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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

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Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 4th November 2000
Issue No 204

Battle Still on For Glencoe

National Trust for Scotland officials are facing a backlash from clansmen worldwide over the proposals for a visitor centre in Glencoe.

Members of MacDonald clan societies in America, Canada, New Zealand, South America, China and India have joined the acrimonious, ongoing war of words, accusing the charity of desecration and hypocrisy. They claim the new centre at Inverigan will be on the site where it is believed the first killings in the infamous 1692 Massacre of Glencoe took place. "What the trust is doing at Inverigan is the moral equivalent of digging up graves at Flanders or Arlington and putting a Burger King on top of them," claims a statement being circulated among worldwide clansmen. But the trust says that despite exhaustive research, archaeologists had failed to find evidence of anything at the site, currently used for camping, and that there remains considerable doubt over exactly where MacDonalds were killed. "We totally refute claims that the trust is desecrating this site," said a spokesman. "This is a programme of misinformation by well educated people which is to be regretted." Despite the continuing controversy, the trust is pressing ahead with its plans and tenders for the first phase of the development are currently undergoing scrutiny. Some members of the business community have already petitioned the Scottish Executive calling for an investigation into the project and the trust's future plans for the glen. They claim they were misled by the trust over the size of retail and catering facilities at the centre, which will have an adverse effect on their own businesses. The Executive's petitions committee has agreed to look into the complaints, and is expected to make a decision soon on whether to visit Glencoe to take evidence. In a statement to clansmen from the Glencoe Action Group it is claimed: "The trust is desecrating Inverigan in an act of egregious hypocrisy. Whether this defilement is through stolidity or cupidity matters not, it must be halted. "Glencoe rings with the same mixture of reverence and infamy that resides in the Alamo and Pearl Harbour and is of special importance to those of us who share Scotland's heritage." Alistair MacDonald, a member of the action group, questions why the "ill-conceived" project, for which there had been no proper consultation, was still going ahead in the face of strong local and worldwide objections. "Scotland is full of sites where battles were fought in years gone by but a place like Inverigan, where a vicious massacre took place, is very rare. It should be carefully restored and left alone." Opponents say they now want the Executive to look at the role and remit of Scottish Natural Heritage and Historic Scotland, which they claim has neglected the site. Mr MacDonald added: "To treat Inverigan as insignificant is deeply offensive, not just to a MacDonald but to anyone interested in Scottish history."
N.B. Thirty eight MacDonalds were killed, many in their sleep, in the massacre. The pretext was the clan's failure to swear allegiance to the Crown after the first Jacobite Rebellion.

Pipe Band Reunion.

A unique gathering of former Inverness pipe band players, now living abroad, has taken place in the Highlands. The assembly was held recently in Inverness at the Royal British Legion Club. The event was attended by Gillian and Willie MacKenzie who renewed friendships with people whom they had not seen in 35 years. They emigrated to New Orleans in 1978 to teach the Pipes and Drums of New Orleans. Mrs MacKenzie joined the Calumdon Girls Pipe Band at the age of 12, while her husband was initially in the Inverness Cadet Band. The couple, who now live in San Angelo, Texas, and are taking their first holiday in almost 10 years to attend the reunion of former members of bands, which include Inverness British Legion, Dingwall British Legion, the Calumdon Girls Pipe Band and the Cadets. Other emigrants to attend the reunion included John Mackenzie from New South Wales, Australia, Kenneth Bain from Canada, and Alex MacGillivray who now hails from California.

Another Iron Age Link Found

A Skye community is delving deep into its past following the discovery of an underground building in the Trotternish area, thought to date back to the Iron Age. The underground structure, known as a souterrain, was discovered at Kilvaxter when one of the lintel roofing stones collapsed leaving a hole in the ground.This revealed a hidden, stone lined passageway of the sort that was built between the 4th century BC and the 3rd century AD. Although over 20 souterrains have previously been discovered on Skye this particular one will be the only one to be fully excavated. With help from a qualified archaeologist, the local community are excavating the site themselves with the intention of putting the souterrain on display to the public, provising the area with a special tourist attraction. It is hoped to provide a visitor car park and an interpretation panel informing visitors about life in the area during the Iron Age and the cultural traditions of Trotternish in general.

Mural Milestone

A millennium mural was unveiled recently at Inverness's oldest school. Teachers and most of the 800 pupils at Inverness Royal Academy examined the work to see exactly where their contribution to the 10ft x 8ft stone mural, made with 320 glazed tiles, was. The mural was almost a year in the making and is situated outside the school, which was founded in 1792. It depicts a tree of learning, with most pupils contributing a leaf, and the Cross of Christ, incorporating small woodland animals and even the ancient artefacts found when the school was rebuilt in 1975. It is bordered with a celtic knot-work pattern. School rector, John Considine, said: "The projects main purpose was to involve lots of people and to have something tangible to show for the millennium, and I think the result is a very high quality piece of art." The idea of the mural came to the school's principal head of art, David Ewan, last autumn, and a competition was held among pupils to find the best design. The winner, 14 year old Gillian Treasurer, said she was proud of her design and saw it as a great achievement. She added: "Everyone has congratulated me and said that it's really nice." Gillian's art work was adapted by Dingwall ceramic artist, Colin MacKenzie, who made tiles which form the background to the tree emblazoned with the school's 200 year old badge. Over the following months, hundreds of pupils and staff made leaves or other parts of the tree out of clay which they fired and glazed.

