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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 4th January 2003
Issue No 313

Scottish History ReWritten - By English Company

Scottish history has been rewritten by an English firm producing school wallcharts.

They even messed up one of the most famous dates - claiming the Act of Union was in 1706. In fact, the legislation uniting the governments of Scotland and England was passed in 1707. Thousands of the colour history posters of Scotland were sent out to schools by Chart Media England. However, they are littered with basic factual errors. The charts also say William the Conqueror ruled Scotland after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The Norman ruler only conquered England. They also claim Vikings brought farming and crafts to the Western Isles. But islanders were already skilled in those trades before the Norse invasion in the 8th century. The wonky wallcharts even includes a picture of Hadrian's Wall - which lies entirely in England. Now an MSP is demanding all 5000 copies sent out to schools are torn down. SNP Central Scotland MSP Alex Neil was outraged when he spotted the wallchart at Bellshill Cultural Centre. He has written to North Lanarkshire Council chief executive asking for it to be withdrawn immediately. He said: "I was flabbergasted such a document could find its way into the classroom. "There should be room for interpretation and debate within history - but not on such basic facts. "The people who produced these plainly don't know their Scottish history from their elbow." Chart Media England, based near Burnley in Lancashire, promised to fix their mistakes when the poster is reprinted. But their excuse for the cock-ups was that Scots did not know their history - as no one else spotted the errors. A spokeswoman said: "We actually had some people in Scotland working on this who checked it out. "No one has telephoned us. People obviously don't know their facts. "We produce either 3000 or 5000 and it has gone well. We are down to our last couple of hundred. "But we are coming towards the reprint stage so at least we can correct things quite quickly." The chart has been marketed in Scotland by a Glasgow company called ScotChart. No one from there has commented.

Harry Potter Magic

The magic of Harry Potter came alive recently with a gathering on the Qidditch field in Glen Nevis, where lucky numbers were drawn from a cauldron bringing good fortune to a grateful winner. For, as darkness fell, one winner of a complete set of Harry Potter books donated and signed by the author was announced - Jenny Hastings from Roybridge, who donated the prize back in recognition of the help given by the organisation to her late husband. The event brought to a conclusion a year of frantic fundraising to help build a Maggie's Highland Cancer Care Centre at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness. The prize draw with one of the starriest prizes around had attracted worldwide attention, with tickets bought from as far apart as Texas, New York and Uppsala in Sweden, raising over 500 in the process. This made a grand total of almost 3,000 collected by organiser Heather Clyne, who set off recently for a further fundraising sponsored walk across Brazil. Ballachulish woman Anne Thomson was chosen to draw the winning ticket as she grew up in the gatehouse of the Western General Hospital in Glasgow, which recently developed into the Maggie's Centre for West Central Scotland. The event was followed by a barbecue. Heather said: "The books proved a real attraction and made a great contribution to the overall fundraising effort."

Hospice Posts Info on Web

The Highland Hospice in Inverness went online recently with the launch of its new website. The site, which can be reached at, features information on the services offered including complementary therapies and education work as well as giving details about volunteering and the latest news, including the arrival of a second consultant, Dr Jeremy Keen. Hospice fund-raising manager Martin Edwards is confident the site will play an important role in widening the knowledge available about the work carried out at the hospice. "It is very important that we make information available to people over the internet," he commented. "In time, we hope the website will be a major contribution to the information and education available, not only about the hospice but about the illnesses that we help to treat."

Revival for Clan Seat

Work to preserve the legacy of a historic Highland castle surrounded by local myth and folklore is due to begin in the Spring. The legends involving Ardvreck Castle in Assynt will be conserved thanks to the work of local community led charity Historic Assynt, which was set up to help retain and restore the heritage of the area. The organisation has received 409,000 in Heritage Lottery Fund cash to conserve the ruins of the 16th century castle and the nearby mansion Calda House. Maggie Campbell of Historic Assynt said the 20,000 people who visited the castle every year were often faced with having to climb fences and wade through bogs, and one of the main aims of the programme was to improve access to the site. "The castle is probably the last tower house on the west coast mainland north of the Great Glen," she said. "It and Calda House are scheduled ancient monuments so their importance is recognised nationally." According to local legend, the castle, which has be uninhabited since 1795 when it was struck by lightning, counts a witch and several ghosts among its residents. Local folklore stated that the strike was the result of a resident dowager placing a curse on the area, following years of bad harvests. The castle was the former residence of the chiefs of the MacLeods of Assynt. In 1672, it was besieged by the Seaforth MacKenzies, who took control after a dispute involving the payment of estate debts. After going bankrupt in 1736, the MacKenzies were forced to sell up, by which time Ardvreck Castle had been replaced by Calda House.

