We arrived in Kippen on a cold, crisp, and sunny Friday afternoon in February for a 10 week stay following the recent birth of our twin grandchildren. They say that first impressions are everything; and ours was of the breathtaking view northwards across the valley with the snow-capped mountains of Ben Vorlich, Ben Ledi and the Trossachs bathed in the winter sunshine beneath a beautiful blue sky peppered with puffy white clouds. We never tired of this view with the colours of the fields, the hills and the sky changing with the weather throughout the day.
Coming from Liverpool, a major tourist attraction with a thriving cultural scene, to Kippen, a village with two main streets, two pubs, one church, a post office, a café, a hairdresser and a garage, our initial reaction was “Is that it, how are we going to spend 10 weeks here and stay sane?” However, size is not everything, and any village which names one of its only two thoroughfares Main Street without having a Disney parade at 3 o’clock each afternoon is not lacking in self confidence, and on looking beneath the surface we soon found that Kippen has so much more to offer.
What has really impressed us about Kippen is the strong community and sense of communal spirit in the village. The number and diversity of communal and sporting activities is truly impressive for a village of this size; with clubs and societies for cricket, tennis, bowls, shooting, fishing, golf and bridge, to name just a few and, of course, not forgetting “The Wee Vine” and the Village Facebook page, both of which cement the community and keep the village informed. These organisations would not exist and flourish without the hard work, enthusiasm and dedication of those who volunteer to run them.
And what about the people of Kippen. We were surprised to hear an equal amount of English and Scottish accents in the village and, having survived the ignominy of England’s defeat at Murrayfield and the inevitable taunts which followed, we were delighted that in Kippen there is harmony between our two great nations and cultures. If the dour Scot does exist anywhere, he and she most certainly are not in evidence in Kippen, where we have been welcomed warmly by everyone we have met. We were here for the “beast from the East” and were heartened by the community spirit, with everybody pulling together to ensure that the elderly and infirm were safe. Together with the spirit imbibed at your two wonderful pubs, its people represent the true spirit of Kippen.
The future of any community is in the young. As the parents of a young couple newly settled in Kippen and the grandparents of twins who will grow up here, we were delighted to see so many young couples in the village, and to hear children playing happily outside, which sadly it is no longer safe for children to do in our large cities. To hear that the local Primary School is held in such high regard is also a great source of comfort to us.
We will be sorry to leave at the end of April but to paraphrase one of Arnie’s sayings: “We will be back” and that’s a promise, not a threat!