A Sting in the Tail

A beer is earning a name for having a special bite of its own after going on sale at a Highland inn. For the frothing brew has been named after the dreaded Highland midge, the tiny flying insect that also likes a drink or two, usually of human blood. Midge Ale has been turned out by Isle of Skye Brewery exclusively for the Clachnaharry Inn, a historic former staging post on the outskirts of Inverness. David Irvine, mine host there for almost seven years said: "Everyone who is out and about in the Highlands is always talking about the midges, local and tourist alike, and I thought it would be a good name for a beer. "It is a good talking point and it gives everyone a bit of a laugh." The clients at the inn, many of them keen anglers, certainly gave Mr Irvine a laugh the day he brought in the first cask of Midge Ale. For as a prank regulars John Christie, Angie Hamilton and some of their friends arrived in the bar wearing the special netted hoods now commonly used by anglers and countryside workers to foil the flying fiends. Mr Irvine said: "The ale is 4.3% in strength so it does have a good bite to live up to its name. But will it keep the midges off if you drin it? "I am not sure, but I think a few pints could help you forget about the itching midge bites. "We sold over 80 pints within hours of getting it into the cellar."

Twice Married

Stuart Nicolson and Tanya Stewart tied the know in the West Highlands recently - for the second time in two days. Stuart and Tanya were married in Glencoe in an ancient Celtic style open air ceremony, having been legally wed the day before in Fort William Registry Office. The couple have a general belief of being "at one with nature", and found the Celts and their customs epitomised this. Thus, they made a Celtic Circle in Glencoe, with family and friends. The ceremony, which involved the couple walking round the inside of the circle, saw them stop at the four points of the compass. These were personified by the best man, bridesmaid and two friends. Stuart, from Tarbert, Argyll and Tanya, from Onich, near Fort William, were guided through the nuptials by Gina Placey, who acted as priestess for the occasion. Said Tanya: "The civil ceremony catered for the legal side of our marriage contract. But our Celtic service was, for us, the icing on the cake."

Crying Out for a Town

Scotland's only town crier is crying out for a chance to shine - because he doesn't have a town. John Smith is anxious to take part in next year's Town Crying World Championships in England. But he must be affiliated to a Scottish town or city by December. John, who lives in Dalkeith, Midlothian, said: "There will be 40 town criers taking part in the world championships but only 15 will be from the UK. "I'm the only town crier in Scotland, so that makes it more important that I get somewhere to represent and enter it. "In return, I would help to raise the profile of the area by attending public events and functions and putting on a show. "Town criers are very popular, especially with tourists, so I could even helps to attract more people to the area." John added: "The organisers of the world championships have accepted my entry but with the condition that I must be representing a Scottish town or city. "The championships are next April, but final entries must be in by December, so I've only got a month to find somewhere." John became interested in town crying a year ago when he came across the Internet website for the Loyal Company of Town Criers. He said: "I led 10,000 pipers along Princes Street in Edinburgh earlier this year for Marie Curie Cancer Care. My job was to tell the public what it was all about and encourage them to donate cash and I think it worked because we raised a lot of money."

Charity Event

Mike Slingby, Vauxhall Masterhire's head of customer service, braved the waters of Loch Ness recently to raise money for charity. Mike swam the width of the Loch, which is one and a quarter miles, in just 52 minutes from the east bank to the Clansman Hotel on the edge of Drumnadrochit and raised 5,000 for the Highland Hospice in Inverness and research into Group B Streptococcus.

Political Roundup

Scots Law

The Law Society of Scotland has backed a complaint against the telephone directory Yellow Pages. The company insists all their customers based in Scotland must use English Law in any dispute which occurs, such as an error which appears in the directory. Fergus Ewing, Scottish shadow minister for small businesses, complained to Yellow Pages after representations from a constituent. He has now won the backing of the Law Society for Scotland which has urged the company to reconsider its policy to allow businesses access to Scots Law. Mr Ewing, SNP MSP for Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber, said: "If all companies acted like Yellow Pages and were to spurn Scots Law in this way, our legal system would wither and die because of the lack of development."

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Showers, especially in the N and W. Sunny intervals especially in the SE. Winds mod/fresh W-NW. Temperature 8c to 10c.
Saturday Night
A few showers, mainly near the coast. Frosty inland. Winds light/mod W-NW. Temperature -2c to 4c.
Mainly dry in NW with some sun. Cloudier with rain in the SW. Becoming cloudy in the E with rain from the North Sea.
Cold and unsettled with gale force winds, persistent rain and blustery showers. Snow over the mountains.


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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