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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 30th March 2002
Issue No 273

Weather to Freeze the Knees Was No Deterrent

An American piper bravely risked frostbite recently to model a kilt made in Oban in the cold clime of the South Pole.

John Wright strode out regardless of temperature about -50 degrees C to fulfil the daunting task. As the kilt is made of the new and appropriately named Antarctic tartan, the South Pole really was the only place for a photo shoot. That's what a South Pole resident who paid a visit to the website of Celtic Originals, of Mull, who designed the tartan, thought anyway. A couple of e-mails later and an extraordinary photograph was set up, with the American flag flying proudly in the background. Rosalind Jones, of Celtic Originals, said she hoped that Mr Wright had not donned the kilt in the traditional manner of a true Scot. She said: "He really was running the risk of was absolutely perishing...and then there's the wind chill factor." Explaining how the photoshoot occurred, she added: "Somebody who works at the South Pole found my website and thought it would be nice to have the tartan photographed there. "I posted the kilt out and John Wright, who is a friend of the person who contacted me, agreed to model it there. It shows we reach parts that others don't." The kilt, which was on loan to Discovery Point, Dundee, was made by farmer Morag MacCorquodale at her farm, Achnaba by Oban. The kilt was returned to Discovery Point to go back on display there. The Antarctic tartan, inspired by penguins, is entirely symbolic of the Antarctic and has been approved by the British Antarctic Survey. It was designed to raise funds for the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, which retails tartan ties and scarves to tourists at it Antarctic base at Port Lockroy. The tartan colours were inspired by a photo of two King penguins on the front of the BBC book Life in the Freezer taken by Ben Osborne. The tartan cloth was woven by DC Dalgleish Ltd, of Selkirk, who supplied 300 ties and 300 scarves in the tartan for the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust to sell to tourists visiting Port Lockroy in the summer. Celtic Originals has also designed the Arctic tartan that will raise funds for World Wildlife Fund conservation projects in the Arctic. It is hoped to have a photograph of a Scot wearing the Arctic tartan at the North Pole on June 21 this year.

Tree Protest

A public meeting was called recently to hear objections to a proposal to fell about 25 mature trees surrounding a Highland castle. More than 80 objections have already been lodged opposing an application for a felling license at the site on the edge of Fort William. Inverlochy Castle Association, in conjunction with Historic Scotland, say the trees hide the view of the 700 year old ruin, scene of two bloody battles in 1413 and 1645. Both organisations argue that felling would make it more visible to tourists on the nearby A82 Fort William to Inverness road, and help raise its profile as a visitor attraction. The proposed felling has run into an unprecedented wave of protest, which also includes objections and a petition from some of the students at the nearby 1,057 pupil Lochaber High School. Many of the trees were planted around 1837 by then owners of Inverlochy Estate, the Lords Abinger. Opponents say a number of sycamores and a walnut tree would come down if the felling licence was approved.

Cairngorms Nature Project

Scottish Natural Heritage has confirmed another grant towards the continued employment for another two years of the Cairngorms biodiversity action plan officer. The post, which is held by Peter Cosgrove and managed by the Cairngorm Partnership, has been in existence for three years and covers the area of the partnership. Part of the job is to work at local level, helping to deliver national biodiversity priorities, and conserve locally important habitats and species. Mr Cosgrove is also engaging local people in the planning and management of biodiversity as a resource and seeking to ensure local benefits from it. George Hogg, SNH area manager in East Highland said the SNH grant was part of the organisation's commitment to the overall improvement and promotion of Scotland's biodiversity. He added: "SNH is committed to the task of raising awareness and understanding of the need to maintain a healthy mixture of native species and habitats, which underpin the country's economic prosperity as well as the quality of people's lives."

Spinning Wheels Online

The world's first website set up to boost sales of one of the oldest technologies in the Western Isles was launched recently. The new site is dedicated to promoting genuine hand built Hebridean spinning wheels to an international audience. The idea is the brainchild of Angus Glen, of Branahuie, near Stornoway, who teamed up with a new local web development company to promote his spinning wheel business, Hebridean Spinning. The website will enable users to learn about the history behind the famous 18 spoke spinning wheel and place online orders from anywhere in the world. Each spinning wheel made by the firm follows the traditional design and methods passed down through the generations. Mr Glen learned his trade from his father who set up one of the first gift shops on the island 20 years ago. Each Hebridean spinning wheel has more than 50 components, including its 18 wheels spokes, each said to represent 20 degrees of the compass. "My father built his spinning wheels for customers in countries including the US, Canada and New Zealand, and this was in the days before the Internet," Mr Glen said. Bosses at the web development company behind the new site,, say the move showed how remote communities could tap into the growing Internet market.

