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Nessie's Loch Ness Times

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Established December 3rd, 1996
         Saturday 30th November 2002
Issue No 308

Clansmen Return to the Land of Their Forefathers

Clan MacInnes members visited the Lochaber resting place of their ancestors recently.

The clan contributes towards the upkeep of historical island burial ground Eilean Munde on Loch Leven. Crofter Alistair MacDonald, who founded the Glencoe Heritage Trust Ltd, which recently purchased a half share of the island, met with clan officials at his Carnoch home. Mr MacDonald raised around 100,000 to safeguard historic sites around Glencoe, including the burial ground where MacDonald, MacInnes, MacIntyre and other Highland families are laid to rest. "I was delighted to meet the clan officials who are very supportive of the Glencoe Heritage Trust which has to fundraise to repay the six donors who generously loaned the money to purchase Eilean Munde and surrounding historical sites in the village," said Mr MacDonald who is related to the MacInnes families who reside in Glencoe. Hugo MacDonald of Callart Estate on the north shore of Loch Leven, also part owns Eilean Munde. The Clan MacInnes recently held a gathering at Glencoe, the first time it has been held in the village. Around 50 members from throughout the world attended. Scottish Commissioner of the International Association of Clan MacInnes, Donald MacInnes, 71, of Cumbernauld, said: "Eilean Munde is the traditional burial place of the MacDonalds and MacInneses of Glencoe. "Some time ago the area was neglected and we got permission to tidy it up. Since then we've asked Mike Hall of Glencoe to help maintain the island. "We were delighted to meet Alistair MacDonald and hear about his successful bid to part buy Eilean Munde." This was the fifth Scottish clan MacInnes gathering, although the tradition has been going strong in the US for about 30 years. American businessman Norman MacInnis, High Commissioner of the International Association of Clan MacInnes, who took up the new post in July, attended the gathering with wife Jo-Ann. "We have a clan gathering at Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina every year in July," informed Mr MacInnis, who has traced his roots to Arisaig. The Clan MacInnes Society recently underwent a revamp and is now known as the International Association of Clan MacInnes. Clan members also visited Keil Church in Morvern, which has a long association with the MacInnes name. A few years ago the clan purchased new doors for the church. They also stopped off at Kinlochaline Castle in Morvern, claimed to be the ancestral seat of Clan MacInnes chief. It is now the home of environmental consultant and political adviser Hugh Raven and his wife Jane Stuart Smith. The couple bought the castle from a family member in 1996 and painstakingly restored it over a two year period. As part of the recent Morvern Gala Week celebrations, the castle was open to the public. The Clan MacInnes owns a painting of Kinlochaline Castle by artist William Leighton Leitch. A print was gifted to Mr Raven by clan officials. Next year, the clan gathering returns to Skye, where it was held in 2001.

Taste of the Highlands for the US

The quality of food and drink in the Highlands - and the warmth and hospitality of local people - will be celebrated in a programme due to be screened to millions of TV viewers in the United States. Award winning presenter Dave Eckert and his crew have been on a whistle-stop tour of the Highlands recently for a cullinary series on the American public service channel PBS and more than 100 other stations. In a tour arranged by George Mackay, executive chef at Nairn's Golf View Hotel, the broadcasters went to Duncan Fraser butchers in Queensgate, Inverness, Taste of Moray's Seafield restaurant in Gollanfield, Nairn Golf Club, the Golf View itself, Dalmore Whisky in Alness and the Strathaird smoked salmon processing centre in Grantown-on-Spey. Mr Eckert - a specialist in food and drink broadcasting - also spent time with VisitScotland in Glasgow before returning home to the States. Chicago based Mr Eckert travels the world for his popular series "Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert" in which he gives viewers a taste of food and drink, as well as culinary skills, from around the world. The programme featuring the Highlands is likely to be shown next year. Among those filmed at work was Kevin Ewings, the head chef at the Seafield restaurant, who cooked medallions of venison loin layered with haggis and a whisky and peppercorn cream sauce.

New Name Wanted

One of Scotland's most successful businessmen has called for the Western Isles to be rebranded The Hebrides to improve the local economy. Speaking recently, Stewart Graham said the value of enterprise in the community should be given greater emphasis in schools and colleges. Drawing on his own experiences on setting up a multimillion pound international business in the Western Isles, Mr Graham said islanders had to become more "pro-business". Speaking at the Lews Castle college graduation ceremony on Stornoway, he acknowledged that great improvements had been achieved but more investment in infrastructure, such as seven day transport, would help the local economy. He said subsidies should be directed at transport links and that the Western Isles should be re-branded The Hebrides, with a push made to market that brand.

