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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

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Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 24th November 2001
Issue No 258

Arbroath Smokie Gets Its Own Trademark

The Arbroath Smokie is to join the ranks of Camembert and Champagne with its own individual regional trademark.

No longer will fish merchants from Cornwall to Yorkshire be able to turn out pale imitations of Scotland's famous oak smoked haddock. Instead, only deep brown Arbroath Smokies produced within five miles of the Angus town will carry the name. Arbroath Fish Merchants' Association and Angus Council have applied, with the Scottish Executive's backing, for the right to carry the European Commission's Protected Geographical Indication symbol. The blue and yellow round stamp will be carried on every pack sold and at point of sales display adverts. It will be the first fish dish in Britain to carry the distinctive logo. Bob Spink, retired managing director of R and B Spink, Arbroath, said: "Arbroath Smokies are our heritage, and something we are very proud of. If the good name of local area speciality foods is lost, because it is being abused, it loses its value altogether." The application will go to the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, before being approved by the European Commission. Mr Spink added: "We are applying for protection Geographical Indication - which means the Arbroath Smokie is an area speciality, and we are seeking recognition as such. "There are a number of companies, from Cornwall to the Humber, who purport to sell Arbroath Smokies. They produce them by mass production methods not by hand as we do." The recipe for Arbroath Smokies has been passed down through the generations by word of mouth. But for the first time the process has been written down. Mr Spink said: "I have had to draw up a set of specifications for the Smokies, running to eight pages, a written record of how a true Smokie is made. Once it goes into the public domain there are no secrets. "It describes the process step by step, and gives a description of the ingredients and how it is done. But you can't write down skill and experience. People can copy it, but the difference is they can't call it an Arbroath Smokie." Alex Spink, a spokesman for the Scottish Executive, said full approval would take 18 months, adding: "The Executive will do everything we can to support this application over the coming months. "We have given our help in drafting the application and will continue to do so."

Blooming Great for Alness

A small Highland town recently picked up two awards in the prestigious Scotland in Bloom contest. Although Aberdeen took the top city award and won the rosebowl for being champion of champions, the Ross-shire town of Alness, themselves past champions, won the best small town award, as well as being the first winners of the David Welch Memorial Award. At a ceremony for the contest, held in the Averon Centre in Alness, the judges awarded the memorial award to the town. The award recognises the huge contribution made to the competition by David Welch the former Director of Royal Parks London, and the former head of parks in the City of Aberdeen, who died last year. Event compere, Walter Gilmour, paid particular tribute to Shillinghill, Alness. He said: "It continues to be quite an amazing place with it's community landscaping and inhouse maintenance. "Every year this community is pushing on with another major project."

Pink Gin gets a Rival

Whisky connoisseurs were tickled pink recently by the marketing of a new malt from Glenmorangie. Its Cote de Beaune Wood Finish malt has a pink hue through it - the result of spending its final two years maturing in casks that previously contained a premier cru Burgundy. The 10 year old whisky - aimed as a gift and special occasion product - has adopted the colour and sweetness of the wine. A limited number of bottles at 59.95, will be produced. Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie's head of distilleries and maturation, said: "We have once again shown our flair for innovative wood finishing. "Our consumers will love this complex new malt, which retains all the traditional Glenmorangie characteristics, along with a stunning new breadth of flavour." The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, which has 15,000 members in the United Kingdom and several thousand worldwide, specialises in limited edition bottling of single casks. Managing director Richard Gordon said: "Glenmorangie has been experimenting with different styles of wood finishing for years. They have really shown drinkers what can be achieved. It's great news - well done, Glenmorangie."

Lucky Escape.

A Harris family may have avoided death - by visiting a neighbour's house. For, while a mother and son were in the home of a neighbour, their own house was struck by lightning, causing severe damage to the property. "It was as if a small bomb had gone off in the house," said student Gavin Williams, who occupies the house at Holmasaig, in Quidinish, with his mother, Margarita, a travelling art teacher. "When we arrived home from a neighbour's house and saw the state of our place, we were glad we had not been at home. We could have been killed," said Gavin. Both he and his mother had gone to a neighbour's house for half an hour. Lightning had struck their telephone line and ripped through the ceiling, causing a mess everywhere. The fuse box had blown, there were burn marks and the wood had been scorched, as well as plasterboard coming off the top of the wall. "Builders, electricians and the people from British Telecom said they had never seen anything like it," he said. Gavin said that other houses in the vicinity had also suffered the loss of items, including computers, due to the lightning strike. All the electrical appliances in his house that had been plugged in had been damaged. The Williams hope their property will be restored quickly.

