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 18th August 2001
Issue No 245

"Nessie's Dead" says Nessie Hunter Robert Rines

An American scientist has sparked a row over Loch Ness by suggesting the world famous monster might be dead.

He said his three week expedition to the loch recently was using the latest underwater equipment in a search for Nessie's bones. Robert Rines, who captured the famous "flipper" photograph of Nessie on a previous expedition in 1974, said he was concerned there was not enough vegetation for a family of underwater animals to eat. He added that increased pollution since the 70s might have led to Nessie becoming extinct. He said: "When I came back in the 90s I was alarmed that there was not the same number of fishing boats reporting sonar sightings. "Everything is going against these things still being there. Environmental stress has occurred since I came here in the 70s." He cited two of these stresses as the Hydro Electric plant at Foyers, and increased forestry planting that allowed fertiliser to run into the loch altering the acid balance in the water. Mr Rines is combining the expedition with making a programme for top rated US TV programme Sixty Minutes, and is using one of the world's foremost experts in remote controlled mini subs. Deep Sea Systems International worked on the Titanic films and are used regularly by NASA and naval powers throughout the world. Mr Rines also has advanced sonar at his disposal that can scan even greater underwater expanses of the loch. He said: "Despite my fears I don't want to give up searching until we have exhausted our own and our instruments capability of telling us if there are big animals in the lake. We have a little personal motto "Alive or dead - we will take it either way. "We hope for a live one but at the same time we are looking in all the places where zoologists and archaeologists tell us that if animals died their bone would settle."

Scotland's Cruise Ship

Scotland's only international cruise ship, which will sail to such far flung destinations as the Indian Ocean and the Arctic Circle, was unveiled recently. Potential customers were given a tour of the MV Hebridean Spirit at Oban following a refit which offers the ultimate in floating luxury. Hebridean Spirit is the new sister ship of the five star Hebridean Princess, which will continue her luxury seasonal trips to the Western Isles from her base in Oban. Michael Fenton, managing director of Hebridean Island Cruises, said the new arrival to the company's fleet was a result of requests from passengers on the Hebridean Princess. He said: "Our market is basically 65 year old Britons and the current generation of 65 year old Brits are used to going on holiday abroad. "A lot of them wrote to us and said: "Why don't you go somewhere else in the winter? We go with other companies then, but we would like to go with you." Mr Fenton added: "They asked us for a new ship, so we gave them a new ship." Hebridean Spirit will fly the Scottish flag and, in honour of the West Coast connection, features the Argyll restaurant and the Skye lounge. The Hebridean Spirit - a converted vessel - has a crew of 70 catering for 79 passengers. All 49 luxurious en-suite cabins are individually furnished. She also boasts a fitness suite, a spa, a library and a spacious lounge with panoramic views.

Viking Landmark Sought

A stone sculpture near Scrabster is being proposed to serve as a permanent reminder of the strong Viking influence on Caithness. Scottish artist George Wyllie has been commissioned to do the work which will be unveiled at this autumn's Northlands Festival. Gourock based Mr Wyllie has made a recce of the area and earmarked a piece of rough ground at Burnside, near the historic site of Bishop's Palace, the one time seat of the bishops of Caithness. Planning permission is being sought for a triangular framed creation standing up to five metres tall with a triangular hole in the middle. Sculpted from Caithness flagstone with a steel outline, its base is to represent a Viking longship. Rebecca Lloyd, administrator of this year's festival, is looking forward to the completion of the work, to be known as the Northlands Vent. She said: "The sculpture will be looking out to Scandinavia to reflect the strong connection between Caithness and the Nordic lands."