New York Calling

Pipers from the Inverness area are being urged to join a record breaking fundraiser in New York. The event, which aims to create the world's largest pipe band made up of musicians from North America and the United Kingdom, is set to take place in New York City on Tartan Day - 6th April. As well as raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care and New York based cancer support charity Gilda's Club Worldwide, it is hoped the initiative will also provide a boost to tourism in both countries. Magnus Orr, director of Epic Concepts, the event organiser said: "I would like to ask all pipers in the Highlands to become involved. This event has the potential to raise a great deal of money for charity but more than that, it is a real opportunity to promote Scotland and piping on an international stage. "It is only through the support of local pipers and bands that we can turn this project into reality." The event is known as "Scottish Power Tunes of Glory".

Living History Lesson

Pupils at a Sutherland school turned back the clock recently to take part in a living history lesson, which involved building a full sized replica of an Iron Age roundhouse in the school grounds. Children attending Rosehall Primary School, near Lairg, have been studying life during the Iron Age for over a year. During this time they have visited Iron Age sites, dressed up in the costume of the day and had a go at the crafts and activities that people would have practised in that period. But the highlight of the project has been the construction of the roundhouse, which is to be used as a playground shelter. And local people were invited to take part in a community thatching day to put finishing touches to the building. Head teacher Jeani Hunter explained that, while planning a project on early Scotland, she had been looking for ways to make the subject more interesting and memorable as possible for the eight pupils at her school. "It's really important to bring history alive for children, rather than just teaching them out of a book. They have to make things and do things and act things out. "I'd thought of making a scale model of a roundhouse in the playground, when the Scottish Wildlife Trust offered us the opportunity to apply for a grant under their Better Place Project, which encourages schools to make their playground a better place for wildlife and themselves. "We asked the Trust if they would be interested in helping us build the roundhouse and they were happy to take the project on. We also got new play equipment, a pond and a wildlife garden," she said.

Talks Over Highland Studio

Scots actor James Cosmo recently met Highland Council planning officials behind closed doors to discuss proposals for a new multi million pound film studio n near Inverness. Highlands and Islands Enterprise was also represented at the meeting to discuss the project, which is also expected to include plans for retail units and a hotel on the proposed site, at Milton of Leys. The application will be submitted by Vincero Productions, in which musician Dave Stewart, Rick Wood of Aberdeen company TVP film, and property developer Neil Smith as well as Mr Cosmo, are partners. A Highland Council spokesperson said that a planning application was expected to be lodged soon. An HIE spokesman said: "We fully support the proposals in principle." It is hoped such a facility would mean film makers coming to the Highlands will be able to stay in the area to complete their projects, rather than having to leave to use a production facility elsewhere.

Charity Event

The fundraising efforts of an Inverness charity worker who has devoted more than 12 years of voluntary service to the local community have been formally recognised. Jim MacManus, who has organised and participated in a number of events for the Highland Deaf Children's Society, was presented with a Local Volunteer Award from the charity in recognition of his work with deaf children and their families.

Political Roundup

Scotland Can Power the Entire UK

Scotland has enough potential wind and wave power for its own needs, with plenty left over for the rest of the UK, according to a report published recently. A study commissioned by the Scottish Executive says Scotland's renewable energy resources could amount to 75% of Britain's existing generating capacity. Ross Finnie, the minister for environment and rural development, said the remarkable findings were "hugely significant".

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Dry start, sunny in the E. Cloudy with drizzle in the W. Winds mod/fresh S-SW'ly. Temperature 8c to 15c.
Saturday Night
Cloudy with outbreaks of rain mostly in the W. Dry clear spells in far E at first. Winds fresh S/SW'ly. Temperature 2c to 8c.
A mainly showery day with sunny intervals. Starting cloudy, wet and windy, particularly in the E.
Mainly dry with sunshine in the E. Cloudier with occasional showers in the W. Fresh/strong winds.

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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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