October Update

Poppy Brigade

Work has started on transforming the +800 knitted poppies into the panels that will decorate the war memorial on 11th November in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1.

A small group of ‘stitchers’ met on Saturday afternoon in the village hall to start sewing the poppies onto panels so that Cath McGregor’s very striking (and carefully measured!) design can be realised.

If you would like to lend a hand, there will be another stitching session on Saturday 20th October in the hall at 2pm. And if you have any finished poppies lurking in your knitting basket, please could you either let Cath have them asap, or leave them in the box in the hall.

On 11th November, after the service at the war memorial, the FVA will be serving tea and coffee in the village hall.  There will  be a display of WW1 Memorabilia, and if you have any appropriate family WW1 momentos that you would like to add to the display, please either bring them on the day, or contact Alistair Grier in advance.  Items do not need to have a connection to Fearnan – it’s the stories behind them that count.

Macmillan Update

Many thanks to all those who contributed, in cash, in kind, or by eating lots of cake, to the Macmillan Coffee Morning organised by the Hall Committee.  The final sum raised was £250.


What’s On

smiling jack o lantern

The next FVA Coffee Morning is on Tuesday 30th October at 10.30 in the village hall – that’s the day before Halloween, so things might just get a bit spooky and anything could happen!


93af4d_07758d1b7fb5497599f57d4c8c4fb173~mv2_d_4795_3836_s_4_2We have news of 2 events at the Big Shed.  The first is a concert by Plaid Song – The Life, Songs & Times of Lady Nairne (1766-1845), on Sunday 25th November at 19.30.

Perth-based duo Plaid Song (Syd House and Nicola Cowmeadow) will perform the songs of Caroline Oliphant, better known as Lady Nairne, and tell the story of her remarkable life.

Lady Nairne was a Jacobite and a contemporary of Robert Burns. She wrote many of Scotland’s best known songs including Charlie is My Darling, The Rowan Tree, Will Ye No’ Come Back Again, Caller Herrin’ and The Hundred Pipers.   

Tickets are £10 on the door and £5 for children.  BYOB, tea and coffee available.

The second Big Shed notice is a reminder that there is a yoga class with Emma Burtles at the Big Shed every Friday from 10.30 till 12.00.  The class costs £6 and there’s no need to book.

You don’t need any yoga experience and you don’t need to bring any equipment. The class is fairly gentle and it’s not competitive – you just do what’s right for you. It’s great for developing flexibility in the joints and good balance, as well as stronger muscles.


And finally, before you arrange that beehive hairdo or dig out your flares, cheesecloth shirt and cuban heels, the 50s and 60s Night, due to be held in the village hall on Saturday 27th October, has been cancelled to allow work on the hall kitchen to be completed.


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Excavations, Commemorations, Donations – and some Old Film Footage

Crannog Archaeologists at Boreland

Back in July, The Blog reported on the Living on Water archaeologists’ visit to investigate Fearnan Crannog, and their associated diving work.

This week past, the same team has been carrying out some excavation work at Boreland Farm, so The Blog (accompanied by Pat Menzies) went to find out what they were finding out – or hoping to find out.

We met Dr Michael Stratigos and Dr Derek Hamilton, who explained that the Living on Water project is an archaeological research project being carried out by a team at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, along with a number of project partners including the Scottish Crannog Centre. The project is funded by Historic Environment Scotland.


They are focussing on the early Iron Age (800 – 400BC) and are trying to understand whether or not the crannogs around Loch Tay were occupied simultaneously (which would suggest quite a busy landscape) or sporadically over that 400-year period (which would suggest small groups living in isolation).  To help answer these questions, they are using  radio carbon dating, informed by dendrochronology (information from tree rings), which enables them to date the timbers from the crannogs to within 25 years.

Apart from having neighbours on the water, crannog dwellers may have had neighbours on the land and the test excavations at Boreland are part of the research to understand the terrestrial population of the area at the time the crannogs were occupied.

