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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 28th July 2001
Issue No 242

Bid to Protect Clan Battle Monument

Moves are under way to see whether an Inverness monument, which commemorates an ancient battle, can be officially listed.

The Clan Battle Monument, above Clachnaharry, marks a clash between the Munroes and the MacKintoshes - the date of which varies between 1333 and 1434, according to different sources. The monument was built by Major Hugh Robert Duff around 1820, although the top section was badly damaged several years ago. Now Muirtown Community Council has approached Historic Scotland asking for it to be listed, after establishing the monument was owned by Highland Council. Community council chairman John Fisher said: "It ought to be listed - it would then be looked after and maintained in a reasonable state." He said that during the last few months, the area around the monument had been cleared by Highland Council countryside rangers. "Before then, it was like a jungle," said Mr Fisher. "The monument has also been damaged in the past and suffered from storms." Highland councillor Jack Shiels (Kirkhill) also hoped to see the monument listed. "If it was listed, it might generate funding to have it restored to its former glory," he said. "It was a tall column - about 40ft to 50ft high - but it fell over in a storm in about 1951. I think at the time there was general apathy and nothing was done about it." Last year, however, the council restored the base and put a fence around it and also put in proper steps for easy access. Councillor Shiels hoped that if the monument was listed it would draw people's attention to it. "A lot of people are probably unaware of it at the moment," he said. A spokesman for Historic Scotland said that it carried out a rolling programme, listing a wide variety of properties. He said listing offered protection if someone wanted to alter or demolish a listed building. "What a list does not do is to put any particular onus on the owner to maintain it to a certain standard," he said. Meanwhile, although the exact date of the battle commemorated by the monument is uncertain, the causes and the outcome are not. The Munroes of Easter Ross, were returning home through MacKintosh territory after a cattle raiding expedition. However, they refused to abide by the usual custom of paying a tax on their plunder to the clan through whose lands they passed. Subsequently, the aggrieved MacKintoshes ambushed them at Clachnaharry and in the ensuing battle the MacKintosh Chief was killed.

Road to the Isles

The days of Britain's last single track trunk road could finally be numbered with a recent announcement of a 10 million upgrade of a 3.9 mile stretch of the Road to the Isles. Transport minister Sarah Boyack has also ordered engineers to prepare schemes for improving the last remaining 4.3 mile single track stretch of the A830 road, which links Mallaig and Fort William. The road is Mallaig's only link with the outside world. Campaigners have complained it was stifling the port's economic growth. The community has often been cut off because of accidents on the road. The announcement follows more than 30 years of campaigning by politicians, councillors and communities along the 45 mile route. The upgrade was initially announced by Ms Boyack following a strategic roads review in Autumn 1999. The new stretch will bypass Arisaig and cut over two miles off the journey between Mallaig and Fort William. Only the section between Arisaig and Loch nan Uamh will remain to be upgraded. It is understood this will be done through improvements to the existing road rather than its total replacement. The campaign for improvements began in the 60s. But it took sit down protests, blockades, leaflet campaigns and lobbying before improvements were finally sanctioned. Local councillor Charlie King said: "This news will give us a decent road and will eliminate a whole single track road, making the old road the coastal route. "There have been years of calls for this in the community, and we are delighted that it should be going ahead within the next few months."

Final Frontier

UFO spotters from throughout the world are beaming in on the sky above Bonnybridge in Stirlingshire in the hope of a closer encounter. The town, popular with alien hunters, has gone live on the Internet. The global interest in the hotspot, where around 2,000 strange sightings have been recorded, prompted the BBC's online service to set up a webcam in the area. After months of research for an idea site, BBC technicians and local councillor Billy Buchanan opted for the Royal Hotel, one of the town's oldest buildings. Mr Buchanan, who is trying to twin his town with Roswell in New Mexico, where an alien landing was reported, said the interest was phenomenal. "I've been flooded with calls from people who are casting their eyes on our wee town. "The webcam gives UFO enthusiasts a look at the area famed throughout the world," he said. "It's amazing but, in Afghanistan, the name Bonnybridge is better known than Las Vegas. But Bonnybridge has a lot more to offer than just UFOs."

Over the Sea to Canada

A Canadian couple were married on Skye recently and live pictures of their wedding were beamed 3000 miles across the world so friends and family could watch. Vivian Welch and Glenn Robinson tied the know in St Columba's Church in Portree and later had a blessing on the old hump back road bridge in Sligachan where they were filmed by a web camera. The camera, in the Sligachan Hotel, normally shows Internet users views of the majestic Cuillin mountains. Glenn said: "Organising it has been challenging but having the web camera was just brilliant. The Internet saved the day." The couple decided on the misty isle as they wanted to be married near the sea. Vivian said: "I've been to Scotland before and love it. Glenn is a big fan of Braveheart and William Wallace. The island is so romantic with cliffs, the sea and the mist." Once the couple chose Skye they discovered the Sligachan Hotel by surfing the web and were impressed with the views of the hotel and the dramatic Cuillin - which they saw courtesy of the webcam. A flurry of emails across the Atlantic began to get all the wedding preparations under way and Vivian, Glenn and 26 close family and friends arrived on Skye. Family and friends who could not make the trip raised their glasses to the happy couple as they watched the ceremony on a giant TV screen in Ottawa. The couple honeymooned on the island when they then jetted off to Cape Breton in Nova Scotia where they met. Glenn, who wore a kilt in the Isle of Skye tartan, added: "The hotel has been just great, helping organise the minister, flowers and a piper. "It's been amazing and feels like home. "The bridge is significant for us as it is quite symbolic - joining us together and linking Scotland and Canada."