Web Exhibition

A long running exhibition on Scotland's best known folk duo, the Corries, can now reach a worldwide audience through the Internet. The exhibition was set up at the Falconer Museum in Forres as a tribute to Ronnie Browne and Roy Williamson. It has attracted tens of thousands of visitors since the death in 1990 of Roy Williamson, who wrote Flower of Scotland. He spent his last years in the town, where he died from a brain tumour at the age of 54. Material from the exhibition has been put on the Internet with the help of Paul Warrener, a member of the Friends of the Falconer Museum. Paul, an Internet web developer, has worked over recent weeks to transform the photographs and other images into pages of information which can be reached by web enthusiasts anywhere in the world. "The site is a great asset and will compliment the material which is still displayed in the museum," said Paul. The exhibition can be found at www.moray.gov.uk/museums/corries/index.htm

Animals Saved

A Western Isles woman is heading off to Madagascar to help save endangered animals after winning an environmental award. Barbara Macaulay, from South Uist, will join a team of scientists on the island to track the habits of rare and little known species to ensure their survival as part of the Carnivores of Madagascar project. Ms Macaulay won the Earthwatch Millennium Award, a scheme run by the Earthwatch charity supporting international environmental projects. The scheme was funded by the National Lottery, and a further 80 people will receive Earthwatch awards next year. Ms Macaulay said she was delighted to work on the project. She added: "I look forward to being challenged physically and intellectually and hope to learn the practical skills of global environmental research."

'Midden' Dig

Startling new evidence shedding light on the lifestyles of Scotland's earliest settlers is emerging from an archaeological project in the Highlands. By sifting the rubbish left 9,500 years ago by the first dwellers of Wester Ross and adjacent islands, a picture is emerging of wandering hunters and fishermen who used the sea as a "motorway" and sported jewellery and bodypaint. Members of Scotland's First Settlers project, based at Edinburgh University, were elated when radio-carbon tests on bone tools from a rock shelter settlement at remote Sand Bay, north of Applecross, dated them in the Mesolithic period - approximately 7500 BC. The findings, which established the settlement as among the earliest dated human occupation in Scotland and the oldest known rock shelter site, was beyond the expectations of project directors Caroline Wickham Jones and Karen Hardy. "The site at Sand has been particularly interesting because it has yielded rich detail of the lifestyle of these early inhabitants of western Scotland through their rubbish," said Ms Wickham Jones. "The midden contains many broken and worn out tools, made of bone antler and stone. Food was a major pre-occupation and there are abundant remains of shellfish as well as fish and animal bones which give an idea of everyday tasks like food collection and preparation," she added.

Historic Meeting

An ancient Scottish tradition was reborn recently when MacDonalds from all over the world gathered on the site of the infamous massacre of their ancestors. The momentous event took place for the first time in almost half a century, with five clan chiefs and over 80 members of the Clan Donald gathering at a meeting of the High Council in Glencoe, where nearly 40 MacDonalds were brutally killed in 1692. The High Council is made up of five clan chiefs; Lord MacDonald of MacDonald, the MacDonalds of Clanranald and Sleat, MacDonnell of Antrim and MacDonell of Glengarry, who met to hear the views of more than 70 international clansfolk on the future growth and development of the clan movement. Several countries were represented at the gathering, including men and women from Australia, Canada, Northern Ireland and Holland. Rob McDonald Parker, adviser to the High Council, said: "In the 15th century, when the Clan Donald was at its zenith, the High Council met regularly with other clansmen to discuss important business. "It is hoped that this tradition will be re-established with a series of biannual meetings already planned for locations throughout Scotland and Northern Ireland."

Charity Event

A man who thought he would never walk again after breaking his neck in an accident has raised money for the unit that helped him back to health - by walking 10 miles. Stuart Murray, formerly from Ness in Lewis, handed over a cheque for 4,780.65 to the neurosurgical unit in ward 40 at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Political Roundup

SNP Attack on Voting System

Nationalists have denounced as "unacceptable" claims that regional seats are set to be scrapped in future elections to the Scottish Parliament. The BBC claimed the voting system is likely to be changed with the Parliament's top-up seats to be assigned in future on a Scotland wide basis, rather than the present regional basis. But the overall number of Scottish Parliament seats would remain unchanged at 129, even though the number of Scottish seats at Westminster is set to fall.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Early showers in NW. Elsewhere dry/sunny. Winds light/mod S-SE. Temperature 16c to 20c.
Saturday Night
Rain spreading from S, mod/heavy at times. Winds light S-SE'ly. Temperature 8c to 12c.
Sunday
A band of thundery showers moving across the area from the S. Fresh E'ly winds. Showers overnight.
Monday
A mix of cloud, bright spells and showers. Winds fresh/strong SE'ly in W parts.


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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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