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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

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Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 22nd September 2001
Issue No 249

Scots Duped With Fake Stone of Destiny Claim

The Stone of Destiny which was returned to Scotland four years ago is a fake taken from a field in England - according to the head of the British White Witches.

High Priest Kevin Carlyon said he used the ancient technique of dousing to test whether the relic - believed to date back to biblical times - is genuine. He claims the stone, which monarchs of Scotland sat on when they were crowned, is not the real royal rock and insists Scots have been duped by the English. He claims Scottish historians were given a stone which originates from the West of England when it was returned to Scotland in 1996. Mr Carlyon said: "The English have duped the Scots with a duff stone. It is not what it claims to be - it's a dud. It could have come from anybody's back garden." It is thought the Stone of Destiny was brought to Scotland in the ninth century. The relic is also known as the Stone of Scone because it was kept in the ancient Scots capital of Scone in Perthshire. The stone was used in the coronation of Scottish kings when they were crowned on Moot Hill but was seized by English king Edward I in 1296 in an attempt to suppress revolutionary Scots. The famous stone was then placed in Westminster Abbey but was stolen in 1950 by Sottish nationalists on Christmas Day and smuggled back to Scotland. When the sandstone relic was repossessed four months later many Scots claimed it was a fake and the real stone had been hidden. It remained in England until November 1996 when the Queen granted permission for the historic stone to be returned to the Scots. It now sits on display in Edinburgh Castle under tight security. But Mr Carlyon claims he was asked to verify the authenticity of the stone by an anonymous Government official. Using a stone pendulum with a hole in the middle, he carried out an ancient technique known as dousing to pick up vibrations from the Stone of Destiny. While officials at Historic Scotland banned him from touching the stone, he is confident it is a fake. He said: "It's not from the Holy Land - that's for sure. When I tuned in to the stone I felt that it came from England - probably the West Country. "There were quite strong Pagan vibes - it was definitely not Christian. "It has absolutely nothing to do with kings or queens in either Scotland or England. "Its all a bit of a farce and people are being conned but there probably is a real stone still in England somewhere." Earlier this year Mr Carlyon jinxed the makers of the forthcoming Harry Potter film because they showed him flying with his broom the wrong way round. He called for a neutral body to be set up by the Scots and English to re-examine whether the stone is genuine. He said: "Scientific tests have been carried out before but they were done in secret. Recent evidence has also shown the technique of carbon dating is sometimes inaccurate. "Both the Scots and English have done their own separate tests but they were carried out in secret. It needs to be done again by a neutral body." A spokeswoman for Historic Scotland said they were confident the stone was genuine. Conservative MSP Lord James Douglas Hamilton said he believed the stone at Edinburgh Castle was the real relic. He said: "Before it came back to Scotland five years ago extensive tests were carried out on the stone by Historic Scotland. "These people have all the relevant expertise and that's good enough for me." But Liberal Democrat MSP Donald Gorrie said he was 'unconvinced' the stone was the real thing.

Tough Swim

It wasn't so much a gentle dip - but more of a big dipper - when charity swimmer Kem Gordon took to the choppy waters of Loch Ness to raise cash for the children's charity, Barnardo's. After completing the one mile crossing for the 10th year running, Kem declared: "It was like a roller coaster in the middle. It was the hardest going yet." However, the valiant efforts of Kem have raised at least 1500 - his biggest total to date. Each of his swims have raised between 500 and 600 for a range of charities such as Save the Children, Chernobyl Kids, Oxfam and Crossroads Care. This year's swim, from Dores to the Clansman Hotel near Drumnadrochit, almost had to be called off because of the waves and squally conditions. However, Kem bravely donned his wetsuit to make the crossing in about one and a half hours. "At one point I thought to myself "What am I doing here?" I was fighting all the way," he said. "But I will be doing it again next year - and I would do it again in the same conditions. "Afterwards, I sat in a hot bath for about an hour and had lots of tea and coffee to warm up." Kem, who trains in other lochs for his Loch Ness swim, explained why he was inspired to undertake the annual feat. "I like doing it because it is supporting the children in Scotland. To me, they are real heroes." He also praised the efforts of the Inverness Barnardo's shop which helped to raise money to enable the charity's work to continue. Izzie MacDonald, manager of the Inverness Barnardo's shop said the money raised from the swim would go towards the funding og new projects starting in Inverness next year. She said of Kem's swim: "He does year after year. It not only takes physical strength to do it, it takes strength of character. He is amazing."

