This picture is one of a number of items displayed in the McLean Hall, Fearnan. It was discovered by Ian Brace amongst some papers, and given to Ian McGregor when he was writing his book Fearnan, The Story of a Highland Village in Northern Perthshire. Nothing was known about the subject of the picture, but it was thought he may have been an old Fearnan worthy, or possibly a tinker, so the picture was included in the Fearnan Archive.
Thanks to the Aberfeldy Museum Facebook Page, we now know that the gentleman was Peter Feggan, a hawker from Aberfeldy, who usually wore a waist-coat only (no coat), chewed tobacco, and drank half a glass of whisky four times a day. At one point, a rumour of his demise greatly annoyed him, causing him to remark, “Yes; but I know’d it was a lie whenever I heered it.”
He did actually die on the 18th of February, 1878, at Duntaylor, at the ripe old age of 107. Such longevity, particularly at that time, must have resulted in him being a figure of note in the area. Peter Feggan was Irish and came to Scotland about 1815. He was a regular figure at Aberfeldy Railway Station where he sold newspapers. Feggan would have been 16 years old when Robert Burns wrote The Birks O’Aberfeldy.
Scottish Charity Air Ambulance Collecting Can
Last year, the FVA was given a Scottish Charity Air Ambulance collecting can, and from June, it sat on the table at Coffee Mornings and other events. By the beginning of this year, it was full and was returned to SCAA. We have just heard that, in a relatively short space of time, the generous folk of Fearnan have quietly tucked £115.66 into that little can. What a result!
And, of course, we’ve also had the super-successful Quiz Night in aid of SCAA funds – more on the Quiz Night in the next Blog.
Fearnan Book Club
At the March book club meeting, the group discussed Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. In general, this book was well regarded and had been read by most of the group (always a good starting point!). One reader even sent a review from Australia by email. As always, opinions were varied and it was described as “disturbing” by one of the group. The text generated a lively discussion about the life, character, and behaviour of Eleanor and the nature of her interactions with others. The discussion touched on various themes which may have been relevant to Eleanor, including loneliness, alcoholism, disfigurement , autism/Asperger’s, emotional intelligence, etc. Most felt that as the story progressed, barriers were broken down and Eleanor’s life changed with (possibly) a happy ending.
The book selected for April’s meeting is The Witch Finder’s Sister, by Beth Underdown. This is described as a captivating historical thriller set in Manningtree, Essex in the 1640s. It is a fictional story based around Matthew Hopkins, a renowned witch hunter, who is believed to have had 106 women put to death. It is also described as being perfect for fans of The Minaturist and The Essex Serpent.
If you want to get ahead, and continuing with the Sister Theme, the next book will be The Other Hoffman Sister, by Ben Fergusson, which will be discussed in May.
The next FVA event will be the April Coffee Morning on Tuesday 3rd April at 10.30 am in the village Hall.
Draft Minutes of the Fearnan Village Association
Annual General Meeting and Business Meeting 2017-18
17th March 2018
Annual General Meeting
The Chair opened the meeting and welcomed members to the FVA AGM.
Guy and Jeanette Hickman, Joan Millar, Jim Fair, Elaine Melrose, Francis Brace, Alistair Grier and Carol Scambler.
3. Approval of the Minutes of the 2016-17 AGM held on 25thMarch 2017
Approval of the FVA 2016-17 Minutes was proposed by Julia Lane and seconded by Fran Donovan.
4. Annual Report
- Financial Report and Approval of Financial Statement:
The Treasurer reported that total Income from membership subscriptions, events and donations in 2017-18 was £1207.69. Membership now stands at 66.
Total Expenditure was £797.44, and this means income exceeded expenditure by £410.25. The previous year, a surplus of £760.39 was generated. The reduced surplus was the result of higher than normal expenditure including bracken bashing equipment and the FVA’s 10th Birthday Celebration. Our Reserves now stand at £5878.62.
Jim Fair was thanked for examining the accounts, which he found to be ‘correct and sufficiently vouched’.
Adoption of the Financial Statement was proposed by Nick Grant and seconded by Ros Grant.
The FVA has two broad objectives:
- To provide a forum to discuss issues that affect or concern the village of Fearnan and take action where necessary. This includes matters affecting the protection of the village and its environment, including the Rigg system.
- To provide social events.
This year, matters that fell into the first of these objectives included:
- The Local Development Plan Review
- Borland farm–disruption in the village from farm guests and the proposed expansion of the business with an associated planning application.
- Scrap and Land Management.
Associated with these issues, the role of the FVA committee has been:
Correspondence with relevant agencies: e.g. writing to Perth & Kinross Council to support its intention set out in the local development plan, to retain the existing village boundary and maintain its stated policy for the village regarding development.
