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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 18th May 2002
Issue No 280

Visitor Centre Proud of Its Green Credentials

The National Trust for Scotland's Glencoe Visitor Centre will be the "greenest" in Scotland, if not the UK.

That is the recent claim of architect Howard Liddel, who has helped ensure that the controversial development at Inverigan is environmentally friendly. But Loch Leven side villagers, who had hoped to judge for themselves during the recent preview days will have to wait a little longer. The trust has been forced to postpone the previews. Press officer Simon Walton said: "We've been working as hard as we can to get the centre ready, but I'm afraid the inevitable has happened and there's been a wee delay." Fitting out the clachan style development has taken longer than anticipated and, as a result, the interpretation installation will not be ready. Youngsters from six local schools got to view first when a Living History event and Secret Facts session was given last month by countryside rangers and education officers. The centre, which replaces existing facilities at Clachaig Flats, due to be demolished shortly, is heated by a woodchip system developed by Glencoe based Torren Energy which will also supply hot water for the neighbouring campsite. The centre's walls contain recycled insulation materials; the exterior has been built using larch; and its windows are made from oak. A nail free construction system has also been used to ensure all building materials can be easily recycled. All the wood is Scottish and has been chosen for its ease of maintenance, without the need for chemical treatment, said Mr Liddel. The project has been dogged by controversy with some local businessmen claiming it will take away their trade and clansmen arguing that it desecrates the site of the infamous Glencoe massacre.


Mark of Authenticity

The man behind the scheme to outlaw cowboy kiltmakers through development of a new quality mark is reporting a major success since its launch recently. Duncan Chisholm, chairman of the Kiltmakers Association of Scotland, said 40 kiltmakers had applied to join the scheme. There are at least 150 kiltmakers in Scotland. He said: "We are putting together a register of known kiltmakers and the 40 who have applied for membership are from all over Scotland - Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife and of course, the Highlands. "The new quality mark is intended to do for the kilt what the orb mark has done for Harris Tweed. It is designed to reassure the public that the new kilt they are buying is guaranteed the genuine article, the real McCoy, if you like." Mr Chisholm said with the new mark, it was possible for customers to identify those kilts which have been traditionally tailored and made in Scotland. It was intended that the unique mark would come to represent the best material, the best in hand tailoring and the best in style and service. The idea of a quality mark was first suggested by Mr Chisholm at the Aviemore Highland Trade Fair in 1999.


Capercaillie Improving

Scotland's favourite bird, the capercaillie, last year had the most successful breeding year since 1995, new figures have revealed. Research undertaken among 123 capercaillie hens in areas highly populated by the bird has shown an average last year of one chick per hen. Some areas, such as Strathspey and Deeside, produced an average of 1.3 and 1.2 chicks per hen respectively. And in 43% of hens surveyed, broods were reared with a mean size of 2.3 chicks. In the past, average figures have been as low as one chick for every five hens. The counts were made using trained pointing dogs between mid July and mid August, over a total area of 80sq km. On each of the sites, researchers measured the proportion of hens with broods, the mean brood size excluding hens without broods and the overall breeding success. However, the capercaillie has been declining since the early 1970s. It is thought that as few as 1,000 remain. Despite the relatively high number of chicks produced last year, the capercaillie is still not on track for recovery. According to ornithologists, if the species continues to produce an average of just one chick per hen, this will be only sufficient to maintain stable numbers. Andrew Douse, species group manager at Scottish Natural Heritage, said: "We welcome the upturn in the breeding success of the capercaillie last year with cautious optimism. Continued protection of this rare bird and appropriate habitat management should ensure that in the long term we will slowly be able to turn around its decline."


Duke of Argyll to Wed

One of Scotland's most eligible bachelors recently announced his engagement. The Duke of Argyll, Torquhil Campbell, is to marry his girlfriend, Eleanor Cadbury. The 13th Duke of Argyll, whose family seat is Inveraray Castle in Argyll, is the son of the late Ian Campbell, the 12th duke, and Iona Colquhoun, Duchess of Argyll. No date has been set for the duke's wedding to the daughter of Mr and Mrs Peter Cadbury of London. As head of one of the country's most powerful and influential families, the Duke of Argyll is believed to hold assets in excess of 30 million. A spokesman for the duke said: "His Grace Torquhil Campbell, 13th Duke of Argyll, and Miss Eleanor Cadbury are delighted to announce thief engagement. "They plan to marry in early summer this year. The duke, who inherited the title on the death of his father in April last year, is international regional manager for Chivas Brothers Ltd.." He added: "Whilst Inveraray Castle will be the couple's family home, they will be living and working in London but spending more of their personal time in Scotland." The 12th duke was chief of Clan Campbell and his titles included Lord Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute, Earl of Argyll, Viscount Lochow and Glenyla and Baron Hamilton of Hameldon.