History Comes to Life at Fort George

A two day extravaganza at Fort George recently attracted hundreds of visitors. Organised by Historic Scotland, which maintains the ancient monument, the event included cannon firing, combat re-enactment, living history, falconry and musical entertainment. Monument manager Christina Madders said wet and blustery weather resulted in a poorer turn out than they had hoped for. "But the fine weather on the second day brought out large crowds and the whole weekend was a great success," she declared. The re-enactment of King George's forces recruiting after the Battle of Culloden was particularly popular with visitors from all over the world. The display by the Alba Adventure Company included period weaponry and clothing and visitors were given an insight into the daily routine and lives of soldiers living at the Fort in the 18th century.

Expansion at Inverness Airport

Eastern Airways' new service between Inverness and Manchester has proved such a hit with the business community that the number of flights is soon to be increase. Only 10 days after opening the route, Eastern Airways managing director Richard Lake announced he was to increase the number of daily return trips from three to four. Mr Lake is also planning to increase capacity on the route by introducing larger aircraft and attract leisure travellers by offering discounted fares enabling holidaymakers to make connections with Manchester Airport's international flights and opening up the city - to North holidaymakers and Manchester United fans. Mr Lake made his announcement to Scottish press who had been flown to Manchester for the occasion and revealed that his Inverness-Manchester service had been carrying an average payload of 55 per cent. "It's a lot for a first week startoff on a nearly virgin route," he commented. "I'm amazingly pleased at the way it's gone and that's given me the courage to continue investing in what I believe will be a successful, stable route."

Upgrade for Easter Ross Monument

A long awaited project to upgrade an ancient monument in Easter Ross is under way. The Shandwick Stone or Clach a Charridh (stone of the burial place) is a Class II Pictish Symbol Stone steeped in local legend standing about 8ft high in a most striking setting in a field overlooking the village of Shandwick. The site is being improved thanks to the efforts of the Seaboard Initiative along with support from the Community Economic Development (CED) programme, Ross and Cromarty Enterprise and ILM Highland. A new granite sett pathway is being created and a kissing gate entrance installed to accommodate wheelchair access in a project which will provide valuable work experience for local trainees. There are two standing stones in the parish of Nigg; one can be seen at Nigg Old Parish Church and the other stands in a field above the village of Shandwick. Just over the parish boundary at Hilton of Cadboll there once stood a third stone, but the main part of this one is now displayed in the museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh. The popular and romantic legend is that the stones mark the burial place of Viking princes.

Diabetes on the Web

Olympic skier Alain Baxter was in Inverness recently to launch a website which provides support to young people who suffer from diabetes. The site, operated by the Inverness and District Tadpole Club, contain information on how to join the club and a list of events and articles about children and parents who have experienced diabetes first hand. Baxter said: "This is a great website. "It's very important that children suffering from diabetes are able to meet with others, who are going through the same thing. That must be great for the parents too." A spokeswoman for the club said: "The club, which has over a 100 members, felt because of the large area it covers, there was a need to keep children up to date in what is going on and to give them a chance to tell other children how they felt about diabetes. "As most children feel confident with computers, it was felt a website was the ideal way of communicating our message. BT has helped by providing a computer and Internet access for a year."The website can be accessed at:

Charity Event

A group of hair stylists proved they really are a cut above the rest after raising an amazing 4,500 for charity. Staff from the Head Gardener in Church Street, Inverness held their annual fashion show recently. They organised the show in aid of breast cancer at Warner Village Cinemas at Inverness Business and Retail Park. It included clothes from Off the Peg in Dingwall and Marks and Spencer, followed by a hair fashion show by the stylists. A total of 400 tickets were snapped up prior to the show, and the success meant they will choose a bigger and better venue next year.

Political Roundup

Residents Urged to Push for Bypass

Nairn residents have been encouraged to show their support for a bypass for the town, after the idea was ruled out by the Scottish Executive. The A96 has been redesigned in recent years to take traffic away from most towns and villages, but five towns, including Nairn, are still without a bypass. Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber MSP Fergus Ewing asked in a parliamentary question if the Scottish Executive would support the creation of a bypass at Nairn. However, Deputy Transport Minister Lewis Macdonald made it clear that no moves would be made in the foreseeable future. He said: "The case for a bypass has not been identified as a priority when considering projects for the trunk roads programme and there are no plans at present to take forward such a scheme."

Highland Weather Forecast

Saturday Afternoon
Cloud, rain spreading W, showers following. Winds fresh S'ly. Temperature 7c to 11c.
Saturday Night
Showers dying out. Dry, mist patches. Winds fresh SE'ly. Temperature 1c to 7c.
Cloud and rain spreading to all areas from the W after a dry and bright start.
Broken cloud and sunny spells. Occasional showers, some heavy in W, merging to longer spells of rain.

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