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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 28th October 2000
Issue No 203

Fury at Another Scottish Mountain Sale

The sale of one of Scotland's most outstanding mountains was condemned by leading conservationists.

The John Muir Trust reacted with fury after An Teallach and its surrounding estate was snapped up by a mystery private buyer for 1.7 million recently. And the National Trust for Scotland expressed concern at the sale of one of the country's best loved mountains. The Wester Ross landmark, 3484ft at its highest point, is a favourite with climbers and walkers. The John Muir Trust had expressed an interest in buying the mountain. Trust spokesman Nigel Hawkins said the sale came at a bad time while it was still trying to raise the 450,000 price for Ben Nevis. The conservation group recently bought Scotland's highest mountain, saving it from falling into private hands after a massive campaign. The trust's campaign to raise the funds for purchase and management of Ben Nevis has raised close to 400,000. The National Trust said they hoped An Teallach would be in the hands of someone who understood the conservation needs and national heritage of Scotland. They said they would be raising their concerns with the new owner of the Eilean Darach Estate as managers of the neighbouring Dundonell Estate. The 6,000 acre Eilean Darach Estate includes six miles of the River Gruinard, considered excellent for salmon and sea trout, as well as most of An Teallach. The estate, which it was hoped would fetch more than the 1.7 million, had been in the same family for more than 70 years but had been run by a trust recently.

2,000 Year Old House

An ancient house discovered on a tiny Scottish island, which was evacuated 70 years ago, is more than 2,000 years old. The 5ft high structure was found on St Kilda, west of the Outer Hebrides, by a team of archaeologists from Glasgow University and is believed to have been built in 300BC. The well preserved remains were found this summer by volunteer members of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) St Kilda Work Parties under guidance of archaeologists from Glasgow University. The team were surprised to find Iron Age pottery dated to around 300BC, as previous excavations on the island mostly dated from the last 200 years. Sites of this period were not unusual on the main Western Isles, but this was the first domestic building of this date to be found on Hirta, the main island of the St Kilda group. Project director Bob Will of Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (Guard) said: "This is by far the largest of Iron Age finds to have been discovered on St Kilda, and associated stone tools and environmental samples promise to enhance greatly our understanding of the lives, diet and technology of the prehistoric people who inhabited the islands."

Battle of the Bands

Arbroath hosted 120 pipe bands in the Scottish Pipe Band Championships recently. Bands from throughout Scotland and Northern Ireland arrived to take part. The event was the last in a series of five championships which culminated in Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band being declared Champion of Champions 2000, with Field Marshal Montgomery from Northern Ireland taking the title for the Drum Corps. "It is worked out on a league basis," said George Ussher, vice chairman of the association. Mr Ussher added: "Piping is more popular than ever. At Portrush in the first week of August we had 20,000 spectators. And 230 bands took part in the World Championship in Glasgow." Rain in the morning didn't dampen the pipers' spirits. Niall Mushet, of Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary Pipe Band said: "We have had a mixture of weather over the five major championships this year, but we accept that. The weather does affect the tuning of the pipes, heat makes them sharp and cold makes them flat." John Noble, current Scottish, British, European and World Champion Drum Major, who went on to win the Champion of Champions, said: "I had to practice with the mace for an hour to get used to the wind. You have to throw it into the wind so it will come back." The massed bands paid homage to one of Arbroath's best loved sons, the late Andy Stewart. They played Green Hills of Tyrol, the inspiration for Andy's own composition, A Scottish Soldier.

Highland Battle of Britain Ace Dies

A Highland Battle of Britain ace and cousin of late war hero the 15th Lord Lovat has died aged 83. Beauly born Wing Commander Michael Constable Maxwell, who shot down at least six German aircraft and won the Distinguished Service Order and Distinguished Flying Cross, was almost as highly decorated as his famous kinsman. Deeply religious throughout his life, he always prayed before opening fire on his victims, and later had mass said for those he had killed. The wing commander was the seventh son and youngest of 13 children of Bernard Constable Maxwell, fourth son of Lord Herries, and Alice, second daughter of the 13th Lord Lovat. During the Battle of Britain the wing commander flew Hurricane fighters, claiming three confirmed kills. He was shot down four times before and during the battle, on the first occasion by a "friendly" Belgian anti aircraft battery. On that occasion he escaped to England from Ostend before Belgium collapsed, on a trawler skippered by Lord Lovat's former head forester.

