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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

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Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 14th April 2001
Issue No 227

Call for Scones Cludgie Stane to be Returned

Maverick Nationalist campaigner Robbie the Pict claims the Stone of Destiny on display at Edinburgh Castle is a fake and should be handed back to the people of Scone.

Recently he took his campaign to the Scottish Parliament where he told MSPs that Edward I had been duped when he took the stone to Westminster Abbey in 1296. The English king thought he had the historic stone on which Scottish kings were crowned - but what he really got was a toilet or cesspool lid. Referring to it as the Stone of Scone or Stone of Contention, Robbie said its humble origins could be demonstrated today. "It seems to have started life as a rough lid for a subterranean store, latterly containing sewage," said Robbie, who is well known for his campaign against the Skye Bridge tolls. "The abbot seems to have hosed down the lid and placed it on the altar as a decoy." The real Stone of Destiny appears on the Kelso Seal and in depictions of the coronation of Alexander III, he told the public petitions committee. It is likely to be black, oblong, made of basalt or hard limestone and inscribed with letters and symbols. He believes it originated with the Sumerian, Scythian or Hittite forefathers of the Scots. "The real Stone of Destiny is unlikely to have left the Perthshire neighbourhood. That was the Abbot of Scone's wee joke," said Robbie. "The Cludgie Stane of Scone, on the other hand is 336lb of calcareous freestone mair frae Methven than Mesopotamia." The stone was returned to Edinburgh in 1996 and is now on display under strict security in Edinburgh Castle. Robbie argued that to keep it locked up in Lothian was not to return it to its lawful owners, as required under common Scots law. "It should be placed in the local Perth museum as an aboriginal heirloom," he said. Winnie Ewing, Highlands and Islands SNP MSP, said it was wrong for the public to have to pay to see something that belongs to them. The committee agreed to ask Perth and Kinross Council if it was prepared to look after the stone and to ask the Scottish Executive for its views. After the meeting, Robbie said he was happy with the sympathetic hearing from MSPs. He said: "The abbot has had his joke. It's the Cludgie Stane. If it's returned, then maybe we can look for the real Stone of Destiny."

Mystery Solved

The mystery surrounding the burial of Robert the Bruce may have been solved by an amateur historian. Stuart Smith claims the king's internal organs were buried in a tiny chapel in Dumbarton. Bruce's heart is believed to be in a container which was interred at Melrose while his body was buried in Dunfermline Abbey more than 600 years ago. Stuart, who has spent 30 years studying the country's most famous monarch, claims he has finally proved Bruce's internal organs received a royal burial in St Serf's chapel. The discovery has safeguarded the future of the ruin after Historic Scotland declared it a national monument. Stuart, traced financial records from Dumbarton Castle which detail a modest burial service for the king, who died in 1329, at what was his parish church. Stuart said he was delighted his research had been recognised and said the years of work had been made worthwhile. West Dumbartonshire Council is now planning to install a special plaque at the site.

Entertained by a 100 Year Old

Instead of being entertained by her guests on her 100th birthday, Chrissie Mackay, of Shepherd's Cottage, Marybank, near Stornoway, decided to entertain them by playing a few tunes on her button accordion. All day, relatives and friends dropped in at the house on the outskirts of Stornoway to offer her their congratulations. She received hundreds of cards, including one from Social Security Secretary Alastair Darling and one from the convener of the Western Isles Council. Mrs Mackay was born in Tarbert in Harris and then lived for a spell in Glasgow. The family returned to the island when she was 10 and lived at Baranahuie before moving to the castle grounds. From there, she used to walk to her work in Newall's Harris Tweed mill. After that, she lived in the gardener's cottage and it was there that she married her husband, John. He died in 1995. Mrs Mackay retired from full time work in 1961 but worked part time as head darner in the mill run by the late Elizabeth Perrins. Mrs Mackay has a son and a daughter, two grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Nature Reserve Future Secure

The future of Insh Marshes Nature Reserve in Strathspey looks secure, as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Scotland has announced that it has finalised a management plan for the area for the next five years. The plan covers April 2000 to March 2005. A thorough consultation process was carried out before the plan was finalised. Tom Prescott, reserve warden said: "We were pleased to be supported throughout the consultation process by local representatives Alasdair Macleod of Kincraig Community Council and Gordon MacPherson, Kingussie. "We are also grateful to everyone who contributed to the consultation process. "We have taken on board many of the suggestions and have already implemented some of the ideas, such as appointing Chris Donald as a field teacher to work with schools." A draft management plan for Abernethy Forest Nature Reserve is currently underway. It is hoped that management plans of this kind will help to ensure the long term protection of Scotland's wildlife.

