The Gask Ridge is an early chain of frontier forts, watchtowers and fortifications built by the Romans in Caledonia (Scotland). The Ridge comes close to Dunblane at the Ardoch Roman Fort in Braco, the Glenbank Fortlet, Doune Roman Fort, and Bochastle Roman Fort in Callander.
The fort system was built around 80 CE along the Highland Line, the boundary between Scotland’s fertile lowlands and mountainous highlands. Beginning at Glenbank north of Dunblane and finishing at Bertha, the Gask Ridge was one of Rome’s earliest fortified land frontiers. (Construction on Hadrian’s Wall wouldn’t begin for another 42 years)
The military centre of the frontier was the Legionary fortress of Inchtuthil overlooking the north bank of the River Tay. Inchtuthil was built for the forces of Governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola as the advance headquarters for campaigning against the northern tribes.
The traditional theory for the forts construction was to prevent invading Caledonians from raiding Roman-held lands. The value of the forts to block a larger mass invasion from the north is doubtful, as only Inchtuthil had the necessary soldiers and defensives to place a hurdle strong enough to fight a war along the chain.
Recent archaeological evidence has even shown, that depsite many of the forts on the Gask Ridge being rebuilt, sometimes twice, there is no evidence of destruction occuring through warfare. North of the Gask Ridge was a series of marching camps that the Romans constructed in the 1st century during their exploratory campaigning as far north as Inverness (and possibly further).
By 86 CE Rome established a policy of three standing legions for Britannia, and a military withdrawal south was declared. The Gask Ridge frontier, along with its fortifications was abandoned no later than 90 CE. Find out more
From the Stirling Observer 10 January 2017
More than a ton of goods was collected by Dunblane Boys' Brigade members in their bid to help Start Up Stirling.
Organisers were delighted with the response and say the amount collected was impressive as people responded to the request to donate toilet paper and feminine hygiene products- neither of which weigh much. Dozens of the boys helped over the three-hour public donation period and many assisted to unload the food at Start Up's new, larger depot in Stirling.
Captain of 25th Stirling (Dunblane) BB, Paul Christmas, said: "Although it is undoubtedly sad that the demand for the food bank continues to rise, we are pleased and proud to have a regular association with Start Up Stirling, who do so much to address the i problems being faced by many in communities around Stirling."
BB member Jack Robinson (16) added, "We have been helping out the food bank with big collections twice a year since 2011 and we have a monthly collection on our Friday night meetings but we do enjoy helping outwith these big collection nights and it's brilliant to see so many people coming in with donations." Donations came in thanks to support from schools and churches advertising the event plus appeals in print media. Members of Dunblane Cathedral helped by taking part in the Reverse Advent Calendar activity.
Officers and boys of Dunblane BB would like to thank everyone who helped spread the word or donate in anyway to the success of the event.
Sports - Andrew Butchart has been selected as one of the lead stars for the Scotland Commonwealth games team for 2018 having had another highly successful year in 2017. In September, Jamie Murray and partner Martina Hingis won the US Open mixed doubles having previously won the same event in Wimbledon. Meanwhile brother Andy and his wife Kim had their second baby girl. Not to be out done, mum Judy received her OBE and rejoined Strictly for the Christmas special. Many other Dunblane athletes took part in the Stirling Scottish Marathon with plans announced for a half marathon to join the full one next year.
Life on the High Street - Our butchers - John Hill and Benetts continued to make it big in the world of PIEs with top awards being won. Sadly, the Sherrifmuir Inn closed down but Juniper Restaurant started up in Old Churches House offering a menu that has been very successful in Tillicoultry. In December, RBS announced that their branch in Dunblane would close, following in the footsteps of the TSB. The streetscaping scheme around the station finished early in the year with the Allan Water Bridge re-emerging from the building work complete with raised flower beds. For much of the year we had a chicane on the dual carriageway while part of the bridge was raised to allow for electric trains to Dunblane in late 2018 - early 2019. Sadly if we went in to Edinburgh or Glasgow for a night out, it was a rather slow bus taking you home from Polmont or Croy.
