Alex McLaren Beekeeping Centre

Since 2000, DSBA has managed an apiary in the grounds of Stirling University where we offer practical training for new beekeepers and learning opportunities for the continued development of members.

The apiary is named after Alex McLaren who inspired learning. Alex was a school teacher from Falkirk who continued to teach others about beekeeping. The DSBA continues to uphold that teaching tradition.

The Apiary Committee is a team of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers with a wide range of beekeeping knowledge built up over a collective 50 years of experience.  As well as teaching and supporting the new beekeepers at Hands On Beekeeping, they meet throughout the year developing the apiary site and managing the colonies through the winter months.

How to find us


The address is: The Apiary, Stirling University Campus, Hermitage Road, FK9 4NJ

Stirling University is located on the A9 between Bridge of Allan and Causewayhead.  Enter the University grounds and take the first left which is signposted for the Pathfoot Building. Continue along this road for about half a mile, passing the student residences,  medical centre (on your left), and Airthrey Castle (on your right).  Beyond Airthrey Castle the road bears left then right and passes a small car park on your left and the Golf pavilion on your right. Beyond the Golf pavilion is a larger car park and the apiary grounds are opposite this car park.  

Please note that an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) parking system is active as you enter and leave Stirling University grounds on Mondays to Fridays between 9am and 5pm, with a 2-hour grace period where you will not be charged.

What 3 Words – https://w3w.co/verbs.icebergs.slugs

A History of the Early Days by John Hoskin

It’s good to see the apiary at Stirling university with it’s new fencing & many other facilities that have evolved over the past seasons long may it continue.  Looking over some pictures in an old computer prompted me to write this piece for the newsletter to let the newer members especially, know just how the whole concept came about,  at least to the point where the site was prepared & the module, which I believe was once a sales/showroom arrived & was placed on it’s present site.

John Coyle assists the off loading of the new cabin onto it’s foundation.  Purchased from Napier accommodation services, they also spray painted it green before delivery.


The old apiary site was located on the University campus at the top of a very steep hill at the rear of Airthrey cottage, as an add on Magnus Peterson has personal knowledge of a DSBKA apiary dating back as far as 1976 located at Bridge of Allan, Mary Jenkins planted the seeds of an association apiary at Stirling university at around 2000 & after much corresponding with the authorities secured a site where hives could be placed, & for many years a small number of colonies were situated there, a considerable amount of hard work was carried out on the site in terms of ground maintenance, even to the point of diverting a small watercourse, however it became obvious after possibly a decade that another more manageable site should be sought after.

At a committee meeting held at John Coyle’s house in 2012, members were asked for their views on a new apiary site, the outcome of which was that a small sub-committee was set up comprising of John Hoskin, Mike Stanners, & Malcolm Main, who would assess the existing apiary site & submit their recommendations, once completed the report was considered, the outcome of which resulted in the committee applying for a Lottery grant to cover the cost of a new facility with power generation etc, the lottery admin process work was carried out by Anne Shaw, while John Coyle carried out the ground work with the University authorities, particularly Jimmy Struthers in securing a suitable site, resulting in our current location. 


Anne announced to the committee subsequently that we had been successful in securing a grant, allowing us to purchase a large cabin/unit & other items necessary for setting up & operating a new association apiary.

Many members turned up prior to delivery (Kevin Russell, George Hedley, Ewen Cunningham & more) to prepare the site & carry out the groundwork to form a level foundation, it was a particularly tight squeeze for the delivery lorry as there was extensive building work underway along the access route, but success was achieved. 


The committee agreed to name the apiary “The Alex McLaren Beekeeping centre” in memory of a great character & supporter of the DSBKA.     

Written by John Hoskin.


Almost there, the placing & levelling of the slabs involved much hard work.