Although there are many remnants from inhabitants of the area from earlier periods, once you start to look at the early Iron Age period, there are only the crannogs – no artefacts, no cup marked stones or other rock art and no settlements that can be identified.

IMG_7309It is likely that if there were people living in the landscape at this time, they would have built their houses exactly where the village is now – making archaeological excavations difficult.  However, more industrial work would have been done outside the old village, making Boreland a good choice for investigatory work.

So far, nothing significant has been found but the team have other on-land sites to investigate around the Loch in this stage of their project.  We will keep in touch with their investigations – at the moment they are about half way through their 3-year project.


Broadband News

IMG_7295Whilst up at Boreland, we paused to check out the new dish on the roof of the barn.  This is good news for Bogons Internet customers as it is part of an upgrade that will reduce vulnerability to the weather. Once operational, it will boost the broadband signal and help pave the way for improved speeds.

The antennas will be configured and aligned very shortly and then it will be fully live.


Fearnan Film Footage

Another little glimpse into the past came recently, via Aberfeldy Museum.  Film recordings of Fearnan in the 1930s are rare things, but this little gem from the National Library of Scotland has a section on Fearnan at the beginning and shows John Stewart, the owner of the Tigh-an-Loan Hotel, with some fishermen and an impressive catch outside the hotel.  The two girls in tartan Tammie’s at the end of the Fearnan section are Mia and Dolly, John Stewart’s daughters who, we are told, were very fond of tartan all their lives!


Alastair Barnett recalls that “it was common for us to watch for the boats approaching the hotel pier during the fishing season and dash along to see what the guests had caught that day and then help haul the boat on to the shore.”  He also thinks that in the “Peter” segment they could be referring to Peter Malloch, who was a ghillie.


September Coffee Morning

Moving back to the present, this has been a bumper week for coffee mornings!  First up was the FVA regular coffee morning which attracted a nice mix of visitors, locals and Charlie (a trainee sheepdog).  Although it was a relatively small group, the event went on long past the usual finishing time – always a good sign.

Cath Macgregor brought along some of the +650 poppies that have been knitted so far (thank you everyone!), and there was a chance to see the plans for decorating the war memorial on 11th November. We are being quite ambitious, but we know that many communities have plans to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1, and we really want Fearnan to stand out. We do need some more poppies, please – just a few red or black ones.


The display for the monument will be put together in the village hall on the afternoons of 13th and 20th October, starting at 2pm.  Please come along to help if you can spare an hour or two.


The second coffee morning was the village’s annual contribution to the national Macmillan Cancer Coffee Morning initiative. Fearnan’s bakers had been busy for this good cause and the result was a splendid spread, including some slightly more unusual cakes such as Guinness Cake and Pina Colada Cake.

Many thanks to all who baked and came along.  Thanks to their generosity, a good donation will be made to the charity.

Fearnan Art Club

The Art Club programme for the autumn is as follows:

Monday 8th October: Sketching Autumn at the Birks of Aberfeldy, meet in the car park at 2pm.

Monday 12th November: 2 -4pm meet at Heather Lewis’s house (directions from Cath Macgregor if you wish to go).

Monday 10th December: Christmas Lunch, details to follow.


Fearnan Book Club

 Linda writes:

Due to the renovations in the village hall, September’s book club meeting was kindly hosted by Fran and Elaine and had a different format. The book this month was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.   It is set in the aftermath of WW2 and focusses on the experiences of the residents of Guernsey during the occupation.

Prior to our discussion, we watched the recently made film of the book, sustained by wine, tea and a variety of chocolate, tablet and biscuits. Suitably fuelled, we then had a lively discussion comparing and contrasting the book and film. As always, the opinions were disparate, which enhances the experience!

The format of the book, which some found took time to adapt to, is a series of letters with stories of life in Guernsey. The complexities of the book resulted in lots of threads which were pulled together, and revelations uncovered, as the story progressed.

