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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 8th September 2001
Issue No 247

Inverness Man Reports Puma-Like Sighting

An Inverness man working at a wood near Huntly has reported seeing a large, puma-like animal which bounded into the undergrowth as he approached it.

Forestry civil engineering worker David Straube had been checking the road near Kinnoir Wood for defects when he saw the animal at about 11.30am. "I just came around a bend and a large black cat was standing in the middle of the road," he said. "I got to about 75 metres from it and I saw that it was something different by the size and shape of it." "I usually carry a digital camera with me, but it was back in the office." Mr Straube said the animal had a small, round face. He at first thought it might be a labrador dog, but later judged its stance to be more like that of a cat. When I got a bit closer, it turned and looked and it had a long tail curling up at the end," continued Mr Straube. "It was at least the size of a large black labrador. The animal then ran off to the wood, and Mr Straube contacted Huntly police station to report the sighting. A spokeswoman for the station confirmed details had been taken, but added there had been no other reported sightings in the area. A member of Aberdeen University's zoology department said the animal was more likely to be a large domestic cat. He said people reporting large cat sightings often found it difficult to properly judge height as few were able to get up close to the animals. "My guess is it would be a very big domestic cat, or a cat called the Kellas cat, which is a sort of wild cat," said the spokesman. "We've had photos of a cat that I was very impressed by, but when you superimpose a picture of a human beside it, it brings it all into scale. "I really wouldn't have at all thought it was anything other than a domestic cat. My own feeling is, if there were alien cats out there, someone would have found a dead one by now."

Talk of the Town

We've all been saying it for years and now it's official - the Scots accent is the sexiest in Britain. Almost a third of young Brits would much rather hear a Scot's dulcet tones on the phone than any other accent, a new survey reveals. The dialect was favourite with 29 per cent of voters. Fifteen per cent said Glaswegians are the sexiest sounding Scots, while only 11 per cent preferred the Edinburgh twang - despite Sir Sean Connery's famous sexy voice. More than 1000 youngsters were polled by youth info website Marketing Director Jamie Thomas said: "I'm sure the recent popularity of such popular heroes as Ewan McGregor had an influence. "But it just goes to show Britain's youth are becoming more cosmopolitan." The "slow, frustrating" Midlands drawl was voted the worst in the UK, with the Birmingham accent the biggest turn off. But it seems Scots' looks can't match their accents as Londoners were voted best looking while Liverpudlians were said to be the ugliest.

Sword of Honour

Scots racing legend Jackie Stewart was presented with a claymore sword recently in recognition of his knighthood. The award was presented by staff at the shooting and fishing school run by the three times world champion at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire. Made by Thomas Yeudall of Galston, Ayrshire, the 5ft tall replica weapon is engraved with a secret inscription known only to the owner. It was presented to Sir Jackie and his wife Helen by the school's manager Chris Jenkins and his seven staff members. He said: "We wanted to celebrate Sir Jackie's achievement and what better for a Scottish knight than a Scottish sword. "The knighthood could not have gone to a more deserving man than Sir Jackie." The hand made sword is a replica of a lowland claymore used by clans during the late 15th century. Featuring a traditional quillion block handle and side rings the weapon was introduced to Scotland by mercenaries returning from wars on the continent. Following his retirement from driving, Sir Jackie became a clay pigeon and trap shooting champion for Scotland and Great Britain before founding his own school in the grounds of the world famous hotel. The 62 year old was knighted in the last Queen's birthday honours list and also received an honorary doctorate at Stirling University recently.

Wedding on Eriskay Ferry

A couple got married on one of the last ferry sailings to the Island of Eriskay - the historic isle of Bonnie Prince Charlie and Whisky Galore fame. Anna Gruffydd, a freelance translator, wed shepherd Brian Melrose. The couple live on Eriskay - where the SS Politician ran aground with its wartime cargo of 264,000 bottles of whisky sparking the novel by Sir Compton Mackenzie. Bonnie Prince Charlie also chose Eriskay to first set foot in Scotland on July 23, 1745. Now another piece of history has been created by the wedding of Anna and Brian on the deck of the island's ferry Eilean na H'oige. It was one of the last sailings of the ferry, which runs to South Uist, as it has been replaced by a causeway. The skipper's daughter, Mairi Rodgers, accompanied the ecumenical service - which was jointly conducted by the Rev James Lawson and Father Calum MacLellan - by playing the clarsach. "When we were thinking of where to get married Brian suggested the ferry as it was just about her last run and we wanted to commemorate the end of an era," said Anna, who was piped aboard the ferry.

