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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

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Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 26th October 2002
Issue No 303

Laid to Rest with His Ancestors

The remains of a west Highland man were brought home from the Far East - 52 years after he was assassinated by a knifeman.

The family of Duncan George Stewart took the unusual step of exhuming his remains for reburial in Argyll after learning that his resting place in Bidabari cemetery, Singapore, is to be redeveloped for housing. Mr Stewart, governor of Sarawak and commander in chief of its armed forces, had been in his new post just 16 days when he was attacked. He was knifed while carrying out his inaugural inspection of troops at Sibu. Mr Stewart of Achara, near Duror, died in a Singapore hospital two days later on December 10, 1949. As was normal in those days for a death so far away from home, he was buried abroad after a funeral service with full military honours at St Andrews Cathedral in Singapore. Mr Stewart's children took the unusual decision to have his remains exhumed after hearing that the cemetery was to be redeveloped for housing and any remains cremated. His eldest daughter, Kirsteen Hardie, flew out recently to Singapore to witness the exhumation. Her father's remains were flown back to Britain for reburial alongside his own parents, in Duror cemetery. The poignant service took place in the presence of Mrs Hardie and his other children, Catriona Stewart and David Stewart. The late Mr Stewart's grandchildren and other relatives also attended the service, which was conducted by the Rev Stuart Coates, of Doune, Stirling. David Stewart, who lives at Fasnacloich Argyll, said: "A notice appeared in the Times a year ago saying if anyone had any friends buried in the Bidabari cemetery to get in touch." The advert stated that, because the cemetery was to be redeveloped for housing, all remains would be cremated unless the next of kin wished to make other arrangements. Mr Stewart said: "They would have cremated the remains and put the ashes in some sort of garden of remembrance. But there was something unsatisfactory about having been in a Christian burial ground, to then be on the edge of a housing estate. "We thought that rather than being cremated, and left like that, we would repatriate his body and bury him. He is buried beside his own mother and father and other relations."

Playing Host to International Friends

A dozen Inverness Scouts recently returned from an exciting camping adventure with an international flavour. The teenagers were selected to join 1100 Scouts from Scotland and all over the world for the 28th Scottish International Patrol Jamborette at Blair Atholl in the Highlands. New friendships were formed when the Inverness lads were put into teams with Scouts from different countries before the fun began. They all enjoyed 12 days of water games, arts and crafts, cooking, hikes and a visit to Blair Castle. They held a special country fair where each Scout brought something from their own country, such as a game or traditional food, to show to the others. At the end of the fair all the Scouts got together for a sing song around the camp fire. At the end of the camping trip each Scottish Scout provided a weekend of home hospitality to a new foreign. Boys and girls from Hong Kong, Alaska, New York and Russia all enjoyed a weekend of entertainment in Inverness whilst staying at the homes of their Scottish friends.

Life and Work of Hugh Miller

Cromarty Camera Club is honouring the memory of the town's most famous son, Hugh Miller, with an exhibition of prints. For the stonemason, journalist and geologist's bicentenary year club members have created images which express Hugh Miller's sense of awe over the history of the planet, his delight in nature in all its forms, as well as his toils in stone, which affected his health so early in life. Numerous locations and buildings with strong Miller association have been recorded along with fossils, legends, magic remedies, fantastic rock shapes, kirkyards, tombstones and Miller's own image - all given new and imaginative portrayals, which have already fascinated visitors from as far afield as Western Australia, the Netherlands, France and Spain. Club chairman Don Toonen said the photographers hoped they had presented their work in a manner which would meet with Miller's approval.

Hidden Treasure

Hidden booty found at a church charity sale has been sold at auction for a world record price. And the starving people of Africa will reap the benefit. The secret geme - a 140 year old tattered catalogue - was found at the back of an old stamp album by Edinburgh businessman David Jefferies. David made the discovery at a book sale held by the Parish Church if St Andrew and St George in Edinburgh to raise funds for Christian Aid. As a stamp historian, he was asked by the organisers to check the donated books and albums for overlooked treasures. He came across a battered old album with a 50p price tag and flicked through to ensure there were no Penny Blacks. He was about to close the last page when he discovered a dog eared leaflet, hidden inside the back cover. For a second he stood and stared before picking up the 48 page Stamp Collectors Guide and gently turning the pages. "The moment I saw it, my heart missed a beat," says David. "I realised right away it was a find. The leaflet was produced by stamp collector Frederick Booty in 1862 and is one of only two know examples." The 50p lot was withdrawn from the sale and David contacted one of the leading philatelic auction houses, Cavendish at Derby. The company's experts confirmed that after 140 years David had uncovered the world's first illustrated stamp catalogue. Only one other copy is known to exist and is kept in the British Library in London. Cavendish managing director Ken Baker, said: "The Guide is remarkable because it was the first of its kind ever produced. Even more remarkable is that the copy in the British Library is minus the front title page. The copy David has found is complete." An overseas buyer paid 2600 - a world record for a stamp catalogue.

