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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

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Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 17th August 2002
Issue No 293

1745 Rebellion was Scots Civil War

The 1745 Jacobite rebellion was "essentially a Scottish civil war" rather than a conflict between England and Scotland, people at the annual Battle of Culloden were told at the memorial service recently.

The claim was made by Farquhar Macintosh, chief of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, at the annual service commemorating the battle. The service, which was organised by the society and held at the battlefield cairn in glorious sunshine, attracted its biggest crowd in years. Roddy Maccrimmon, chairman of the society, welcomed the crowd, some of whom were from overseas. The Rev Duncan MacKinnon said prayers while piper Ronald MacLean played Macintosh's lament. In his speech in honour of those who fell in the battle, Mr Macintosh, who is chairman of the trustees of Sabhal Ostaig on Skye, insisted that the battle was not about England versus Scotland, but Scots against their own countrymen. He said: "I see 45 as essentially a Scottish civil was with probably more Scots in Cumberland's army, as a number of historians have recently pointed out, than that of the prince." He added: "The 45 was in effect a continuation of the historic hostility between the lowlands and the Highlands, than of the continuation of the conflict between Scotland and England." Mr Macintosh said the battle had led to the destruction of Gaelic culture and, in modern terms, "a campaign of ethnic cleansing, crushing the people's spirit" which had left behind a strong and substantial sense of injustice that coloured people's memories to this day. He went on:"The battle's real significance, in my opinion, lies in the decisive action in terms of the exercise of power after that. Culloden ensured that the Highlands no longer posed a threat to anyone, particularly to lowland Scotland." Despite the terrible hardships the battle had caused, it did gradually lead to a better attitude being taken towards the Highlands. Today, Gaelic culture was seen as an important part of Scotland's national identity. Dr Macintosh added: "Our Gaelic language is beginning to play more and more a part in the tourist industry and to sell our goods abroad." Wreaths were later laid at the cairn by several clan representatives and Scottish organisations and one from the St Andrews Society of Savannah, Georgia in the US. Among the wreaths laid were ones by the Gaelic Society of Inverness, The National Trust for Scotland, which runs the battlefield site, the 1745 Association, the White Cockade Society and Alliance France Ecosse.

Honour for Harris Man

Harris man John Murdo Morrison L, JP, has been appointed Vice Lord Lieutenant of the Western Isles. The post has been vacant since January 2001 when Mr Sandy Matheson became Lord Lieutenant. Mr Morrison, of Tarbert, a retired hotelier and former Mod Gold Medalist, was appointed a Depute Lieutenant in 1994. Following service in the Royal Army Pay Corps, he was employed in the Civil Service for 10 years before taking up a post as Director of An Comunn Gaidhealach in Stornoway, prior to joining the family business running the Harris Hotel. During the 1960s and 70s he held a commission in the Queen's Own Highlanders Army Cadet Force and was in charge of the Harris Platoon. The new Vice Lord Lieutenant has been actively involved in a wide range of community interests, including the Harris Tweed Authority, the Harris Council of Social Service, Harris Football Club and the Western Isles Health Board. Commenting on the appointment, the Lord Lieutenant, Mr Matheson, said: "John Murdo's keen interest and deep knowledge of the islands will be of great benefit to the Lieutenancy in his new appointment."

Dolphin Vigil

A project to count the number of whales, dolphins and porpoises in the Moray Firth was launched recently to coincide with National Whale and Dolphin Watch. A group of volunteers took turns at Chanonry Point, Fortrose, overnight to collect data which will be submitted for the national survey being carried out by the Sea Watch Foundation. The aim of the Sea Watch event, involving hundreds of volunteers from all over the UK, is to give a general snapshot of the numbers and varieties of whales, dolphins and porpoises to be seen around the British Isles. It is also hoped that it will draw attention to the conservation of the country's maritime environment. Publicity material for the event points out that 28 species of whales and dolphins have been recorded in UK waters, which is more than a quarter of the entire British mammal fauna. Joint co-ordinator for Sea Watch at Chanonry Point watches, Barbara Manson, said dolphins were sighted on 29 separate occasions on day one of the watch and 22 sightings on day two. She said these included at least twenty different dolphins, but she pointed out that they cannot be sure of the total number as the same dolphins may have been returning to the area on several occasions. Ms Manson added that weekly dolphin watches were held from Chanonry Point in the early 1990s. "Sea Watch had asked whether we could re-establish dolphin watches for a year so we can see how the numbers now compare with those of ten years ago." Ms Manson also said it will be interesting to discover whether the number of dolphins in the Moray Firth - the most northerly site in Britain with a resident colony of Bottlenose Dolphins - has changed over the 10 year period.

Birds Create a Flap

Hooded crows whose high-voltage nest building instincts proved a hazard to themselves and a nuisance to householders on Tiree and Orkney were given a helping hand recently from an electricity company. On Tiree a lack of trees saw the birds setting up home on top of the wooden telegraph poles carrying the island's electricity supplies. Unfortunately, an associated shortage of twigs also led them to incorporate metal fencing wire into the structures, which can cause short circuits between electricity conductors - proving fatal for the birds and cutting power supplies to homes. Scottish Hydro Electric engineers tapped in to the crows' suspicious natures and stupidity to solve the problem. Specially designed mirrors were fitted to the tops of the poles - encouraging the birds, which are wary of their own reflections, to fly off to seek alternative nesting sites. In Orkney, a daily crow patrol by linesman Donald Ritchie was launched by the company to combat the same problem. When Donald, now known locally as the "crow man" spotted a nest he waited until the birds were away from the nest, then using special safety equipment dislodged it. He was often able to carry out the task without having the power switched off, although on occasion, the position of the nest meant the electricity had to be turned off for about 15 minutes to allow him to work safely. Mark Rough, Scottish Hydro Electric's team manager on Orkney said customers were "very tolerant" of the interruptions. He said: "By turning off the power for a few minutes to allow the nests to be removed, we avoided the situation where crows have caused the wires to short circuit. So rather than risking a power cut of several hours while serious damage was repaired, customers only have a very brief supply interruption."

