This is an old mirror of Nessie's Loch Ness Times.

Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 2nd June 2001
Issue No 234

Dingwall Bids to Stage 2004 National Mod

The ancient burgh of Dingwall is once again bidding to host the most prestigious annual Gaelic festival, the Royal National Mod.

The local branch of An Comunn Gaidhealach, the leading Gaelic promotional organisation which organises the event, confirmed recently that it is seeking to host the Mod in 2004. Dingwall last hosted the Mod in 1991, when Prince Charles visited the event. Branch chairman Donald Mackenzie said: "A return to Ross-shire is long overdue. "We actually put in a formal bid last year to hold the Mod in 2004, when An Comunn Gaidhealach asked for bids, but it will not make a decision until this summer. "I know we have a lot of support in An Comunn and in Highland Council and we're hoping to find as much local support as possible." Mr Mackenzie recalled that in previous years much of the cost of running the Mod had to be raised by each local organising committee, but this has now changed, with most of the funding being raised by An Comunn's new Inverness based Mod company. Mr Mackenzie revealed he had already received confirmation of support for Dingwall's bid from Highland Council chief executive Arthur McCourt and from Ross and Cromarty Enterprise. "I think I'll get full support from the council's Ross and Cromarty area committee, because there are economic spin offs for the whole area, especially for hotels from as far apart as Inverness and Tain, as well as Dingwall and Strathpeffer." He said that to the best of his knowledge no other Highland community was bidding for the 2004 Mod, though he believed a competing bid could come from a Central belt town. The winning bid will depend on a report by Mod promotions officer Murdo Morrison. Local Highland councillor and An Comunn member Margaret Paterson welcomed the bid enthusiastically. "We're very hopeful that it will be successful because the Mod in 1991 was very successful and we can most definitely do the same again. "It would be a tremendous boost to the area's economy. We have very good venues, more indeed than last time, as I understand that Ross County's new hospitality suites would also be available. "And Dingwall is also extremely convenient to get to, with ferry links from the Hebrides to Ullapool, and excellent road, rail and air links from the mainland. "We mustn't forget too that Dingwall has one of the Mod's top Gaelic choirs, and that the town's primary school has a wonderful Gaelic unit, which my own daughter, Iona, attends."

Threat to German Shepherd Dogs

White German Shepherd dogs are being bred into extinction, a Highland dog rescuer has claimed. Alan Cruikshank, of Second Chances German Shepherd Rescue Service, near Conon Bridge, has 30 white German Shepherds on his books and now he has received another pair who are looking for homes. But the dogs, which can be worth between 450 and 500, are sometimes interbred by unscrupulous or amateur breeders resulting in them having aggressive psychological problems. "I see these notices in newspapers of people selling these cuddly polar bear dogs and they see how much they can get for them and they start breeding them for themselves. "These dogs are made timid by interbreeding and when confronted tend to bite both other dogs and people. "When you are getting such high prices for the dogs you get more unscrupulous breeders who breed brothers and sisters and I can see the attraction to breed them but this causes genetic problems," Mr Cruikshank said. This makes them aggressive and hard for the rescue service to rehome the dogs and they have to be looked after at great expense. The dogs stay at Bright Eyes Kennels for a nominal fee but sometimes require veterinary services which can cost up to 2000. Other cases are less costly as in the case of the German Shepherd, Shane, whose owner could not work out why he would not respond to him in the two years he had owned him. Mr Cruikshank took Shane on and within two weeks discovered he was deaf and consequently found an appropriate home for him. He advised anyone thinking of buying a German Shepherd to check its pedigree. The parents, which you should see if possible, must be three or four generations apart.

Caley, Loch Ness Times EditorCaley, Loch Ness Times Editor says:
"I'm pleased to say that I'm a very well behaved dog and have a worthwhile career bringing you this newspaper. I hope that Shane and all the others out there of my breed are treated as well as I am......"

Name Settled On

The Gaelic wording on new City of Inverness road signs have been finalised. The Comunn na Gaidhlig group selected the definitive wording as part of an exhaustive compilation of a glossary of Gaelic terms for the Scottish Executive. The group, chaired by Hugh Dan MacLennan of North Kessock, settled on Cathair Inbhir Nis and Inverness is the only city mentioned in the glossary. Mr MacLennan said: "The agreed entry was approved with hardly an discussion. This was never a problem with the team and there is no truth whatsoever that the team delayed Highland Council's preparations." The dictionary - Faclair na Parlamaid - has now been completed and was handed out to printers in March.

Set For Musical Stardom

Three budding young musicians from the Highlands are to play for Scotland's national orchestras. The Tain Royal Academy pupils are proteges of the same violin teacher at the school, Debbie Ross. However, the school's principal teacher of music, Kathryn Wilkie, has a double reason to celebrate, as her daughter is one of the lucky three. Mrs Wilkie said: "Their violin teacher Debbie Ross is very good, so this is a reflection on her ability and the children's hard work." Two of the girls, Katie Rush (17) and Dayzelle Sutherland (16) have places in the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, whilst Mrs Wilkie's daughter Rona (13) is set to play for the National Children's Orchestra of Scotland. Mrs Wilkie added: "Rona puts in a lot of practice, they all do, on a good week I'd say Rona can do about five or six hours or so. On returning from a musical trip to Glasgow, the girls were on the move again, this time to Livingston Montana in the USA. As part of Tain Royal Academy's Gizzen Briggs traditional music group they took their talents to a foreign audience.

