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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

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Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 8th June 2002
Issue No 283

Highland Estate Sold

A much prized Highland estate was bought recently by a mysterious British buyer for almost 2.5 million.

Cambusmore, six miles north of Dornoch in Sutherland, has been sold for only the third time in its history. Originally part of the vast Sutherland estates, Cambusmore was sold by the fifth Duke of Sutherland soon after World War I to a family, two generations of whom kept it, before selling it 50 years ago to the present sellers. The 13,052 acre estate, which went on the market last September, ranges from sand dunes at Embo through agricultural land and woodland to heather hill, wetlands and alder woods at the Mound. The wetlands are man made, the result of Thomas Telford's engineering feat of 1820 when construction of the Mound to carry the road north effectively dammed the River Fleet. The 10 bedroomed house, with a housekeeper's flat, was built around 1845 as a shooting lodge. There are also two farmhouses on the estate, and 14 cottages. Cambusmore offers a variety of sport - stalking and grouse shooting, salmon and sea trout fishing, brown trout in hill lochs, rough shooting and wildfowling. There are 1,000 acres of woodland, much of it under Woodland Grant Schemes. Selling agents F.P.D. Savills in Edinburgh said the property was of great environmental significance and proved sport and conservation were compatible. The sale includes the entire river system of the Carnaig, with its salmon ladder dating from 1850, one of the first built, a mile and a half of the Fleet, and five miles of coast. The farming encompasses four farms, and is based on a flock of some 1,100 North Country Cheviot ewes. The selling agent declined to name the buyer but said: "We have had serious interest from 40 possible buyers, including a few from abroad." Cambusmore is just down the road from Skibo Castle, where Madonna was married.

Marking Time Again

Calls for an ancient monument in Inverness to be restored to its former glory have been heeded by Highland Council. The clock in Oliver Cromwell's old citadel in Harbour Road, which has not worked for a number of years, is desperately in need of renovation, as is the tower it sits in. The clock tower, which is tucked away at the back of the Longman Industrial Estate, has been neglected for too long, says Inverness harbour trustee Duncan MacDonald. He made a plea to Highland Council to have the work carried out as a matter if urgency and his plea has now been listened to, with the council announcing that work is to start soon. Mr MacDonald said: "I am delighted the council is to take action. "As a harbour trustee I pass this monument every other day and it would be nice for the clock to always have the right time. "The clock and its tower should be properly renovated. "The new cycle path and open topped bus for tourists go past it so it has re-emerged as a focal point for the area." Cromwell's Fort was built in 1653 to house 1,000 men, but was demolished eight years later on the restoration of King Charles II. The clocktower and some earthworks nearby are all that remain.

MSP Backing for By-Pass

The campaign for an Elgin bypass gained further momentum recently when two influential members of the Scottish Parliament visited the town recently to show their support for the initiative. Deputy Finance Minister Peter Peacock and Maureen MacMillan accompanied several Labour councillors to view the level of traffic on the busy route as it passed through the town centre. The visit was prompted by a recent decision by Moray Council's environmental services committee to recommend a budget of 50,000 to fund a detailed survey of traffic flow in the town and to push forward the campaign for a by-pass. Mr Peacock said he distinctly remembered the present relief road being built in the 80s and was now fully aware the road was congested. "The local Labour councillors asked me to come through with my colleague, Maureen MacMillan. There is no question that there is a problem with a continual build up of traffic here," he said. Mr Peacock promised he would seek as soon as possible a meeting with the Transport Minister.

Was it a Hole in One At the Fort?

When is a hole in one truly a hole in one? Now the Royal and Ancient Golf Club has settled the matter once and for all. Hugh Fraser's perfect drive off the 5th tee at Fort Augustus Golf Club appeared to have gone straight into the hole. Mr Fraser, former deputy headteacher of Kilchuimen Primary School, thought he had achieved his fourth ace in 40 years of playing the game he loves. Mr Fraser explained: "It was a very wet day and I was playing a round with my friends Davie West and Willie Ross. The ball landed on the green before rolling into the back of the hole. It would not fall down into the hole, it was stuck in the mud. "About a fifth of the ball was above the ground and the rest was below. I just was not sure whether it was a hole in one or not." Mr Fraser went away on holiday to Portugal shortly after the round so he was unable to get a ruling on it from the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St Andrews. Mr Fraser added: "I have never heard of anything like this happening before. It has been a topic of discussion in my local pub, the Lock Inn." The R&A was able to resolve the conundrum. Grant Moir, assistant secretary of the R&A's rules department, said: "Unfortunately Mr Fraser did not get a hole in one. The definition of a hole according to 16/3 of the R&A publication Decisions on the Rules of Golf is that all of the ball has to be below the level of the lip of the hole. "The golfer should either knock it from the lie or take it out and place it by the lip and play his shot from there." Mr Moir added: "The fact there is a rule in place shows that this has happened before, but it is quite rare."