Gaelic Students Graduate

The first students to study for a Gaelic degree without having to leave the Western Isles have graduated at a ceremony in Stornoway. Ten students from Lewis and Harris studied for the UHI university qualification at the Lewes Castle College in Stornoway. Over the past three years many of the students had to juggle with family life as well as coping with their studies. Most of the students plan to become teachers. Three have already enrolled on a interim Gaelic teacher training initiative at Jordanhill College in Glasgow. Although the new course is not wholly based in the islands as initially anticipated, it is hoped that this will be developed by next year. John Angus Mackay, Director of Comataidh Craolaidh Gaidhlig (Gaelic Broadcasting Committee) in his address at the graduation ceremony said that the course was "good news given the dearth of Gaelic teachers nationally". He pointed out: "Since the discovery of the new world in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, 6,000 of the 10,000 languages then in existence have been exterminated. "But Gaelic still survives and exists besides English which is the strongest language globally." Mr Mackay stressed that the Lews Castle College had the "largest number of Gaelic speaking students in the world" in the largest Gaelic community and therefore have a "responsibility to that language and culture". Later college principal David Green agreed: "Everybody at Lews Castle College shares that sense of responsibility. We certainly don't shirk it, in fact we welcome it. It's a critical part of our vision. "We're here to develop and to initiate projects regarding Gaelic - to make sure that it does survive and becomes more vibrant as a living language."

Nevis Hill Race

Five hundred runners strained every sinew to compete in the annual Ben Nevis Race recently. The competitors - all from the UK apart from one Dutchman and two Germans - ran 10 miles from Claggan Park to the top of the 4,406ft Ben and back down again in the hard fought event. Race winner was David Rodgers of Lochaber Athletics Club, who completed a hat trick of wins, having won the event in 1991 and 1996. His winning time was one hour 29 minutes and 24 seconds, just under four minutes outside the race record. Second was Ian Holmes of Bingley Harriers, who had been going for his fifth race win, in a time of one hour 29 minutes and 43 seconds. In third place came Bob Jebb of Bingley Harriers in one hour 31 minutes and 39 seconds. The women's race was won by Tracey Ambler, of Ilkley Harriers, in a time of one hours 54 minutes and 36 seconds. Sarah Rowell, of Pudsey and Bramley Athletics club, was second in one hour, 56 minutes and 49 seconds. "Considering it was a cold, wet and windy day it was a very competitive race," said George MacFarlane, secretary of the Ben Nevis Race Association. "An appreciative crowd watched the event despite the weather. They were ably entertained at Claggan Park by Highland dancers and a junior shinty match."

Memorial - 350 Years On

After three and a half centuries there is finally a fitting memorial to the 3,000 Scots who died in the Battle of Worcester on September 3rd 1651. Westminster MP Tam Dalyell, whose illustrious ancestor Tam Dalyell of the Binns was taken prisoner and sent to the Tower, unveiled a commemorative stone in memory of the thousands of Scots who fought for King Charles II in the English Civil War battle. Worcester was the last battle of the Civil War. Defeat of 18,000 mainly Scottish soldiers delayed the Restoration for another nine years. Charles II escaped to the Continent, hiding in an oak tree at Boscobel on the way. General Tam would almost certainly have been beheaded had he not escaped and reached the Continent where he subsequently commanded Russian armies against the Turks and the Poles. The commemoration is the inspiration of Stephen Maggs, who now lives in Scotland and two other Worcester men John Henderson and John Bennett, who owns Manor Farm, part of the original battlefield field where the monument will be sited. Made of granite it was transported from Scotland, following much of the 300 mile route which the Scots soldiers did marching south to Worcester, only to be routed by 30,000 efficient well drilled soldiers of Cromwell's New Model Army. President of the Clan Mackenzie Society of Scotland and the UK Dr Ian M Blake, from Aultgrishan, Wester Ross, said: "We know that Thomas Mackenzie of Pluscardine, was one of the Colonels of foot for Inverness & Ross. Alexander Cam Mackenzie, fourth sone of Alexander 5th of Gairloch was also there and we may assume they recruited a good many clansmen tenants, some of whom, taken captive, no doubt became predecessors of today's West Indian Mackenzies. Other clans represented included Clan Macleod, 800 of whom were slain in the battle, Clan Macgregor and Clan Ross - whose representative came all the way from San Diego, California. The memorable battlefield service was followed by a recreation of the actual Battle which involved more than 2,000 members of the Sealed Knot, including cavalry.

