25th April 2019


A small, but beautifully formed, group of Probus members visited the National Museum of Scotland on Thursday 25th April. We travelled by service buses to Edinburgh which went well apart from a slight hiccup changing buses in Edinburgh itself. The museum has just completed a 15 year £50 million upgrade so there was plenty to see. After a quick cup of tea, members all went their separate ways in the very large building, only coming together to get the buses back to Cupar. Everyone agreed it was a good day out although a tiring one. John Topliss

The Museum Visitors


22 August 2018


At 13.30 a party of fifteen gathered in the Fluthers car park and travelled to the Amazon Fulfilment Centre near Dunfermline in cars provided by Probus members. On arrival at Amazon we were met and ushered quickly to a lecture room where we were offered tea or coffee and met our guide for the afternoon.

We were given a PowerPoint style presentation of Amazon and were impressed with the Company's global reach. Everyone was provided with a high visibility jacket and wireless headphones linked to the guide's microphone, an excellent idea as the warehouse could be quite noisy.

This allowed us to follow her commentary with ease and at the end of each session she would invite questions and provided comprehensive answers.

The guide was a helpful young woman who was very knowledgeable about the workings of Amazon. She explained the Company's growth from conception to today's worldwide reach. There was not as much mechanical handling as one might have expected, Amazon using human "pickers" to replenish and retrieve stock items.

At the end of our visit we called in to a nearby Brewers Fare and for lunch and further discussion of our experiences. Many thanks to John for arranging a very enjoyable visit.

Report by Malcolm Truesdale. Photo by John Topliss.


4 July 2018


A group of fifteen Probus members gathered at the Fluthers car park on the fourth of July for a 09.00.start ( OK - 14, one was late) to meet the minibus for the journey to East Fortune air museum. All boarded in cool but bright weather with the prediction of hot dry weather to follow.


Members of Cupar Probus preparing for flight

All went as planned and after a personal fuel stop at Dobbies we continued to the Museum and split up in small groups to explore . The weather held up and a great day out was enjoyed, boarding Concorde for a look around and on to visit the Avro Vulcan, the very one which bombed the Falklands runway. Bearing in mind this airfield was built to serve military needs there were many civilian aircraft exhibits. It was a revelation to see good legroom and metal cutlery, unlike today with cramped seating and plastic cutlery, if any. It must be said that the Museum staff were very helpful and friendly.

The return journey was marred by a long, hot tailback possibly caused by a serious road traffic accident. The minibus was comfortable and the driver acted very professionally.

Our thanks to John Topliss for time and energy putting together this most successful day out.

Report by Malcolm Truesdale. Photos by John Topliss.

15 March 2016


Around 20 Cupar Probus Club members, some accompanied by their wives assembled in Fisher & Donaldson car park on 15th March at 11:30 for the start of a conducted tour of the bakery at South Road. We were met at the entrance by Jade Milne, a member of the present owners’ dynasty. Jade introduced herself to the assembled group then saw us fitted out with hair nets (much humour) and having washed our hands escorted us round the bakery, giving full answers to any arising questions.

We were free to talk with friendly bakery staff and a lot of laughter was heard at their answers to the questions put to them. The tour group were much impressed by the enthusiasm of our guide Jade, the general cleanliness of the premises and the floors in particular. When the tour was over “Dad” met us and gave an impromptu condensed history of the company.

It was noticed by some members that energy efficient lighting and photo voltaic panels were employed and the company is investigating the possibility of further harvesting of energy. We then adjourned to the cafeteria where we enjoyed lunch at reserved tables. All said how much they enjoyed the visit.

Report by Malcolm Truesdale - photos by Peter Speirs

Large slab cake ready for slicing

Making Bridies

Sausage rolls and pastry cutting

Our group in appropriate headwear!

Jade, who was our guide explains biscuit making

Ready for delivery to the shops

6 July 2016


On Wednesday 6th July fourteen Probus members, spouses and friends met in sunshine at the Fluthers car park in Cupar. We split into four cars and headed to Forfar for a visit to the Guide Dog training centre.

Three volunteer helpers met us and settled us into the lecture room for an introductory talk. Isobel Colligan was our main guide for the day and she outlined the plan to show us round and gave us some background information on what we would see. The centre was built around nine years ago and was based on an existing Swedish model used at another of the four sites in the UK.

