October Coffee Shop
The Coffee Shop popped up again last week to celebrate the approach of Halloween and attracted a number of villagers, a trio of witchy women and enough pretend-y spiders to have even those with the mildest form of arachnophobia lying down in a darkened room. Themed goodies included pumpkin cake, chocolate spiders, Halloween-decorated biscuits and Julia’s pièce de rèsistance, Coffin and Walnut Cake.
This was the last time the Coffee Shop will be open this year, but there are plenty of other events on the horizon:
Sunday 10th November – Remembrance Service at the War Memorial at 10.50 am prompt, with teas and coffees served in the Hall immediately afterwards. If anyone would like a lift down the hill, please meet in the hall car park no later than 10.45.
Saturday 7th December – Mulled Wine and Mince Pies, 3 – 5pm in the Hall. Christmas sweaters (tasteful or tacky) may be worn.
And one for next year’s diary………. Saturday 29th February – Winter Pudding Night, from 6pm, until it’s all gone.
More Silverware for Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir
We have blogged before about Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir’s competition successes, but this month it was the big one, as told by Alan Brown of the Choir:
So, it’s our ultimate goal after a whole year’s practice; it occupies our thoughts and actions for almost twelve months … and is over in around 15 minutes.
Got it? Yes, it’s Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir’s contribution to the Royal National Mod, the world’s largest festival of Gaelic culture.
Held each year in a different location, this year’s event took us to the grandeur of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall where we took part in two competitions. The first of these was for Puirt a Beul, or Mouth Music, with each of the 13 competing choirs performing the same prescribed piece. The tunes are deceptively simple, as are the words, but it’s all to do with pronunciation as well as memory and musical ability. We finished in a very creditable eighth place against the native Gaelic speakers of the various Glasgow choirs, Inverness, Dingwall, Portree etc, beating some of them with an excellent Gaelic mark of 93 out of 100.
The afternoon found us competing for the Margrat Duncan Trophy, confined to choirs with fewer native Gaelic speakers (we have none!). We fielded 26 members, all of whom had learned the two songs – one prescribed, one own choice – from scratch, thanks to the musical prowess of conductor May Brown and Gaelic tutor Gilliain MacDonald, and lots of hard work and determination from all the Choir.
We sang really well in front of the live TV cameras but were pipped by just 2 marks (out of 400) by the eventual overall winners, Stirling Gaelic Choir. We did enough, however, to finish in first place for Music, beating Stirling and winning the prestigious Staffinders Quaich, setting the seal on a very successful competitive year for Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir.
No time for resting on our laurels, however, with other appearances lined up to finish our year. As ever, new recruits will be warmly welcomed and no knowledge of Gaelic or music is required.
Road Restrictions and Closures
First of all, a reminder that there will be speed restrictions (10 mph) on the A827 heading west between Fearnan and Killin, starting on the 28th October.
We have also just been advised that Fearnan Brae will be closed between the War Memorial and the junction with Quarry Road for 2 days, starting on the 26th November.
Vehicles will be temporarily prohibited from driving, parking or loading on that stretch of road. Pedestrian and emergency vehicular access to premises will be maintained.
Heart 200 Update
Fiona Ballantyne writes:
Last month, we had a meeting between community representative and Heart 200 directors, Robbie Cairns and Gordon Riddler. Those attending on behalf of the community were Sue Dolan-Betney (GL< Community Council), Peter Ely (Kenmore & Acharn CC), Fiona Ballantyne (FVA) and Jenny Penfold (local resident/general coordinator for H200 issues).
We covered a wide range of issues, many with a local emphasis and some with wider implications. Overall the meeting was friendly and constructive, and we came away with the impression that the directors wish to promote Heart 200 as a sustainable, slow tourism initiative, and that they are keen to have community input.
We were pleased to hear that the intention is not to emulate the North Coast 500 with its associated problems, and that the directors are open to the Heart 200 website being used as a platform to provide information that will not only improve the tourist experience but will also help to manage negative impacts on local residents.
- adding pins on the H200 map to show the sites of all toilets, waste dump points, recycling centres for rubbish, camp sites, legitimate overnight parking places and rubbish bins on the route;
- adding information to the site about known ‘pinch points’ – for example Kenmore Bridge and the loch front road in Kenmore on sunny days – and encouraging alternative routes during busy periods;
- helping to protect vulnerable areas, such as Glen Lyon, by not actively promoting them;
- indicating where roads are not suitable for vehicles over a certain size;
- making information about driving on Scotland’s roads more prominent on the site and more accessible to people whose first language is not English. This should include tips about driving on the left;
- encouraging green tourism. For example, promoting local bus routes such as the hail-and-ride 91 bus that covers a circular route between Aberfeldy and Fearnan.
We also had a discussion about the fact that routes with a number attached automatically attract the racers (there is a Facebook page on which motorcyclists share their times for ‘doing’ the Heart 200) and the implicit objective for anyone following the route is to complete the 200 or 500 miles, rather than spend time exploring an area in depth. It also encourages unofficial car/motorbike rallies that use circular routes.
We suggested breaking the map of the route into more clearly defined sections so that it looks less like a 200 mile linear route and, given that speeding is an increasing problem around the Lochside and through villages, we asked the directors to consider removing the number (200) from their brand.
Following the meeting, we received an email confirming that they would be taking on board all the points we had made, and although the Heart 200 brand name would stay the same, importantly, the 200 will be used to point to visitor attractions rather than length – for example: 200 castles, 200 trails or 200 hotels and a new strap line will be introduced to underline this change. There will be no special emphasis on the 200-mile circular route. It will be used primarily as the key to access a Heart network of 200 plus trails, sub routes and family day out trips.
We have also been invited to have representation on the Heart 200 Website Steering Group, which is to be established soon.
In summary, we were pleased with the positive and receptive response to our concerns and to our proposed solutions, and with the proposal to maintain on-going contact through the Steering Group. As with all things, there is a balance to be struck, and if Heart 200 is able to promote sustainable tourism whilst also promoting courteous use of the roads, and respect for the local environment, it would mean a lot to local residents.
Meeting with Pete Wishart MP and Cllr Mike Williamson
Pete Wishart MP would like to discuss with the community Audit Scotland’s rejection of his application to them to investigate the process of PKC’s allocation of £50,000 of public monies to Heart 200. He will look at how to progress this issue and would value your input.
Also, Councillor Mike Williamson has progressed many items from the Road Safety Meeting in July. He will give an update on these issues and discuss priorities to ensure action is taken. He will also give updates on other Heart 200 related issues.
The meeting will be in the Hall at 2pm on the 8th November.