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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 13th October 2001
Issue No 252

Death Row Sam Free


Sam, the West Highland Terrier - condemned to death for barking - has been freed on bail.

He will now receive behaviour training with the National Canine Defence League to try and control his barking rather than going straight home to his anxious owners. Justice of the Peace John Logan - who originally condemned Sam to death - agreed to free him from kennels pending the appeal against death. Anxious owner William Shaw was not at the hearing but his lawyer Lynn Bentley said they were happy he had been released from kennels for retraining. She said outside the court: "The application was granted on the basis that Sam would be taken to the National Canine Defence League in West Calder for some work with animal behaviourists. "The long term hope is that this will help Sam and help him to be returned to the Shaw family. Mr Shaw is finding this all very stressful." The request for freedom pending the full High Court appeal was made at a brief private hearing at Aberdeen District Court. Sam's bid for bail at the High Court in Edinburgh was withdrawn last Tuesday to allow the district court review. It is hoped the full appeal at the High Court against the destruction order placed on the little dog will be heard before the end of November. The eight year old dog was taken from his shocked owners pending an appeal against the death sentence. French film legend Birgitte Bardot and leading lawyer Donald Findlay have offered their support to Sam. William bought Sam as a comfort to his Alzheimer's sufferer wife before she died. He said: "I was hoeful Sam would be released thanks to all the support we have had. "I never thought they would kill the dog because he annoys a neighbour. It's an absolute disgrace. "Hopefully they will not go through with it - Sam's part of the family." Sam had made himself at home at Mrs Murray's Dog and Cats Home in Aberdeen where his cage was adorned with good luck cards including an SOS - Save Our Same - message. Superintendant Jack Carle said: "We are sorry to see Sam go, he has been a good client. He's in perfect health and makes very little noise - we have dogs that are a lot noisier."

Chisholm Gathering

Three hundred Chisholms from throughout the world, led by their chief, celebrated their longest reunion recently since the clan lands were sold around a century ago. They answered the fiery cross from Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand, England - and even France - besides their homeland. The clansfolk also celebrated the 50th birthday of the Clan Chisholm Society, which has held reunions periodically since its foundation. Inverness kiltmaker Duncan Chisholm, past president and now honorary vice president of the society, which he joined in 1951 as a 10 year old, said: "This is the first clan gathering since 1996, when we held a four day event. "In the past we used to hold gatherings over weekends, but this year we felt we had to stretch it to a week, to make it worthwhile for members from overseas." The clan members assembled at the Chieftain Hotel, Inverness, where many were also staying. Some stayed at the former Chisholm clan seat, Erchless Castle, near Beauly, rented for the week from its present owner Maurice Robson, who also owns 10,000 acres at Erchless and a further 19,000 acres at Inverbroom. "The Robsons have always made Chisholms welcome to see over the castle throughout the years," added Mr Chisholm. The castle was inherited by Edmund Chisholm-Batten, on the death of the last chief of the male line, Roderick Chisholm, in 1887. Chisholm-Batten eventually sold it to a Russian baron, who made his reputation locally by raising a prize dairy herd.

Dolphin Mascot Adopted

The players of the American Football team the "Moray Firth Dolphins", based in Inverness, have adopted one of the young wild dolphins in the Moray Firth as their team mascot. The "Moray Firth Dolphins" are a young team that started playing in the summer of 2000. The team is made up of local youngsters, both male and female and has had a successful year training and playing up until this summer. The emphasis of the team sport lies on attracting local youngsters from the Inverness area, to compete in a fast, challenging and exciting sport. It is seen as a community effort, creating fair and open games with other teams based in the Highlands and Central Belt of Scotland. The adopting of a "life mascot" is seen as an important part of the team's effort to also show interest in their local natural environment, and to highlight the plight of the local dolphin population, that is of national and international importance. The adopting was done in Inverness at Moray Firth Cruises, one of the team's sponsors. The chosen dolphin is called Whisky, the baby of the bunch. Whisky was first identified in 1994 and is the second calf of Happy Dragon. The pair are regularly seen throughout the Moray Firth.

A National Asset

A bid is being made to have a man made feature on an east Caithness cliff listed as of national importance and taken under the guardianship of Historic Scotland. Wick Society have regularly repaired Whaligoe Steps, a 200 year old stone staircase leading down to a one time harbour used by herring fishers. Members of the group have replaced stones damaged by vandals and restored collapsed sections of the retaining stone wall at the foot of the steps. Their stalwart efforts were officially recognised in 1992 when the society won an award in a nationwide environmental competition. Chairman Iain Sutherland said it was an ongoing battle to stem the natural erosion of the steps. He believes it is iniquitous that the work is left to a small local group. Speaking after helping complete another major restoration of the 320 step feature, he said: "Whaligoe Steps is unique and there is no doubt that it is of national importance in historical and architectural terms. "There is not a feature of its size like it anywhere in the country. I know of steps on a Cornish cliff face, but they are only about half as high. "This is a national treasure and should be cared for accordingly." The staircase, which was used by fisherwomen to haul up the creels of herring landed at the harbour, is a popular attraction.