Up to 120 dogs could be based here at any one time at various stages in their training. The dogs are bred at a specialised breeding centre and taken from their mothers at six weeks to be given to puppy walkers.

After about 12 to 14 months depending on their progress they are brought into Forfar for their further training. Once they are ready they are matched to a recipient, and then taken to meet them for bonding and localised training. Various breeds are used but mostly based on Retrievers, Labradors, German Shepherds and Poodles.

Cross breeding is common to bring out the best characteristics of each for the task in hand. After the briefing we were taken through the various rooms used by the trainers before heading outside to see the extensive play areas for the dogs. Then we were taken back inside to see the trainers at work in the large area where they can set up various street furniture.

Six trainers and dogs at various stages of ability were shown before we were allowed to meet each dog and trainer at close quarters in a more relaxed session. A cup of coffee, a short DVD and a photo at the sensory garden completed the visit.

We then set off on a short journey for our lunch stop at Lochlands Leisure Park. A decent menu and nice surroundings made for a relaxed lunch enjoyed by all.

A short trip then took us to Glamis Castle for the afternoon visit. We joined a mixture of nationalities at the start whilst we waited for the next available guide. The group by this time had grown to around 30 and after a few minutes our tour began.

We were fortunate to have Carla who proved to be enthusiastic, very knowledgeable, and a great story teller. She regaled us with tales of the Grey Lady - a ghost who still visits the family chapel, the secret room where a previous Laird of the castle was alleged to be sealed after playing cards with the devil on the Sabbath, and the room used as a model by Shakespeare in “The Scottish Play”. All this added spice to the history of the castle used by the Queen Mother and family.

Well done John Topliss for organising a great day out.

6 May 2015


On Wednesday 6th May a group of 14 members went along to Eden Mill Brewery and Distillery. The name has now been changed from Eden Brewery to reflect that they now produce gin and whisky as well as a range of craft beers.

The Cupar Probus Group

We were welcomed by Kathryn Baker who gave us each a bottle of beer to enjoy while she gave us a outline of the history of the site. It has in the past been used for both brewing and distilling before being developed as Guardbridge Paper Mill until its closure in 2008. Part of the paper mill building was taken by Eden Brewery in 2011 to begin beer production.

Kathryn Baker and David Cleland

Kathryn then explained the brewing process and introduced us to the 4 ingredients for beer, barley, hops, yeast, and water. Different types of malted barley and hops are used to make the range of beers, and where possible the ingredients are sourced locally.

This was followed by a tour of the production area which has been greatly expanded recently to cope with demand. It was interesting to see that each bottle is capped individually on a hand operated press! We also viewed the new distilling room and the warehouse before returning to the visitor centre for a tasting.

and the reward

Six beers were sampled with Kathryn giving a commentary on each to help us appreciate the different ingredients and flavours.

All agreed it was an excellent visit.

14 January 2015


John Topliss (retiring Chairman) inducts David Cleland (right) as the 2015 Chairman

Following the traditional presentation of the Chairman’s Badge of Office and photographs Chairman David Cleland gave his gratitude for this honour and spoke of his hopes for a successful year ahead.

Office Bearers for 2015; Chairman David Cleland, Vice Chairman Bert Oliver, Secretary David Galloway, Treasurer Peter Speirs, Past Chairman John Topliss, Asst Treasurer Ron Campbell, Speakers Team Mike Edwards, David Galloway, Colin Moore, Website Coordinator Maurice Shepherd, Committee Members, John Dewar, Bob Fraser, Keith McIntosh, Robin Thomson, Conveners, Age Concern Alex Ness, Bowls Tom Vickery, Golf Sandy Aitken.

1 Oct 2014


See the Album page

23 July 2014


Ernie, a young Labrador trainee guide dog now regularly attends our meetings accompanied by his guardian and Club member, Stuart Donaldson.

He was presented today with his Probus badge by Secretary and acting President, David Cleland.











21 May 2013


On 21 May 2014 Probus members visited the revamped Fife Folk Museum in Ceres, where they were given an excellent guided tour after refreshments in the new cafe.

26 February 2014


Sam Anderson, who joined Cupar Probus Club in 1987, was presented with a Life Membership today by Acting Chairman David Cleland.

