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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

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Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 16th November 2002
Issue No 306

Clan Adopts Democratic Rule for New Chief

Members of the MacAulay Clan have established a democratic process for the election of their chief, which could be a blueprint for other disbanded clans.

The momentous decision was taken after a lively debate on the subject at the recent gathering of the MacAulay Clan at the Tulloch Castle Hotel in Dingwall. Clan secretary Hector MacAulay said the clan had disintegrated more than 200 years ago and many years of research had failed to trace the bloodline of its former chiefs. The clan decided the way forward was to select a new chief and create a new bloodline. It was decided that the clan's commander, Iain MacMillan MacAulay, who is in his early 80s, should take on the role. But Lord Lyon, Robin Blair, rejected his appointment to the chiefship. Hector MacAulay said: "This was despite the fact that he had been commander for five years and the worldwide clan supported him 100%." However, the Lord Lyon ruled that a clan commander with no proven blood link to a past chief must serve in that appointment for 10 years before being proposed for chiefship. The clan had been keen to unite the MacAulay clans of Lewis, Lochbroom and Ardencaple, near Helensburgh, but the Lord Lyon's ruling claimed that to recognise a chief of the Ardencaple MacAulays as clan chief would disenfranchise many members who originated from other branches. Disappointed by this ruling, clan members decided to look for another way forward and they considered a resolution to confirm Iain MacMillan MacAulay as clan chief and put in place a democratic process whereby the chief would be elected by all clan members for a period of five years. This was passed by members and Iain Macmillan MacAulay will be their chief for the next four years because he was elected last year. There will then be an election if anyone wishes to stand against him. If not, he will be automatically re-elected. The resolution also said the chief should be resident in Scotland, but this was not agreed upon. Hector MacAulay said that although clan members overseas were keen that the clan should have its roots in Scotland, with a chief resident in the country, there was a strong feeling that there were clan members in other parts of the world who would make very good chiefs. A further resolution, put forward by the clan association in Australia, was to maintain the status quo and wait another five years for the Lord Lyon's approval of Iain MacMillan MacAulay, of Drumbeg, as chief. Hector MacAulay said this resolution had been decisively defeated. He said their situation had been closely watched by a number of other disbanded clans which are beginning to resurrect themselves. "There is a lot of interest from abroad in resurrecting these clans and they don't know how to elect a chief, so we are trying to lead the way. "This is probably the first time that a clan has set up a democratic process to elect its chief in this way and it could be the way forward for other clans," he said.

Clan Museum Upgrade

New sections of the Clan Macpherson Museum at Newtonmore were opened recently as part of the building's 50th anniversary celebrations. In preparation for the Golden Jubilee, the 2K2 Project was launched in 1999. Through the generosity of the worldwide membership of the Clan Macpherson Association and assistance from Moray Badenoch and Strathspey Enterprise and the AIS Charitable Trust, 32,000 was raised. Clan chief Sir William Macpherson of Cluny, officially opened the Helen MacPherson Thompson Reference Library and the Lillian McPherson Rouse Archive Centre. A plaque with the names of 31 new Clan Guardians was unveiled near the museum. In addition, he opened wrought iron gates in the front garden of the museum. These were made and presented by John Mcpherson of Montrose in memory of his late aunt, Janet Macpherson Guy of Bridge of Weir. Ewen MacPherson, convener of the Clan Macpherson Museum Trust, said: "We are delighted with the new developments at the museum. They should make it an even bigger attraction." Opened in 1952, it was the first Clan Museum in Scotland and set an example for other clans to follow.

Family Tradition Maintained

Inverness-shire's new Lord Lieutenant is following in his father's footsteps. Donald Cameron, who has been appointed to the post following Lord Gray of Contin's retiral, is the third generation Cameron of Lochiel to become Lord Lieutenant. His father Sir Donald, chief of Clan Cameron, was Lord Lieutenant for the area from 1971 to 1985. Mr Cameron's grandfather was also Lord Lieutenant for Inverness while his uncle Major Allan Cameron was previously Vice Lord Lieutenant for Ross-shire. "But I hope I was chosen for more than family tradition," Mr Cameron commented. "I am very honoured and very thrilled and hope I can do honour to the post. "It's really meeting and greeting the Royal Family when they are around the area. There is a judicial role as well, but when people are given the OBE or MBE they have the choice of receiving it at Holyrood or having it presented by myself at home. I'm really the Queen's representative in the area."

Llamas In Training

Visitors to the island of Harris will soon be able to enjoy afternoon strolls with llamas, thanks to a new business set up by a family on the island. Trevor and Pippa Gibbs, of Drinishader, have already imported two llamas - Yahnas and Santiago - who are currently in training for a llama trekking team. Three more animals are expected to arrive in the future. The couple, who are originally from South Africa, hope their new business, Linga Lodge Llamas, will boost tourism in the Outer Hebrides. Commenting on their new venture, Mrs Gibb said: "We wanted to do something in livestock because we have always farmed. We also run a pony trekking business in South Africa. "We realised that if we wanted to make any money on a croft we would have to do something unusual." Mrs Gibb said the llamas have packs fastened to their backs and will always be taken out with a guide. She added: "We can take people out with the llamas for afternoon walks and picnics. We also intend to offer personalised guided walks and rambling tours to suit individual requirements and pace, but the llamas are not for riding on. "Llamas are unusual animals, and I think that appeals to the public. They are also very inquisitive and possess a very gentle, likeable nature. "Harris is a wonderful place for visitors and we would like to do our bit to make them linger longer - hence the name of the business."