Major Book Collection

Skye Gaelic medium college Sabhal Mor Ostaig announced recently it has acquired what is arguably one of the finest collections of antiquarian Gaelic and Highland books in existence. The MacCormaig Collection represents the life work of antique bookseller and collector Donald MacCormick. It has been brought to Sabhal Mor after a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The news has been welcomed by Donnie Munro, the musician and Skye Gaelic college principal. The collection, brought to the college after the lottery grant and assistance from the Dunfermline Building Society, Skye and Lochalsh Enterprise and the UHI Millennium Institute of Higher Education's strategic development fund, totals more than 1,800 volumes and cover subject matter from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Colin MacLean, the Heritage Lottery Fund's manager for Scotland, said: "Language provides a marvellous insight into a country's history and culture. "In Scotland, we have a colourful diversity of languages that allows us a glimpse at how ordinary people lived over the centuries. "At the Heritage Lottery Fund we recognise how important it is not only to protect and treasure this aspect of our cultural heritage but also to make it accessible to everyone." Titles among the collection include Queen Victoria's copy of "Carmina Gadelica", Andrew Carnegie's "Sar Obair nam Bard Gealach" and Martin Martin's "Description of the Western Island's of Scotland" as well as numerous other first editions which cannot even be found in the National Library of Scotland.

Bringing History Back to Life

Fort George is soon to become a venue for historic drama sessions allowing school children across the Highlands the chance to learn more about their history. Site custodian Historic Scotland is running a series of educational programmes at castles, abbeys and monuments throughout the country over the course of this year. The first session for Fort George is a living history presentation on the life of a government soldier, developed especially for the venue. Historic Scotland education manager Marion Fry said: "Our drama sessions are increasingly popular providing an opportunity for children to learn about medieval lifestyles through costume, games and music. "Under the educational visits scheme, we are having more than 60,000 school children visit our properties every year. The programme is growing and we are devoting more resources to this important part of our operations."

Museum Award

TV personality Lloyd Grossman, patron of the Association for Heritage Interpretation (AHI) presented recently the Highland Folk Museum in Kingussie with and Interpret Britain Award, at a ceremony held in Leamington Spa, England. Councillor Bill Smith, chairman of Highland Council's cultural and leisure services committee said: "In addition to winning the Scottish Museum of the Year Award, the Countess of Perth Trophy (Best Museum in Scotland) and the Scottish Tourist Boards Thistle Award for Best Customer Care, I am delighted that we were presented with the UK's Premier Interpretation Award. "This is yet another recognition of the success of this Highland Council facility and we are grateful for the support of Moray Badenoch and Strathspey Enterprise, as well as the dedication and hard work of all the staff involved."

Charity Event

Highland Hospice nursing assistant Sandra Shanks tried out the charity's new bed which was purchased by fundraising senior pupils at Dingwall Academy. The class held a charity senior "prom" or ball to raise funds for the Hospice. Fundraising organiser for the Hospice, Alison Ferguson was delighted with the pupils' efforts. "They approached us about raising money and came up with the idea of holding a senior prom night," she said. They did all the organisation and received a lot of support from local businesses who donated prizes for the raffle."

Political Roundup

Scotland Needs an Internet Identity

Scotland needs its own identity and cheap access to the World Wide Web for all, the Scottish National Party said recently. The SNP claims Scotland is losing out on the communications revolution and being left behind by other small nations. Kenny MacAskill, SNP shadow enterprise and lifelong learning minister, argued that Scotland should have its own identity on the Internet, with addresses having .sco at the rather that .uk.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Cloudy/blustery showers. Some bright spells. Winds mod/fresh W-Nw'ly. Temperature 6c to 11c.
Saturday Night
Mainly cloudy, blustery showers, wintry on hills. Winds fresh NW'ly. Temperature 2c to 4c.
Cool and cloudy, frequent showers in coastal areas, some wintry. The odd shower/bright period inland.
Cool and cloudy with occasional showers, some wintry. Bright periods developing in places.

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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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