Real Ale

A Highland pub has beaten off national competitors to land a highly regarded award for the quality of its real ales. The Clachnaharry Inn in Inverness is the first pub to bring Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) Scottish Pub of the Year Award to the Highlands. The organisation rewards only those real ales that are produced to the highest quality. Peter Finneran of Camra thinks the recognition long overdue for the Clachnaharry's proprietor, David Irvine. Mr Finneran said: "The members of each branch throughout Scotland select their pub of the year and all the winners go through to the Scottish finals. "The quality of ales served by David and his staff has been of the highest quality for many years and this award is long overdue." David Irvine said: "I am absolutely delighted by the award and would like to thank all my staff for their contribution. "We have a fair few regulars - we're basically a real ale pub - and they are all happy to get a good pint." The search for the Clachnaharry's successor has already begun with Camra starting the arduous task of sampling quality ales from around the country for this year's title of Scottish Pub of the Year.

Island Hopping Cat

Hamish the adventurous cat was recently united with his schoolboy owner in the North East - after two weeks holiday in the Western Isles. The wandering tom stowed away on a truck at Gardenstown, Banffshire, and leapt out when it arrived in Stornoway. Hamish was reunited with Kevin Ironside thanks to a chance mention on a local radio station and a phone call from the island warehouse where he had set up home. Kevin's dad, truck driver Sandy, did not notice he had a passenger when he set off from home on his regular run to deliver bales of hay to Lewis Crofters in Stornoway. Despite a three hour ferry crossing, the cat did not budge and it was only when Mr Ironside was unloading at the store that he glimpsed a flash of black and white fur jumping out. But he never thought it was his son's pet cat. Hamish made friends with the resident cat who makes sure mice and other pests do not get near the agricultural supplies. Staff sent his details to the local radio station's Pets Corner slot, which often reunites wandering pets with their owners. But in Hamish's case, no one came forward. Mr Ironside's wife, Marion, began to wonder if Hamish had climbed aboard the lorry, and contacted a vet in Stornoway. He told her a black and white cat which had been found - but it was not Hamish. Then Ballach Animal Rescue service, which circulates news of lost and found pets on Isles FM across Lewis, then broadcast Hamish's details. Mrs Ironside said: "That was when we had a call from the Crofter's store telling us that they had an unexpected guest for two weeks - a black and white cat. "He had been heard scratching in their store where he was stuck at first and survived on eating from a burst bag of dog food. They then moved the feedstuff and found Hamish." The cat was put in a cage and Caledonian MacBrayne ferried him free to Ullapool. Kevin took the afternoon off from Banff Academy to greet his pet in Ullapool. Kevin said: "When he came back after eating all that dog food in Stornoway, I did not know if he would bark or speak in Gaelic."

Animals Will Benefit

A community recycling project, which is the first of its kind in the Northern Highlands, was launched in East Sutherland recently. Project manager for the new Golspie Recycling and Environmental Action Network (GREAN), Fergus Morrison explained that a paper shredder, provided by the Sustainable Waste Fund through the Highland Council, has been installed in Unit 7 on the Golspie industrial estate. And the network is now keen to collect clean, dry newspapers, office paper and cardboard from householders in Golspie for recycling into animal bedding. Mr Morrison explained that shredded paper was very absorbent and well established as animal bedding. "Our product has been tried and tested in other areas of the UK and is particularly useful for horses, being dust free, but it can also be used for pigs, poultry, sheep and cattle. "One of our objectives is to help local farmers and crofters and we hope they will try it out. For our part, we will maintain a high quality and keep the price competitive," said Mr Morrison.

Charity Event

Scots television actress Gwyneth Guthrie took over the Royal Highland Hotel in Inverness recently to promote a cookery contest for the Chest, Heart and Stroke Association. The event was declared a resounding success, raising 1,500 for the charity.

Political Roundup

SNP Protest

The Scottish National Party's Argyll and Bute Constituency Association lodged a letter of protest recently over proposals to alter the boundary of the Argyll and Bute parliamentary constituency. Oban Community Council had already lodged its concern over the plan to lump Helensburgh in with Argyll and Bute. The SNP association has also written to the Boundary Commission about the proposal. In its letter of protest, the association said it is strongly opposed to the proposal and argues that the existing constituency is already very large. BR>

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Bright am in the North, cloudy in the E with rain in SW. Winds mod/strong E-SE'ly. Temperature 12c to 16c.
Saturday Night
Cloudy, N mainly dry at first then rain in all parts dying out later. Winds mod E-SE'ly. Temperature 6c to 11c.
Sunday
Mainly cloudy with some bright spells and occasional showers. Light S'ly winds.
Monday
A mainly cloudy day with a few brighter periods. Some showers may also be expected. Light S'ly winds.


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Caledonia



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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