Did You Know

Kippen Playgroup

It’s been a busy few months for Kippen Playgroup and Toddlers, not only with the regular sessions, but also with our AGM and the ever popular bottle stall we run at the Street Fayre.  We would like to extend our heartfelt thank you to the community for helping us, once again, by donating an extraordinary amount of bottles and then supporting us by visiting the stall on the day. We managed to raise an impressive £685 for playgroup and toddlers, with 10% going to the over 60’s Christmas dinner fund. So thank you…and remember to stash all those unwanted bottles for next year!

Springtime for the children at Kippen Playgroup has provided a great opportunity to connect with the natural world and our fully qualified play leaders, Jane and Pam, have been encouraging the kids to go all green-fingered by planting sunflowers, creating personal gardens and adding to Kippen’s stunning blossom display by making their very own cherry blossom tree at playgroup.  There’s also been much interest in caterpillars and butterflies, and of course springtime’s star of the show…the mighty tadpole! The children have been experiencing one of life’s earliest rites of passage by watching, in shock and awe, the metamorphosis of the common frog; and, as we all know, it never fails in its wonder.

With ponds and their inhabitants being de rigueur, we had our annual outing to June Waley’s garden for some pond dipping, guddling and mini gorge walking. The children get so much joy from it, whatever the weather, and we are forever grateful to June that she lets them descend on her garden with such vim! The opportunities for learning in this environment extend all the way from a respect and love of the natural world right through to the basics of staying safe at the side of the pond, how to use the nets and how no good ever comes from splashing others when they’re not expecting it! Children who are allowed to take part in this kind of experiential learning will develop confidence and the ability to assess and manage their own risk. Communication, cooperation and resilience all improve simply by having fun playing in a garden and guddling around in a burn.

Kippen Playgroup is about to break for the summer after another busy and successful year, but if you are interested in enrolling your child for next term then please get in touch with Jane Bain via kippenplaygroup@gmail.com. During term time we run two Playgroup sessions per week: Tuesdays and Fridays 9:30-12pm. Two years to pre-school welcome.

Our burgeoning toddler group continues to be a welcoming and friendly get together where mums, dads, grans and grandads can pop in for cake and a chinwag whilst the kids get on with the serious business of playing and forging friendships. We’ve seen a flurry of brand new babies recently, which we’ve found can either cause overwhelming broodiness among other mums or the total opposite! Either way everyone is enjoying some newborn cuddles whilst the ‘new mums’ get to actually drink their tea and perhaps even have a biscuit! We meet at the village hall every Thursday throughout the year, 10:15-12pm, and we welcome little ones from birth to pre-school. Just drop in!

Did You Know

Ski Team – Sion Bingham

Sion Bingham, aged 20, has been a member of the British Telemark Ski Team for 3 years.  He races on the Telemark World Cup circuit and has competed in 2 senior and 3 junior World Telemark Championships.


Racing in France: Giant Slalom section of the race

Telemarking is a discipline which crosses the boundary between normal alpine skiing, ski jumping and cross country skiing.  It is the original form of skiing, where the skier’s heels are not fixed to the skis. The races are an interesting composite of a Giant Slalom, a ski jump, where the racers are required to jump about 30m and with a big-time penalty if the line is not reached, a banked 3600  “loom” and a cross country skating section.

Sion’s summer programme is based around improving his aerobic fitness, strength and conditioning and balance work.  This programme has been devised with advice and support from Andrew Patterson of Framework Clinics.  Framework have helpfully also fixed his many injuries as and when required! All this support has been very much appreciated.

You can follow Sion’s racing and training by liking his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sionbtelemark/.

Simon & Jean

Did You Know

Making Wine from Kippen’s famous “Big Vine”

By Jeremy Pemberton-Pigott

When the famous Kippen “Big Vine” was finally cut in 1964 by Selby Buchanan, over a century of village heritage was resigned to the history books only to be read about by future generations. Some people in the village tried to preserve the “Big Vine” by taking cuttings to grow the vine for themselves in their own greenhouses. After living in the village for 12 years, I was interested in getting a hold of cutting for myself and tracked down one of the many recipients of the original cuttings Fiona and Lindsay Macdonald that had the vine flourishing in their greenhouse. I took a number of cuttings but only 3 survived.  I planted 2 in my own greenhouse and the other was given to Gartmore House to cultivate in their large greenhouses. Five years later I was interested to see if it would be possible to make wine from these grapes that were now producing a healthy crop of grape bunches.

Grapes_01.jpgGrapes still green mid-summer

The grape variety that the cutting was taken from is the Gros Colman variety, the vine which most famously produced nearly 4,000 bunches from one vine in the original Kippen Vine. They were originally produced in Kippen as eating grapes. I researched on the internet to see if there was any history of wine production using this grape variety. There was very little mention of wine production with the Gros Colman apart from in the late 1800’s in India. Some hybrid varieties of the Gros Colman had gone on to be used for wine production in France but again, very little information was to be found.