Better Late Than Never

The official opening of a trail linking archaeological and natural heritage sites in Sutherland has been delayed by almost two years. Work on the Strathnaver trail - which has opened up 28 sites along a 25 mile route between Altnaharra and Bettyhill - was hit by a series of setbacks caused by the foot and mouth crisis and bad weather. But project co-ordinator Marlyn Price said people were already taking advantage of the walks as all the necessary work had been completed. She said construction of the trail had been due to start in February of 2001, with the route opening in time for the start of last year's summer season. Contractors were appointed but foot and mouth put a stop to all work until last August. Mrs Price said the next estimated completion date was May, but some of the printed interpretative material to be mounted on stone plinths along the trail was not in place and one car park had not been surfaced. Mrs Price said the aim of the trail was to attract more visitors to the area and encourage local people to explore their heritage. "The area is incredibly rich in archaeology from as far back as 6,000 years ago up to more recent times," the co-ordinator said. "There are chambered cairns, brochs and Bronze Age and Iron Age hut circle sites."

Pictish Stone on Show

A carved Pictish stone, which was at the centre of a controversy over its ownership, is on view at Inverness Museum. The "Lochardil Stone" was destined for the rubbish dump during the demolition of a row of buildings in Bridge Street, including the old library and museum, during the 1960s. It was saved, however, by Ann Torrance whose husband Alex had been given the contract for the demolition. "I went into the building to see what was there and there was a lot of old stuff lying there including the Pictish stone," Mrs Torrance recalled. "They had been instructed to put it all on the dump." Determined the three feet tall stone should not be lost, Mrs Torrance took it home to Stoneyfield House which was built in 1680 as the home of Mackintosh of Raigmore and which was regularly visited by people interested in its history. "One of the times, I remember showing people around who were connected to museums," she recalled. "A lady who was in charge of Edinburgh Museum took a look at the stone and said it should be in Edinburgh. I would not let her take it and told her it belonged to Inverness." The encounter sparked off a wrangle which also involved the local authority and which, at one point, was due to go to the Court of Session in Edinburgh until the council withdrew its case.

On Show

Weapons believed to have been used to murder a Government agent in a 18th century Scottish cause celebre were put on show recently at Fort William. The West Highland Museum is hosting a four month exhibition commemorating the 250th anniversary of the infamous Appin Murder and its bloody aftermath. Among exhibits will be one of the guns believed to have been used in the murder of Colin Campbell of Glenure in 1752, which has been loaned by the National Museum of Scotland. It is on show along with the broad shoulder gun, owned by the Fort William museum, which was found in a tree near to the murder scene at Lettermore, overlooking Loch Linnhe near Ballachulish, soon afterwards. Also on loan from the Clan Mackay Society, through the national museum, is Campbell's snuff mull, believed to have been in his pocket as he was gunned down by a Stewart. Campbell, a Hanoverian agent, was mortally wounded by two shots in the back from a marksman's musket as he rode home to Duror. James Stewart of the Glen, a young Jacobite, was tried at Inveraray, by a jury of 11 Campbells, then executed.

Charity Event

Shop workers showed street fighting style when they raised money for a children's charity recently. Poundstretcher staff at the Bridge Street store in Inverness held raffles, a bric-a-brac stall and a "guess the teddy's name" competition to help Children 1st. They also dressed up in boxing gear donated by Inverness City boxing coach Laurie Redfern to celebrate the in-store event.

Political Roundup

MSP Critical of 'Botched' Settlement

The funding settlement for Highland Council will leave a shortfall of several million pounds because of the botched method of allocating funding throughout Scotland, according to Fergus Ewing, Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber MSP. Mr Ewing said: "The Executive allocated the funding required to implement the McCrone settlement for teachers' pay not on the basis of the number of teachers but on the basis of the number of pupils. This inevitably discriminates against areas such as Highland Council with more dispersed population and lower school roles. As a direct result of this the Highland Council faces a multi million pound shortfall. Despite having raised this issue with the Executive repeatedly in Parliament no response has been made at all. I have now requested a meeting with Education Minister Cathy Jamieson to see whether she will act to remove this unfair discrimination against the Highlands."

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Scattered showers, snow on hills. Bright spells. Winds mod/fresh N'ly. Temperature 4c to 8c.
Saturday Night
Cloudy with wintry showers in the far N. Other parts dry with clear spells. Winds mod N'ly. Temperature -2 to 4c.
Sunday
Bright and mainly dry in the E to start but cloudy and rain moving in from the W. Light winds.
Monday
Cloudy in most places with rain or drizzle at times. Drier/brighter in the NW. Mist patches over hills.


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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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