The general feeling was that the book developed the characters more than the film. There was an enthusiastic discussion about the main characters. Juliet, the author who bonded with the members of the society, was not portrayed as strongly in the film as in the book where she came across as an independent, feisty woman. Her boyfriend/ fiancé, Mark, did not live up to his attractive description in the book and was less pushy in the film while, Elizabeth’s character was more developed, and her courage highlighted, in the book.

Although very enjoyable, we felt the film lacked depth and that there were the bones for a much deeper film. One comment was that the film was “not gutsy enough” although the scenery and costumes were very realistic and authentic.

As always, we could see the ending coming with the slowly emerging love story resulting in the eventual happy outcome for Juliet, Dawsey and Elizabeth’s daughter, Kit.

This enjoyable format of book/film comparison is one that we will no doubt revisit in the future.

Our next meeting is on the 10th October when we will be reading The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn. It has been described as the hottest new release thriller of 2018.

“Twisted to the power of max” was Val McDermid’s description. What did she see?


Coming Soon ……….

The Bowling Club are starting up again for the season on Monday 1st October, 8 – 10pm in the hall.  New members who would like to join, or to come along and try it out, are more than welcome.

The next coffee morning will be on Tuesday 30th October at 10.30 in the hall. It’s the day before Halloween, so things might get a bit spooky ………….

Remembrance Sunday is Nov 11th at 11.00 at the Memorial and after in the village hall for tea and coffee.

On Saturday 8th Dec, the FVA is serving Mulled Wine & Mince Pies from 15.00 – 17.00. Come and enjoy some seasonal goodies and good company.


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September Already

Now that summer is more or less over, Fearnan’s Poppy Project will be entering the final straight leading up to the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1. We are hoping that our faithful band of knitters will be able to top the current (fantastic) total of over 500 knitted poppies, which will be used to decorate the war memorial on Remembrance Sunday.

Recently, Aberfeldy Museum published a short piece on Private S/15683 Hugh Cowan of the Black Watch, and son of Donald and Ann Cowan of Balnearn, Fearnan. Hugh, of course, is one of the men commemorated on the Fearnan War Memorial and his story serves as an inspiration for all who have contributed so far to the Poppy Project.

Many thanks to Aberfeldy Museum for their permission to reproduce the following article:

Hugh Cowan photo

Hugh Cowan

“Hugh Cowan was called up on Wednesday 7th June 1916, at Comrie, where he had been working as a ploughman, and was posted to the 11th Battalion The Black Watch. From this date up to the end of November, he was training at Dunfermline, before embarking at Folkestone, on Friday 1st December 1916 and landing at Boulogne on the same day.

After further training at Étaples, he was soon transferred as Private 33495 to the 1st Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, joining them in the field on the evening of Wednesday 13th of December 1916, when the Battalion relieved the 7th Battalion of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry in the trenches at Serre, on the Somme. The relief was completed by 9.00 p.m., with Hugh Cowan being one of 140 men who had joined that day as reinforcements. Luckily, although enemy artillery was heavy, (as was the rain), they had no casualties and they were in turn relieved by a battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment on the 16th December.

Hugh probably was in action on the 9th and 10th of April 1917 in the Arras Offensive during the First Battle of the Scarpe, but it was on Thursday the 3rd of May, 1917, that he was killed in action on the first day of the Third Battle of the Scarpe, aged 19.

His battalion was part of the 8th Infantry Brigade of the 3rd Division, VI Corps, of the Third Army. The Official History states: The enemy obviously had foreknowledge of the attack; for, prior to its launch he deluged the front with chemical and high-explosive shell. At Zero, in fact, the field batteries were enveloped in thick clouds of gas. The detachments, wearing respirators, stuck manfully to their task. The infantry, however, was much disorganized. Most of the battalions also wore respirators during the assembly, and numbers of men who did not put them on, were overcome by vomiting. The 8th Brigade (Hugh Cowan’s brigade) fell into confusion, largely owing to the fire of parties of the enemy who had been pushed forward into shell-holes and had thus avoided the British barrage. The waves of the 2nd Royal Scots and 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers becoming prematurely merged, the barrage was lost, and the attack broke down.

