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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

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Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 7th September 2002
Issue No 296

Winnie Urges Queen to Correct Coronation Error

The Scottish Nationalists have called on the Queen to change her title in Scotland to correct a mistake made on her coronation.

SNP president Winnie Ewing recently urged the Queen to change her title from Elizabeth II to Elizabeth I, Queen of Scots. The suggestion from the Nationalists came on the Queens recent visit to Aberdeen. The Nationalists believe the Queen's title does not acknowledge Scotland's nationhood as the Elizabethan era predates the Act of Union in 1707. In 1953 there was a celebrated legal challenge against the Queen's title in Scotland. Although it was defeated, the Nationalists claim it was an important moral victory as the opinion stated: "The principle of the unlimited sovereignty of Parliament is a distinctively English principle which has no counterpart in Scottish constitutional law." Mrs Ewing, Highlands and Islands list MSP, said: "This is a respectful request to the Queen to use the occasion of the Jubilee to put to rights a bad mistake that her advisers made in 1952. When the Queen came to the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, our own Presiding Officer, Sir David Steel, made the point that her correct title in Scotland should really be Queen of Scots. Things have changed so much over the past 50 years - the monarchy has changed, Scotland has changed with her own Parliament - and a change in the Queen's title in Scotland to reflect Scottish nationhood would be a very welcome and appropriate reform." In her letter which was sent to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Mrs Ewing says the Scottish people were very proud when the Queen took hold of the Scottish Crown on the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. She adds: "May I also respectfully suggest that the year of the Golden Jubilee would be an appropriate opportunity to right a wrong to Scotland which occurred at the time of the Coronation." Sir Neil MacCormick, MEP, whose father John MacCormick, along with Ian Hamilton, took legal action against the Lord Advocate in 1953, challenging the Queen's numeral in Scotland - welcomed the initiative. He said: "This was a huge issue in Scotland in 1952, and I well remember my father's famous case of MacCormick vs the Lord Advocate, and all the excitement it generated. It would be good to think that this wrong could be righted 50 years on in the Golden Jubilee Year."
Buckingham Palace declined to comment.

Running their Course

Members of Torvean Golf Club in Inverness realised an ambition recently when they took over responsibility for the management and maintenance of the course. They have been given a 20 year lease for the course from Highland Council, with the option of a 20 year extension. The green-keeping and ticket office staff are transferring to the employment of the golf club management committee. The club has given an undertaking that the municipal ethos of the course will continue with the public still able to pay and play, without having to take out membership. As owners of the course, the council's future involvement will be confined to a monitoring role. The arrangement is seen by the council as the best value approach to managing and maintaining the golf course. Club manager Atholl Menzies said: "The club is delighted to celebrate the official handing over to Torvean Golf Club of the management and maintenance of Torvean Golf Course. The club will run the course for the benefit of the local community, visitors and members alike."

Museum Celebration

Banners were flying over Fort William High Street recently to celebrate the 80th birthday of the town's West Highland Museum. The museum, which was founded in 1922, took delivery of a watercolour by Jemima Blackburn, of Roshven, near Lochailort, to commemorate the occasion. Part funded by the National Fund for Acquisitions, the painting depicts women waulking the cloth on Loch nan Uamh-side, which nestles alongside the A830 Fort William to Mallaig road. Museum curator of 16 years, Fiona Marwick said: "The subject matter is rare and it is interesting to have a local depiction of women waulking the cloth. It is also a good example of Jemima's work." The watercolour which was bought at an exhibition in Perth, is the first of the well known Lochaber artist's work to be purchased by the museum. For the 75th birthday the staff and trustees took part in what was billed as the longest Strip the Willow in the West which attracted hundreds of dancers. It coincided with the museum's formal re-opening by Magnus Magnusson following a four year refurbishment programme. "We have come a long way since the museum was founded in 1922. In those days they stored the collection during the winter months in our current building and had to trundle exhibits along the street in a wheelbarrow to the summer exhibitions which were held in the Fairfax-Lucy Reading Rooms in Monzie Square," said Miss Marwick. In 1922, eight men and one woman met in the Palace Hotel in Fort William and founded the museum. "The museum began life as a series of summer loan exhibitions culminating in the magnificent 1925 Prince Charles Edward exhibition. Lenders to all the exhibitions were encouraged to donate their exhibits to form the nucleus of a collection," said Miss Marwick.

Nairn's Bid

Gaelic enthusiasts in Nairn are preparing a bid to bring the 2005 Royal National Mod to town. It was revealed last year that officials were thinking about the idea. It has now been announced that a steering committee will be set up to launch a campaign to stage the event. Representatives of the Mod Company have already visited Nairn for an early reconnaissance exercise to view facilities available with Nairn Mod co-ordinator and chairman of Nairn Gaelic Choir, Jim Mackellar. Jim's wife Nina, a former gold medallist, said there was a lot of excitement among lovers of Gaelic in the town. "When we talked about it last year we were thinking of preparing for the 2004 Mod, but time was against us and that fell through. "We would also have been competing against Dingwall which was already well down the road with its bid, so we decided to step back. In the event, the 2004 Mod has gone to Perth instead." Highland Council provides support funding to stage the Mod in the region if it gets the backing of the Mod Company. Nairn's success as the venue for the Walker Cup golf tournament in 199 will not have gone unnoticed. The committee will have to find 100,000 from various agencies to support the bid plus "in kind" support to match that amount such as manpower, venues and other resources.