David thanked Sam for his contribution to the Club over his thirty seven years of membership.

Club members echoed their thanks to Sam for his contribution.

12 February 2014


Eric Neish, Walter Ford and Andrew Philp with their awards

Three of our longer serving members were awarded Life Memberships today, each with at least 27 years membership of the Cupar Probus Club.

These are Eric Neish (joined 1987), Andrew Philp (joined 1985), Walter Ford (joined 1986) and Andrew Philp (joined 1985).

Chairman John Topliss presented the trio with certificates, lapel badges and given our sincere thanks for their devoted service to Cupar Probus Club.

All club members showed their respect for our three worthy members.

8 January 2014


The AGM today was attended by 43 members, 15 apologies for absence having been received.

Following reports from the Secretary, David Cleland, the acting Treasurer, Peter Speirs, and Conveners' reports from Colin Moore and Jack McCubbin, Chairman Tom Vickery made his closing remarks by speaking of the honour he felt and the enjoyment in leading the club during his term of office during 2013. He thanked all members and committee for their support, offering a special thanks to his three administrative officers.

Tom then handed over his chain of office and lapel badge and welcomed 2014 Chairman, John Topliss.

Tom Vickery (left) welcomes 2014 Chairman John Topliss

Chairman John Topliss thanked the members and looked forward to the year ahead. In conclusion, Bert Oliver gave an amusing potted-history of our annual Mince Pie Day over the years.

A full minute of the AGM will be presented at the next meeting on 22nd January and is available on the Members Page.

The annual subscription of £15 for this year is now due. The Treasurer will accept payments at the next meeting where the usual yellow card with the list of Talks and the Office Bearers will be provided to paid up members. This information is now available on the website PROGRAMME and COMMITTEE pages.

12 December 2013


As this was our annual mince-pie-day, the morning started with tea/coffee and a mince pie. After attending to business, we welcomed the choir of Castlehill Primary School, Cupar who entertained us with a selection of Christmas songs.

Class teacher Mrs Milne very ably conducted the choir while assistant Mrs Walker attended to the music. Head Teacher Mrs Seath kept a watchful eye on the audience to see they sat up straight and didn’t fidget!

The choir in full voice. Click here to see more pictures in the Album

The members of Cupar Probus Club were treated to an excellent selection of Christmas tunes including All around the world; Christmas crackers; Walking in the air; Jingle bells; Rocking around the Christmas tree and Cowboy Christmas, all sung with great enthusiasm by the class and to the enjoyment of us all.

Well done Castlehill Primary and our grateful thanks for a very entertaining morning.

2 October 2013

Black Watch Museum Visit

Twelve of our members and wives visited the Black Watch Museum in Perth today.

There they had a conducted tour by Willie Cooper, followed by lunch in the newly built museum restaurant.


Our group.
See Album

21 August 2013

Visit to Kirkcaldy Galleries

17 July 2013

Visit to Cupar Heritage Centre

19 June 2013

Visit to Poppy Scotland.
(Earl Haig) Edinburgh.

Members of the Club visited the Poppy factory on 19 July and received an extensive tour of the work carried on by disabled, ex-service men.

We were shown the repetitive work of producing many thousands of poppies annually.

The tour began with a talk and film show showing the atrocious conditions of battlefields during WW1. We heard of Lt-Col John McCrae, famous for his poem 'On Flanders Fields' leading to the creation of the now famous poppy by Lord Earl Haig and Lady Haig, she being responsible for launching the poppy into Scotland.

Our grateful thanks go to box-maker Arthur, shown below, who led us through each department creating poppies, wreaths of all types, small wooden crosses etc.

The factory also has a very busy picture-framing department.

After a poppy collection day, the premises at Edinburgh will receive 28.000 cans needing cleaned and serviced. To dry them they are stacked on radiators around the factory! Many of the machines are over 100 years old and will survive another century if allowed.

The disabled ex-servicemen increased the pleasure of our journey around the factory with their cheery banter and obvious enjoyment of the tedious but very necessary work. A very satisfying morning for the members who attended.

New volunteers?

9 January 2013


Cupar Probus Club met on Wednesday 9th January 2013 when Chairman Bob Farmer gave a warm welcomed 49 members and joining member Bob Fraser.