Power Firm Looks at Loch Ness

Plans for a 60 megawatt hydro-electric dam near Fort Augustus could be lodged by Scottish and Southern Electric. The multi million pound development is earmarked for the southern end of Loch Ness between Whitebridge and Fort Augustus. The new dam, the first to be built on a large scale since the Loch Awe scheme in 1963, would be built on land owned by the Glendoe and Ardlochy Estate. The 9145 hectare estate is owned by Hillhouse Estates Ltd of Gloucester and the dam would discharge water into Loch Ness. A spokesman for Scottish and Southern Electric said that the company was still carrying out a feasibility study into building a dam and that a number of planning and environmental issues had to be resolved. Although the land on which the proposed dam would be built is privately owned, it is likely that the local community will also seek to benefit from the development. It has become common for other alternative energy projects such as wind farms, even when built on privately owned land, to provide enough finance to set up a community fund, which can be used as seedcorn funding for community development projects.

Victory claimed

Scottish Tory MEP Struan Stevenson claimed victory in the fight to save Scotland's bagpipes threatened with a ban under a tough new draft European noise directive. But he warned: "We have won this battle but I do not think we have won the war." He spoke out after 500 of Europe's 626 MEPs voted for a five year exemption for the music industry from the crackdown, designed to protect workers from excessive noise in their workplace. The European Parliament also overturned a proposal, earlier voted into the regulation, to measure noise averages over a day. Instead the average will be over a week. Mr Stevenson said: "That means bagpipes as well as pubs, clubs and discos will escape the worst excesses of this draconian new noise legislation." He claimed the regulation's champion Danish Socialist MEP Helle Thorning-Schmidt, "was bitter in defeat". But Scottish Lib Dem MEP Elspeth Attwooll claimed Mr Stevenson's imagination "got the better of him" over the prospective fate of bagpipes. She claimed it was preposterous that any MEP would want to outlaw such an important national instrument.

Decline in Highland Population

The population of the Highlands could be in danger of falling by more than 3000 over the next nine years according to recent statistics. Latest population forecasts from Scotland's Registrar General predict that if the decline in birth rate and net emigration continues, by 2011 the Highland population may drop from approximately 208,600 to 205,250. The projection is based on population estimates for 2000 and is the result of assumptions made about future fertility, morality and migration patterns, based on past trends. North economist Tony Mackay warns that while he believes this forecast may be too pessimistic, it should nevertheless provide a warning to local authorities. "Declines of this magnitude would have serious implications for the provision of public services such as education and health," he declared. A spokesman for Highlands and Islands Enterprise explained that although these figures are significant, they should not raise any immediate concerns. "These figures should be taken with a pinch of salt as truer picture will emerged when the 2001 census is published next year. "While Inverness and Nairn has seen population growth, there are outlying areas where the situation is more challenging."

Charity Event

Helping local charities has turned into something of a family affair for Inverness woman Rita Bain and grandson Mark Wells. They handed over a cheque for 1084 to Joyce MacKenzie of the Moray Firth Radio Charity Trust, the granny and grandson team have passed on thousands of pounds to deserving causes over the years. Mrs Bain, who is confined to a wheelchair with severe arthritis, got the fundraising bug as a girl, but over the past 11 years has been helped by Mark to increase her cash collecting efforts.

Political Roundup

Campaign Stepped up

A campaign to secure improvements to the West Coast's main road link with the Central Belt is being stepped up by politicians, councillors and business leaders. They lobbied members of the Scottish Executive's rural development committee when it met in April in Lochaber. Consideration is also being given to the commissioning of a study into the impact the heavily used, but torturous, Inverness-Glasgow road is having on the area's economy. BR>

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Patchy drizzle/mist in the E. Sunny spells in the W. Winds mod/fresh E-SE'ly.Temperature 14c to 19c.
Saturday Night
Outbreaks of rain in the W. Dry with mist in the E. Winds light/mod SE'ly. Temperature 10c to 13c.Teme
Sunday
Scattered showers affecting most places at first. Bright spells and fresh winds pm.
Monday
Rain easing as cloud becomes more broken. Staying rather cloudy. Moderate SW'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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