Freedom of Grantown

A Highland Olympics medallist was the first person in living memory to be awarded the freedom of his home town of Grantown. Craig MacLean who won the Olympic silver medal in the three man sprint in Sydney last year, accepted a symbolic key to the Strathspey town in a ceremony at the old courthouse. Surrounded by family and friends, Mr MacLean accepted the key - historically giving the holder the right to open the city gates at any time, and crucially to graze sheep on the town's common ground - from local Highland Councillor Basil Dunlop. Mr Dunlop, who presented the key to Mr MacLean said: "It was quite an extraordinary feeling, to have the name of Grantown mentioned on television sets all over the world when Craig won his medal. "It's a great honour for Grantown, and no other Highland community can claim to have a world champion in its midst. "Craig is a marvellous ambassador for us, polite and unassuming, but at the same time very dedicated to his sport." Freedom of the city is traditionally conferred on people of eminence and distinction who have given service to the community. Mr MacLean received his award for achievement in sport and bringing honour and prestige to Grantown.

New Banking Service

Inverness has been chosen for an innovative business scheme because of its potential for expansion. The Bank of Scotland has established one of three new Business Bank centres in Kintail House at Beechwood in the city, which went live recently offering small and medium sized businesses access to their bank managers by phone, email or in person. The other two sites are in Glasgow and Edinburgh but any future expansion of the concept to tackle the English business market would stem from the Inverness operation. Senior director of the Business Bank Colin Wrigley said: "Kintail House has been kitted out for future expansion and there is plenty of land around for future development. This is a super site. "Recruitment was also very easy as there is a very high level of skills in this area." Of the three sites, he said, Inverness had the best chance of being involved in rolling the concept into the English market. Ruth MacDonald, associate director of operations at the Inverness centre, believes the approach being taken by the Bank of Scotland will change business banking for ever. "We are moving away from the stereotypical encounter with the bank manager," she said. "There will no longer be a need for the businessman or woman to put on a suit and close their business for a morning to visit the bank manager. "They can phone, email us or arrange a face to face meeting at a time to suit them."

Message in a Bottle

A Shetland fisherman hopes to enter the Guinness Book of Records after having found a drift bottle that had been in the water for 87 years. Maurice Williamson of the Donvale LK137 found it after the vessel had hauled her nets 10 miles north of Foula. Drift bottles were dropped by Government fishery research vessels between 1906 and 1914 to study tides and currents. Mr Williamson handed it in to Shetland Museum. Ian Tait from the museum said this particular drift bottle was one of a batch of 110 released by a Captain Brown on June 12, 1914, at 60deg 19min North and 2deg 6 min West. Mr Tait said: "The bottles, which were known as 'bottom trailers', were heavy enough to sink, but sat upright on the seabed, and were moved along by the current. "They were intended to be brought up in the boats' trawl, or eventually to come ashore of their own account," he went on to say.

Charity Event

Martial Arts experts have presented 1000 to children's ward at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness. Caledonia Community Leisure chief executive Chris Cook, who is a senior Aikido instructor, and Sandy Dunbar, a senior Taekwon-do instructor, organised a Highland Festival of Martial Arts and decided to give the proceeds to the children's ward.

Political Roundup

Scottish Parliament Opens Doors

Members of the public turned out in their thousands recently to see behind the scenes at the Scottish Parliament. The public open day was held to celebrate the second anniversary of the parliament. Visitors could explore the famous debating chamber on the Mound, meet and talk to MSPs from each of the parties, chat to staff who make the Parliament work, as well as looking around the rooms where the committees meet.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Cloudy with bright spells. Blustery showers. Wind fresh/strong NW. Temperature 11c to 14c.
Saturday Night
Becoming dry with clear spells. Wintry showers on high ground. Winds fresh/strong NW. Temperature 2c to 4c.
Mainly cloudy with scattered showers. A few bright or sunny spells. Winds N-NW'ly, moderate S, Strong N.
Dry and bright in South. Cloud building in the North to give patchy light rain. Becoming windy in the NE.

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Glenmoriston Arms Hotel

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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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