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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

The Friendliest NewsPaper on the WWW

Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 25th November 2000
Issue No 207

MacAulay Clan Gathering

Clan MacAulay members from across the world travelled to the Highlands recently for their second annual gathering.

More than 40, some from as far afield as Australia and America, went back to their roots at the event in Dingwall. Last year saw the first gathering in almost 250 years when the organisation was set up in Scotland. Iain MacAulay of Ardencaple, who received a commission from the Lord Lyon in November 1997 to act as commander of the clan until such time as the chiefship is resolved, welcomed the guests. Mr MacAulay, who has travelled the world looking for a blood heir to the chief of the clan, hopes to take over the chiefship, which has been dormant since 1752, early next year. He said: "The world is full of MacAulays but without leadership they remain MacAulays in the melting pot, a clan honoured in history but directionless in modern terms." And he added: "The turnout for this event has been wonderful, with people from around the world attending." This year's gathering was hosted by Ken and Margaret MacAulay, the owners of Tulloch Castle Hotel. Present was the chieftain commissioner for the clan in America, Wayne MacAulay, who travelled from North Carolina. There are 400 MacAulays in America and almost half are members of the ever growing clan organisation. Also attending the gathering was Judy Allan from Richmond in Sydney Australia, where she is secretary of the MacAulay clan, which has 200 members. Her mother was a MacAulay whose grandparents left Skye and went to Australia during the Highland Clearances. "The benefits of this is being able to meet fellow MacAulays because at the end of the day we are one big family," she said. Margaret Paterson, Highland Council's area convener for Ross and Cromarty, was present to welcome the clan members. She said: "It is tremendous that people are looking back at their roots."

End of an Era

A way of Highland life faded into history recently with the closure of a Ross-shire shop which has served the community for almost 120 years. W&R MacKenzie in Garve first opened in 1884 as importers of tea, coffee, cocoa and "colonial and continental produce". Over the years the shop supplied the many hunting lodges in the area with a variety of produce - including groceries - and could be relied upon to provide a similar service for the Garve community. But with the advent of big business, and in particular the large supermarket firms which have established themselves in places such as Dingwall, the village shop's days were numbered. On the last day the shop remained open a number of family representatives were there to mark the occasion. Dorothy Ross, whose father Roderick joined the business a short while after it was set up by William MacKenzie, said her sister Mary had run the shop for 67 years until her death a short time ago. And her son, Eric Ross, stressed the shop had over the past 116 years become a part of life, both for locals and those involved with the shooting at nearby lodges, and tourists. Mr Ross said: "It is just an era gone and that is that. "It is sad that it is not economically viable to keep it open because we are too near Dingwall and the supermarkets. "Since 1884 the only thing that has changed in here is the electricity supply."

A Walk in the Woods

Two award winning Highland woods, owned and managed by the Woodland Trust, the UK's leading woodland conservation charity, are the venue for a series of walks. Abriachan, on the shores of Loch Ness, purchased by the Woodland Trust in 1995 with the support of the local community, this year received a commendation in the large woods section of Scotland's Finest Woodlands Awards. This prestigious award is made for good woodland management in harmony with the environment. Last year, Ledmore and Migdale Wood on the Dornoch Firth earned the same accolade. Now the Woodland Trust Scotland is inviting people to experience both these woods for themselves. Walkers will get the chance to revel in the colours and patterns of autumn and to learn about the fruits of the forest - funghi, berries and migrant birds.

Glencoe Insight

History came alive in Glencoe recently when the infamous massacre of 1692 was re-enacted for holidaying youngsters. The Alba Adventure Company staged a series of three hour re-enactments at the National Trust for Scotland's visitor centre. A Highland clansman, dressed in period costume, told his version of the event that was to be remembered for centuries to come. A Redcoat soldier added another perspective to the story of the slaughter of the Macdonalds. Derrick Warner, the trust's property manager said: "Through these performances, visitors will be able to learn more about the story of the massacre and about the sequence of events that caused the terrible tragedy." He added: "We made sure the re-enactment was equally suited to children and adults, and there were opportunities for children to become involved in the performances."