250 Year Old Murder Plea

A direct descendant of a Government agent murdered 250 years ago extended an olive branch on a rain lashed Highland hillside recently. Sir Niall Campbell said the time had come to move on from the tragic events of 1752 when Colin Campbell of Glenure was gunned down by a Stewart. Sir Niall, 77, a leading figure in English legal circles who was attached to the Lord Chancellor's office, condemned the trial, the subsequent hanging and the bloody spiral of retribution which followed as "totally despicable." Sir Niall, who lives at Barcaldine Castle, near Oban, was officially opening the Appin Murder Cairn Trail and new interpretive facilities in the Last Clansman project, created from a partnership between the Forestry Commission and Lorne communities. The trail and cairn on the hillside at Lettermore, overlooking Loch Linnhe, near Ballachulish is one of a series of commemorations marking the 250th anniversary of the Appin Murder, an episode writ large in Scotland's turbulent history. The cairn stands on the spot where the Hanoverian Campbell was mortally wounded by two shots in the back from a marksman's musket as he rode home to Duror. James Stewart of the Glen, a young Jacobite was tried and convicted at Inveraray, by a jury made up of 11 Campbells, then gruesomely executed in what has become one of Scotland's most notorious miscarriages of justice. Scotland's deputy tourism minister, Elaine Murray, who attended the ceremony, said the infamous murder in 1752, and bloody aftermath provided great opportunities for today. "With increasing reliance on tourism to sustain and develop the rural Highlands, historical sites provide excellent opportunities to enhance visitor enjoyment within Scotland's magnificent scenery," she said. "It was not only an enduring memorial to an important and dramatic historical event, but a fine opportunity for new generations of visitors and locals alike to learn a little more about a fascinating period of Scottish history." Clansmen and representatives of local organisations observed a one minute's silence in memory of both men, and a lament was played by Duror piper, Angus McColl.

Wick Gala

Mardis Gras arrived in Wick recently with the launch of the town's annual gala week. Calypso music blared out from a clutch of floats in the traditional carnival procession which wended through the streets of the town centre. Glorious weather boosted the turnout, with the streets lined with spectators following the formal opening of the gala in the town's Riverside. The queen's float and the local pipe band led off 15 brightly decorated displays which were mounted by people in all kinds of garish attire and costumes. Officials of Wick Town Improvements Association did not expect to have finished counting the mountain of coins collected on the day. Association stalwart Morag Hart said the quality of the displays was among the best ever. The top award went to Alistair Bremner & Co's ornate depiction of Harry Potter while the maximum effort trophy went to "Brazilian Carnival", mounted by Blackstairs Bar.

Vanished Landmark Sought

The search was on recently for a Loch Ness-side landmark which has not been seen for more than two years. Pupils from Aldourie Primary School are trying to trace an engraved stone erected in 1922 to commemorate a visit by two major literary figures, Dr Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, to Change House, on the Dores-Inverfarigaig road, as part of their celebrated "Highland Jaunt" in 1773. Although the house is no longer standing, the marker stone was widely recognised as a landmark in the area and Aldourie head teacher Janice MacBeth said its disappearance was a complete mystery. "The stone was last seen about two years ago but since then no-one seems to know what happened to it," she revealed. "It not only became a landmark for residents but was also of great interest to visitors." Some of her pupils are hoping to produce a leaflet about the effects of the Jacobite defeat at Culloden with particular emphasis on local events and the journals of Johnson and Boswell's travels are an important source of material and it's for this reason that they have decided to try and find the stone. "It's an important part of our history," Ms MacBeth commented. Local councillor Ella MacRae said local people should be more aware of the area's history and regarded the pupil's quest for the Johnson Stone as a first step. "We used to have several historic marker stones all along the loch-side but gradually these have all gone missing over the years," she stated. "The Johnson Stone is mentioned in quite a lot of books, so it is of interest to visitors as well as locals. "If we do not get it back we will have to put another plaque in its place. The area where the stone was originally located will have to be marked in some way. We cannot let it simply become forgotten about."

Charity Event

Two Inverness charities were dancing with joy recently after receiving almost 2,500 each from Marks and Spencer. Drummond School for children with special educational needs and New Start for the Homeless will each benefit from a donation of 2,405 after a year of fundraising by staff at the store. The cash was raised through a variety of events including an in-store tartan day featuring dancers, pipers and a violinist, a bring and buy home bake and a 10 mile walk.

Political Roundup

Backing for Gaelic Board Scheme

A Gaelic Board could be set up by the Scottish Executive to help promote the language and its culture. Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Maureen MacMillan has backed a report which has been presented to the Scottish Executive and outlines a strategy for the support and future development of the Gaelic language. Mrs MacMillan, who chairs the Scottish Parliament's cross party group on Gaelic, said that the report was an invaluable contribution to the debate and that the Government should consider all of its conclusions and recommendations very carefully.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Hazy sunshine, local cloud on coasts. Winds mod/strong S-SE'ly. Temperature 18c to 24c.
Saturday Night
Showery in the W overnight, spreading E for a time. Winds mod/strong S'ly. Tempertaure 12c to 16c.
A mostly dry day with some good sunny periods possible. It will feel quite warm out of the wind.
A mixture of sunny spells and showers with strong SW'ly winds in the far N.

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