Blairgowrie Civic Trust
After a very enjoyable Christmas lunch at the Royal Hotel on December 5, chairman Meg Luckins welcomed speaker Grev Humphries, a retired Blairgowrie policeman, to talk about policing in the past. He joined the force in 1985 when Rattray was the alleged crime capitol of Scotland with the highest crime rate per head of population. He said that the berries were then picked by a large itinerent Glaswegian population with many rough diamonds whose activities kept the small local police force on their toes with the theft of cars and domestic break-ins. Equipped with a wily inspector, a sergeant and a new recruit, and having access to excellent local information, what they lacked in forensics was counter-balanced by a form of rough justice which served the local community well. These were the days before the criminal fraternity acquired citizen rights and a massive system of bureaucracy was introduced with more staff and the altogether more impersonal service that we have today. Grev amused those gathered with fascinating anecdotes of his routine activities in Blairgowrie, Aberfeldy and Perth. Suspicious characters could be detained with an unending English breakfast while waiting for corroborative evidence. The inspector was in a unique position of being able to authorise alcohol on duty to relieve the tedious checks on vehicles and premises in the Glens and there were opportunities to try out new fishing equipment on the Tay, albeit at the expense of being an alleged poacher by some unsuspecting gillie who observed periods of prolonged angling without an official licence. And a sudden death could create all sorts of unsuspected problems in an effort to discretely move the body in a hotel, avoiding the guests. Grev was elected to various conservation boards, due to his fishing knowledge, and got to know leading authorities like the botanist David Bellamy. Such duties probably conflicted with his police work but the give and take attitudes ensured harmony. Policing in the community then, aided by the local doctor and minister, provided an excellent personal service but this has now all changed with the amount of bureaucracy and paperwork required and people can now wait several weeks for ”bits of paper” resulting in disillusionment in both the force and the public. His amusing and informative talk concluded with a vote of thanks by Pat Hatch.
Blairgowrie and District Hillwalking Club
Thirty-one members of the club were out on Sunday, December 10 for their traditional Christmas walk. Everyone walked stretches of the Cateran Trail from various starting points down the Isla valley, the longest walk starting at just short of Kirkton of Glenisla, and all finishing their walks at Pitcrocknie beside Alyth. Three members couldn’t resist the temptation to climb any hill on offer and they detoured from the route to include Balduff Hill and Hill of Alyth. It was a crisp, clear, cold, sunny day, ideal for winter walking. Christmas fare and festive fun followed at Pitcrocknie, who looked after the group very well indeed. An excellent day was enjoyed by all. The next walk is on Sunday, January 7, to Amulree. For further information about the club and details of how to get involved, see the website at www.bdhc.org.uk.
Fifty-four members had a most enjoyable Christmas lunch in the Royal Hotel on Wednesday, December 6, and although it was not officially a meeting, there was still plenty of “blethering” to be heard round the tables. In the four years since the committee started running the group it has grown from 23 at the first Christmas lunch up to today’s figure. A lot of hard work went in to starting the collection again - but thanks to the generosity of the members we now have a varied selection of folders pf old photographs. These are kept between meetings in the One Voice office in Upper Mill Street. Anyone interested in finding out more about the group is more than welcome to come along to one of their monthly meetings. The group’s next meeting is on Wednesday, January 10, and it will then meet on the first Wednesday of every month from 10am to noon in the Royal Hotel in Blairgowrie for a browse through old photos, a cuppa and of course a blether. The committee would like to thank the Royal Hotel for the Christmas meal and for accommodating the group throughout the year.
Twenty-six members from the Special Treats had a night to remember on Thursday, December 7, when they visited Scone Palace. Organiser Shonaidh Beattie said: “It was a lovely night for our members. We had originally booked to have Christmas lunch at the Palace on December 12 but on hearing that the Christmas carol concert was to be held on the Thursday I spoke to the manageress about the possibility of combining both our meal and the concert. “Although it is not normal practice for meals to be served on the evening of the concert I was delighted to be informed this would be allowed for our group. The members were delighted on arrival to find we were to dine in the State room! We all felt like royalty. We enjoyed an excellent three-course meal served by very attentive staff and after coffee and mince pies we were escorted to our seats for the carol concert with The Fair City Singers - children aged between 11 and 18 years old from all over Perthshire. It was a delight for all those attending. Our thanks go to all at the Palace for giving the Special Treats group a once-in-a-lifetime night to remember. Thanks also go to our drivers for the night Rab, Martin and Dave. And thanks to the Royal Hotel in Blairgowrie for the excellent lunches served to the group on Tuesdays. “The committee - Rab, Adele, Ann, Cath, Linda and Shonaidh - would like to wish all our members a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and extend greetings of the season to all.” Lunches restart on Tuesday, January 9 at noon when discussions for forthcoming events take place. Contact Shonaidh on email email@example.com for further information.
On a cold and frosty morning Some members of Blairgowrie and District Hillwalking Club at Knowehead on Sunday
Festive treat Members of the Special Treats group enjoyed a Christmas meal and carol concert at Scone Palace