Glencoe's Lookout Point

A ruined stone structure overlooking Glencoe has aroused the interest of Highland Council's archaeology unit. Too regular and too small to be the remains of a cottage dating back to the infamous massacre, its unrestricted view down the glen and the fact that it is half buried for concealment, suggests a look out post. Which is exactly what it is - though not nearly as old as it might seem. It is in fact a rare example of a wartime 'pillbox' observation post, built from local stone rather than concrete, and worthy of preservation. "This is quite a new discovery, reported to us recently by a local person," said archaeologist Dorothy Low. "It's quite unusual being stone, because most of the many pillboxes still around are made of concrete." She added: "Wartime and other 20th century archaeology is something we have to take account of and look towards promoting and preserving." Ms Low said that, although her team already held a large database on wartime relics in the Highlands, further information was always welcome. "It is important that such buildings are recorded." The council's archaeology unit has been involved increasingly in recent years in the recording and mapping of defensive sites from both wars all over the Highlands. The archaeology team has now turned its attention to an older fortification - the mound of earth near the fuel tanks in Lotland Street, Inverness, which, apart from an old clocktower is all that remains above the ground of Cromwell's fort. The start shaped fort was built by the Lord Protector's forces in the 1650s, as one of a series of strong points to house a new permanent military presences in the Highlands.

A Better View

A new viewfinder, designed to interpret one of the Highlands' classic views, is the result of two years hard work by members of Torridon Millennium Committee. It is sited at Bealach na Gaoithe, on the road from Torridon to Diabaig, a favourite halt for visitors and locals alike wishing to admire the view of Upper Loch Torridon and the surrounding mountains. The viewfinder, unveiled by one of the community's oldest residents, Donald MacKenzie of Annat, was designed and created by local man Hamish Rose, now living in London. He came up with a sculpted relief model, cast in urethan resin, with a red sandstone filler, showing all the mountains with their names, heights and other salient features. John Napier from Diabaig built the plinth on which it was erected from old Torridonian sandstone, collected locally. He also created a path to the viewfinder and to a picnic bench nearby, while several local volunteers helped with the less skilled work. Inside the plinth millennium committee members placed a time capsule containing a millennium record - a census type form designed to give future generations an idea of what life in the area was like at the end of the 20th century, a selection of local newspapers, a current electoral roll and one from near the start of the century, contemporary photographs, books published by local authors and a Gaelic Bible. The project started two years ago, following a public meeting in the community hall, seeking ideas on how best to commemorate the millennium. A number of suggestions were submitted, but the viewfinder proved favourite.

History of Gaelic

A new computer resource charting the history of Gaelic Scotland was launched recently. Deputy Minister for Enterprise, Lifelong Learning and Gaelic, Alasdair Morrison MSP unveiled the CD-rom in Stornoway. It was developed by SCRAN (Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network) and marks the logging of the 100,000th image by the online cultural library. Established with Millennium Commission funding in 1996, SCRAN now comprises a massive online resource of human and material history in Scotland. During his visit to the Museum Nan Eilean, Mr Morrison picked his favourite image from a selection featured at, which then formed part of a national campaign to canvass young and old Scots for their favourite images in the archive.

Charity Event

Model Abby Edward got the full treatment recently from stylist Lesley Gaton as she prepared to step out onto the catwalk for a charity fashion show in aid of Macmillan Cancer Relief. Around 170 guests turned out for the evening, which was hosted by Inverness and Culloden Rotary Club, and raised over 1000 for the new cancer unit at Raigmore Hospital.

Political Roundup

Fight for Justice

The SNP tabled an early day motion in the Commons calling for all 250 million of the surplus in the former Scottish Bus Group - a quango that is due to go on the bonfire soon. The Scottish Executive and the Treasury have offered the 14,000 Scottish pensioners exgratia payments of 7000 - in line with cash paid out to pensioners of the former National Bus Company in England. But the Scottish pensioners would get another 10,000 each if all the cash in the fund was paid out. Instead, 100 million will go to the Inland Revenue and the remaining 50 million will go back to the UK Treasury. Transport union officials are lobbying the Government to insist that all the cash goes to the pensioners who contributed to the fund.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Dry. Sunny spells. Cloudy in the W, rain moving E. Winds light/mod SW, fresh in the W. Temperature 15c to 23c.
Saturday Night
Rain clearing in the E. Mainly dry, clear spells. Winds mod/fresh SW. Temperature 11c to 14c.
Mainly cloudy skies with either bright spells or showers just about everywhere. Light to mod SW'ly winds.
Cloudy skies with showers across the N but it will brighten up as sunny spells and dry weather spread from the S.

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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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