His body was found at map reference 57b.O.8.b.9.9., about half a mile southeast of Monchy le Preux. He was buried in Vis en Artois British Cemetery, Ref VII.D.2.”


Would you be able to make a contribution to our Poppy Project, to help commemorate men like Hugh Cowan? The pattern for the knitted poppies can be found here and finished poppies can be dropped off at Fearnan Hall. Contact the Blog if you need an address to post them.


Fearnan Art Club

The Art Club, putting down their own sketch pads and paints for a change, enjoyed an outing to the Big Shed where photographer Stuart Green and artist Debbie Cassells were resident for the month of August.

Debbie gave the group a demonstration of mixed media – she paints with acrylic and then adds collage to the picture. This produces unusually textured and layered artwork, which often incorporates local materials – such as Harris Tweed, or cuttings from printed media. She aims to draw the viewer into the painting and so encourage further investigation of the piece.

Fearnan Art Club

Fearnan Art Club (Photo by Stuart Green)


Fearnan Book Club 

Linda writes:

Book ClubThe Accident on the A35 by Graeme Macrae Burnet proved to be a successful Book Club choice in terms of the level of discussion it stimulated at the August meeting.  As is often the case, our reviews were mixed and the level of enjoyment of the book varied within the group.

This novel is purported to be a translation of a decades old manuscript of a novel by Raymond Brunet sent to a publisher. We debated whether this was the case, or was this also fiction?

Set in the small town of St Louis in Alsace, we detected strong hints of “Maigret”. The detective, George’s Groski, who first appeared in an earlier novel, The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau, seemed to fit the stereotypical portrayal of the flawed detective with marital problems and who perhaps drank too much. Comparisons were made with Rebus and other well known fictional detectives.  We acknowledged that this character was very thorough and methodical and, despite his alcohol consumption throughout the working day, he managed to complete the necessary groundwork and follow all leads.

The general feeling was that it was hard to relate to the characters or, indeed, feel sympathy for many of them, including Raymond the bereaved teenage son, who was liberated after his father’s death in the accident referred to in the title. We followed his bold escapades as he perhaps went off the rails, and was stunned by discoveries related to his father’s other life.

However, we did acknowledge the author’s evocation of the real feeling of St Louis and the excellent portrayals of the characters and their interactions with each other. There were detailed descriptions of the atmosphere and interiors of the bars visited and we could clearly picture the clientele who frequented them.

In conclusion, mixed opinions of a book that meandered and then concluded very quickly. As a group we will look out for any future novels by this highly regarded, Booker prize nominated author.

shoppingThe book for September is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, an international bestseller, and also a popular, major film. This historical novel, set in 1946, reveals the suffering experienced by the people of Guernsey in WW2 whilst highlighting their character and resilience. It is based on an exchange of letters and despite the background and context, it has been described as “touching, quirky and funny”.

The September meeting on Wednesday 12th has a different format. Fran and Elaine are kindly hosting a viewing of the film at their house, followed by a discussion and a chance to compare the book and the film. Due to the length of the film, we will start at 7.00 pm to allow time for discussion.

Fortingall Quiz Night

Sharpen your wits, Quizzers! There’s another chance compete for the title of Quiz Night Champion, this time in Fortingall on Friday 14th September at 7.30 pm. Check out the poster for the details here Quiz Night Poster

Coming Soon

The next Fearnan Village Association Coffee Morning will be on Tuesday 25th September at 10.30 in the village hall, when we anticipate being able to use the new kitchen for the first time! Come and enjoy some excellent home baking, savouries, freshly made coffee – and the chance to catch up with friends and neighbours after the summer break.


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Strawberries, Ospreys …. and Hawks!

There was, we were told last Saturday, a delicious aroma of strawberries wafting out of the hall and into the village.  This news shouldn’t have come as a surprise, given that our annual Strawberry TeaZ was underway with this wonderful spread on offer:

There were strawberries every-which-way, from strawberry sandwiches, to strawberry tarts, cakes, cream buns, jellies, cheesecakes, pavlovas, tiramisus, pastries, and more.

