Blairgowrie and Rattray Access Network (BRAN) BRAN had two groups out on Saturday. One was helping the efforts of a group of Edinburgh students known as the Dirty Weekenders in Davie Park. This group of very enthusiastic youngsters help community groups in their city and elsewhere clear up local environments, in this case the pond along Loon Braes and its associated paths. Alistair MacLeod, countryside ranger, organised the visit from the 18 volunteers who stayed at the Bridge of Cally Hall and worked on both Saturday and Sunday doing a great job of clearing the pond and its environs. BRAN would like to thank the volunteers and Alistair. BRAN volunteers Helen and Dave Stanghon, Aileen Stackhouse and Kristin Barrett worked on the paths and carried out litter picks alongside the students. The group’s other effort on Saturday was a joint one with the Blairgowrie Rattray and District Angling Association. This group of eight set about clearing up the mess left by a group of homeless people who had been camping on the river bank opposite the Tesco Store a few weeks earlier. Apart from over 20 bags of bottles and cans, a number of mattresses, beds and chairs and a bicycle had to be brought up the bank. A request has been made to have the fencing restored above the bank to make access more difficult. An area used as a toilet still remains, the various authorities are being alerted to the existence of this potential hazard. The council are to be thanked for coordinating the removal of the collected rubbish as the volunteers completed their task. The rubbish filled the vehicle. Those involved from the anglers were Grant Kelly, Dave Hogg and Jim Christie with Roger Mackey, Ally Donald, Eric Grant, Brian Webster and Ian Richards from BRAN. Anyone wishing to join BRAN should contact the group’s secretary on email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01250 871122 or 07787 317022.
Blairgowrie and District Ramblers Autumn hues were very much to the fore on Blairgowrie and District Ramblers’ fortnightly walk, which took in the Murthly Estate recently. The weather was dry throughout and breezy in places, bringing down leaves on the path. The walk began at Murthly Village Hall and led over Muir of Thorn, the moorland which lies between Murthly and Bankfoot. Further on, a brief stop was made at Rohallion Loch to admire the calm waters and take some photos. The lunch stop was at the small stone shelter, known as the Buffalo Hut, which in the 1830s during the time of the then estate owner, Sir William Drummond Stewart, afforded stunning views over the Pass of Birnam. Sir William had shipped to his estate from the American Wild West a herd of buffalo and to watch over them two native Americans were employed. Blairgowrie members were joined by visiting members of Dundee, Stirling and Falkirk, St Andrews and Perth Ramblers. Anyone wishing to take part in the next walk, which is the Kingsbarns to St Andrews section of the Fife Coastal Path on Saturday, October 28, please contact the walk leader on 01250 870260.
Burrelton and Woodside Senior Club At the meeting held on October 12, Janet Reay, a trading standards officer with Perth and Kinross Council, gave an interesting and informative talk about how to prevent being scammed by letter, phone or online. There was good interaction between Janet and the members. Marie Milne proposed the vote of thanks and gave Janet flowers as a token of appreciation. Afternoon tea was served and the donation of home baking was by Doreen Robbie and Margaret Morrison. The next meeting is on Thursday, October 26, at 2pm when there will be entertainment from Grace Black and Walter Ireland. Any donations of food or toiletries for the Christmas hampers raffle will be greatly appreciated.
Strathmore Speakers Club A good turnout of members filled the newly-decorated room at the Kirriemuir Golf Club, where the club meets fortnightly. President David Howat welcomed everyone and, after business, he asked Muriel Smith to step up to the lectern to conduct the training session. The timekeeper was Bob Stewart. There were three speeches scheduled for the evening. The first one was by Alison Summers. Her title was ‘A Capital at War’ and was a very fluent account of how London coped with the outbreak and consequences of war being declared in 1914 as, at the time, it was in the throes of fierce Suffragette sabotage including window breaking in the West end, among other socially-motivated uprisings. The irrepressible spirit of the population thrived, coped and found ways to sustain themselves until peace came in 1918 when they thronged the streets and celebrated. Jim Gibb evaluated and awarded her a resounding pass. The second speech was an impromptu speech from the advanced section by Pamela Howat, which meant she had to retire to a quiet place to prepare while the first speaker was giving her speech. She could pick ‘choosing a pet’, ‘the joys of travel’ and ‘house building in the future’ and opted for the third. As a technocrat in the building industry, facts and figures flowed with her hardly needing a note to help her. Her predictions for the conversion of shipping containers and prefabricated buildings for the future, made in factories, due to the lack of manual skills and indifference to outsidein-all-weathers job prospects, created a steady flow of questions and comments from those present. Andrew Thomson, as evaluator, congratulated her on a fine impromptu speech and gave her a pass. After the meal, Andrew Buist took to the lectern to deliver his mini lecture, which is an advanced level assignment. It was entitled ‘A Crusading General’. The general in question was an unsung hero of the Second World War, Bernard Paget. Andrew had researched and gleaned information from a book written by the general’s eldest son, Julian. He had obviously enjoyed the book and was able to pass this on to his audience. He drew a parallel with his own experience of juggernaut organisations – in his own case, the NHS – where everything moves very slowly. Evaluator, Helen Fleming, admired Andrew’s easy, confident and inclusive style and his ability to engage his audience and awarded a pass. Graham Carr conducted the topics session and gave all participants plenty of flexibility and scope for developing their topic with a selection of words which were two words making up one word. Each one had to speak for three minutes on the word as a whole or on either or both of the syllable. David Howat was given Butterstone and spoke authoritatively and geologically on stone. Stewart Downie had peppermint and spoke about peppermint, potatoes, lorries, tractors and then back to peppermint. Bill Walker’s subject was Bannockburn, during which he sidestepped both bannock and burn and spoke on Bannockburn and its meaning to the Scots. Eric Summers’ word was Maidstone and he continued the Scots theme, making a connection with the Stone of Destiny’s involvement with Kirriemuir through one of the reivers. Douglas Wares spoke on Grangemouth – firstly the Grange burn first and then to Bratislava where dental surgeons equip mouths with implants. Jim Smith’s word was Bankhead. He felt it epitomised the speakers club as there were two headteachers and two bank managers. He went on to mention the fact that using one’s head was part of the enjoyment of the club. Eddie Petrie in evaluating felt it had been a relaxed, cordial evening and all seemed to greatly enjoy all the contributions.
Walk Members of Blairgowrie and District Ramblers are pictured at the small stone shelter known as the Buffalo Hut near Murthly