Alien Species Thrive in Scotland

Aliens have taken up residence in Scotland and are colonising the country according to a Government report. But unfortunately, the report does not come from the UK equivalent of Mulder and Scully but Scottish Natural Heritage and the "aliens" referred to are non native plants and animals that were originally introduced by humans and have now adapted to life in Scotland. The report, "An Audit of Alien Species in Scotland", is believed to be the first comprehensive exercise of this sort to be conducted by a European country. Most aliens are regarded as harmless, with only 76 of the 988 species listed by the audit being classified as potential problem species. These include animals such as mink, grey squirrel and sika deer and plants such as rhododendron. Julian Holbrook of SNH's environmental audit group said: "Over the next year SNH will be working with others in developing policies on aliens. "In terms of those causing problems, it looks like being a case of choosing our battles wisely. "Complete removal of even a handful of the identified problem aliens is probably going to be very difficult and will need to involve many interests."

Online News Service

The Scottish Executive recently launched a new online news and features service to boost its communication with the public. A spokeswoman said the Executive News Online website would act as "a prime source of information" and would "not just replicate press releases online". She said the website was necessary because more and more people were using the Internet to access the news. The new site will use sound, video clips and text to provide instant access to features, facts and statistics to explain how policy decisions are reached by ministers. The news sit includes a section called Junior Exec carrying material for children interested in devolution. First Minister Henry McLeish said: "Executive News Online is a practical commitment to open, inclusive and accountable government. "It will enhance and expand the relationship the Executive has with the people who elect it. "By creating such a comprehensive online news service, it allows ministers not only to present their policies and initiatives more effectively but also to have the scope to explain more fully the reasoning behind decisions and actions." Deputy First Minister Jim Wallace said the website was "the voice of the Scottish Executive and a key element in the concept of joined up government." The Executive plans to develop the site by offering a free daily email service with links to the latest news stories and alerts to subscribers on breaking stories.

Charity Event

Two local charities are to benefit from cash donations from a leading city centre retailer following a year of fundraising by staff and customers at its Inverness branch. Shopmobility Highland and Inverness Women's Aid have each received 2000 from Marks and Spencer following a busy calendar of events which included an open day where staff paid 1 for the privilege of dressing as they pleased, as well as sponsored treadmill and rowing days.

Political Roundup

MSP Backs Gaelic Education Expansion

Moves by the Scottish Executive to increase the level of provision of Gaelic medium education have been welcomed by Highlands and Islands MSP Maureen Macmillan. However, she is still concerned that existing provision is insufficient. Mrs Macmillan, who chairs the cross party group on Gaelic at the Scottish Parliament, met Jack McConnell, Minister for Education, and Alasdair Morrison, the Minister for Gaelic.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Cloudy with bright spells in the W. A few drizzle patches in the E. Winds light/mod E-NE'ly. Temperature 11c to 16c.
Saturday Night
Showers in the W, dry in the E but cool. Winds E'ly. Temperature 4c to 7c.
A dry day with broken cloud and bright periods after early mist clears. Winds light.
Cloudy with periods of rain/showers across the S. Dry with bright or sunny spells in the N.

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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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