This feast of strawberry-ness attracted a wonderful – and extremely sociable – crowd of visitors, regulars and their friends, along with people who were either going to, or coming from, the Fortingall Art Exhibition.



It was a great afternoon and all these hungry people meant that, by the end, there was literally nothing left.  Many thanks to all our bakers and to those who helped to organise and run the event.



Facebook users will have seen Keith Brockie’s recent pictures of young ospreys, and here he tells us a bit more about his work ringing and monitoring the young birds.

Keith writes:

 I have been monitoring the Perthshire osprey population since 1982, when there were only 4 breeding pairs. Now, Perthshire has between 40 and 50 pairs.

Osprey chicks are ringed with a numbered metal ring from the British Trust for Ornithology, who run the ringing scheme. A special license is needed to disturb ospreys as they are a specially protected Schedule One species.

 I also put an individually numbered/lettered coloured plastic ring on the left leg, which enables the birds to be followed on their travels to their wintering grounds in Senegal, or Gambia on the west coast of Africa. Some birds are now wintering in Spain and Portugal. Through sightings, we can follow their return to Scotland when they are two years old. Males tend to return to their natal area, but females disperse more widely.

 It is also possible to monitor the longevity of individual birds. For example, EJ is the current female at RSPB Loch Garten. I ringed her as a chick near Bridge of Cally, Perthshire, on the 14th July 1997. She is now 21 years old and still attempting to breed.

 There is still much to learn about our expanding osprey population.


Pictures copyright to Keith Brockie.

Keith took these pictures of an Osprey brood on Loch Tay about a week apart towards the end of July.  Sharp-eyed readers may recognise the background!


Book Club

This week, the article on ospreys segues beautifully into the Book Club report, where the book of the month was ………….. H is for Hawk!

Linda writes:

The book discussed in July was H for Hawk by Helen McDonald. We had some apologies from those unable to attend but they kindly provided email comments for the discussion.

 Opinion was divided, and this book not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’.  However, there was general agreement that it was an interesting book with excellent descriptions but, whilst it was enjoyed by some, others found it heavy going and had to persevere to complete it.

 We felt this book was quite unusual, with its combination of different genres in the one book. The backbone of the book was the memoir/autobiography of the author during the year in which her father died and she trained a goshawk. She was overcome by grief and the process of training the Hawk and building a relationship with it, helped her deal with her grief.

Her memoir was interspersed with biographical writing about, and detailed references to, TH White’s, The Goshawk (1951), which is an account of White’s attempt to train a northern goshawk using traditional, rather than modern, falconry techniques.

Within the group, previous experiences, attitudes to hunting or keeping a wild bird as a pet, influenced the enjoyment and understanding of the text. Some felt the book didn’t flow with the writing related to White breaking the flow of the narrative.

UnknownThe discussion extended to other books about animals where some could recall being devastated when the animal died (e.g. Black Beauty) leaving a lasting impact on the reader. In this instance, relief was felt when the hawk didn’t die!

All in all, mixed reviews from the group. 

The next Book Club meeting is on the 8th August and the book is Accident on the A35 by Graeme McCrae Burnet, a favourite author of the group. It has been described as an accomplished, multi-layered crime story set in France from the Booker-shortlisted Scottish author.



The next FVA event is the Coffee Morning planned for 25th September at 10.30 am  in the village hall. Work on the kitchen renovation in the hall may affect this, but we will keep you up to date with this on the blog.









Please note that, unless otherwise stated, the copyright of all text on this website is held by the writer of the article, and the copyright of all photos is in the ownership of the person that took them.


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Salute to Archie and Crannog

Last week, two local lads, born and bred in Fearnan, set off on the next stage of adventure in their lives.

Archie and Crannog (a.k.a. Noggie) were held in much affection by many in the village, and even had their own devoted fan base, ensuring a regular supply of crunchy carrot and apple treats were brought and served over the fence.