Culture and Events - The fling was a success again with Dougie McLean headlining the Saturday night in the Victoria Hall.
October saw the E-Bicycle event take place.
We're not getting quieter, with Holmehill, Park of Keir and Hillside housing developments all continuing to generate strong views in both for and against camps.
And Finally - Dunblane's population stands at 8,830. It is the second biggest settlement in the Stirling Council area.
Have a great 2018!
Update Sunday Lunchtime 3 December
Dozens of people including lots of children have been out on the Laigh Hills today planting fruit trees - a great success!
Help Plant an Orchard on the Laigh Hills
Improving Access to the Laigh Hills
Members of the Laigh Hills Park Masterplan Steering Group have managed to secure a significant sum of money from the European funded Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) to Improve Public Access to the Laigh Hills. Almost 2km of improved paths and steps with drainage, seats, signs and fingerposts will be constructed by Stirling Council’s in house team from early November
An Orchard in the Laigh Hills
Thanks to a grant obtained by the Laigh Hills Steering Group from Tesco’s Bags of Help fund, we hope to plant some 300 fruit trees in early December. This time we will need help from the wider community to help plant the trees Further details will be posted closer to the planting dates. The fruit trees will include a Scottish Apple Collection, a Plum Collection, Modern Apples – Dessert (eaters) and Cookers, a Scottish Pear Collection, Damsons and other fruits
Some Background : A Community Orchard was alluded to in the Laigh Hills Park Dunblane Strategic Landscape Master Plan 2014. This document and process had wide community support. The development of a "heritage" orchard or orchards on the Laigh Hills -- particularly on the sites that have bracken problems at the moment -- would be the first phase of the Community Orchard development.
The orchard will provide free fruit for walkers and encourage active recreational use of the Park whilst enhancing the biodiversity of the area. The community, through a friends group, would be involved in planting and maintaining the trees.
The orchard will focus on establishing heritage fruit trees, including apples, pears and plums and suitable varieties of bare rooted stock will be obtained from a local fruit tree nursery. Tree will be staked and guards will protect the young trees from deer, voles and rabbits. The trees will be planted by volunteers from the community and from local schools and expert site visit and advice and will also be used to ensure that the orchard is successfully established. As well as providing fruit, the orchard will be an attractive feature in the Park and will attract more wildlife to the area.
For the really interested the list of varieties planned, follow these links
Join the ‘Friends of the Laigh Hills’
The play facilities at the Laigh Hills are due for improvement by Stilring Council – this from funds provided by developers over the years. More news shortly.
Participants of the Dancesing classes held in Dunblane, Bridge of Allan, Killearn and Glasgow are the backing singers to a charity single fronted by Stirling's Greig Taylor. All proceeds of the single, which is a cover of Bruce Springsteen's rock classic "Dancing in the Dark", will be donated to the mental health charity SAMH.
Natalie Garry, owner and fitness coach at Dancesing, is keen to encourage good mental health through singing and dancing. Recent studies have shown that singing as part of a group can boost mental health.
More info on the Dancing in the Dark Project can be found here.
Dancesing classes are held at the Victoria Hall during term time on Fridays at 10am. More info on the Dancesing website.
Keir Home Farm contained a very fine set of buildings.
Now Registers for Scotland considers the farm to be 'At Risk'.
Also see photos from Deadline News /Forgotten Scotland
There are other buildings on the estate which are 'At Risk'.
From the Architect’s Journal ; 21 November, 2017 By Merlin Fulcher
Competition: Braeport Centre, Dunblane
The Dunblane Development Trust (DDT) is seeking an architect for a £500,000 extension to its Category C-listed Braeport Centre The winner of the estimated £16,000 contract will complete a feasibility study exploring options to upgrade and enlarge the community centre which occupies a former primary school in the Braeport area of the historic town. The phased £500,000 project will demolish an existing portacabin extension featuring a kitchen and toilets, reconfigure the interior of the 1880s structure and create a replacement new build expansion with additional storage spaces. According to the brief: ‘Over the coming years it is the DDT’s intention to refurbish and extend the existing facilities to provide a more modern and improved facility, better able to accommodate the needs of the community in the future, and of businesses needing flexible workspace for businesses and services for older people and people with dementia. ‘In order to achieve these ambitions for the Braeport the DDT is seeking to complete a feasibility study to identify what improvements could realistically be made to the existing facilities and also what additional facilities could be added by extending the existing building.’ is a small commuter town in the Stirling area of Scotland close to both Glasgow and Edinburgh. The Braeport Centre was set up in the 1960s in the former premises of a three-classroom primary school. The building has capacity for up to 210-people across its three hireable rooms along with a small meeting space, office and kitchen. The latest project aims to upgrade facilities and expand the space available to the centre’s users. The deadline for applications is 12noon on 22 December.