Isles Strengthen Irish Link

The historic relationship between Western Isles Council and two Irish authorities was formalised in a ceremony recently. The link between the council and Clare County Council and Newry and Murne District Council took place at a double twinning ceremony in Stornoway Town Hall. It is anticipated the arrangement will result in the development of cultural, social and economic links. The councils have exchanged informal visits over the past 10 years, and to mark the occasion the Union Flag and the Irish tricolour flew at the council's Stornoway headquarters. Reacting to the importance of the Scotto-Irish concorde, Neil Galbraith, the council's acting chief executive said: "The last time there was this kind of gathering with the Scots and the Irish was when they were witnessing the signing of the American Declaration of Independence. "That was a unique occasion and I hope that the present ceremony will be similar. Twinning between towns is quite common, but this is unique because it is a twinning arrangement of regions with regions." Councillor Sean Hillery, chairman of Clare County Council, who headed the Irish delegation, said he looked forward to the twinning arrangement being a useful and beneficial relationship between their respective councils. He said: "I look forward to welcoming representatives from the Western Isles to County Clare in November for our tourism festival."

Braveheart on Canvas

The rugged terrain of Lochaber has been the backdrop for many blockbusting movies from Braveheart and Highlander to Rob Roy. Stars like Mel Gibson and Sean Connery have spent time in the area during filming, and a Glencoe woman is set on capturing them all in portrait form. Sandra Watson, who runs Website Scotland with husband Tim, made a New Year's resolution to paint Mel Gibson as he appeared in Braveheart. The portrait of Mel as William Wallace has already attracted a great deal of interest. Sandra said: "I loved the film and I love the character in some actor's faces." An American has offered 2,000 for the painting, but Sandra is undecided whether to sell. She hopes to paint a series of portraits of stars who have filmed in Lochaber such as Liam Neeson, Sean Connery, Christopher Lambert and other stars of Braveheart.

Medieval Industrial Estate

The Longman estate in Inverness was far from being the first industrial area in the Highlands, archaeologists digging at Urquhart Castle have discovered. A team from Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (GUARD) has been monitoring work being carried out at the castle to create a new car park and visitor centre and recording any finds. Discoveries include the remains of a medieval industrial site and a possible Bronze Age sauna, similar to the one uncovered at Beechwood Business Park in Inverness last year, which was the first of its kind found in the Highlands. Iain Banks of GUARD said that the success of the excavations boded well for the team's return to the castle in the next couple of months. "Our job is basically seeing if any more turns up and obviously from what happened last time there's a good chance of something interesting turning up again," he said. Mr Banks believes the industrial site uncovered earlier this year was used for blacksmithing or leather working, activities likely to be carried out beyond the castle walls for very good reasons. "These are all things that are too noisy, dirty or smelly to be carried on inside the castle," He explained. Radio carbon dating has yet to be completed, but early indications are that the industrial site and a large timber building measuring 20 metres long by five metres wide, date from the final quarter of the 15th century.

Charity Event

Spritely 76 year old Alistair Philip of Inversanda in Lochaber has completed some epic journeys over the last three years to raise money for the Ardgour Church Fabric Fund and the Belford Hospital. Recently he set off on one of the most challenging yet. Leaving Fort William by bike, he elected to swim across the treacherous waters of Corran to Ardgour and that was just the start. He crossed three lochans and had a finishing swim across Loch Sunart to end up at Strontian Church 12 hours after the start. To date his outings have raised nearly 5500 for worthy causes.

Political Roundup

Higher Taxes

New SNP leader John Swinney has confirmed independence for Scotland would mean higher taxes. In his first major policy speech to an invited audience of SNP party workers and MSPs, he said he had a vision for Scotland where everyone had the opportunity to get on in the world. But he admitted: "It is a Scotland paid for by fair taxation - direct taxation in preference to indirect taxation."

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Mainly dry/bright a.m. Rain spreading p.m. Winds mod S then strong SE. Temperature 10c to 13c.
Saturday Night
Rain, heavy for a time. Showers then more rain in the W. Winds strong SE then SW. Temperature 5c to 9c.
Patchy rain and drizzle for a time. A few bright spells at first. Windy. Heavier rain moving in later.
Unsettled with strong winds. Frequent showers, becoming heavier later. Wintry in N later.


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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