Archie and Crannog

Who better to tell their story than Hazel, who bred and raised them?

Hazel writes:

“Crannog was born 10 days earlier than expected, in Graham Leighton’s field on 28th March 2010, whilst I was in India. His mother was Beauty, and he was her first foal. She was in the field with Debbie who had not held in foal that year. Debbie had been a brood mare before I bought her and was very maternal, so unfortunately she kidnapped Crannog and tried to mother him.

 Julie McKendry was looking after the mares at the time and did a totally amazing job of splitting them up and getting Crannog reunited with his real mum. Julie and Ian McGregor had to milk Beauty and feed Crannog for a day or so before Beauty got the hang of feeding her own foal.

He was a friendly foal and grew into a very canny pony who was extremely easy to back and start riding. As you’ll see from the photos, he went from silver as a foal, to dark, to grey, and will probably turn pure white in the end.

After I had backed him, I met Pernille and she started riding out with us, giving Crannog an amazing training in dressage movements, which turned him into the most incredible horse to ride. On him, you felt like you were really floating and at one with him. He had a strong preference for her over me!!

 Crannog has gone to livery at Tullochville, owned by a lady who has come back to horse ownership after a break of 4 years. She is also a dressage rider and so will be able to get the absolute best out of him.

Archie, on the other hand, was born to Debbie in the Log House field in May 2011, two weeks later than expected. He was the polar opposite of Crannog – suspicious and wary, just like his mother. He would scoot under her tummy and out on the opposite side whenever I tried to get close to him. But, gradually, he came to realise that no harm was going to come to him and he started to gain confidence.

 When the time came to back him, he was also easy and ready for his new job as a ridden pony. It was like riding his mother all over again – he was so like her in many ways.

One of the funniest moments with Archie came when we rode up to the picnic tables on Drummond Hill, where we usually gave the ponies a little breather. Dismounting, we sat at one of the tables allowing the ponies to graze. A couple from the village, Ian and Ashley Shannon, were walking out that day and had also stopped at the picnic tables. They said that there was an apple in their rucksack, and they would like to give it to the horses, if that was OK? It was certainly OK with me, but I didn’t realise that Archie had his eye on a bigger prize. Just as they opened the rucksack, Archie shot over, stuck his head in, pulled out two bananas and scoffed them both, skin and all! He had certainly grown into a cheeky young horse!

 Archie has headed off to Achnamara, Lochgilphead where he will live on his new owner’s farm with another horse for company. He will have his own sandy beach! His new owner is a gentle lady, who sadly lost her own elderly highland pony this spring.

 I think both ponies will miss the village where they had such a great start. They will miss Susan Wagland with whom they had a lovely relationship, and also Julie who did so much for them, and without whom Crannog would have had an extremely short life. And they will miss Pernille’s careful training which was shaping them into wonderful riding horses.”


……………. and without question, they will both miss Hazel, whose devotion and dedication (in all weathers) turned them both into the most wonderful Highland ponies – ‘best in breed’ in every sense.

But we shall all miss the clip-clop of hooves announcing the start or end of another ride out on the hills, and the occasional whinny echoing across the village.

Good luck, boys!

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Making Connections

The number and range of people that this little blog reaches is a constant source interest. On a single day recently, people in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Russia, Germany, New Zealand and China all read items on the blog. Most of the people who find it have some family, or personal, connection with Fearnan – but every so often something comes completely out-of-the-blue.

Last week, the following message dropped into The Blog’s inbox, causing it to sit up straight and pay attention:

‘Hello, your article about the hand knitted poppies sent in by Alistair Barnett, that were knitted by Cynthia ‘Rusty’ Barnard. We are searching for this lady. Last known residence in Kamloops BC. We are very hopeful you have a contact for Mr Alistair Barnett that will lead us to her. She is a dear family friend of Angela Hashka of Victoria BC. We cannot express our thanks for any help for this reunion.’