- Liaison with PKC Planning Department, the Community Council, the police, and the Multi-Agency Group regarding scrap and land management.
- Providing a communication channel between members and the various agencies including passing on information from these groups, clarification of issues, contact numbers and keeping members and other interested parties up-dated.
- Providing guidance and advice on reporting antisocial behaviour.
- Identifying planning applications that may have a detrimental effect on the environment of the village or which threaten the preservation of the Rigg system and responding to these. One member attended and spoke to the Development Management Committee on behalf of the Association when the Farm planning application was being considered.
- Providing general guidance on responding to planning applications, and especially ‘material considerations’ which are most likely to be heeded by the planners.
- Submitting planning responses reflecting members’ views or concerns.
- Informal meetings with developers, including the principals of the farm development.
Relating to our second objective, our social role, the committee has:
- Organised 11 events including our birthday tea. A Saturday lunch time event was also tried out.
- The Committee hosted Russian visitors to the site of the 1943 plane crash.
- Bracken bashing tools were purchased to clear a site for the installation of Anne McGregor’s memorial bench. Special thanks to Keith and Hazel Brockie and Alistair Grier who put in a lot of work to clear the site and install the bench, and others who also helped.
- Fearnan’s history continues to be researched and recorded, particularly on the Blog.
- Liaison with the Maclean Hall Committee was maintained by our representative on that Committee.
- The website was maintained.
5. Committee Membership
Membership of the Committee remains the same – Sue Gardener (Chair), Fiona Ballantyne (Treasurer), Neil Ballantyne, Julia Lane, Fran Donovan and Peter McKenzie.
Later, in the business Meeting, Julia Lane was asked and agreed to continue as the FVA representative on the Hall Committee. This was welcomed by the Chair of the Hall Committee.
No other business was raised, and the Chair closed the meeting.
Fearnan Village Association Business Meeting
Cllr Ian Campbell
At the start of the meeting, the Chair paid tribute to Cllr Ian Campbell who died recently. Ian Campbell was a good friend to the village, providing much help and support. His passing is a huge loss to the village.
1. Approval of the Minutes of the FVA Business Meeting held on 25thMarch 2017
The Minutes were proposed by Julia Lane and seconded by Nick Grant.
2. Matters Arising not covered elsewhere in the Agenda:
- Scrap and Land Management
The multi-agency group is now led by Sandy Robertson. The FVA Chair is to meet him soon in her role as CC Chair. It was asked if one of the other councillors would take on the role of championing the village, previously filled by Ian Campbell. This may be possible, but we will need to wait until after the local by-elections.
A new stone support is to be installed at the front of the Memorial so that wreaths can be laid without the need to climb up onto the Memorial.
Licenses for maps and pictures need to be renewed and we need to research demand for another print. FB will action this.
- Temporary Sign to promote FVA Events
A blackboard sign has been acquired.
3. Blog Report
The Fearnan Blog continues to attract readers from around the world. On one day in December 2017 people from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Mauritius, Russia, Germany, New Zealand and China all read items on the blog.
In addition to FVA members, there are approximately 65 people who follow the blog but do not live in the village.
The Blog has been revamped slightly, and there are some new pages. These include Fearnan in the Past, which brings together articles about Fearnan’s history and Useful Contact Numbers. The Photo Gallery has been revamped so it is easier to browse the photographs, and the What’s On page provides details of forthcoming events as well as meeting times for regular clubs and groups that use the Hall.
Contributions and/or ideas for the Blog are always welcome. Please contact Fiona on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any thoughts, ideas or photos that others might enjoy.
4. New Data Protection Regulations
New Data Protection Regulations are coming into effect in May and require people to ‘opt in’ to having their data stored by organisations. To ensure we are compliant, the FVA will write to members indicating the data held, the use to which it is put and who has access to it. Members need simply to reply to the email indicating which of name, address, email and phone no. they are content for the FVA to store and use.
The Membership form will be amended to secure these permissions when membership is taken out or renewed.
Fearnan now has a fibre optic box which is expected to be connected later this year. There was no information on the speeds that will be available once installation is complete.
(According to the website https://www.scotlandsuperfast.com/where-when/# Fearnan is connected to the Kenmore exchange and work is currently planned to install fibre in this exchange, with the first premises in the exchange area being enabled for fibre within the next six months. Progress can be monitored on this website, but there is a note to the effect that engineering challenges have been encountered during the building process which have impacted on the deployment data for this area. Work is still ongoing to resolve these issues and is expected to be complete this year.
For completeness, it should be noted that a 9MBPS service is available in Fearnan from Bogons and is available to houses with line-of-sight of the Bogons’ masts.)
6. Report of Working Group
At the 2017 Annual General Meeting, a Working Group was set up to look at two projects. A Village Map locating houses in the village and a voluntary directory designed to promote more neighbour contacts and mutual self-help.