Sunfish Found

A big round fish that is usually more happy in the tepid waters of the tropics was found washed up recently on a chilly North shore. The sunfish found by marine engineers at North Kessock, near Inverness, weighed in at a respectable 140lb, but in fact it was something of a tiddler. For sunfish weighing a massive 1 tonne have been caught throughout the world. The fish earned its name because of its unusual round appearance for a fish that swims upright, and it is the largest fish in the world with a bony skeleton. The sunfish, Latin name mola mola, meaning "milestone", was handed into the Scottish Agricultural Colleges veterinary services lab in Inverness, where it was examined by marine biologist Bob Reid. He said: "Judging by its condition it was alive not long before being found, so it was probably feeding in the North Sea. "There were reports of a large animate abject being seen splashing about in the shallows not long before it was found beached. "Sunfish are quite a spectacular fish and although this one is about 1 metre in diameter, it is a bit of a baby compared with some that have been caught. Mr Reid added: "They feed on jelly fish and are quite regularly found off the West Coast of Scotland, having been swept there by the Gulf Stream from more temperate waters - perhaps around the Caribbean. It is unusual to find them off the east coast but there have been several in recent years."

Top Christmas Show

Plans are under way to mount a bumper Christmas lights display in Wick. Following on the major strides made over the past two festive seasons, an expansion is being planned to add a further 56 lights this year. The new display will cover three areas, comprising the main roads leading into the town from the north, south and west. As before, individuals and businesses are being invited to buy a light, costing 125. Sponsors can earmark a lamp-post where their light will be put up each year. Caithness project officer Lorna Simpson said: "Last year's appeal was so successful that some people were unable to secure their preferred location. "People should therefore buy early to avoid disappointment." Five lights in the new expanded display have already been snapped up.

Cruising Treat

Two hundred and fifty special needs children and their carers were treated to a wonderful day out on Loch Ness by the Variety Club of Scotland recently. The children, who had travelled to Inverness from as far as 100 miles away, enjoyed cruises on the Jacobite Queen. While on board they were entertained by Chiko the Clown who put on a disco for the children followed by a party which included balloons and goody bags full of sweets. This is the 5th consecutive year that the Variety Club has organised this free event and every year it has been a brilliant success. Billy Anderson, the club's co-convener and the event organiser, was present to see the youngsters set off. He said: "The day was very successful. The kids had a marvellous time and the carers likewise. They will all be coming back next year, I'm sure." Among the children was Lilly MacAuley from Dingwall, who was hoping to catch a glimpse of the Loch Ness monster during her trip. She and the other youngsters were welcomed aboard by Bruce Crush, the boat's captain.

Charity Event

Swimmers in Inverness and Nairn took to their local pools to raise over 3000 for homeless charity Shelter and other good causes. They were taking part in the 10th annual BT Swimathon which encourages people across the country to raise money by swimming a few lengths. Inverness swimmers raised a total of 1534.75 but their Nairn neighbours did slightly better with 1578.70.

Political Roundup

MSP in Fuel Costs Plea.

MSP Fergus Ewing challenged politicians at the recent Highlands and Islands Convention to take positive action on high fuel prices. Mr Ewing, the SNP's spokesman on rural affairs questioned whether the Labour-Liberal Democrat Scottish Executive would announce any plans to tackle the fuel problem in the Highlands and Islands.

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Cloudy. Bright spells. A few showers in the W. Winds fresh Southerly. Temperature 7c to 12c.
Saturday Night
Rain then showers. Cloudy. Winds strong/gale force in the SE. Temperature 3c to 7c.
Brightest again in the W with light Southerly winds. Cloudier, breezier in the S with showers, mainly in the SW.
A mainly fine, dry and bright day with light winds. Cloud thickening in the S later pm with rain overnight.


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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