Prestigious Honour

The Isle of Skye Brewery has seen both of its current beers exported gaining major awards in the inaugural Montreal Interbeer competition. Up against beers from around the world which are imported into Canada, the Skye Brewery's Black Cuillin was awarded a gold medal and and its Red Cuillin a silver medal. As the competition has close links with Canada's liquor board of control the brewery now has great hopes of furthering its sales to Canada in the future. Dixie Taylor, the brewery's sales consultant said: "This is a tremendous boost to us, especially as we did not know that our Canadian agent had entered us in the competition. "We have been exporting relatively small quantities to Alberta and recently gained approval for exporting to Ontario. "These prestigious awards will put the name of the Isle of Skye Brewery firmly in the ranks of quality imported beers in Canada." The brewery's managing director, Angus MacRuary, said that the Skye brewery had decided some time ago to try to target certain export markets as a means of expanding the brewery. He said: "The home market is extremely tight just now, almost in a situation of over-supply. We have, therefore, been working very hard at finding markets abroad for our beers. "We have been making inroads into Canada and also supply Iceland. In the past year we have started exporting our Black Cuillin to Japan. We have, with the help of Pelican Design here on Skye, just produced a poster in Japanese."

In Song and Verse

A cassette audio tape telling the story of the building of the Caledonian Canal was launched recently. From Sea to Sea is a cassette about the construction of the canal between 1803 and 1822 and a journey from Clachnaharry to Corpach made possible by the vision engineer, Thomas Telford. The cassette, by Bob Pegg, takes in music, song, story and verse with voices from the Highlands of today creating a direct link with the communities who peopled the landscape in the far and more recent past. Pupils from Caol Primary School, who were involved in the project, were in attendance. The project was funded by Highland Council through the British Waterways EU TERRA Living Waterways Programme.

Return to the Wild

Almost two kilometres of old and little used snow fencing has been dismantled and air lifted away from the northern slopes of the Cairngorm mountains, removing a visual intrusion into a wild and scenic area. The fencing was erected in the 1980s on the ridge between the ski area in Coire Cas and Coire an t-Sneachda to capture snow and allow skiers easier access into the area. Unfortunately it was not particularly successful at trapping enough snow in such a windswept location, and was becoming dilapidated by the fierce weather conditions. The fences were flown out by helicopter. Taking them down needed planning permission from Highland Council, and the removal techniques, including the helicopter airlift, also required approval from Scottish Natural Heritage. A total of 1.8 kilometres of fencing has been removed. The effect on Coire an t-Sneachda is to return it to as near natural landscape as practical at present, although it will take sometime for the vegetation on the ridge to recover. Although the fences turned out to be of little use to skiers, they had become a convenient navigational aid for walkers and climbers, who used them as a guide between the ski area car park and Coire an t-Sneachda, especially in bad weather. During the summer months this traffic contributed to further erosion of the ground on this ridge.

Charity Event

Tartan Army globetrotter Iain Wilson was on top of the world after a gruelling charity trek recently. Travel agent Iain raised 1500 for the Meningitis Research Foundation by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania - at 19,340ft, Africa's highest mountain.

Political Roundup

MSPs Brush up Their Language Skills

MSPs in the normally English speaking chamber of the Scottish Parliament put their knowledge of foreign languages to the test recently to mark a Europe wide event. They decided to address one another in foreign languages - ranging from French to Russian - to mark the European Day of Languages. Presiding Officer Sir David Steel agreed that those taking part in the debate could make contributions in another language if they wished, so long as they repeated it in English.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Dry, bright spells in the E. Cloudy, drizzle patches in the W. Winds mod/fresh W-SW'ly. Temperature 11c to 16c.
Saturday Night
Mainly dry. Rain spreading from the W overnight. Winds fresh/strong SW'ly. Temperature 8c to 10c.
Sunday
A period of rain clearing to brighter, showery weather. Winds strong and gusty, SW to NW'ly.
Monday
Mostly dry and bright am. Strong to gale force W-SW'ly winds will push rain across the area from the SW pm.


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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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