Home Grown Pipes

Bagpipes were traditionally made from African blackwood, much of which came from Uganda, but turmoil there means it is now scarce. For Dugald "Duggie" Cameron of Arivegaig, by Acharacle, however, sessile oak is proving a fine substitute, as it is darker than English Oak. Now 63, Duggie started to make his Cameron Bagpipes five years ago. He found a suitable tree hit by lightning on Kinlochmoidart Estate and got permission to fell it. As he had his own sawmill for 30 years, he was able to mill the timber himself, providing plenty of material for his chanters and drones. Duggie said: "The wood is very hard, and is much harder to turn than blackwood." Duggie, a piper himself, reckons there can't be many bagpipe-makers who are involved in every stage right up to the finished article. He has had lots of inquiries on his website, and has sold his pipes in the USA as well as Europe.

What's Happened to the Mither Tongue?

The traditional Scottish dialect is being gradually eroded by people with English accents moving north, according to a speech specialist. Trademark sounds in Scottish speech are mixing and being replaced by those used in language south of the border. Dr Jim Scobie, from the department of speech science at Queen Margaret University College in Edinburgh, claims bizarre mixed Anglo-Scots accents are emerging. And he hopes to study the subtle differences between accents in a new research project. He believes the influx of middle-class English people in Scottish cities has led to a posher pronunciation of words among Scots. But he claims the Scottish accent has resisted change for longer than regional English accents which have become almost unified. He said: "The more people move around the country, however, the more dialects of English begin to become increasingly alike. "This is now beginning to happen in Scottish English and we are losing some of the things which make the dialect unique." In the last 20 years many words considered to be unique to the Scottish accent have disappeared from everyday speech. Words like "hoose" have been swapped for the English version - house. Dr Scobie added politicians like Gordon Brown and Robin Cook who spent a lot of time among English people have had their accents anglicised. Dr Scobie will carry out a three year study examining how changes in mouth movement affect pronunciation. He will examine the movement of the tongue, lips and throats of 30 people of varying ages from both England and Scotland.

Viking Fish Suppers

Scots owe their national dish of fish suppers to the Viking invaders, according to scientific research. Archaeologists digging in Orkney have found the remains of one of the world's oldest fish suppers buried deep in an ancient rubbish tip. And the leftovers from Viking times show that besides pillage and plunder the Nordic invaders brought sophisticated fishing skills to the country. The remains, dating from the 9th century, show the Vikings fished from boats for species such as cod. And examination of their ancient skeletons show they ate more fish than their neighbours, the Picts. Scientists sifting through ancient rubbish sites on Orkney unearthed a large quantity of bones from the deep sea fish, dating back to the arrival of the Vikings. The report on the fish suppers, published in New Scientist, says that old bones from Viking graves showed they, too, had a high level of fish suppers in the diet. "A diet rich in fish leaves traces deep within bones," said James Barrett, one of the York University team involved in the dig. Experts at the Vikingar Museum in Largs aren't surprised. "Vikings lived in coastal settlements, making them excellent fishermen," says the museum's Colin Ewing. "But the fish supper of the 9th century was different from the ones of today. They were served up with boiled cabbage and onions. "And the whole meal would be washed down with mead, a brew made from honey and cereal."

Charity Event

Highland charities benefitted from a share of 4000 thanks to this year's Highlands and Islands Press Ball. The four organisations, which each receive 1000, are the Inverness Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre, the Highland Branch of Children 1st, Birchwood Highland and Macmillan Cancer Relief. This year's ball, held at the Newton Hotel, Nairn raised 3000, with a further 1000 from media award sponsors United Distillers Vintners.

Political Roundup

Fuel Tax Cuts Promised

With the General Election almost upon us, the parties were out and about in the Highlands recently. SNP MSPs Fergus Ewing and Michael Russell were in Inverness supporting Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber hopeful Angus MacNeil with fuel prices featuring largely in the campaign. The trio highlighted their party's promise to cut fuel tax by 10p a gallon. Mr MacNeil said: "Fuel tax is the issue in the Highlands." He added: SNP MSPs have already shown their commitment to the Highland motorist by voting against every fuel tax rise." Although Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber was seen as a four way marginal at the last election it turned into a two horse race between Labour and SNP.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Bright spells. Showers, hail on hills at times. Winds fresh N-NW. Temperature 8c to 13c.
Saturday Night
Cloudy with risk of isolated showers, wintry on hills. Winds mod/fresh NW'ly. Temperature 3c to 7c.
Frequent showers in most parts with rain at times. Mainly cloudy with a risk of sleet/snow on hilltops.
Mostly cloudy with showers but a good deal of dry weather in E areas. Mod/fresh W-NW 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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