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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 13th January 2001
Issue No 214

School Badges are Illegal

Pupils face having their school badges banned - because they break a 300 year old law.

The ancient legislation states that badges with coats of arms have to be officially registered at a cost of 830. And now the Lord Lyon - Scotland's legal authority on heraldry - is on the warpath after discovering scores of schools have failed to register their crests with him. His officials say those who fail to register could be reported to the procurator fiscal, who could order them to stop using the badges. The Lord Lyon's warning has been branded 'petty beyond belief'. Marie Whitehead, chairwoman of the Association of Head Teachers in Scotland, said: "It is time that people like the Lord Lyon woke up, smelled the coffee and joined the 21st century." Mrs Whitehead, headmistress of St Mirren's Primary School in Glasgow, added: "We will continue using our school badge. What is the Lord Lyon going to do - come and arrest us." The row broke out after the Lord Lyon, Sir Malcolm Innes of Edinburgh, ruled that Milngavie Primary School, near Glasgow, had contravened the Lord Lyon Kings of Arms Act 1672 by failing to register its badge. A spokeswoman for the Court of the Lord Lyon said: "In Scotland, all heraldic or armorial badges must be registered with the Lord Lyon. "If they are not registered, the school or organisation must cease using them. "At the end of the day, the procurator fiscal can decide whether or not an offence has been committed." Education authorities throughout Scotland have been checking their records to see which school badges were registered. East Dunbartonshire Council has revealed only three of their forty seven schools have signed up with the Lord Lyon.

Causeway Link Opens

Hebridean history was made recently when South Uist and Eriskay were linked. The core sections of the new causeway to link the islands were joined together, which for the first time made it possible to walk dryshod between the two. Islanders have been calling for the link for decades and work on the 1.6km project began in May last year. The project, which also includes new ferry terminals on Eriskay and Barra, saw around 400,000 tonnes of rock excavated from Eriskay and a quarry at Glendale, South Uist. Councillor Norman Macdonald, chairman of the Western Isles Council's transportation committee, said: "This is the culmination of a decade of work by the council which has seen fixed links provided to Vatersay, Berneray and Scalpay, as well as improved ferry services. "I am looking forward to seeing the full completion of the roadway to Eriskay this summer." The causeway, which is the largest civil engineering project of its type underway in the UK, will carry a two track road, a new water main and mains electricity, replacing the existing underwater cable.

No Kilts in Bollywood

India's answer to Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to wear a kilt during a film shoot in Scotland - because he was scared it would destroy his macho image. Scotland is now a favourite overseas location for the massive Indian film industry. Millions of pounds have already been poured into its economy by a series of blockbusters filmed here. But the national dress has been less of a hit with the stars of the Bollywood scene. Action hero Sunil Shetty didn't don the kilt while filming in Glasgow, as he was afraid it wouldn't go down well with cinemagoers back home. He's starring in a film, Love, Love and Love, about a female Indian student who comes to Scotland to study. The three month shoot took place in and around Glasgow University as well as on the banks of Loch Lomond and at various sites in Ayrshire. Scottish Screen hope more Indian directors will follow Sunil to these shores. Kevin Cowle, Locations Operations Manager said: "Scotland is great because it offers a huge variety of locations in a small area."

Bob Wyatt, Steam Train

The proud widow of a railway enthusiast from Conon Bridge has returned from a poignant trip to Poland where she unveiled a nameplate to his memory on a huge steam locomotive. Marion Wyatt's late husband, Bob, was one of the driving forces behind the "Wolstyn Experience" - a novel "steamshare scheme" in Wolstyn, near Poznan. In 1997, Bob and a dozen kindred spirits invested 2000 each, which ensured them a week's engine driving a year until 2002. Sadly Bob died a year ago but by then the Wolstyn Experience had really picked up momentum. A large house now provides accommodation for steam buffs who arrive for a week's tuition. Wolstyn depot is the last bastion of standard gauge steam trains working in Europe, and the Polish crews are proud to be able to pass on their expertise for participants to realise their schoolboy dreams and ambitions. By 1999 Bob, an engineer with Scottish Hydro Electric knew well he was not going to be well enough to use his annual engine driving tuition and donated it to young enthusiasts who wouldn't normally have a chance. Marion and daughters, Anne and Jill were in Wolstyn for a few days where scores of rail devotees from Poland and the UK carried out the naming ceremony of Bob's steam train. Said Marion on her return to Conon Bridge, "The unveiling of Bob's nameplate was very moving, especially as the locomotive chosen was one of his favourites. "The Polish rail bosses have stipulated the loco Bob Wyatt will continue to work the line."