Who could resist such a request? After a brief exchange of emails, the message came through that Rusty and Angela are ‘thrilled’ to be back in touch again.

Rusty moved to Canada from Derbyshire in 1954 and settled in Kamloops, British Columbia. She met Angela while working as a nurse in Kamloops but Angela now lives in Victoria BC and, somewhere along the line, they lost touch with each other.

They are now exchanging photos of bygone days and plan to meet up in the near future. (The Blog might need a photo of the reunion!)

When Rusty agreed to help Alastair by knitting some poppies for Fearnan, a small village some 4,000 miles away, she probably didn’t think that her kindness would result in a reunion with a long lost friend!


 This week, there is an update on another out-of-the-blue connection – this one, previously reported on the Blog, was an email from Anna Belorusova, who wrote to us from Russia in 2016. Anna had started to try to unravel the mystery of her grandfather’s WW2 service and her research uncovered the forgotten story of The Moscow Special Assignment Air Group based at RAF Errol near Dundee, and part of a joint British/Russian secret operation in 1943.

Her research inspired her to write a book about this wartime group of airmen, and in particular about one of her grandfather’s fellow officers at Errol, a Hero of the Soviet Union, who was also the pilot of the Russian plane that crashed in the Fearnan Cow Park on 29th May 1943. (Read the full story of the crash, published on the Fearnan Blog in 2016, here.)

Anna’s Book

Anna’s book was launched in Sevastopol on the 4th July this year and received considerable media attention in Russia. Anna has visited Fearnan twice since that initial contact, and our village features in the book in some detail as the site of the fatal crash.

This year is the 75th anniversary of the Fearnan air crash and we hope to be able to mark the event with some of the descendants of the airmen later in the year.


Book Club

Linda writes:

At our June meeting we were a smaller group than usual but the discussion was just as robust. We discussed Force of Nature by Jane Harper whose previous novel The Dry had been a book group favourite.

This book did not disappoint in terms of the author’s ability to evoke an atmosphere. In general we felt that the claustrophobia, the on going tensions between the group of women and the descriptions of the Australian bush were portrayed very well. However, we questioned the plausibility and realism of some of the events and actions. Why was the role of map-reader given to an amateur? Why didn’t the organisers of the corporate team-building event have a back up plan? Of course, these apparent failings then enabled the author to develop the plot!

We do like red herrings and end of chapter hooks in stories, and enjoyed teasing out what we thought might have happened before all was revealed. As always, all the various strands were pulled together at the end, which gave clarity to many of the actions and events.

As the story progressed, the pressures of the characters’ private lives were revealed and a love interest was introduced between the detective Aaron Falk and his (engaged) colleague Carmen. We felt this was unnecessary and didn’t add anything. However it may be a link followed up in her next novel.

In conclusion, we felt that this book was a good read but not such a page-turner as The Dry. 

 Our next session is on July 11th and the book selected is H for Hawk by Helen McDonald, which was a winner of the Costa Book of the Year in 2015. It was described as a “soaring triumph” by the Telegraph. Will it be a triumph with the Fearnan Book Club? Watch this space!


Fearnan Crannog

 More crannog activity is underway on the loch front.

The Living on Water Project is an archaeological research project being carried out by a team at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre in conjunction with a number of partners, including the Scottish Crannog Centre. They are conducting underwater investigation of crannogs in Loch Tay and the first target for their 2018 fieldwork season is Fearnan Crannog, which is just 200m to the west of Oakbank Crannog – the most extensively excavated underwater crannog in Scotland. (Read more about Oakbank Crannog here.)

The Living on Water Team

Living on Water is hoping to uncover more information about the actual period of occupation of Fearnan Crannog. Were the residents of Oakbank and Fearnan crannogs concurrent neighbours? Or was one or other a ghostly, abandoned crannog (perhaps with just a few timber piles protruding from the water) during the occupation of the other? Improved dating methodologies will help to sort out the answers to these and a range of other questions.

Nature Notes

The first orchids have been out for a little while now and, although some are starting to go over, there are still plenty nestling amongst the long grasses at the edges of local paths and in meadows.