Burger Giant Takes to Gaelic

Visitors to the Highlands will soon be able to pop in to MacDhomhnaill's for a Mac mor agus Sgealban. That's a Big Mac and fries to customers who don't speak Gaelic. To mark the 200th anniversary of the arrival in America of immigrants from the Fort William area, McDonald's is translating its name to Gaelic at its outlets in the town. The hamburger empire's founders, Dic and Mac McDonald, were descendants of West Highlanders. Until now, the chain has refused to use Gaelic, claiming McDonald's should stay McDonald's from Moscow to Glasgow - even though it's highlighted around the world in Hebrew, Chinese, Russian and Turkish letters. But recently, Olwyn Macdonald, Highland Council convener for the Fort William area, said the translation would go ahead. She said a senior executive of the chain called her to say permission had been tentatively granted, adding: "They now appear quite willing for Gaelic signs to go up. "Millions of people of Scottish descent, who are researching their genealogy, would expect McDonald's to associate with their Highland origins. It's 200 years since the McDonald forebears sailed from Fort William Pier to North America. "It's high time the corporation realised the value of their heritage and the fact the name was originally MacDhomhnaill." English-Gaelic menus were printed when the branch opened in 1996, but later withdrawn.

Dram Fine Gift

Loving wives stuck for the ideal present for their own special Highlander took heart recently. For an Inverness whisky merchant launched a very special scotch which kicks like a mule. It is a 1976 Millburn 25 year old with a cask strength of a whopping 58.9 per cent. The single cask from the former Millburn Distillery in Inverness yielded just 276 bottles and it was anticipated that there would be a great demand for them locally. Each bottle was priced at 77. Said Scott Dunn, manager of The Whisky Shop's Inverness branch: "This really is a very fine and rare expression from this now long closed Inverness distillery. Locally, the interest was overwhelming, from both collectors and connoisseurs alike." The stills at Millburn Distillery in Inverness last ran in 1985, after which it closed and was converted into a restaurant and hotel. The whisky produced there largely ended up in blends, but in recent years, connoisseurs have begun to appreciate its quality when occasionally its released as a single malt. Millburn was the oldest of Inverness's three original distilleries - Glen Mhor and Glen Albyn were the other two - tracing its origins back to 1807.

Off to Japan

A remarkable mare and foal set off from the Highlands recently on a round the world journey which will end at a Japanese racecourse. The 11.5 ton sculpture was the first piece to leave Scotland's only purpose built, fine art foundry near Nairn, where building work was completed recently. Created by Black Isle Bronze, Mare and Foal is the latest in a long line of pieces from the company which for the past eight years has been working out of a large shed. It once cast replicas of the Maltese Falcon for Harry Winston's diamond store in New York - THE Harry Winston mentioned in the Marilyn Monroe song, Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend. And it has created pieces for Rory Bremner, Twickenham rugby stadium, Lords cricket ground, Paul Getty, Viscountess Linley and the Olivier Awards. Black Isle Bronze's new premises were finished in December enabling work on completing the sculpture to take place before Hiro Kashiwa visited Nairn to make his final inspection of the horses, commissioned to mark the 50th anniversary of the Chukyo Racecourse Owners' Association.

Charity Event

The Rotary Club of Loch Ness held a charity quiz night recently at the Craigmonie Hotel, Inverness. Thirty teams battled it out to be the champions and the winning team was "The Tenons Tubbies" from Tenon Ltd, Inverness. It is hoped that the event has raised more than 1,500 for four local charities.

Political Roundup

Action Demanded to Protect Gaelic

The Scottish Executive was urged recently to introduce a series of measures to safeguard the Gaelic language. A delegation from Highland Council presented a declaration to Gaelic minister Mike Watson at the Scottish Parliament. It called for a Gaelic language Act, a Gaelic development board, the creation of a Gaelic unit within the Executive and the investment of 10 million a year to promote the language. The declaration also calls for more Gaelic language teachers in Highland primary and secondary schools, and improvements in recruiting and training them.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Snow showers spreading from N. Sunny intervals in the S. Winds mod/fresh NW'ly. Temperature 0c to 4c.
Saturday Night
Scattered snow showers mainly in the N. Cloudy but some breaks in the S. Winds NW'ly. Temperature -7 to -1c.
Mostly cloudy but a few breaks allowing for some bright intervals. Max temperature 3c.
Partly cloudy with sunny intervals. Risk of snow showers. Max temperature 4c.

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