Boost for Gaelic Teaching

Tourism Minister Mike Watson announced a 450,000 funding boost for the teaching of Gaelic as he recently opened the 99th Royal National Mod in Largs. He pledged the cash for Gaelic teacher training and education in the Western Isles and Gaelic teaching materials. The funding will go to the newly established Bord Gaidhlig an h-Alba. The minister said: "The profile of Gaelic in Scotland has been raised considerably in the past year by the work of the ministerial advisory group on Gaelic. I am convinced these measures, together with other Executive initiatives already under way, will contribute to our overall aim of securing the future of Gaelic language and culture." UK Energy Minister Brian Wilson also spoke of the need for a clear and unambiguous commitment to the language by the Scottish Parliament. Hundreds of visitors from as far afield as North America, the Republic of Ireland and Australia flocked to the week-long Mod in the Ayrshire town. A spokesman for An Comunn Gaidhealach said: "The nation is greatly enriched by Gaelic culture and would be diminished if Gaelic were to die."

Back After 20 Years

A 17th century chalice, a valuable piece of the ecclesiastical history of Fort William, has come home after an absence of 20 years. The chalice, of Dutch origin, was originally used in 1690 to give communion to the English soldiers who garrisoned the old fort of Fort William, which was built in that year. The connection with Holland was that King William of Orange was on the British throne and a decree by the Protectorate Government had caused the massive fort to be built and named after the king. Later, the registers of 1753 of the Rosse Chapel, in the little town alongside the fort, records the use of the chalice. It was last used, on the same site, in the present day St Andrew's Episcopal Church in the 1970s. Then, the late Bishop George KB Henderson of Argyll and the Isles, arranged for it to be loaned to York Minster. "Some of my congregation were worried this valuable item of our church's heritage might be forgotten about and we felt it was time the chalice came back," said the minister, Rev Alexander Guinness. "But, due to insurance conditions, the authorities at the Minster were reluctant to return the chalice by post or courier, so I had to make the journey to York to collect it." Because of its size, it is likely the chalice will be brought out for communion only at major festivals at St Andrew's.

Whisky Galore

A holiday in a distillery - isn't that every Scotsman's dream? It may soon become reality if the spirited plan of the new owner of Scotland's smallest distillery, Andrew Symington, comes to pass. Andrew has taken over the Edradour Distillery at Pitlochry, and is determined to offer tourists the ultimate whisky galore holiday. A head of the Edinburgh based Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Company, he paid 5.4 million for the tiny distillery that attracts 100,000 visitors a year. And he says: "There is a large empty warehouse at the back which we hope to turn into a specialised tasting facility with accommodation. "It would enable whisky lovers from all around the world to stay right at the heart of the distillery. "There are thousands of people, particularly the malt whisky connoisseurs, who would love to spend a lot more time in a distillery. "We are open all year round and attract visitors every day from nine in the morning till five in the evening. But I believe there is room between five and nine in the evening to accommodate connoisseurs. "Edradour was originally a farm with a still and is very small as distilleries go, so we employ only 19 people. "Sixteen of them deal with the tourists so there would be scope for holidaymakers to help make the whisky. And after the regular tourists have gone, they could enjoy tasting the fruits of their labours."

Charity Event

Cyclists were invited recently to get on their bikes to help raise money for the Highland Hospice. The charity fund raising cycling event started at Culbokie Hall. The 30 mile route around the Black Isle took in Cromarty, Killen and back to Culbokie. For the not so fit there was a shorter 15 mile route.

Political Roundup

MPs Clashed Over Questions League Table

A league table of Parliamentary Question askers was branded irrelevant by local MP David Stewart, even though it shows him to be one of his party's most active inquisitors. The table, compiled by the SNP from official House of Commons figures, lists 56 Scottish MPs, excluding those who hold ministerial and speaker posts, according to the number of questions raised at Westminster. Former SNP party leader Alex Salmond, who is seventh on the list, claims the list demonstrates SNP MPs are, on average, seven times as active as their Labour counterparts.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Showers, mainly in N & W, wintry on hills. Winds strong W/NW'ly. Temperature 6c to 11c.
Saturday Night
A few showers in the N, wintry on hills. Clear spells with frost later. Winds light W/NW'ly. Temperature -1c to 4c.
Sunday
Showery weather is likely to persist through the day. There will be a lot of cloud but also sunny spells.
Monday
NW'ly winds will strengthen and bring blustery showers, turning wintry later.


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Caledonia



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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