Fillans Festive weekend, The Fergussons of Balquhidder, BLi...