The Working Group reported back and recommends that the projects are maintained as two separate projects.
For the map, there are two possibilities: (i) an Ordnance Survey 1:1,250 scale extract map, or (ii) a drone photo ‘survey’ of the village. The OS map is restricted to one square kilometre, and costs about £40-50 for a non-recurring licence. Some houses are named, and it would involve additional work to add the remaining house names. The drone photo is unexplored territory and would involve test runs to get the height, scope and scale right. It can be done locally; the cost would be about £50-100, and all house-names would have to be added. Either could be made into, e.g. a 4-page A5 leaflet and/or a larger map to be distributed to villagers.
There was a discussion on this, during which it was clarified that this was not the same as previous idea of a map of the paths and monuments around Fearnan. The drone idea was discounted as there were too many unknowns. Concerns were raised about security and it was clarified that there is no intention to add any more detail than is already available on line through Google maps and other applications. After much discussion, a way forward was identified with the Art Club agreeing to look at the possibility of producing an updated version of Julia’s hand drawn map if all the information required to do this is provided in an appropriate format.
It was also agreed that house names do not need to be written on the map – houses can be numbered, and cross referenced to an alphabetical list of names.
For the directory, the working group suggested that it is compiled on the basis of a letter to every home requesting the Information to be included. The letter will be sent out under the auspices of the FVA at this stage, although if the project proceeds it will have its own separate committee. The letter would seek opt-in consent and explain the purpose/advantages of the scheme: that is: to enable and encourage residents to make contact with each other more easily and to offer non-intrusive help, particularly at times of collective or individual challenge. The standard listing would probably be name, house name, phone, email and, if it suits individuals, an emergency contact number for relatives – or alternatively the name of the local person who holds the emergency contact information. Once collated the operating principle might be one of sharing information i.e. that the contact information is only made available to those who contribute their own.
This directory would be compiled and managed separately from the Fearnan Village Association Members List.
After much discussion, a vote was taken on the question ‘Do we want a register of people and contact details?’ A significant majority were in favour and it was agreed that it should only be available to those who opt in to the scheme, should be used as a community support tool, and that the letter would go out from the FVA but would be written by the working group.
The Working Group were asked to continue developing the Staying Connected Initiative.
At the moment, PKC grit and snow-plough roads according to an order of priority based on the classification of the road. The Brae and Quarry Road are normally done as they are on the school bus route. Other roads are a lower priority and, since part of Dalchiaran and all of Creagach are unadopted roads, they are the very lowest priority.
The Community Council investigated a number of possibilities with the help of councillors, but all would have required the village to provide, store and maintain equipment, which is not practical. Mike Williamson is trying to get a meeting with the Roads Department to try to align their priorities with the community’s priorities. In the meantime, self-help is probably the best way forward and the Staying Connected Project could be used to identify volunteers to help with snow clearing. We can also make sure that the salt boxes in the village are kept full for spreading when needed, and anybody can phone the Council Customer Services on 01738 476476 and ask for them to be refilled. This number will be added to the Blog list of Useful Numbers.
Letters of thanks have been received for donations given to Help for Heroes (£35) and the Hall Committee (£100).
This year is the 75th anniversary of the Fearnan Air Crash, and we would like to mark this event. The relatives of the Russian airmen, three of whom died in the crash, are also keen to commemorate the anniversary. We have discussed the possibility of planting a tree and mounting a plaque around the time of the anniversary. It is possible that a group of relatives would come over from Russia. It is proposed that the FVA pays the cost of the tree and it is hoped that the Russians would provide the plaque. This is all to be agreed, but members were in favour of the idea of funding a tree. It was suggested that this should be an Alder.
The McLean Hall committee are planning to upgrade the kitchen in the Hall and it was proposed that the FVA make a donation from funds to support this, possibly towards the cost of new cutlery and crockery. The meeting agreed to do this although the cost etc. is still to be clarified.
9. Social Events and Dates for 2018
Social events and relevant dates for 2018 are on the Blog.
A question was raised regarding the Council charge for emptying garden bins. It was confirmed that this is going ahead, and also that it will increase incrementally to £35.
Nick Grant thanked all those who had supported the campaign to stop inappropriate developments at Old Lawers village last year. He also updated the meeting on constructive progress being made towards carrying out some work to manage the trees and other overgrown vegetation around Old Lawers village in a way that is acceptable to conservationists.
The chair reported that Rural Wisdom is setting up a meeting of Hall and Village Association representatives and has invited the FVA to this meeting once the date is set.
The Chair closed the meeting by thanking the committee for its work during year and the members for their attendance at the AGM and their participation in events run by the Fearnan Village Association.