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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 14th October 2000
Issue No 201

Scotland Has Lost Her First Minister.

On Thursday morning, the nation held it's breath awaiting to hear the fate of one of our great leaders. Our worst fears were realised that our First Minister was dead

Donald Dewar devoted his life to helping others and made sure he would keep helping in death. Scotland's First Minister died on Thurday from a brain haemorrhage aged 63 having left orders that his organs be used for transplant. It was a typical kindness from a selfless man. He was pronounced dead at 12.18pm in the brain unit of Edinburgh's Western General Hospital, where he was taken on Tuesday evening after falling ill at work. Mr Dewar died almost exactly 24 hours after the fall outside his official residence that is thought to have triggered the bleeding in his brain. Flags across Britain are flying at half mast out of deep respect for Scotland's First Minister. Prime Minister Tony Blair ordered the flag at 10 Downing Street lowered shortly after hearing the news of his friend's death. Flags at Whitehall and Westminster were also lowered, as was the national flag at Wednesdays World Cup qualifier in Croatia, where the Scotland squad wore black armbands. The two teams also observed a minute's silence before the kick off. Scotland's Premier League teams will all observe a respectful minute's silence at games this weekend. The Scottish Rugby Union has called for all club sides to follow suit and is flying the national flag at half mast at Murrayfield. In Edinburgh, all Union Flags and Saltires at Parliament sites were lowered and will remain at half mast until Mr Dewar is buried. With the passing of Donald Dewar an era has ended but he has left a lasting mark on Scotland - a mark for the better.

Saying "I Do" on a Scottish Island

A romantic dream to be married on the island of her ancestors was realised recently when Fort William primary school teacher Eilidh MacLeod sailed along with her 100 guests to the island of Canna, most westerly of the Inner Hebridean Small Isles. Her marriage to Geoff Mackenzie Soe-Paing, a chef at Fort William's diving training centre., whose father was Burmese, was the first wedding on Canna for almost 30 years - and all 13 islanders were invited. Special permission was obtained to hold the Roman Catholic ceremony in St Columba's, the small renovated Church of Scotland a few yards from the seashore. Said islander Winnie MacKinnon a few hours before the wedding, "The reception will be more of a barn dance because the island's farm barn is the only place big enough to hold the reception."

Father Ted in Fort Augustus

When a parishioner gave Fr Paul Bonicci a collie dog named Ted as a gift, neither of them realised the impact the year old pet would have on the congregations of Fort Augustus and Stratherrick RC Churches. For, immediately, the lovable cross collie became known affectionately, as "Father Ted". And of course, the presence of "Fr Ted" in company with Fr Paul has given rise to local catchphrases like "Paws for thought" and "Paws for prayer". Fr Paul had been on the lookout for a suitable house dog, and "Fr Ted", whose owners had initially intended that he should be a sheepdog, is now a great favourite with the parish priest's own flock. "The congregation members have now started bringing in tins of dog food and packets of dog biscuits on Sundays", laughs the genial Maltese priest. "It's like having a harvest thanksgiving every weekend."

Labour of Love to Mark Pict Site

The site of a famous Pictish monolith has been marked with the erection of a replacement after an absence of generations. Remnants of the original 1,200 year old Hilton of Cadboll Stone now form the centrepiece of a display of Pictish carvings at the new National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. The new 13ft high, seven tonne stone has been quietly placed on the old site at Hilton of Caboll Chapel. The sculptor who carved the intricate Pictish designs on the front of the stone, Barry Grove, from Portmahomack, Ross-shire, said the work had taken him 14 months. The carvings include a hunting scene, 48 patterned panels and a scroll design featuring winged dragons round the outside. "It's not so much a replica as a representation of the real stone," he insisted. "One third of the original is missing and I reckon 30-40% of the detail is either missing, water worn or damaged. Much of what I've done has of necessity had to be educated guesswork, with the help of medieval art expert Dr Isobel Henderson. "This is the largest relief carving to be done in Scotland in the past 1,200 years, and my feeling is very much a sense of achievement together with one of relief that it's in place without damage." Mr Grove hopes money will be forthcoming to allow him to carve the back of the stone. The back of the original was broken off in the 17th century to provide a grave slab for local dignitary Alexander Duff and his three wives. This piece is also in the Museum of Scotland.