How to apply : View the contract notice for more information
Piling Works – KippenrossTunnel to Dunblane Station
As part of a Scottish Government investment in our infrastructure, Network Rail is delivering work to electrify the railway across central Scotland. The next phase is the electrification of the railway from Grangemouth and Falkirk, through Stirling to Alloa and Dunblane will enable, longer, faster, quieter, cleaner and greener modern electric trains. The benefits will be significant including a 15% reduction in journey time between Stirling and Edinburgh/Glasgow and up to 20% more capacity on morning and evening peak services to Glasgow and Edinburgh. Prior to installing the masts that will carry the overhead wires, we need to install piles and concrete foundations in the ground to provide bases for the masts that will carry the overhead line electrification wires. Shifts and times for these works between KippenrossTunnel and Dunblane Station are detailed below.
Community Drop-in Before the piling work starts, Network Rail is hosting a community drop in event where members of the public can come along and meet the project team to ask any questions and discuss the work. Tuesday 28th November, 4pm – 7pm, the Dunblane Centre, Stirling Road, Dunblane, FK15 9EY. Download the Flyer
Piling work Dates & Times:
8th to 29th January 2018
Saturday night from 11pm to 8am
Sunday to Thursday 9pm to 5am
Teenager Nanayakkara Gunasinghe decided to sign up for a Foundation Apprenticeship (FA) after a careers adviser recommended them – and reckons the programme gives pupils the edge when it comes to the world of work. The 17-year-old from Dunblane completes an FA in Financial Services next summer and would like to do a Modern Apprenticeship after that. The two-year training programme, developed by Skills Development Scotland, gives youngsters real practical work experience as well as a qualification. Nanayakkara is also studying Highers in Media and English is already feeling more secure about the future. The Dunblane High School pupil applied for the FA despite lacking a vital maths qualification – but was accepted after showing a strong work ethic.
Nanayakkara, who is interested in politics and the cinematic arts, explained: “One of our neighbours is a careers adviser and recommended an apprenticeship because she knew I’d like it. “I felt that the course would give me a better chance than other people because you get so much experience in the workplace and a qualification at the same time. “When I applied I didn’t have my National 5 in maths but was accepted because what is needed is to show that you want to work hard and that you want to go places in life.”
For the first year, Nanayakkara spent alternate Fridays at Forth Valley College and at financial firm Prudential – but now works at the company’s offices in Stirling one day a week. The ambitious youngster says the job has exceeded expectations and shown the world of work to be less daunting than expected. Nanayakkara said: “The tasks change every few weeks but it has mainly been admin for the managers – helping organise team meetings, taking minutes and updating the system with new client information.
“Anything you do in the first year of your college learning is applied in the workplace so it’s a great opportunity and being in this environment has really helped my communication skills and my confidence. “I’ve also found that when I apply for part-time jobs employers are always very impressed that I have experience in a professional environment.” The teen added: “An FA was definitely the right choice for me and it has absolutely lived up to my expectations. It is hard work but it’s definitely worth the time. “The best thing is being at work. Everyone at Prudential has been really friendly and supportive – it’s just the nicest place you could be.”
Nanayakkara says the apprenticeship also gives youngsters a taste of adulthood. The apprentice explained: “The way you’re taught about work in school can make it seem very daunting but it’s not as terrifying as you might think. “A lot of my friends are worried about what they are going to do next but when you have done an FA you know that you have a career path. “I really do feel a lot more independent and ready for my future.”
Text from Scottish Sun 141117