Grapes_02Turning red in the Autumn

“Hey, well why not give it a go!” I said. My vines had not expanded enough to produce enough grape bunches  to make a significant volume of wine, so I combined crops with my original donor Fiona Macdonald  and set about harvesting the grapes in October 2014 when most of the grapes had turned from green to dark red and as the leaves were falling off the vine.

Grapes_03                 Grapes_04

Bunches “a plenty”                                              Grapes being harvested

After cutting the grape bunches from the vines, I picked the individual grapes off the stems and placed them in a plastic VAT. It was tempting to employ local “Kippen ladies” to press the vines in the traditional manner with their feet, but instead decided to crush the vines using a potato masher.

The finished product has a similar colour to a dark Rose. It has a naturally sharp flavour which can be softened by adding sweetener when bottling. I wait to see what it will taste like once it has fully matured. Perhaps a tipple in the summer of 2017 is the time to try!

Bottled and ready for drinking

If you are looking to produce your own home made wine, I can recommend Stirling Health Food Store on Dumbarton Road in Stirling who provided excellent advice to novice winemakers and brewers and sell all of the equipment needed for any form of home brewing. I also made some Bramble Wine which uses a similar process.




Did You Know, Uncategorized

Frae the Kirk

Messy! Imagine the sharp intake of breath when I mentioned the words messy and church in the same sentence. Both the shocked wide eyes and narrowed accusing eyes when I brought out a vial of glitter into worship. I know the feeling because, sometimes, I react that way when my kids suggest a messy activity.

‘Mummy let’s bake, let’s paint, let’s fill the sink with soapy water and splash like crazy’ (not an actual quote). My mind jumps to the messy aftermath and the arduous clean-up, but should it? I admit to times when I have shied away from messy activities because it might be too much work. I look back with sadness at the adventures, laughter and memories I’ve missed because of the mess.

Life is messy! Trying to keep things ‘perfect’ and in order should not be the goal of childhood nor of adulthood – nor should it be the goal of being church. I know the cleaning teams of the church and others may have words with me later, but I believe that following Jesus in real life is messy and complicated. That is part of the reason I enjoy Messy Church and playing with my children. In the mess is where profound moments of inspiration, connection and revelation appear.

Have you ever been digging in your garden and come across a creature in the dirt, been washing the car and seen a rainbow, been baking with children and hear their laughter, held a hand with someone struggling and seen a smile mingled with all the tears? Wonder, awe, hope, love, joy and learning find us in the messy places of life.

In the church we are sometimes seen as ‘having it all together’ or being orderly, but underneath the caricature I see the very human, very messy, but also very lively community trying their best to be faithful to God and to each other. Perfection is not something we will see this side of eternity. Messy is life. Messy is love. Messy is faith. Messy is community.

In Kippen and Norrieston churches, we are joining together with other local churches to do Messy Church. We do creativity (mostly messy), singing (not always pitch perfect), Bible stories (often very noisy) and we share food together. It’s church but not as you know it, and to be honest we’re still figuring it out, too. Would you care to join us sometime? Next Messy Church is at Kinlochard Village Hall on Sunday 20th August 2017 from 3 pm to 5pm. All are welcome, messy and neat-freak alike, young and old, confident and confused, saint and sinner.

Blessings, Ellen

Rev. Ellen Larson Davidson
Minister, Kippen linked with Norrieston
Parishes – Church of Scotland
Registered Charities: (Kippen) SC004286 & (Norrieston) SC028719

Did You Know, Uncategorized

Rural Watch Scotland and Wildlife Crime

I am Laura Robertson the Wildlife Officer for Forth Valley Division based at Callander Police Office. I have been a local police officer for 10 years.

My current role is to investigate Wildlife Crimes e.g. Hare Coursing, Poaching, Raptor Persecution, Badgers, Bats etc. Should you require advice please contact me on 101 but to report an ongoing incident, it’s also 101.

The rural communities of Scotland are amongst the safest places in which to live, work or spend time. Much of the crime prevention advice available through Rural Watch Scotland is equally relevant to urban or rural areas, but some issues are unique to rural communities:

Protecting Livestock

Securing Farm Machinery

Theft from fuel tanks

Securing tools and horse tack

Protecting wildlife

Rural Watch Scotland, in partnership with the National Farmers Union of Scotland give relevant and useful advice to the Police.

What does Rural Watch Scotland do?

Alert messages are sent to members informing them of any incidents in their area. It’s free to register and it will ask you how you want to be contacted (text, phone or email).

When an incident is reported to Police on 101 or 999 (for an emergency). An officer will attend the incident and it will be recorded on the Rural Watch Scotland website IMMEDIATELY alerting all members in the area.  Sharing this information allows members to be aware of what is going on and take swift appropriate action making our communities safer.