Retiring Treasurer George Wilson and retiring Secretary John Topliss gave their end-of-year reports and were warmly thanked by members for their excellent work on behalf of the Club over the past three years.

Convener’s reports followed from Colin Moore and the Speakers team, from Alex Ness for Age Concern, from Jack McCubbin on Bowls and from Mike Edwards, standing in for on behalf of Golf.

Bob Farmer offered his thoughts on his year as 2012 Chairman thanking his office bearers and all members for their support and enthusiasm.

Bob Farmer (left) with 2013 Chairman, Tom Vickery.

Tom Vickery was elected as 2013 Chairman, and received his Chain of Office from Bob Farmer.

The other new office bearers for the year 2013 were introduced and are listed on the COMMITTEE page.

The new programme of speakers and talks for this year are listed on the PROGRAMME page.

After a short entertainment by accordionist George Wilson, Tom Vickery thanked all present for their attendance and attention, reminding members that annual fees will be due at our next meeting on Wednesday 23rd January.


10 October 2012


At our meeting on 10 October, Chairman Bob Farmer, presented a cheque for £300 to Cupar Heritage. This sum had been collected from Club members as a special initiative to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Bob Farmer presents the cheque to Guthrie Hutton with Lorettta Mordi and Ian Copland from Cupar Heritage. See Photo Album.

The cheque was accepted by Guthrie Hutton, the Chairman of Cupar Heritage, who thanked the Probus Club for their support.

18 July 2012


A small group from the Club and partners went on a very interesting backstage tour of Perth Concert Hall today. The tour included the auditorium, the stage, backstage, the dressing rooms and underneath the auditorium.

The Front of House Manager talking to our group.

The Concert Hall was opened in 2005 and includes the latest innovations such as part of the auditorium being easily lowered to create a flat area in front of the stage for a standing audience.

16 May 2012


A small party from Cupar Probus Club visited the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh on 16 May. They travelled by public transport to the recently renovated museum, and were only able to view some of vast number of assorted exhibits in the time available.

The photo shows some of the party admiring the view in the main hall which is lit by an enormous atrium roof.


11 January 2012


Bob Farmer, the 2012 Chairman of Cupar Probus Club
on his first day in office.

The club held it’s 42nd annual general meeting at the Age Concern Centre on January 11th when Chairman John McManus welcomed a record 53 members. Eight apologies for absence were received. It was with sorrow we heard of Peter Braithwaite’s death, our thoughts are with his family at this time.

Two new members were inducted, John Crichton and David Gillies, both being welcomed in the usual manner. The Minute of our previous AGM was read, proposed and seconded. Treasurer George Wilson presented the balance sheet for the year and explained any relevant points and approved. Secretary John Topliss reported that we opened our year with 78 members, sadly lost four but during the year we welcomed seven new members, finishing with 81, our average attendance was 45 with the average apologies at nine. During our year we visited Fife Police HQ at Glenrothes, RAF Leuchars, a geology trip to Dura Den and our annual lunch at St Michaels Inn. The report was approved.

Conveners Colin Moore (Speakers), Alex Ness (Age Concern) and Jack McCubbin (Bowls) reported on the years’ activities and were thanked for their continued endeavours.

Tom Vickery reported on the success of our Annual Lunch when 78 members, families and friends attended St Michaels Inn. Tom was thanked for his organising skills.

Our retiring Chairman John McManus gave his report on his year as Chairman; he spoke on the introduction of monthly lunches following the meeting, Fife Probus Bowls Teams, the installing of new blinds within Age Concern, our annual lunch closing with his sincere thanks to the administration team Secretary John Topliss, Treasurer George Wilson and Minute Secretary Bert Oliver and to all members for their support.

Bob Farmer is presented with the 2011 Chairman medallion
by John McManus, the retiring Chairman.

John then installed our new Chairman for 2012, Bob Farmer, all members showing their thanks to John and approval to Bob as he received his chain of office. After saying a few words of thanks Chairman Bob Farmer proposed the committee as follows—Vice Chairman, Tom Vickery. Secretary, John Topliss. Treasurer, George Wilson. Past Chairman, John McManus. Minute/Press Secretary, Bert Oliver. Assistant Secretary, David Cleland. Assistant Treasurer, David Nicholson. Speakers Convener, no candidate. Committee Members, Maurice Shepherd, Mike Edwards, David Galloway. Conveners. Age Concern—Alex Ness. Bowls—Jack McCubbin. Golf—Sandy Aitken. All being approved.