Tweed Industry Celebrates

Development work for a Harris Tweed visitor centre in the Western Isles has got under way. This follows a decision by the local enterprise company to back research into customer needs for the project. Together with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Harris Tweed Authority, Western Isles Enterprise is paying for Edinburgh based Skakel & Skakel Ltd to work on the interpretative design element of the centre, to be built in Tarbert. The centre will aim to present the story of Harris Tweed from its origins to the present day and its wider influence on the way of life and economy of the islands. It is anticipated that a retail outlet will be incorporated into the building design, either external to the interpretative element of the centre or as part of it. The new proposal is intended to be a smaller project than a rejected earlier one and on a different site, probably closer to the Tarbert-Uig car ferry terminal, allowing travellers leaving the ferry to be attracted to the new centre.

All Aglow

Crofter Murray Macleod was on the horns of a dilemma over what to do about the danger of his flock's only black sheep being run over at night by a car. So switched on Murray literally came up with a bright idea - he painted Blackie the black sheep's horns with reflective fluorescent orange lifeboat gloss. Blackie, whose Gaelic name is Caora dhubh, is now safe to wander the roads around her home at Uig on the Isle of Lewis. Murray did the paint job after the five year old ewe had a near brush with death with a car. Murray, who has 40 sheep said: "When the winter nights came in, Blackie was at risk. Nobody could see anything of her." "She is the only black sheep in the flock so I had to find a solution just for her. "I have a boat and I thought: why not use the orange reflective paint - which helps ships being seen at night - on Blackie? "The only part I could paint was the horns. I gave her a white paint undercoat and then put the orange on top. It is no different to somebody wearing a reflective jacket. "She did not seem to mind. In fact she has been showing off - just like she has been given an expensive pair of earrings. But it has saved her life - though some drivers have got quite a shock. All they can see first is a pair of orange horns and her yellow eyes coming out of the darkness."She looks like something out of a horror movie - though some people have said she is more like a Rasta farian! Either way she is worth saving - she is a very special ewe."

Freedom After 68 years

After 6 decades working in the same Highland post office 92 year old Margaret Hutcheson has retired. Mrs Hutcheson worked for 68 years at the Artafallie Post Office on the Black Isle. She started running the post office with her mother when she was 24. However new technology has forced one of the longest serving postmistresses in the country to hand over the reins. Mrs Hutcheson said: "I told them I was not going to continue when the computers came in. I am very relieved to be finished and am looking forward to my freedom as I am very tired." Since 1951, Mrs Hutcheson has been running the post office on her own and has opened for two hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The twice weekly duty has made it difficult for her to get away. She said: "I would like to get away to see my family because it is too cold to go on holiday just now." Known to her regulars as "Auntie Meg", Mrs Hutcheson was congratulated for her long service by Post Office retail network manager Louise Duff. She said: "We would like to thank Meg for her 68 years service - at the age of 92 she now deserves a rest." The new post office is about half a mile away and will be located at Blackwood, North Kessock, Inverness.

Charity Event

The annual Alzheimer Scotland Action on Dementia dinner in Inverness recently raised more than 5000. The event saw fierce bidding for prizes including a helicopter ride, a bottle of numbered Whisky Society whisky and a week in a luxury timeshare.

Political Roundup

Pledge on Gaelic

The Gaelic community welcomed the Government's recent pledge that the language will be made partially protected under the standards in Scotland's School Act. Speaking in Alloa recently, education minister Jack McConnell said the Government is aiming to raise attainment for all. He said they had consulted widely on proposals which set priorities for school education over the next five years. The priorities, which must be approved by the Scottish Parliament, include the promotion of equality and help for every pupil to benefit from education, with particular regard to pupils with disabilities and special educational needs, and to Gaelic and other lesser used languages.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Bright/sunny spells. Frost/freezing fog am. Winds moderate S. Temperature 2c to 6c.
Saturday Night
Dry , clear spells. Local fog/freezing fog later. Winds light/mod S, fresh in W. Temperature -6 to 4c.
Mainly cloudy, a little drizzle but also a few bright spells in most places. Light SW breezes.
A dry day though cloudy at times. Some bright periods developing at times. Winds light S-SE.


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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