A recent evening walk in Balchroich Meadow at Keltneyburn was a delight. The species-rich Meadow is noted for the number of different orchids and its colourful display of wildflowers.

Strawberry TeaZ

IMG_3539And finally……………don’t forget that it is nearly time for the FVA’s strawberry extravaganza! A feast for the eyes, as well as the tastebuds. From strawberry sandwiches to strawberry fizz, by way of strawberry tarts, flans, sponges, mousses, pavlovas and much more. (And if none of those tempt you, you can always have good old strawberries and cream.)

Strawberry TeaZ is on Saturday 21st July, from 3 – 5pm. £7.00 pp at the door; children half price; pre-schoolers free.

Let’s hope the sun continues to shine for our strawberry celebration here on the Costa del Fearnan!


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It’s Sunny June!

Art Club Open Day

Last Monday, Fearnan Art Club held an Open Day in the Hall.  Not only were there examples of the Club’s own work on display, but there was also an opportunity for visitors to have a little ’dabble’ in a range of media, including charcoal, water colours, acrylics, and pastels.

Felting seemed to be the most popular, and there was soon a little production line of felt pictures being made, guided and encouraged by Cath McGregor.

The Art Club may be small, but it is very productive and is keen to expand its membership.  Any creative souls, residents or visitors, who would like to join them on one of their outdoor or indoor sessions will be more than welcome.  The Club’s programme for the next few weeks is on the What’s On page of this blog here.

June Coffee Morning

Last Tuesday was another lovely sunny day and the warmth outside was reflected in the friendly, happy atmosphere inside the Hall. There was a lovely mix of people (and one dog), and some of the regulars had brought their friends, visitors, or relatives along.

As ever, there was a great selection of sweet and savoury goodies and pancakes, fresh from the griddle.


The Poppy Box got a boost as well, with at least 2 people dropping off significant contributions, and the total is creeping up towards 500 hand-knitted poppies. That’s impressive!

Book Club

Linda writes:

Fran and Elaine kindly hosted the May Book Club meeting in their house as the hall was in use. It was quite a focussed session, but very relaxed – so relaxed, in fact, that one of the group contributed whilst almost horizontal on a recliner (a testament to the comforts provided by our hosts!).

We discussed The Other Hoffman Sister, by Ben Fergusson. The general consensus was that the setting provided an interesting historical context for the events that transpired. We were transported from SW Africa to Berlin during the era of German Imperialism, a time of snobbery, status and aristocratic hierarchy. As the story progresses, the old order crumbles and the characters’ lives change as socialism develops in post-WW1 Germany.

The story grew stronger towards the end as lots of threads and strands were pulled together. The lives of the two sisters turned out to be very different and one member of the group commented “it was a murder mystery without a murder!” (Don’t want to give too much away as you may be inspired to read it!)

shoppingOur choice of book for June is Force of Nature by Jane Harper, which will be discussed on June 13th. We enjoyed her debut novel The Dry, which became an international bestseller. We are keen to read this much-awaited second novel and follow the trials and tribulations of the detective, Aaron Falk. The synopsis is that five people go on a corporate hike in the bush, but only 4 return ….……. so, how well do you really know your colleagues?


Coming Soon – Strawberry TeaZ!


All this and more!

There isn’t a coffee morning in July, but there is that strawberry fest to beat all strawberry fests, Fearnan Strawberry TeaZ on Saturday 21st July, 15.00 -17.00

It’s afternoon tea with a difference and everyone is welcome (residents, visitors and passers-by) to join us for this feast of strawberry delicious-ness.  We would be delighted if you would like to make or bake a contribution, but please let Sue know by email here (it helps with the planning).

We’ll have live music and it’s pay at the door as usual, £7 pp for as much as you can eat, school age children are half price and under 5’s get a free pass.



(The copyright of all text on this website is held by the writer, and the copyright of all photos is in the ownership of the person that took them, unless otherwise stated.)



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