The remainder of the business was successfully completed and a short entertainment presented by John Topliss and George Wilson after which Chairman Bob Farmer offered his thanks to all present for a very successful annual general meeting.


7 December 2011


Our traditional Mince Pie Day was held today.

Excellent entertainment was provided by George Wilson, (accordion), Eric Neish, (trumpet), Ron Campbell and Bert Oliver, (poems), a quiz by Colin Moore and David Nicholson and a sketch by John McManus, Mike Edwards and John Topliss.

A fine ending to our meetings for this year.


Our group of 20 members arrived at RAF Leuchars at 13.30 on 9 November. Passes were issued to all in a quick and efficient manner followed by a briefing by the OC Operations about the current status of RAF Leuchars.

We were then taken by coach to a hangar where we had a very close up tour of a Typhoon on the ground. Later we were treated to seeing two actually take off when we were taken to the Control Tower to see the Ground Control and the Air Control facilities.

Then on to the Mountain Rescue Section where, as in all of the other locations, we were given thorough and sympathetic explanations of how the base operated.

We are very grateful to RAF Leuchars for a very interesting and instructive visit.

RAF photo by permission

RAF Leuchars website.


About a dozen members of the club visited the Fife Police Headquarters in Glenrothes towards the end of July.

They were welcomed by the staff and given an excellent and very informative tour, starting with the viewing room where specialist officers scan a bank of screens showing real time images from the 101 CCTV camers which are situated throughout the Region. The mobility and flexibility of the cameras were demonstrated and in a separate room some of the records of previously observed violent activites by members of the public on the streets of the region were screened.

The activities of the Public Order Unit were described by one lady officer who showed the range of equipment used by the police in a variety of circumstances and also gear provided for police protection when dealing with seriously hazardous events.

Following a sighting of the incident room to which all telephone messages are forwarded for police responses to be determined and from which the relevant teams are activated as needed the group moved to the firearms building. The firing range, its suitability for a range of equipment was discussed before a demonstration was given of the broad selection of firearms and tasers which could be used by specially trained officers if necessary.

The range of facilities and the expertise levels required of the staff in such a broad spectrum of abilities was reassuring to the members. Our thanks were expressed by Immediate Past Chairman Ian Thomson and Chairman John McManus.


On May 18 John McManus, our Chairman and a professional geologist, took a group of members with some wives on a guided walk through Dura Den near Pitscottie.

He explained many of the geological features en route and described the more recent industrial history of this valley where the water power was exploited.

John has provided the explanatory notes below.

Upper Old Red Sandstone cliffs near the Kemback Village Hall.

At the base of this cliff the sandstones show evidence of reversing currents suggesting that tidal conditions prevailed during deposition. Above are muddy sandstones typical of tidal flat deposits, and at the top of the cliff the thick units of finely bedded sandstones indicate deposition from wind, suggesting that dunes blew into the area. In all this section shows that during the period 360-365 million years ago coastal conditions typified the area of Dura Den.

Sandstones at the roadside in the upper part of the Den.

Pale coloured sandstones of Lower Carboniferous age (350 - 355 million years old) form cliffs at the roadside in the upper part of the Den. The sandstones show the migrating channel and associated buried river cliffs of an ancient river. In the bed of the river channel are sperical nodules of iron sulphide, wuich may have originated as organic fragments. To the right of the picture is 'Charlie's Rock' so called from an apparent face profile in the rocks of the central area.

Ceres Burn rapids

A section of rapids in the bed of the Ceres Burn. This misfit stream, cut towards the end of the Ice Age as the ice melted, has created the deep gorge feature. From the early nineteenth century onwards this stream has driven no less than seven waterwheels supporting mills for timber processing and for agricultural purposes including the working of local flax for the linen industry.

John McManus demonstrates a museum specimen of Holoptichius, one of the many fossil fishes fomerly found in the worked Upper Old Red Sandstone quarry mid-way along Dura Den. Similar fossil materials from this now buried quarry, were important in understanding the evolution of fish in the 1850s and 1860s.