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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 12th January 2002
Issue No 265

Hunks of the Month for a Year

Farmer's daughter Joanna McCallum spent six months persuading tough Highland laddies to get their kit off for the camera.

And the boys blushes weren't spared when the results of their page three frolics hit the streets just before Christmas. For the brave beefcakes were featured in a calendar being sold to raise cash for the Highland Hospice in Inverness. Builders, farmers, office workers and printers lads, wearing only their best smiles and a number of strategically placed props, followed in the footsteps of the ladies of the Women's Institute who hit the headlines - and the jackpot - when they stripped off a few years ago to raise funds for their organisation. Martin Edwards, fundraising manager for Highland Hospice is delighted with the support from local companies in producing the Highland Hunk calendar. He said: "There are 12 companies involved in the calendar. Each has a month and several photographers volunteered to take the pictures. "Even staff at the Highland Hospice got into the spirit of things by posing for December." He added: "It is the first time we have had a charity calendar like this and we hope that it will raise a lot of funds. It's something very different, it's fun and it's light hearted." But behind every strong man is a strong woman, and Martin reveals that the inspiration for the calendar is a young woman from the Black Isle. He said: "We have to thank Joanna for this project. She wanted to raise money for the Highland Hospice and came up with the idea for a calendar so she got all the companies involved and organised the whole thing. It is wonderful that Joanna showed such initiative to raise money for the Highland Hospice." Joanna, who is currently travelling around the world, came up with the idea for a calendar because she wants to pursue a career as an events and fundraising manager. Her mother, Isobel, said: "Joanna met with the fundraising manager for Highland Hospice and he basically told her to take on the project herself. She spent six months working on the project and getting companies involved. "She has worked very hard on it but the real test for her is if it sells." But it seems that even Joanna wasn't immune to the charms of the Highland's hunkiest men. Joanna's mum added: "There was one group of men in particular that got quite into it. "That day Joanna came home and she was a bit flustered."

Internet Kiosk

Tourists and residents in Inverness visiting the city's Victorian Market now have the opportunity to go online free of charge following the launch of an Internet kiosk. The facility which was opened recently in a ceremony attended by Chris Claridge, Inverness Area manager for Highland Council and Gary Robinson, managing director for Moray Firth Radio, is the first of its kind to be launched in Scotland and boasts a new online city directory. The website, which gives users the chance to access information about more than 300 local companies and organisations, is a joint initiative between local businessman John Oag and Duncan Monteith-Hodge from Oban. "Plans are now under way to have the touchscreen facility available at a variety of public places throughout the city," Mr Oag revealed.

Tourism Awards

An Inverness hotelier has been celebrating being the first winner in a new category of a much coveted local tourism award. Nicol Manson said he was "absolutely thrilled" to receive the award for lifetime achievement at the recent tourism awards held in Inverness. Mr Manson, who runs the Glen Mhor Hotel on Ness Bank with his wife, Beverly, was nominated for the award by members of the Inverness and District Hotels Association. He said he had no idea that he had won until the night of the ceremony. "I knew I had been nominated for something, but I never knew I would win a lifetime achievement award," he said, "It is wonderful, I'm absolutely thrilled. "To get recognition from my peers is the best recognition that I could ask for." Mr Manson has come a long way since his days of making tea at the hotel as an 11 year old boy. The hotel was then run by his father Donald, and was a modest 10 bedroom unlicensed establishment. The Glen Mhor now boasts 45 bedrooms, two bars and two restaurants. In addition to this, Mr Manson also operates an outside catering business. The hotel has been run by the Manson family for the last 45 years.

Gaelic Heritage

The Gaelic heritage of Inverness was recognised recently as bilingual signs were unveiled at the city's railway station. ScotRail is working with Highland Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to develop bilingual railway station signs on the line between the city of Inverness and Dunkeld and Birnam. Presenting the signs, ScotRails Dave Prescott, head of customer services, said: "ScotRail as Scotland's national railway company, is pleased to be able to contribute to the promotion of Gaelic. "We hope that our efforts will contribute to the economic and cultural life of the Highlands and Islands." Accepting the new signs on behalf of the city, Inverness provost William Smith said: "I am delighted to accept this bilingual sign from ScotRail, as the city of Inverness is the Capital of the Highlands we recognise that Gaelic plays an important economic and linguistic role in our city. He added: "There are a number of Gaelic organisations which have offices in the city and this generates employment in the area." The bilingual signs have been partly funded by ScotRail, the Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Highland Rail Partnership and CNAG. The Highland Council, through its Gaelic development strategy, is committed to co-ordinating and exchanging information between the private and public sectors. The council is especially interested in opportunities which are available in Gaelic development through sponsorship, grant aid and partnership. Councillor Allan Beaton, chairman of the Gaelic working group, said: "We are very pleased that ScotRail has been working with the various agencies to include Gaelic on their railway station signs. We in the Highlands have a language and culture which we are rightly proud of, especially at this significant time when globalisation is on our doorstep and our language is under threat. He added: "Companies such as ScotRail can play a significant role in promoting our language."