More information is at


Did You Know

Make the most of your Minor Injuries Unit

Many local people with minor injuries automatically head for the Emergency Department at Forth Valley Royal Hospital. But did you know you can often be seen and treated more quickly at the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at Stirling Community Hospital? This also frees up staff in the Emergency Department to treat patients with more serious injuries who require immediate care.

NHS Forth Valley’s MIU is staffed by emergency nurse practitioners who can provide treatment for a wide range of minor injuries including minor burns and scalds, infected wounds, sprains, cuts and grazes. Staff can also examine and treat minor injuries to the eye, ear, head and neck areas and can arrange X-rays for suspected broken bones.

Although the unit is based in Stirling, it offers treatment to patients over the age of one from across Forth Valley. No appointment is necessary and the MIU is open 7 days a week from 9am – 9pm. Babies under 12 months old with minor injuries should be taken to Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

To find out more about the NHS Forth Valley Minor Injuries Unit visit http://www.nhsforthvalley.com/miu

In summary:

The Minor Injuries Unit can treat:-

minor burns and scalds
infected wounds
sprains and strains
cuts and grazes
minor eye injuries
minor ear injuries (not infections)
minor head and neck injuries
suspected broken bones (staff can arrange X-rays and apply plaster, if required)

It can’t treat 

minor illnesses (including coughs, colds, sore throats)
back or hip injuries
babies aged under the age of one
injuries which happened several days ago
old injuries which have recently got worse 

If you are unsure whether you should attend the Minor Injuries Unit, then call first on 01786 434036 to check with local staff.

Elsbeth Campbell


Did You Know

Charities keeping loneliness at bay in Kippen

Two local charities, whose aim is to assist older people, have joined forces to highlight the services they provide, in the hope that more people will get in touch this spring.

Contact the Elderly and Meal Makers, (the latest initiative from the charity Food Train) both look to improve the lives of older people, many of whom may be living lonely, unsociable lives.

Contact the Elderly organises tea parties one Sunday afternoon a month and is looking for more guests and guest referrals in Kippen for its free service providing tea, cake, but most importantly, company. A volunteer driver collects one or two guests and joins them at the party before returning them safely home. A volunteer host welcomes a group of six to eight people into their home once a year, laying on afternoon tea and a warm atmosphere.

Meal Makers is a project that connects communities through food. The idea behind Meal Makers is really simple – they connect people who love cooking and want to be active in their community (‘Cooks’), with older (55+) neighbours (‘Diners’), who would appreciate a freshly prepared meal and a good chat to go along with it.

So how does this work in practice? Well, when a Meal Makers cook is preparing their evening meal for themselves and their family, they will prepare one extra portion of their home cooking and take it round to an older neighbour at a time which suits both parties. How often meals are shared, and when they are shared, is left entirely up to the Cook and Diner to decide between themselves.

Lorna Dunbar, Support Officer for Contact the Elderly, said:

“To any potential guests, as we refer to them, it may understandably seem a little daunting getting in touch and meeting new people but I can guarantee you won’t regret it if you do. Both our volunteers and guests get so much out of our Sunday afternoons.”

Stuart Miller, Development Officer for Meal Makers, said:

“We’re delighted to be taking Meal Makers to Kippen. So many lovely meals have been shared through Meal Makers and so many great friendships have been made, we’re really looking forward to seeing this happen in Kippen.”

To find out more about volunteering or becoming a guest of Contact the Elderly, contact Lorna Dunbar on 07391 563813 or lorna.dunbar@contact-the-elderly.org.uk.

To sign up as a Meal Makers ‘Cook’ please visit http://www.mealmakers.org.uk. To sign up as a ‘Diner’, or to find out more about more about the project, please contact the Meal Makers team on 0800 783 7770 or hello@mealmakers.org.uk.

Contact the Elderly:

For further media information, please contact Vanessa Anderson on 07944 550087 or Vanessa@hummingbird-comms.com.

Contact the Elderly is the winner of The Older People’s Project Award at The Herald Society Awards 2016 and The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award 2012.

Having celebrated its Golden Jubilee, Contact the Elderly is the only national charity, which since inception, has focussed solely on relieving the acute loneliness and isolation of older people who live alone, without family, friends or other support networks nearby

The Contact the Elderly model is based on a simple yet very effective model: free, monthly tea parties for small groups of older people and volunteers within their community – which bring all ages together, develop fulfilling friendships and support networks, and give everyone something to look forward to

Contact the Elderly currently has over 600 groups throughout England, Scotland and Wales, providing a regular, consistent and vital friendship link every month to over 4,800 older people aged 75 and above

There are currently over 7,800 volunteers supporting the groups: volunteer drivers collect the older guests from their homes and accompany them to tea parties, while volunteer hosts hold the tea parties in their homes

As part of its continuing Power of Contact campaign to recruit more volunteers, Contact the Elderly aims by 2020 to double the number of isolated older people it supports