Last Sunday was a fine bright autumnal day and group of around 40 locals and visitors gathered at the war memorial for our Remembrance Day Service. The memorial had been decorated for 2019 with some of the poppies that were knitted last year to mark the centenary of the end of the war.
Shirley Shearer led the service and the 2-minute silence after which wreaths were laid on behalf of the church (by Lisle Pattison) and for the community (by Alistair Grier). The third (laid by Fiona Ballantyne) was provided by the Russian Consulate on behalf of the 3 Russian airmen who died in the plane crash in 1943. The community’s wreath carried a dedication to Czech František Drahovzal, who also died in the plane crash.
Tea and coffee were served in the hall after the ceremony.
Larch Tree Disease – Drummond Hill Land Management Plan
A few weeks ago, we featured an article about the disease phytopthora ramorum that is threatening the larches on Drummond Hill. At this time of year, as they turn a glorious golden yellow, the larches are particularly prominent and the impact that this disease could have on our landscape becomes more evident.
Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) are keen to interact with our community as they develop their plans for dealing with this devastating disease.
Robin Almond, who is the Planning Forester with FLS, has provided us with this update on the local situation:
“As part of Forestry and Land Scotland’s role in managing Drummond Hill, we are now in the process of reviewing our management plan and we are interested in hearing your views. We want to know how you use the site, what you think is important and what you may like to see.
For example, one of the most important aspects of the site is its visual impact, particularly in the autumn when the reds, golds and yellows of the Beech, Sycamore and Larch trees on the south facing slope rising from the loch are illuminated and enhanced by the sun.
Unfortunately, a plant pathogen that rapidly kills Larch – Phytopthora ramorum – is making itself felt at locations across Scotland and we anticipate that the Larch on Drummond Hill will succumb to Phytopthora in the coming decade.
One of the driving forces behind the proposed management plan is the need to manage the removal of the Drummond Hill larch in a planned manner. Due to the gradient being so steep our options for working the site will be limited, as such it is inevitable that there will be significant change in the landscape.
On a brighter note, this provides an opportunity to return these steeper slopes to native woodland. Once converted, the thought would be that they would be left to naturalise and not require further felling, thereby securing the backdrop to Kenmore and Loch Tay into the future.
We are also taking this opportunity to assess options for recreation and access. We would be interested in hearing thoughts on the creation of an off-road walking and cycling route between Kenmore and Fearnan.
We aim to provide more background and information as to the development of this plan in due course as well as a number of drop in events for people to ask questions. In the meantime, should you wish to know more please see our website at: https://forestryandland.gov.scot/what-we-do/planning/consultations/drummond-hill-land-management-plan
The website provides a link to contribute to the plans, and we hope to be able to organise a drop-in event, or similar, in Fearnan in the near future so that you can learn more about the plans and talk to Forestry and Land Scotland about the aspects of the hill that you think are most important.
Hey, Big Spenders …………….
If you are a Co-op customer, you will know that when you shop in the Co-op, a percentage of your spend goes to the Co-op’s Local Community Fund. Thanks to those of you who nominated the McLean Hall Fearnan as their local good cause, the Hall Committee was delighted to be able to announce that, this year, the Hall has received an amazing payment of £6,824.86.
Wow! Many thanks to everyone. The money will be put to the continuing renovation of the Hall.
Keep on shopping!
Living on Water Project
In June this year Dr Michael Stratigos, who is one of the archaeologists working on the Living on Water project around Loch Tay, gave a group of us a very insightful talk about iron age occupants of this area during a visit to the site of their dig at Easter Croftintygan.
Michael has been in touch to say that he will be giving a talk about the Living on Water project, and the digs they undertook this summer, to the Killin Heritage Society on 24th November at 14:30, and to which all are welcome.
Our October read was The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, a 2018 Costa Book First Novel Award winner.
As a child, the author’s next door neighbour, Doris, would bring him stacks of Agatha Christie novels from car boot sales so, by the age of ten, he had an encyclopaedic knowledge of Agatha Christie and her country house settings filled with secrets and lies.
This novel, initially appeared to be in the style of Agatha Christie but proved to be a very intricate, quirky whodunnit, a page turner for some and a slightly torturous, frustrating read for others. Some found the first half plodding, challenging and difficult to follow but all agreed that the descriptions were amazing and a strong sense of atmosphere was created.
It certainly kept us guessing but it was necessary to suspend belief, go with the twists and turns, and enjoy the writing to reach the satisfying (for some) ending.
The setting was a 1920s estate where Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed. But Evelyn will not die just once!
Until such time as Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Each time ending with the fateful pistol shot. The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…
Aiden, to his dismay, finds that his hosts’ personalities threaten to overrule his own at times, and some of them are nasty pieces of work, making him do things he would never normally countenance. “Every man is in a cage of his own making,” a character sagely remarks.
It is almost impossible to summarise the plot with body swaps, time travel and a Groundhog Day similarity and if the murder is not solved in eight days, the plot will start again. An on-line review states :
“There is a twist on nearly every page, and there are more than 500 pages. It’s a rare reader who won’t be hopelessly flummoxed well before the halfway point. And what a pleasure it is to give oneself up to the book, to be met with discoveries and thrilling upsets at every turn in the labyrinth. Not only is nothing what it seems, it’s not even what it seems after it’s been revealed to be not what it seems. “
Confused? So were we!
Our book for a November is The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel.
It is described as “A spellbinding concoction of crime, history and horror – perfect for fans of Sherlock Holmes and Jonathan Creek. Edinburgh, 1888: A virtuoso violinist is brutally killed in his home. Black magic symbols cover the walls. The dead man’s maid swears she heard three musicians playing before the murder……..”
Mulled Wine and Mince Pies
Join us for Mulled Wine, Mince Pies and good company on Saturday 7th December from 3 – 5pm in Fearnan Hall. The cost is £6 pp.
Local talent (very local!) will be on display towards the end of the afternoon, with the twinkly-fingered Highland Perthshire Ukulele Club playing a selection of Christmas carols.
Joining in to sing a few carols is not mandatory – but is encouraged. Those of the Bah-Humbug frame of mind can pour themselves another glass!
And finally……..something from the Archive
Have you had a flu jab or another inoculation recently? If so, be relieved (very relieved) that things have moved on from the 1920s when the introduction of whooping cough vaccinations, although a life-saver, were not an unalloyed blessing for the children of Fearnan. The School Log Book records:
“The doctor visited the school on Tuesday and vaccinated all the children. Two scholars absent today, their arms much swollen.”
A week later the teacher reports:
“ Attendance much reduced owing to the vaccination – the three boys who were vaccinated for the first time being absent the greater part of the week.”
You can read more about life in Fearnan School here: https://fearnanvillageassociation.com/2019/07/24/fearnan-school-1785-1968/