A Warm Coat at Last

When Monty the Great Dane moved from the Midlands in England to the colder climes of the Highlands, life suddenly became a lot less fun. For poor old Monty just couldn't get warm. And when his new owner Derek Wood decided to provide him with a winter coat, he discovered a really big problem - he simply couldn't find one big enough to fit the loveable giant. After months of searching, Derek, a retired sales rep who lives on the shores of Loch Ussie, near Dingwall, was ready to resort to sticking plastic bin liners round Monty to keep him dry and warm. But eventually he came up with a solution. He approached the Seaforth Saddlers in Waterloo Place, Inverness, whose new owner Lesley Common was happy to help out. Lesley said: "When Derek took Monty in he took up the whole shop, he's so big. But I managed to fit him out with a foal's coat. "I had to shorten the depth of the rug and the surcingles - the straps which fit under the tummy to hold it on. "But it did the trick and Monty certainly looked happy." Monty used to belong to Derek's niece Lorna but events in her life meant she had to give Monty up. It was then that Monty was taken North to live in the Highlands with Derek. He said: "My wife had died and Lorna thought it would be good for me to have some company and she was right. "I also have a parrot called Oscar. I've had him for 30 years and they now sleep together in Monty's bed. I've been afraid he might roll over and flatten Oscar but he seems to be very aware of him and the parrot's come to no harm." Monty is now very popular at Redwood Nursing Home in Alness, where residents queue up to give him biscuits.

Community Woodland Scheme

A community initiative to help restore native trees to Highland woodlands and make them more accessible to locals and visitors was given a 30,000 boost recently by Scottish Natural Heritage. The money will go towards the upgrading of forest paths, improving environmental interpretation and providing an "eco-toilet" for visitors to Abriachan Forest. The grant was awarded to the Abriachan Forest Trust and also helped with the cost of some equipment to enable the group to carry out the work. The trust was formed three years ago when 534 hectares of mixed woodland and hill top were handed over to the local community by the Forestry Commission. "We have the aim of restoring it to a native woodland and of opening the forest up to public access, both for locals and visitors," explained George Hawco. "We see ourselves as taking part in the reforestation of the Great Glen with native species." The area managed by the trust will be part of the Great Glen Walk, which will open this year and the facilities will also be used by walkers completing the route. However, these will not just be for keen walkers. Some of the new paths will be upgraded to access for all standard, allowing anyone to enjoy a trip to Abriachan Forest. "We have done some already and have found they have been extremely popular," said Mr Hawco. SNH area officer Chris Wright, said the agency's contribution formed part of its commitment to promoting sensitive access to and enjoyment of the natural heritage. "The proposals that the Abriachan community has for the management of the land bring together local people involvement, environmental education and recreational opportunities which complement the natural heritage interests," stated Mr Wright. "It is entirely appropriate for SNH to support initiatives such as this."

Siege of Dunkeld Commemoration

More than 50 people took a step back in time recently in Perthshire at a commemorative march held to mark the 1689 Siege of Dunkeld. Clan representatives dressed in 18th century costume with swords and muskets were led along the High Street to Dunkeld Cathedral by two pipers. Participants heard a service at the cathedral's Ruined Nave, and the site of a Jacobite mass grave, which dates back to the siege when the Nave was destroyed in the fire. A musket was fired in a salute before clan members laid wreaths at the site of the grave. Head of the Royal House of Stewart HRH Michael of Albany also gave a speech about ancestry at the graveside. The march was also held to commemorate a man named Ronstadt who was apparently killed in a coach crash in the 19th century.

Charity Event

The Rotary Club of Inverness Culloden held its first charity auction recently in the Ramada Jarvis Hotel in Inverness. During one and a half hours of auctioneering by Ellis Allan, 122 lots were auctioned off and 1.800 was raised for local good causes and charities, including the new Macmillan Cancer Unit at Raigmore Hospital.

Political Roundup

MSP Wants Doctors to be Better "Rural" Trained

Highland MSP Mary Scanlon has asked the Scottish Executive to widen the training given to students to ensure doctors qualify with skills more suited to rural health care. Ms Scanlon, who has raised a wide range of health related issues since becoming an MSP, said GP's in rural areas faced additional pressure and called for a wider range of skills than those required of colleagues in urban areas.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Patchy drizzle in W am, windy and cloudy with rain pm. Winds fresh SW'ly. Temperature 9c to 12c.
Saturday Night
Rain in W early evening, in E late evening. A few showers in W later. Winds strong to gale S.SW'ly. Temperature 6c to 8c.
Early bright spells fading as rain develops , some heavy in NW. Strong SW'ly winds.
It will be cloudy with widespread rain and drizzle. Winds will be near gale to gale force W-SW'ly.

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This is Caledonia ( Caley for short ) A Ness-Scape family member and mascot. She is a White German Shepherd. Caley has decided to take over the editing of Nessie's Loch Ness Times, and she's sure she'll make a good job of it. What do you think?

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