Duchess Loves Scotland

The Duchess of York spoke recently of her love of Scotland but scotched reports she was romantically linked with the dashing Italian Count who has been her close companion for three years. Speaking from her Highland holiday hideaway deep in Inverness-shire, the Duchess said: "They all try to make it out to be a blossoming romance but it is nothing like that. We are very good friends and enjoy each other's company." The Duchess and Count Gaddo Della Gherardesca, along with a group of his Italian friends, had spent a week at remote Drynachan Lodge on the 25,000 acre estate of the Earl and Countess of Cawdor. The Duchess said the Count had been separated from his wife for eight years but still maintained contact with her. She also revealed that during the week she had been driven miles into the hills and dropped off alone to make her own way back to the lodge along moorland trails. "Some of the walks have taken me three hours," she said. "It is just so wonderful to have the feeling of freedom, the wind in your hair and not another soul around for miles. There is nothing like it for recharging your batteries. "That is why I love Scotland and the Highlands especially."

Billie Heads for the Glens

Teen idol Billie Piper is the latest in a long line of stars to be filmed on location among the scenic splendour of Glen Nevis and the Road to the Isles. Billie, who celebrated her 18th birthday recently, was making the video for the title track of her new album, Walk in Life, in Lochaber. In Glen Nevis - focal point six years ago for movie blockbusters, Rob Roy and Braveheart - Billie was filmed near the spectacular Lower Falls of the River Nevis and then on horseback in the foothills of Ben Nevis. Then she and the camera crew moved on to Morar, for shots against the backcloth of the famed Silver Sands which featured throughout much of the Burt Lancaster film, Local Hero. Another of the scenes in the video was filmed at a mountain bothy near Glenfinnan. Billie was then taken by helicopter to feature in a compilation of aerial footage over Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct and Bonnie Prince Charlies Monument.

World's Rarest Whisky for Sale

Whisky connoisseurs everywhere are rubbing their hands with glee as the world's rarest single malt comes out of its casks for the first time. But if you fancy a taste of it be prepared to dig deep. Because the vintage whisky, produced at the Ladyburn Distillery in Ayrshire, will sell for a whopping 400 a bottle. The Ladyburn, owned by William Grant & Sons, is known as Scotland's hidden distillery because very few people, with the exception of whisky experts, knew it existed. It was built in 1966 but production stopped in 1975. David Hume of William Grant & sons said: "It was hidden from the public's view and never publicised. "The vast majority of whisky produced there was sent for blending with other brands. Very few casks of Ladyburn single malt were actually made and it is without a doubt the world's rarest whisky." Just 250 cases - or 3000 bottles - of the 1973 malt are currently being bottled at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Speyside. Mr Hume added: "We do have a very limited quantity from other vintage years but this one is the best we have. "Collectors have been waiting for its release for many years and we have people waiting for bottles." The Ladyburn will only be available to buy at a handful of specialist shops around the country.

Charity Event

Following on from the success of opening their gardens to the public for a weekend, green fingered Fortrose and Rosemarkie residents handed over a cheque for 1650 to the Black Isle Swimming Pool Fund.

Political Roundup

Funding Programme a "Fig Leaf" say Nationalists

Government cash for the new liquefied petroleum gas programme in the Highlands was dismissed as a "fig leaf" by the SNP recently as it continued to campaign against the high price of petrol in the North.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Showers increasing in the W. Patchy rain dying in the E. Winds mod/fresh SW. Temperature 11c to 15c.
Saturday Night
Showers then rain in the W. E mainly dry/becoming cloudy. Winds mod/strong SW. Temperature 5c to 8c.
Mostly cloudy with brighter spells. Periods of increasingly persistent rain, some heavy. Windy.
A cloudy day with periods of persistent rain, heavy at times. Clearer/showery overnight.


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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