de Moray's Rising

The anniversary of military commander Andrew de Moray's 1297 North Rising was hailed a success recently. The Avoch gathering attracted upwards of 100 spectators from around the North and England. De Moray is regarded as one of Scotland's finest commanders - equal only to William Wallace. The 13th century rising was commemorated recently with the raising of a special flag at a Black Isle battle site. Members of the historical Saltire Society donned period battle gear to recreate scenes of 1297. This was followed by the annual march to the cairn on Ormond Hill where, traditionally, members of the society provided a replacement saltire for the flagpole for the following year. Secretary of the Andrew de Moray Project, Rob Gibson, said: "Our aim is to attract attention to a very historic event from over 700 years ago - and it's a very good reason to come to the Black Isle. "Since the Braveheart film people have wanted to find out the truth. The truth is more complex, which Andrew de Moray's story sums up - the start of the Scots Wars of Independence, which truly began at Avoch." De Moray's successful 1297 North Rising liberated northern Scotland at the start of the War of Independence, before linking with Wallace in the south. Historians have recently claimed that Wallace could not have started what eventually turned out to be a highly effective guerrilla warfare campaign had it not been for de Moray's support. Recent work by the Andrew de Moray project has included commemoration of the younger Andrew in his famous victory at Culblean on St Andrew's Day 1335 by a wreath laying ceremony on Deeside.

Picture Gift

The Queen will have a permanent reminder of a new flower she named to mark her Golden Jubilee - thanks to the work of a Highland artist. Patricia de Chair, from Tulloch, near Spean Bridge, spent 50 hours on the botanical portrait of the newest form of alstromeria, the Peruvian Lily. It was presented to her Majesty during her recent visit to the Chelsea Flower Show. Patricia, who has no formal art training, was commissioned by Peter Smith of Chanctonbury Nurseries in West Sussex to paint the floral work of art. She began working on it last Spring with three deliveries of the flower being sent to her from the South of England so she could accurately record the beauty of the plant. Patricia, who moved to Tulloch with her family eight years ago, is a committee member of Lochaber Art Club, and also belongs to the Appin Art Group and the Art Society of Inverness.

Ancient Yew

Scotland's oldest resident was chosen recently to mark the Queen's Jubilee. At an estimated 5,000 years of age, the ancient yew at Fortingall churchyard in Perthshire is reckoned to be the oldest living thing in Europe. The tree is one of 50 in the UK - six of them in Scotland - which were selected by the Tree Council to mark each year of the Queen's reign. Mike Strachan, a Forestry Commission official, said the yew was a worthwhile choice as the Great British Tree. He said that because of its impressive age and medicinal value, it was a centre of pagan worship until Christianity. In 1769, it was recorded as having a girth of 17 metres. Mr Strachan said trees had always been known to thrive in Perthshire. Another Scottish tree deemed to have significant cultural and historical importance is the 335 year old Scots pine in Glen Affric in the Highlands. A remnant of the original Caledonian forest, its remote location spared it from felling and intensive sheep grazing in the 18th and 19th centuries. Forestry Commission ranger Sandra Reid said the Tree Council's accolade was a real boost. "It raises the profile of the Caledonian pine woods, not only because they are rare, but because not everyone knows how important they are. It is very good news," she said. "It is important because it is an endangered habitat. The forests used to cover most of the Highlands but now only 1% are covered." Forestry Commission manager Malcolm Wield said there had been a forest at Glen Affric for around 10,000 years. He described the pine as a true icon of the Highlands and said the tree had a real place in the public's imagination due to its long heritage. "When people think of the Highlands, they think of the Scots pine. It is something that endears itself to people," added Mr Wield.

Charity Event

Local running veteran Tony Wall, Eddie Stefanak and Dave Kemp raised more than 2,330 for the Inverness branch of the Samaritans in the recent London Marathon. Their efforts were helped by the generosity of Riva Restaurant and its restaurant manager Alan Little. The restaurant paid for the trio's flights down to London and back, donated printed T-shirts and hosted a fundraising pasta party the week before the race attended by members of the local branch.

Political Roundup

With Thanks

MSP Rhoda Grant has expressed her thanks to the residents of Colonsay for taking the time to talk to a delegation from the Scottish Parliament's rural development committee. Four members of the committee, including Highlands and Islands MSP Ms Grant, visited the island, which is home to just 100 people. The fact finding trip was aimed at giving them an insight into the problems of life on a remote island, as part of their inquiry on integrated rural development. Ms Grant said: "I would like to publicly thank all those who gave up their time to come and take part in the committee's deliberations."

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Cloudy with rain or showers. A few bright spells. Winds light then fresh NW'ly. Temperature 13c to 17c.
Saturday Night
Clear intervals in many areas but showers around the coasts. Winds mod/fresh NE'ly. Temperature 6c to 16c.
Further showers, predominantly cloudy conditions and just a few brighter periods.
Remaining overcast and cloudy with showers or longer periods of rain. These may clear in the afternoon.

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