Paying Their Respects

A group of soldiers took time out from a marathon trek recently to pay their respects to commandos who lost their lives in World War II. The five serving Gurkha Highlanders laid a wreath at the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge in the Highlands. The party was taking part in a nine day 200 mile hike across some of Scotland's toughest terrain, from Mallaig in the west to Stonehaven on the east coast, to raise money for wartime predecessors who receive no Ministry of Defence pensions. Their route took the soldiers, four of whom originate from the Mount Everest area and the fifth from near another of the world's highest peaks, Annapurna, through 12 Highland mountain passes. The Gurkhas, Staff Sergeant Gyan Tamang, Corporal Dhal Sahi, Corporal Dil Rai and riflemen Dhaniram Rai and Surndra Tamang, were accompanied at the wreath laying ceremony by walk organiser Neil Griffiths, a retired soldier. Mr Griffith said: "There is a tremendous affinity between Scots and Gurkhas. We both wear the tartan and play the pipes, but there is also something extra which nobody can explain. Every time Gurkhas meet Scots their is a special spark."

Bird Sanctuary

A Scottish island has emerged as the major UK stronghold for a type of bird that has disappeared from most of the British countryside over the past century. The fact that 62 male corncrakes - around a tenth of the whole national population - have been calling on Coll in the Hebrides underlines how mass wipe out elsewhere stemmed from the onset of modern farming methods. These secretive hen like birds need plenty of tall vegetation - such as irises, nettles or hay and silage fields - for nesting when they arrive from Africa in the spring. Their chicks require long grass in which to hide and lots of insects to eat. Once they were so widespread the male's distinctive, grating "crek crek" call was very much the voice of the countryside but increased farming mechanisation and earlier hay cutting times had devastating effects on their population. However, there is a different trend on the 12 mile long island. Of this summer's record number of calling males, 51 were on a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds' reserve or areas covered by special management agreements with farmers and crofters. This represents an eight fold increase in numbers on the Coll reserve since the RSPB Scotland acquired the land in 1991.

Sail Into the Future

The skipper of Loch Linnhe based cruise boat, Souter's Lass, conducted two marriage ceremonies on board in the space of a few weeks. Kilted John Peeny, who is pastor of Fort William Christian Fellowship, married David Hague and Lizbeth Ann Thompson, who were from England. David, who serves with the Royal Engineers, wore his military uniform for the occasion. John also married Allan Brown, who is Crannog Operations manager, and Wendy Ingram, a nurse. Both are members of Fort William Christian Fellowship. Over eighty guests were on board to witness the ceremony. John, who has skippered Souter's Lass, which is owned by Crannog Concept Ltd, for over a year, has conducted four marriages in Fort William and one in Perthshire. "I've had another two inquiries about weddings on the boat," said John, who pointed out that according to Scottish law a vessel must be at anchor or have its engines turned off before the ceremony can take place. "We stopped the engines a little south of three mile water. The wedding also had to take place on a specific strip of water," advised John. Nine people were on board for the last wedding. The only mishap was when a guest's hat blew over the side into the loch and had to be retrieved by a boat hook. Romance was certainly in the air when Lizbeth and David posed for official photographs at the bow of the boat in a scene straight out of the movie blockbuster, Titanic. "To have Ben Nevis and the rest of the mountains as a backdrop for the wedding was outstanding," added John.

Charity Event

For the fifth year running employees at Glen Ord Distillery Visitor Centre have raised a bucketful of cash for local charities. Their charity evening is now firmly fixed as an event on the distillery calendar and attracts around 300 local people as well as a few visitors to the area. They raised the massive sum of 1,400 this year which went to Macmillan Nurses and the Highland Hospice.

Political Roundup

Dedicated Gaelic Channel Call

Gaelic broadcasting and the language have reached a crucial crossroads, it was claimed recently. Matt Maciver, chairman of the Gaelic Broadcasting Committee, made the claim when he presented their annual report. He said it was hoped that the Government would accept the argument that Gaels deserve a much better service than they at present receive.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Sunny spells, NW cloudy later. A few light showers. Winds light/mod SW'ly. Temperature 13c to 17c.
Saturday Night
Clear spells then misty, fog patches. NW cloudy. Winds light/mod S-SW'ly. Temperature 6c to 10c.
Cloudy with rain in W, spreading E after early bright spells there die out. Winds SW'ly.
The winds will become stronger with rain spreading from west to east followed by more showery weather.

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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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